Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Pitfalls of Using the Same Device as Friends and Family

Computer and OS wars have been raging for ages. You have your Windows partisans, and your Mac partisans, and your Linux partisans, and there are probably people out there who still worship Dick Pick as the supreme genius. But if someone were to ask me what computer I recommend, I'd first ask the person, "What computer do your friends and family use?" You see, when someone buys a computer, they're going to turn to friends and family to figure out how to work the thing. So it's best to get the kind of computer that your friends and family already have, so that they can help you.

This principle doesn't only apply to computers, but to other devices. On our cross-country trip last summer, we used my father-in-law's Garmin GPS device (one of the devices in the nuvi 2xx family), and liked it so much that we bought one for ourselves.

But we had a bit of a navigation problem Tuesday evening.

My wife and I had to make a trip out to a place out in Rialto, and I asked her if we had the Garmin device so that I could find the place we were going, and check out traffic. She had the Garmin in her purse, so I hooked it up and entered the address of the place that we were going. When we were done, and ready to head back to Ontario, I pressed the "Home" button, and headed out west on Interstate 10.

The Garmin told me to turn at Mountain Avenue, but I ignored it and turned on Euclid, heading toward my house. But as I headed south toward Ontario, the Garmin told me to turn right - toward Mountain.

I thought that was rather odd, but ignored it.

I got to the next cross street, and the Garmin again told me to turn right, toward Mountain.

This happened several times, but by the time I got home, I figured out what had happened.

You see, my father in law called me a few days ago to ask if we had seen his Garmin device, which he had lost.

Sure enough, when I checked the "Home" address on the Garmin, the address was my father-in-law's address. Our own Garmin device was sitting in our house.

So if you decide to get the same computer, or other device, as your friends and family, be sure that you have a way to tell them apart. Otherwise, you'll get a very unpleasant surprise when you want to listen to some tunes on your iPod.
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