...over to engineous.

Figured it was time I put my own domains to good use.



Convenience Versus Time

Short of a medical emergency, the train is a great way to travel if you're on a time crunch, just not here in North America.
Over the past few months I've had the pleasure of riding the rails (by choice - travel agent was shocked that I didn't want to rent a car) on business trips within the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France and England.

Not once did I have to worry about getting lost, stuck in traffic, taking a detour (intentional or accidental), finding somewhere to eat or heed the call'o'nature. I was also able to read books, catch up on work, make necessary calls on the silly-phone, and yes, even take in some of the scenery racing by.

For me at least, convenience and the value of my "time wasted" is a matter of perspective. Unless your work explicitly involves driving yourself from point A to point B to point C+3, compare how much time you would spend driving to how much you make an hour. That half-hour driving yourself each way to work is time you're choosing to sacrifice...

What book could you have read?

What podcasts would you have listened to?

What landscapes would you have missed,
watching tail-lights and tail-gaters,
along the same gray asphalt?



Platform 3 @ Lyon Airport Train Station

Platform 3 @ Lyon Airport Train Station
Originally uploaded by aplumb.
I'm not a fan of traveling for the sake of traveling (not to be confused with a nomadic lifestyle, where it's your home, work and life), but when I do I try to take in as much of my surroundings as I possibly can.

In Europe, that means taking the train whenever possible and practical.



Get Your Muse On!

Alright, I'll admit it. I watch American Idol with the same fascination as watching a car crash. There's talent there, but it gets swept up in and smothered by the hype.
Canadian Idol on the other hand... I prefer it, but that could just as easily be because I'm more accustomed to the English+French culture mix/sound we get up here than the English+Latin mix down South. Comfort food for the ears. I bought Theresa's album as soon as it came out because I love her voice.

Promotion of artistic talent is tricky for the musicians a step or more outside mainstream, but it can be done. I think I've bought more CDs over the course of this past year as a direct result of last year's SXSW Sampler Compilation than any other promo method. Most recent one was Maggie Walters a couple of weeks ago.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the Independent Artists Company IAC will work out!



Cell phone blocking versus jamming

When ever I read stories like this, I have to wonder if anyone with actual technical knowledge of the systems involved was ever consulted.
This is a cellular telephone technology we're talking about, not cold-war era broadcast technology. Calls are able to find their destination cell phone by way of the closest cell tower/site in the network. If you were to put a micro-tower in the theatre, all cell phones would automatically connect to it as the closest point of access to the network. Control that access point and you control the cell phones.

Those cell phones connected to in-theatre sites wouldn't ring unless permission was granted on a per-number basis for doctors and other emergency personel. Obviously, it needs to be dead-easy to enter numbers into the system, either manually or automatically. The system would also be able to automagically handle outgoing dialing of 911 and other emergency numbers, regardless of whether a person's device is registered.

Those cell-phones connected to in-lobby sites would ring and act normally. You would probably need in-lobby sites so the in-theatre sites don't over-extend their reach.

Problem solved, and the only involvement of the FCC would probably be in the qualification of the equipment within existing regulations. No need to grant special permission for entertainment-purpose jamming gear.



Prius versus Prius

On one hand, the EPA overestimates the mileage for the Prius, and Toyota's not happy.
On the other, some drivers are able to eke out 110mpg from stock Prius vehicles.

The solution?

Capture the smarts of the performance-foot in a software upgrade for all!



Daylight savings bug on horizon

Apparently, the Y2K bug didn't wreak nearly enough havoc.
In an effort to bolster a flagging IT industry, the US government has embarked on a make-work campaign by shifting daylight savings time so it starts a month earlier and ends a month later.

I wonder how many algorithms will need to be fixed this time around.?.