Someone To Watch Over Her

I have already chronicled Steffie’s navigational problems while driving to new places… and a few old ones. It’s something every new driver experiences as they realize, maybe they should have been looking out the window while they were in the car the last 18 or so years!

That being said, we knew Stefanie would want, and we wanted her to have, a GPS unit. With the holidays approaching we scanned the ads and online ‘intelligence’ every day, looking for a deal.

Finally, late in November we found our prey. In a Staples circular was an ad for an Invion GPS. Ever hear of Invion? Me neither.

I looked online, but if there were any reviews, I couldn’t find them. It seemed as if Invion was primarily a European company. It seemed to be based in the Netherlands (though I’m sure the electronics were thrown together in China). They had similar units, but this particular one wasn’t mentioned.

If you’re in retail, here’s advice for you. At times like this, your reputation makes the sale. We bought the unit, knowing that if there was a problem, Staples would stand behind it. The Staples name was much more important than Invion.

Steffie opened it for the holidays and then Daddy took over, charging it and scanning the manual. This is another one of those manuals that looks a lot easier to understand than it really is. You read it, understand all the words but little of the concept.

I needed to experiment before it left for school. I fired it up a few nights ago from the kitchen. It easily locked onto a few satellites and found our house.

These little boxes take advantage of amazing technology. OK – it’s used for the precision guidance of missiles too. No one’s perfect.

Tonight, it was Steffie’s turn to try it out. First, we fired it up in the kitchen and Steffie programmed in her school’s address. The machine guided her through the process, eliminating letters as her choices became more obvious.

We brought it to the car, stuck its base to the dashboard and headed toward her school.

For the first two or three seconds, nothing happened. Steffie asked if the little icon in the center of the screen should have repositioned itself as we moved down the driveway? But before I could answer, it did move.

“Turn right in 100 yards,” said the Stepford-like voice inside. There was no accent, no regionalism, no inflection.

“Turn right now,” the voice said, without missing a beat.

And obediently, Steffie turned right. She was smiling. I was too.

We drove a couple of miles and turned around. Steffie touched the screen a few times, finally tapping the word “Home.” The voice was eager to please. She even knew the driveway was our final destination.

I’m just amazed by all of this. The unit just seems to work. In our very brief test, it passed with a 100%.

I’ll be more amazed when we get our rebate check!

4 thoughts on “Someone To Watch Over Her”

  1. Yay, GPS! My job requires not only that I travel for a living, but that I know where I’m going (believe it or not, those two do not always have to come together in one package). My family gave me a Garmin StreetPilot for Christmas, and I have been having a blast testing it out the past couple weeks. This included driving from New Haven to Bethlehem, PA via NYC and back on New Year’s Eve. I’ve been to those places several times so I knew where I was going — a perfect opportunity for a test.

    One thing I discovered is that sometimes the spaghetti-like configuration of NYC-area highways can confuse the unit. If it tells you to stay on the Bruckner yet you decide (intentionally or no) to get off to head toward the Hutch, it won’t notice and start recalculating your route until you’ve already been on the Hutch for half a mile. And then it will be bound and determined to get you back onto 95 no matter what you do.

    If her unit has a “review turns” option once she’s entered in her destination, definitely go over it before she heads out to make sure it’s not going to send her some bizarre way. As with anything, it takes some getting used to — but I have no doubt the GPS will be a great help much more often than not. Good luck to Steffie and her new toy!

  2. I got myself a GPS unit a little before Christmas. I agree with what you said about the manual. Seems easy enough but you don’t feel you really understand it. It is the hardest (electronic) thing that I have ever had to deal with. I have resorted to learning by doing, a little at a time. It does work great though. I programmed in a route and made a wrong turn at a fork and it told me to make a u-turn when it was safe to do so. Then it picked up the directions from the opposite way all by itself. Amazing.

  3. The best thing about a GPS – Even if you don’t follow the directions and make a wrong turn, it will just recalculate and get you to your destination anyway. I can’t live without mine!

  4. I bought the 4 inch Invion GPS (GPS4V106)from Tweeter recently. Great unit! as a matter of fact, I loved it. On a recent visit to Chicago over the holidays, I found out that the touch screen was cracked. I am not sure if it was the extreme temperature change between the car and the home that caused it, but it was quite upsetting. More upsetting is the run around I am getting between Invion and Tweeter. I am not sure if I am covered under any warranty, but I have offered to pay for the repairs. In my last discussion with Invion Support yesterday, they told me that it can not be fixed. I am upset at Invion, but I am more upset at Tweeter for not protecting the rights of their customers – I would like Tweeter to help me as I paid them the money. Anyone has any ideas what I should do next? Moral of the story: Great product! Lousy service!

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