Posts Tagged ‘GPS’

Using Global Positioning System to the Doctor.

April 10, 2017

Almost There

The arrival of the driverless car can’t come quick enough. There are far too many drivers on the road that should never be allowed near any car, let alone inside a car.  I don’t actually like most other drivers. There can be no greater joy than driving past a car parked along the highway with a flashing police car stationed behind it. The police car has special investigation equipment to know the history of the car and its driver.  The driver in the car just has to wait in the knowledge the policeman will soon come out of their car and present a fine, or worse. The best of those cases are when the driver is asked to get out of the car and told he or she is not allowed to continue driving because of a lost license, levels of inebriation, methamphetamine use, unroadworthiness of the vehicle or heaven knows what else.

This happened to us many years ago when living in Holland. I was a hippy had a perm done, smoked bongs. Helvi did tie-dying and wore long skirts. Both of us listened to Carly Simon and were ardent admirer’s of the late Trotsky without knowing much about it. We converted a Kombi van in which we took trips to Paris. It eventually needed new tyres but were suitably lax in buying them in time. The police in Holland are sharp and  pulled me over. They inspected the tyres and without further ado slashed one of them with a special knife. We bought four new tyres very promptly.

The Pro-Office remind calendar told us that last Saturday a yearly appointment with a specialist  doctor was due in Liverpool. I felt confident enough to take the journey without plugging in our Tomtom GPS. We had done the trip several times before.

Liverpool is one of those chaotic cities that are so common in Australia. Residential homes, factories, commercial unidentifiable building all thrown about as if by a demented architect out on revenge. In between many vacant overgrown with weeds are allotments littered by abandoned trolley or empty baby prams. The inevitable yawning car yard appears in between all the chaos. The words ‘special’ or ‘closing down’ are strewn about like confetti at a drunken Russian wedding with the groom sprawled out on top of a plate of borscht. The Norwegian Edvart Munch’s The Scream pops up as well.

This visual assault is something we struggle with whenever or wherever we travel by car. The soothing voice of the GPS commentator a much needed anchor to keep me grounded within borders of acceptable sanity. It soothes me; ” turn right after 400 metres.” Or, “take the next second exit after the round-a-bout.” It is so becalming and reassuring.

However, as noted I had not put on the GPS. In a moment of inattention I had forgotten to take a turn to the left. A disastrous mistake. On Toll-ways, a mistake can have dire consequences. Helvi remained silent. She knows my limited boundaries in the area of remaining calm and collected. There were no signs of left turns anywhere. A buzzer in my car went off indication a toll charge had been collected. We finally managed to get off this Toll way and soon found the road to Liverpool again. Helvi took me to task and bluntly told me not to go anywhere without plugging in the Tomtom. “Why do you have one?”, she asked not unreasonably.  Followed up by; ” why do you have it in the car?”

We still made it in time to the doctor and were out of his surgery within twenty minutes. “No worries,” Helvi smiled.  To get back on harmonious levels, I made a point of sticking on the GPS and clicked on our ‘home’ address. It guided us back seamlessly. The soothing voice taking me into my previous conviviality.  We stopped on the way home in a nice pub and shared a Napoli pizza. Helvi had an Italian Pinot Gris and I had a nice schooner of stout.

It all came good, but only just.

 

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Love lost.

July 23, 2014
Lost love

Lost love

“I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Bettina”. “Ah, don’t be.” “Thank God he is gone, the miserable man”. And with that, the Bettina with the massive battle ship chin dismissed the passing of her husband of over forty years. Sometimes, people hide their grief with putting up a brave front. I don’t think she was in that category, having known both of them for over twenty years.

Sometime during the seventies both Bettina and husband Bob in their wild and impetuous youth travelled Europe in a left hand drive large bus converted to a camper wagon. You now see them everywhere, sometimes with bicycles or even a boat strapped at the back or on the roof. I saw a camper wagon recently that even towed a small car to buzz about in. And no doubt used, through the help of a GPS satellite system, to guide the happy travellers to the nearest Aldi or Woolworth emporium, to stock up on the essentials, including butter and lamb chops with continental parsley.

