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Like many people of his early fifties generation, it has taken Well-Being Australia chairman, Mark Tronson, a little while to take a giant leap of faith and try out a GPS. Up until now, he has always successfully used a street directory to provide himself with a mainstay for directions and to find a street address.
For years, his tried and true methodology has been this: he would map out the directions with tags in the directory, and then a piece of paper with the page numbers clearly marked. Travelling from the Gold Coast to a Brisbane suburban street, for example, might mean he has marked the Gold Coast directory, maps 92, 89, 76 – then as he gets close to the city, he needs to change to the Brisbane directory, where he has marked (perhaps) maps 48, 32, 18, 58.
If his wife or an associate were to be in the passenger seat, they would be coerced into following the maps and clearly identifying the route for the driver. As the journey moved away from a main road and into suburbs, then the navigator would be expected to count the number of traffic lights to go, and call the street names along the way until the destination was arrived at.
M V Tronson happened to be in Western Australia recently, and with the rental car came the GPS. This was something new and exciting, and with a very basic instruction by the rental car company personnel, the GPS was plugged into the cigarette lighter plug (now referred to an electrical plug), and the process began.
It must be remembered that he is a white bearded gentleman who takes the written instructions of all gadgetry to heart - not realising that innumerable steps are left out of the instructions as the bright young things who design these things make assumptions that all their generation take for granted.
The first thing was to find the State, and locating where to select the State wasn't an easy first step by any means. Then one selects the suburb, then the number of the street and then the street itself. The GPS computer locates a route and immediately it begins to instruct the driver.
For an old white bearded bloke, there arose several issues. The very first street! Where he drove out of from the rental car company's yard, was blocked off with road repairs. No one told him that the GPS does a recalculation and provides an alternative route. They stopped, and asked the rental car company person what happens next when the road is blocked?
The next issue was negotiating the large number of exits so close together and without signs. The GPS instruction was to turn left at 300 metres. There were three exists at 300 metres. Fortunately they guessed the correct exit on seven out of eleven occasions, although night time proved more of a challenge.
Then unknown to them, the information on the GPS had not been updated to include the new 110 km Freeway from Perth direct into the centre of Bunbury. They placed into the GPS the name of the main street of Bunbury, and it took them off the Freeway, onto the coast road through a host of new suburbs and traffic lights by the dozens, then back onto the Freeway, and off again for the Australind tourist road to Bunbury. It took them 90 minutes longer.
Then getting back to the domestic airport was beyond the GPS capability, so they followed the signs. Once at the car rental company's airport depot they asked the car rental gentleman to show them how it worked. He couldn't get it to the Domestic Airport either, only to the International airport which is several kilometres away. After fifteen minutes of trial and error he finally figured it out.
It turned out that the main menu needed to be scrolled down for many different options, one of which was named Transit. Here there were directions to railway stations, bus and coach lines and the Domestic Airport. So they learnt something. Writing in an address in the Find menu can become pointless and confusing.
As M V Tronson considered the pitfalls that he and his wife, (as uninformed consumers), had encountered with the GPS, he mused that there are similar pitfalls for the uninitiated in commercial transactions, buying property, selecting financial investments and even finding a partner for life. It is imperative that the novice finds someone to teach and advise them, before they undertake something new that may have a major influence in their life.
And, of course, the same applies for all things religious. When you re-read sections of the Bible, for example, to gain insights into your life, it is imperative to discuss the history, meaning, possible alternative interpretations and general relationship to your Faith with a pastor or someone who has studied theology. Otherwise, you may end up having to guess which 'roadway' is the best one for you, on your personal journey.