Change from within

Wednesday. We’re at the hump.

Bruce Mohl ran the numbers on Uber and Lyft ridership during the pandemic. It wasn’t pretty.

PERF’s Chuck Wexler calls it an evolving crisis. Across the country, police are opting for early retirement, enmasse. At the same time, violent crime is rising. Sure sounds like an evolving crisis. And as they say, crisis is just another word for opportunity. It seems to me that people who feel strongly about police reform should now be submitting applications to their local departments, so they can be the change. We haven’t seen much of that so far. Or maybe the feds could set up a Peace Corps-like program for recruitment, training and certification that local police can hire from. (Right now, the military serves that purpose but that’s not sustainable.) In any case, we shouldn’t let this ‘crisis’ go to waste. There are some real opportunities at hand.

Remember BloggerCon? Dave Winer does. I do too. The first two were held at the Berkman Center at Harvard. Those were heady days. Then came Facebook and Twitter, etc. The rest is history. But some of us dinosaurs are still plugging away at independent blogs.

Eric Adams, the ex-New York cop who’s running for mayor, wants to stand out from the incumbent. But he still may get de Blasio’s endorsement, whether he wants it or not.

And meet the new Windows. Looks a lot like the old Windows.

The whole truth

Thursday. Almost there. Today is National Rescue Dog Day.

Animals laugh. Even killer whales. I did not know that.

The American Press Institute tells us that journalism is distinct and more valuable than most of the information we’re inundated with these days. “That value flows from its purpose, to provide people with verified information they can use to make better decisions, and its practices, the most important of which is a systematic process – a discipline of verification – that journalists use to find not just the facts, but also the “truth about the facts.”” Then there’s this unfortunate Globe story and headline. It’s not journalism by that definition. It’s more rumor mongering and conspiracy theorizing, like something you would get from Infowars or the Daily Caller. What’s happening at the Globe these days?

Photojournalism is hard enough even with a good camera. But try using a Soviet-era manual focus Zenit. This guy did and was still able to produce many publishable photos.

Bitcoin or Ethereum? Neither is doing so well these days, but over the long term, which crypto will be the better store of value? Michael McGuinness has some thoughts.

And remember those computer renders of a proposed park floating in the Hudson River? The park is now open. It’s called Little Island and although the real park doesn’t quite match up to the renders (they never do), it is still pretty impressive. All paid for by Barry Diller.

Proof of puncture

A Monday. Today is Elliot Ness‘s birthday.

Scientists at MIT can tell you what happened a millionth of a second after the Big Bang but they can’t tell you when it’s going to snow in Inman Square. Marc Levy suggests that the eggheads on Mass Ave should focus less on the big questions and more on the little, local ones.

I’ve lost two vaccine cards so far. I may be careless but I’m still vaccinated. It’s no big deal.

Andrew Yang is up in the polls for mayor of New York, at least among older Democrats. His Republican opponent is likely to be Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa.

A Globe story by Sean Murphy asks, ‘Is a CarShield extended car warranty worth the money?’ I think you know the answer, especially for the one being pitched by Chris Berman and Ice-T.

And there’s a helicopter flying around on Mars. Quite a thing.

How soon we forget

Good morning. It’s going to be a mild Thursday.

Andrew Yang is running for mayor of New York and, at least according to this headline, he has some concerns about Zoom. Apart from that, his platform sounds pretty good.

Workers in grocery stores hung in there during the pandemic, dealing with maskless customers acting out over toilet paper. It’s past time that we get them vaccinated, along with the teachers and nurses. It’s only right, right?

Faster than light warp drives were a science fiction thing. But now scientists have worked out how to actually build one. Here’s Sabine Hossenfelder to explain.

Boston traffic has apparently improved. Last year we had the distinction of having the worst traffic in the US. But in the latest rankings we’ve dropped to number 4 nationally, 36th globally, putting us behind backwaters like Zagreb and Rostov-on-Don in congestion. Come on, we can do better than that.

And a Bloomberg story from yesterday has been updated to reflect that the police video system that was hacked was not in Stoughton, MA, but Stoughton, Wisconsin. So close.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Monday. This week is in like a lion.

One company, in Taiwan, produces most of the microchips needed to build all of the cars in America. What could possibly go wrong?

Massachusetts is moving into a new phase of reopenings today. Restaurant owners are happy but the governor seems to be at odds with some healthcare leaders interviewed by the Globe, who argue for a slower approach. Other experts interviewed by the New York Times were more optimistic about the coming months.

Universal Hub reports that someone who lives in the Seaport complained to the City of Boston about a loud and obnoxious Lamborghini driver in the neighborhood, asking them to send police to enforce the speeding and noise rules. But there’s only one problem: Boston Police don’t have jurisdiction in that part of Boston. Weird, I know.

