There’s only one word for this behaviour; insane. Although I can understand the feeling of freedom the guys talk about. It’s still not for me though. Plug in your earphones (or turn up your speaker volume), hold on tight and enjoy this incredible bit of footage.
I do love a robot; and this little fella is amazing! There’s a series of videos depicting the evolution of this particular unit, but this one here seems to be the latest. Enjoy.
Clearly we’re heavily restricted these days by the law, in what we do to distract ourselves from the basics of driving a vehicle, and rightly so. I admit, I used to be the worst offender when it comes to texting, or calling while at the wheel. I always used my professional driving history as an excuse, thinking I had better reaction times than most, and am more aware on the road, therefore rendering myself invulnerable. I kind of believed it myself for a while too. There are just too many people on the road that are determined to smash into you, to justify taking your eyes off the road for even a second.
Now we have an even greater array of distractions on our magical device, to tempt our eyes away from the road ahead. Being fairly permanently attached to my iPhone, I find it (sadly) difficult to ignore an @ mention notification, or a Facebook message when it’s pushed through to me. All well and good when I’m anywhere other than the driving seat. So what comes next, what’s the solution, other than simply “switching off” completely when driving. We’re still permitted to listen to music (although not too loud obviously), by big brother, and - despite steering wheel column, and voice activated audio controls being commonplace now - we still have to interact with our in-car audio system, thus momentarily distracting us from the road. We check our speed and fuel levels on dash mounted gauges, in our line-of sight, but still distracting us from the road. Some newer vehicles have embraced fighter-jet style “Head-Up Displays”, providing data “in-screen” using glass mounted LED technology. I can’t help but think that some evolution of this first generation of in-car HUD will develop into the norm, but I’m also certain there will be a backlash by the “Awesome Police”.
A number of car manufactures are clearly on to this, and it’s becoming evident in the way they’re developing new technology around a social media engaged world. I’ve read a few interesting articles recently, like this one here from Popular Mechanics, about the rise of in-car cloud computing, and the future potential looks incredible. Sat-Nav has obviously worked wonders in allowing us to plot alternative routes, and avoid traffic - but the updates are slow and fragmented. Live Tweets would surely give us a more accurate and certainly speedier alert to a traffic jam or incident. I’ve already experienced a form of this, in catching a tweet notifying me of a road closure, just before I left work. The radio stations didn’t report the incident, and subsequent 1 hour delay, until 30 minuets after it happened, and a huge 2K city center jam had formed. My sat-nav informed me of the jam an hour after I arrived home.
Ford (forever striving to stay in touch with technology) have had Ford Sync, as discussed in this article on Mashable back in 2008, for some time now, but even today the latest Ford systems are not exactly the all encompassing, fully integrated in-car hub I’m looking for.
If there’s a full solution, I’m guessing it will come form either Ford, or one of the German powerhouses like VW or Mercedes. I’m about to start looking for a new car myself, and I’ll definitely be on the search for in-car tech when making my decision. I guess the biggest hurdle is the distraction factor, hence the need for a fully integrated head-up display and full (and high quality) voice control. I’m sure there are some incredibly smart people working on this right now, and surely it can’t be long before we’re receiving Tweets, Facebook status updates, traffic and weather info, route corrections and video calls, just to the immediate right of our eye-line in our car windscreens. I’m all for safety, but I’m also all for using tech to better our lives. Plus…it would just be incredibly cool. Roll on the day, I say.
I’m not sure if this is of any use to anyone, but it certainly is to me! I just found out that if, like me, you preferred the old format for viewing photo galleries (especially given you could do cheaty back-door code copy/paste into FBML pages for page banners), as opposed to the new “theater” mode - you can revert back really easily. Just remove &theater from the page url, and Robert’s your father’s brother. Weirdly enough, if you simply refresh the page, you revert back too. Just an observation :)
I’m not usually one for going negative on Facebook changes, but this one bugged me.
What a surprise, one of my first ever posts is a rant about public transport. I suppose, in actual fact, it’s more an observation based on a less than perfect commute.
