Timely Taxi Thoughts

I just saw this on SFist and it reminded me to post:

DeSoto Cab Wants To Turn Its Taxis Into Limo Sedans To Survive Among Uber, Lyft

cab2I took a regular cab last night. I haven’t taken one in a while. That’s mostly because a while back I switched to using Uber and Lyft -as most of you know.

Most of my rides start “way out” in the Inner Richmond and cabs wouldn’t show up at my place because it was so far away or inconvenient.

And I follow along with the cab v uber news most of the time. Whether it was Dallas trying to keep Uber out, SF’s gentrification angle, or SAPD’s idiotic policy of trying to arrest drivers, I try to follow along with the stories. I’m sympathetic to both sides, but I’m clearly biased in favor of the ride sharing services.

But last night I took a regular cab to see how things were with cabs lately. The driver was gruff, but not mean. I told him where I wanted to go from downtown and saw the look of disappointment when he realized I wasn’t an airport fare. But he was fine and headed towards Fillmore.

His driving was erratic. He was trying to pass other drivers constantly. He honked at someone who didn’t drive through a yellow (in all fairness I wanted to do that too). We were clearly in a hurry even though I said I wasn’t. He eventually opened up and chatted a bit and was a little nicer. When I pointed out where I wanted to get dropped off (next to a restaurant) – he decided to stop in the crosswalk (which allowed him to illegally turn around on a yellow afterwards). But clearly it wasn’t Uber.

Lyft and Uber would have had me rate the driver immediately after the ride. (I would have only given the cab driver 3 stars because of the overly agressive driving and dropping me off in a crosswalk when a driveway was available). Uber/lyft drivers would have greeted me and offered water (not that I need it, but it’s a nice option). The payment options would have been settled immediately (and with electronic receipts). To contrast- I paid the cab in cash because I didn’t want to risk the driver telling me that his card POS was “down”.

I’ll continue to take cabs when I can catch them- usually at the end of a night after dinner, or after work in the more popular parts of SF. But it’s clear that they’d better change the way they work and quickly.

Pitbull’s WC Theme Sucks #VoltaWakaWaka

This is high art

compared to

You know what would have been great? Oh, I dunno, having BRAZILIANS write and perform the songs maybe?  They should remove Pitbull and Jlo and add more Claudia Leitte.

Carlinhos Brown and others relegated to the sidelines? Lame.

Sinto muito amigos brasileiros- eu não sei porque eles utilizaram o Pitbull em vez de seus musicos.

-=I’m not trying to put down Freshly Ground, I really like them- but they sound even more amazing after listening to Pitbull and JLo. Sheesh.


Hearst News Sites Rile Me Up

I need a new routine for reading the news. I miss my old Google reader routine, it kept me more sane and less ranty.

I tend to check The Chronicle’s sfgate.com in the mornings before work and then later I’ll check the Express’ mysanantonio.com and maybe later the Houston Chronicle too. I know the properties are all owned by Hearst and I expect some overlap in the stories and syndication, but the quality has been dropping off more and more. Especially in my hometown.

The Express doesn’t even run text on certain slideshows that come from other sites (and don’t get me started on slideshows). They tend to just copy stuff from their sister sites but in a lesser way. And they don’t even attempt to credit where the stories are coming from.

I think the lack of accreditation is what’s been setting me off recently. Even lowly bloggers will link to their “source” or write “h/t writer” (hat-tip).

Here are two examples. The first is with one of SF’s named columnists and reviewers which I expect to be syndicated. The second example is just filler.

Today on sfgate, a “top story” was shown for the 50 memorable female movie roles. It’s credited to Mick LaSalle, a regionally-known writer for the Chronicle.


And here’s a screenshot of the “story” (I scrolled down under the 1st pic)


But wait- here’s the version on MySanAntonio.com below. Note the complete lack of byline. MySA didn’t even put up the few paragraphs LaSalle wrote to accompany the “article”. It’s just blank.


Here’s another example from last week.
There had been a post making the rounds from Reddit where a user named /u/youllfindaway had made a series of maps superimposing the Beltway in Houston over other major cities. There was a good discussion on reddit about it.  You probably saw some of the images in your Facebook feeds when your friends re-posted them.

TexasMonthly.com even ran the images with some interesting text to go along with it- especially with regards to London (article here). They at least credited the user and the original post (and linked to the imgur gallery as well as the Houston Chronicle- another Hearst prop).


So later, what did I see on MySA? A version of the story– a slideshow really- where the writer just made a localized version of the post for SA by changing the beltway to Loop 1604 .


Okay, that’s fine, I get trying to localize the story…. but there was NO text in the slideshow. No links to the original idea, no descriptive text, nada. And why is downtown centered in the Bay?

I think that’s lazy as hell. (update: there’s a paragraph there now about using the MapFrappe.com tool site).

As a side note, the Express’s “story” was posted in the San Antonio subreddit to get some social media links and click-throughs.  I ranted in that thread a bit and called the post weak (as I do above).

The writer of the post wrote that he’s expected to make 3-5 posts publish 3-5 articles a day. At least he responded to my ranting in a sane way. But here’s the full text of his reply (emphasis mine)

I’d love to be able to flesh out lengthy, thorough articles daily. Unfortunately, I am expected to publish 3-5 articles a day and at that rate, there isn’t really time to do spend hours on each post. The mapping alone took a while. I credit MapFrappe, the tool that was used to build the article. I guess I could have written in the text: “An individual on Reddit posted a similar comparison map to Houston’s beltway last week”, but just not sure how it is that important. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

I can’t be thorough, I have to keep posting. I expect more out of newspapers. They’re not tumblr.


{link} The Tao of San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich – WSJ.com

It’s good to compare this “look” with Malik’s comments and the interview he did with Fabricio O.

Then there’s Popovich’s signature look: Popovich Face. During games, Popovich will bear the look of an airline passenger who has just experienced something substandard about the flight, and cannot wait, when the plane lands, to write a brief but merciless letter to the airline. Stern-eyed and sometimes open-mouthed, Popovich Face is not exactly a look of disgust. It’s more of a measured disdain.

And yet this is a coach who has had more prolonged NBA success than anyone coaching in the league. Who has, in partnership with San Antonio’s front office, cracked the difficult formula for preserving aged superstars while simultaneously developing his team’s future. Who consistently has done it his way—even if it means unashamedly knocking heads with the boardroom of the NBA.

“He’s demanding but he’s fair—and this is coming from somebody who spent considerable time in his doghouse,” said Rose, who was part of Spurs title teams in 1999 and 2003. “He doesn’t put on airs. He’s not fake. He’s 100% real.”

Rose describes a coach who remembers the names of player spouses and children and details from home. “Still, to this day, he asks how my mother is doing,” he said. “He’s very in tune to his emotional side.”

via The Tao of San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich – WSJ.com.

{link} The Ferengi Plan – via ArsTechnica

“Since the FCC seems to have no problem with this idea, I’ve (through correspondence) gotten access to the FCC’s internal IP block, and throttled all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the Neocities.org front site, and I’m not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they’ve been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from the ‘keep America’s internet slow and expensive forever’ lobby,” NeoCities creator Kyle Drake wrote yesterday.

via Web host gives FCC a 28.8Kbps slow lane in net neutrality protest | Ars Technica.

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