back to article Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

I stumble on a large root. At least that's what I think it is. For all I know, it could be a low fence, a rotting corpse or a very hardy badger. Some dodgy software has led me here, maybe some even dodgier software is waiting to mug me behind the next tree. It's past 10pm, the moon's just ducked behind clouds and I can't see a …

  1. Vinyl-Junkie

    As you might expect...

    ...the Ordnance Survey app is excellent for walking in the UK.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: As you might expect...

      The Ordnance Survey map is even better.

      Or equivalent if you in Johnny Foreigner land, which I suppose I'm in, though you can get a good cuppa tea here.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: As you might expect...

        The annual subscription to the OS app (which includes both Landranger and Explorer maps) is about the cost of two printed OS maps (which you always need for anywhere you are visiting as you can guarantee that it will be on the boundary of two maps!). You can download as much of the map as you wish to your device, so you are not reliant on having a data signal, and you can use the credentials you create your subscription with to log into the OS website, where you can print off as many parts of the map as you like, if you wish to have a printed version with you while you walk.

        Unless someone turns off both GPS and the phone system it will always be able to triangulate you and so it is impossible to get truly lost. It will also track your activity if you wish it to so you can see how far you have walked (including vertically, it has the best terrain height information of any mapping app I've used). You can plot routes in advance and then follow them without either ruining your map or discovering halfway around your walk that the pencil you used to mark it has rubbed off.

        It also includes an augmented reality function where holding your phone up to the view will tell you precisely what you are looking at.

        This is one area where new tech really does beat the old tech hands down.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: As you might expect...

          Love Ordnance Survey maps! However, living in the Netherlands it doesn't quite make sense to get the app, although I am tempted to get it when next we go on holidays to the UK.

          Regarding tea: It is possible to get good tea at my work, but only because I make it myself from ACTUALLY BOILING WATER and REAL BLACK TEA (are you listening, catering staff? No? Thought not). As my (German) colleague who also likes a proper cuppa always says: "The problem with the Dutch is that they always make tea of boiled water". He may be right. The water may actually have boiled in the distant past (and don't get me started on the difficulties of getting actual tea-flavoured tea).

          1. Russell Chapman Esq.

            Re: As you might expect...

            I haven't lived in the UK for a long time now. Always bring back a box of Yorkshire Gold Tea when I visit family. If I want a cup of tea in a bar. I take my own teabag and ask them to put it in the cup and use the hot water from the espresso machine to fill it. They look at you a bit odd but it works

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: As you might expect...

              Crikey, I would need to be back in the UK extremely frequently for a single box (evn the big ones) to sffice for long...

            2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: As you might expect...

              Yorkshire Tea is plentiful & cheap in London Drugs (Canadaland).

              My disgust for Red Rose tea has now become a good humoured (several times a day) coment at work.

            3. Tim 11

              Re: As you might expect...

              In spain recently I asked for "te negro con leche" which I understand to be the normal way to request the closest approximation they have to a proper cup of tea.

              A couple of minutes later, a teapot appeared, accompanied by an empty cup but apparently no milk. I thought I'd give it a stir before asking for the milk but when I opened the lid, I found the contents of the teapot was a teabag and hot milk - no water at all

          2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: As you might expect...

            "and don't get me started on the difficulties of getting actual tea-flavoured tea"

            I'm lucky to often hang out with anglophile dutchies, so they will have earl or lady grey. And the good stuff too.

            I also drink it black, which helps with the furuner tea :)

            They still drink it too weak :)

            They way I'd make tea for me and my ex was:

            1.Put the teabag in her cup,

            2. Fill with boiling water

            3. Wait for a five count

            4. Take tea bag out, put it in my cup

            5. Fill my cup with boiling water

            6. Wait until I am unable to get a spoon into the cup.

            Then again, even Dutch cafe coffee is, quite frankly, shit. The only OK coffee I find is in coffeeshops (the smokey kind) since it's usually only a euro a time.

            Luckily I'm friends with Syrians and Turks. Amazing coffee, although being awake for the next 12 hours can be a bit of a pain.

            1. Mike Pellatt

              Re: As you might expect...

              Earl or lady grey singles them out as anglophiles ?? WTF ??

              Those are PonceyTeas, incapable of producing Proper Builders Tea. And they taste all, well, flowery.

              1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                Re: As you might expect...

                "Earl or lady grey singles them out as anglophiles ?? WTF ??"

                *shrug* it's what the anglophile dutch I know drink. It's what I drink. I quite like flowery builders tea :) But I also take it black or with lemon (or brandy).

                I'll note that my anglophile generally have had more "high teas" in the last year than I've had in my lifetime, the vision of what is british versus what brits actually do can vary quite a bit.

                Getting dutch people to try builder tea is pretty much them getting us to try drop. They aren't sure it's not some elaborate practical joke.

            2. macjules Silver badge

              Re: As you might expect...

              One day I will move abroad and open a tearoom specifically so that when someone orders an espresso, I can pour them a cup of hot water and, perhaps a minute later, pass them a handful of coffee beans. See how they like it, the bastards.

              Move to San José. They already do that there. It is called 'Designer Coffee'

          3. Bernard M. Orwell

            Re: As you might expect...

            "The problem with the Dutch is that they always make tea of boiled water"

            Your Dutch colleague is quite right; you shouldn't use boiling water on some tea because it will scald the leaves and ruin the flavour.

            "The best temperature for brewing tea depends on its type. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures between 60 °C and 85 °C (140-185 °F), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C (212 °F).[49] The higher temperatures are required to extract the large, complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea, although boiling the water reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water."

            source: newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea

        2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: As you might expect...

          "Unless someone turns off both GPS and the phone system it will always be able to triangulate you and so it is impossible to get truly lost."

          There is one other scenario, in which your phone's battery runs out. Which is why taking a paper map & a compass as backup is sound advice.

          BTW don't get me started* on how shit google maps and their alternatives are. White roads with grey edges on a pale grey background doesn't make for readable mapping, especially on a phone in broad daylight. OS is the gold standard to which all other maps should aspire.

          * Looks like I did that myself. I'll get me gore-tex jacket.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: As you might expect...

        "though you can get a good cuppa tea here"

        My early experience of tea in rural Ireland was that it was boiled for several hours before serving.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: As you might expect...

          My father used to tell a story of going into his brother's kitchen, to find the teapot on the gas to boil. When he lifted the lid off, the flames from the gas were coming through the hole burnt in the bottom of the pot.

          1. Shooter
            Unhappy

            Re: As you might expect... @ Phil O'Sophical

            Had a similar experience a few years back...

            Got home late one evening and set the kettle on the ceramic-top stove. Sat down to wait for it to boil, and promptly nodded off for about an hour.

            Woke up to a peculiar smell in the air and tracked it down to the stove, where the (non-whistling) kettle had boiled dry and welded itself to the stove top!

          2. EarthCitizen

            Re: As you might expect...

            So his brother had dementia and forgot to take the teapot off the stove.... It happens. Doesn't make good tea though.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As you might expect...

          'My early experience of tea in rural Ireland was that it was boiled for several hours before serving.'

          Indeed, my Mother's family has an Irish branch and if the tea wasn't like tar and didn't have a minimum of 3 heaped spoonfuls of sugar in it, it wasn't tea.

          This isn't limited to Ireland, the rest of the family are Scots, and apart from one 'genteel' family branch we all had tea boiled like tar. My earliest memory of tea was having a billy cup of a hot strong sweet black liquid lovingly brewed/stewed over a oil barrel brazier for 20 minutes or so on a building site my father and uncles were working on back in '68-69, ok, I was 4-5 years old (health and safety? hah! this was back in the good old days...).

          I find it hard to find a decent blended tea nowadays, Lyons Red Label was the most drinkable for years, but the taste has changed, probably a new blend which now doesn't work with my local water supply, so usually stick to Darjeeling.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: As you might expect...

            There's a version I've had in Israel which is a concentrated brew that is left in an urn and diluted to taste for drinking. First time I met this I got shouted at for drinking it neat. I hadn't realised :I'm from Manchester.

  2. TonyJ Silver badge

    Hahaha...

    I'd always wondered what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking.

    1. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: Hahaha...

      I think they're pathologically afraid of it in some areas. I had a friend who lived in Palos Verdes, south of LA, and she reckoned she'd call the police if she saw someone walking around the area, as "no-one walks here". I did walk down to the local mall a few times whilst staying there and got stopped twice by the police to ask what I was doing. As soon as I opened my mouth they realised I was just a crazy Brit who didn't know any better.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hahaha...

        @Vinyl-Junkie

        Just remember...

        Nobody walks in L.A. ~ Missing Persons

      2. cray74

        Re: Hahaha...

        I did walk down to the local mall a few times whilst staying there and got stopped twice by the police to ask what I was doing.

        It's interesting how US history - short as it is - shapes things like walking. Manhattan is an emphatically pedestrian city with something approaching adequate mass transit. As a student, I had no trouble walking around the core of Atlanta, getting from campus to interesting malls or DragonCon on foot.

        On the other hand, cities that grew up after the arrival of the car are car-obsessed, like the suburbs of Californian metropolises. Orlando is particularly nasty because it set a lot of its core roads in the 1950s-1960s when air conditioning made Florida real estate attractive and Detroit told the US no one would walk anymore. But then its population exploded from about 100,000 to 2.3 million in 50 years thanks to the Mouse's arrival. The car-oriented road system is unfriendly to pedestrians to begin with but has had trouble growing to accommodate the population. Orlando has something like twice the national average rate of turning pedestrians and bicyclists into road pizza.

