Whereis Mobile: Not quite the Diet GPS

By | August 28, 2008
Platform 18 and 19 at Central station.Image via Wikipedia

Being based in Sydney for a two day stop over gave me another opportunity to test drive the Whereis Mobile capacity on my Samsung handset.

It was hysterically funny, but that’s because I laugh in the face of Fail Whales.

For a starting point, when I fired up the device just outside of Central Station, it cheerfully reported that I was standing in OXford Street.  Not quite.  So I tried to input where I was standing (Elizabeth Street), only to be told that no such location exists (404: NEO NOT FOUND).  Then I tried querying Goulburn Street (my destination) and that didn’t exist either. Okay, so the Matrix was having a bad day.

Then I asked for the name of the Hotel (The Vibe Hotel) only to be repeatedly told that the connection to the server was lost.  A procession of the same black cat walked across the doorframe for a minute or two. I gave up after the phone showed signs of despair and the hysterical laughter attracted way too much attention.

Later, for the fun of it, I asked the SENSIS search about the local Nandos.  To be fair, I was standing about a building away from one, and didn’t realise it was where it was (I was in QVB or QVG. There’s one in the food court connected to the QVA2Z).  Nearest Nandos that was suggested was 8km away. So I asked for directions (walking).

The connection was reset by the server.

The Matrix rebooted and dumped me out of the network somewhere around Darling Harbour, and I realised the time had come to stop mocking Telstra’s Mobile Whereis, and make use of the 3G modem on the laptop back at the hotel room to get real answers from the intertubes.  Amusingly, it took less time to walk back to the hotel, google find the information and walk back to the stores than I’d spent trying to beat useful data out of the Sensis systems.

I know Sensis Whereis is not a replacement for GPS equipped phones, and I know that it draws location data from the employee communication apps and mobile phone tower etc. I’m conversant with limits to the crude tech.  I’m just hysterically amused that I was thrown off the network four times in the process of asking “Where is…?”.

Once, admittedly, was for asking where the hotel was when I was in the lobby.  That one I probably deserved though.

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