0783: "I Don't Want Directions"

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

Postby Chrisfs » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:38 pm UTC

I'm surprised that more people aren't freaking out about the cell phone suspended on his ear in the last frame.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby jc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:43 pm 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.


Hmmm ... Most GPS thingies these days have a "recalculate" ability. So if the original route doesn't work for some reason (detour, missed exit, etc.), you just get off the route, and let it find a new one. That way, you don't have to engage in any human interactions at all.

Of course, this doesn't help when the gadget's maps are wrong. But, unlike following someone's directions that turn out wrong or unusable, the GPS gadget will happily find you a new route from wherever you happen to be. In my experience, this is one of their most useful features. That, and having detailed street maps for entire countries or continents, which isn't feasible with printed map books.

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

Postby cparker15 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

Cheleus wrote:Gosh... This thing happens to me all the time too. Even more weird, it's not only the older generation people but many of my wife's girlfriends and even some of my friends who keep doing that. :|

Your wife has girlfriends and they're not your girlfriends, too? Hopefully, you at least get to watch!
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby neoliminal » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

On a slightly related note, did you know cartographers would create intentional mistakes to, in effect, watermark their works? They would create a street or road that didn't exist off in some random direction, misspell a lake, or distort the size of various pieces of geography. If a map was found that had been simply copied from the original without the hard work of actually measuring and marking... it would be obvious because the fake locations would exist on it as well.

Harsh if you actually needed to know about that place.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Eutychus » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:12 pm UTC

Mazuku wrote:
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?


I think (but I may be wrong) simply following directions rather than having to interpret landmarks and maps will mean people have less idea of geographic orientation, distance and so on. I'm the kind of person who finds maps very eloquent. Somehow you don't get that with a GPS.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby HonoreDB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:20 pm UTC

I've had an even sillier version of this happen a few times, as a public-transportation-user in Manhattan with a smartphone. It is impossible to know better than the phone in that situation, since the phone gets live updates on outages and route changes. And since it's very very easy to navigate on foot, slight fuzziness in the GPS part of the GPS doesn't matter.

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

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:30 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:Oh, it's you again, Mr. Grumpy Pants. He's not throwing a fit about how he has a GPS, he's getting irritated that the person on the other line is completely ignoring him

Deaf maybe?

SpringLoaded12 wrote:and intentionally wasting time and being inefficient despite having a simpler solution repeatedly offered to them. If you have ever had to explain to a relative how to set up their computer for the first time over the phone, or done tech support I suppose, then I would guess the experience features much of the same level of frustration (though for somewhat different reasons).

Intentionally being inefficient. Wow.

You just posted to a forum. Is that intentional inefficiency?

Simpler solution? For the pictured person, maybe. For the other (evidently elderly) person, is it *really* simpler to understand that a magic box will give directions?

Perhaps it would have been less "inefficient" to use knowledge of prior encounters and pretend that he'd just forgotten the house *number*?

SpringLoaded12 wrote:I can acknowledge the argument that Mr. I-Have-A-GPS might be being a little rude, but so is the other person in that case,

...or deaf.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:and we're very sorry that not every single character of every single webcomic you read, have read, or will read is a flawless manifestation of human decency, moral values, and politeness. People are flawed, and well-written material acknowledges that by having flawed characters.

Oh now it's just a comic? I thought you were relating this to real life? Getting all het up with your "so is the other person" being rude and all?

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

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:41 pm UTC

jc wrote:
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.


Hmmm ... Most GPS thingies these days have a "recalculate" ability. So if the original route doesn't work for some reason (detour, missed exit, etc.), you just get off the route, and let it find a new one. That way, you don't have to engage in any human interactions at all.


You obviously are new to GPS. Once you reach your destination, it's game over.

So, to follow *your* advice, Ronster would have to have known in advance that his destination was close enough to the bridge that it would end the session, and take an alternative route to ensure his session wasn't ended prematurely.

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

Postby cream wobbly » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:On a slightly related note, did you know cartographers would create intentional mistakes to, in effect, watermark their works? They would create a street or road that didn't exist off in some random direction, misspell a lake, or distort the size of various pieces of geography. If a map was found that had been simply copied from the original without the hard work of actually measuring and marking... it would be obvious because the fake locations would exist on it as well.

Harsh if you actually needed to know about that place.


