Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GPS fun

So Alan got a GPS from his parents last night, for his birthday. Of course, we had to try it out today.

Our plan had been to go into the town of Canandaigua today anyway, and to take a trip over to the acreage his parents own. Alan programmed the GPS with our destination, and off we went. The GPS performed just fine, though it did take us on some routes that Alan thought were a bit strange. Either way, it got us where we were going.

In my typical way though, I got to thinking about the GPS and how it could be made more fun. The first way is that it has a little car on the screen that drives around over the map. They totally need to make that customizable to look like your car. If I were designing a GPS product for the market, that is the first thing I would do. People would love that. With ideas like this, I don't know why I'm not rich.

The other idea sprung up while Alan was testing the GPS...he kept taking roads other than the ones that the map wanted him to, to see how quickly it would re-calculate routes and how well it could problem-solve. So the GPS would be announcing "Turn right onto County Road 16" or whatever, and Alan would turn left, or keep going straight, that kind of thing. It would then announce "Re-calculating" and then quickly give us new instructions.

After Alan had ignored it's instructions three consecutive times, I got thinking about how that GPS must be getting annoyed. It keeps working so hard, and Alan keeps ignoring it. It must be wondering why it took this job. Then I got thinking how fabulous it would be if the voice on the GPS was the voice of the computer in Portal. For those that don't know, Portal is a computer game. The main character in the game, other than yourself, is an artificial intelligence computer that is at least slightly insane. The game is excellent, and the voice over even more so. It makes the most hilarious, passive-agressive and downright crazy comments about every action you do in the game, in this friendly female voice. If you have played this game, you will instantly be able to understand the humor in having that voice as your GPS voice over. If you have not, you will probably be bored by the rest of this blog post. Ah well, it's my blog, and I want to share my funny (to me) thoughts.

So with this in mind, the rest of the drive became a game in my head of "replace the real voice over with what the computer from Portal would say". So Alan skips the first instruction, and I hear the computer saying "You've missed the turn Alan. I'm very disappointed." After the next deliberately skipped instruction, it would be "I could almost think this is intentional now." The third would be something like "Why did you want a GPS anyway, Alan?" After the fourth I think it would get more threatening, and would certainly make a reference as to how you're not getting any cake this way.

If you have played Portal, you will know how fun this game probably was. If you haven't played Portal, I suggest that you do, then go get a GPS and play this game. It will be worth it, I promise. Portal is a great game even if you don't have a GPS.

The downside of this game is that I am fairly certain now that I will never be able to be in the car with that GPS without hearing the Portal computer. Every missed turn, I will hear that crazy lilting voice singing "You missed the turn but I am still alive." You'd be giggling if you knew the song, trust me.

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