In Defense of Apple’s Maps

We got iPhones 5 a few weeks ago now, and I have been very pleased with it. The extra screen space is nice (the keyboard doesn’t cover everything up now!) and the speed is especially welcome.

But my favorite feature, by far, is the new Maps app.

We’ve been living in Kansas City (KS) for a little less than a year at this point. I don’t know my way around terribly well. I had been using Navigon for GPS routing and it was… well, awful. Hard to start (slow, obnoxious address entry), hard to manage (volume was always set to “whisper”, seeing the entire route was painfully slow, and ending navigation was not easy to do), and the spoken directions were too frequent and annoying. I never used it because by the time I knew I wanted it, I was often already driving, and stopping for ten minutes by the side of the road to find the address and enter it was not going to be helpful. Although I did that once or twice.

In contrast, Apple’s new Maps app, in combination with Siri, does exactly what I hoped it would. Easy to find destinations, often just by voice request. Immediate startup of turn-by-turn directions. Clear maps, just enough voice direction, easy overview, resume, and end functions. Whatever problems Siri or Maps have, I don’t feel them here in KCK. I have used turn-by-turn directions more in the last few weeks than I did in the previous two years. Heck, sometimes I do it just for fun.

So, count me a fan.

Wish I was still reading Among Others

I finished reading Jo Walton’s much prize-winning book, Among Others yesterday. Throughout, I found myself sort of drifting, liking the book, but not feeling terribly compelled. Now that it is done, however, I find that I am missing it. Not necessarily in that way that you wish you knew what happened to Harry after Voldemort, but rather… well, I just miss it. The characters, the world, the is-it-or-isn’t-it magic, the feel of it.

I’m picking something else to read now, but I sort of just feel like sitting and daydreaming about Among Others a little while longer.

Quite a book. Not for everyone. ymmv.