Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 13, 2010

Imperfect new toys

At the end of my Riverside birthday adventure this year, my husband and I decided to cash in a Cheesecake Factory gift card for a free dinner. I was completely atwitter about being able to use my new Droid cellphone to Google the restaurant and employ the built-in GPS voice directions to the Inland Empire mall where the restaurant was located.

Normally, I live and die by a Thomas Brothers guide, which I have only caught in two minor errors during a lifetime of updates and re-editions of scores of mapbooks of various California counties. Mapquest, on the other hand, has been the subject of much mouth-foaming by almost everyone I know because of its not-infrequent inaccuracies.

Most people love their new GPS devices, both car mounts and cellphone applications, although there are occasional rumblings that the guides don’t always take the most logical route. But that can be a subjective complaint from locals who know shortcuts and traffic patterns.

Until my birthday, I had nothing but complete faith in my Droid’s GPS system.

It was getting late and we were tired and hungry from carrying around camera equipment all afternoon. My husband was driving. I can’t read maps in a moving car even during daylight, or I get carsick, so we were placing our faith in the Droid while driving in a dark unfamiliar area.

We nearing the end of the the seemingly accurate directions when the last two voice commands appeared to be sending us away from a well-lit commercial area where we supposed the mall to be located, venturing instead into more of a residential neighborhood with an adjacent, now-dark business park. Our last instruction sent us down a short street with a long horizontal light burning at the end of it.

We seemed to be making all the correct street connections and intersections, but as we got closer to the sign, it was obvious that it was located in the middle of some big institutional complex which was very clearly not a mall housing a Cheesecake Factory. When we were finally able to reading the light, now looming large in the night, we both burst out laughing.

It read:


  1. LOL! Clearly the droid was anticipating your looming insanity after being misdirected whilst tired, hungry and cross šŸ™‚ Clever lil blighters arent they? šŸ˜‰

    • Indeed. Perhaps the Droid thinks it is a Cylon.

  2. Like cellphones, still a few bugs in the technology

  3. Perhaps Big Brother does know what is best! LOL Definitely a golden moment for technology. I am completely directionally dysfunctional and so I rely heavily on my mapping program on my iphone. I share the pain of all those misguided travelers (at home and elsewhere.)

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