Summer Days, Summer Haze

Posted in commuting, cycling, nyc by antisociology on May 25, 2009

Summer has traditionally been the time when I itch to learn something new. I think it started in high school, when I spent summers learning new programming languages, or trying to sharpen up some skill I’d taken a liking to during the school year. Programming, or photography, or painting, and whatnot.

This summer, I’m thinking of two things. First, I’d like to start learning how to play the banjo. That’s fairly self explanatory. The second thing I’d like to get going is what I call the “Danger Bike” project. You see, I’m a big advocate of transportation and utility cycling. The bicycle is one of the most efficient machines man has ever invented.

Cycling on city streets can be terrifying, however. This is particularly true of new cyclists, and it can turn them off of bicycling in a big way. What I’d like to do is build some proximity and location loggers and distribute them to people who bike in various parts of the city. The idea is that these devices would collect location information gathered from a GPS receiver, as well as proximity information from infrared sensors mounted on the bike.

Data from these devices would then be uploaded to a web site, and people could visually see which city streets have traffic that passes closest to cyclists. Software sitting behind the web site would aggregate data for display, and users would be able to view vehicle proximity data either as overall averages as well as averaged by time of day (e.g., average proximity on Broadway Ave. between 6:00P and 7:00P).

The devices would probably consist of small sealed boxes that you can stick on a rear bicycle rack and would incorporate all of the electronics, an antenna for the GPS receiver, and some lights for status. I estimate each unit would cost between $200 and $250 to build. I’m thinking of building a prototype for myself to play with and then doing a Kickstarter project in order to get funds to make more and get devices into the hands of other people.


Attitude shift

Posted in Uncategorized by antisociology on May 2, 2009

Loyal readers, I’m afraid I have to apologize for not keeping in touch these last few weeks (months?). To be honest, nothing of note has really happened. I’ve changed a little, though. Well, at least my attitude toward certain things has.

I’ve started investing less of myself in work. Part of this stems from the difficulty of working with a team that’s on the other side of the country. Lately, I’ve started fighting less and taking orders more. I still work hard, I just don’t fight as hard when I think something is wrong. In short, I’ve been acting more like an employee and less like … well … like a founder (which, honestly, I’m not).

I’ve also been trying to care less about any particular girl. Those of you who know me in person know that I can get emotionally invested fairly early on. This, plus my lack of dating experience means that things don’t usually go well. I’m fairly certain I may have blown it with a very hot prospect. At the end of our second date, I wussed out on kissing this particular lady. Several friends advised me to send her a text message and ended up (quickly!) coming up with a haiku. I’m told this is too romantic. I dunno. Haiku is a fairly low investment in my book. It’s basically word play. In any case, this girl seems less chatty and interested in going out now. C’est la vie, I suppose. It’s probably a little early to call time of death on this one, but I can’t but help but feel as if she’s trying to put a certain distance between us.

While I know my friends (all girls) meant well, I suspect that they were speaking of their own in-relationship desires, rather than from the perspective of girls being courted.

I really need to work on this kissing issue, methinks. The whole kissing and flirting thing. Well, maybe just dating in general. Is it really a matter of going out with whole bunch of people? Who has the time or energy to do that?!

Cheddar muffins fresh out of the oven.

Cheddar muffins fresh out of the oven.

To assuage my feelings, I’m making cheddar muffins right now. The cheese guy I bought my cheese from was bragging about how you only needed half what the recipe calls for because his cheese is so flavorful. Ever the pessimist, I’ve made a half batch at full strength, and a half batch a half strength. We’ll see what happens.

Speaking of the cheese guy, I have pretty much been using my commuter bike for all of my trips around the city. Grocery shopping has been especially pleasant. The last challenge I have yet to master is how to get bike and groceries up the stairs at the same time.