March 10th, 2012 ravi
I’m writing up a more in-depth post about this on my personal blog, but I wanted to give a quick summary of why keys have not been generated and mailed to you.
I run a very, very old version of FreeBSD that is not capable of running a modern compiler. This, in addition to other things, means I’m not capable of compiling the tools that are needed to support the users on my host or this service as a whole.
I currently have a bunch of applications running in memory right now that I cannot start again because I can’t compile a modern version of it.
I’ve overcome the dependencies for this service specifically and with the help of a friend we’ll be scraping through all the key requests and shipping them out to you ASAP.
March 10th, 2012 ravi
I wanted to mention that I will be on a SXSW 2012 panel, Sexy Data Solutions for Public Transit Systems, which will be at the AT&T Conference Hotel.
If you’re at SXSW it would be great if you could make it. Hop on the shuttle of take a stroll. The weather should be well cleared up by then!
September 24th, 2009 ravi
I think I summed up things in my previous post. Unfortunately I was ignored and while I would love to see how the dust settles I fear taking inaction would irreversibly hurt the service and the work I have invested into making it as good as it has become.
Spock said it best with, “[...] the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
That being said I am now doing pre-processing of all updates globally. This will actually only impact a very small subset of the user base (<1%) so many of you won’t even notice. This will be a temporary solution until I can add in a bunch of other features people have been requesting.
August 18th, 2009 ravi
Well not really, but I will be going on holiday 8/21 through 9/12 and will probably be punched in the face when I acclimate back to PST. While I will be checking email I won’t be adding new requests for keys. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem as I typically batch them once or twice a month.
In other news while getting on SB236 I noticed a new sign (left) at the end of the cab car noting how many bike cars were in that train configuration. Am I slow on the uptake or is this brand spankin’ new? I didn’t see a similar sign on the engine but didn’t look very hard. Assuming this is actually updated regularly it should be trivial for someone at a terminal to note the configurations early in the morning and do a mass update.
Hmm, and while reading through the tweet history I found this Aug 11 tweet noting the new signs. I guess I have been in the dark.
Finally a few people have asked me if posting guidelines have changed. No they have not. What do I mean?
- Leave the editorial comments to your own feed
- Please use OLD and NEW notation when referring to gallery and bombardier respectively. Not everyone knows the difference and it will just eat up on the maximum character limit you have. Fellow contributors have asked that people follow this to no avail. I am now asking everyone. Please do this do I don’t have to do message pre-processing.
- Please omit the class of service (e.g. bullet, limited, local). As noted by a contributor this is encoded in the train number. The first digit represents the class where 3 is bullet, 2 is limited, and 1 is local.
- Timestamps at the end of each tweet are inserted by me. There is no need to manually add it as it will eat into your max tweet length and cause confusion for others.
- Please keep the tweet to the account it belongs in. Car configurations belong in @bikecar
- Only update when there is something to say. A train that is on time or even <5 minutes behind schedule is not news.
As always I want to thank everyone for contributing and helping out. Remember this will only be successful if people play by the rules. I don’t have many at all so please stick with them. If you have concerns about them or anything I’ve said please do not hesitate to contact me.
July 29th, 2009 ravi
Mike Rosenberg, a reporter of the San Mateo County Times/Bay Area News Group, wrote a nice piece about the service that available at the Mercury News and Inside Bay Area. It should also appear in tomorrow’s edition of the Palo Alto Daily News.
I also have a large (15-20) batch of keys I need to generate and mail out so if you requested one it should be sent out shortly.
March 5th, 2009 ravi
Bicycle riders should be happy to learn that Caltrain has published the 36 scheduled trains that will be equipped with 2 bike cars for a total capacity of 64 bicycles. “These trains are operated with the stainless steel, fluted-side gallery cars, and the bike cars are the northernmost car and the fourth car from the north.”
I suspect the utility of my service will decline with this new data, however I believe it will still be useful when the trains are configured differently.
December 5th, 2008 ravi
A representative from one of the Bay Area transit providers has been providing updates to the service for some time now. You may have noticed them as the ones full of information such as
NB227 and NB230 delayed. NB STOPPED: 233@Lawrence-255 near Bayshore- 231@SM – 135@SJD
No NB trains operating at this time. SB134, 332 and 230 op as locals & reduced speeds.
