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.