        1. Tikimon Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Hahaha... - the times are changing!

          Know how every new tech widget is going to totally replace something else? That happened with cars in the US. Why walk when you can enjoy post-war affluence and drive? Suburban areas also spread out more than stacked-high cities, so destinations frankly moved out of walking range. A three-block city walk is nothing, but a five-mile walk down a highway is something else.

          Times are changing! Planners are building new with sidewalks again, nice broad ones. Sidewalks and paths are being retrofitted where they didn't exist. Walking paths and trails are proliferating, now that local governments have realized what a draw they are. Many of us will be stuck with a car or transit for a long commute. But more every day, we can walk our neighborhoods and to the local stores. Things do improve sometimes!

        2. david 12 Bronze badge

          Re: Hahaha... -- history and walking --

          Cities that were designed after the development of coummuter RAIL are difficult to walk it. It just turned out that a city designed with railways or street cars as the loss-leader for real-estate development, converts easily to one where take your own car to the city.

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Hahaha...

        So the reason nobody walks is because nobody walks.

      4. jmch Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Hahaha...

        That's just how their cities are built. At the Florida office of an ex-company, there was a big food court just 200m away... but across a busy road with no way of crossing. No underpass, no overpass, not even a freaking zebra crossing, there was no way to access the road except by car unless you were feeling particularly suicidal.

        So everyone drove across in their car gigantic truck. The distance from the office to the office car park + food court car park to the food court was at least as much as the distance from the office to the food court.

        Utter madness!

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: Hahaha...

          I was visiting Pheonix for work about 10 years back, and my colleagues and i were told by the hotel not to walk in the neighbourhood after dark or in the early morning. The reason - there were apparently 2 serial killers active in the area (competing for a high score apparently). This was confirmed as not a joke by our host company.

          Needless to say, we stuck to the bar for the evenings!

          1. yakbutterfly

            Re: Hahaha...

            I remember that - one of them moved out to my neighborhood, then turned out to be two people who snitched on each other when they were collared. Good times.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Hahaha...

        "As soon as I opened my mouth they realised I was just a crazy Brit who didn't know any better."

        Well, obviously. I've not been to the US recently, but based on all the TV shows I see, there's always a parking spot right outside whatever place you happen to be visiting, even in New York City. Why would anyone walk more than 10-15'?

        1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Hahaha...

          But on US TV, especially NY, if you walk in front of a car they *never* see you and *will* run over you. If you survive, the response is "Heyyy am walkin here!"

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Hahaha...

      what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking

      The barrel of a gun?

      To be fair, they're not against walking, per se, it's any deviation from their established norm that they seem to find inordinately suspicious.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Hahaha...

        what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking

        No recreational activity allowed unless it involves lots of expensive equipment. For example: rugby is played by blokes equipped with nothing much more than a strip of insulating tape around their ears, while every American "football" player wears about $1000 worth of protective gear. Cycling used to be a fairly cheap activity until the Americans got interested.

        It's hard to make walking expensive.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Hahaha...

          @Kubla

          "It's hard to make walking expensive."

          Seen any of the ultra-light walking types? That can get very expensive.

        2. David 18

          Re: Hahaha...

          @Kubla Cant

          "It's hard to make walking expensive."

          Millets et al seem to be giving it a bloody good try!

          1. Timmy B Silver badge

            Re: Hahaha...

            You think Millets are expensive? Have a look at Cotswold Outdoors. Or Costworld as we call them ….

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Hahaha...

          "It's hard to make walking expensive."

          You've obviously seen millennials visiting the Lake District!

        4. Grinning Bandicoot

          As an USian who enjoys the observations here I wish to note that its obvious that this never heard of REI with its large catalog of shoes. Also I should note it would more proper to refer this particular land's inhabitants as WEn since were all united. as

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Alert

            Millets

            Holy Zarquon singing fish haven't they gone bust yet?

        5. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Hahaha...hard to make walking expensive

          Walking boots £250.

          Waterproof jacket possibly with fleece included £250.

          Waterproof trousers with multiple pockets. Say £125.

          Shirt. Oh, go on, to you £85.

          Need a small rucksack? Hat? Walking poles? GPS?

          Not hard to spend a grand or so, especially if you are a badge fairy who loves North Face.

        6. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Hahaha...

          "rugby is played by blokes equipped with nothing much more than a strip of insulating tape around their ears"

          Eh, you're being rather unfair here.

          I've played social rugby and American Football, in the UK and NZ.

          My social gridiron kit cost exactly the same as my social rugby kit: nowt, sponsored by the local gamblers. Most of the gridiron players had $20-$50 boots, Lycra shorts and cheap cotton underkit. The social rugby team spent roughly twice the amount on their boots, and high-tech sports clothing under their uniforms. Also seen front row head gear that cost more than a gridiron helmet (!?!) so it's perfectly possible to spend silly on either game.

          The pick up games (touch) also involved the total cost being a ball. Whichever one we played with :)

          I'll also note that while there were a lot of lifters on each team, there were many more juicers in rugby than gridiron. Even at super casual levels. Apparently even happening at schoolboy levels.

          "No recreational activity allowed unless it involves lots of expensive equipment."

          Nah, it's just another way of displaying your Veblan goods. It's the same way that you can go to gym in old shorts, t-shirt and plimsolls. Or spend hundreds on cool/useful kit, that looks nice and expensive :)

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Hahaha...

        "the barrel of a gun"

        ALL rise for the Australian National Anthem

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking

      Maybe it's not so much 'anti walking' as being extremely 'pro car'.

      My theory is that it has something to do with the considerable percentage of US citizens that have been conceived on the back seat of a motorcar.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking

        "My theory is that it has something to do with the considerable percentage of US citizens that have been conceived on the back seat of a motorcar."

        I was conceived in the back seat of a car, or so my parents told me before I screamed TMI and stopped listening. I walk everywhere, sometimes very long distances, sometimes with heavy packs.

    4. ShortLegs

      Re: Hahaha...

      "Hahaha...

      I'd always wondered what our USAnian friends have against people with a love of walking."

      Its difficult to monetarise.

    5. TonyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Hahaha...

      Hmm I was referring more to the spelling differences but that little joke seems to have been lost on everyone.

      Oh well. It's Friday and it's time to go home. :)

  3. Timmy B Silver badge

    Too many apps

    People over-depend on apps for navigation when walking and then blame them when they get lost. We've lost the ability to tap into things like wind direction, star / sun / moon location and several other dependable clues to navigation and location. It's a shame, really. But then I don't know how many people nowadays spent time as youngsters out late, fields away from home, having to find their way back. That's a bigger shame, I think.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Too many apps

      A good tip that I heard the other day...

      If you get lost in the city in the morning, walk against the crowd. If it's in the evening, walk with the crowd. That'll most likely get you to a tube station. In the suburbs, the opposite applies.

      1. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Re: Too many apps

        If lost in a forest go always down. You will reach a stream or gully and leave the forest along it. Going up will inevitably end on a hilltop.

        1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          If lost in a forest go always down. You will reach a stream or gully and leave the forest along it. Going up will inevitably end on a hilltop.

          Baaaaah. Tell that to the sadistic programmers of any Adventure text game featuring forests.

          Gah.

        2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          Never follow a stream or gully.

          It will take the shortest and easiest route down which is often vertical.

        3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Too many apps

          "You will reach a stream or gully and leave the forest along it."

          Tried that in the Cullins once. Ended up going down a canyon and came to a point where the stream was full width, and there was a 20 foot waterfall in the way. Happily the pool at the foot of the waterfall was clearly deep enough and it was summer, so we jumped, swam, and then dripped the rest of the way home.

          Edit: I've just seen TrumpSlurp the Troll's comment, a couple above this one. Yes, exactly. (Where were you on my 16th birthday?)

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Too many apps

            If walking paths in the country, at every junction always turn round and stare at the route you just came for a minute or two.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          "If lost in a forest go always down. You will reach a stream or gully and leave the forest along it. Going up will inevitably end on a hilltop."

          It depends on the local terrain. In some places if you follow a stream you'll end up stuck in some form of mire. If it's not mountainous stick to the ridge and follow that down*. A lot of pre-historic tracks were ridgeways for good reason.

          *Unless the ridge ends in a sharp drop.

    2. Fading Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Too many apps

      Right time to download a sextant app, a solar horizon position app, a star chart app (all GPS powered) and do some proper triangulation (on the triangulation app naturally).

    3. verno

      Re: Too many apps

      Can I ask how wind direction (which changes) can help with navigation? Genuinely curious!

      Ta

      1. Valerion

        Re: Too many apps

        Can I ask how wind direction (which changes) can help with navigation? Genuinely curious!

        Simple - it's pretty much guaranteed that the way you want to go will be walking into the sodding wind, rather than it helpfully blowing you from behind.

        Sorry, slipped in Dabbsy-esque double-entendre there.

      2. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Too many apps

        You can use the effect prevailing wind has on flora, for example. Trees will tend to lean with the prevailing wind and that's not effected by wind changes that will fluctuate. The drying effect on natural and man made things. Cloud direction. Clouds will move in a different way to the wind direction at lower altitudes. These things are effected by air pressure too and can be useful weather change indicators. But I'll stop there before I waffle on too much.

