Monday, November 12, 2012

Been a while. I've been spending a lot of time on my bike this fall…

With my bike chained to the bench of my table, I'm having lunch outside Coffee & Crepes, a great little place in the middle of Crossroads Plaza here in Cary, NC. Not exactly an easy place to get if you're not in a car, so why would I ride the 3 miles from my house in heavy traffic? Here's 1000 words:

a buckwheat bacon, tomato and cheese crepe with a salad. Yummy!

So, what things have to happen to make the world safer for bicyclers? I think everyone would love to have the pleasure of a slow ride, where you can stop often, enjoying the shops and businesses that we so often zoom past in our metal bubbles. The air would be cleaner, and we'd be healthier, too. Our streets would be safer for cyclists, and there would be fewer incidents of car/bike injury/death. Want proof? Take a look at Holland.

From the 1950's to the mid 1970's, as the economy boomed with post-war re-building, the average salary went up several hundred percent, as did auto ownership and house size. Streets were made wider, bike ridership went down 6% per year, every year. The average commute rose from less than 4 km per day to almost 30 km per day. With the most common vehicle being the car, drivers naturally became less wary of bikes, which increased biker mortality. In 1973, there were over 3000 people under 16 killed in bike/car crashes. The people of the country decided the death of their children was not an acceptable price for fast transportation, and started mass protests for safe biking routes. In 1973, when the first Arab Oil Crisis hit, the leadership of the country decided to make some risky policy decisions that have since proven almost miraculous. Car-Free Sundays in town centers reminded people what fun it was to walk, ride, visit, and have a meal in an area without cars, their noise and exhaust, and danger. A few towns made their town centers car-free on a permanent basis. Businesses flourished and people moved back into the areas once devoted to autos. And, most importantly, child death went from a high in 1973 to just 14 in 2010. Yes, it has been forty year process, but it started with a populace who decided the tradeoffs to cars, pollution, and endless pavement were not worth their health, their sense of community, and the death of their children.

I would encourage you to read the article and view the video over at the NY Times site.

Growth of bicycles is not without it's problems. Storage of bikes and crowding in bike lanes (over 40% of the country commutes daily on two wheels!), which causes bike/bike injuries are nothing to be scoffed at, but those issues are far more easily dealt with, at much smaller cost, than our current issues of how to park cars in urban areas during the working day. And bike/bike wrecks are rarely fatal. The choice is ours. We have to tell our leaders what we want, in order to have the world we can live in healthily, as well as have it fit to pass on to the next generation.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Walnut St,Cary,United States

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Navigation and stuff

Once a month, I travel to the neighboring burg of Durham for a meeting. It's not a difficult trip, but it is at a difficult time. The meeting starts at 7 PM, so, I can either drive in the peak of traffic, go early and find a place to sit, or drive at the last minute, hell bent for leather. I've tried each tactic over the years, and I'm becoming more a fan of the early-and-hang-out method. Unless I'm working on that day, I'm usually free, and hanging out at places with WiFi is something of a hobby of mine. Tonight, it's the Beyu Café, on West Main Street. I've usually come here for brunch with the Lovely Bride, so this is my first time coming at the after work/dinner hour. (First note - I am quite under dressed.)

Before I left the comforts of Cary, I chatted with said Lovely Bride and suggested we meet for coffee. She could wait out the traffic, I could come over early and beat the traffic, and we could spend time together. Triple win! As I approached the usual exit, I realized a summertime problem with meeting at the American Tobacco Campus - there is a Durham Bulls game tonight. Every eating place at the Tobacco campus will be packed!

