Back in October, I think, Toney and I purchased a GPS device, as an early Christmas present to ourselves. We’d been considering one for a long time, and had performed the standard assload of advance research.
We wanted one that actually tells us the street names and exit numbers. “Turn left in .6 miles” is a recipe for confusion and shouted profanity, I believe. Especially if you’re driving in a city, with many left turns to choose from. Point six miles? What am I, a surveyor?
And we needed one which covers Canada, for our occasional Nancy visits. Many of the less-expensive models only work in the “lower 48” and Puerto Rico (for some reason). That simply wouldn’t do.
We also had a bias toward the Garmin brand. I think one of us read in Consumer Reports they’re the best, and that’s all we needed to know. We would have to buy a Garmin.
So, we had our short list of requirements, and eventually zeroed-in on this particular model. It seemed to be the system with the lowest price point, which does everything we wanted it to do. Now it would just be a matter of watching the sales every Sunday, and being prepared to strike.
Target had it for $250 at the time, and that’s what we used as our reference. When Circuit City advertised it for $199, we almost took the bait. But I thought we could do better, and decided to gamble. And it paid off. A few weeks later they offered it for $179, so we pulled the trigger.
And yesterday, almost two months later, we finally took it out of the box… Perhaps we didn’t really need a GPS, after all? Probably not, but that’s not really the point, is it? Gadget fever had taken hold and, mister, a person would be wise not to fight gadget fever.
I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre yesterday, and Toney decided to let the “new” GPS guide us. Of course we didn’t need its help, but wanted to see the thing in action. Before we left the house Toney plugged-in the store’s address, and we were off.
A British woman was our guide, and she immediately told us to enter the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Why? MapQuest does that, as well. If I pulled up directions to the Rite-Aid near our house, MapQuest would tell us to merge onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike, drive to the first exit, get off, get back on traveling in the opposite direction, and come back to where we started. Then go to Rite-Aid from there.
So, I ignored her advice and she let out an exasperated, “Recalculating!”
Before we’d driven half a mile, Toney noticed it wasn’t giving us street names. It was doing that “250 yards” crapola, which is exactly what we didn’t want. What the hell, man?! No way our research could be wrong. We’d been fully Matchstick Men with it.
Beyond that, however, it worked well. It took us right up to the front door of the bookstore. And while we were driving Toney could push buttons and find out what restaurants were nearby, as well as gas stations, ATMs, and other places of interest. Pretty cool.
But the lack of street names was a big deal. It gnawed at me, and caused me to squint ‘n’ mumble. We’d been sure. Sure, I tell you!!
After we got home Toney started reading the user’s manual, and found out street names and exit numbers are only available with certain “voices.” We’d gone with a generic British voice, but if we’d chosen “British Pamela” or “British Brad,” or whatever, we would’ve gotten the street names. The generic categories are limited, for some reason.
Weird. Toney chose Pamela, and went out in the car to see if it would work. And it did.
I don’t really understand… Why would they offer categories of “voices” with limited functionality? And what’s the difference between “British male,” and “British Brad”? It makes no sense to me. Does Garmin build-in confusion, to keep their help desk busy? I simply don’t know.
But we (Toney) figured it out, and that’s the important thing. Apparently we’ve got a specific male and female to choose from, one each from America, England, and Australia. Those are our English-speaking options.
I wish they’d get a little more creative with it, if you want to know the truth. It’s a tad limited for my tastes. Perhaps we can help? Maybe we can brainstorm and come up with a few additional voices to spice up the Garmin family of GPS devices?
Want to offer our services? Excellent. I’ll get the ball rolling with a few suggestions of my own, and you folks can take it from there.
Here are some GPS voices I wish were an option:
- Sassy black woman
- Old Southern Senator
- ‘80s metal falsetto
- Billy Mays
- the Xhosa click language
- electronic hick who makes announcements on Atlanta subway
- Waffle House waitress (“Turn left, hon”)
- Obese man with fat pressing against his windpipe
- Chinese national using an ElectroLarynx
- small market DJ doing a Jack Nicholson imitation
- man with his foot caught in a bear trap
- Dairy Queen drive-through
- if Barry White had been from Minnesota
Those are just a few off the top of my head; I’m sure you guys can do much better. Use the comments link below, and maybe we can fix this ongoing problem, once and for all?!
See ya next time.
tony tony tony says
What is up with you blokes drivin’ on the right side of the road, shit, you were supposed to turn left back there. Stupid American.
If only Mel Blanc were still alive.
Ha ha, I have a tom tom and I also have Billy Bob Thornton from slingblade as my voice, too funny.
Really? How is that possible? Can you purchase different voices online or something?
Hey Ms.Tiff…I get the feeling you meant Froster Brooks. I could be wrong.
Northerner on Holiday says
Hey…Jersey Scott…Camper is playing at The World Cafe in philly on the 7th…just so ya know.
Northerner on Holiday says
Oh…and GPS Voices…
Richard Simmons (with intermitent crying jags if you make a wrong turn)
and of course…
Maurice Lamarche as Orson Wells.
