Archive for March, 2010


March 25th, 2010 No comments

Update: While the sites went live again this morning, at Noon EST they appear to be down again.

Update II: at 12:50pm its back up.

In the Times today, David Pogue writes a glowing review of Line2, saying it, “has the potential to shake up an entire industry.”

I met Peter Sisson, fonder of Line2, briefly at an event my Council was sponsoring last month at the Gay Center in the West Village. I was struck by his whip smart intelligence and relentless ambition to start “Game Over” tech.

Sadly, when I navigated over to Line2 I was greeted by the following message:

“Toktumi and Line2 are currently experiencing a denial of service attack. We are trying to isolate the attackers and restore service. Please stand by.”

Was it the NYT’s spotlight on Line2 that made internet pirates want to attack? Or was this coordinated attack weeks or months in the making? Either way, its unfortunate that rogue gangs continue to try to thwart good ol’ American tech innovation. I wish Line2 well and hope they are back up and running soon.



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March 24th, 2010 No comments

The question of the hour, week, month, or year (depending on who is doin’ the askin’!) is, of course, will your flo glide gently onto a pad…an iPad. Well, will it? Personally, I’m rather psyched about the iPad. As some of you know I do a bit of tutoring from time to time (both pro bono and less so) for these li’l ol’ tests called the SATs. To do so I lug around some fairly weighty books. I’m pretty excited at the idea of instead carrying around a giant iPod Touch that will enable me to float, as if on wings, into my sessions. No longer will I feel cramps (from heavy backpacks, ‘natch!) nor depression (from people making fun of said backpacks). Nope. I’ll be free to jump in the air in a white cheerleader’s outfit and play with balloons filled with blue liquid without fear. Sweet!

But I digress. The larger question is whether to order an iPad with only WiFi now to get the treasured little screen of love on April 3rd or to wait for the 3G version which ships, according to the Apple website, in “late April.” I wanted the 3G model so I preordered it today. And guess what? My emailed receipt shows, in fact, that the iPad is due to ship in “late April.” It also, however, shows that my optional handy dandy carrying case is set to ship April 15th and arrive on the 20th. So hopefully the device itself wont be too far behind. A girl can dream…



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Taxi Thieves

March 13th, 2010 No comments

As my dear readers know I live the same life George Clooney’s character does in Up In The Air. Except instead of being in a plane, I’m in the back of a yellow cab. I spend many an hour back there, contemplating my fate, tapping the “off” button on the TaxiTV screen over and over and over again.

So imagine my interest in a recent report from the New York Times that alleges hacks here in the Big Apple have been ripping off riders for two years. Their methods were relatively straightforward – hit the button for rate 4 (used for far-flung destinations and meant to be triggered only after crossing the border into Westchester County, for example) rather than rate 1 (Standard City Rate). Rate 4 is higher, of course, and thus those who were fleeced paid an average of $4 to $5 more than they should have.

Unsurprisingly, the taxi driver’s union, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, has come out behind the drivers. Their statement basically says, “hey, this is like 3/4th of all the hacks on the road doing this. Surely that’s gotta be a mistake. 3/4th of all cab drivers aren’t thieves! Big misunderstanding you guys, those buttons, darn, they sure are close together. And the same color too! And small, so small. Yikes! Where are my glasses? Wait, I knew they were around here someplace…”

Right. Except they’re guilty as sin.

To determine the veracity of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance’s statement, I went through my taxi receipts from January 2009 to the present. Such a task is made easy and somewhat pleasant when all one needs to do is flick through a bunch of sorted images on a screen. Shawna has everything scanned and classified so the whole task took me no time at all. In my quick sample, I found that not one of my receipts indicated that I had been charged on a rate 4 fare. Doesn’t that seem unlikely to you? 35,558 out of the city’s roughly 48,000 drivers had applied the higher rate over the last two years and yet leafing through hundreds of my own receipts I could find not even one instance of overcharging.

How could this be possible? It should be obvious but on the off-chance it isn’t, here’s my theory: the hacks only ripped off the out-of-towners. When a New Yorker hops in and barks (not me of course, I’m sweet as molasses pie) an intersection followed by a preferred route (No! Grand does NOT go through! Take Delancey!) I suspect they figure they’d probably best charge the going rate. But when they get a fare that’s clearly an out-of-towner, or a stumbling drunkard, or the Swiss Family Robinson… well, that’s another story.

And even though tourists and visitors and such keep our metropolitan’s economy moving, I’ve got to admit I started caring a lot less when I figured out they were the ones getting ripped off.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must try to hail a cab before I’m late for dinner.



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Oscars, Warmth, and the Way People Dress Now

March 9th, 2010 1 comment

Here in the Big Apple the weather is gorgeous for the first time in 2010 and the denizens of our fine, fine metropolis are collectively overjoyed at our good fortune. How are we celebrating? By wearing clothing inappropriate to the season, of course. The hipsters are rocking tshirts and jeans and sporting oversized Ray-Ban aviators to protect their (dilated) pupils from harm. Some guy was smoking in front of my building wearing shorts. Shorts. Really? You shouldn’t wear shorts in the city in my opinion. No one wants to see your pastey legs. But if you must, save ’em for the 100 degree days. Today does not qualify friends.

The most common fashion-related seasonal anticipation we see here in the city, though, is undoubtedly dudes wearing suits with no topcoat. Check out this dude, sans topcoat, on the uptown 6.

He is into it! Loving this liberating weather. He’s even drinking a Red Bull so that his senses may prove even more ready to fully appreciate the tweaked-out fabulousness of the season.

Really though, it ain’t that warm. You still need a coat. A light one, sure, but bare appendages are going to get chilly. Remember the adage -Question: What is a sweater? Answer: Something you put on when your mother is cold.

At least our warm-snap has freed us from red carpet related weather envy. LA may not have much on NYC, but that climate-controlled deal they’ve figured out over there is pretty sweet. Maybe Bloomie could get us some of that? Eh?

Speaking of the carpet, did you watch the Oscars? On the red carpet Matt Damon praised the skill of my homeboy Rich – hawt! And the show started well with NPH doing a fun and sparkly number and Alec Bladwin and Steve Martin delivering an immensely funny two man standup routine. But after that, things started to drag. Despite some cuts to the live program, it still feels about six and a half hours long. Partially, its the speeches. Its not just that they are sometimes overly long, its also that they are often dull as dishwater. I propose a solution to this problem. Under the new Billy system you would win your Oscar. But if your speech sucked, we’d all text in and then it would be revoked. Instantly. Then, no matter what, it would automatically be awarded to Meryl Streep.

I think this would encourage those nominees to think long and hard about what they were going to say before they got up there and started profusely thanking their legal team. Instead, maybe we get some tap numbers. Or stripteases. Or fellas makin’ it rain with Benjamins. That sort of thing.
Who is with me on this? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?


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