GPS guidance has a Waze to go

I love Waze™ as a driving app. 99.5% of the time it gets me where I want to go without difficulty, and provides lots of useful information along the way.

But it has quirks.

Almost invariably, when I enter a destination from a position in a parking lot somewhere, Waze will calculate the route as though I want to go the direction I’m facing.

Example 1:

Here I’m facing north, parked at home – but to get to my destination, I need to drive 3 miles south to Route 1. Waze sends me six miles out of my way, just to make a U-turn.

Example 2:

If I were to head south to Route 1, the distance would be 6.8 miles instead of 13, and 10 minutes instead of 19. In short, Waze is doubling my distance and drive time simply because my nose is pointing north when I input the destination.

This happens far too often for comfort. If I’m in an unfamiliar location parked in a strip mall, for example, it seems like 4 times out of 5, Waze will have me turn the wrong way coming out of the parking lot, which will result in a ten-mile detour just to go back the other way or a longer, more convoluted route to my destination.

In the words of Columbo, “Oh, just one more thing:” I drive from Maine to Boston or New York often, and there’s a huge stretch of road along the way where Waze tells me “Searching for Network,” even though Google Maps has no problem in the same regions. I don’t get why this is an issue.

These are without question first-world problems, but I use this app so heavily – not having the inborn sense of direction that the Goodwoman of the House possesses – that it causes me a lot of stress. And I have not yet figured out how to get this kind of general feedback to anyone at Waze who cares. But on the plus side, for my own needs there’s no better directional guidance app out there.

The Old Wolf has ranted.

GPS Voices I Wish I Had

I love my Prius, but the GPS voice is pretty mechanical. Better than your average female generated voice, but still pretty sterile. My Droid is even worse.

If I could wave my magic wand, I’d have the following voices on my GPS to choose from (with appropriate personality, as well, if applicable)

1. James Earl Jones

“Alert all commands. Calculate every possible destination along the last known trajectory.”

2. Alan Rickman

“So like your father. Go back to Exit 29 and try it again, you pathetic fool.”

3. Leonard Nimoy


“Fascinating choice, but illogical for the destination you have selected.”

4. Katherine Hepburn


“Damn it, you’re not listening to me.”

5. Frank Oz


“Pig-headed, this one is.”

6. Cary Grant


“Maybe if you lightened up you could find the right exit without asking ‘permesso’. ”

7. Patrick Stewart


“Set course for I-15 South. Engage.”

8. Peter Lorre


“If you make another wrong turn, you shall make me very angry.

9. Clint Eastwood


“Just try turning there. Go ahead, make my day.”

10. Robert Eddison


“You chose… poorly.”

Of course, there are so many others. I realize the ladies are woefully under-represented in the list above, but I just had to choose from the ones I thought would be the funniest. Some voices have no particular characterization, but would be just plain awesome to listen to, such as Daniel Schorr, go ndéanai Día trocaire air, or the archetypical yiddische mama (“I told you to turn on 49th street, but did you listen to me? No, that’s fine, just go on about your merry way, I’ll be all right…”)

Whatever the case, GPS voices could be a lot more entertaining than they are today.

Spoken, the Old Wolf has.