Archive for December 29, 2008

Garmin GPS and “Guitar Hero”

You don’t have to leave the U.S. for long to find out how behind you are with the latest in technology.  I learned about the Garmin GPS yesterday from my 74 year old computer savvy Mom as we drove to my sister’s place, from a southern suburb to north of the Twin Cities about 25 miles away.  My Mom actually reads instruction manuals, she has for years.  Consequently, she has been rewarded with having technological know-how that leaves most of us in the dust.  For example, long has she known how to program t.v. shows to record on VHS tapes while she is busy out doing her many volunteer community jobs. 


What was funny about yesterday’s adventure was my Mom had capably inputted my sister’s address while I drove listening to charming “Ms. Garmin” computerized voice.  My two young nephews were reading quietly in the back seat. At some point, Ms. Garmin gave us some seemingly erroneous information or so we thought.  Ms. Garmin said we had about 8 miles to Exit 113 and we thought we would continue on Hwy. 10.  Reading the road signs meant that we were to exit right but Ms. Garmin maintained to stay to the left of the four lane freeway.  Okay, once we did that, Ms. Garmin started to say she would “recalculate.”  I should say, we were veering off on what was unfamiliar territory.  We’ve been to my sister’s place 100s of times but this eventually brought us precisely in a J-hook fashion and seemingly wrong approach.  We will have to look at a map to see how we recovered from what was an apparent mistake of the satellite and what actually exists on the ground with the change of exits.


Last night I also drove over the 35W bridge which had been quickly reconstructed over the Mississippi River.  This bridge caved in about a year and a half ago and killed about 10 people.  Harrowing experience for many who survived the splash into the river below convincing all of us that we should NEVER, ever take our bridges for granted.  We should also never take our atlases or maps for granted either but now my Mom thinks they are so “yesterday.”  Despite our minor miscalculation by Ms. Garmin, my Mom still believes this GPS instrument is the best thing since sliced bread.


Last year I had learned at another family Christmas party about “Dance Dance Revolution” which has the same qualities as “Guitar Hero.”  You look on the tv screen (see photo below) and you try to keep up with their version of what they consider music. You get points for how closely you can follow the pattern. My three nephews were having fun playing with Guitar Hero while we played dominoes and word Yahtzee upstairs.  Together, after lunch we had all played the fun game of Apples to Apples but it was a stretch for my 9 year old nephew to understand some of the words. 


I’m just trying to understand all the latest in technology and popular culture in the U.S. while away in Kazakhstan for most of the year.  Good to get these not so subtle reminders that the generation gap is ever widening on me as well.


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