Synchronization Shouldn’t Be This Hard

We live in an era of software making access, visualization, and understanding of data easier than all previous generations even imagined. And now we are entering the era of “big data”.  So, you’d think that people can get relatively small data right. And by right I mean synchronized and accurate.

I can withdraw money from the ATM and get a text message receipt before I finish getting the money in my wallet. I order groceries on my laptop and in less than a second my phone knows.  My twitter account can be hacked and instantaneously hundreds of people are told about a miracle weight loss berry.

This is some pretty cool magic! And the reality of it is that we’ve gotten to the point where it really isn’t that hard.

So why is it that Amtrack can’t seem to figure it out.  These pictures are from a recent trip from DC to NY.

Note that both the monitor and the phone are at 7:02.  This wasn’t a momentary lapse of synchronization or a race condition that was soon self corrected.  Each status staid the same all the way through 7:10 when were boarding.


Antlers that Glow Like the Devil’s Own Eyes

Saw this over at Gizmodo.  Okay, Gizmodo wasn’t the original article,  but they link to it and I don’t read Finnish. If you do, you can read the original.

In the US hitting deer with your car in the middle of the night is a real problem, not just for the deer and your car, but for your health. In Finland they have the same problem but with longer nights and bigger animals: reindeer.

Rather than continue to run over Santa’s four-legged helpers, they use reflectors to draw the attention of drivers.  But reflectors worn by reindeer are less than perfect because the light has to catch the reflectors at the right angle.  But spraying their antlers with a reflective substance takes care of the angle problem (360 degrees of antler!) and makes the animals very very noticeable.

A simple, elegant solution to an every day problem (at least every day for Fins driving in the night through Reindeer territory).