Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘travel

Missing New York

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I’m working out of our 11 Madison Avenue office in New York City today, and having been a former citizen of the great city of New York, I must say it’s a pleasure to be back.

I left the Big Apple almost a decade ago for the wide open pastures of my native Texas, and it’s been an entire year since my last visit.

But also having traveled to parts well beyond for business over the past year, I must say coming back to visit NYC is a whole lot like coming home.

I know the weather’s been abnormally hot in the NY area this summer, but this particular Friday it’s most pleasant out.  There was a cool breeze blowing through Madison Square Park this afternoon, and I think the temp was hovering around a cool 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Of course, there are things about living in NYC I miss, and there are things I don’t: Like the endless cacophony of police, fire, and ambulance sirens.  That I definitely don’t miss.

But the things I miss about living in New York, in no particular order:

1) The people.  People who live and work in NY are some of the smartest, funniest people on the planet.  Tha doesn’t mean people elsewhere aren’t smart or funny.  It just means there’s a great concentration of smart and funny people in New York, and I miss hanging out with them.  Especially all my New York friends.  I definitely miss the people.

2)  The food.  The food in New York City is some of the best and most diverse in the world.  You can go to Paris and have great French food.  And you can go to Tokyo and have great Japanese food.  And you can go to Bangalore and have great South India food.  But when you come to New York, you can have great food from anywhere, and I never remember how much I miss it until I come back.  I definitely miss the food.

3) The architecture.  If you’ve lived in New York for any length of time, and then you leave, you’re absolutely relieved to be rid of being surrounded by all the tall buildings (again, especially if you’re from the wide open spaces of Texas).  But, when you come back, you forget how amazing those buildings are.  They surround you in a tall envelope of grace, majesty, and magnanimity, and it’s very easy to forget how grand they are.  I definitely miss the architecture.

4) The traffic. New York has the best traffic in the world.  It’s the kind of traffic you like hanging out in.  There’s all kinds of interesting things to see while you’re sitting in traffic (Harken back to #1, #2, and #3).  You can scope out the city for new restaurants, new fashions, and yes, even new buildings.  And, if you don’t like sitting in traffic, you can get a bike and zip through the traffic (I used to be a New York City bike messenger, many moons ago, and lived to tell about it).  I definitely miss the traffic.

5) The New Yorkness.  Probably more than anything, I miss what I can only call the “New Yorkness” that is New York.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, then you’ve obviously never been here, and you need to hurry up and come visit and get some New Yorkness at least once in your life.  You might could compare New Yorkness to joie de vivre, only that’s more of a French-like feeling.  I guess you could co-opt that particular phrase and call it joie du New York. 

The French probably wouldn’t mind. 

And the New Yorker probably wouldn’t care if they did.

Written by turbotodd

July 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm

From Here To There

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It’s been a big week for IBM and the field of travel and transportation.

A subject, of course, near and dear to my heart (BTW, I think I’m over my AP jet lag now).

On Monday, at our Impact event in Las Vegas, IBM announced the new Travel and Transportation framework, a combination of IBM software products and IBM industry assets that provide a platform for new transportation solutions.

Interconnected systems allow a single view into business operations, saving time and money by allowing a company to be aware of the location, status and availability of all their equipment and assets.

This new framework uses industry and open standards and identifies key capabilities required by almost every transportation company, including:

  • Reservation System Modernization – Helps to facilitate the modernization of airline and passenger rail reservation and ticketing systems by using a new customer-centric model which supports the imperative to offer innovative and unbundled services to better compete.
  • Asset Optimization – Allows clients to manage capital assets throughout their revenue-producing lifecycle.  The types of assets managed include aircraft, passenger rail rolling stock, locomotives, tracks, and equipment located along the right-of-way such as signals and facilities. 
  • Safety, Security & Surveillance – Supports the use of sensors, RFID, digital video, biometric identification, and wireless devices. These are coupled with analytic tools to monitor operations, identify risks to safety or security such as unexpected events occurring in terminals and along railroad right-of-way. 
  • Multi-Channel Sales and Service – Helps to provide a seamless customer experience across pre-travel sales channels and on-trip touch points by providing the client with a single view of the information known about the customer / traveler.
  • Operations Control Systems – Helps improve operational effectiveness and reduce environmental impact through better planning of schedules, load plans, facilities, crews and equipment.  For railroads, this includes optimizing timetables, assignment of rolling stock and train and station crews.  For airlines, this includes optimizing flight schedules and flight crews.   