        It's one of the ways I navigate. When I start a walk I note wind direction and relate it to compass directions. I can very roughly use this to retrace my route or know direction at any point in time. It's part of a whole package of natural navigation tools. I'd recommend reading some of the excellent books by Tristan Gooley - the Natural Navigator, for example. There are people, like me, that teach this stuff too.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          Those of us who live elsewhere usually use the sun as a reference. But I suppose you work with what you have. I take it that in England, that's the wind.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Too many apps

            yeah. rain is mostly useful fo navigating downwards.

        2. verno
          Thumb Up

          Re: Too many apps

          Very informative! Will have a look.

          Edited - reached my "ta" quota already today!

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          Clouds will move in a different way to the wind direction at lower altitudes.

          Better not go visit Norway. I've more than once seen clouds at three different levels move at right angles to each other, with the upper level moving right against the lowest.

    4. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Too many apps

      A map app is a map. Why would anyone not blind need verbal instructions when he has a perfectly good map piece of modern art Google or Apple hallucinated up, rendered on a tiny screen? Anyway. It's not like you are moving at speed 130 km/h and when you miss an exit you get another chance in 30 km. You are bloody walking. Just look at the map occasionally.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Too many apps

        @ find users who...

        RE: "A map app is a map"

        Yes. But people think because they have a map they can navigate. It's that reliance that will let people down. What happens when weather / terrain / power failure means that your electronic map dies? The tiny screen is an issue if you want to see distant features to establish your location. Reasons like this are why in London cabbies still have to take the knowledge.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          "Reasons like this are why in London cabbies still have to take the knowledge."

          Partially. It's mostly about artificial barriers to entry to preserve lucrative jobs through restricting supply though. See, for example New York's medallions.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Too many apps

          "A map app is a map. "

          Not yer average satnav app , it just says left , right , and most annoyingly " in 300 yds , go straight on"

          As I dont trust these machines I'm not happy with just knowing the next step - i want to know the whole plan, but the missus refuses a) drive or b) press buttons on the satnav to reveal the route its planning , so we go step by mystery step ... or argue ....

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Too many apps

            > As I dont trust these machines I'm not happy with just knowing the next step - i want to know the whole plan

            Especially if you need to decide which of the two turn lanes to get into... "do I need to make a left or right turn after this one?"

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too many apps

            "As I dont trust these machines I'm not happy with just knowing the next step - i want to know the whole plan... "

            There's also the annoyance of overly-specific directions (in 100 feet, take exit on right.... in 50 feet take exit on right.... take exit on right.... take exit on right... now jump over two lanes to make a left turn onto the overpass (#&%*#! I'm in the wrong lane!)" versus: in 100 feet take the main street exit, then head west on Main street.

        3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Too many apps

          "What happens when weather / terrain / power failure means that your electronic map dies?"

          Agreed.. but have you ever tried to unfold, read, and re-stow a map outdoors on a windy and/or rainy day?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too many apps

      Satellite dishes point south (north in the antipodes natch)

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Too many apps

        Satellite dishes point south (north in the antipodes natch)

        Up to a point. Your average satellite TV dish in the UK will point sort-of southwards, but as the geostationary satellites used to cover the UK are not precisely at 0° longitude, you'll be off by a bit. For 'broad brush' navigation, that doesn't matter, but it definitely isn't precisely south.

        If you take the example of the Astra 28.2° E satellites, if you are setting up a satellite dish in the UK, you won't point it directly south (180°), but somewhere between 139° and 147° degrees, depending on where you are.

        If you put your location into DishPointer, and select the Astra satellites at 28.2E it'll draw a nice map showing where the satellite dish will point. It's fairly clear that it is not directly south.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too many apps

      I remember doing that too but I know the area that I grew up in, once open fields, with acres of strawberries has now become one vast suburban sprawl.

    7. Trixr Bronze badge

      Re: Too many apps

      For us antipodeans travelling to the northern hemisphere, none of that stuff works. I think pretty much the only constellation I can reliably identify in the NH is Orion. I get lost walking out of a tube station, because the sun is in the wrong part of the sky.

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Tea with milk

    Good tea-related rant, but you missed out one of my particular pet peeves...whenever I get milk for a beverage on the continent, it's always that horrid strange-tasting UHT muck.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Tea with milk

      Can anyone explain why, even if you take your own tea and milk, it still never seems to taste the same?

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: never seems to taste the same?

        Hard vs soft water.

        1. Mark 110

          Re: never seems to taste the same?

          I'm learning Spanish at the moment. Taught by Spanish people - Javi & Sara - varies week to week.

          Anyway the reason you can't get a decent cup of tea in Spain is they haven't invented the kettle yet. They don 't have a word for it even. The concept of a device to boil water with in order to make proper tea is completely alien.

          They keep raving at the genius that is the kettle in the corner of the classroom.

          They are less impressed with instant Nescafe (and rightly so).

          1. Valerion

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            Anyway the reason you can't get a decent cup of tea in Spain is they haven't invented the kettle yet.

            The Americans have also yet to invent it. Every time I go to Florida on holiday I rent a place, and it always has a filter coffee machine. But no kettle. On the one or two occasions that there has been one, it has been the "put it on the hob for 4 hours until it boils" variety.

            1. Duffy Moon

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              "The Americans have also yet to invent it."

              Their lower voltage means that an electric kettle would take a lot longer to boil. I think that's why they favour the stove-top.

              1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                Re: never seems to taste the same?

                Their lower voltage means that an electric kettle would take a lot longer to boil.

                I'm no expert but but to get x amount of power out of a device you need a bowl full of volts and amps , so if you're limited on volts , just top it up with amps to make a lovely batch of kilowatts.

                1. cambsukguy

                  Re: never seems to taste the same?

                  You just can't get the amps through a reasonable cable in the US though.

                  However, if you are ever required to live there, wire a socket to the 230V outlets (they have different but available plugtops) they use (often without realising) for their washer/dryer setup. Dryers need insane power of course so they use two phases.

                  Thus (almost) all the Brit Kit that works only on 230V happily operates near the dryer cupboard on an extension.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: never seems to taste the same?

                    However, if you are ever required to live there, wire a socket to the 230V outlets (they have different but available plugtops) they use (often without realising) for their washer/dryer setup

                    ---

                    Very bad plan.

                    A circuit breaker appropriate for a dryer will provide no protection for the puny wiring of a kettle, in the event of a short, making for an 'out of design specs' fire hazard.

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: never seems to taste the same?

                      "A circuit breaker appropriate for a dryer will provide no protection for the puny wiring of a kettle, in the event of a short, making for an 'out of design specs' fire hazard."

                      Minor hazard compared to lack of tea.

                    2. CountCadaver

                      Re: never seems to taste the same?

                      "Very bad plan.

                      A circuit breaker appropriate for a dryer will provide no protection for the puny wiring of a kettle, in the event of a short, making for an 'out of design specs' fire hazard."

                      Actually it wouldn't matter nor cause any fire hazard. Reason kettle is a resistive load so doesn't need overload protection, just short circuit protection. Ditto electric showers (Though as an ex spark, I have a mixer shower as standing wet on an earthed metal bath whilst under an electric shower goes against the grain somewhat....touch voltage (i.e. that required to penetrate your skin) drops from 50V AC dry down to < 25V AC when your soaking wet.)

                      Whether you could terminate the dryer cables into a uk socket might be another matter. Though you could just run a flex cable of carrying 13 amps from the breaker panel to a single UK socket (current then limited to 13amps.) 1.25mm2 would cover it though 1.5mm2 is more commonly found, translated to North American as 16AWG, for a longer run, use 2.5mm2 / 14AWG to reduce volt drop.

                      Inductive loads are a different matter however......that could go horribly wrong.

                      1. Roopee
                        FAIL

                        Re: never seems to taste the same?

                        "kettle is a resistive load so doesn't need overload protection"

                        Some electrician you were! Overload protection on a circuit is to protect the cabling, not the appliance(s) at the end of it. Ditto short circuit protection. Maybe you were thinking of over-voltage protection as used on industrial motors?

                        The 50V "touch voltage" (not a technical term in the U.K. Regs) is the maximum voltage the CPC (earth wire in common parlance) or neutral is allowed to reach by design under fault conditions in a domestic installation.

                        It is derived from the typical surface resistance of human skin and the typical current required for a shock to be fatal to a human (many other animals are much more sensitive). Current kills you, not voltage (hence we don't die from a bit of static, unlike MOSFETs).

                2. Dog11

                  Re: never seems to taste the same?

                  if you're limited on volts , just top it up with amps to make a lovely batch of kilowatts

                  The thing is, how many amps you can pull without melting your wiring depends on how heavy the wire is. This limits US appliances to 1.8 kw. Google suggests that the UK has kettles running anywhere up to 3 kw (twice the voltage, twice the power, using the same thickness of wire).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: never seems to taste the same?

                    "The thing is, how many amps you can pull without melting your wiring depends on how heavy the wire is. This limits US appliances to 1.8 kw. "

                    1875 watts, actually.

                    Which is quite enough for a kettle, unless you are trying to boil the water in roughly the time it takes to put water in the kettle. Having 30 seconds more to contemplate tea type choices is not always a bad thing.

