10 October 2008

Personal Tehcnology: GPS Supports to Memory

I never see young people wandering parking lots looking for their cars. But I see a lot of boomers doing just that. We typically insist that this is our only display of failing memory.

You know where this is going. After all, it's my day to write about personal technology.

Garmin Locate isn't as catchy a title as Where Am I? but both are the features of recent Garmin GPS units that can help boomers with navigation. Locate is the one for parking lots: remove the GPS unit from the car (which you just about have to do anyway to thwart theft) and it remembers from whence it came. After shopping, you consult the unit to lead you back to the car. Where Am I? sounds ridiculous but someday you will care.

3G iPhone users can add an app for free or 99¢ to find their cars. G-Park PosiMotion offers two directive icons carrying text of Park Me! and Where Did I Park? Other choices are the more literal Take Me To My Car and Car Finder, and the slightly vague BackTrack (which requires that you keep walking for the app to work).

iTunes has a wide assortment of navigation apps, including transit maps and schedules for major cities. Here's my wish: an app that I can use on public transportation to confirm that I'm on the right subway, train, or bus. This summer I spent a long afternoon making multiple train connections to work my way through New York and New Jersey. On the last leg, I asked three bystanders on a crowded platform if I were on the right track and none could confirm it for me. I dragged my bags onto the train anyway, SRO that put me literally in the open doorway of the train for however long this ride might be. After we left the station I was able to ask an employee if the train were going to Princeton Junction. His single word response was "Eventually."

(I don't just want the schedule; I want the message that says, "You are standing on the correct side of the track to get on the train to X" and then, "Get on this one.")

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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