Click here to get more information on the IBM Travel and Transportation Framework or for details on how IBM is helping transportation clients and Business Partners to make smarter, faster travel and transport decisions.

Yesterday, IBM announced it would be working with the Finnish Transport Agency to build a single view of road and traffic information in Finland in order to help improve road management.

Using analytics from IBM, the agency is aggregating its view of road conditions, accidents and other road and traffic information, which helps build a safer and more adaptive road system for the citizens of Finland.

Also yesterday, back here in the great state of Texas, IBM and the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) (the largest university-based transportation research agency in the U.S.) have agreed to collaborate on research and development of intelligent transportation projects in Texas and beyond.

That agreement will bring together research scientists and engineers from IBM and TTI researchers, faculty and students, who will work with state and municipal agencies to explore technologies and innovations that will help solve transportation issues in Texas initially, and eventually worldwide.

IBM has engaged with the world’s leading airlines and railroads on projects for more than 50 years, and has already helped several cities around the world make their transportation systems smarter. 

For example, the city of Stockholm is using IBM’s streaming analytics technology to gather real-time information from GPS devices on nearly 1,500 taxi cabs to provide the city and its residents with real-time information on traffic flow, travel times and the best commuting options. 

The service will soon expand to gather data from delivery trucks, traffic sensors, transit systems, pollutions monitors and weather information sources.  IBM is also assisting the cities of Brisbane, London and Singapore to address traffic management and congestion challenges.

Visit the IBM Smarter Planet Website for more information on these and other IBM Smarter Transportation projects.

Written by turbotodd

May 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

All Hail King Turbo!

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Greetings, and I hope this blog post finds your holidays happier than ever, and your travels hassleless.

Well, as hassleless as they can be in light of recent circumstances surrounding air travel in these United States.

Today, I went in search of the new TSA rules to make sure I was hearing them directly from the source.  In the process, I found a loophole that I’m figuring out how I can try to apply to myself.

More on that at the end of the post.

Currently, TSA Security Directive SD 1544-09-06 is scheduled to be in effect only through December 30 of this year, but I suspect it’s a sign of things to come — once we put these measures into effect, they seem to become permanent.

(Mind you, I try to maintain a sense of humor about these measures, being a frequent flyer and all, but I also recognize the serious nature of the threats that lead to them, so please keep both in mind as you read the rest of the post!)

First, at the boarding gate, TSA employees are instructed to perform thorough pat-downs of all passengers, concentrating on “upper legs and torso.”  They’re also instructed to “physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property” prior to boarding.

Okay, but didn’t the Nigerian dude who tried to light his foot on fire board at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam??  Why didn’t somebody inspect him!??

In flight, the restrictions get even more serious.

First, passengers have to remain in their seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at their destination.  That means no trips to the bathroom, no trips to the galley to flirt with the flight attendants, no trips to the cockpit to chat with the pilots.

You also can’t access your baggage starting 1 hour prior to arrival at said destination.  That means no reaching for your book, your iPod, your Kindle, gummy bears…nada.

But we’re going to make it even more fun.  We’re also going to disable “aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems” so that you’re bored out of your frickin’ mind because you can no longer access the Interwebs.

Rock Paper Scissors?  Anybody?

How’s that?  Is that something special in the air?  You loving the way we fly?  Is flying these skies really that friendly??

But wait, there’s more!  “While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.”

I can’t wait for this announcement:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.  I’d like for you to ignore that massive hole in the ground off to your left that looks something like the Grand Canyon, because acknowledging said hole might prematurely reveal our position in these friendly skies and give us away to the terriers.”

And finally — and with all due apologies to Linus from Peanuts — no blankies or pillows may be used starting 1 hour prior to arrival at said destination.

Does this mean flight attendants will come stomping through the cabin, the Blankie Policia, yanking away pillows and blankies from the kids mid-slumber?  I assume this includes for the sleeping kiddoes that, heretofore, were perfectly quiet in their slumber but will now turn promptly into screaming helions?

Wonderbar!

However, as with any good bureaucratic policy, there’s always an exception to the rule…and I found it!

Ladies and gentleman, from here on, I would like you to please address me as “His Substantially Absurd Majesty the Turbo, King of the Sovereign TurbotoddLand.”

You can find my country via the Internet at turbotodd.com.

You see, the new travel restrictions allow our government to exempt certain individuals — namely, passengers who are Heads of State or Heads of Government — from the new safety measures.

Now, could somebody please go find my court jester?!

It’s good to be the king!

Written by turbotodd

December 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm

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