VTA is accepting all Caltrain fare media on their El Camino Real bus routes.
SamTrans will accept all Caltrain fare media on all buses for the remainder of the service day
As a gesture of apology, all rides on Caltrain will be free until 1:30 a.m., Dec. 5.
Moving forward authoritative or official tweets of this nature will be prefixed with O: to indicate this. The Thanksgiving break got in the way of rolling this out earlier.
In other news another contributor noted the train numbers encode the type and direction of service. 1xx is for local, 2xx for limited, and 3xx is for baby bullet. Even routes are for southbound and odd are for northbound trains. I will update the Guide to reflect this and and will be removing and NB and/or SB labels from updates to reduce tweet sizes.
Also a few notes and reminders about the service to remember: First, the @caltrain and @bikecar accounts are not monitored so to speak. I currently do not review any @replies so don’t be offended for the lack of interactivity if you ask questions or try to send updates via this method and are ignored. Second, the service is not operated by any transit authority and the majority of the updates are provided by commuters. And finally, I have been keeping hands off approach with the updates and only have had to guide a few contributors so far. I suspect many of the followers have enabled SMS updates (I have) so please consider the newsworthiness of your update. With that in mind please try to omit editorializing or including irrelevant content.
And finally I strolled to 4th and King this morning gambling that service would have been restored after the signal system failure. I ended up being interviewed by KTVU since I was just working on a bench while I waited for the next MUNI to stop by to take me home. They actually put my ugly mug on the 5 o’clock news and used my sound bite as the lead to the story. I plugged this service off camera too.
November 21st, 2008 ravi
Some of you may have noticed some tweets were eaten up by the /dev/null monster. Earlier in the week Twitter was having DB maintenance and today I manged to DOS myself with a daemon to monitor for portscans. I’m not certain what exactly happened other than new connections were dropped.
In related news I am upgrading my server and have been slowly configuring things to use FreeBSD’s jails. I’m not a sysadmin (anymore) by trade so I’m having to learn how this works. Quite frankly its quite cool, but it requires thinking differently about where I run certain services. Bottom line is I hope that when I finally do swing over the IPs from the current to new server that services just work. I’m doing my best to run everything in parallel and testing as best I can, but I’m sure I’ll f something up. That said please bear with me if you notice things not quite how they should be.
August 8th, 2008 ravi
Fritz over at Cycleicious wrote a blog post listing the steps to get setup with Twitter and using this service. Inspired by this I adapted his guide and created one here.
It can be found at http://cow.org/c/getting-started (or http://cow.org/r/?3ce5 if the url must be short).
June 8th, 2008 ravi
This service has really taken off since the fatality on Friday May 6th and with this morning’s rumored fire on a train outside Mountain View. With all the new traffic has brought to light some deficiencies with my service let alone any issues Twitter may be having. Because of this I decided to create this dumb blog to better communicate updates. This is in addition to the mailing list that already exists.
Because of the service issues with Twitter I’ve had to actually code in some robustness to my API calls. At the moment I don’t attempt a resend on error (by design), but with the frequency of delays and the number of followers I’ve reconsidered. I have also successfully implemented a method that will redirect Twitter direct messages. This means you will be able to send a direct message via SMS to Twitter and have that be the update. The only hangup is I will need to build an actual user portal on my site to sufficiently link your Twitter account with your email key. Not being a web designer at all (not even a little bit) I’ve been putting this off. Everyone hope for a slow work week for me and I’ll get something done.
Last I am now filtering updates that match (^\w\w:) to weed out people who reply-to all after a few of those were sent out this morning.
Also I wanted to thank everyone for contributing and hopefully this has alleviated some frustration Caltrain commuters have.
Edit: Of course I had to publish the URL for the blog as http://cow.org/c/blog/ BEFORE I looked into this WordPress thing. It seems it has its own ‘About’ page which seemed to be a suitable replacement for the old index page. That said the blog replaced it and is now at http://cow.org/c/ but I put a Apache RedirectPermanent option so all is good.