You Deserve A Revolution!

This morning I received this kind notice from Xfinity…

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Now to be fair I knew this was coming. Mainly because I got another warning on the second of this month that warned me that I was 75% through my monthly allowed data. This is all due to the fact that I switched cloud storage accounts at the beginning of the month and had to re-upload over 200GB of data. While this seems like an outlier this is a scenario that I think you will begin to become more and more aware of in the near future due to more ISP’s adding data caps.

Take this scenario for instance… You buy a new phone, tablet, or computer and because you (or your grand kids) are so tech savvy you have been backing up all of your data to the cloud… Great now all you have to do is login and let the migration begin. What you might soon notice is that there is an import tax on that data because it will likely put you much closer to the limit on your account. Of course your ISP will gladly sell you more data.

But in my case as I add items to my cloud storage and update software automatically my data cap will eventually stop me from using other services. Meaning revenue will be lost for other companies as users cancel subscription services or we will be paying for services that we barely use like netflix or spotify because the risk of going over the limit is too great.

So what to do?

First file a complaint with the FCC here. This is what I included with mine.

I would like to join the thousands that have come out against the recently added data caps by Xfinity. With technology shifting increasingly to internet based services and in light of the positive social implications that an open and accessible internet provides for learning and connection. I stand in opposition to data caps by ISP’s.

Second talk to others about the importance of an open and accessible internet.

Third begin looking for a new provider, and if you know anyone at Google Fiber, give them a call. (Or if you’re involved with your local government, give Google Fiber or others with the same mission a call. Your constituents will thank you.)

Now to put this into contrast with other countries ISPs the president.

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Wink wink – Local control is here!

Home automation for the masses is still in its infancy. From misunderstanding users, to the inconsistency of your ISP’s service sometimes its just not worth it!

But today the home automation platform Wink announced that it has integrated “local control” to its software. Now instead of the iPhone app having to route through a cloud based service if your phone is on the same wifi network as  your Wink Hub they will talk over the local network. This is a huge increase in usability as Wink notes in its announcement:

This makes control of your lights in the Wink app MUCH faster and more reliable. Local control of Wink lighting products reduces latency by at least 50% to less than half a second. It also enables you to control your lights if the Internet goes down while you’re home.

Here’s the full post.

An old electric trolley on the Highland route.

A New Era For SporTran

Several months ago by chance I was invited to be on SporTran‘s Transit Improvement Committee, and last month I attended my first meeting. It was a breath of fresh air hearing the general manager’s conviction that SporTran had been isolated and inefficient for too long and that he wanted to make a change!

I admittedly don’t fit all of the categories that are required to be a part of this committee however in light of the movement to include design thinkers in conversations of this manner I excused my apprehension and dove in head first.

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So, this morning I took a bike ride through the historic Highland Neighborhood which we live in to begin to educate myself on the issues that SporTran and its riders face.

Highland is a melting pot of low income, middle class, artists, day laborers, retirees, millennials, etc.. you name it we have it. As a result there is a sizable population that depends on the bus system to get around town on a daily basis. (For more on those who depend on the system here is a post my wife wrote a while back based on her work in the area.)

As I rode my bike through the neighborhood I found that, as I suspected, all of the signs we’re in disrepair. Several signs also we’re obscured by bushes, trees or other signs which made it hard to glance both directions to see the nearest stop. Additionally the stops are only visible from one direction (from an oncoming drivers perspective).

As I rode I also thought about other things:

  1. The perception that the buses are not safe (which from the data I’ve heard is not true).
  2. The fact that you currently have to go to the downtown terminal to buy a pass or have exact change to ride.
  3. The difficulty in finding a bus or a route to get where you’d like to go. (This has been addressed partially with the addition of this site, which is clunky on mobile and when I tested it showed the bus a block off route.)

The good news is that it sounds like SporTran plans to have google maps integration later this year. As well as updated on bus payment systems, new routes, the new intermodal terminal, and other improvements sometime in the near future.

All in all SporTran seems to be on great path to continued improvement. What are your thoughts? What would you like to see improved in regards to SporTran or other Shreveport transportation services? Comment below.

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Instagram Busy Bodies Rejoice!

Starting this week you will be able to manage multiple IG accounts from the mobile app! This is great news for that side project you have since you can post your baby pics on your personal account without having to logout and in every time! 😬

Here is their brief post about it.

Or if you’re too lazy here is how it will work:

  1. In your profile tab, click the gear in the top right then scroll to the bottom of that page and add your second account.
  2. Once thats done. To switch accounts you can just click on the profile tab and then click your username at the top to switch accounts.