Hm. I wonder if this is how the North Yorkshire Moors became the North York Moors to all but a few? With "York" as an intentional mis-spelling of "Yorks.", the accepted abbreviation of "Yorkshire". It doesn't make sense to refer to the "North York Moors", because there aren't any to the south, east, or west.

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

Postby ellenmaclean » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

Sadly I'm that person on the other end of the phone. People try to convince me that their GPS will find my address all the time. Sadly, thanks to the location of my front door the majority of GPSs tell people to drive to the harbor, get on a boat and then drive down a pedestrian only boardwalk. Apparently I'm not the only one with this problem, we see a lot of people cautiously edging their way onto the sidewalk and looking bewilderedly at their dash-mounted GPS units.

So it goes like this:

"Oh, just give me the address, my GPS will get me there."

"You really don't want that, it'll take you the long way around."

"No no, it's the new model."

"Yeah, but you'll end up driving around the other end of the peninsula, crossing the bridge to an island and then you'll have to get across the harbor and it's really just faster to take the highway to..."

"Don't worry, just give me the address."

*40 Minutes Later*

"Hello? Uh, my GPS is telling me to get on a boat!?"

*facepalm*

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

Postby mikekearn » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

I've never had my GPS fail me, but then again, I never go anywhere that isn't in a real city. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I don't know a single person who doesn't live in or very nearby a major city.

Of course, if your GPS still fails you even in a major city, you either haven't updated it in way too long, or you put in the address wrong. I don't know how many times I've had people call me and wonder where the hell something is, and I ask them, "Did you type Whatever Road, or Whatever Street?" "...Oh."
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Locoluis » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:24 pm UTC

Unfortunately, some inhabitated places in the world don't have, uh, addresses. In the "to the point" sense.

No street names or numbers, no P.O. boxes. The only way to get there is by directions.

An ex-workmate from Venezuela told me that this was the case where he lived.

Fictional example:

I live in the town of Cecilia, in Umbria province. To reach my house, you start from the Main Square, then walk northeast until you find the church of the Good Shepherd, then walk eastwards until you find the drugstore of Dr. Heidi Hogan. Then go about eight houses to the south. My house is the two-story house painted on white with blue rims and a blue fence, with the sign that reads 'Do not disturb the Lull monster'. Yes, I mean it. He's a large, blue, ferocious beast, similar in appearance to a cookie monster but about the size of a polar bear and with two large fangs that come from his lower jaw. He loves sleeping, and doesn't take it well when a stranger disturbs his dreams.


Edit: This doesn't happen in Chile, as far as I know. Nearly all towns are laid down on a straightforward chessboard manner, and all streets have names and numbers. Those that aren't are almost always a line of houses separated by narrow streets, and crossed by a major road.
Last edited by Locoluis on Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:28 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Invertin » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:24 pm UTC

"I HAVE A MAGIC MACHINE THAT TELLS ME HOW TO GET TO YOUR PLACE

NOW TELL ME THE ADDRESS OF YOUR PLACE SO THE MACHINE CAN KNOW"


True story.

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

Postby itsmattknox » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

Nobody else fears that recent xkcd strips have begun to lean on mediocre observational humor?

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

Postby pgoldste » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

I believe I've found the destination, surprised nobody else has bothered.

The destination, Highland Rd in Lakeville, Massachusetts, has what appears to be a large corn or hedge maze on it. This maze is indeed half a mile after a large field when approached from the north. Can anybody find an encoded date in the comic? Perhaps this is another meetup invitation. I realize that in the comic, he refers to "your new place," but you never know...

Pardon URL barf...
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Cambridge,+MA&daddr=I-495+S+to:41.829154,-70.955286&hl=en&geocode=FSCOhgId6_PC-ylfzDDLpXDjiTGHbGiJZI46xQ%3BFTmKfwIdIevE-w%3B&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=2&sz=14&via=1&sll=41.83152,-70.928164&sspn=0.047901,0.104027&ie=UTF8&ll=41.880042,-70.905762&spn=0.191458,0.416107&t=h&z=12

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

Postby Pyeast » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:43 pm UTC

We used Klick for both uses in the US Army, which has used a combination of metric and english for 20+ years...

My favorite directions were:
"Go our Rte 2 until you get to where Bootjack Wyman used to live."
"Who's Bootjack Wyman?"
"Oh - He died about 15 years ago. Well, it's about 2 miles past the Salad Bowl Restaurant."
"I've never seen that one."
"well, it closed down two years ago - or was it three?"
"Never mind, I'll ask someone else."

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

Postby westrim » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:44 pm UTC

My German aunt has the most awesome GPS, for the simple reason that the voice sounds like Schwarzenegger. Though the Japanese Wakamoto GPS is a close second

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

Postby kadamczy » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:12 pm UTC

I'm don't understanding why everyone is arguing GPS directions vs maps. The strip was about giving long winded directions over the phone.

I have a droid and I trust the thing way more than my atlas (which I still keep in case of emergency). The fact is, physical maps will always be more outdated than the maps online. That's why I plead no-contest in the discussion between electronic maps and physical maps. Now as for directions given by a GPS, those can be seedy, but there is nothing stopping people from mapquesting/mapblasting/google mapping their route before leaving.

In a quick response to the article about the GPS and computer maps shrinking 'hippocampi'. The author of the article (Nicholas Carr) is known for hating basically anything related to the internet. He has published many books that are "anti-technology" and "anti-internet". Everything he writes seems to be something about how the internet or some form of technology is killing our society.

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

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

kadamczy wrote:I'm don't understanding why everyone is arguing GPS directions vs maps. The strip was about giving long winded directions over the phone.

I have a droid and I trust the thing way more than my atlas (which I still keep in case of emergency). The fact is, physical maps will always be more outdated than the maps online.


Counter-point: when you see an error on a paper map, you can make a correction. I have heard that maps are routinely corrected before orienteering exercises. With a corrected map, you can have a washed-out road updated within minutes/an hour depending on circumstances.

I have not really done this for the same reason you can't update electronic maps: the map companies consider the information proprietary and will try to claim copyright on any updated map where the "copyright traps" are not adequately removed. One map I saw had lakes with simplified coastlines. The effect is nice and clean looking, but is probably subject to copyright.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby abrock » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:54 pm UTC

Oh, go ahead. Use your GPS in my (rural) area. Go ahead.

We have a word for people who don't get/follow directions from us. That word is: LOST

with luck, you won't end up in ditch somewhere... but you won't make it to our place.

Anne

oh - and yeah, thanks a lot GPS. I got one for Denver when I rented my car. It died partway through the trip because it wasn't pulling any power from the cigarette lighter. "Low battery" and then dead. Thanks a lot! luckily I had printed out the google maps directions ....

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

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

pgoldste wrote:I believe I've found the destination, surprised nobody else has bothered.
... they have already, for the record.

itsmattknox wrote:Nobody else fears that recent xkcd strips have begun to lean on mediocre observational humor?
I'd like you to meet SirMustapha, our resident "XKCD sucks and has always sucked except for when I liked it" curmudgeon and the xkcdsucks blog.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby jc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

Eutychus wrote:
Mazuku wrote:
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?
I think (but I may be wrong) simply following directions rather than having to interpret landmarks and maps will mean people have less idea of geographic orientation, distance and so on. I'm the kind of person who finds maps very eloquent. Somehow you don't get that with a GPS.


Oh, I dunno; I found that one effect of using a GPS nav gadget was that I quickly got a better idea of the orientation of a lot of streets in the area than I'd had before. With printed maps, I'd figure out a route, write out a list of turns, and not look at the map at all while driving. With GPS, I can glance at the little screen occasionally to see how things really interconnect. As a result, sections of street and roads that I'd thought of as east-west or north-south became more accurately nothwest or east-southeast or whatever. I also got a bit better feel for the actual length of road segments.

Another things about the little GPS screen is that it shows at a glance the general layout of other streets in the vicinity. This especially changed my "feel" for major highways, which had been big roads with mostly blank areas along the sides. Now I know which stretches have inhabited areas nearby, and which are mostly next to uninhabited areas, farmland, whatever.

Of course, this happens because I pay attention to the environment, and the GPS gadget's map shows me the layout of parts of the environment that I couldn't see before. Those things may have been on the printed maps (though usually weren't due to the larger scale), but I couldn't look at the printed maps while driving. With the GPS gadget, I can glance at the screen during half-second intervals when there's nothing "interesting" on the road in front of me, and learn something that I couldn't learn before.

All this may not be true for people who aren't interested about anything other than their immediate destination and how to get there.

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

Postby Nicad » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:43 pm UTC

Kranerian wrote:Anybody care to find out where, if anywhere, those roads are?


