0783: "I Don't Want Directions"

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DavidRoss
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby DavidRoss » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:46 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Where I was raised (San Francisco), "click" (or "klick") is "kilometers distance" as opposed to "kilometers per hour". For example, "His house is about sixty clicks from here".


That's showing your age. From what I understand, kids raised in San Francisco today use "miles" and "miles per hour". :)

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Voodoo Shark » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:48 am UTC

Eli's right, it's definitely the Greater Boston area.

Specifically, Lakeville.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby InflatableSoulmate » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:49 am UTC

I've also always heard 'click' in reference to a kilometer. But, it seems that using the phrases 'a click over the speed limit' or 'a mile over the speed limit' are correct. That is, if you assume that you are talking about how many miles/clicks you are traveling in one hour... if you are going one mile per hour over the speed limit, then you will travel one more mile than you would have if you were going the speed limit.
Last edited by InflatableSoulmate on Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:50 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Kalos » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:50 am UTC

The only time I've had this happen is when people don't actually know what the address is, in which case your GPS is useless. Or if you're trying to get around some place like downtown Chicago, in which case good luck ever getting a decent signal. Your GPS will repeatedly tell you that you're in the center of apartment complexes or several blocks over, if it makes the connection at all.

This comic was also horrendously unfunny.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby DavidRoss » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:57 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:The comic is incorrect: The GPS unit does not know anything about topology. It just knows how it is moving in 3D space. However, many GPS units come bundled with interactive maps.


I don't know that we can blame Randall for using "GPS" as the label for "a GPS receiver coupled to map software and a map database that displays maps oriented per the geo-location provided by the GPS receiver and also determines routes between map points" because there is no good alternative term for that device. We have a "nav system" (maybe that term will work) in our car that has a polite, but forceful, female voice. "Please make a legal U-turn" is commonly heard when we don't take her advice. Her name is "the Navigatrix". Seems to work.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby F-13 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:58 am UTC

Well, you guys are lucky. In more "uncivilized" parts of the world, we have to go through with this routine with EVERYONE. Including the foreign sofa delivery guy. Who doesn't understand a single sound out of your mouth and insists he does. :evil: :evil:

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:14 am UTC

DavidRoss wrote:I don't know that we can blame Randall for using "GPS" as the label for "a GPS receiver coupled to map software and a map database that displays maps oriented per the geo-location provided by the GPS receiver and also determines routes between map points" because there is no good alternative term for that device. ...

My point was the use of "modern" technology does not add to the joke. I don't care what modern navigation systems should be called because only the map is essential for the joke.

Not all of us have GPS navigation systems, you insensitive clod! :)
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby ijuin » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:26 am UTC

DavidRoss wrote:
ijuin wrote:Where I was raised (San Francisco), "click" (or "klick") is "kilometers distance" as opposed to "kilometers per hour". For example, "His house is about sixty clicks from here".


That's showing your age. From what I understand, kids raised in San Francisco today use "miles" and "miles per hour". :)


If you must know, I'm thirty. :D

But seriously, for me and the folks I grew up with, when somebody uses "clicks" to refer to "kilometers" without any qualifiers (such as a time reference), it's assumed to mean total distance rather than a rate of speed.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby jakerman999 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:37 am UTC

rpgamer wrote:I take it most people here haven't had the problem of their GPS being oblivious to a street, or taking the long way around something...


No, but I have driven down a road that had been moved since the map was made(about 2k to the north(k is short for kilometers (lets not go off on another tangent(please)))). For two hours I listened to the damn thing stuck in this loop:

Code: Select all

10     say "Recalculating"
20     pause 250 milliseconds
30     goto 10


Not ten minutes after I set it to offroad mode I reached the turn off ramp.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Sunidesus » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:54 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:One advantage of GPS and Internet maps: They'll never instruct you to "turn left where the barn used to be," which is an actual thing someone said to us once.


I get those directions with an alarming degree of frequency. I don't know if it's the area or just the people I know, but I have been told multiple times that the place I want is "just down the road from the old (insert store name) building". This is complicated by many streets that have little to no signage, streets that change names without warning, streets that are called by one name, but are on maps/internet/signs/etc as something else entirely. Been living here for nearly seven years and I still get lost entirely too often.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Ego » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:00 am UTC

two panels would be enough

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby alahos » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:05 am UTC

No GPS for me, thanks.
http://shashib.amplify.com/2010/06/06/gps-and-computer-maps-may-shrink-your-hypocampi/


jakerman999 wrote:Apparently when You're driving through Quebec the police will give a speeding ticket for anything more than half a click over the speedlimit if they don't see a Quebec plate.


I call bullshit. How would they know what's on your licence plate before they get on the road to pull you over?

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:09 am UTC

grayjk wrote:I disagree with this comic for two reasons.

One, when the GPS leads you to an empty rice field via tractor-made dirt roads, and says you've arrived at the Historical Museum, you'll be glad you packed those directions.

Two, if someone said "I want to send you a letter" most people would go "just email it to me". Especially the guy on the other end of this phone.


