Bangin’ On My Tom Tom

Following my rant about TomTom last week, the excellent Carol commented: “I find that the way it (new TomTom) does avoids is much more useful – you plan your journey then tell it which bits of road you don’t fancy, and it goes away to come back with another idea – is that not more useful than perhaps ruling out a more direct route which you’d avoid by saying you don’t like A-roads at all?”

I think Carol’s misunderstood what I meant by “avoids” – as an example, when I went caching on Saturday, TomTom tried to take me down a road which looks OK on the map, but is in fact private and gated. With old version, I could have marked that road as an “avoid”, and TomTom would never have taken me down that road ever again (unless for some reason I cancelled the avoid). When I was driving the Hospital Radio minibus around Stoke, I found a low bridge that the minibus wouldn’t fit under – I just marked it as an avoid, and TomTom steered me round that location for the rest of the weekend. “Road preferences” was a different thing, which you could use to fine-tune your preferences, for example, “I hate motorways”, “I love motorways”, or “Well I don’t mind motorways but if there’s an A-road going the same way I’d rather be on that”.

Of course, each to their own and there’ll be many people like Carol who prefer the way the new version works: It’s certainly easier for the entry-level user to get going, (although I’m not suggesting Carol and Himself fall into that category), and I DO like some of the new features. But the features that I’m bemoaning the loss of could have been left in – even if hidden away behind an “expert users only” setting – without interfering with the new features. I hate to hold Microsoft up as a good example, but even they’ve learnt that when they bring in a new look (as they did with WindozeXP), they also offer the “Classic” function as an option.

I’m really not having a go at Carol – unfortunately she’s so far been the only one to stick her head above the parapet and defend new TomTom, so I can only respond to her points! She has a different attitude to the use of TomTom to me, so of course her preferences will be different. Her approach is “you plan your journey then tell it which bits of road you don’t fancy…”: If I wanted to faff around like that, I’d use an Ordnance Survey map. I want to get in, switch on, and in three button pushes tell it to “Take me to Jenny’s house”, and know that the route it gives me will avoid any of the places I’ve already decided I don’t want to go to.

Anyway – today I have made the photo upload function work on Rob’s blog, and written him a guide on how to use it. If I’m really good, I might even remember to e-mail it to him.

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