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  Weekly Feature (August 12, 2007)
 


 

Never Get Lost Again, or
How to Save Your Sanity and Marriage
in Canada and the U.S.

L's Weekly Feature

 If you are in unfamiliar territory, driving while trying to map read to find your way around can be challenging and stressful. I recently got back from a holiday in Vegas and Los Angeles/Anaheim, and what could have been a marriage threatening experience turned out to be fun and relatively stress-free.

We had decided to drive from Vegas to LA and, normally, this would have entailed a lot of frustration and tension caused in equal parts by an impatient "Yours Truly"" and my slightly directionally-challenged wife. This time, however, we opted for a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to go with our rental vehicle and managed to easily and calmly get where we wanted to go.

My wife could happily retire from her dreaded job as navigator and I got clear directions from a very capable, directionally and positionally aware GPS device. It worked so well, my wife wanted us to get one of our own for Vancouver. Hooray! I'll finally be able to find my way around Richmond!

Here are some things it can do:
give you precise visual and spoken directions to any address you enter.
tell you the ETA (estimated time of arrival) to your destination
help you find the nearest gas station, hotel, restaurant (organized into various categories), and entertainment outlets

How does it work? It works by receiving signals from various satellites in space and triangulating to accurately determine your location. It then references this location to the maps and addresses stored in its database memory and gives you a detailed map and directions to where ever you choose to go.

How good is it? It's excellent and also very user-friendly. It took 10 seconds to set up and another 10 seconds to enter my destination. If you are in a new city, and you don't know the roads, the GPS is indispensable. When we got to Anaheim, we were running low on gas and simply picked the gas station choices from the menu. It found us a station really quickly and even showed us how to get out of the parking lot of the gas station.

With a detour caused by some road construction, we just had to drive away from the blocked road, and it found us another way to our hotel. When we had a hankering for Vietnamese food, it quickly offered us a listing of Vietnamese restaurants in the vicinity. It gave us not only the directions, but also the restaurant's phone number, and the distance and time to get there.

How much does it cost? From the car rental companies, it's around $10 per day. Buying one might set you back around $400.00.

Was it worth it? Definitely. How much is your sanity and marriage worth?

 

Visit Last Week's Feature:

Shakespeare Alfresco: Bard on the Beach

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