Tag: yak-shaving

Diesel POIs (A failure thanks to poor interface)

by on Nov.23, 2009 , under random

[Update: the POIs didn’t work. At all. I am a complete failure, and I blame the awkward interface and lack of support for creating POIs. Ultimately this is a story of yak-shaving: I went way further into miserable geekitude than I would ever think necessary, and in the end I didn’t even succeed. Argh!]

This doesn’t have much to do with JSL or facilitative leadership. Here’s a button that will let you add fuel stations that sell ultra low-sulfur diesel in the USA to your TomTom GPS as a POI (points of interest) file. [But don’t click it! It doesn’t work!]



The answer is even more bizarre than you might think: because TomTom’s support is horrible!

Don’t get me wrong–I love my GPS, a TomTom Go 930. I bought my first TomTom several years ago, after extensive research to determine that it was the best GPS with the best GUI and the best Mac connectivity (I’m just that kind of geek). It was a TomTom Rider 2nd edition for motorcycles. I loved it. I also used it in my car, until one day about six months later some cretin in my neighborhood stole it out of my car.

After a lot of misery and hassle involving police reports, insurance agents, and TomTom’s customer service folks, I got spectacularly nowhere and had to buy a new one. Which I enjoyed for another six months or so until some cretin in the neighborhood of San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House smashed my car window and stole my second TomTom.

After a few more months without a GPS, and some more runaround with police reports and insurance and TomTom, I gave up and ordered a third GPS—this time a regular car model that was quite a bit cheaper.

The story begins with my needing to add this data as a POI to my TomTom. I recently bought a clean-diesel car (a Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI–and why, yes, I do love it!) and don’t have a clue where to find diesel between here and my parents’ house in Montana, where I’ll be for Thanksgiving. So I googled for a while and managed to find an .ol2 file with ultra low sulfur diesel-selling station locations online somewhere–I don’t even remember where. I “knew” that .ol2 was the format I needed for TomTom, or at least it used to be. But I also knew that getting an .ol2 file onto my TomTom properly was more easily said than done, so I went digging around on TomTom’s support page. I exhausted myself searching for the information I needed, but I did find an online wizard for adding a button to my website for other people to use my POIs!

So, I struggled through that wizard, and after a few false attempts that were thwarted by browser compatibility issues, I got the job done. It wasn’t until I got to the very last page–“add this html code to your website template”–that I could actually put the darned POIs on my own TomTom, by clicking their test button. That, of course, didn’t work either, until I switched to a different browser and started all over again.

Lessons learned:

  • it’s easier to publish a POI file than to install it
  • but you need to use Firefox
  • and you need to be patient
  • and if you want to import an icon, it has to be a 22×22 JPG file (you’d think they could have told me that… but no!)
  • and “just spending a couple minutes to install some POIs that I already have” in preparation for an upcoming trip is not a good way to get the work done that needs to be done before I leave

So, caveat emptor: I found the .ol2 file somewhere else, and I don’t know how good it is. I’m not good at drawing icons, so this one isn’t great but I think it’ll do the job.

If you do find it useful, and you need a facilitator to help your company accomplish something audacious or to help your team get through some difficult conversations, or if you need some help with localization or software development or program management, give me a call. If you don’t find it useful or if it strands you in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank, please accept my apologies and let me assure you that we at Global Pragmatica are much better at facilitative leadership and all that other stuff than making POI files for TomToms.

If you’re one of the managers at TomTom and you want to know why I think your support sucks, or if you’d like me to introduce you to some user experience and content strategy experts who will help you fix it, please contact me immediately.

I’m not being compensated by anyone to write about TomTom here or elsewhere. If that changes, or if someone at TomTom gets in touch with me and offers to replace one of my two stolen TomTom Rider 2 devices by way of thanking me or apologizing for the above, I’ll post an update here.

If you’re the nice person who made US_ULSDF.ov2, thanks in advance. I hope it works, and please feel free to direct people wanting it TomTom-ized here. [Update: it didn’t work.]

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