New England

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

Postby richdun » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:53 pm UTC

pgoldste wrote:I believe I've found the destination, surprised nobody else has bothered.

The destination, Highland Rd in Lakeville, Massachusetts, has what appears to be a large corn or hedge maze on it. This maze is indeed half a mile after a large field when approached from the north. Can anybody find an encoded date in the comic? Perhaps this is another meetup invitation. I realize that in the comic, he refers to "your new place," but you never know...



Looks like that particular maze is being mowed down as the area was being photographed (see the southern end of the maze and the little red tractor-looking thing). We need more eyes on the target!

Or perhaps "your new place" is a new maze?

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

Postby jc » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:08 pm UTC

ellenmaclean wrote:Sadly I'm that person on the other end of the phone. People try to convince me that their GPS will find my address all the time. Sadly, thanks to the location of my front door the majority of GPSs tell people to drive to the harbor, get on a boat and then drive down a pedestrian only boardwalk. Apparently I'm not the only one with this problem, we see a lot of people cautiously edging their way onto the sidewalk and looking bewilderedly at their dash-mounted GPS units. ...*facepalm*

That's a pretty good story. I've had one not quite so funny, but still pretty dumb. I live just south of the stoplight one block east of the intersection of US 20 and I-95 (called Route 128 here in Massachusetts). That plus the house number is all I usually need to tell people - except those with GPS gadgets and coming from the east. I try to warn them that there's a "No Left Turn" sign hanging from the traffic signals, and tell them two ways of getting here legally. The first is the "bear right to turn left" maneuver at the light one block to the east. The second is "If you miss that right turn, continue past the light to I-95, where the interchange is a rotary/roundabout. Go around it and come back, and you can turn right at the light."

Many people have not paid attention to this, because "The GPS knows how to get there." Of course, it takes them to the light, and tells them to turn left. Oops. In several cases, the people have taken half an hour or so to figure out how to get here legally. When I ask them if they wrote down my directions, they say "No", and I just nod knowingly.

The Boston area is infamous for its confusing street system (designed, according to local myth, by turning cows loose and following them to lay out new streets), exacerbated by the general lack of useful signs. And the local departments in charge of the streets don't consider accurate maps to be part of their jobs.

But if you really want to see why GPS devices were developed, visit Tokyo. The people there haven't much heard of that foreign concept of street signs, and even the natives can't find their way around in an unfamiliar part of the city. The GPS system really improved the efficiency of transport there, and in many other similar Asian cities. If you find yourself there, and want to rent a car, you should make sure it has a GPS nav system, or you'll get totally lost. (And make sure you've learned to read the road signs, which of course are mostly in Japanese's three native writing systems, and only rarely in romaji. ;-) Or take cabs and mass transit everywhere.

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

Postby Faranya » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

itsmattknox wrote:Nobody else fears that recent xkcd strips have begun to lean on mediocre observational humor?


Last I thought that, he came out with his "movie plot" comic (can't recall numbers atm) which obviously involved a lot of work. Perhaps this will prove to be a similar scenario.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby djc6535 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:57 pm UTC

deaf maybe?


And how are they using the phone? And how did they understand the "What's your address" line in the first and last panel?

You obviously are new to GPS. Once you reach your destination, it's game over.


Not true. You are obviously making it up as you go. They continue to show you where you're at, and often maintain the location of your previous found location. Simply get off the freeway, and select 'previous addresses' and you're good to go from a new starting point.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:
and we're very sorry that not every single character of every single webcomic you read, have read, or will read is a flawless manifestation of human decency, moral values, and politeness. People are flawed, and well-written material acknowledges that by having flawed characters.

Oh now it's just a comic? I thought you were relating this to real life? Getting all het up with your "so is the other person" being rude and all?
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Seems to me he wrote the exact opposite. That it's not 'just a comic'. That it would be if it didn't have flawed characters, but it is 'well-written material' He seems to be stating that YOU want it to be 'just a comic' that does not relate to real life.

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

Postby styrofoam » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:02 am UTC

Has anyone ever considered giving latitude-longitude instead of addresses if your location is off-address? I know it's a pain-in-the-butt compared to addresses, but it's still easier than a long list of relative turns.

Or if the map is trying to have you drive into a dead end, using an OSM-based GPS app (yes, I know that means using a smartphone), perhaps updating it yourself?
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Mazuku » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:12 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:
Mazuku wrote:
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?
I think (but I may be wrong) simply following directions rather than having to interpret landmarks and maps will mean people have less idea of geographic orientation, distance and so on. I'm the kind of person who finds maps very eloquent. Somehow you don't get that with a GPS.