Bettina and husband Bob, (while in their youth) travelled overland back to Australia where they lived in a large house near the water. It must have been quite an adventure when Afghanistan and Burma were hardly on the well trodden traveller’s route. You would often see Bob and wife with their large grey converted left hand drive vehicle driving around the place with Bob never missing a friendly wave.

He used to regale their travel adventures to us but his Bettina would butt in ‘ oh, nonsense Bob, it wasn’t like that’ and than impose her version of it. He just used to smile and let her do the talking. He did love her, or at least allowed her the freedom to dominate him in conversations.

While on their return journey, they had filled their bus up with Afghan tapestries and carpets which they sold to anyone keen on a bargain. It were the days of so many young couples with children setting up camp in the inner city of Sydney. A true beginning of city living instead of the mind boggling boring but well promoted ‘dream’ of living in the suburbs.

As the years went by, as they seem to so relentlessly, Bob became profoundly deaf and conversations became stilted and awry. A great pity. He was always the friendly giving man and his wife the shouting over the top with such a large chin to accept (in a round-a-bout way). In any case, a long standing marriage were both no doubt had found their levels of comfort and acceptance of each other. True love?

I sometimes thought of Bob waking up and turning towards his Bettina and see the familiar large chin jutting above the sheets. He loved her, that’s for sure, and accepted her as lovingly as any caring husband would. Millions of couple all over the world do this. Hundreds of millions more likely.

And then, Bob died suddenly. Towards the last few years he had a long white beard and often stood silently next to his beloved Bettina. He was now as deaf as a bucket of sand and could not converse as before even though he would sometimes still break out and, while still smiling, mention bits about Afghanistan. Bettina now mostly had the full attention of the audience.

“Thank God he is gone” is what she said. (after forty years)

The Trip.

October 17, 2013

AKOVA
Andy Kovacic , a unique talent.

If you want to get lost, use a GPS (Global Position Service.) I Googled the GPS and over 90% of users get lost. Worse, some have driven into rivers, canals, trees or even the sea. The problem is that roads change quicker than GPS’ map updates. It means that, at times, when you are firmly told to ‘turn right or left within fifty metres’, you should ignore it, the road has long gone. The female GPS voice sounds as if she can’t be mucked around with. “Turn left ,turn left now” she commanded often. I feel intimidated and sometimes squirm by my own GPS, stuck centimetres away from my face by a plastic suction cap. How is it possible?

Just over the border in Queensland we did just that. It was 9pm and dark. I obeyed the satellite lady and promptly turned left into a green field and hit a pitch black Angus cow right into her udher udder. It could have been worse. Imagine turning into a new shopping mall with a mum and a baby pram on their way buying a dummy?
This is what the world of navigation and satellite has turned us into.

Over 40% of roads change yearly and the advice is to download maps at least twice a year. No matter where one turns, the internet is lurking somewhere to take your money. The maps on Tom-Tom downloads costs $ 99.-per country. Having paid $89.- for the gadget, I am tempted to just keep buying GPS’s with updated maps.

We were away for eight days and apart from GPS troubles and the Angus udder, we were blissfully away from internet or anything remotely connected to keyboards or a mouse. It was heaven.

The address that I had put into my GPS was inner city of Brisbane. We left Byron Bay as happy as Larry and I was even whistling. The night before we enjoyed beautifully hypnotic and suitably amplified music by Akova and in between sipped a quiet Sauvignon Blanc. We ate some delicious culinary unchallenged dead flat-head fish cooked in butter, garnished with parsley, lemon and garlic. We danced and were rocking. The waves were pounding on sands metres away in sympathy with the music’s drums and the proudly navel exposed stomping crowds.

