January 4, 2008

Taking the fast track

From the Westchester County, NY Journal-News:

BEDFORD HILLS, January 3, 2008 - A 32-year-old Californian whose rental car got smashed by a Metro-North train last night was issued a minor summons for causing the fiery crash that stranded railroad commuters for hours.

Bo Bai, a computer technician from Sunnyvale who said he was merely trusting his car's global positioning system when he steered onto the tracks, was cited for obstructing a railroad crossing, officials said this afternoon.

He got stuck, tried unsuccessfully to reverse and finally abandoned the 2006 Ford Focus minutes before it was slammed by a northbound Metro-North Harlem Line train, MTA police said.

(read the full story)

I think a growing number of people are satisfied to follow the audible directions from a GPS, or turn-by-turn directions printed from a web site, and lack the desire to know where they are along the way to their destination.

I still have a need to visualize the geography of my trips by looking at a map. How about you?

Thanks to engadget

1 comment:

Mike Kretzler said...

There are a lot of stories of foolish people who think that the GPS device has better information than that of the eyes in their heads.

For my part, I'm completely unsatisfied to follow electronic directions without knowing where I am in some sort of context. I've been doing that ever since I learned to drive.

As I was preparing to learn to drive, I realized that, although I'd been all over my home town of Seattle and beyond, I had no idea of how to get to any place but the most familiar. So, I started paying attention while my parents drove me around. By the time I got my license, I could navigate around town and find new places. All of that from the map in my head I built during that preparation.

I think there are some people who don't do that. I don't know how they get around, but they do somehow. For them, the GPS is a crutch that they require, as opposed to the tool that they use.