If it turns out that the address tends to be hard to find via GPS, the solution is to use the GPS to get to a location that the GPS would know (such as a famous landmark, post office or whatever) and then ask for directions to the address from there.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Stanistani » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:19 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
Cobryn moy wrote: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.


You can say that again.

Technology can be great, but not when you're an asshole about it.

(sad thing here is that the main character's assholeness is not the butt of the joke -- on the contrary, we're supposed to relate with it and sympathise. What kind of person would expect anyone to sympathise with an asshole like that??)

You can say that again.

People like that jerk are so judgmental. And we can identify with that certainly, can't we?

Validating someone's judgmental comment feels so good.

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

Postby bmonk » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:30 am UTC

Locoluis wrote:Unfortunately, some inhabitated places in the world don't have, uh, addresses. In the "to the point" sense.

No street names or numbers, no P.O. boxes. The only way to get there is by directions.

An ex-workmate from Venezuela told me that this was the case where he lived.


Of course, in USA, thanks to 911, all locations now have addresses, and all improved (gravel) roads are identified, within reason. I used to live near Chicago, and was used to five digit house numbers; now lots of rural homes have them too.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby Arancaytar » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:36 am UTC

I've actually used a pure Lat/Lon GPS (no street navigation) to find a place without using any other map. That was pretty fun, and illustrated the drawbacks of a greedy pathfinding algorithm very nicely.

"0.8km south. 0.6km south. 400 meters south. 200 meters south... oh damn, there's a highway in the way." :lol:
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby styrofoam » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:55 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:I've actually used a pure Lat/Lon GPS (no street navigation) to find a place without using any other map. That was pretty fun, and illustrated the drawbacks of a greedy pathfinding algorithm very nicely.

I wasn't thinking no streetmap, just not to use an address... oh well.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby WontonSoup » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:22 am UTC

Man, if I had a dollar for every time I've had this happen to me...

I'd have at least five or six dollars.

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

Postby DanNeely » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:34 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Charley wrote:Even now, the directions that google gives people are kind of terrible; it has you go quite a bit out of your way, especially if you're coming from certain directions.

I often tend to have to twerk my google directions by dragging pins to change the route. For some reason, googlemaps cannot tell the difference between "street highways" with a red light every half mile, and high speed interstate highways. They usually try to send me on the shortest distance route, ignoring the fact that it'll take an hour or so more than just using the goddamn interstate.


I've recently seen the opposite with my TomTom taking me on an all interstate route and google suggesting I take about 80 miles of 2 lane rural highway. I was driving Johnstown PA to Raleigh NC and back for NASFIC. On the way to I just let TomTom do it's thing and stayed on the interstates all the way to and around the DC beltway. That sucked badly enough with my going around DC near lunch time on Wednesday. Sunday, on the way back about halfway between Richmond and Fredericksburg I-99 went from an interstate to a 20MPH stop and go nightmare, which the lady at the gas station assured me would continue all the way to DC. A few miles north of Fredericksburg I turned onto US-17 and once my TomTom finally realized I wasn't going to turn around and get back to I-99 (Note to GPS coders: Next killer feature, an "I meant to do that" button that excludes the next N miles of the previously suggested route), after a few miles of retail it was smooth sailing all the way north to the PA turnpike. Assuming that congestion getting to and on the beltway itself stayed constant and that once back on I70 I was able to zoom at normal interstate speeds going onto secondary highways saved me about 2 hours travel time. If I 99 got progressively worse as I headed north and the first part of I70 was still clogged up the interstate penalty would've been even worse.

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

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:14 am UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:Oh, it's you again, Mr. Grumpy Pants.


Oh, it's you again, Mr. ... something.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:He's not throwing a fit about how he has a GPS, he's getting irritated that the person on the other line is completely ignoring him


... which is exactly what Mr. I Have A GPS is doing too, as he SAYS IT HIMSELF in the last panel?

SpringLoaded12 wrote:and intentionally wasting time and being inefficient despite having a simpler solution repeatedly offered to them.


Yeah, a person offering directions (a completely natural and expected behaviour for many people) would be INTENTIONALLY wasting time, sure.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:If you have ever had to explain to a relative how to set up their computer for the first time over the phone, or done tech support I suppose, then I would guess the experience features much of the same level of frustration (though for somewhat different reasons).