BTW… the electronic hick who makes announcements on the Atlanta subway is a woman now – when you can hear her at all.
Spiffy McClintlock says
TomTom users can create their own annoying voices and upload them to the TomTom servers. There are a couple hundred they’ve allowed to be released for free and some genuine celebrity voices you can pay about 5 bucks for.
Having Mr. T boss me around while I drive isn’t something I’m willing to pay money for but I’m kinda liking the “sweet southern girl” voice – if only I didn’t get the mental image of Paula Dean everytime I heard it – AAAAaaaaagh!
I’d like all cartoon character voices (seconding tiff):
“Turn le … Ahsay, turn LEFT 400 yards, boy! LEFT, boy, LEFT! (Pay attention boy when I’m tryin ta tell ya somethin’).”
“Ehhhhhhhhh … make dat left toin at Albucoykee.”
“OOOOOOOOOO, what in TARnation? I TOL’ ya to turn LEFT!” (fires six-shooters into dashboard)
“I belee … I belee … I belee … I think you want to turn … oh shit, you missed it.”
Go Disco Ernie!!!!!
Does anyone have a dollar bill
for Disco Ernie
(further evidence link)
Mr Neutron says
Shiny Rod says
Gene Simmons – but watch out for the tongue
Is that a Happy Tree Friend squirrel cartoon? Man those are funny sick cartoons! I got my husband a Tomtom for Christmas I hope he gets the Mr T voice. He rules!
How about . . . for downright annoying
Fran Dresher – ewwwwww
Karen Lynn Gorney – she was Stephanie in Saturday Night Fever
Ron Palillo – Horshack
and anyone smacking/cracking gum while giving directions.
Ones that I would LOVE . . .
Patrick Stewart – “Make it so, Number 1”
and then there’s . . .
Yvon Barrett – Denis Lemieux, the goalie from Slapshot.
Hey Alex (or anyone else for that matter) I’m thinking about picking up a hand-held GPS. Nothing fancy. Any recommendations?
Good God- I go on vacation for a week and all these updates have my head spinning!!!
I think John Madden should be the voice and yellow circles should appear on the GPS to show you where you are!
Yes- I’m watching the Indy/SD game- and drinking
I’m drunk and hitting on an ex-gf
Am I at the bottom or the top?
You’re at the top. Carryon sir.
Jason, thank you…
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will send pictures that may explain my confusion.
An email is on the way. The Subject line reads, “A Suitcase Full of Meat”.
Good2Go, I’ve always been partial to Magellan handhelds (I have a Sport trak Map and a Meridian Color), though I have not kept up with the latest generation Magellan. But the Garmin 60CSx seems to have very favorable user opinions.
Just remember that either company will hit you up to purchase the map software if you want detailed maps on a handheld. So look for a bundled pack for economic reasons.
Like I tell everyone, get to the store and handle them. You’ll find one that fits with your hand and your movements better.
Boo Radley says
Speaking of celebrities, does anyone else think Frank Deford on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is a dead ringer for Grandpa Munster? Just wondering.
Um, yeah, Foster BROOKS.
Nobody wants to listen to some washed-out shades maker.
I have (have had for seven years) a Garmin e-trex. Summit. I probably over bought but, if you’re going hiking and planning on getting lost, this thing will walk you out. I hike remote trails but stay to the trail. The thing I have is user friendly and has way more stuff than I’ll ever need. Pretty much bought it for fun. Garmin has been pretty cool to me.
$.02 from me.
Sam Kinison- TURN RIGHT!!!! AAAAHHHH!!!
There is a place caled tomtom home and you can doenload all kinds of voices or scrensavers, opening and clsing screens and vehicle Icons. It is all free, maps are what cost more money.
It is pretty nifty.
Thank you Alex and DTO.
i think bob ross or fred rogers would be nice, especially in traffic. their voices would keep me calm. but gary owens would be my choice.
Cindi K in VA says
why don’t I get piss shivers? I think the rest of these gals might have a little problem with the truth-eh girls? After reading this I have vowed to hold my piss as long as possible in a scholarly effort to produce a piss shiver that will shiver me timbers.
Glossary-any of the many references to Dean Koontz novel as in – “Hard, deep-fried grease shells, “water,” snapping veins, people sucking marrow out of shiny bones, great sheets of animal skin hanging from the corner of glistening mouths… it’s like something out of a Dean Koontz novel. ”
or the entry that in my soul surfing first brought me to the WVSR – “It’ll be like a daily Dean Koontz novel inside your underwear.”
“diarrhea cannon” -from the same fascinating article-self explanatory, but descriptive nonetheless.
fucks per minute (FPM)-used to quantify the number of times the word fuck is uttered in a sixty second cycle. Expressed mathematically as: fucks/min=FPM ; whereby if the frequency of fucks was 3600, and the measurement of time is 60 seconds (i.e. 1 minute); the frequency, or FPM, would equal 60. As in 60FPM, expressed as a FPM rate.