Thursday, January 25, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
I actually heard this report on The Today Show and ignored it, but since I see a link I might as well include it. The supposed "findings" include the fact that 82yr old women are more likely to die in a car accident than 16yr old boys, and that the safest "region" to drive in is New England. Oh, and the safest time of day is morning rush hour.
Those are all easily dissected. One is even dissected right in the article. 82yr old ladies die more easily than 16yr old boys. The study is about fatalities, not about accidents. You can get in half a dozen accidents, but if you don't die, then you don't count. And it doesn't take that many accidents for an 82yr old to kick it.
Likewise, think about the "region" of New England - it contains Maine and Vermont. So sure, Boston might be the home of the craziest drivers in the country, but you can't well spread out their fatality rate across all of Maine and Vermont and expect it to still be highest on the list.
Lastly, the surprise that morning rush hour is the safest. Again, hardly a surprise - morning rush hour means you're driving at slow, gridlock speeds. So you get fender benders, you don't get fatalities. The fatalities happen at 2am, usually because you were driving 100mph and went off the road into a tree.
I love this story because it's got some statistics I can use :) :
- over 80% adjust the radio. I hardly think that counts as a distraction, especially since these days many radios have controls right under your thumb on the steering wheel.
- 73% talk on the phone. Again, what's this really mean? If you spent your entire trip talking just for the sake of yakking it up, then yeah, I think you might be a distraction. Calling your spouse for 30 seconds to say "I'm on the way home, do you need me to pickup milk?" seems like it would be in a different category.
- 68% eat. Well, yeah. Guilty on this one, and I've even recommended that others do it.
- "personal hygiene" is not as big as you might think, with only 12% doing makeup and 2% shaving. Still, I gotta say, if you haven't attended to your personal hygiene, don't leave the house.
While I agree with the theory and acknowledge that many (most?) people out there driving today are too distracted, I think the numbers are a little to generic to have a point. It's like saying "85% of people who spend more than 1 hour in the sun did not use at least SPF 15." Sure, we all know we're supposed to, and the risks if we don't. But there's not a guaranteed causal relationship there.
The most amusing part of the story, by the way, comes in the "other stuff" that people have admitted to doing while driving, including changing seats, watching movies, putting in contacts and ...nursing a baby.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I'm all excited, one of my favorite podcasts is back. I always liked "The Working Podcast", a show basically for people that work. Whether you love it or hate it. Tips for finding a new job, but also funny stories about stuff people saw during the commute. I contributed a few stories myself.
Well, the working podcast disappeared for most of last year and I assumed that it was gone. But I see that's merely changed it's name.
Behold, Jobacle! Here's hoping it has a long and happy run.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Ok, I'm sure I've already said it, but I'm perfectly happy with my Motorola V360. It's got a USB port for charging. It's got Bluetooth. It plays video that I store on my miniSD card. And it has MP3 ringtones. Overall, a sufficiently geeky phone.
But man, the software stinks. The interface is horrendous. I've noted elsewhere, for example, that the word "ringtone" does not appear anywhere in either the interface or the manual. The most popular topic among people who want to actually personalize their phone, and it's never even mentioned.
The hope of these new Linux phones is that they will bring with them an even higher geeky factor, meaning that we should be able to mod the holy heck out of them. Some of the choices are weird -- Bluetooth printing? What's this for? I suppose pictures, maybe. Or "airplane mode" so you can turn off the cell phone but still use the music player. Yeah, now give us a way to charge the thing while on the plane so you don't use up your batteries in half an hour by playing all that music.
The Z6 is just a fancy RAZR. That's fine. The A1200 appears to be a competitor in the "does everything" space - touch screen, voice recognition, handwriting recognition....man, that sounds like it's gonna be a big failure. :( REAL music player? Interface to Microsoft's Media Player? Ok, where did the Linux go? Forget everything I just said.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I realized lately that I spent so much of my commute wondering, "What can I do to occupy my commute?" that I often forget to do any of them :). I could sleep, I could listen to music, I could listen to fun podcasts, audio books....educational podcasts, start a business podcasts...I could do Sudoku. Read an e-book. Meditate. And so on.
