Network Down – I’m Driving Blind!

In one of our earlier podcasts, Jon, Mat and I talked about Modern Man Myths. One of them was stopping to ask for directions, and we waxed poetic on what GPS system we use to get where we’re going. It’s foolproof.

Until last night.

I was driving out to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet up with some friends from our Fantasy Baseball League for our annual tradition of watching the MLB All-Star Game, eating wings, and talking fantasy trades.

Plenty of screens to watch at Buffalo Wild Wings

That’s when Mother Nature decided to send a HUGE line of storms to rip across the state – just as I was set to head out for the restaurant.

photo: WTNH

I was driving my way, listening to some sports talk radio when Siri stopped listening to me. She just kept telling me that she had lost the network and to try again later.

Um, Siri – I can’t try again later. I’m using you to guide me to my destination (about an hour drive) and I have NO idea where I’m going.

No, no you aren’t!

I’m driving down the road in pouring rain, thunder and on the radio – possible tornado warnings – and I don’t know where the hell I’m going.

“We’ve got debris”

I’m a modern man. I can figure this out – right? We used to get places before we had smart phones. Except, back then I would look up directions and write them down before I left. I didn’t do that. I was relying on Siri to not let me down. I’ve been told that using Siri isn’t the best option anyway. Many use Waze. PCMag has a great comparison article and they rank the iPhone Maps App as their editors choice, so Siri IS the way… but not last night.

I was flying blind.

So, what do I do? One thought was to get off the highway, find a major retail store and get some healthy dose of WiFi to look up directions. But then that’s 20 minutes off the path and I’ll miss first pitch and the first round of wings. AND – without Siri, how will I know what exit will lead me to a box store?

When wings is in the name of the restaurant – you get the wings.

Sooooooo, I went REALLY old school…. I called my Mommy.

Playing the role of Keith’s mom in today’s blog is Carol Brady.

She hopped on her tablet, or computer, or asked Alexa, I’m not sure. But she got me close enough to make it the rest of the way and get there before line-up introductions.

Turns out AT&T was having some serious issues with their LTE level service. I found some instructions, after I got home, to turn off the LTE setting and get my 4G back. If you want to know how, drop me a line and I’ll hook you up!

But it begs the question – are we way too reliant on our phones? Yes, the answer is yes. But, is it necessarily a bad thing? We have a Swiss Army knife of technology at our side, at all times. Why shouldn’t we use it?

I read a great piece on Greenbot.com that extols 9 virtues of how smartphones are making the World a better place and really enjoyed this part:

According to a study by Harris Interactive, the convenience of smartphone apps saves people an average of 22 days per year. That’s right; checking your email, scheduling appointments, grocery shopping, texting your buddies, and checking the weather all in one place means you have almost an extra month’s worth of free time compared to your 1990’s self. Note that “saving time” doesn’t necessarily mean “being more productive,” however, since you probably just use those extra 22 days to play Clash of Clans.

I think the real issue is using it for ‘good’. I’ve talked before about letting the phone get in the way of being present with my family, and that still rings true – so to speak.

But for tools such as maps, it’s a great aide to have at the ready. (Until it stops working, of course.)

Thanks for the assist, Mom! The wings were delicious and the game was good, too!

How about you guys? How do you get around town? What app do you use? Or maybe you’re using the giant Rand McNally road atlas from under the back seat? Share you favorites in the comments below.

-Keith


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