Archive for June 2005

Monorail! Monorail!

I’ve long thought that Sydney’s monorail was the second most pointless monorail in the world (right behind, of course, the monorail between Jupiters and Oasis on the Gold Coast) – but I’ve now found out that this is wrong.

Seattle has an even more pointless monorail: only two stations (the one on the Coast has 3, even if two of them are at opposite ends of the same shopping center…), on a mile of track (even the Coast has.. well, probably about the same, really).

Trackbacks Reinvented

Scoble babbles (although coherently – what do you call coherent babbling? Babbling seems to imply incoherency) about the Next Great Thing..

It also will make comments unneccessary. Why? Because there are systems coming that’ll match up — in minutes — a main post and all the comments being made about that post.

Scoble, this sounds exactly like a trackback to me. Which you’d know, if your site supported trackbacks…

I really don’t think this solves the problem. I don’t neccessarily want to have to post my response to you on my own blog, just to get them to show up on your comments page. If someone else wants to respond to my response to your comment, why do you think it makes sense for them to put that in their own blog?

My blog becomes cluttered with posts that aren’t actually anything I wanted to say to my readers (all 6 of them), but response to you. Response to your blog become scattered all over the web.

I really don’t understand why you think this is a step forward – perhaps we’ll understand more when you’re at liberty to discuss details.

Shitty, shitty day. I hate Tuesday.

What a shitty day its been so far. Cold, rainy, blustery. I had an umbrella when I left the house – by the time I got to work, it had snapped in three different places, so I dumped it in the trash.

I went to the doctor this morning to have my cough looked at; along the way, he (and the charming, quite cute, 5th year med student) examined my ankle and my wrist (apparently I was quite a lesson). I ended up having to have blood taken so they can run some tests; this was extremely traumatic – needles! argh! The doctor was quite concerned that I was hyperventilating.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise though; I mentioned that I was due for STD checks, and so he tacked on all the usual tests to the same sample – so that has, at least, saved me a needle later.

I’m at work now. Wet and unhappy.

Highlight of the day was two women catching up on the bus. Apparently they’re old schoolfriends- hadn’t seen each other since the mid-80s. “I was married for a while, but now I’m not. Got some cats, they lived to be 19, then they died. So now I’m all alone, back in Surry Hills, and loving it”…

White Shirts

There’s a very popular stereotype (much enforced by the success of Queer Eye) that gay men possess an extraordinary sense of style, flair, and fashion.

As with all stereotypes, it’s partly true – more so in some specific cases than others.

It’s not something that I’ve ever felt was true about myself. I dress for comfort, not fashion. My wardrobe is small and limited. I’ve one pair of shoes, four pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts..

There are a few things that strike me as being complete style disasters though. Foremost amongst these is the White Business Shirt.

Go into any western CBD and look at office workers. Around 80% of the men on any given day will be wearing a White Business Shirt. It’s plain, boring, bland. Hardly anyone looks good in a White Business Shirt. Stains show up instantly, and noticeably – a WBS turns every meal into an adventure.

The worst thing of all about White Business Shirts though is who wears them – rank upon rank of drab, mindless, boring corporate drones. At least 3/4 of the reason why I’ll never wear a White Business shirt is that by donning such attire, you’re proclaiming yourself to be yet another mindless drone.

95 Theses on the Religious Right

Take a look over here. After the model of Luther’s original 95 Theses, come commentary on America’s religious right.

Read it. Some of it is very american, but much is applicable here too.

Found via Pharyngula

More on Cityrail vs London Underground

Cityrail have their ontime running stats online also. Some stats, anyway – they only show data for “peak hours” – trains arriving in the CBD between 6am and 9am, or leaving the CBD between 4pm and 6pm. The rest of the trains don’t seem to matter.

Also, the data collection is, we are warned, a manual process. Wheee.

Anyway: for the month of May, only 62.2% of services were on time – where “on time” is redefined by Cityrail to be “No more than 4 minutes late”. If you extend that to “No more than 10 minutes late”, 87.5% were on time.

Connex’ figures on their on-time running in Melbourne are also available. They managed to run 99% of scheduled services in May, and 92.9% were on time – in this case, “on time” means no more than 6 minutes late, and no more than 1 minute early. That’s more arriving within 6 minutes than Cityrail can manage to have arrive within 10 minutes!

Note that cityrail doesn’t care about early trains. That train just pulling out of the station two minutes early as you arrive puffing at panting at the station on your way to work in the morning? That was “on time”, according to Cityrail.

Connex apologise heavily for the tardy performance – cityrail don’t seem to care.

I shall go away now – but I have another rant planned for the afternoon. Prepare yourselves!

London Underground almost as bad as Shittyrail

Sounsd like London’s Underground system is almost as bad as Sydney’s train system. They seem to provide more information about it though..

Via BoingBoing:

Cory Doctorow: Stef sez, “For 15 days, I’ve been grabbing the London Underground realtime disruption map every few minutes. I’ve just glued them all together into a three minute Quicktime, so you can visualise just how bad London’s subway system is. My calculations indicate that the system is only fully operation 22% of the time!” Link (Thanks, Stef!)

Hurrah for Shittyrail (and more in the disappearing dots)

A few days ago I posted an animated gif showing purple spots in a circle.. James Kew has discovered the source of the image, along with some more detailed information about how it works.

Of course, if you’re reading my comment feed you’ll already know about this 😉

In other news, cityrail are crap. utter utter crap.

Saturday night I was going to a friends place at Artarmon.

First, I toddled to my local train station. This isn’t some minor station, this is Redfern. As you can see on Cityrail’s map, it’s just south of the city. Every train line goes through Redfern. Virtually every train stops here – exceptions are intercity trains, and a very very few ultra-express services.

I arrived at the station around 6:40; considering I wanted to be at Artarmon around 7, this was, I thought, cutting it a little close, but it should be doable. (In fact, according to Cityrail’s published timetable, I was wrong – I should have been at Redfern around 10 minutes earlier).

When I arrived, there was a train arriving in “9 minutes”.

20 minutes later, at 7, this had dropped to 8 minutes.

5 minutes later, the train suddenly arrived. The indicator boards still showed that this train was going all the way to Hornsby.

Hurrah, I thought. On my way at last!

We managed to get as far as Central before the train stopped. For quite a while. About 5 minutes. Not sure why, no announcements were made, we just sat around for a while.

Eventually, we set off. Through Town Hall, Wynyard, over the bridge, through Milsons Point, into North Sydney…

Just as I though I wasn’t going to be too badly late, we stopped. Permanently. “All passenger please note: this train is now terminating here. All passengers please change. Repeat, all out, all change”.

Thanks cityrail, thanks.

Over to platform 1, wait for the *next* train (which took about 10 more minutes). This one did get me to Artarmon, and in only just under an hour since I arrived at Redfern.

Coming home was slightly smoother. Only had to wait at Chatswood station for about 20 minutes. During this time, 4 trains passed us in the wrong direction before a single train arrived heading to the city. Well, there was one train that arrived, slowed, and looked about to stop – but at the last minute, it sped up again and kept going, leaving all the hundreds of people (maybe not literally hundreds, probably no more than 150 or so) of people who’d stood up in readiness for boarding this train to go reclaim seats.

Well done, cityrail, well done.

Bring on the Bush Dynasty..

As soon as Dubyah was confirmed for a second term, I expected the attempts to repeal that section of the US constitution limiting presidents to two terms would be on the way.

Now Dvorak points out that moves are already afoot to do exactly this…

I have to admit that Dvorak comes across as a bit of a raving nutter to me; he seems to have the typical conspiracy-theorist trait of connecting widely disconnected snippets, taking them out of context, and mooshing them together till they seem to form a connected pictured. That doesn’t mean that he’s wrong though… and most of the things he mentions there (eg, the existence of a bill to repeal the 22nd amendment) are verifiable fact (which I’ve not yet verified myself).

The next step I’d expect to see would be some reason why the president has to be granted extra-ordinary authority permitting him to, eg, suspend elections during times of crisis, followed by the declaration of a crisis. A war would be perfect for this – particularly a war on a vague, loosely defined enemy, that could suddenly pop up anywhere, at any time..

This, combined with other things that Dvorak mentions about how the religious right is starting to gain power in the US all seems vaguely familiar.. “Future History”, anyone?

Please keep in mind that I’m Australian; we don’t have anything equivalent to the 22nd amendment here, nor do I neccessarily think that such a thing is good or neccessary (nor do I neccessarily think that it’s bad – we’ve had Lil Johnny in power for, what, 4 3-year terms now? That’s not a particularly good thing..). I’m just making a comment on how un-surprised I’ll be when Dubyah makes official his intent to never let the power of being president out of his family…

It was pointcast!

Pointcast! The answer is pointcast!

Some time ago I was trying to remember the name of a pre-bust company who were pushing “push” technology very heavily. Amongst other things, they had a bar that sat across the bottom of your screen and scrolled the latest news headlines, and a screensaver that displayed the same content.

Today, I got diverted from this wonderful WTF post to this much older one, to PDF at http://tutor.petech.ac.za/rbotha/UIF4001/HallOfShame.pdf (which I’ve attached to this post: see [inline:1] and my comment [A] below)…

Which lead to the realisation that it was, indeed, Pointcast who I was trying to remember.

[A] As far as I can tell, the PDF isn’t currently hosted onthe site of the original creator of the site, it’s merely someone who’s saved the PDF to their website, so I’m putting it here rather than linking to it so that, if slashdottage happens, it’s me who it affects not them..