4/26/2008

Saturday night rambling - or, "What shall I do?

It is ten on a Saturday night. On one computer I have some video I'm working on waiting to be processed. On this computer I have three lectures that need to be produced. A show I want to watch has just finished downloading. I just clicked over to this tab in FireFox (I have eight open) to close it and thought I really should at least post something, if only to get at least one post in April.

I have an incredibly hard time writing anything in this space at the moment, because it feels like there's a potential audience. Ever since last September, when all of a sudden my blog posting on that incident turned into local news, I've been careful about what I post here. That's also had the effect of me not writing personal journals anymore, because it's all part of the same big mish-mash, all typed up on a computer in my basement.

But, as I said, it's ten on a Saturday night and what do I do? The kids are in bed. My wife is asleep, or at least, is heading that way. I should probably sleep as well, given that I only get about six hours of sleep a night these days. Catching up would seem to make sense, but at the same time, I usually do worse if I get too much sleep.

Yet, at the moment, I feel compelled to at least fill this box with a few more words. After all, it's another deadline, isn't it? I suppose I could be producing one of my own podcasts, but that likely will not occur. I've not posted one of my secret podcasts since December, I think, and those are all gone anyway because of the recent crash to the Charlottesville Podcasting Network (now fixed, of course). Of course, I just posted one quick thing, a link really to the Darden Businesscast, which is a well-produced summary of the news for that community. I would like very much to emulate this style with a Charlottesville-based news-in-review podcast.

I do miss the longer podcasts I used to do on the site, such as the one I did with Diana Foster of the Rivanna Trails Foundation or the University of Virginia's incredible representation in the Peace Corps. I did get the chance to do something like this at Charlottesville Tomorrow, with a post with Zachary Shahan of the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation.

More of those will come in the future. I have been unable to do much work with the group that is helping me produce podcasts. I'm working all working hours that I can now on things that are bringing in income. I have some very interesting clients at the moment, and I am working on projects that I am proud to be doing.

I think, though, I need to clear up the computer so I can get on with some work. I'm going to rebuild my secret podcast, right now!

4/15/2008

Discovering slight flaw in CTS Real-Time service

Well, I've exposed a fatal flaw in the whole CTS real-time system.

Currently, all you're able to do is track the amount of time it will take for your bus will take to get to your bus stop. It does nothing to tell you how long it will take for your bus to arrive at your destination. In the future, I'll have to track that information.

I've been sitting on the back of the bus for the past 20 minutes now, sitting on JPA, waiting to turn right past the University. I'm not sure what the delay is, to be honest. I can reasonably assume it has something to do with either the South Lawn Project or the demolition of the old health system parking garage. But, I don't know for sure.

Luckily I have a laptop, so I'm able to get some work done. I may end up missing a meeting because of this, so I doubt I will be taking the bus to work in the future, at least not this route. We'll be moving to another part of Charlottesville, soon, so maybe I'll be able to do it. But, every minute I sit on this bus is another minute I have to work past the end of my regular work day.

It's a shame that CTS hasn't figured out a way to re-route this bus somehow, to avoid this traffic snarl. Of course, I'm sure most of the passengers on board will get off at the medical center. There are about eight passengers left. Another two or three decided to get off the bus.

I feel awkward typing on the bus, though it makes perfect sense to be getting work done.

We're now at the South Lawn project, and we're moving faster now that we've turned right onto JPA. I'm amazed at how fast the South Lawn project is moving. The steel superstructure is climbing quickly, and I'm amazed at how close to the road the building is. I'm assuming that where I'm sitting now will one day be covered by the building, and this will be "underground." To my left is the wooden ramp they constructed to funnel pedestrian traffic through to New Cabell Hall.

Now we're making good time, and the medical center is in site. So much construction going on through here. To my right now is the new nursing education center, with a huge crane arcing over head. Someone hits stop, and we're making good time now, fully rolling. It seems that one tiny stretch of road was the bottleneck. What ways could be found to break that gridlock?

Now this is more like it, the bus fully rolling on. Four other passengers left, as we're at the intersection of JPA and Lee Street. To my right cattycornered across the light is the parking garage, soon to be demolished. They're ball and chaining it very slowly at the moment. Another person requests a stop, and now we're about to turn on West Main Street, a sudden burst of speed. The future of the West Main corridor is sure to be different, as I pass more and more potential projects. The tone is clearly set by the new gargantuan parking garage that's now to my left.

At this speed, I should soon be at work in about five minutes now. I do like taking the bus, but I don't think I can take it to work at this time. Maybe I could start walking? With gas as expensive as it is, every little bit of savings is going to help. At least in this hour, I've been productive. I've produced one podcast and was able to write about this trip. I don't write nearly as often as I'd like, because so much of my professional life is now spent writing something or another. So, it's nice to kind of steal this moment, to capture it. I don't mind working a little extra today, because this has been worth it.

I'll unfortunately have to cancel an appointment I've been meaning to have. I'm doing that way too much these days, in part because I don't have a good sense of time.

Now we're about to turn onto Market Street, and I momentarily have to stop typing, as the bus whipsaws round, and there's a light at 2nd and Market, so we go flying up the hill. Time to power down, and begin the work day!

Trying out CTS's real-time system

Can CTS's real-time system benefit me, the guy who can only function if there's an extreme deadline of ridiculous proportions?

I've yet to shower, yet to eat breakfast, and am finishing up an invoice after getting up early to do some production work. I've finished the job, about to print the invoice, and according to the CTS calendar, I've got 26 minutes to catch my bus, which means I have to be out the door in 22 minutes or so, because it will take about four minutes to walk there.




So, I've got to pack up my laptop, make sure I have the money I have to deposit in the account, and have to shower and shave and all of that and I've got 24 minutes left to catch the bus. Will I make it? I'll update the post later with the story.

4/10/2008

Podcasts I Like: The Bugle

I've not been blogging a lot lately, because there just hasn't been much of a point. I've been pretty busy with work and with buying a house and with fretting about my taxes. I have a lot of drafts that I figured were not very interesting.

But, watching the Daily Show this evening, with a brilliant bit by John Oliver, I thought I'd post something about one of the podcasts I'm listening to at the moment.

If you've not heard about it by now, Oliver is one half of a great duo that produces the world's only audio-only newspaper, The Bugle. I've become a big fan of the show, and think it's a great example of the kind of media I'd like - comedy aimed at an English-speaking audience regardless of country.

With Oliver in New York to do the Daily Show, he joins his colleague Andy Zaltzman via radio studio for their take on the news of the week. Plus, silliness such as Hotties from History, regular visits from The American, and the ever-elusive Audio Cryptic Crossword. It's a good show that's evolving nicely. As Oliver's career catches on here, I predict this will become a popular show.

And speaking of the Daily Show, author Aram Rostom is on the show talking about his book, Ahmad Chalabi: The Man Who Pushed America to War. Rostom was a guest last month on Coy Barefoot's "Charlottesville--Right Now!" on WINA.