F Market to the Castro


“F this train! (Don’t worry, it’s all cool.)” – January 3rd, 2011

Even when I’m otherwise pissed off at SF Muni, the F line always pulls through. It’s one of my favorite ways to travel through the city — the historic cars, the old seats, and the awesome growl of the train as it travels down the tracks. It’s not the quickest, but it’s fun!

Choo choo!

We were supposed to take the Amtrak Coast Starlight train down to Southern California, but it was severely delayed due to bad weather in Oregon and Washington. Changed trains, taking San Joaquin to Bakersfield and then a bus to Los Angeles.

Here we go!



Man, wouldn’t it be nice to have a high speed rail system in California?




Sneak attack!

We’re 3/4 the way through a bottle of wine when we hear over the intercom, “Remember folks, you’re not allowed to drink your own alcohol on the train, or we’ll remove you and your alcohol from this train.” Crap!

On another note — the Central Valley is a lot more fun to look at when you aren’t driving through it.




TSA Checkpoint Sign


Oleg Volk created this TSA checkpoint sign in 2008, which is now getting attention due to recent abuses by the organization.

Interestingly enough, the social location service Loopt is offering 10 iPod touches to people who check in to an airport using the app on November 24th, and tweet about being pat down by the TSA.

As a slight gift to opt-outers out there, Loopt is giving away 10 iPod Touches for TSA touching. Just check into your airport on Loopt* on Wednesday, November 24 (with iPhone, iPod Touch or Android), share a bit about your experience, push it to Twitter with the hashtag #touchedbyTSA, and you can win an iPod Touch. That simple.

Another TSA problem? Data collection

Another problem with the TSA? Lack of data collection. A former assistant police chief writes on the potential for passive discrimination, due to the TSA’s lack of data collection:

Over the last fifteen years or so, many police agencies started capturing data on police interactions. The primary purpose was to document what had historically been undocumented: informal street contacts. By capturing specific data, we were able to ask ourselves tough questions about potentially biased-policing. Many agencies are still struggling with the answers to those questions.

Regardless, the data permitted us to detect problematic patterns, commonly referred to as passive discrimination. This is a type of discrimination that occurs when we are not aware of how our own biases affect our decisions. This kind of bias must be called to our attention, and there must be accountability to correct it.

One of the most troubling observations I made, at both Albany and BWI, was that — aside from the likely notation in a log (that no one will ever look at) — there was no information captured and I was asked no questions, aside from whether or not I wanted to change my mind.

Given that TSA interacts with tens if not hundreds of millions of travelers each year, it is incredible to me that we, the stewards of homeland security, have failed to insist that data capturing and analysis should occur in a manner similar to what local police agencies have been doing for many years.

[via Mr. Alan Cooper on Twitter]

What’s faster than Muni? Everything.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised at this — but I’m kind of in awe that biking home from downtown San Francisco (entirely uphill, mind you) is faster than taking a bus.

GPS info riding my bike:


GPS info while riding the bus:


Here are the times:
* Bike – 2.64 miles in ~18 minutes, 8.62 mph average.
* Bus – 2.35 miles in ~20 minutes, 7.06 mph average.

(It might seem like I’m cherry picking, but I’ve recorded data from a number of different days. The bicycle is always faster!)

Times recorded using Runmeter for the iPhone.

Picked up a new bike!

I picked up a new bike this weekend from someone on Craigslist! A ~1995 Schwinn Passage in perfect condition. It’s a great little touring bike and I’ve already put 25 miles on it.

Muni’s new augmented reality app

I’m releasing a new augmented reality application for San Francisco’s Muni system soon. How does it work? Basically, you just point it at your stop to see the latest arrival times. Here is a preview screenshot!

SF Muni's New Augmented Reality App

Seriously though, everyone is getting on the bandwagon with augmented reality applications lately! A local developer just released a new augmented reality application for the iPhone, called acrossair.

(N Judah fail image courtesy of N-Judah Chronicles)