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« 100 Days of Gratitude - Day 44 - David Hira, my moral compass | Main | 100 Days of Gratitude - Day 42 - Slippers »
Tuesday
Mar222011

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 43 - GPS

I can't even express how grateful I am that GPS exists. Just give me an address, school name, hotel name or intersection and I'll get there. Forget the directions - GPS will guide me in.

I can easily see when I'm going to arrive at my destination, I'm given a heads up about traffic, and if I need to I can easily search for hotels, gas stations, food and so on. I find this helpful just about every day.

Early in my career (mid 80's - early 90's) I would have a box full of maps in the back of my van so I could find where my next gig was. For long trips I would go to AAA and they'd print out a turn by turn map for longer trips as a part of my membership.

In 1994 I got Delorme's Map n' Go for my computer and I could figure out a route on the computer for the first time (this was pre- internet maps) and print out maps from different levels. I'd still get lost from time to time, but it was better.

I got lost so badly on the way to Springfield College in Springfield, MA in 1999 that I when I arrived for the gig (after being directed in by a student on my cell phone) the audience cheered for me as I set up my show music and started the show within 5 minutes of arriving. I think we were all wishing there was a way to do it better. I went in search of that better way, and the next day I bought Microsoft Streets and Trips '98 - it had an optional GPS dongle! This was my first exposure to GPS and I loved it.

I would arrive in a town, get my rental car, plug in my laptop into an AC/DC converter, put the laptop on the passenger seat, plug in the USB GPS Dongle, throw it on the dashboard of the car and press go. It was slow and clunky, but it was a glorious start.

When GPS stand alone units came out - I was one of the first in line to get one. What a savior for the road warrior. Occasionally they'd get the directions wrong, but it sure beat the heck out of getting lost in back country roads for an hour or more.

Now we get GPS on our smart phones - I've downloaded MotionX GPS for my iPad and it's just plain awesome.

I've eliminated one more thing from my packing list as I can use the GPS on my phone or iPad.

It keeps getting more and more simple to do my job.

We take little things like GPS for granted now. It seems that most cars have them on the dash (or built in) - but take a minute to think back to before the GPS and you'll probably be grateful for GPS too.

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