"If you ever had to deal with PEOPLE, you'll surely know that it can be really tricky sometimes; and if you have ever done something completely different which is only barely tangentially similar to what we're discussing here, then you'll get my point."

SpringLoaded12 wrote:I can acknowledge the argument that Mr. I-Have-A-GPS might be being a little rude, but so is the other person in that case, and we're very sorry that not every single character of every single webcomic you read, have read, or will read is a flawless manifestation of human decency, moral values, and politeness.


It's a lot simpler than that: I'm just not very comfortable with the extremely cheap and dishonest tactic of using strawmen to build an argument or a joke, as it indicates sheer laziness and/or smugness on the author's part. The joke here depends on the person on the other side insisting on directions to an extreme degree, and the GPS guy somehow believing there is NO WAY the directions could ever do him any good. That only goes to show how highly the author holds his own beliefs, to the point of pure condescension.

SpringLoaded12 wrote:People are flawed, and well-written material acknowledges that by having flawed characters.


Yeah, like those pre-teenage girls who write obvious Mary Sues and, when criticised for absolutely perfect characters, reply with "My character has a chipped tooth SEE SHE IS FLAWED SHE'S NOT PERFECT!!!!". This one is sort of on the opposite end of the spectrum: "one character is shown only doing absolutely bad and unredeemable things, and the other is a condescending jerk. They're slightly flawed, see? THEY'RE PERFECTLY RELATABLE AND ADORABLE."

See, what is the punchline here? People who are oblivious to technology are WASTING MY TIME AND MAKING MY LIFE WORSE? The only source of humour here is familiarity with the situation, since the execution is minimal (though considering how overdone it is, I'm at odds with myself here) and purely pragmatic, and the resolution at the end is just to bring some sort of end to it. So it's only natural that people who do not relate at all to that kind of attitude will find the strip absolutely unfunny. If the strip was actually humouring the whole situation by keeping both ends in an equal no-way-out situation, then it could be fun, but Randall never showed any skill with that kind of humour. If the strip were commenting that the whole communication gap is a problem for both sides, then it could be a fairly profound commentary. But no: the strip is entirely one-sided and stereotypical. The problem's not with the "sense of humour", but with the attitude.

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

Postby Odd_nonposter » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:23 am UTC

Sometimes county road addressing systems are completely incompatible with nav software, like in some parts of Indiana. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the notation there resembles "9999 N800 E350 Bumfuck, Indiana," which, to a native, means "from the center of Bumfuck, go north, take the east-west road approximately 8 miles north of town, go east to the north-south road about 3.5 miles east of town, then continue until you find the property marked 9999."

While it's completely logical and gives the directions in the address, it confuses the crap out of people used to absolute road numbers, or roads that are named for where they start and end. Google must be baffled by them as well, since it sent Dad clear to the opposite side of town.
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Re: "I Don't Want Directions" discussion (#783)

Postby nonnonentity » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:36 am UTC

Paper maps aren't always all that. I've tried to take shortcuts multiple times on roads that had been blocked off since the map was made. (I suppose they could have been deliberate errors, but deliberate errors aren't supposed to harm navigation.)

The second time this happened, I checked the copyright dates on the maps. They were over 10 years old. I believe they were Rand McNally maps too.


Our Garmin GPS made me cry in Austin, TX. The addresses I fed it only had a vague resemblance to the addresses it decided to find, and it couldn't tell the difference between the access roads and their corresponding highways. It works fabulously in the eastern states and provinces, and even gets reception in mountainous areas, unlike the older model GPS we formerly had.


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?


I thought plates from the neighboring provinces had the letters and colors in different colors, although the same font? And license plates from faraway states and provinces looked quite different?

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

Postby compro01 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:37 am UTC

jakerman999 wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
jakerman999 wrote:
Click is slang for kilometers per hour.

That must be a Canadian thing. I can't find it online, anyway.



I think it's limited to southern Ontario actually.


I hear it all the time over here in Saskatchewan, used for both "kilometre" (when we aren't using minutes as a measure of distance) and "kilometre per hour", differentiated via context.

djc6535 wrote:
deaf maybe?


And how are they using the phone? And how did they understand the "What's your address" line in the first and last panel?


TDD teletype?

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

Postby Switch31 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:48 am UTC

Things are getting pretty heated in here...
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