Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A few quick things

Okay ... A few quick things.

1. Sort of in line with Corrupt's post this morning - WMATA needs to do something when there are delays across the region.  This morning, I did not have to arrive until 11, so I got on the bus around 10:30 knowing that they wouldn't be running with rush hour frequency - but figuring that they would still be crowded since a lot of people were delayed.  Well sure enough the bus was packed, so much so that we started skipping stops 2 after mine.  This is a normal operating proceedure (and perfectly fine), but when it is not rush hour and the next bus is probably 5-10 minutes behind - it becomes a problem for those people who have to wait.  Now I'm not saying that WMATA wasn't aware of these delays, but they should be able to do something - and I'm sure they would if they could.  But their hands are tied by Union contracts.  UGH.

You know how I feel about unions and the such, but I won't really go into that ... my gripe is more with an out-of-date employment structure for mass transit.  When transit companies were first made into public-private entities around the 1920's, the employment structure remained the same ... and as they shifted to completely public entities - still nothing changed.  Unfortunately, this is hurting us.  We all know that clearly you are going to need more bus/train drivers during the morning and evening rush hours - but unfortunately the hiring of true part-time employees to work during these shifts is basically unheard of ... thanks to unions.  I'm sorry unions, I realize you are looking out for everyones best interests - but you are screwing us.

2. Obama is right (again).  I really hope I don't make a habit of saying this -- it is getting kind of scary.  This morning Obama took time out of talking about the economic stimulus package to ask reporters "WTF is wrong with DC" (not exactly in those terms).  But he is right.  He was complaining about how his daughter's school - Sidwell Friends - has decided to close due to some snow and ice.  He said (per WaPo), "We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town, I'm saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things."  And he is compeltely right.  The DC Metro area has no idea how to deal with weather of any kind.  I have said this all four years I have been here, and I am glad to see Obama noticed it too.

3.  This is the thing that really inspired me to write this post this very second.  Google took a huge step in favor of Net Nuetrality today, ironically in the same day that Comcast and AT&T took a step backwards by doing the RIAA's dirty work for them (here).  Google annouced this afternoon via their blog - here - the introduction of a project called the Measurement Lab.  Basically Google is also tired of ISPs trying to regulate what you can and cannot do with your connection (which you know Comcast loves to do), and wants people to know when they are being f---ed with.  To quote from Google's blog, "Researchers are already developing tools that allow users to, among other things, measure the speed of their connection, run diagnostics, and attempt to discern if their ISP is blocking or throttling particular applications."  And Google is giving them the ability to run these tools on Google servers around the globe.  Thank you Google :)

You can access the Measurement Lab by clicking here.

And here is just a great quote from Google:
At Google, we care deeply about sustaining the Internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation. No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that Internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they're getting when they sign up for broadband, and good data is the bedrock of sound policy. Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet.
4. Oh one last thing ... The House voted down the DTV Delay Act.  While I previously posted that I was in favor of a delay, the Obama Administration failed to outline any real plan aside from delaying the date and throwing money at the problem.  The vote roll can be viewed here.


1 comment:

Emily said...

apparently people at the Post did not appreciate Obama's comments and were really upset. Check this editorial out in the Post - she is super angry!

I personally agree with Obama and think the people of DC need to suck it up.