The estimated time to reach inner Brisbane was 2hrs. When the time had passed we were still uncomfortably away from any inner city. Last time I could have sworn Brisbane had buildings over one story high and certainly not clad in fibro. ‘You have reached your destination,’ she of the GPS voice announced. Helvi and I had been quiet for the last fifty km’s as not anything resembling Brisbane had passed our window.
I asked Helvi if Toowoomba was part of Brisbane or Ipswich? ‘I don’t know’, she answered.

The street’s name was right but it wasn’t inner city Brisbane. A boy was sitting on a car tyre. A lawnmower was rattling away with a sun burnt man in a singlet staring at us. We were hopelessly lost and I took things in own hand. I ripped the suction cap held GPS from the window and strangled it on my knee. It made a last gasp, gurgled a final ‘turn left’ before it went all funny and black.

We stopped and I phoned my inner city sister. We were 39 km’s from Brisbane.
‘Why don’t you use a map,’ she told us.
Why indeed?

It used to be so simple before Face-Book and GPS

August 17, 2012

If modern technology was supposed to make life easier, why has it become more difficult? We have a vacuum cleaner now instead of the simple broom. The broom never needed the dust bag taken out nor did we trip over any cords or twisting and warping extensions. It was a pleasure sweeping up. A ritual steeped in a pre-historic age of endless time and social intercourse. True, the broom has less ‘cyclonic’ properties but the children suffered less asthma, they were blissfully loaded up with plenty of good immunizing bacterial and dust particles preventing asthma. The broom never let us down, nor was there ever a problem with the retracting cord being stuck again. It also never had a red warning light come or gave us choking fits slapping the dust bag against the yellow lidded large garbage bin on wheels.

As for the modern car; do we really believe it has ‘climate control?’ Does it prevent thunder storms or ‘willy willies around the Nullarbor?  With our old car one had the option of winding down, opening the windows, let in fresh air and some lovely rain. Now, we remain cocooned inside, a cold and impersonal ‘climate controlled’ interior of a metal box, all anxiously waiting for the bleep of the next mobile call on the blue tooth enabled ‘application’.  The kids strapped in at the back getting hyped up on an incomprehensible video called Splat-a-Lot and inexhaustible supply of lollies.

The GPS keeps on blurting in a perfect female English voice; ‘You are over the speed limit’ intermingled with ‘ Doing new re-calculations’, meaning we have been aerially booked and are also hopelessly lost. After one hour the video and lollies at the back have run out and a riot ensues. In the sixties, kids in cars used to read Pick-Wick papers or P.G Wodehouse’s Jeeves. That’s now changed in fighting over who is hogging more than 50% of the back seat and ‘”you have your knee on my half.”  “No, but you chucked a lolly wrapper at me first.”  The ‘climate’ is now decidedly getting humid and with the GPS having guided the car into a dead-end dirt road, dad is fuming, ends up sobbing with rage above the retractable steering wheel. He violently puts the car into a traction control reverse and slowly loses the will to go on.  The GPS keeps rattling on “Doing Recalculation” on and on. It’s all so hopeless. Yet, it used to be so simple with the Gregory.

Of course, if there is one invention having complicated our lives beyond redemption it would have to be the IT technology and its murderous regime of demolishing our once highly held unassailable self esteem. With the explosion of IT I have come to the bitter realization that the rest of the world gets more clicks and followers than me. I understand and know that even my best friends on Face Book are avoiding me. Since two hours, not a single vibrating growl on my Iphone. A text sent to one of my Face Book “best friend” who I have never met (or ever will meet) is not responding. The bitch is now vetting my texts as well as my voice mail. I had a missed call but it was from someone that used to be a best friend but I deleted her twenty minutes ago. That will teach her!

I sit on a park bench now waiting for a call on my interactive multi coloured apps infused IPad mobile and am totally ignoring the cooing pigeons. I used to feed them bits of my sandwich. Now, I ignore and just hatefully scowl at them. Social Media has got me in and me bullying pigeons is now the logical result. I’ll kick the dog next. I am sunk in a thick gloom.

