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Archive for the 'technology' Category

a convenient distortion


Some might argue that one shouldn’t waste the time of day to such things, but I saw this I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do they really think people buy this stuff anymore?”

I’m referring to the latest warning from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, decrying a Vermont federal judge’s ruling that states can independently regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This has huge implications for California, of course, because this state is once again ahead of the curve — in no small part because of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
Under: driving, Environment, fuel, Misc. Transportation, Safety, technology | 2 Comments »

what’s that got to do with the price of beer?

beer-vs-ethanol.jpg

I may have been too eager to believe the dairy clerk that the steep increase of a price of milk at my local grocery store had something to do with the ethanol industry gobbling up our bovine friends’ feed corn.

That price is fixed according to international demand for dairy products, which (I don’t think this is a wild stab here) doesn’t fluctuate with our demand for energy.

But stories are coming in from around the globe indicating that borrowing from the food chain to fill up our tanks may not be Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2007
Under: Environment, fuel, technology | 4 Comments »

got ethanol?

It’s such a joy when a journalist’s personal reality collides with his or her professional existence.

For a day, at least, I had that feeling after visiting my local Safeway store yesterday.

I came to discover that the gallons of milk I used to buy for three bucks and change now cost four bucks and change. Please forgive the inexactitude, but that’s usually how I shop for groceries.

Curious about the sudden change, I sought out the young man charged with stocking the dairy case. Before he even responded to the page over the store’s PA system, the bakery person next door volunteered Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2007
Under: driving, Environment, technology | No Comments »

Big Brother is my co-pilot

and-you-thought-it-was-a-red-light-camera.png

The news out of Washington today is that our very own Caltrans, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and University of California, Berkeley, researchers are joining forces to monitor the movements of all vehicles in the United States.

That’s one way of looking at it.

The government has Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Under: 511, Caltrans, driving, Freeways, Funding, maps, Security, technology | 1 Comment »

Googling down the highway

google-street-view.bmpLet me begin by saying that I continually strive to be as objective as possible about everything. Ken Lay had his reasons and so did Pinochet, thus there are two sides to almost every issue.

I will even give Google some credit where credit’s due, even though they suck the very essence of those who subsist on creating intellectual property, robotically repackage it and sell it to advertisers who once helped pay for my child’s health insurance.

Today I found more evidence of why the search engine I can’t live with or without is becoming the new Microsoft.

I was looking up something on Google Maps, as I do obsessively, and noticed a new button, “Street View,” which I dutifully clicked on.

Blue outlines ran along MacArthur Boulevard in East Oakland and a little orange board-game pawn appeared on the map with a little balloon saying, “Drag me Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
Under: driving, maps, parking, Safety, Security, technology | No Comments »

AC Transit: wi-fi king

ac-transit-wi-fi-door.JPGWhile I was busy oohing and aahing over BART’s little Embarcadero-to-City Center wi-fi test, I neglected a new wi-fi service that

A. Was actually a service, and not just Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), ferries, rail, technology | 15 Comments »

and on the 7th day, there was wi-fi

yearning-for-wi-fi-on-the-rails.jpgThere is a fever that burns in the heart of every laptop-toting
transit commuter.

We look toward the heavens, hoping for a signal, one that will make
our commutes productive and happy, one that involves Web access and
all the bounty that comes with it.

Because of this, I must praise BART for giving us a foretaste of the
feast to come.

For a few fleeting minutes Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2007
Under: BART, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), technology | 4 Comments »

357 miles per hour: too fast for Fresno?

tgv-record.jpgAfter dropping $208 plus $105 in Commuter Checks for my monthly train ticket today, I should feel ripped off that it takes me 90 minutes to get to Oakland from the Central Valley.

Especially so after reading today that Assemblywoman Fiona Ma took a train that went a record-breaking 357 miles per hour through the Champagne region of France, the same type of train that I know could get me to Oakland in 11 minutes for a price so low that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Environment, Freeways, Funding, high-speed rail, rail, technology | 26 Comments »

checking for suicide bombers on BART

dc-metro-mock-attack.jpg

Call me a cynic, but I tend to believe those dire neocon predictions that when we leave Iraq, “they” will follow us. Perhaps that’s because we Americans proved so willing to step into the role once held by the infidel Soviets in Afghanistan. When seeking martyrdom, why waste your life on a second-rate superpower when you can be fighting No. 1?

After living in the Holy Land for three years, I came to appreciate magnetometer wands and bag checks. When I entered a public place such as a mall or a restaurant, I’d be apprehensive if no one was there to wand me and ask, “Any weapons?”

Returning to California in 2005, I couldn’t help thinking how vulnerable this country was to the most basic of terror attacks: Guy gets on a bus, strapped with C-4 explosives, nuts and bolts for maximum killing Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
Under: BART, Buses, ferries, Funding, rail, Security, technology | No Comments »

one card to rule them all*

mt-translink.bmpThe new TransLink cards are here!

Much like Steve Martin’s refrain from “The Jerk,” this event is somewhat anticlimactic.

To quote Tommy, who announced this in a comment on my last TransLink entry,

Woohoo! My wife is a Cal student so it’s basically useless for her as she gets free AC Transit rides anyway. I probably won’t load mine up until BART, Muni, and Caltrain come online so I can do the Albany to Mountain View commute without having to fiddle with three different fare systems.

What? BART isn’t part of a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
Under: AC Transit, BART, Buses, Caltrain, connectivity, Fare systems, ferries, rail, technology | 12 Comments »