                    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                      Re: never seems to taste the same?

                      Which is quite enough for a kettle, unless you are trying to boil the water in roughly the time it takes to put water in the kettle.

                      My GF found a Teasmade at a local charity shop, labeled 'probably broken'. It wasn't, but the expectation that it would heat the water to a boil quite a bit faster than it actually did probably made them slap that label on.

                3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: never seems to taste the same?

                  I'm no expert but but to get x amount of power out of a device you need a bowl full of volts and amps , so if you're limited on volts , just top it up with amps to make a lovely batch of kilowatts.

                  In theory, you are of course correct. In practice a US mains outlet is fused at 15A, giving a practical limit of 1650W, a long way from the UK 3120W (240*13) or European 3520W (220*16).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: never seems to taste the same?

                    In theory, you are of course correct. In practice a US mains outlet is fused at 15A, giving a practical limit of 1650W, a long way from the UK 3120W (240*13) or European 3520W (220*16).

                    =============================================

                    The actual practical limit is 1875 watts (125*15) which is the common and quite adequate specification for high powered devices like big kettles, convection ovens, and the like.

                    110 volts hasn't been seen on domestic feeds here for decades. Maybe in some out of the way rural services, but even there, I doubt it.

                    Note that, unlike UK wiring specs, modern North American wiring codes now specify a dedicated breaker and wire for each outlet in rooms like kitchens, so every single outlet can deliver the 1875 watts simultaneously... with no ring mains or the like, and no fuses that can be replaced with incorrect capacity conductors.

                    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                      Alert

                      Re: never seems to taste the same?

                      "modern North American wiring codes now specify a dedicated breaker and wire for each outlet in rooms like kitchens, so every single outlet can deliver the 1875 watts"

                      The labelling of them however is totally inaccurate (or at least in my 12 year old house), as I found out by flicking the light switch to check that half the lights were running off an upstairs plugs circuit ECB & some of the wall plugs controlled by the lighting ECB, when swapping out a light fitting.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: never seems to taste the same?

                "Their lower voltage means that an electric kettle would take a lot longer to boil. I think that's why they favour the stove-top."

                Voltage is not a determining factor - it is quite irrelevant.

                The key factors are power, water capacity/contents, and kettle design.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              The Americans have also yet to invent it.

              American kettles do exist, but on 110v they take forever to boil.

            3. Daedalus Silver badge

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              Anyway the reason you can't get a decent cup of tea in Spain is they haven't invented the kettle yet.

              The Americans have also yet to invent it. Every time I go to Florida on holiday I rent a place, and it always has a filter coffee machine. But no kettle. On the one or two occasions that there has been one, it has been the "put it on the hob for 4 hours until it boils" variety.

              It isn't that hard to get a kettle here in the USA. It's just not on most people's radar, as they say. Thirty-odd years ago, yes it was a challenge. The nearest approximation (from Sears, of course!) was something vaguely in the shape of a coffee percolator without an obvious heating coil in it. The bottom was a metal plate that got hot somehow. Later you could wander into a "European Kitchen" store and usually find something familiar, but often lacking that nice automatic switch that pops out to tell you it's time to pour. Now we have one of those, which I helpfully turn on in the mornings on behalf of SWMBO before trekking down the drive to pick up the increasingly mis-named "newspaper".

            4. Rol Silver badge

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              Much like my endeavours to buy bacon from a supermarket.

              It is cut so thin that Lady Gaga would be embarrassed to wear it.

              No. I buy gammon joints now and cleave wedges off.

              Why, in a world that embraces choice and service do I increasingly find I have no choice but to serve myself?

              1. Russell Chapman Esq.

                Re: never seems to taste the same?

                I only eat bacon when I go home. Not even worth looking for it in Europe. Lidl sold something it called British bacon. As an experiment, bought a pack as it did look like bacon, was terrible all the gunk which came out of it. Dumped it in the loo. Dumped before eating, not after.

          2. cambsukguy

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            Except where said Spanish people know Brits, seen our kettles, promptly purchased a 'proper' 3kW jobbie in the UK, asked said Brit to pop down the Spanish DIY store and re-wired it to prevent plugtop burnout and happily enjoyed boiling water on demand ever since.

            With 'imported' Tetley's (though they do sell it there these days) and hard-to-find 'proper' milk (they have it, one has to look hard is all), one can make almost the same tea there as here.

            My trick at the Lyon's Tea house (oh, the irony) in the US was to ask the waitress (as she always was all those years ago), to 'please, please' just put the water, in the cup, in the microwave, for just maybe two minutes and not, whatever their feelings, to touch, stir or jog the cup until they gave it to me (along with continuous warnings and a signed release about how it will kill me to even approach it let alone drink it).

            Placing a teabag in the cup produce instant boiling water to infuse the teabag I (obviously) brought with me. Not perfect but a revelation compared to the pitiful effort they would have produced.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              'please, please' just put the water, in the cup, in the microwave

              -----

              Odd.

              Every tea enthusiast I know maintains that the worst thing you can do when making tea is heating the water in a microwave.

              They universally use electric or stove top kettles.

              1. 's water music Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: never seems to taste the same?

                Odd.

                Every tea enthusiast I know maintains that the worst thing you can do when making tea is heating the water in a microwave.

                They universally use electric or stove top kettles.

                With oxygen-free wiring/pipework no doubt

              2. Trixr Bronze badge

                Re: never seems to taste the same?

                But in a place where they cannot make the water hot enough to make proper tea, the microwave option is the least-objectionable.

            2. Stork Silver badge

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              Here in Portugal electric kettles are quite common. 2.2kW, normally. Coffee is generally good, tea rare even if it was a Portuguese who introduced the British to it.

          3. Russell Chapman Esq.

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            Get pretty much boiling water from the espresso machine. Does the trick

          4. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            Anyway the reason you can't get a decent cup of tea in Spain is they haven't invented the kettle yet. They don 't have a word for it even. The concept of a device to boil water with in order to make proper tea is completely alien.

            Rubbish - I live in Barcelona half of the year. While tea in a cafe is to be avoided at all costs, we have a kettle (acquired from a corner electrical shop), and while I have not conciously taken a census, many of our friends (non British) have them as well. More of a problem is our friends begging/filching decent tea bags.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            LIAR

            tetera

          6. Steevee

            Re: never seems to taste the same?

            I had the same thing when visiting friends in France....no electric kettle. It the same in the US too, they have an electric coffee machine, so why have a kettle too? Ended up boiling water in a pan on the stove to make tea. If I'd known that up front I could have taken my whistling camping kettle for the hob, or even just bought a cheap electric kettle from Argos to last the fortnight.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: never seems to taste the same?

              The biggest problem I encountered on my visits to the US is a lack of good water for tea. The stuff from the taps is chlorinated and has all kinds of other stuff added to it to preserve the centuries old lead and iron pipes. The stuff from bottles either tastes of plastic, is too hard, otherwise tastes funny or a combination of all of those. No wonder they don't sell their beverages in anything under puny gallon size.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Tea with milk

        "Can anyone explain why... it still never seems to taste the same?"

        Hard/soft water seems to make a difference to taste and to colour. Tea acts as an indicator and it's difficult to judge its strength in hard water areas.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Tea with milk

          Hard/soft water seems to make a difference to taste and to colour. Tea acts as an indicator and it's difficult to judge its strength in hard water areas.

          I was spoiled for several years in London by having an ion exchange softener on the mains. Still needed a Brita filter to make decent tea, and you're really meant to have an additional exchanger on the drinking water, so the extra Na probably didn't do my blood pressure any good.

          No longer have that, so have now developed a two step filter involving two filter jugs, one Brita, one BWT. (Some testing indicates Brita-Brita would work, but arrived at this stage by getting the BWT, deciding it was an improvement over the Brita, if not perfect, and then realising I now had two filters.)

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Tea with milk

      > ...horrid strange-tasting UHT muck.

      And low fat, just to make sure every little detail is perfectly horrible.

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Tea with milk Good tea-related rant

      I thought the tea bit was good too,

      If Dabbsy is going to open a tea place, he should also consider doing sandwiches too, and have the staff uniform as dressing gowns.

      UHT, yes, but what's worse is the occasional surprise sole offering of goats milk instead.

      Which reminds me of a particularly rough french ferry crossing from Cork, in a 'cosy' 'titanic steerage' type cabin and my Dad insisting on his morning cornflakes even despite the only available milk on board seemingly, goat.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        Cornflakes ?

        You mean to say that he hasn't yet graduated to black coffee and a snarl ?

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Tea with milk Good tea-related rant

        Which reminds me of a particularly rough french ferry crossing from Cork, in a 'cosy' 'titanic steerage' type cabin and my Dad insisting on his morning cornflakes even despite the only available milk on board seemingly, goat.

        This surprises me. Presumably, this was the Irish Ferries crossing between Cork and Swansea. If so, the people operating it are going to have been Irish, which happens to be the nation in Europe that drinks the most tea. One would have thought that they, of all people, would know what they are doing with the milk.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Tea with milk Good tea-related rant

          If so, the people operating it are going to have been Irish, which happens to be the nation in Europe that drinks the most tea.

          This statement made me curious about where we stand in the world (if the UK nations were considered separately I suspect NI would give the south a run for its money). I now know Ireland comes second only to Turkey. Turkey. Not China. Not India. Turkey. https://www.statista.com/statistics/507950/global-per-capita-tea-consumption-by-country/

          Turkey.

