I think somebody is taking functionalism a little too far. How ugly can a console get? I’m an xbox guy through and through, but PS4 looks better and better every day. If only Sony didn’t have that little hacking experience a few years back…
HDMI Struggles: After spending $50 and four hours trying to find the right combination of cables that would let me plug a Mac mini into this ancient display, I fixed the broken HDMI port with a stupidly simple fix. A wad of sticky notes.
iCloud backup rocks. As much as I like to complain about iCloud, when I replaced my broken iPhone five for a faulty power button (it was free) all of my photos and videos backed up to iCloud came back in a matter of hours. It’s crazy cool.
I was doing some research over the past two weeks on the sustainability of public transport and why it is that some bus transport systems don’t have GPS tracking enabled, when I came across a bit of interesting information. One would think that it would be cheap to implement the technology, but the port authority seems to think otherwise. Here’s what I had jotted down:
Some might say that the Port Authority’s position is a comfortable one to be in. The citizenry is accustomed to the routes, and should the city choose to expand, little demolition needs to be done, avoiding any Moses-like destruction of existing neighborhood relationships. Moreover rising gasoline prices should be pushing citizens to opt for cheaper public transport alternatives. So why then has the Port Authority been forced to cut routes and therefore loose ridership consistently since 2008?
The simplest explanation is a reduction in funding from Allegheny County. Contributions from the country account for nearly half of the Authority’s income (PPGztte), so any reduction would understandably have a significant effect on the sustainability of the service. But then, it is not the first time the Authority’s budget has been reduced and routes have been cut. In fact, the Authority has increased its fare prices five times since 2000, only narrowly avoiding a 35 percent reduction in service this past year. The explanation as to the perpetual budget crisis therefore lies not with declining county subsidies or local ridership, both of which can be predicted and accounted for, but with poor implementation of capital currently at the Authority’s disposal.
In 2010 for example, the Port Authority installed $32 million fareboxes in 190 buses. They installed them without GPS units, claiming the additional units would cost them tens of millions of dollars more (PPGztte). In fact, the manufacturer, a German company by the name of Scheidt-Bachmann, lists the machines, called FareGo Sales FM| 40, as ready for “connectivity for GSM, GPRS, UMTS and ITCS…” GPS capable in other words. Why then does the Port Authority insist that the new fareboxes cannot implement GPS features to display accurate arrival times? It could be that they believe that the data coverage costs from Internet service providers, ISPs, would amount to “tens of millions of dollars”. In that case, assuming that data coverage for each of the 190 buses equipped with the new fareboxes is as expensive as it might be for the average individual, the cost should come out to be somewhere within the “tens of millions” amount. The actual cost is nowhere near that. The average data plan for a machine-to-machine plans, the type of data plan needed for a farebox, in the United States starts at around $100 a month. That is roughly $1200 a year. Now if we multiply that by the 190 buses (not all of which are functional) the total cost of implementing GPS tracking in the Authority’s Pittsburgh fleet comes out to be $228,000 dollars. Now that’s $9,772,000 cheaper than the city claims it should be. Even if one assumes that the city simply didn’t have the $228,000 dollars, this miscalculation, or perhaps even blatant misrepresentation, of the costs associated with GPS capabilities is an example of the inefficiency of Port Authority.