Monday 24 January 2011

Where are we going?

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.

A parcel arrived, a big fat satisfying parcel.

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.
So they went to the forest. But it was dark and scary. And full of strange creatures that came out at night. So they asked the bear.
‘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.’
Fair enough.

‘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.’
‘I have?’
‘You WILL reach your destination.’
‘Oh good.’

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? 


Sessha Batto said...

I can hear it now. "Go left, Mom. The other left. It's the hand with the rings on it. You do know you're going the wrong way, don't you? Push recalculate and PLEASE pay attention this time."

My inability to follow left/right directions leaves satnav a VERY dangerous proposition ;) At least now when I screw up no one knows it but me!!

Exmoorjane said... does feel a little like that... but it's rather lovely. :)

Posie said...

I would be so busy enjoying the voice... not nagging me for a change, and being more than the usual grunt...that I would probably 'sail' right past the turning....loved the idea of the pop up book though, it would be the mountains for me too...

Miss Sadie said...

Good grief; your son telling you where to go!

He's a bit young for that, isn't he?

On the other hand, . . . at his age, I'm sure he's well-intentioned. And much more technically sophisticated than either thee or me.

Eliza said...

So funny :-) My SIL has a sat nav, I don't know who the voice is but she sounded so irritated when SIL took a wrong turn!

Exmoorjane said...

Posie: mountains always a good choice...mountains and sea even better. :)

Miss S: He is WAY more mature than I am.... :(

Eliza: she should try this - it's good fun....

SoulDragon said...

Oh I LOVE this! Brilliant! Will check it out. And the book is beautiful - I just love kid's books (still) as does my sister. And I have to say, being a pianist, Diana Ross Mahogany....takes me back to when it was a favourite to play at the little restaurant where I amused the diners with lift music....
PS Also love your blog for The Lady - I am an Aussie subscriber....

fairyhedgehog said...

I want one! I want a book like that and I want my sons' voices telling me which way to go!

All I need to do is to work out how to use my phone online properly. At the moment it seems like more trouble than it's worth, especially as I can't often set up apps in the house due to complete lack of signal.

Exmoorjane said...

SD: aww, thank you. I hadn't heard Mahogany for years...came into my head as I was dog-walking yesterday... Glad you like The Lady blog...

FH: go for it! It's really cute. Yeah, I have a signal issue too. Bet your sons would set it up for you.

Helen@Soft Leather Baby Shoes said...

My kids tell me where to go all the time. I don't need it in the car. Its the only time I get that's my own!

Alison Cross said...

I too like getting lost. Well, at least the panto involved in trying to find somewhere.

I think the satnav things rob us of our delight in driving and taking in the environs.

Neat idea to record your kid's voice. And don't tell me you were REALLY expecting him to be all excited about a lovely BOOK when there was a new PHONE to be fiddled with?!