Nokia N96 Test Drive Episode 2 – GPS in the Highland

Ever since I got that lovely Nokia N96, I have not stopped playing with it.  I am a big fan of GPS.  And this post is dedicated to the computer gamers who often get to experience some forms of what the future will be like, today.  Or to experience some forms of what today is like decades ago.

As we were driving up from Singapore to Fraser Hill in Malaysia, I had my Nokia Map switched on throughout the trip.  One could argue that the screen is a bit tiny and question the necessity.  But not having to pay for an extra GPS device just to tell me where I am serves my need.  I now can see when the next highway intersection is coming up before I see the roadsigns.  That is neat as I do at times miss the opportunity to bypass the Kuala Lumpur traffic.  I can easily zoom all the way out to the country view (or to the planet view if to feel like living in the Moon makes you happy) and look at the overall progress of the trip – very much like what we see inside the plane.  Or I can zoom all the way into the street level and see where are the upcoming towns nearby.  All the landmarks are categorized into different icons.  Including … petrol stations.

Unfortunately, not for the one above.

Before I continue the story of finding a petrol station at Fraser Hill, let me go back to the topic of why I dedicate this post to the gamers.  For decades, we gamers explore the virtual world with a mini-map on the computer screen and to know exactly where we virtually are.  It adds a lot of fun to our exploration activity.  We humans love to travel because it is our innate nature to visit new places, explore new frontiers.  Next time when you travel to a new city, try what I do when you are inside a cab.  Take out your GPS phone and observe how your position moves across the map towards your destination.  I did that often with my old Nokia N95 when I was in Jakarta.  First, it gives me comfort that the cab drivers are taking me to where I want to go.  Second, I develop a strong sense of where the landmarks are relative to each other.  It adds a lot of meaning to my traveling too.  Besides, it is closer to the virtual reality I have experienced for decades – a little GPS map right next to my car’s dashboard (note: Nokia Map does work well when you are on foot).

Now, back to the mini-story of our Fraser Hill trip.  I had no idea why I did not top up my fuel tank before we climbed up the hill.  We were low in fuel and could not find a petrol station within the town.  I pulled out my Nokia N96 and did a search for the nearby petrol stations.  Horror sank in when the nearest petrol station was more than 20 km away.  20 km may not seem much but with the 8km stretch of one-way-odd-hours-up-even-hours-down road and the average speed of 20-40 kph of bends and ups and downs, it seems far.  Fortunately, we found a mini-store that sells … petrol.

I have taken 1,500 pictures with my Nikon D700 over our stay at Fraser Hill and Petaling Jaya and am eager to share some of better ones with you in the next few weeks’ time.  Stay tuned for more pictures and stories of our trip.  And stay tuned for more episodes on my Nokia N96 Test Drive journey too.

I wish to end this entry with one picture I took when we found a proper petrol station in one of the neighboring town of Fraser Hill – thanks to Nokia Map.

Related Tags: More Nokia N96 Test Drive Episodes, Our trip to Fraser Hill in the November of year 2008

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