Unless they belong to the generation that insists on directions instead of addresses. I think that was part of the joke. :P

(Incidentally, I don't use a GPS except for Geocaching. But I do don't use other people's directions either - they usually leave out vital information, miscount turns, use landmarks that are either hard to recognize or look different than described, etc. A route from Google Maps is much easier to follow.)
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby muppetoid » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:12 am UTC

I only really started running into this problem when I moved to Oregon, where they've turned it into an art form. The most common reply to my request for an address is "well, where are you coming from?" :roll: As if the address somehow depends on my approach to it. :?: It happens to me all the time now, but on top of the directions with no address, they also can't recall the NAMES of 50% of the streets they are directing me down, i.e. "take that road to the top of the hill and then at the stop sign just past where the Chevy's used to be, hang a right." NOT EXAGGERATING! AND if we're together at the time, they WILL draw me a map with whatever is to hand.
One woman even offered to draw her map ON my Acer tablet laptop instead of just pulling up googleMaps, but in that case I think she just wanted an excuse to play with my fancy toy.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby MaXer » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:19 am UTC

A click (or klick, as it's actually called) originates from the military, meaning "kilometer", as a distance, not a speed.

Edit: Here's some more info.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby reegee » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:29 am UTC

I choose to substitue "street directory" for the term "GPS". It makes the comic much more accruate. With some GPS units the street address data is so bad or ambiguous you actually do need directions. I work in GIS and still choose the trusty street directory over a GPS, plus analogue works much better and faster for figuring out routes on long-distance travel. :-)
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Red Hal » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Nevertheless it is not a difficult leap of reasoning to infer from the context that when someone says they are going "x clicks over the speed limit" they are using click as a unit of speed.

In any case, GPS devices; useful for people who don't like asking for directions.

Edit, first paragraph directed at MaXer et al.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Sk25 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:40 am UTC

I see nobody mentioned Openstreetmap.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby syko_lozz » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:42 am UTC

"map" and "street directory" definitely do not replace "gps" in this comic. nor does "google maps"
cos with any of those things, you still have to figure out your route (or print it out) and recognise the street when you come to it (hence the need for the instruction about the field).
The reason why people with full gps systems dont need this is that the unit will tell you exactly when to turn (because it "knows" where you are in relation to the map)
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby minetruly » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:47 am UTC

I run into trouble when a location is inside a plaza or some such. I'll ask for the address, and they WON'T KNOW. They just try to give me instructions from a nearby road. And, of course, if I manage to press a mailing address out of them, Maps directs me to a place that isn't quite the entrance of the building I wanted.

An example is the address of a museum located in a town plaza, a movie theater located inside a mall, or an entire college campus.

My advice is to get a nearby intersection for Maps, and then ask them to give you traditional directions from there.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Mazuku » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:48 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:I'm terrified of what GPS is doing to the younger generation's perception of physical space and how it all fits together.


What exactly is GPS doing to their perception of physical space?
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby phlip » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:11 am UTC

Re "click": in the local slang, "K" is an abbreviation for both kilometer and kilometer-per-hour. It's very rare that you can't tell which one is meant from context. Sometimes "x K's an hour" is used for speed, but just "x K's" is just as common. I see no reason that the same can't be true for "click", at the very least in regional variants of the term.

And yes, I've heard my share of "Turn right where the big tree used to be", "Drive halfway to <small town> and then turn left", "Turn two streets before <landmark>", and other equally unhelpful directions.
Last edited by phlip on Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby stenk » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:12 am UTC

I have a map in my car, if I need to figure out how to get to wherever I want to go. I use GPS only to determine my location, if not possible otherwise. This may be related to the fact that google maps (which my GPS phone app use) suck a lot in places where I could actually need them (dirt roads not on my/any map).

If i need to drive around in the city I usually just look stuff up on the internet beforehand. Estonian cities aren't big enough to not find what one's looking for.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby jakerman999 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:15 am UTC

alahos wrote:No GPS for me, thanks.
http://shashib.amplify.com/2010/06/06/gps-and-computer-maps-may-shrink-your-hypocampi/


jakerman999 wrote:Apparently when You're driving through Quebec the police will give a speeding ticket for anything more than half a click over the speedlimit if they don't see a Quebec plate.


I call bullshit. How would they know what's on your licence plate before they get on the road to pull you over?



They don't pull you over. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_enforcement_camera They pick and choose from the returns.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby MrJinks » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:39 am UTC

There was a guy in the UK who almost drove his car off a cliff whilst taking directions from his GPS gadget.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby dragondave » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:46 am UTC

My usual approach is:
"Right, what's your postcode?"
Fifteen seconds later, in Google Street View, asking the housenumber and then: "Is that the one with the red door and the porch?"

It generally freaks people out :)

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Cobryn moy » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:59 am UTC

As somebody who lives in a rural area where addresses are fluid, reception spotty, and post-codes non-existence I'm feeling a glow of Schadenfreude at the hope that the smug git with the GPS is going to end up bogged down in a field somewhere, and will completely miss a great party while waiting for a tow-truck. A tow-truck which he will be forced to direct to his location with reference to land marks. Land marks which he only half recalls, because he was too busy relying on his infallible GPS to take proper notice of them.