No problem, I'll just fire up Around Me, my favorite "What's Close By?" app. Hitting the "Coffee Shop" category, I found Beyu, where I've been before. The link within the app gives me their phone number, web address, and an option for directions. I called, and they're open. Sweet! Hitting the direction link usually takes me to Apple's Maps app, but within Around Me, it gives me a choice: Maps, Waze, or some other app (I've forgotten which it was). I use Waze almost exclusively. It's a "social" navigation aid, in that the users (on iOS, Blackberry, Android, or whatever) report traffic conditions, which helps the community. Really cool app, if you're in a city of any size where there is a technical population. The Research Triangle of central North Carolina is a huge gang of nerds, milling about with more technology hanging on their persons than is healthy for anyone. When I turn on Waze at, say, 11 PM, there are probably 50-60 other users on the service, trying to find their way home without getting into a bind. Rush hour, the numbers are more in the 500-600 range. That means if there's a problem, you're going to get an alert. So, one tap, and Waze opens up, with my route plotted. I am so loving this century!

So, I sidle up to the bar, order up a local brew, and pull out the trusty iPad for some surfing/writing. (I have several items needing review, as usual!) A nicely-dressed gent plops his laptop bag on the seat next to me, just below the bar where my iPad bag lies. I was a bit curious as to why, when there are 5-6 other empty seats. Then, he pulls out the power supply to his PC laptop, and I notice there is a power outlet in front of that stool. I remember having to grab power where you could - I still do that with my poor old MacBook Pro when I take it anywhere. But, due to this iPad (or, rather, ther previous one), I've given up moving computers around more than my home or the place I work. The next one's going on the desk and sitting still.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Beyu Café,W Main St,Durham,United States

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mobile Blogging

I got a new iPad this week. I've been using my trusty original wifi only iPad (with that huge 16 GB of storage!) for over two years now. While the new device is infinitely more beautiful to read and look at, the striking thing is that now, I can actually have apps and data that I've been having to leave in the Cloud on my previous machine. Also, I don't have to worry that the application RAM will get full and cause an app to hang or quit mysteriously.
I'm still amazed by how thin this unit is compared to my original. I rarely took the original out unless it was in a case, but the smart cover on this new iPad is giving me just enough grip and protection for the screen, and it's a svelte package, I must say.
I thought my original iPad would not be worth much on the wholesale market, and I was right. Gazelle wanted to give me $150 for it. I figured eBay would be a little more generous, but I think I actually underestimated the market. I posted it at 1:40 in the morning with a "Buy It Now" price of $199 plus shipping. Figured it would take a day or two to close. I got the listing email, and two minutes later, no lie, it was sold. Crazy!
So, as I tweeted just after that, I think there's a huge market out there for used iPads, but I don't think used "tablets" are in much demand, except from the geekiest of folks. Sure, new, fire-sale-priced Android tablets will make headlines, but a current-OS-running machine is what folks really want, without the hassle of rooting it and forcing it to do something other than what it was built to do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cafe Helios,Raleigh,United States

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

OK, that does it

I just read a report of Bill Gates' interview from The Charlie Rose Show, and I'm really irritated. There are so many nut cases out there who will not admit, in the face of reason and overwhelming evidence, that the iPad can be used for content creation, not just for consumption. They are touting this Surface non-device, which we've seen no more of than we saw the Courier or that HP slate thing Balmer held up as the next big thing at CES in 2010 (neither of which saw the light of day, btw!), as a productivity machine better than the iPad, and the only thing it'll run at present is the beta of Windows 8. How is this going to be different from the tablets they have trotted out for the last decade???
Well, just to add my two cents into the growing pile of evidence, this day I am converting this blog to an iPad-only blog. I will only create articles and post them from the iPad from now on. The subject matter may vary, as it has, but it's only going to be coming from what I can get to post from an iPad.
Currently, I am using an original wifi-only model. I purchased this before the wifi+3G model was even on the market. It has no camera, so I'll be using PhotoStream and other editing software, but I may be getting a new iPad soon. We'll just have to see how this goes.
For now, just know that this is content, produced and published on an iPad. Consume that, Billy-boy!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

from dusty archives - Largo Lodge

[ed. This piece was written some time ago, but I found it recently while moving hard drives on a computer. I thought some folks may find it ...