Bicycle bells

I was walking in town the other day past some traffic lights when a driver at the front of the queue must have got distracted and didn’t move off when the lights went green. The driver behind gave them a friendly wake-up toot on the horn. I know it was friendly because it was the merest infinitesimal toot, not a protracted drawn out kind of toot that is precursor to violent road rage. We seem to have a fairly well understood convention that the length of car horn toot is proportional to aggression.

bellBut bicycle bells are different …

  • Friendly middle aged man concerned for pedestrian safety wants to say ‘be careful I’m about to pass you’ … Ding.
  • Psychopathic misambulist* expressing utter disdain for idiots in their way … Ding.

Sigh. Oh the inarticulateness of the humble bicycle bell.

* Not a real word (until now) – I just made it up –  it means “pedestrian hater.”

Then and now – trees

Here’s a “Then and Now” whose results I wasn’t too pleased with, documenting the handiwork of the Ausgrid tree contractors who have been through Lambton recently.

I’m no arborist, so I’ll have to charitably assume they knew what they were doing, but the result sure is an ugly mess.

The only consolation is, as Mark MacLean points out, in the long run vegetation eventually wins.

A Tale of Two City Maps

When it comes to mapping our cities, Google Maps and Apple Maps are streets apart. No map is ever perfect, and the difference between Google and Apple is starkly emphasised when it comes to correcting errors. Here’s what happens …

Google Maps

WaratahStationI notice that in getting directions for cycling from North Lambton to Wickham that the suggested route doesn’t take into account recently constructed cycle paths around Waratah Station.

  1. I report the problem to Google Maps.
  2. One minute later I receive an e-mail acknowledgement that the report has been received.
  3. Four days later I receive an e-mail saying that my report has been reviewed and accepted, and that a correction to the maps will be made.
  4. Three months later I receive an e-mail saying that the correction is now live on Google maps.

WaratahStation2Now three months is fairly glacial in the digital age, but nevertheless, it was a very straightforward matter of problem observed, problem reported, problem corrected.


Apple Maps

Img_1875Now here’s what happens with Apple Maps when you report a problem, like this non-existent section of street in North Lambton …

  1.  I report the problem to Apple Maps.
  2. Nothing.
  3. Still Nothing.
  4. Three months later I report the problem again.
  5. Nothing again.
  6. Nothing, not even an acknowledgement the report has been received.
  7. Two years later, still nothing, not even the sound of crickets chirping, a complete and utter vacuum.  Just as well for Apple that they can’t hear people scream in a vacuum.

Mark Maclean charitably suggests that Apple is engaging in a new cartographic discipline called ‘speculative topography’ – I have many other suggested names for Apple’s mapping endeavours, none of them as charitable as Mark’s.