1. GPS The GPS I rented from Avis for $10/day sucks. In the course of a 40 mile drive from the Pittsburgh airport to Butler PA, I got lost eight times.
The Avis GPS is a cell phone that audibly announces your turns and shows a graphic indicating which way you turn and how immediate the change is. That works ok once you get used to it. But the street data is terrible. It told me to take turns that don’t exist and didn’t tell me about road forkings that do exist.
A nice thing about the system: You can set your destination address not just by laboriously using the phone pad as a keypad, but also by calling a human operator will do it for you for free.
2. NDA I have many good things to say about Corbis, whose HQ I visited on Monday. It’s a fascinating place, very much in the metadata business. I got to talk with some of their image cataloguers and the person responsible for their thesaurus of terms and concepts. Really interesting. (And thanks to Dov Schiff, an extraordinarily helpful PR guy.) That said, I almost didn’t make it past the front door. When you sign in, you’re given a non-disclosure form that is short and to the point: You are forbidden from sharing any proprietary information (ok) and anything you learn on site is considered proprietary (not ok). Since I was there to write about Corbis as part of a Wired article, how could I sign their agreement?
This isn’t a case of overly-strict lawyering. It’s overly-stupid lawyering. It’s also very much contrary to the personal style of the half dozen people I met with, each of whom was friendly, open, personable, and eager to talk with real enthusiasm about what they do.