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Tea with milk Good tea-related rant

          >>Which reminds me of a particularly rough french ferry crossing from Cork

          This surprises me. Presumably, this was the Irish Ferries crossing between Cork and Swansea. If so, the people operating it are going to have been Irish, which happens to be the nation in Europe that drinks the most tea. One would have thought that they, of all people, would know what they are doing with the milk.

          Presumably the French ferry from Cork went elsewhere. Of course the final Swansea-Cork ferry was staffed mostly by Poles before it sadly disappeared for ever. I was mostly too young for tea back in the days of the Innisfallen

        3. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Tea with milk Good tea-related rant

          "french ferry crossing from Cork"

          Sounds like it is Cork - France?

    4. DwarfPants

      Re: Tea with milk

      And always Lipton Tea. Is it even sold in the UK, I suspect not as the only way to get you to drink it is to be in a place with no alternatives.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Tea with milk

        Surprisingly enough, if you want a decent cup of tea when off the civilized map, try a Starbucks. Their coffee is still uniformly shite, but they do make tea with real boiling water added on top of a decent teabag (Teavana seems to be their current supplier). No Liptons Yellow in sight.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tea with milk

          With one exception - coffee in France is horrible unless it's from Starbucks...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tea with milk

            "With one exception - coffee in France is horrible unless it's from Starbucks.."

            What?

            It was French coffee that convinced me that I needed to learn to make it properly because at the time it was unobtainable in the UK.

            Now you can get it at a whole load of independent places - at least 5 in our small town are capable of making good coffee - but _Starbucks?_.

            1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

              Re: Tea with milk

              With one exception - coffee in France is horrible unless it's from Starbucks...

              I've rarely been disappointed with coffee any time I've been in France. Even McCoffee from The Evil Beef Clown joint was perfectly good.

            2. Martlark

              Re: Tea with milk

              I've just spent a month travelling through France and can confirm that the coffee is generally terrible. If you think otherwise then you don't understand what good coffee should taste like or have never been to a country, such as Australia or Italy, that knows how to make the blessed brew correctly.

          2. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Tea with milk

            @AC, the Starbucks in France is only passable because the rest is so horrible. In comparison to real coffee it's still closer to raw sewage.

          3. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: Tea with milk

            >With one exception - coffee in France is horrible unless it's from Starbucks...

            You're obviously drinking your coffee with the wrong hand. Or you've confused France with England.

            England: Were towns are full of "cafes" all serving stool samples.

      2. Mage Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Tea with milk

        Lipton are big for herbal infusions. Hence popularity on the continent. Also spice & herb flavoured tea. I guess the Continental cafés get the actual black tea from Lipton when they first open and buy a few boxes of all the varieties.

        Clue in name. Café = coffee. You'd need somewhere else to get real tea on the Continent. A Chinese Restaurant has the green teas as the cheaper stuff. Curiously their black tea tends to be expensive matured blends.

        Taylor's, the Yorkshire Tea people, have a blend especially for hard water. You can get both sorts in Ireland due to dominance of UK wholesale and retail. I guess after March the choice will be Lipton's from Poland, Barry's and maybe Lyon's (I think there are UK & Irish produced blends). I like Punjana, Yorkshire and Tetley's more than Barry's Tea.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: Tea with milk

          You can get both sorts in Ireland due to dominance of UK wholesale and retail. I guess after March the choice will be Lipton's from Poland, Barry's and maybe Lyon's

          Bewley's too. Punjana (Thompson's) is Northern Irish (making it obviously superior), it'll probably be possible to smuggle past the magical Brexit fairies. Of course, none of it is actually grown on either island (or in Poland for that matter).

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Tea with milk

            Of course, none of it is actually grown on either island

            Suki were trying to grow tea in NI, I'm not sure what came of it. There is a tea plantation in Cornwall, near Padstow, so it's not impossible.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Tea with milk

              There is also some tea grown in Scotland. At least, someone was having a go a year or two back.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea#Cultivation_and_harvesting

          2. Whiskers

            Re: Tea with milk

            Just for the record, tea is grown in the British Isles; just £39.50 for 11 grams (which can make up to 20 cups if you do it right) <https://tregothnan.co.uk/product/single-estate-loose-11g/>. They also sell their tea blended with more common imported leaves at more ordinary prices.

            1. ibmalone Silver badge

              Re: Tea with milk

              Just for the record, tea is grown in the British Isles; just £39.50 for 11 grams (which can make up to 20 cups if you do it right) <https://tregothnan.co.uk/product/single-estate-loose-11g/>. They also sell their tea blended with more common imported leaves at more ordinary prices.

              While I suppose I was thinking of the stuff you can buy in a supermarket, had you asked me whether tea was grown commercially in the UK I would have said no. (Well, I might have smelt a rat and said yes.)

              So I stand corrected! Corrected and, frankly, baffled...

          3. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Tea with milk

            Nambarrie

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Tea with milk

          "Taylor's, the Yorkshire Tea people, have a blend especially for hard water."

          The local supermarkets sell it. Fair enough - we're in Yorkshire. But the water's so soft it defurred a kettle in a few weeks after we moved up from High Wycombe. Clearly too many people don't know the difference.

          1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

            Re: Tea with milk

            Sshhh, nobody tell the God's Own Country mob that their water is soft and not dead hard, they'll never live it down.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Tea with milk

              "Sshhh, nobody tell the God's Own Country mob that their water is soft and not dead hard"

              It depends where you are. Up in the dales it's hard. In the [millstone] gritty Dark Peak it's soft, all the better for our once-upon-a-time textile industry.

      3. Trixr Bronze badge

        Re: Tea with milk

        Frigging Lipton. I can't believe it's sold in Oz/NZ - it's the Starbucks of tea. And yes, I do actually judge my friends who have the muck in their cupboards.

    5. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Tea with milk

      My biggest bugbear: I had to give up drinking tea on First Great Western. Which, due to where I live, means most of my train travel. For the exact same reason of the atrocity they now give you in the name of tea. I once asked about the cup of water and teabag before rejecting it, and they told me something entirely implausible about that general-purpose scapegoat Elfin Safety.

      As for coffee ...

      I spent quite a few years in Italy, so I grew accustomed to good coffee. That left me in the position where, when in a third country, my English tastes meant I found the tea foul, and my Italian tastes did the same for the coffee. Not a nice situation. Though thankfully that has improved quite a lot this century.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tea with milk

      "whenever I get milk for a beverage on the continent"

      If it's te, just leave the milk out. Coffee? don't know, don't care.

    7. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Tea with milk

      whenever I get milk for a beverage on the continent, it's always that horrid strange-tasting UHT muck.

      If you pass near here, in exchange for a box of Yorkshire Gold (the soft water variety, water here is excellent), you can have your tea with the stuff that's squirted out of a cow without any intervening processes (the tap has a sign 'boil before using', but that's just to make it your own responsibility when rightly ignoring it).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Tea with milk

        "stuff that's squirted out of a cow without any intervening processes (the tap has a sign 'boil before using'"

        You boil your cows?

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Alternativly

    Leave the smart phone at home and get lost the old fashioned way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternativly

      Leave the smart phone at home and get lost the old fashioned way.

      I'm not lost - I know exactly where I am: I'm here. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea where "here" is.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie
        Coat

        Re: Alternativly

        Are you Granny Weatherwax?

        “Granny Weatherwax was not lost. She wasn't the kind of person who ever became lost. It was just that, at the moment, while she knew exactly where SHE was, she didn't know the position of anywhere else.”

        ― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Alternativly

          My mum used to say: "Keep going. Eventually you'll get somewhere you recognize"

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Alternativly

            So what do you when that someplace turns out to be "Back where I F'n started"?

            1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

              Re: Alternativly

              You wake up Mr Barraclough and go back to Slade Prison.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Happy medium

      I think I strike a happy medium there. I'll take the 'phone and sometimes use the maps, but I've never considered letting it tell me directions.

      Back in the Good Old Days I used to go out deliberately without map and compass in any non-clear weather in my local stomping ground of the time[1] for a fleeting illusion of wilderness.

      [1] One of the best times was when that stomping ground was the Peak District: Kinder was a favourite place to get lost in the swirling mists. Sadly far too small an area to get genuinely away from things.

  6. Burb

    I recommend ViewRanger. Well worth the annual subscription, giving access to all UK 1:50000 and 1:25000 maps. One feature that makes all the difference compared with Google maps is that it gives you an immediate indication of which direction you are walking in.

    1. taxman
      Thumb Up

      And even the free version provides you with access to enough maps and bells and whistles to enjoy while working out what those close brown wiggly lines mean to your rate of breathing!

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      it gives you an immediate indication of which direction you are walking in

      I'm sure I remember that Google Maps used to do that, but they've upgraded it so it doesn't. The only way to tell which way to go now is to walk 200 yards in a random direction to see which way the pointer moves (usually the wrong way).

    3. Timmy B Silver badge

      "I recommend ViewRanger."

      I totally agree. I do, despite going on about natural navigation, use this on a regular basis. It's handy for areas where I don't own the OS map and want to know things like open access land.

      Bargain, really.

  7. DropBear Silver badge

    What is this strange thing you mention, "walking"...?