After what can only be described as a disappointing and uncomfortable journey to work this morning, courtesy of #CityFail, and with the impending NSW state election on the horizon, I thought I’d take the opportunity to “study-up” a little on Labor’s transport policies, and what the two competing parties propose to do to combat the ever increasing list of transport and infrastructure issues. The result, for want of a better expression, made me “lol”.
A quick search on the NSW Labor site revealed ”no results”. Now, I’m aware that this is more to do with bad site optimisation and poor site management than actual policy, but it still made me laugh. I feel it’s appropriate given the lack of a clearly defined “solution” to a problem often cited, yet never addressed articulately by a member of either party, to my limited knowledge at least. I will now be reading more policy papers though, to try and determine if anyone actually does have a plan.
The unfortunate realisation that, if I choose to “do the right thing” and leave my gas guzzling car at home, in favour of a “greener”, cheaper alternative such as CityRail, I will inevitably end up arriving at work late, wet (through sweating from the lack of aircon, or through leaking carriages, or a combination of the two), and frustrated, is not a good one, and certainly aids my decision on whether or not to just give in and continue driving to work. After my journey into Sydney from the North Shore this morning, feeling somewhat flustered through general bemusement at how a supposedly first-world state can mis-manage a transport system so badly, and sweating profusely, I Tweeted in anger, @ mentioning @KKeneally in the process. Well, I tried to - but the lack of consistent cell coverage on the North Shore line of late meant I had to wait until I got off at Milson’s Point, thee stations early due to the extreme heat and slow pace of the train, before I could get cell reception and send the damn thing. Regardless: it sent eventually. Not that I expect a response of any kind. the premier clearly has more pressing issues right now, including trying to keep her seat. Speaking of seats, try getting one between 8am and 9am, they’re slim pickings.
I only just came around to the idea of getting the train to work again today. This was my welcome back to the “service”. After watching three overcrowded trains (and I mean all carriages) go past, I opted to chance the fourth. I spotted that it was a newer train and so may possibly have air conditioning. It didn’t. A fact that became apparent only once the doors were closed and the smell hit my sinuses. The heat was a special kind of disgusting, and I was not alone in my discomfort. Four of my fellow passengers, two males and two distraught females (one almost at the point of fainting) were quite vocal in their anger. One guy got out at the next station, to try his luck on the next train I assume. This was the inspiration behind my own egress at Milson’s Point. Needless to say, the next train was also akin to a sauna, but by this point I was 20 minutes late already. This train was reminiscent of a carnival ghost train that I once road when I was a small child. It traveled at approximately 6KPH and jerked stop-start all the way to Town Hall. We even had the atmospheric mist. The only thing missing was the skeleton, but I assume I would have seen a few if I’d been travelling further than Central.
Further exploration of the NSW Labor site revealed a drop down menu link to their Transport Policy page - a simple one pager with a “what we’ve done” piece, and a few jibes at Barry O’Farrell. At the foot of that page is a small link to their actual “Public Transport Policy”. This comes in the form of a 16 page PDF, with a pretty picture of a bus and the hilarious title “Better Public Transport”.
Here’s a few pearls for you:
We have delivered 285 train carriages for the CityRail and CountryRail network and we are also delivering the largest order of new trains in the State’s history – which means all trains will be air-conditioned and we will have more seats on more air-conditioned trains.
Really? More seats on more air-conditioned trains? So there will be less standing room on these “new trains”? That isn’t really going to solve the overcrowding issue is it. Will there be an aircon and “more seats” retro-fit to the current fleet or will the current and old carriages be decommissioned in line with the roll out of the new trains? Do the maths. Also, what’s the timescale for this “all trains will me air conditioned” promise. Oh, and just a suggestion, but why not invest in some maintenance for the trains that have malfuctioning aircon now.
The Keneally Labor Government will cap increases in public transport to the rate of CPI, easing the burden on families.
Great, so you won’t have a realistically scalable solution for the future of the network, for the duration of the increase cap. Believe it or not, people will pay more for a better quality of service. Also, will this capped increase include any federal policy changes? Surely the proposed Carbon Tax will effect rail costs/prices?
If this is starting to sound like an attack on NSW Labor, I assure you I don’t intend it to be. It’s a basic human rant, fueled by the lack of a clear public message, rhetoric excluded, regarding the future of this growing city’s transport solution, and my own personal experience. After seeing the look on the faces of my fellow commuters this morning, it’s clear I’m not alone in my disdain.