Remember the old telephone with its reassuring ring tone? People had the good manner to answer calls and it was never used as a tool to avoid people or as a device for torture. If the phone wasn’t answered it meant people were not home. Now, people glance at the caller’s ID and decide to ignore you or worse just give you the delete button treatment. You are at their mercy. Nice going, isn’t it?

It used to be so simple.

It used to be so simple before Face-Book and GPS

February 9, 2012

If modern technology was supposed to make life easier, why has it become more difficult? We have a vacuum cleaner now instead of the simple broom. The broom never needed the dust bag taken out nor did we trip over any cords or twisting and warping extensions. It was a pleasure sweeping up. A ritual steeped in a pre-historic age of endless time and social intercourse. True, the broom has less ‘cyclonic’ properties but the children suffered less asthma, they were blissfully loaded up with plenty of good immunizing bacterial and dust particles preventing asthma. The broom never let us down, nor was there ever a problem with the retracting cord being stuck again. It also never had a red warning light come or gave us choking fits slapping the dust bag against the yellow lidded large garbage bin on wheels.

As for the modern car; do we really believe it has ‘climate control?’ Does it prevent thunder storms or ‘willy willies around the Nullarbor?  With our old car one had the option of winding down, opening the windows, let in fresh air and some lovely rain. Now, we remain cocooned inside, a cold and impersonal ‘climate controlled’ interior of a metal box, all anxiously waiting for the bleep of the next mobile call on the blue tooth enabled ‘application’.  The kids strapped in at the back getting hyped up on an incomprehensible video called Splat-a-Lot and inexhaustible supply of lollies.

The GPS keeps on blurting in a perfect female English voice; ‘You are over the speed limit’ intermingled with ‘ Doing new re-calculations’, meaning we have been aerially booked and are also hopelessly lost. After one hour the video and lollies at the back have run out and a riot ensues. In the sixties, kids in cars used to read Pick-Wick papers or P.G Wodehouse’s Jeeves. That’s now changed in fighting over who is hogging more than 50% of the back seat and ‘”you have your knee on my half.”  “No, but you chucked a lolly wrapper at me first.”  The ‘climate’ is now decidedly getting humid and with the GPS having guided the car into a dead-end dirt road, dad is fuming, ends up sobbing with rage above the retractable steering wheel. He violently puts the car into a traction control reverse and slowly loses the will to go on.  The GPS keeps rattling on “Doing Recalculation” on and on. It’s all so hopeless. Yet, it used to be so simple with the Gregory.

Of course, if there is one invention having complicated our lives beyond redemption it would have to be the IT technology and its murderous regime of demolishing our once highly held unassailable self esteem. With the explosion of IT I have come to the bitter realization that the rest of the world gets more clicks and followers than me. I understand and know that even my best friends on Face Book are avoiding me. Since two hours, not a single vibrating growl on my Iphone. A text sent to one of my Face Book “best friend” who I have never met (or ever will meet) is not responding. The bitch is now vetting my texts as well as my voice mail. I had a missed call but it was from someone that used to be a best friend but I deleted her twenty minutes ago. That will teach her!

I sit on a park bench now waiting for a call on my interactive multi coloured apps infused IPad mobile and am totally ignoring the cooing pigeons. I used to feed them bits of my sandwich. Now, I ignore and just hatefully scowl at them. Social Media has got me in and me bullying pigeons is now the logical result. I’ll kick the dog next. I am sunk in a thick gloom.

Remember the old telephone with its reassuring ring tone? People had the good manner to answer calls and it was never used as a tool to avoid people or as a device for torture. If the phone wasn’t answered it meant people were not home. Now, people glance at the caller’s ID and decide to ignore you or worse just give you the delete button treatment. You are at their mercy. Nice going, isn’t it?

It used to be so simple.