Tag Archives: Obama

The Demise of Travel by Rail makes me sad

I have very fond memories of traveling from LA to Seattle by train with my mom and sister as a kid. It was part of our summer vacation, visiting friends and family. It was great. Watching the landscape fly by from the glass walled observation car. Grabbing snacks at the snack bar. Being able to get up and walk the length of the train whenever I wanted. And, watching some crappy 4 year old movie at night in the obs. car with everyone else (well a small subset of ‘everyone’).

It was great. It was slow yes, but that wasn’t the point.

It’s less the point now. With 3/4G networks and Mifi devices, time on a train can be (if you want) time spent working.

Rail travel’s worst enemy is amtrak.

I saw this article last night and it made me think of the few times in the last few years I’ve said, “Screw it, I’m taking the train, the TSA and airlines have gone too far!” Then I look up the price of traveling by train, and buy my ticket on Frontier. :(

Amtrak clearly doesn’t get their place in 2011. They’re slow. Sometimes slower than walking if you count the multi-hour delays that are all too common. When you’re the slowest option, you can’t be the most expensive. Unless of course trains are gold plated, and staffed by super-models and VC’s with money to burn, but they’re not.

Want power on your ride? you’re looking at far more money. It’s a shame. Realistically, even with it taking hours or even days longer than air travel, so long as you can work and be productive, it’s not time lost. I can’t use my laptop on airlines. I’m not short, and I almost always have that dick head who needs to be as close to horizontal as possible, no matter what time of day the flight is, right in front of me. Air travel is reading and watching videos time. I’d work on a train, even if just some of the time.

The article i linked to also points out lack of high speed rail, and I agree completely. Having traveled Italy by train when we went, it was amazing. Every stop was in the city center, near the local metro or taxis. Each train was fast or high speed. Even the rickety kinda scary train we had on one leg, zipped along and we were there in no time. It’s a shame our society can’t see past “immediate profits” and “instant gratification” to be more supportive of rail. More over though, it’s a shame Amtrak makes us not like them, and encourages us to not support them. I’m as guilty as the next person, I’d train it, but factoring in delays, and 2-3x the price of an airline ticket… it’s hard to take a stand and support something so broken.

During President Obama’s state of the union, he talked about high speed rail. I hope that becomes a reality. I really think fast reliable rail service would ease the burden on airlines and possibly help them be more profitable, and would make travel more enjoyable.

Our Country’s new CTO, un qualified for the job

Saw this on Techcrunch and had to voice my disgust.

While I think a great many Silicon Valley CEOs are douchebag tards too busy telling each other how great they are, I think a great many (and many non CA CEOs) are highly intelligent, savvy guys (and gals). All very much people I’d be happy to see serve their country as our CTO.

Instead, President Obama has selected Aneesh Paul Chopra.

So who is Aneesh Paul Chopra? Good question, one I’m sure echoed around the country a lot when it was announced. Lots of “Who?”

Chopra currently serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, and has previous acted as the Managing Director for the Advisory Board Company, where he advised executives on health care operations.

So he’s experienced in our frakked up healthcare system, great.

According to Virginia’s state website, Chopra was recently recognized by Government Technology Magazine’s for excellent ‘use of technology to improve government’, and he was awarded Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2007 State Leadership Advocacy Award.

So a group government bureaucrats think he’s a great guy, and has ‘improved government’ through technology. Let’s see, healthcare is still expensive and inefficient, hospitals are slow and disorganized, electronic records are non existent. Wonder what he’s been up to? Wonder what makes him even remotely qualified to be our CTO?

I’m sad that President Obama, has chosen a bureaucrat as our CTO. He had an awesome chance to really take us forward technologically.

According to this article published in the Washington Post in 2005, Chopra was not a career technologist before he became Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, but he has extensive experience in policy making.

Great, a clearly non-innovative, non technological person.