    1. kventin

      's exactly like nordic walking, but without the walking poles.

      yeah, i know.

      you can imagine it like this (sounds improbable, but bear with me): your car breaks down and your phone battery goes flat _at the same time_, *and* you forget your power bank.

      then you might use this "walking".

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Nope. Even if the car breaks down, its battery should still have enough charge. That why God invented car chargers. Plus I keep a small power bank plugged in and stored in the glove box for just such an occasion. Should be no reason short of a disaster (in which case you're probably already screwed) why you can't reach AAA or someone who can reach AAA.

        Walking's kinda hard for someone with a bum knee.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Walking's kinda hard for someone with a bum knee."

          Amen to that, brother.

  8. CT

    waist-high jungle to save 100m

    Thanks to google maps for taking me up a steep path which started OK, but then turned into waist-high wet grass and no lighting. I'd have turned back, but I didn't want to lose the height and then have to climb again with a heavy rucksack. Wrong decision = wet trousers.

    In the morning, I saw that it had saved me all of 100 metres or so, bypassing a perfectly walkable minor road.

    Austria, since you asked. I'd have used the OS if it was the UK

    1. John Presland

      Re: waist-high jungle to save 100m

      Bloody Google maps. In Santander it took me in a straight line to where the coach was parked - up and down the hill. I could have had a pleasant walk by the sea round the hill.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: waist-high jungle to save 100m

        "Bloody Google maps. In Santander it took me in a straight line to where the coach was parked - up and down the hill. I could have had a pleasant walk by the sea round the hill."

        That's why the map app has those plus/minus symbols or responds to two finger pinch/ant-pinch to zoom in or out. It's a clever way of allowing you see a bit more of the surrounding area than just the 10-20' around your current location and allowing you garner more information so as to be able to make your own life choices instead of blindly following the machines directions such as "turn left now" so wander off down an express rail line. as some drivers are wont to do.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: waist-high jungle to save 100m

          That assumes the marsh is ON the bloody map...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Frogger

    Brilliant !

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Frogger

      Ribbit!

  10. Huw D Silver badge

    Dabbsy, are you channeling Dave Gorman?

    Why coffee has ruined tea.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DWFWyz9f2w

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      That was excellent. Thank you for that link.

      Now I'm going to have to look this guy up.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    In the old days when visiting clients, you'd consult a paper map, make mental notes where to go, and you'll arrive safe and sound at your client/destination. This also have the advantage of you "optimizing" your route especially if you knew which shady parts of the city/country to avoid.

    Nowadays you just plonk your destination into your GPS, and if you land up in the middle of a squatter camp late at night.... (Happened to me once).

    I prefer the old way of doing it, by mentally plotting and remembering your route, gives them brain cells a good workout.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      It also means that you get to look around and appreciate your surroundings (or at least form an opinion of what a place is actually like). I think that if you asked most people what any given city looked like, they'd say that it looked like a smartphone screen.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "I prefer the old way of doing it, by mentally plotting and remembering your route, gives them brain cells a good workout."

      Until you have to go someplace totally unfamiliar, meaning you're going in blind and with no outside help because they haven't been there, either.

      Say what you will about smartphones, but when it comes to on-the-spot research, they can be a lifesaver.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Police station mapping

        Back in the very old days when every town had a police station that actually opened its doors more than one hour a week, they were usually well signposted and always had a town map on the wall in the lobby. Other good alternatives were petrol stations and estate agents.

        Even now there's always the option of winding down the window and asking for directions. Human interaction has its advantages sometimes.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Police station mapping

          "Back in the very old days when every town had a police station that actually opened its doors more than one hour a week, they were usually well signposted and always had a town map on the wall in the lobby. Other good alternatives were petrol stations and estate agents."

          Catch-22. You need a map to find the place that has the map.

          "Even now there's always the option of winding down the window and asking for directions. Human interaction has its advantages sometimes."

          That was before carjacking and similar crimes became en vogue. And there are definitely places that are not safe for foreigners to tread, no matter the local foot traffic patterns.

    3. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Why not both?

      Plenty of times I've used google maps/waze to get to a destination.

      But I also prepared by looking up google maps beforehand, streetview around the destination, any hazards or tricky junctions etc. at the very least had a rough map in my head of the main roads I should be taking.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Be careful. I know for a fact some of those Street View pictures are old and things can change in the interim. Can be pretty unnerving to be looking for a building to indicate a specific corner only to find the corner and the building in question torn down.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          "Be careful. I know for a fact some of those Street View pictures are old and things can change in the interim."

          I was once using Street View to get textures for building a virtual copy of the building the local city councilor's office is in, a demo for making an entire virtual ward for the councilor. The Street View picture was so old, there was still a large photo of his predecessor on the side of the building.

  12. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Trollface

    Man's best friend

    Just picture it, me striding around public parks with my Pedo app clearly visible on my smartphone screen for all to see. I'm sure to attract a crowd.

    And then you could do the variant for those early and late jaunts with ones canine, and have a Dogging app?

  13. D@v3

    walking directions

    This has fondly reminded me of the time when i found myself in one part of London (near Hyde park) and wanting to get to another, (near London Bridge) to meet a friend for some drinks.

    Having decided that taking the tube would get me there far too early, and have me waiting around like a lemon looking for some Gin, i decided to walk it.

    Start and end points plugged into google maps, music on, headphones in, phone back in pocket and away i went. Due to the helpful voice in my head telling me to 'turn left up this road' in 'x feet'I didn't have to focus on my phone so was able to relax and enjoy the walk, and didn't get lost.

    Arrived exactly when i needed to, and went to the pub.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: walking directions

      I used to travel from Dartford - Paddington on Fridays (& vice versa on Sundays) & would frequently make it a walk across London (a few pubs featured en-route), just keeping the (Twinkle free) Post Office Tower to my right as I walked, rather than be stuffed into the tube.

      Usually in plenty of time to catch my train after a few more beers.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: walking directions

        " just keeping the (Twinkle free) Post Office Tower to my right as I walked"

        Too many pubs and you just find yourself orbiting the tower.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: walking directions

      @ D@v3: You should still have taken the tube, however: a better chance of bagsying a table for you and your friend, and the chance to knock back an extra G&T (and possibly meet somebody else new and interesting while waiting for your friend) ;-)

  14. GlenP Silver badge
    Pint

    Recently...

    Walking round Newcastle, not having lived there for over 30 years, I resorted to TomTom to find somewhere. It reckoned it was 2 1/2 miles away, when in fact it was about 300 yards on foot. I gave up and went back to my ageing memory to find a couple of pubs. One was still there but the other closed down a few years ago,

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Recently...

      Had you forgotten the Andy Capp art of navigating by pub?

      1. GlenP Silver badge

        Re: Recently...

        Trouble is after 30 years and a lot of redevelopment the pubs had changed!

        Bridge Hotel is still there but the Cooperage has gone. Several others had either gone or changed.

      2. Roopee
        Pint

        Re: Recently...

        "navigating by pub"

        My grandad did exactly that, and he was one of the first policemen in the U.K. to patrol by car! I think it was more to do with the fact that so many pubs were at crossroads than to do with partaking of beverages, though he was partial to his pints.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Maps Walking

    It's useless. Was inside a shopping centre and the app routed me completely the wrong way to get somewhere. It wasn't until we'd spent 15 minutes walking that realised there was an easier route. Google mapping routes are useless.

  16. Snivelling Wretch

    You need a Nutri-Matic machine

    "[...] it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea."

    - Douglas Adams

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The only time I've used my phone for navigation while walking was to check what time it was so I could work out which direction was north.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

      The only time I've used my phone for navigation while walking was to check what time it was so I could work out which direction was north.

      Hmm, I wonder if there is an app for that? Point arrow on screen in heading of the sun, and in combination with (GPS or other time source) time, get second arrow pointing due South (in Northern hemisphere), and due North (in Southern hemisphere). GPS or external knowledge could be used to work out which hemisphere you are in.

      Note: GPS (with a single antenna) will not tell you which way is North. It determines your position on the geoid only, not heading. You need two points, either by having two antennas, or by moving and taking a second reading before GPS can then calculate and tell you which direction is North relative to the course between the points. Hence the need for a compass of some type (magnetic/gyro/inertial) in combination with GPS for some applications.

      Of course, many smartphones have magnetometers in them that can be used to emulate a magnetic compass.

      One of my prize possessions is a 24-hour dial wristwatch with mid-day at the top of the dial, which allows you to determine South (in the Northern hemisphere) directly (point hour-hand at sun, mid-day marker points due South). The irritation is that the mid-night marker is labelled 24, rather than 0.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

        "One of my prize possessions is a 24-hour dial wristwatch"

        Genius - I didn't know such a thing existed. I've spent so much time showing people how to use a regular analogue watch I don't need one. But I love the idea.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

          24-hour wristwatches are a thing, most are 'military' designs, and have 24 at the top of the dial.

          I have an Aristo Messerschmitt watch - 24 hour dial, 12 at top, counts up to 24. Few 24 hour watches have the 12 at the top of the dial - most have it at the bottom, and even fewer have a zero instead of 24 - the Russian Brand 'Raketa' (РАКЕТА) has a lot of 24-hour models (put: 'Raketa 24-hour' into your Internet search engine of choice), which include the Polyarnaya (Полярная) watch that has a zero instead of a 24 - but still at the top of the dial (Ebay example here).