I think I'm on the wrong side of the culture gap for this one.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:44 am UTC

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Ronster » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:47 am UTC

I had an interesting satnav incident yesterday.
The satnav announced "you have reached your destination" when I was on a motorway (highway) bridge and the destination I was looking for was immediately below where I was!
I had to leave the motorway (highway) at the next junction (intersection) and ask a taxi (cab) driver for directions.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Cactus Wren » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:00 am UTC


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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:02 am UTC

I've had this happen several times before GPS became more available and affordable to the general public. When I was job-hunting, the place I was supposed to interview at would start to give me directions, and I'd say "I can just enter your address into Mapquest." All I asked for in return (I still do it to this day with my GPS) is some landmarks to look for, including restaurants, other buildings, or if it's a house, what kind of car to look for, or which house is it on the left or right.

As for the "click" thing, I had seen it in a "For Better or For Worse" comic strip, where John (the dad) just bought a new car, and he showed it off to some of April's friends, and they asked him what the car was rated, and he had said something about "Clicks per litre".
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby NotAllThere » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:10 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:The comic is incorrect: The GPS unit does not know anything about topology. It just knows how it is moving in 3D space. However, many GPS units come bundled with interactive maps.

Randall Munroe even knows this and has used the distinction in a previous comic.

I think the GPS technology distracts from the joke. It would work better if the dialog used the word "Map" instead.

Edit: Fixed.


Thanks for that. As someone who doesn't use GPS, having a book of up-to-date maps of my local area and wife who can map read, and I print off maps when I need other areas, that's the version that was in my head when I read the original. And my recurrent experience. (Actually, it's got better since GPS, as people think I've got one, so just give me the address).

A few weeks ago a friend asked for a lift (US:ride) to an apartment (UK:flat) she wanted to view. She gave me the address, I found it on my map, worked out where it was in relation to places I already knew, and drove there. She was amazed I managed to do this, without error, without GPS. Map reading, navigation - a lost art, I guess. When I rule the universe, I'm going to switch off special relativity. That'll mess up all the GPS addicts.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby musashi1600 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:14 am UTC

I've found the Google Maps Navigation app on my Moto Droid to be a wonderful little piece of software, although I don't use it that often simply because I live on a small island. My only complaint is that the voice is never able to pronounce street names correctly, but that's understandable.

I did have an amusing incident recently in Las Vegas where I was driving with my dad, and his GPS unit (a Garmin Nuvi, don't know the exact model) wasn't able to get a satellite lock for some unknown reason. His Plan B was to have me use his iPhone and call out turns as shown on its Google Maps app, until I wheeled out my own phone and used that instead. Yay, Droid. :mrgreen:

That said, I still keep a printed road map in my car, just in case.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby pv2b » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:27 am UTC

Looks like Randall might have "borrowed" a joke idea pretty much verbatim.

Youtube - OFFICIAL VIDEO - "Girl Directions" by PSYCHOSTICK (november 26, 2009)

Though I have to appreciate the XKCD version of the joke just as well, even though I do think some credit would have been due. :-)

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby beard » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:41 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:One advantage of GPS and Internet maps: They'll never instruct you to "turn left where the barn used to be," which is an actual thing someone said to us once.


This is very common around here. Directions are generally based on how the town used to look 10 to 50 years ago, depending on who you ask.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby keithc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:15 am UTC

Ronster wrote:I had an interesting satnav incident yesterday.
The satnav announced "you have reached your destination" when I was on a motorway (highway) bridge and the destination I was looking for was immediately below where I was!
I had to leave the motorway (highway) at the next junction (intersection) and ask a taxi (cab) driver for directions.

I got something similar in Italy on coastal roads, where the satnav tells you to take the next left because it thinks you are on the road you are on, but parallel to where you are. This could be less than five metres off horizontally but ten to twenty vertically and a few hundred metres of road travel.

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby gordysc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:30 am UTC



Oh god, I drive this every day :(

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby OneClickForward » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:38 am UTC

What? You have no 3G service near your house? Did I load the app with built-in maps? Oh, ah, no.... actually..... And the hills block most of the government spy GPS satellites??? Where do you live anyway!? Yeah, OK, sorry,....... please start again..

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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby melladh » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:39 am UTC

I have a friend who lives so far out on the countryside that the GPS navigators don't understand the roads there... The roads themselves exist, but they're not properly charted by unique names to the area. You don't send mail to a house, you send it to the neighborhood, and then everyone go to the (one and only) store to pick up their mail. It's astonishing that that kind of thing still exists. Cute though, but hell to get there if you don't know the way already.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby unzerpum » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:40 am UTC



The guy's apparently being led into a turf maze. (Specifically, "Maize Magic" at 21 Highland Road, Lakeville, MA.) :)

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=41.828402,-70.954693&spn=0.001833,0.004128&t=h&z=19


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