When I worked out Ameriquest, one of the worst parts, was the CIO. Like Chopra she wasn’t a coder or technologist. Rather she saw the ‘benefit’ in management over actual experience or expertise. Chopra’s “primary understanding is from customer need, not bits and bytes”. Which == crap. I know because our CIO spouted the same crap when asked what her experience.

The CIO was terrible, her skill was kissing ass, and managing up, coming up with grand schemes that wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money, and in the end got her ousted by a ‘better’ (and equally as technologically inept) ass kisser.

Sadly I doubt President Obama will fire Chopra and replace him, so our first CTO, for the next 4 or 8 years, is a bureaucrat, with little to no TECHNOLOGY experience. I’m not sure what the ‘T’ in Obama’s CTO is, but guessing it’s not Technology.

I know Obama is a politician, but so far he’s two for two as far as I’m concerned, working to squash the illegal wire tapping program Bush started, and now this clear political ass grab.

Obama Rally in Denver; 100,000 in the park

Juan and Grace joined me in Civic Center Park yesterday for the Barack Obama rally.

Obama website banner

Obama website banner

I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but when Juan pinged me to ask if I was going, I figured why not. I walked down to 16th st and took the mall ride to Civic Center park.

I was there by 10am. Found the (long) line, and headed towards it. At the end of the line, was a volunteer telling people that we needed to go to the other line, that was running down Colfax and around Bannock. I merged in with that line, which was moving, surprisingly. We wind into the park, and abrutly hit a volunteer telling us that our line wasn’t going anywhere. Imagine a stream of water hitting a wall. That was us.

I met up with Juan and Grace on my way to the end of the line (again). The line went down Bannock, to 12th, then headed toward Lincoln (I think it was) and headed north again. It ended just about where it began, near the park. There was a nice volunteer waiting at the end to tell people, that those at the end, wouldn’t likely get in to the rally.

We headed back into the park, figuring we’d at least hear Obama even if we couldn’t see him. Then suddenly, some of the gates opened up and we found ourselves quite a bit farther into the park, yippee!

Once we suffered through the usual politico-speak from congressmen and senators seeing who could use the most metaphors, Obama came out, a little after noon. The above clip, is a short bit of Obama’s speach. It was very very good.

Oh and all those folks in the video, according to the Huffington Post, there were 100,000 people at the rally. The filled the park, overflowed up the steps of the capital. It was amazing.

Somewhere around the red oval, that's me.

Somewhere around the red oval, that

Despite the frustrations of getting in, I’m glad I made it down to the park. Hearing Obama speak was very powerful, and moving. While I hope this isn’t the case, i’m guessing, once he’s Prez rally’s will be much harder to attend.

The American CTO. Not the Technology Czar?

saw this on techcrunch. Business week is talking about soon to be President Obama’s plan to create a cabinet level post of CTO, and who the front runners are for the job.

The top names according to BW are:

Vint Cerf – Cheif Internet Evangelist for Google. I’m not sure I want some one from Google in that position. Google’s great and all “Do no evil” but I’m getting less and less convinced as time goes by that their motives are so altruistic.

Steve Balmer – uh no. Maybe CCO; Chief Crazy Officer, but CTO? Sorry Steve, you seem smart and all but I wouldn’t put in in front of a crowd of anyone. Microsoft fanboys seem to like you, but from the outside looking in, you seem a bit crazy, and not really in touch with technology that doesn’t come from Redmond.

Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon. I’d buy that for a dollar. I’ve never met Jeff, but from everything I’ve read about him, he’s down to earth, cool, and generally a fun guy, with a good head for business.

Ed Felton – Comp Sci professor from Princeton. I don’t know a single thing about him, but A Princeton Prof, can’t be too bad a choice.

Lawrence Lessig – I’d buy that for a buck too. I read his blog (when it’s not over my head) he seems to be spot on with technology, and politics, which seems to be sorely lacking in Washington, just look at most of our existing tech legislation, and oh god, the Patent and Copyright office.

Techrunch has a poll, so go take a look, and drop your opinion.