Author Topic: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS  (Read 782 times)

Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2017, 06:35:02 AM »
I wish I was a little older when the card catalogs were going out of style. I could have really used a garbage-picked one for all the compartments. So many drawers!!!
I still get the feeling in a library that without a card catalog, something is terribly wrong about the place.  My first reaction is, "Fuck, now I have to use their computer with a program that varies from one Library to the next, and I won't know what I'm doing."

What I forget is that I felt pretty much the same about the card catalog.  I remember looking up a topic, and then with glazed eyes, wondering what all the numbers, first names last, and all the various annotations meant.  Eventually, I would fumble my way around the book stacks, but always feeling like I didn't know what I was doing.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 07:24:59 AM by SGOS »

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2017, 07:14:08 AM »

However, there's something else at play, at least in the case of my friend.  It's not so much about the effectiveness of the technology, or the flaws, real or imagined, in the device.  It is an aversion to learning something new (actually my friend claims to enjoy learning, and I actually think he does). 
I just saw an accurate quote about an unrelated topic. In the 60's it wasn't about water fountains. GPS is fabulous technology and people will try to make all kinds of shitty excuses for why they resist it. But try as they might, I think everyone who resists the technology does so for the exact same reason. Which is more or less 'I don't really understand it and that makes me feel stupid so fuck it, I'm not even going to try.'
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful

Offline Baruch

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2017, 07:19:27 AM »
I just saw an accurate quote about an unrelated topic. In the 60's it wasn't about water fountains. GPS is fabulous technology and people will try to make all kinds of shitty excuses for why they resist it. But try as they might, I think everyone who resists the technology does so for the exact same reason. Which is more or less 'I don't really understand it and that makes me feel stupid so fuck it, I'm not even going to try.'

That is why I don't have a smart phone.  Don't trust technology smarter than I am ;-)  Why I went with an older used car ... the new car's dash is like a smart phone.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 07:25:51 AM by Baruch »
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Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2017, 11:48:13 AM »
I just saw an accurate quote about an unrelated topic. In the 60's it wasn't about water fountains. GPS is fabulous technology and people will try to make all kinds of shitty excuses for why they resist it. But try as they might, I think everyone who resists the technology does so for the exact same reason. Which is more or less 'I don't really understand it and that makes me feel stupid so fuck it, I'm not even going to try.'
Yeah.  And these sorts of people are only hurting themselves by missing out on more capable technology because of an inability to learn or change how they do things.  Looking stupid seems like a trivial problem when compared to missing out on the benefits of objectively better technology.

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2017, 01:47:47 PM »
The GPS on my Samsung Galaxy tells me where I'm at and where I need to go. No problems.

For reference purposes I'm 66 and have navigated celestially when needed.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2017, 02:13:28 PM »
For reference purposes I'm 66 and have navigated celestially when needed.

Did you use a sextant?

Offline Baruch

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2017, 08:54:24 PM »
Did you use a sextant?

Depends on how distractingly sexy she was ;-)
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Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2017, 10:32:25 PM »
GPS on my phone so far has gotten me to Ohio and back to SC, to New Orleans and back and Florida and back with few mistakes except once in West Virginia we were parked at some store that had a large mountain directly behind it and the GPS lady said, 'In 800 feet continue straight...'
We ignored that one to avoid getting buried under a mountain, other than that it was pretty good. 
All hail my new signature!

Admit it. You're secretly green with envy.

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2017, 11:47:43 PM »
I drove to a small island and the GPS gave the directions to the old bridge that had just recently gotten phased out after the new bridge was completed.  The end of the road was an immediate drop directly into the ocean marked only with some caution tape.  I opted not to take that advice.

Ortherwise, no problems here.

Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2017, 01:20:51 AM »
I guess it's time for GPS malfunction stories.

Driving across country on a toll way, I encountered a newly built interchange combined with pay booths.  Actually it was still under construction, but was operational with attendants in the booths.  Two toll roads interchanged, and the signs were confusing.  The GPS showed me off a road and in a field, but it was still talking and giving directions.



Somehow I had entered a road system into the Twilight Zone.  After 15 minutes of driving, I found myself approaching the same toll booths with the same toll taker on duty.  I just paid the toll, and tried my hand again at finding my way, but 15 minutes later, I was going through the same toll station with the same attendant for the third time.

In despair, I asked the attendant for directions to get onto "Interstate Whatever."  Apparently, I was not the only one who had been having the problem, because he reached down and pulled out a set of directions that specifically dealt with my problem.  No map, but with steps 1-6 for getting to the right road.

But it didn't work, and 15 minutes later, I was at the same toll booth again.  It's like 3:00 AM, with few drivers on the road, and I'm frustrated and embarrassed, so what I did was just take the next exit that led off into the woods in a westerly direction, which was more or less the direction I wanted to go, and drove for a half hour without the GPS.  I actually turned it off until I figured I was far enough away from the new interchange under construction, and at a point where the GPS would just recalculate from a location that would not involve that interchange.  And pretty soon, I was out of the Bermuda Triangle of Interstates, and on my way again.


Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2017, 07:09:58 AM »
Did you use a sextant?
I "used at a sextant" according to my instructor, but I got us where we were supposed to go.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2017, 08:03:25 AM »
I "used at a sextant" according to my instructor, but I got us where we were supposed to go.

You and two other guys, are probably the only ones who still know how to use a sextant.  I rented a video on it once.  The instructor started off talking about how simple and straight forward using a sextant was.  He began by wildly picking a spot on the chart and arbitrarily declaring it his known location, and then told the viewers that we would now use the sextant and a few "simple" tables to determine how far we were from the arbitrary location.  At this point I became irrevocably confused.

Why not just determine our location? And then you wouldn't have to bother figuring out how wrong your random location was.  It wasn't that I didn't think I could do the math, but for such an "easy straight forward" system, it sure started off using an intuitively illogical method.

After doing a bunch of simple math, and referring to, I dunno, 14 different tables using numbers he had calculated from previous tables, he finally figured out how far he was from his hypothetical location, and said, "There!  See how amazingly easy that was," and I just said, "Fuck this shit."



The instructor in the video was William F. Buckley Jr. of all people.  Remember him?  He was something like the father of modern conservatism back in the days of Richard Nixon, but most widely known for being a smug pretentious prick.  He was no doubt a whiz at arithmetic, but I believe his main reason for making the video was not to help anyone learn anything, but just to present something in such an indecipherable way that people would assume he was a genius.  At any rate, I decided teaching was definitely not his calling, and that he should stick with writing conservative propaganda.

Offline Baruch

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2017, 09:26:09 AM »
Apparently you didn't watch the film I posted, Longitude.  It explains how to reduce the arbitrariness of early navigation, and at the start of the movie, why being inaccurate was fatal to ships.  This is why we have Greenwich mean time, and the Greenwich meridian.  The sextant only tells you where you are relative to the equator (that an a compass).  The compass introduces inaccuracy, because the magnetic pole is not the geographic pole, but at least you can easily determine if you are in the N or S hemisphere.  Having an accurate timepiece, and synchronizing your timepiece with Greenwich, when you leave Greenwich .. is how you determine longitude.
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Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2017, 09:41:53 AM »
Apparently you didn't watch the film I posted, Longitude.  It explains how to reduce the arbitrariness of early navigation, and at the start of the movie, why being inaccurate was fatal to ships.  This is why we have Greenwich mean time, and the Greenwich meridian.  The sextant only tells you where you are relative to the equator (that an a compass).  The compass introduces inaccuracy, because the magnetic pole is not the geographic pole, but at least you can easily determine if you are in the N or S hemisphere.  Having an accurate timepiece, and synchronizing your timepiece with Greenwich, when you leave Greenwich .. is how you determine longitude.
I remember you posting that somewhere, and I didn't watch it because I'm pretty sure I'd seen it before, although I can't say I remember much about the calculations.  If it's the same movie, it didn't relate much to anything William Buckley was talking about.  However, I remember thinking the movie made much more sense than Buckley, as it made it pretty easy to understand the basic concepts of celestial navigation.  Buckley only attempted to explain calculations, rather than the concept behind the process, and I had watched Buckley first.

Re: Old Farts and Technology: The GPS
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2017, 01:16:39 PM »
I guess it's time for GPS malfunction stories.

Driving across country on a toll way, I encountered a newly built interchange combined with pay booths.  Actually it was still under construction, but was operational with attendants in the booths.  Two toll roads interchanged, and the signs were confusing.  The GPS showed me off a road and in a field, but it was still talking and giving directions.

(Image removed from quote.)

Somehow I had entered a road system into the Twilight Zone.  After 15 minutes of driving, I found myself approaching the same toll booths with the same toll taker on duty.  I just paid the toll, and tried my hand again at finding my way, but 15 minutes later, I was going through the same toll station with the same attendant for the third time.

In despair, I asked the attendant for directions to get onto "Interstate Whatever."  Apparently, I was not the only one who had been having the problem, because he reached down and pulled out a set of directions that specifically dealt with my problem.  No map, but with steps 1-6 for getting to the right road.

But it didn't work, and 15 minutes later, I was at the same toll booth again.  It's like 3:00 AM, with few drivers on the road, and I'm frustrated and embarrassed, so what I did was just take the next exit that led off into the woods in a westerly direction, which was more or less the direction I wanted to go, and drove for a half hour without the GPS.  I actually turned it off until I figured I was far enough away from the new interchange under construction, and at a point where the GPS would just recalculate from a location that would not involve that interchange.  And pretty soon, I was out of the Bermuda Triangle of Interstates, and on my way again.


Lets be fair here. A paper map would have yielded the same result in that situation if not worse unless it had been updated and released in the previous month.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful