Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gadget lust (and it's not for what you think)

I'm not getting an iPhone. Not yet, anyway.

I want a GPS receiver. Last weekend we went to a wedding on the north shore of Long Island, and since we had access to a car we drove there and back. We had directions from Google as well as the wedding location's own directions, so I thought we would be OK. For the most part, we were. But we made a wrong turn on the way there and had to call the place to get back onto the correct route. And the trip home was nearly a disaster. The combination of the lateness of the hour (after midnight) and the dark back roads had us all screwed up and wondering if we'd ever get back to civilization. One thing I noticed early on was that streets and even major highways out on Long Island are marked with the smallest possible street signs, and always on the opposite corner from where we were. We missed several turns because I couldn't read the street signs until we were nearly on top of them. I had my Blackberry and my cell phone with me, and both of them have Google Maps installed, but I couldn't get a signal on either one until we'd figured out our wrong turns and found the correct route. I kept thinking that if I'd had a GPS receiver I would have been able to program the directions and we wouldn't have been driving around in the dark for the better part of two hours. I've used GPS receivers before and while I've had fair to good results with them, I had no doubts at the time that one would have at least shown us that we were on the wrong road. Also, I've wanted one for cycling for a few years. I do most of my riding on city streets and seldom get lost, but it would be great to have a GPS receiver to confirm the mileage on my bike computer, as well as find my way around when I'm in unfamiliar neighborhoods. And I can always use another gadget.

I'm looking at a Garmin nuvi receiver on Amazon.com that would fit my needs. It's small enough to fit in a pocket or in my Camelbak but comes with the same turn-based directions and maps that I'm familiar with. I don't need MP3 or photo storage, but those are throw-ins that I don't think I can avoid. I've got another wedding on Long Island in a few weeks, so if I'm going to buy it I should order it soon. As with most gadget purchases, I'll think about it for another few days and see how desperate I get. But I think I'm going to do this. I think that there's always a technical solution to a problem, and I like to be prepared for any eventuality. I don't see how I won't end up buying one.

No comments: