Friday, April 17, 2015

Why I dumped Vlade Divac in Waze

I have adjusted to the idea of my phone talking to me. (That's a post for tymshft.) And one of, avenues that my phone uses to talk to me is the Waze app, an app that provides driving directions and information.

I've never really thought about the voice that is used by Waze to give me information, until Waze sent me a message this morning informing me that Vlade Divac could provide that voice. (Story here.)

From the perspective of someone who's been in Southern California for a while, Vlade Divac is a fomer Los Angeles Lakers center who smoked up a storm, but left the team before the Lakers' two most recent runs at titles. (Yes, the Lakers used to contend for NBA titles, not lottery picks.)

I figured I'd try it, so I downloaded the Vlade Divac voice files, and planned to use Vlade as my assistant for this afternoon's commute home. I ended up leaving the office at lunch, though, so I figured, "Why not have Vlade take me back to work?"

And Vlade guided me back to the office.

However, there was something missing, as I soon noticed as Vlade gave me directions.

In one mile, turn right.
In zero point one miles, turn right.
Turn right.

Then I realized it - Vlade wasn't saying the street names. Since all of his statements were pre-recorded, there was no way that he could say every single street name - even every single street name in Serbia.

It turns out that my regular Waze voice, Samantha, is a synthesized voice, and is one of the few Waze voices able to pronounce - or mis-pronounce - street names.

So while Vlade's voice is a novelty, technological limitations ensure that it cannot give me all of the information that I need while navigating.

So after getting to work, I switched Vlade's voice to another voice - one that does support street names.

No, not Samantha.

Tonight, Monica will guide me home, and we'll see how good my Spanish is.

I can guarantee that it's better than my Serbian.
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