I’ve wanted to do this for a while but just got around to it today. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have 12 pictures of men with cameras so we’ll all have to make do with what I have. I decided to use a fairly loose definition of camera in these photos. For example, if someone is using their iPhone as a camera it gets counted as a camera. Likewise TV cameras are included. Sorry not to have 12 but 10 will need to do for now.
How annoying. The number one on my cell phone has stopped working. Because I’m unemployed I shut down my iPhone and started using an old Sony Ericsson. Now that phone is dead. Do I root around the house for another old phone (I think I have a Razr someplace)? Do I reactivate my iPhone? Do I just get some cheapo one from AT&T?
I really hate incurring unnecessary expenses but a phone is pretty hard to be without.
Conceptually, I am a big fan of Waze – a social application that provides free GPS/directional functionality based on user input and driving patterns/behavior. Lots of the time it works like a charm – especially in providing real-time updates for road and traffic conditions. Often when I’m using it and sitting in traffic it will ask if I’m stuck in traffic, giving me a “yes” or “no” choice to update other drivers. It’s pretty cool.
What isn’t so cool are the crazy routes it provides. The other day I was on my way to a party about 20 miles from my home. I put the address into Google Maps and was told it would take about 30 minutes to get there. As I drove I realized that in the dark and pouring rain there was no way I was going to be able to read the directions. Instead, I pulled over and entered the address into Waze on my iPhone. I had to try twice – the first time it wasn’t able to come up with a route. Soon it did though and I was off.
I drove past the turn that Google had suggested – instead following the Waze directions. While I was skeptical I was willing to go with the flow. That was a mistake. All GPS systems tell you it’s got a margin of error or that if should be used for informational purposes only or some other disclaimer. I accept that. But Waze needs to do a much better job.
Several times the verbal turn-by-turn directions would instruct me to make a turn only to have the map start beeping at me that I had gone off the route. On other occasions the map showed me being on the route – but once again I’d get the beep and warning that I was off-route. What? Many, many times the route had me making giant loops when direct ones were available. And often when I intersected the route the system gave no indication I was back on track.
In the end, the trip took me well over an hour – pretty much exclusively due to the poor performance of Waze. Long meandering detours, incorrect alerts that I was off route, crazy recalculations were all part of the night’s drive.
Getting home – on the other hand – was a snap. The host was able to give me directions that involved only four turns . . .
I’m totally giving Waze the benefit of the doubt. As they say, the system will only improve as more people participate. But there are problems (incorrect off-route alerts, map and turn-by-turn out of sync) that aren’t due to the number of participants and until those get cleaned up it’s going to be difficult for people to use this system.