I really liked this story of the Swedish couple who typed "Carpi" into their GPS when they meant to type "Capri". Thanks to all those who tipped me off right away -- it's nice to have friends who know what you like. The couple stopped at a tourist office in Carpi asking where the Blue Grotto was, not knowing that they were about 400 miles off course. The stories I've read didn't give much detail as to what happened next, but one can imagine the astonished expressions, and then either some laughter or maybe some cursing. What saddened me a little about the end of the story was the report that when the couple realized their mistake they got back in their car and headed south. I would have liked to read about these adventurers saying "Carpi? Who knew? What's here? Let's go explore!" I've never been to Carpi, which sadly is being characterized as a Northern Italian Industrial Town, but I'm sure there's much more to it than that. Every place is brimming with secrets and delights. I bet there's a nice cathedral and a fantastic place to have lunch. I understand there's a large and attractive piazza there as well. When I was on the radio last week (CBC's The Current) talking about the influence of GPS on our understanding of space, this is exactly the kind of thing we were discussing -- the risk that we can become slaves to the machine and so miss out on the pleasures of becoming lost. So when the machine fails us (or in this case we fail to serve the machine as it demands) we can meet disaster. But on vacation, getting lost is not a disaster! It's the goal! So I wonder -- is there a justification for a kind of subversive GPS system that messes with you a little? I can imagine a machine that drawls in a voice a bit like HAL in Stanley Kubrick's movie "2001", "Dave, I don't think you really want to go this way. Why not try it like this? Let's just sneak down this little avenue and see what's at the end? Trust me, Dave, I will lead you astray in the most delightful way." Maybe not a huge market for a toy like this, but I'd line up for it. But then, I've lined up for an hour for a cupcake. And also, why not imbue the GPS with personality? Sure, you can customize the voice, but what about using a little AI to go beyond voice. Imagine: "would you care for the sprightly, playful unit or the strong and insistent model?" If you and your partner are going to have a techno-menage-a-trois in your car, you ought to be able to conduct interviews.