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Examiner
  • Jeff Fox: Looking for direction, finding none

  • I know that kingdoms and empires and fallen for lesser reasons, but it is both amusing and distressing to watch the grief Apple is getting because one notable feature of its hot new iPhone 5 doesn’t come up to spec.

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  • I know that kingdoms and empires and fallen for lesser reasons, but it is both amusing and distressing to watch the grief Apple is getting because one notable feature of its hot new iPhone 5 doesn’t come up to spec.
    The maps don’t work well, and we, dear America, are lost.
    You’ve heard the stories. Someone was trying to get to an all-important meeting and then found himself sitting in a cul-de-sac in who knows where, making the neighbor kids nervous. I’m sure weddings and first grandkid soccer games and airline flights have been missed.
    Apple makes high-dollar tool-toys, and don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan and have been for years. The Apple cool factor and have-to-have-it-yesterday factor have added gazillions to its bottom line. So their stuff should work.
    But may I ask something?
    Have we surrendered our common sense? Have we allowed our pocket computers to infantilize us to the point that we’ve lost our sense of, hey, something doesn’t seem quite right?
    OK, I’ve given up on finding another human being who can tell north from south, and east from west, just because, well, because it’s something a person should know. How quaint. Besides, we have machines for that sort of thing. But mindlessly following the directions of a machine made by humans is folly insofar as that machine one day will fail and you, one day, will be late for something important. (Actually, a compass won’t fail you, barring a shift of the Earth’s poles, and those are infrequent.)
    I get the overscheduled schedule. That’s my life, too. But who looks at an app that says you need 22.6 minutes to get from here to there – and here’s the exact route – and takes all that at face value? When going somewhere new, who doesn’t take the common-sense precaution of leaving 10 or 15 minutes early, just in case?
    Just in case the GPS chirps left and you go right. Just in case the bridge is out, and no one told the pocket computer. Just in case it’s the real world out there, not the schematic of the world that exists in the ether.
    I haven’t bought an iPhone yet, though I’m warming to the idea. I don’t need to stand in long lines, and there’s something to be said for letting them – even Apple – work out the bugs. And someday, long after the iPhone has gone the way of the Blackberry, I will still carry a few maps in the car.
    Just in case.
    Reach Jeff Fox at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_Fox.
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