First Parler was ‘hacked’ and now Gab has had a huge breach. Tens of gigabytes of user data and private posts have been uploaded to DDoSecrets. Who’s running these sites?

And you may have heard of the Manhattan Beach in California, but in 2023 there will be a beach in Manhattan.

Full of holes

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. The day the music died.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday so I wouldn’t put away that winter gear quite yet.

Valentine’s Day is coming and that means heart-shaped doughnuts. The most popular doughnut in Massachusetts, according to an analysis of google search results, is the chocolate frosted. But after dinner another favorite rules. I wonder why no one has invented a strawberry shortcake doughnut.

Residents are reporting problems in those new super tall and thin residential skyscrapers in New York. Pipes are leaking, walls are creaking and elevators are stuck. Who says you can never be too tall or thin?

Our own Tom Brady is becoming a mythical character. (We’ll see just how mythical on Sunday.)

And a couple of years ago people were actually complaining that there were too many quality TV shows to watch. The pandemic took care of that. Peak TV is now trough TV. But we do have more episodes of City on a Hill to look forward to.

Parler games

Wednesday, Jan 13th. It’s the anniversary of the Hawaii Emergency Alert scare.

That Trump tax cut that some workers received before the election was actually a deferral of taxes until after the election. Now it’s time to pay up.

Hacking Parler was not difficult because the site was not very secure. Amateurishly insecure, actually. “This is like a Computer Science 101 bad homework assignment, the kind of stuff that you would do when you’re first learning how web servers work. I wouldn’t even call it a rookie mistake because, as a professional, you would never write something like this,” Kenneth White told Wired. The exfiltrated data is already being used to identify Parler users inside the Capitol during the uprising.

The new Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station came in under budget and ahead of schedule. The reviews are glowing. It looks beautiful in photos. And, it has become a catalyst for other improvements in the area. Nice work!

Business Insider: “The US military will have a larger footprint in the nation’s capital by this weekend than the total number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

And if you ever get a chance to go to Tunis, you should. The food is amazing, even the runny eggs. In the meantime there’s this.

Not with a bang but a whimper

Wednesday, Dec 30th. Rasputin and Saddam Hussein both met their end on this date.

There will be no fireworks in Boston on this New Year’s Eve. And just as well.

As a long time user of Penn Station I’ve become adjusted to the changes over the years. And a big change is coming. A new high-ceiling train hall will be opening in January for riders waiting for trains on the Long Island and Amtrak lines, which is what I take. The new hall is across 8th Ave in the old post office building. I can’t wait to see how they handle the rush when tracks are announced.

More than 40% of workers are still working remotely. It turns out that many are more productive at home and some experts say they should be paid more. And, remote workers take less sick days.

Homicides are up 41% in New York City, with 447 recorded so far in 2020. Boston has seen a similar increase, from 37 in 2019 to 47 this year.

And remember, NO PICKING!

Food for thought

Good morning. It’s Sunday. It’s a Wonderful Life is 76 years old today.

So, who gets the vaccine first? That’s easy. Politicians.

The president is attacking the media for indicating that the recent major hacking attack against the US was conducted by Russia, Russia, Russia despite Microsoft, FireEye, sources in the national security and technology communities and Trump’s own Sectary of State all saying that it was Russia, Russia, Russia. Eyebrow raising. This is also a little concerning. And this.

I don’t usually pay attention to what’s going on in gaming but this disaster couldn’t be missed. It’s raining tanks.

In New York City, a garbageman went to the top of the heap. (I enjoyed my time as a garbageman as a teenager in the 1960’s. It was a good job. Two bucks an hour and all you can eat.)

And this happened ten years ago. Go Pats.

Let the meter run

Good day, Saturday. The word of the day is grandiloquence.

If you have an Apple TV you already know how bad the remote is. It’s a disaster. Now cable companies, who are also notorious for bad remotes, are offering a slightly better one for the Apple TV. Or, you can do as I did, and just get one of these.

How much of a surcharge should the state tack onto Uber and Lift fares and who should bear the brunt, the rider or the ride-share service? Flat fee or structured? And really, is this the right time to be adding surcharges to a struggling industry? Adam Vaccaro reports that the Legislature and the Governor are all over the map on these questions.

Bus maintenance costs at the MBTA are more than double the national average. So before cutting service, the T should look hard at cutting operating costs. Charles Chieppo and Jim Stergios make the argument in Commonwealth Magazine.

Bill de Blasio’s reviews as mayor of New York are, at best, mixed. With contenders lining up to replace him, the Times notes that, “Several candidates have worked in the de Blasio administration, yet the mayor’s residual unpopularity has given rise to an unusual trend: Most mayoral hopefuls are not necessarily running to the left or right of him, but just far, far away.” Smart.

And this commercial will make you feel GREAT! Also, a little disturbed. (From Turnpike Films.)