          I don't collect watches, but if it looks like there's a pretty large culture of watch collectors, judging by the number of forums and 'interesting' prices one can find looking around the Internet.

          1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

            Ooops, sorry - that should be Полярные (Polyarnyye), not Полярная (Polyarnaya) - both mean 'Polar', but it is the first written on the watch dial. Russian is full of hazardous word endings just waiting to trip up English speakers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

              "Russian is full of hazardous word endings just waiting to trip up English speakers."

              Konyechno, tovarishch - how else is the FSB supposed to identify foreign moles?

              (Seriously can some kind person explain why it's полярные and thus plural? Enquiring minds etc.)

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

                (Seriously can some kind person explain why it's полярные and thus plural? Enquiring minds etc.)

                North AND South pole. The watch will work in either hemisphere as you'd be upside down when in the Southern anyway.

                (They couldn't care less about the 38 million Poles to the west of them)

          2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

            "I have an Aristo Messerschmitt watch - 24 hour dial, 12 at top, counts up to 24."

            Took me longer than it should've to realise that, 'midnight' starts at the bottom, not the top.

        2. Gordon861

          Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

          24hr watch, used to have one, great for confusing people that ask what the time is in the street. You just flash them the watch and they look and walk off happy, they get about 50m and then stop and look very puzzled when they realise that the time they read doesn't make any sense.

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Determining South (in the Northern hemisphere) from a clock

        "Hmm, I wonder if there is an app for that?"

        I think there is. I thought I had installed it, but looks like I didn't, otherwise I'd name it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The only time I've used my phone for navigation while walking was to check what time it was so I could work out which direction was north."

      I don't buy expensive phones but every one I've had for the last 6 years or so has had a perfectly adequate compass.

      Edit - as for the complaint about Google Maps not showing orientation while walking, is this because it doesn't actually know what direction your phone is pointing in relative to your viewpoint? If you hold it vertically, the compass doesn't work. And a cursory look around shows many people seem unable to look at the screen unless they hold it in front of their faces.

  18. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    NCN Signposts

    A similar experience is available to anyone who has a bike, but no smartphone.

    Try following the National Cycle Network signposts. If you're lucky you'll encounter nothing worse than a rough track with massive flooded potholes. I finally gave up on NCN when my route was signposted across the middle of a ploughed field. It would have been impassable even on a mountain bike, and I didn't fancy arriving at work caked in mud.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: NCN Signposts

      "If you're lucky you'll encounter nothing worse than a rough track with massive flooded potholes."

      There's a word for that hereabouts: road.

    2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: NCN Signposts

      On the drive home from the station I drive past NCN signage that was twisted 90 degrees to point unwary cyclists in a wrong direction, been like that a while.

      The roads service say it's the councils and the council say it's the roads service.

  19. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I'm quite fond of HERE at the moment.

    Far from perfect, but gets the job done and works offline if you want (and have the space to keep the maps on your device).

  20. Daedalus Silver badge

    Showing waklrs the waze

    It's easy enough to guide a walker. Just use AR to project a trail of breadcrumbs ahead. Or maybe power pills or Rowntrees Fruit Gums.

  21. imanidiot Silver badge

    Why would you use the app navigation itself??

    Get the app to plot where you need to go. Your current location will show as a dot on the map usually. Then plot your own route. Blindly following what its suggesting is often the road to madness.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Why would you use the app navigation itself??

      the road to madness.

      "Location data for Madness not found. Calculating route for Madeira."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Madness

        "Navigate to Madness, avoiding toll roads."

        - I'm sorry, Brad and Janet, I can't do that.

  22. Potemkine! Silver badge
    1. Tim99 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Badger?

      Bastard, the 10 hour one!

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: the 10 hour one!

        At that many views (3.6M), I make it about three and a half thousand eyeball-years of fun!

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

    Last weekend, driving round Birmingham the satnav (recently updated by Honda) took us to a Tesco, which turned out to be the one that closed three years ago when my older child was living near there. And on the way home tried to take us off the M6, because the link to the M1 changed a while back and you now have to come off (left) instead of just carrying on until they merge. The last time that I went that route I didn't avoid it. I was in the wrong lane. But then the satnav couldn't work out how to get me back to a motorway, because it couldn't work out why I wasn't already on the Mway. It was an interesting country drive though.

    They are also remarkably unhelpful if a junction has more exits than normal. "Turn Right" "Which fucking right, there are two of them". (These tend to be the junctions where looking very carefully at the map would help - mostly help you get killed by oncoming vehicles.).

    Added to which, whatever setting you use they always seem to want you to drive/walk a significant distance out of your way to get to a major road that is three miles further away from where you want to be, and goes through the heaviest patch of traffic in the whole area.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

      Even worse are "store navs".

      "Our app will show you exactly where to find the things you want to buy"

      Assuming there's no promotion that week. And the inventory is up to date ("shrinkage" doesn't get automatically logged, you know). And the mucketing dept. hasn't had a brainstorm and decided to move everything around.....

      Why do they offer stuff when they have no control over outcomes?

    2. John Presland

      Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

      Garmin is humorously wrong in northern Spain. When I drive through a motorway tunnel that was completed before I moved here four years ago it shows me driving through a field, it hasn't a clue about the one-way system in Leon and in Oviedo it recommends driving straight through the old town, which has been pedestrianised for 20 years. Google, whose map pp I crises earlier, does not make these mistakes.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

        Garmin is humorously wrong in northern Spain.

        Our Garmin device in the car is regularly fed OpenStreetMap updates which are only occasionally incorrect, and then rarely beyond the next update. That said, it still wants me to get off a particular main artery, then straight across the crossroads at the bottom of the slipway and back on the main road again, as it has done for at least the past five years. Probably more of a routing calculation quirk than a mapping error, I expect.

        From the 60Csx I expect nothing more than remembering a couple of waypoints, and showing a direction pointer to the one selected.

      2. elkster88

        Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

        "Garmin is humorously wrong in northern Spain".

        Not just Spain. I've run into some places in the US that have been unchanged for at least 2 or 3 years, yet Garmin still have not updated their maps, despite the fact that they release new maps at least once a year.

        Open Streetmaps are a viable alternative to Garmin, which I've been happy to use on trips to Iceland, Norway, Italy, etc. on my North America maps only equipped mapped Garmin units. I've been loathe to spend $100 for a set of maps that I will be using only for a short time, and have low confidence in their accuracy. And because the data are crowdsourced, I'm fairly confident in its accuracy, at least the POIs aren't going to be years out of date (and if they are, I can do an instant edit).

        http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

      "Last weekend, driving round Birmingham the satnav (recently updated by Honda) took us to a Tesco, which turned out to be the one that closed three years"

      In general, reviews I have seen of in dash satnav systems provided by car companies have reported they are both quite inferior, and very expensive when compared to systems from vendors of dedicated satnav devices.

      For that matter. I find dedicated satnav devices significantly more usable than smartphone implementations.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Actually most satnavs are still remarkably unreliable

        "For that matter. I find dedicated satnav devices significantly more usable than smartphone implementations."

        Assuming you keep them up to date. I'm sure I could dig out a 10-15 year old satnav from my old tech cupboard that would get very confused at some updated motorway junctions.

        Whereas screen sharing a smartphone maps app to your in car entertainment screen (whatever those tablet-y stereos are called now?) at least means you'll have an up to date map. Even if the marketing does try to get you to visit car dealers and fast food emporiums along the way.

  24. Huw D Silver badge
    Coat

    Can't

    I used my sat-nav around Woburn Safari Park.

    It said bear left so I looked left, but it wasn't a bear, it was a monkey having a w**k...

  25. Russell Chapman Esq.

    Boiling water from the espresso machine

    In a cafe or hotel, put teabag in cup and ask them to fill it from the espresso machine. Saves a ton of hassle trying to explain how the water should be boiling when they pour it on the tea. Works anywhere they have proper espresso machine and know how to make a decent coffee

  26. StefanoW

    Don't get lost without it

    Florence (Italy), Samsung Galaxy (i.e. no compass),Goober maps say to "walk north!"

  27. EJ

    Brilliance.

  28. onefang Silver badge

    I never have any problems with navigation, but that's just me, no need to use GPS. What I do have problems with is pedestrians being second class citizens in the eyes of town planners. Around here it's trains at the top, buses (they have their own roads or lanes half the time), all other motorised vehicles, push bikes, pedestrians, and way down the bottom is barefoot pedestrians (like me).

  29. Dr_N Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "braised slug provençal"

    Mmmm. Nutty.

  30. Franco Silver badge

    One of the towns nearest mine is accessible via a back road, at the end of which is a very narrow single track bridge which won't take anything bigger than a transit van. Since the invention of the sat-nav there are signs every 100 yards telling lorry drivers to ignore their sat-navs cos they can't cross the bridge, but at least twice a year a wagon gets stuck and has to be towed backwards back up the hill from the bridge.

    I don't like tea at all, but I'm always amused by how it's depicted on American TV. The Big Bang Theory for example, they pour hot water out of a kettle in to a mug with a tea bag in it, then immediately drink from it and the bag is always left in the cup. My thermos travel mug has a hook on the bottom of the lid for hanging a tea bag!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Since the invention of the sat-nav there are signs every 100 yards telling lorry drivers to ignore their sat-navs cos they can't cross the bridge, but at least twice a year a wagon gets stuck and has to be towed backwards back up the hill from the bridge."

