Category Archives: Thoughts

Book Sharing

I recently have been exploring the idea of some sort of book sharing program.

I bought two books, had them delivered to a couple of people, and the plan was to have them pass it on to the next reader when they were done with it.

There were/are a few problems with my plan…the first was I didn’t have a proper delivery method to get it from person A to B…but more importantly, I didn’t actually have a list of people to pass things on to!

The obvious answer to problem #1 is USPS flat rate shipping…but funny enough, with Amazon’s cheap book prices, and free shipping seven days a week, it’s actually simpler to buy a new book for each person (obviously this depends on the book).

The first two books I’ve sent out were polar opposites: Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendricks’ autobiography; and 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, recently turned into a Netflix show.

If you are interested in getting involved or want one of those first two books, feel free to reach out (you know…twitter, email, comment below) and join in on the reading fun!

Time To Change E-Z Pass

Looking around NYC just about every car has something in common: They have an E-Z Pass tag stuck to the windshield.

The NorthEast part of North America, including 16 States and Ontario, Canada, have E-Z Pass for their toll collection system.
For those unfamiliar, you just drive through the toll booth, and the scanners read your Pass ID and takes the money off your account.

But is it time to get rid of clunky E-Z Pass in your windshield, and have a Nationwide electronic tag added to every vehicle?

Sure I know some people that refuse E-Z Pass as they don’t like being tracked…but tracking is the way of the future, as autonomous cars come to popularity, and as more states start moving away from the gas taxes.

With cars having identifiers of some sort in them, toll booths would become a thing of the past as scanners take their place.

The government would also like this because it’d help stop “toll hoppers” who cover parts of their license plates so the plate readers (which send you bills by mail if you don’t have E-Z Pass) can’t properly identify them, and it would allow police officers to quickly scan a car and have ticket info fill itself in, resulting in fewer tickets thrown out for “misinformation”.

Separately I think there should be some sort of chip in drivers licenses, and a slot in the car where a driver identifies himself by inserting the card…this would stop drivers with expired licenses from getting behind the wheel, and again for cops to easily ID drivers…but all this is for a different thought process…

New Turn Rules on Ocean Parkway

May 17, 2014 I started to write a post about new turn rules that I thought needed to get implemented on Ocean Parkway.
I got lazy and never finished it since I wanted to add in diagrams explaining what I wanted, yet I referenced it in 2015…but now, almost three years later they’ve actually put into effect rules similar to what I had almost hit publish on.

But now we need to take a deeper look at it, and see what really needs to be done to make Ocean Parkway great again:

  • The “No-Right Turns” on certain blocks is a great start. It allows for freer flowing traffic on the main strip and lets the service road have a green light, allowing them to proceed straight without needing to worry about turning traffic.
  • Meanwhile, expanding the corners in the service road to two lanes allows one lane to go thru, while the other is designated for slower traffic turning onto the Avenues.
  • What the city really needs to do is go all in and spend real money on this project, not just “new turn signals” and “traffic patterns”. Every block of Ocean Parkway needs a turn-off point halfway to funnel cars onto the service road for upcoming right turns so that cars never need to slow down in the main six lanes.
    They have it in one place (and one place only) and it works nicely, down near Shore Parkway approaching the Belt Parkway East entrance.

Sure it would cost lots of money, but isn’t that what tolls are supposed to be used for?

As for the politicians who have issues with the new lights…maybe the issue isn’t the lights but with poor drivers?
I have seen numerous drivers run red lights in recent weeks because they are looking at the wrong traffic signal. Why would you look half a block ahead instead of the one directly in front of you?

Let’s institute re-upping ones written road test every 10-15 years, so that people can learn what the “stop line” is for at intersections…but that’s a whole different fight.

Smarter Ads On Hulu

I wish the advertisements on Hulu were smarter.

They have my watching history, including what shows I’ve watched, which shows are on my watchlist and most importantly: What show I am in the middle of.

If I’ve already watched a show, there is no need to keep promoting it to me…but more importantly, last week I was in the middle of watching the second episode of 24: Legacy and in a commercial break they showed me ads to “Watch the pilot of 24: Legacy now on Hulu”.

You know I’ve already seen it. And let’s argue that you don’t know that it was me that watched it but another user (despite the newly added profiles), but you do know that I am currently watching the second episode…so ads for the first one are wasted on me.

The tech is all there, you have all my info, and I WANT you to use it. Now make the user experience user-friendly.

Hulu Logo

The Media vs Trump

Media critic and NYU Professor of Journalism Jay Rosen had an interesting thought process this weekend about the Trump White House vs. CNN, and I thought it’d be nice to compile it in one place for easy reading.

