While the Corona virus dicates that I avoid trips to the other side of the Great Dividing Range, I’ve been biding my time cleaning up the myriad of files and folders that have taken on a life of their own and are now breeding on my computer. In doing so, I’ve found that it’s quite easy to spend a whole morning (or ten) re-discovering photos, plans and ideas that were once of interest. This morning, during one such foray into the past, I came across this letter to TomTom.
My husband and I have lived in outback NSW for several years and consequently we’ve regularly travelled quite long distances (up to 14 hours) from the bush to the coast. Our satellite navigator is great but there are very, very long periods of time when we’re “listening” to silence because we might be 300 kms from the nearest town.
My idea is to provide the car occupants with a commentary on the next town – places of interest, historical events or people of interest (e.g. bushrangers), caravan sites, food outlets, temperatures, facilities etc.
Apart from the obvious benefit of avoiding unknowingly driving straight past a local landmark (did you know that Fred Hollows is buried at Bourke?), there are other benefits such as aiding concentration when you’re tired.
There have been so many trips where the radio has dropped out or we’ve listened to our collection of CDs over and over until we’re sick to death of them and wanting to reef them out the window and this idea evolved from one such trip. If it were deemed that the idea was marketable, why not also consider trivia quizzes to while away the time?
I know that you’d be competing with products such as back seat DVD players but surely something that helps to keep the driver alert is a much safer and more beneficial option. Plus, it could involve and entertain the whole family… and maybe even get the kids off their mobile phones.
I never heard back from TomTom so it seems my great idea wasn’t so great after all. Who knows? Perhaps one day there’ll be a funky new satellite navigator complete with trivia quizzes and educational trip notes.
Years ago, I came up with another ‘brilliant’ idea for beach towels to have a pocket, in the same material, in one corner, attached by Velcro and invisible if the towel were lying on the sand with the pocket at the back. It seemed like a great idea for keeping rings, bracelets and loose cash out of sight and therefore safer than the alternative of just wrapping the towel around them.
I wrote to a popular Towel company but never heard back. Months later, I happened to be watching The Young Inventors on TV and there was the daughter of the same company’s manager showing off her ‘new invention’ – corner pockets in towels, complete with Velcro edges.
Obviously that wasn’t such a great idea either because I haven’t seen a single ‘pocketed’ beach towel since!
Still, it was Howard Aiken (mathematician and inventor of the Harvard Mark I – forerunner of the digital computer) who said, “ Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
So perhaps my 15 seconds of fame just hasn’t happened yet.