Technology is our friend and is here to help us, right?
I am of the ancient generation where travel technology consisted of a map and a compass.
No GPS, no cell phones, no satellite phones, no SPOT Messengers, no Garmin receivers, no Personal Locator Beacons.
As the decades rolled by—while I watched the hair on my body disappear from everywhere I wanted it to be growing, to places I can hardly get to with the turbo trimmer—I came to appreciate the devices that made travel more efficient and getting lost less likely.
But, given the last few months, I have come to question whether traveling more efficiently may be contrary to the purpose of leaving home in the first place, and maybe getting lost occasionally just adds to the adventures of travel.
Especially, when said travel technology seems hell-bent on killing us.
To wit, here are three recent tech items that all seem to have potential serious drawbacks to our travel endeavors.
Ironically, two of the three are out of the shops of the biggest mega-techs on the planet, and with whom you likely interact every day, if not every waking hour; Google® and Apple®.
It was only a few months ago, when we were introduced to the latest Google gizmo for getting “content” onto our eyeballs, if not directly into our brains (standby…that is coming next).
The folks from Google X (whomever, or whatever that is) have developed some really fancy-assed goggles, in what they are calling Project Glass. With these—not entirely fashion conscience glasses—you will be able to see map directions appear literally before your eyes, along with video chats with friends, plus the ability to take photographs, and more.
Most of us have seen videos of people walking right into a water fountain while just texting. Can you image what will happen if we start reading Facebook posts, respond to Tweets, follow map directions, all likely with the de rigueur onslaught of appurtenant pop-up ads?
Let the personal injury attorneys queue up here.
Next, from a guy who I suspect watched the Wizard of Oz a few times too many (with apparently a food fetish for Dorothy) has come up with a pair of shoes that you can program with map locations, which will then direct you to a given destination after you—and, I really am NOT making this shit up—click your heels together.
The article claims that the right shoe communicates with the left shoe, which in my case might keep me from clumsily tripping myself on a regular basis.
Of course, depending on the type of outdoor activity you are engaged in, having an electrical device at your feet might involve some level of a safety hazard, particularly if you are hirsute by nature. I would have a concern that one wrong heel click could cause an electrical spark with a subsequent “brush” fire of body hair.
Or, that an exposure to water while navigating home could lead to electrocution by Dorothy’s magic shoes; a wicked twitch toward the west, so to speak.
But, the final entry in this chapter may be the most infuriating of all.
The tag line for this major mess up would be:
New Apple – iOS 6 in – Google Maps out – What a FUBAR
If you don’t already know what that refers to, I suggest you read on BEFORE you (stupidly) load Apple’s new operating system onto your iPhone (which I do not own) or iPad (which I do, and did, and regret).
I guess I just wanted to have the company of a sexy sounding woman sitting on my lap, responding to my verbal commands.
Having newly loaded Siri onto my iPad was good for a fun time…for about ten minutes. That was just until I needed to look up something in Google Maps, and realized that the function had been nuked by putting iOS 6 into the iPad.
Apparently, in its ongoing battle for supremacy with Google, Apple dropped the well established, and fully functional mapping capability, with something that is a joke at best, and dangerous, at worst.
There are countless examples of the eff-ups in the mapping data now presented on the very latest phone and tablet technology that the biggest tech company in the world has to offer. There are views of city streets that look like something out of the movie Inception.
But, possibly the most egregious Apple mapping error may be the one that a foreign governmental official has discovered.
“Ireland’s Minister for Justice has a few concerns with Apple’s new iOS6 map application. The main one being that iOS6 new mapping app identifies Airfield Garden, a working farm in a residential area, as an actual airport.”
Given that the wife-person and I will be flying into Ireland later this week, I sure hope the Aer Lingus pilot knows a steaming cow paddy from a beaming runway light.
(Aer Lingus?!? What kind of airline name is that, anyway? I seem to get a little oral pleasure every time I say it out loud.)
BTW – if you were one of the millions of people who likely jumped at the allure of iOS 6, and allowed it to infiltrate your iPhone or iPad, apparently there is no going back.
Until the ghost of Steve Jobs haunts the execs at Apple to fix this mess and they allow a return of Google Maps to our shiny new, but somewhat impotent handheld devices, I guess I can always go back to my old Boy Scout compass and paper maps.
I never expected that going backwards would feel so good.
Cheers, and see you over in the Emerald Isle.