The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

A few observations …

Monday 25 September 2006 at 9:21 pm

… now that I’ve finally finished (w00t!) my first thesis draft. Well, mostly. Almost all of it. Okay so maybe it’s not quite there yet, but anyway.

  • Happy Ramadan, which starts today. In the current climate of fear and distrust, it would be nice if there was some acknowledgement of this fact in the mainstream Western-world media :-(
  • Speaking of Muslims (ahem, all migrants, but of course we really just care about Muslims): you know the kerfuffle in the media about a possible citizenship test for new Australians? This is actually in response to a discussion paper that is open for public comment until 17 November. I encourage you to say something!
  • Like many other nerds, I’ve been eagerly following word from the blog of the latest space tourist, Anousheh Ansari (she of X-Prize fame). Aside from the whole geeky millionaire going into space thing, it strikes me as interesting that many of the American reports about her, such as the press release from her old uni, seem to bring up how she came to America with (almost) nothing and built a life and fortune for herself. “Never mind that she’s Iranian, she followed the great American way, so she’s one of us now!”
  • Last week the State Government announced new railcars for what will be the Clarkson — Mandurah line, adding on to the batch that the same supplier has just finished delivering. Finally, some acknowledgement that there’s a capacity problem on the northern line — and also that the current number of trains is hardly ideal for servicing a 107km route!
  • Speaking of the State Government: last week they introduced an amendment bill to bring some sense to our horridly restrictive liquor licensing laws. I’ve not yet read it but it seems to be a significant step forward, albeit still far short of fixing problems like the silly noise complaint rules. It remains to be seen if it’ll pass the upper house, but amazingly, there’s actually a website created by a bunch of Perthonalities trying to drum up support for the changes in a petition. (Amusingly, they’re running Joomla and previously had comment-spam problems; now they’re being bitten by escaped quotes in comments.)
  • And concluding with other public transport related matters: I’ve posted a few times about SmartRider, which will be the first deployed system of its kind in the country, and the PTA’s dude-in-a-suit marketing tricks for it. (The ERG readers in both Melbourne and Sydney speak RFID, but are only used by some travellers, notably most Sydney school kids.)
    It turns out that SmartRider Man pales in comparison next to the flashy website and converted truck “discovery centre” set up for myki, Melbourne’s forthcoming answer to SmartRider (or should that be “Metcard 2.0”?) … which should be an entertaining budget-burner!
no comments »

The less-than-happy anthropomorphised bus ticket

Thursday 10 August 2006 at 3:58 pm

Although I never did get those action shots of SmartRider Man that I’d been hoping for, it seems that I didn’t need to. He’s popping up in the newspapers, on the sides of buses, and even in random online promotions.

SmartRider Man features in the Student SmartRider Scavenge!

But why does he never seem to be smiling? The best he can manage is some kind of weird straight-faced smirk. Is it some sort of blasphemy for an RFID card to be happy about its triumphance over magnetic strips?

no comments »

SmartRider Man coming to a station near you!

Friday 14 July 2006 at 9:47 pm

Some months ago I noted that Transperth seemed to have a new mascot for SmartRider, to replace their talking card graphic. It was basically a dude in, um, a SmartRider suit.

I also predicted (in jest!) that we’d soon see said dude in said suit standing on row E at the Busport, ambushing unsuspecting commuters — somewhat akin to that old Lotto ad with a dude in a scratch-n-win suit who’d rugby-tackle people.

Today Transperth announced that SmartRider will be usable for secondary school students from next week, as originally planned. And — surprise, surprise! — they announced that a dude in a SmartRider suit will be making appearances around Perth and Fremantle.

I have to get me some decent photos, to preserve the cheesiness for posterity …


New maps and bus tickets

Friday 19 May 2006 at 10:36 am

Hot on the heels of ZoomIn: Google Maps (but not Google Earth) finally has Australian road data!

But alas, their search doesn’t work yet, and the data’s about five years old. Oh well.

In another mildly exciting development, Transperth have effectively announced that the SmartRider trial is officially over and they are now moving to Full Implementation ™ … at a staggered rate.

They have sent out SmartRiders to everyone who had a Seniors Card (my dad got his two days ago) and told them to start using it immediately. They’ve also stopped giving fare reimbursements to us guinea-pig types, and declared in an e-mail that “the level of system reliability continues to improve” and “we are most confident that the rollout will continue with full implementation to all users by the end of this year”.

I’m not sure they can claim that everything works just right — I still occasionally get told “Invalid, Wait for Stop” — but then if they don’t roll out now they probably never will.