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Saturday, August 05, 2006

OT: A Nav Story

So my wife's (still relatively new) Prius has the navigation feature and the voice recognition system, whizbang features that, in point of fact, don't work out that well and therefore are little used. Ironically, they work better than my Motorola RAZR phone's voice recognition, which frequently works something like this:
Me: Call home.
Stupid, stupid, stupid phone: Did you mean, call Will?
Me: No.
S.S.S. phone: Did you mean, call Lowe's?
Me, suppressing an aneurysm: NO.
S.S.S. phone: Did you mean, call home?
Me: Yes!
S.S.S. phone: shuts off
Anyway, at some point the Toyota nav system is preprogrammed with all kinds of silly phrases that you can throw at it and it's supposed to figure out what you want. Now, I get the impression that the general level of education in Japan is something like what we expect of doctoral candidates in nuclear physics in this country, because the navigation is absurdly complex. This is not helped by their absurd, horribly disorganized documentation that's so badly written it may as well be published in hieroglyphic. (A 200-page document without an index is ... well, I'll think of a word, just you wait.)

Anyway, the helpful Toyota dealer gave us a cheat sheet of about five pages, two or three of which were phrases that the system recognizes, stuff like "show airport", "show gas station", the ever-reliable "show restaurants" — and the eminently memorable "I'm hungry". This latter brings up a cornucopia of restaraunts on the nav screen, which is fine if that's what you want, but eventually, you have to pull out to the large view. Suddenly your display is cluttered with hundreds of little flags for each eatery, and you can't see the route for the restaurants.


Having made this mistake about a month ago, we'd given up on using the car's navigation system until today, when we had to make a choice about diving into a neighborhood or taking a main street around some particularly bad traffic. Even the cheat sheet didn't help, so we started scratching our heads about what to do.

"I'm full", Helen told it after I made the suggestion in jest.

The little flags disappeared.

And so we have an Easter egg.


You guys are either home improvement gods or spending too much time hanging with Derek and Carolyn.
Hmm, my friend's Prius' nav system works very, very well.

For kicks, ask it to find you a "sex shop".
Jon - for what it's worth, I rewired my house for A/C myself, an act which involved subpaneling the old junction box, adding flooring in the attic, circuits for the A/C, junction boxes up the gazoo, and a pair of 120V lines in the garage while I was up there so's my woodworking toys won't blow the circuit breaker when I ran my shop vac with the table saw.
I didn't get the nav system in my Prius because I figure that I have a Thomas Guide and that's good enough.

And I never go anywhere all that adventurous in my own car anyway. I could have bought my Prius right away if I wanted the nav system.

But I welcome your family to the high moral ground occupied by all Prius owners. C'mon up, the sense of moral superiority feels great!
We have a smug alert wherever we go now.

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