Transit systems, not people, cause traffic jams

Stating the obvious about SF and the proposed congestion pricing plan for downtown traffic. This plan is less about public transportation and more about generating revenue from a new tax on drivers coming into SF that then can be applied for general fund pet projects. Even when the money is committed to transportation it somehow ends up as general fund money through inter-agency loans.

Congestive pricing is classic San Francisco problem solving. Given the choice between a bold, sweeping, and innovative new idea that will make headlines across the country, and a basic, nuts-and-bolts solution that isn’t sexy, we go for the big splash every time. C’mon, it isn’t that people don’t want to use public transit – this is one of the greenest cities in the country. It is that the public transit we have isn’t a good alternative.

[From Transit systems, not people, cause traffic jams]

BTW, I love taking BART into SF but only if my meetings are after 11am because once the predominately empty carpool parking spaces at the BART station free up after 10am I can get a parking spot. If I show up at the BART station in Daly City at 9am, fugghetaboutit. I’ve never understood the logic of having a 200 empty carpool parking spaces in a parking lot that is regularly filled to capacity first thing in the morning.

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The Hope of False Optimism

Larry asks what happened to the bah humbug economy. The answer is really quite simple, consumers were bombarded with report after report featuring absurd discounts on every product imaginable and they consumed. However, anyone taking comfort in these numbers needs to go take a stiff drink and wait for the final seasonal retail numbers to come in before loading up their portfolio on Best Buy and Amazon stock.

Maybe there’s some hope for the holiday season after all. Spending on Cyber Monday – the Black Friday of online shopping – jumped 15 percent from the year before, with online shoppers dropping a cool $846 million in a single day, according to comScore. In fact, spending was up throughout the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend, starting […]

[From Cyber Monday spending jumps 15 percent. What happened to bah humbug economy?]

Consumers exercising their diminished Christmas budgets in one weekend won’t result in a boost for holiday sales, and retailers offering 50-70% discounts are simply choosing to lose less money. There are no indicators that suggest consumers will spend anything like they have in recent years and with credit card debt already topping the charts and credit card companies proactively trimming credit limits, well the picture becomes quite predictable.

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Writin Dem iPhone Apps is Hard

Interested in a unique insight on why writing iPhone apps isn’t for the faint of heart or the novice? Brent Simmons is one of the most respected developers in this space for good reason, he knows his stuff and continually one ups what others are doing.

I’ve been working heavily and steadily on iPhone code lately, and it occurs to me that writing iPhone apps is like writing poetry while writing desktop apps is like writing prose.

I’m sure it’s been said before, but the point is still good: in an iPhone app, everything counts so much — every design choice, every line of code, everything left in and everything left out.

[From Polish polish polish!]

Twollow: Automatically Follow People on Twitter Based on Keywords

Applying analytics to twitter remains a challenge. I had breakfast with a senior executive from a fortune 50 (actually, a Dow 30) company today and this topic came up. There are a lot of point solutions that help you discover interesting things about what is happening on twitter, but none of these tools provides you with capabilities to measure anything but raw data. The bane of analytics solutions is when they operate as reporting tools… telling you what something is instead of what it means. This will remain an emergent area for companies pushing tools like Twollow but they will have little penetration into the corporate executive suite because they fail to function in an integrated fashion or integrate with other dashboard measurement systems that are already in use.

Twollow is new simple tool that automatically follows people based on keywords or phrases that those people mention. Think of it like Google Alerts but for twitter. It’s an interesting idea but sometimes people will mention keywords or topics that aren’t really representative of their industry. For example you can be in the technology industry and then one day you casually mention “cookies” in one of your tweets. It also doesn’t look like the system keeps track of who the new followers are.

[From Twollow: Automatically Follow People on Twitter Based on Keywords]

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Lack of Foreign Resources Plagued U.S. Mumbai Coverage

Thanks to blogs, twitter, and online news sites I got all the Mumbai coverage I needed and probably with insight and accuracy that would escape any American TV or cable news operation.

As terrorists descended on Mumbai last week, the staffs at American TV news organizations scrambled to mobilize resources and personnel, underscoring the effects of deep cuts in foreign news operations. [From ANALYSIS: Lack of Foreign Resources Plagued U.S. Mumbai Coverage]