21 August 2007

Where am I?

"It wouldn't be too far, perhaps a 15 minute walk ......after all its a long way from Ashfield to Broken Hill!"

Technology really is a fantastic thing. Nowadays we can do so many varied actvities because of this. For example, we can transfer money from one side of the world to the other (lets say from Sydney to London) within minutes. We can also converse with astronauts in the International Space Station and help them with a myriad of tasks. We can also make average singers sound like world class opera singers if we wish. Probably the best thing that technology has brought to mankind is the remote control. Where would we be without this gadget? How many times would we have to get up out of our recliner chair to change the television channel? Only people over the age of 40 know the answer to this.

Anyway, one of the newer forms of technology is the GPS that you can install in your car. I personally do not have one, but I have heard they are fantastic. It certainly beats looking through a street directory with a torch in one hand and your other hand on the steering wheel. Naturally, the traffic light always changes to green when I am in this situation!

This brings me nicely onto the topic for this particular blog. A couple of weeks ago I had to go to the Wests Leagues club in Ashfield for a seminar. For the uninitiated, Ashfield is an inner west suburb of Sydney approximately 12 kilometres from the CBD. As I was at work I thought I would catch a train to Ashfield and then walk to the Leagues club. My instinct told me it wouldn't be too far, perhaps a 15 minute walk.

I decided to get directions from an Australian online website that provides directions all around Australia. I typed in Ashfield railway station as my starting point. Sure enough the website brought up the railway station as my starting point. I then typed in Wests Leagues Ashfield as my destination and clicked searched. When the results appeared on the screen I nearly fell off my chair!

This wonderful (??) website didn't bring up my desired destination. In fact, it didn't bring up anything even close to it. It actually gave me a destination of Westside Drive. The only major problem with this was that this address was not in Ashfield. It wasn't even in Sydney. It wasn't even within the realms of the furthest outer reaches of the Sydney basin. It was in Broken Hill!!

For non Aussies Broken Hill is way out yonder in the outback, virtually on the borders of South Australia. It's the typical outback type of town that you often see in Australian movies and beer advertisements. The website gave me directions to get to Westside Drive. I won't go through what they were except to say that if I followed the instructions then I would arrive at this destination in approximately 12 hours and 50 minutes and will have travelled 1,157 kilometres (roughly 719 miles).

I assume that this didn't take into account food and restroom breaks and maybe also a little snooze. After all, it is a long way from Ashfield to Broken Hill!!

Needless to say I didn't follow the route directions. Instead I went to the Wests Leagues website and found a location map. It was indeed close to the railway station. In fact, it only took me a 10 minute walk to get to my true destination. At least I was on time and not driving through the outback to Broken Hill.

So the moral of this story is quite simple. Even though technology has provided us humans with an easier lifestyle it still can have the occasional hiccup!

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