The NSW Liberal Party site has much the same banal nonsense, once you’ve managed to navigate past the horrific green page-blocker asking you to register some love for them*. With the exception of this comprehensive insight (below) into the NSW Liberal plan for transport, and a few lines on the failings of Labor over the last 10 years, there really is very little actual policy. Certainly nothing detailed, and no explanation as to how a solution will be developed or paid for. How very Liberal Party. Tony would be proud.
I genuinely want to leave the car at home and would encourage any policy that offers reliable, reasonably priced alternatives. At the moment though, for me anyway, amongst many other factors, it’s this equation:
Drawbacks of catching the train to work =
Late + Hot + Sweaty + Smelly + Nauseous + 1 hour travel time
Benefits of catching the train to work =
Cheaper overall (including tolls) than driving + No need to find a parking space + No traffic jams + Moderately better environmentally (debatable)
Benefits of driving to work =
Comfort + Security + 30 mins travel time + Air Con Guaranteed + On Time
Drawbacks of driving to work =
Often impractical as difficult to park + Increasing Fuel & Toll Costs + More environmentally damaging (debatable)
The jury’s still out on this one for me. I now find myself with a weekly rail ticket and the prospect of either getting out of my pit half an hour early (something I seriously resent) or potentially being late all week. I’m also not looking forward to arriving at work sweating and fatigued (more so than usual). I’ll see the week out, and may even post again if and when I reach a decision. At this stage, the car is winning.
*Side note: why do all governments, state or otherwise have such a terrible web presence? Surely they have some of the best PR and Communications minds available to them? Anyone have any examples of a dynamic, user friendly and slightly more technologically and creatively “brave” political site?
I’ve resisted the temptation to write or contribute to a blog for so long now, that I almost feel guilty as I sit here and type what will become my first post. I suppose it was inevitable. I’ve been an early adopter with practically every other form of technology and media (social or otherwise) for as long as I can remember. My biggest problem has always been a fear of generating poor content, creating something that only I would benefit from, thus rendering my blog purely self-serving. That’s not what I want from this blog, which is why it’s taken me so long to summon the courage to start writing. And yes, I see the irony in writing about worrying about poor content, in a post about bad posting. You see where this is going, right?
I’ve always loved writing, and had the usual aspirations (delusions of grandeur?) around “getting a book together” or “trying to get something published”. I’ve written so much in my life - mainly marketing and PR copy, but (with the exception of one short story) never anything truly creative, responsive or particularly conversation inspiring. So; I’m hoping to change all that. I find it odd now, looking back, that although the outlet of a blog has been available to me for so long now, it’s taken me until now to actually write something. There’s a conversation starter for my shrink. I have to admit, however, that my grammar has definitely taken a knock in the last few years - I suppose it’s more through laziness than anything else, so my apologies in advance if I make you work when reading my posts.
Against the advice from friends and colleagues working in Social Media, and publishing, when the topic of “starting a blog” is broached, there will not be a “theme” or a particular topic to this blog. It will be constructed from musings, ramblings, opinionated rants and a lot of questioning of both myself, and my personal and professional life.
Topics I’ll be ranting on, whining about, questioning and exploring will no doubt include the digital media world as a whole, social strategy (my job), social media in general, emerging technologies, robots (yes, robots - the awesome kind, is there any other?), the future, cheesy sci-fi that I either love or hate, space (mainly the soon to be realised dream of many to experience commercial space travel), observations on the peculiar nature of “folk” (in the colloquial sense - referring to the general masses, not folk music), the Law (my current topic of academic study) and probably a bit of football (yes, soccer - the one played with your feet, not a combination of feet and hands). There will be image posts, videos, quotes from the media and so on. In theory.
Get involved and respond, I’m not easily offended. I’m sure the majority of my posts will be drivel, but if even just one is enjoyed and/or shared then I’ll be a happy little monkey.
NB: I’m not actually a monkey.
Nokia and Microsoft form alliance - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12427680 < good luck with that
Google Censoring Torrent Search Suggestions: 7 Terrible Things They Don’t Censor | Techi.com http://bit.ly/f2TpOh