Microsoft Making it Easier to Get Away

10Apr08

It’s 4:00 on a sunny Friday. Temperatures are in the low 70’s and you’ve managed to bullshit through your last assignment, put off the rest, and dodge your bosses on the way to the elevator. Yes, you are free for the weekend – the beautiful, beautiful weekend. It’s time to meet your beau and head over to the parking garage. After all, rush hour is upon you, dinner reservations are at 7, and you would like to love up your beau and have a cocktail before then. More importantly, Borgata is roughly two and a half hours away and the crap tables are calling your name. The car is packed up, your new Alice & Olivia dress hangs in the back, the Gucci sandals that you bought last spring and haven’t worn nearly enough are sitting at the foot of the passenger seat in eager anticipation of reacquainting. Then you’re off, sunglasses on, wind in your hair.  You made it through the Lincoln Tunnel without incident. You can taste the comped drinks already. Beau takes the ramp onto the Garden State Parkway, and you are exuberant, dancing in your seat to some European DJ with all the excitement of youth and freedom.  Until …

“Fuck,” says beau.

You see nothing but brake lights. And just like that, you’re back in the office — stressed, frustrated, and more than a tad disappointed. And when you’re feeling bad, everyone must know it: “Good work taking the Parkway. I told you the Turnpike would be a better bet.” Pouting and arguing ensues and like THAT, the beginning of your fairytale weekend goes sour.

WELL, after Microsoft unveils it’s ClearFlow system, we will all be better able to avoid snafus like the one described above. ClearFlow uses complex technology, which I don’t understand, that enables it to vary your driving directions based on current conditions and congestion projections. Unfortunately, the software will be available only from a desktop via Microsoft’s Live.com site and there’s no word on whether ClearFlow will integrate live traffic conditions. Personally, we would like a mobile version, perhaps built into our GPS, that would be smart enough to know live traffic conditions and map accordingly. ClearFlow, however, is certainly a step in the right direction and we applaud Microsoft for taking the reigns in our epic quest to make modern life more enjoyable.

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