Where are we going? Oh, good question. Where ARE we going? But, fear not, I’m not about to launch into a metaphysical rant. Not today. Well, not yet.
I opened it and found a box. With a label that read, simply, Jane.
I opened the box and found a book. A beautiful book, filled with 3-D pop-up pictures.
It asked one simple question: Where are we going?
Ah, you know me. I was entranced. I turned the page.
The story started in the town with two children. They asked their house where they should go.
'The forest,' said the house.
‘Follow the wind,’ said the bear.
So they followed the wind, and it led them to the beach. But the waves were too big and the seashells were too small.
So they asked the beach, which sent them to the country and then they asked the country which offered some sensible advice.
‘You should ask each other.’
So they sat there in silence for a moment. Then they looked at each other, and at the same time they said, ‘the mountains!’
‘We should have thought of this a long time ago.’
And on the final page there was a little flap saying ‘Pull up’. So I did.
‘Oh wow,’ I said. ‘It’s a phone.’
‘That’s not a phone,’ said James, peering over my shoulder. ‘That’s a Nokia N8.’ Very much in the tones of Ron Weasley explaining to Harry that he’s just been given the very latest broomstick (clearly wasted on such a philistine).
‘But Jims,’ I said, flipping back through the pages. ‘Look at the book and the case and all. Isn’t it gorgeous?’
He rolled his eyes and grabbed the phone. ‘Mum, you’ve just been given a kickass phone and you’re looking at a measly book? I give up.’
I smiled and ruffled his hair. And read the note...
‘Oh, okay. They want us to test out Ovi Maps.’
James, of course, knew all about Ovi and he knew all about Own Voice for Ovi Maps.
‘It’s wicked. You know how you get the usual horrid SatNav voice?’
I did. It was one of the reasons I’ve never had SatNav – apart from the fact that I quite like getting lost.
‘Well, Own Voice lets you download your – er, own voice. So you could have me telling you where to go.’
I can think of a fair few people who’d like to tell me where to go but the idea of my lovely son doing the directing sounded appealing.
Being twelve he did the whole thing in next to no time and, actually, it was very simple. You just have to repeat a whole list of phrases in whatever manner you fancy.
‘Follow the course of the road,’ he yelled.
‘Do you have to shout?’
‘You won’t listen otherwise.’
‘Turn left’ (in a Geordie accent. Why?)
‘Turn right.’ (in a Scouse accent. Again, why?)
‘You’ve reached your destiny.’
‘Oh sorry. I’ll do that one again. You’ve reached your destination.’
‘You WILL reach your destination.’
I suppose it took about ten minutes all told and now I just laugh whenever I hear it. I don’t exactly need SatNav round here but I turn it on just to hear my boy telling me, in no uncertain terms, to ‘Go straight ahead’ or ‘take the THIRD exit’. And it’s reassuring when he tells me that I will reach my destination, my destiny, my whatever.
Seriously, this is very neat and you really should check it out. You don’t have to record your child (though I’m thinking it would be great for parents who’re away on the road a lot, or for grandparents, or godparents). You could get a bunch of mates round and have a bevy of voices telling you which way to go. Alternatively, you could record your own voice using a bunch of different accents – though, frankly, I wouldn’t trust my own directions.
Or, failing all that, there are ready-made voice packs you can download: Drill Sergeant, Racing Commentator, Back Seat driver, Hairdresser... My favourite is the Gospel Choir...and the one that would really drive me nuts is the Vocoder with its ‘disco driving’
It’s dead simple – you simply install Ovi Maps and then get Own Voice to your phone from Ovi Store. It really does just guide you through the process – and, if you like, you can share your voice with the world...
Let's end with a little Diana....
And a question.
Do YOU know where you're going to?
Where would you LIKE to be going to? Do you know?