So I thought I'd ask. What do you do on your commute? Sleep? Read the paper? Work on the laptop? I'm just one person, so I'm curious what the majority says.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
This might seem obvious, but the American Public Transportation Association has released the results of a study that says losing one car and taking the bus instead can save you up to $6200 on average.
Keep in mind that this is not about simply not driving, it's about not actually owning that second car:
Most of the savings comes from not paying for fees for maintenance, insurance, and loan payments on one automobile, which comes to about $5,586 a year including depreciation, according to 2006 American Automobile Association figures.
Personally, I'm not giving up my car. I drive to the train station.
Make your own breakfast in the morning is easy to say, but if you cut the time window down as much as I do, it's pretty hard to find something. It has to be something that you can keep supplied in the house (you need this every day, so what happens when you're out?), something you have time to make, and most importantly, something that you actually enjoy eating.
Here's one that I've found I can come back to repeatedly and not get sick of it.
- Get a carton of what I call "egg stuff", but is marketed as Egg Beaters. Basically it's scrambled egg whites. Important to get the scrambled yellow stuff, not the running white stuff. The latter is only good for baking substitute, the former you can actually eat. The other good thing about EggBeaters is that it comes in a variety of flavors, including southwestern, veggie, and my current favorite, ham and cheese.
- Get some "lavash" flat bread.
- In the morning, pour about half a cup of egg beater stuff into a bowl.
- Microwave until it's not soup anymore. For me, in my microwave, that's about 2 minutes 30 seconds, depending on how much I put in there (never measure, just eyeball).
- Scoop it out with a rubber spatula, deposit on flatbread. Chop it up a bit and spread it around. (If the flatbread is too big you can possibly even cut it in half.)
- If desired, add stuff. Sometimes I'll throw in an extra piece of cheese, or maybe some pepperoni or something. Whatever floats your boat.
- Roll. Remember to fold up one of the open ends so it doesn't drip out on you.
- Put dishes in sink, rinse. You don't want to be leaving egg in there to get dried on forever.
- Wrap your burrito in a paper towel and off you go.
I have this for breakfast close to every day, or at least every day when we have the supplies in the house, and I've got the 2 minutes. It's quick, it's healthy (well, healthier...), and it's as tasty as I want to make it. I tend to eat it while driving.
The flatbread wrap works best, from experience . Traditional sandwich bread gets all soggy easily, not to mention letting hunks of egg drip out the bottom and onto your shirt. Syrian pockets fall apart and experience the same drippy problem. English muffins are too small. Bagels are perfect sized, but again, there's that whole drippy factor. Can you tell that I've had egg dripped on me on the way to work? It's not fun. If you want to eat this thing in the car while you're driving to work, you have to consider such things.
Enjoy. Anybody got any other recipes that fit the quick/easy/tasty bill?
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Am I the only one out there that prefers soda in the morning over coffee? I never got the habit. Instead you can always find me carrying around a 20ounce bottle of Diet Pepsi. Sometimes caffeine free, sometimes not, I'm not picky. I can do Diet Coke in a pinch, though I don't love it. And I much prefer the 20oz over the 16oz, it lasts longer. Has to be the bottle, not the can, so I can recap it as necessary.
If the job's not providing free soda, you'd better be buying your own in bulk and bringing it from home, because those Coke machines can get expensive. I've found during the day that if I want a quick Diet Pepsi I have to go to the bagel place downstairs and pay $2.00, or walk 10 minutes away and pay $1.60. I can get Diet Coke for $1.40. And that's just for the 16oz bottle anyway. I can buy a 6pack of the 20oz ones at the market for about $3, or 50 cents a bottle.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Forget the hybrids getting their 100mpg. If you've got a short commute, why not try it on electricity alone? The cool looking Chevy Volt, which is technically a hybrid but they're not calling it that, can do 40 miles on electricity alone. Sweet!
I just saw this same car on the Today Show as I'm writing this, and it makes me wonder...what does this do to your electric bill?