My thoughts on it: I think it is a very interesting take, and I am curious to see how it plays out because it has potential to shift the entire dynamic of interviews on television, taking the cards away from the guests and letting the anchors ask what they want, how they want!

Link to thread: https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/828032518565789697

Twitter thread by Jay Rosen (https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu):
Here’s my read on this news: CNN declines to have Kellyanne Conway on air — and lets that fact be publicly known
The background here is the Trump team ‘freezing out’ CNN and trying to punish it for reporting it didn’t like
Last wee, Jake Tapper spoke up about the White House refusing to send any representative to his Sunday program
Instead of ‘you get no one’ the White House is this week saying to CNN: you can’t have what everyone else is getting…Mike Pence.
But instead of taking a second tier guest — Kellyanne Conway — CNN came back with its own statement: you wanna give up the air time? Fine.
Why do these adolescent games matter? Any kind of push back matters for a press capable of cave-ins like this
Another reason it could matter is that the White House is pushing CNN into a little booking experiment that might otherwise never occur.
Weeks of news coverage ABOUT the Trump White House without on-air guests FROM the Trump White House allow CNN to test a proposition…
Does it really hurt CNN in the ratings when speakers from the White House fail to appear on air? What if the answer turns out to be no?
If the boycott and ‘punishment’ continue, and CNN does fine in the ratings, AND in digging up juicy things about the Trump White House—
—then it will have been demonstrated that you don’t need their guests to do well. If the White House wants to give up the airtime, fine!
Which in turn means: If the White House “comes back” to CNN, the power relationships between guest and host might be subtly altered.
When everyone on set knows CNN can live with it if the White House rep never returns, it’s a little easier to hold speakers accountable.
Works the other way around too. When a guest doesn’t care about getting asked back, this has a welcome effect on freedom of expression.
In sum: the White House thinks it’s playing hardball with CNN. But it may wind up illuminating an alternative path: outside-in coverage.
Compared to the shifts I have described here, news that Kellyanne Conway was turned away is just a delightful confection.

Going At It Alone

This Sunday I went to Monster Jam on my own. This follows solo trips to Virginia, Niagara, and Washington D.C., including a Garth Brooks concert, among other things.

Is it fun to go to these events alone? Nope.
Is it necessary to go to these events alone? Yes.

When planning these trips, there is always the option of adding an extra person, it’s usually as simple as adding a hotel room…and with Monster Jam there was an unused ticket that went to waste.

If I waited for someone to do all these things with I never would have walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, wandered thru the streets of Camden Yards, or felt the spray of the Class 6 White Water Rapids of Niagara.
Never would I have stomped around the Tidal Basin or climbed the staircases of the New York Capitol, and it’s likely I never would have rocked out with the fine people of Richmond.

No, I definitely don’t want to have done all these alone. It would be a lot nicer to have someone to share the experiences with, to talk about the fun times that was had.

But until all that is an option, I’m just gonna have to keep going at it all alone.

Speed Over Quality

Following the Rolling Stone article from a few months ago (which I discussed here), it’s important to look at other things that are affected by our need for everything NOW.

Everyone likes to get their information spoon fed to them as fast as possible, and if a news site doesn’t get up the story fast, they fear getting beat by a competitor…and they’ll take that risk of speed, instead of fact checking the article before posting it.

A good example was Friday as the new administration took office, all of the old stuff got rolled off the Internet and into Archives.
This included Twitter accounts (such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse) and the actual website for the White House.
At the stroke of Noon, the Obama administration pages went into archives, while the primary pages were reset to Stage Zero, and started to get rebuilt for the new Trump presidency.

But that didn’t stop websites, such as Complex, from running stories about the Trump administration removing Climate Change, Healthcare, and Civil Rights from the White House website…and of course the Internet (and the social media beasts) ran with that, instead of remembering that this is standard protocol and not a “scrub of data”.

Complex, after a bunch of Tweets and pictures, added to the end of their story the following:

…The new site is poorly written and researched, as well as underdeveloped, so it’s possible that these scrubs are an oversight—plus, it’s standard protocol for incoming administrations to delete all existing materials on the official site…

So they basically acknowledge that their whole story is just about riling people up, and not actually factual, since it’s standard protocol and not the “scrub” that the article leads readers to believe (readers that we all know take the headlines and run, and will never read to the end of a story…too many words and all).

Time for the media, and anyone that wants to consider themselves as such, to start putting the facts up front, and stop being click-bait and the one that fans the flames of the Internet.