Thursday 10 August 2017

Overcoming Technological Angst

New maps to play with
August 2017

Way back in the day, probably over 20 years ago, I was set a task by my then employer to identify what a commercial bank branch would look like now.  During the research phase I came across a few choice bits of new terminology, which have always stuck with me:

  • Bleeding edge technology (beyond cutting edge)
  • Early / late adopters (technology, not children)
  • Technological Angst
This new found lexicon helped me appreciate that I don't like new fangled technology, I instinctively adopt technology only when it has been well proven and I whilst I quite like using "plug and play" technical solutions, I suffer major traumas if I have to undertake some kind of technical installation myself - technological angst epitomised.

In real life this means that its Helen who becomes surgically joined to her i-phone and for years I loathe and detest the thing. Eventually I accept I need my own phone (they took my bank Blackberry away when I retired) so I have to buy an i-phone, not because I think they are in any way better then Android but because when the stupid thing goes wrong I can throw it at her and she can fix it for me. 

And so this takes me to my new maps.

For a couple of years Paul Balmer has been extolling the virtues of his computer based maps and the benefits of the regular updates, but sad to say it fell on deaf ears due to an acute case of technological angst. I liked the maps and their formats but I just couldn't get on with the way they were delivered. I don't travel with my laptop on the back deck and printing paper pages is worse than a map book because they get mixed up or blown away.

But now (hallelujah) I am converted. I am a soul reborn and have seen the light. Put simply, I have got his maps installed on my i phone and at the click of a single icon I can pull up the Waterways Routes Map for the area, with a little red circle showing exactly where I am, right now.

The benefit of this up to date mapping system has become more and more apparent this year on the Lee Navigation where Elsan points were elusive and my Nicholsons just wasn't up to date enough to help me find them. 

To emphasise the point I have been using my much loved Pearsons for the trip up the Grand Union and whilst it offers a charming commentary, it too is woefully out of date. This point was brought home as we crossed the river Ouse and Pearsons announced that the long awaited Milton Keynes Link is projected to be completed in 2010!

The shortcomings of an out of date map were not lost on Helen and she repeatedly suggested I buy new copies, but the essential canal doesn't change so why splash out?

So this takes me back to Paul's maps. Way back in 2016 I attended the IWA's Festival of Water in Pelsall, and Paul attempted to install his maps software on my i-phone. However, we failed because I didn't know the password to my i tunes account (another thing I have delegated to Helen). Paul is nothing if not persistent. He knew we were at Cosgrove and he was going to be cycling past so he came armed with some instructions and software and for my part I was able to wheel in my technical guru. Between them they got Waterways Routes Maps running on my phone. Wonderful, triffic. the angels in technology heaven are singing praises for another Luddite saved from his own technological ineptitude.

So I no longer have to text Paul and ask if there are any Elsans at Stoke Bruene (bottom of Stoke locks) or indeed the nearest Elasns to Blisworth (Gayton Junction). At the click of a single icon I can find out for myself, now - instantly.

I am not saying that for me the paper map is dead. I think the use of paper maps is too deeply engrained, but the convenience of a full set of up to date canal maps in my pocket at all times and available without having to wind up my steam punk laptop is liberating to say the least.

Paul (and my technology guru) I offer you my thanks.


Halfie said...

Pelsall was last year, Andy. Time feels so different when retired, eh?

Andy Tidy said...

Now that was a typo Halfie! But these last four months have flown by. I cant believe we are making plans for the end of the season.