Wednesday, 29 December 2010

If you want to really get lost, key it into your GPS

Global Positioning Systems are space-based navigation gadgets that provide reliable location information, including verbal instructions on how to get from A to B. But, like all computers, they are only as strong as their weakest link – often a human.

So if you’re my friend Ruth (a gadget freak of note), and you’re coming from Robertson to Riebeek Kasteel for lunch, you don’t just glance at an AA map and realise that it’s a fairly direct route through Worcester and Tulbagh. That would be far too easy. Instead, you key the exact street address into your GPS, then you pile your family into the car and drive for an hour, following the verbal prompts, until the voice tells you you’ve arrived, and you look around in some surprise, because although you’ve visited the house several times before, the place you’re parked outside isn’t ringing any bells. None at all. And then you realise that although you are indeed at the right street address, you’re not in the right town. You are, in fact, in De Doorns, a good hour up the highway in the opposite direction.

But Ruth and her family arrived eventually, and we had a reunion of sorts – Chris (back left), Bruce (back right), Ruth (in blue) and I (in pink) used to jol together in Cape Town back in the day – over 20 years ago! – before Chris and Ruth emigrated (separately) to the UK, Bruce semigrated to Durban and I moved temporarily to Botswana. That’s the ‘now’ pic. The ‘then’ pics (below) were taken on one of the last occasions we were all together in one place at the same time – my wedding in 1988 (Chris, Bruce and I, and Ruth).

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