      That's because the drivers or company cheaped out and bought car rated sat-navs rather than the more expensive HGV/PSV versions which are far, far better for the job, ie they have data about narrow roads/lanes and height restrictions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Since the invention of the sat-nav there are signs every 100 yards telling lorry drivers to ignore their sat-navs cos they can't cross the bridge

      -------------------------------

      This may be because of truck drivers using the less expensive consumer automotive GPS systems and maps, rather than truck systems that take into account clearances, load limits, curve radii, 'no truck' regulations and the like.

      Sort of like someone complaining that their tiny 1000 kg car can't do an adequate job pulling a 3500 kg trailer... it's just the wrong tool for the job.

      In such cases, the fault lies with the user, not the tool.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      TBH I tend to leave the bag in. I just don't drink it straight away. But then when people ask me how I like tea I often say wait till the spoon floats.

  31. techmind

    Cycling instructions from Google can also be mad

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/52.2342283,0.0706996/52.2150565,0.0503632/@52.2317612,0.064394,5483m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!4m1!3e1

    Now try changing the direction. There's a 2.8mile off-road route, but it'll send you on an 8 mile trip via the A14 (practically a motorway). Depending on the time of day, this requested route will even take you there and back between two junctions on the A14! Yes, the starting point is contrived because I know it's next to a bridleway (though it does involve crossing various bits on the A14 on foot - this being an officially signposted path).

  32. james swiers

    I also dont understand what is this walking thing

  33. Herby Silver badge

    Hot water...

    We here in parts of the USA have nice little devices near sinks that produce bloody hot water on demand. While it may not be exactly "boiling", it is HOT. Oh, they also get their funny kilowatts from a normal 15 amp/120 volt outlet with room to spare. No need to even get out a kettle or wait. It is very instant. Oh yes, it is bloody HOT.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Hot water...

      but not hot enough & the water out of it is as furry as hell.

      Fortunately work provides a rather nice kettle & filtered water dispenser (On the one time it failed I took ice from the ice maker instead).

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Hot water...

      15A x 120v is 1800W. Here in Blightly we get 13A x 240v = 3120W, almost twice your "plenty to spare".

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Hot water...

        And yet an 1800W household can power an on-demand water heater. Why aren't there Insinkerators in the UK so there wouldn't be so much of a need for kettles?

        1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: Hot water...

          Those "instant boiling water" taps are convenient but also bloody wasteful, continually keeping water up to temperature in the off chance that you are in and want a cup of tea.

          Until the free energy revolution arrives (what happened to the unmetered energy promised by the atomic age :p ) I'll keep boiling a kettle. (And yes sometimes too much water in it, the outlaws have a 1 cup kettle which is even more efficient)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hot water...

            "Those "instant boiling water" taps are convenient but also bloody wasteful, continually keeping water up to temperature in the off chance that you are in and want a cup of tea."

            No, they do not.

            That's the idea... no power gets used until you attempt to get hot water, which is heated as it flows through the device.

            No energy is wasted by avoiding creating any hot water that is not being drawn from the system.

  34. Jason Hindle

    I’ve had good results from Google

    It usually has me navigating on foot, like a local*.

    * Ok, that would be the local goofy foreigner, who doesn’t speak the language, and is constantly looking at his damned phone.

  35. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wait, what?!

    " it would have spotted that it was too dark to see anything and therefore not try to lead me to walk across a wooded park in the middle of the night."

    Now normally you have sense Mr Lister... but you're totally going at this problem the wrong way. Why use a server farm of NVidia Teslas, eating a countries Wattage of power, sending 7 camera (you seen the next phone release ;) ) 4D VR, omni direction video tracking with IR and UV ray tracing...

    ...when the app can just check what time of day it is! (And possibly the location of streetlamps XD )

    [Icon for when you walk into said lamppost]

  36. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    While minding my own business driving in Wiltshire

    My car suddenly transported its perceived lication to somewhere in Brussels.

    And that's without the messing about with buildings reflecting or blocking signals.

    I'm still a fan of taking a quick look at a map and just remembering some waypoints...

  37. N2 Silver badge

    Why are sat-nav directions always so hopeless?

    Because they are, mine once suggested I divert and take a round tour of an open prison (you might call them council estates) on my way home along a route I drove frequently.

    I sensed something malevolent and carried straight on, locking my doors, just in case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why are sat-nav directions always so hopeless?

      Hark at the middle class bloke. Poverty doesn't automatically make you scum, yknow.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Why are sat-nav directions always so hopeless?

        Locking the doors of their PCP'd Audi A3 TDi no doubt, lest the locals glance a glimpse of his 4 ringed marketing triumph and descend on him like a pack of badge obsessed zombies.

  38. russsh

    Crowdsource

    Wonder why they don’t just buy all the data from Strava about where people have actually been able to walk or run?

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Crowdsource

      Yes! This even allowed ne'er-do-wells to map out military bases.

      I thought Google/Android was able to differentiate between walking, busing, driving etc.?

      Certainly my phone is unable to differentiate between me visiting a shop and the dodgy pub across the road, asking me to rate it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans don't drink tea

    They drink brown water.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Americans don't drink tea

      They drink light brown water. FTFY

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Americans don't drink tea

        "They drink light brown water. FTFY"

        When my doctor told me I should start drinking tea for health reasons, for the first few months I would say it just tastes like dirty water.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1. Having moved to the UK over 15 years ago I can say that both tea and coffee are of good quality now. 25 years ago it would have been hard to find a decent cup of coffee.

    2. Satnavs for walking are OK and getting better. Main problems are that they can have trouble detecting where you are (closer to buildings than one is in cars) and they can find it hard to see what direction you are moving in. Aside from that routes can be unknown.

    3. As a cyclist I can add that using combinations of Google-maps, OSMand and Navmii have served me very well finding my way as both a pedestrian and a cyclist. The quality of the maps and the hardware has kept improving rapidly. The ability to know where you are and have insight into the environment is awesome. The ability to find alternative routes if a bridge happens to be closed, to find shops that may sell tyre repair kits etc. are fantastic.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      25 years ago, for the most part, the height of coffee culture in the UK were the glamourous couples in the nescafe Gold Blend advert, or perhaps Maxwell House. Granulated coffee that you made with boiling water and throw in some sugar and milk from the fridge.

      Then an American "sitcom" (the -com bit is debatable) showed characters in a social location a bit like a pub, but not drinking alcohol. A coffee shop. (Note, this differed from a traditional UK 'cafe' that may be closer to a US 'diner' in that it served hot filling food but rather than a waitress patrolling with a coffee jug it had a big silver boiler for instant tea).

      Soon these coffee shops sprang up in every high street, shopping centre and retail park. Soon they spawned branded machines so that even backstreet petrol stations could offer their wares. It's got to the point where even the likes of Maccy D's offer a perfectly adequate cup of coffee.

      In trendy places (London), this even took off as people started wanting different exotic varieties. Almost like the tobacco shops of old.

  41. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Used to be"

    "Turn left where the chocolate factory used to be. Then proceed three miles past where the oil refinery used to be. Then turn right into the parking where the fish and chips place used to be."

    GPS sold in Nova Scotia need to offer the "where X used to be" option. Every single reference point must be something that isn't there anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Used to be"

      There will be a market for that in post-Brexit Britain too.

      "Turn left where Jaguar-Landrover used to be"

      "Turn right where Nissan used to be"

      "Go straight on where the Airbus factory used to be"

      etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Used to be"

        Did we not already have a Brexit?

        "Turn left where the Rover factory used to be."

        "Turn right where the Talbot factory used to be."

        "Go straight on where Woolworths used to be."

  42. anonanonanon

    Multi level towns

    Living in an extremely hilly city, walking directions are next to useless. I usually get directed to my final location ,only to find I'm not where I'm supposed to be, with my actual desired location at the end of a bridge 20m above me. The routes it picks can be equally arduous, not taking into account changes in elevation, what looks like a direct route involves going up and down a valley when there's a pedestrian bridge to the side that's been ignored. Not knowing what elevation you're supposed to end up at frequently complicates things so you're never sure if you should be going up or down except when you get to the wrong destination.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Multi level towns

      When I've used satnavs round cities (various of each) I've noticed that even though they calculate the times for walking the routes often seem to follow busy car routes. So it'll route me to, then along a busy main road, when I was already on a quiet parallel road that goes to the destination. In many ways the same way as it would take me on a circuitous route to the nearest main road when there's a more direct route closer to where I am , when I'm driving.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Multi level towns

        "So it'll route me to, then along a busy main road, when I was already on a quiet parallel road that goes to the destination"

        In some cities, that would be a prudent survival strategy.

        I was visiting a friend in one US city, who told me we were safe on the main street where we were, but if I walked a block away from it, I would probably not make it back.

        I also remember a similar warning a decade earlier while on a university exchange at a city 2000 km north of the first mentioned city. I do recall that the university residence I was staying in had 4 armed guards in the entrance lobby... and I don't mean batons, tear gas, and tasers.

  43. cklammer

    Pädo

    .. is even more attention-grabbing ...

  44. tiggity Silver badge

    Acacia Park Drive East

    Wrong location to aim for Dabbsy

    Should have been Acacia Avenue, number 22.

    Easy to find, the light will be shining bright

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019