Can you hear me now?

Posted on July 20th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in This just in

If you’ve been riding the subway for years, probably not.  The trains are too damn loud.

Not a shock.  The system is built on an ancient infrastructure running fairly modern trains.  So surprisingly, when a train goes by, it can hurt your ears big time.

Just to drive the point home, Columbia University did a little study to make sure.

They officially discovered that the subways have the highest noise level at 80.4 decibels.  Some platforms were over 100.  Just for reference, a chainsaw runs at about 100 decibels.

I know I’ve made fun of the people on the platforms that wear earplugs.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think it is really weird.  But maybe they have the right idea.  A decade from now, maybe those people will be the only ones in town that can actually hear.

Holy Crap. That’s an Awesome iPhone App.

Posted on July 20th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in Rider Strategy, This just in
YouTube Preview Image

This app is freaking awesome.  Just another reason I have to get an iPhone.  I’ll have to steal my buddies phone and install it on there so I can play with it.

According to the website, it doesn’t look like it is out just yet.  It seems they are waiting for Apple to approve it.

You’ve got to watch the video to see how it works.

Sheeple

Posted on July 20th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in Contribution

Sheeple

This little comedic gem was submitted by SB reader Kelsey. Thanks Kelsey!

Most Disgusting Subway Story of My Life

Posted on July 15th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in Bums, Scary People

This story was sent out two months ago as the first issue of the Subway Monthly Newsletter. I’m sure many of you have already read it since you are subscribers. After some careful consideration, I felt this story was ready for prime time and deserved to be shared on a more open platform.

Warning: If you have not eaten your lunch yet today, you may want to wait until later to read this story. We promise that if you read this story now, you will not be able to eat another thing for the rest of the day. This story will haunt your dreams. You’ve been warned.

It was a typical weekday morning, on my way to work. I had to leave a little earlier than normal because I had an early meeting. It was just about 7AM when I got to the platform. At that time of the morning, it really isn’t that crowded yet. Actually, its pretty empty usually. By 7:30 though, it is packed. So when I have these early meetings, I try to get to the train by 7am.

Anyway, I was just minding my own business reading some emails on by crackberry when I heard a spraying sound. The sound a garden hose makes.

I looked down the platform and saw a water spray coming from the far side of a news stand. The structure was in the way, so I couldn’t see the person doing the spraying just the water jet itself.

I thought nothing of it really. I figured it was a transit worker spraying down the platform. The newsstand proprietors actually do that from time to time to keep the area around them at least somewhat tidy.

A few minutes past when all of a sudden I started to hear some gasps from the area of the spraying.

With that, the person operating the hose came out from behind the stand. It wasn’t a transit worker at all.

No, it was Dana.

Whos Dana? You may know her as one of the subway homeless people that regularly rides the train asking for handouts. She has all of three teeth in her head, and has had a festering leg wound for about a year now. If you’ve seen her, you’d never forget her mostly for her smell. Whatever is happening with that leg wound makes a smell potent enough to make paint peel.

So there she was with the hose in hand. Doing what you ask? (I’m sure many of you know where this is going already)

Ohh she was taking her morning shower of course.

‘ right. She was standing there completely topless giving herself a good rinse in full view of everyone on the platform. She was wearing a pair of mens jeans that kept slipping a bit. Thankfully, they managed to stay on.

But there she was in her droopy, hairy, smelly birthday suit just splish splashing around like the place was her own little birdbath.

So now picture if you will that vial smell now combined with water. Now it had a new damp, musty quality to it as well.

Friend, when I tell you I had that smell in my nose for 24 hours, believe me. I almost ended own life right there.

Thankfully, I was far enough away to not be caught in the splash zone. Others were not so lucky.

How in the world she got her hands on a hose is still a mystery. The only thing I can think is that the night cleaning crew forgot to put the hose away when they were done. There are water spigots on most platforms that will allow a crew to hose down a platform. The hose was clearly hooked up and turned on.

So I guess Dana just took advantage of the situation while she had the chance.

It is a sensory experience that will haunt me forever.

No More Bullshit Hosting

Posted on July 13th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in This just in

I’ve officially fucking had it with my hosting company, BlueHost.com. I’ve been using them for well over 6 years now for this site and a variety of others. I’m officially done with their bullshit shenanigans.

As you may have noticed just about any time on Sunday, SUBWAYblogger was down for no apparent reason. The site was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t even like it was showing a 404 page or anything. Instead it was just a white page, no matter where you tried to go on the site.

Nothing. Just white.

So I’m chatting up tech support and the first guy “investigates” for about 10 minutes then comes back and says it looks like a problem with Wordpress. You’re going to have to check out Wordpress.org and speak with those folks about how to fix it.

Great, thanks for the help douche bag.

So I poke around the Wordpress support forums and the web in general for 6 hours. No joke. I must have tried dozens of things including reinstalling the entire thing from scratch. Nothing.

So then I fire up another chat session with D-bag #2. He pokes around for about 30 seconds and tells me that my server is under “high load” at the moment and the engineers are actively looking into it. I tried to explain to him that the load had nothing do with my site being down. I know this because I have (had) other sites on the same server and they were working just fine. So there was nothing he could do.

Finally, I fired in an email based ticket to tech support basically asking them to do a full restore from backup. I get a response saying that they have absolutely ZERO backups of my site. That’s fucking odd because it says right here that they do weekly backups: http://helpdesk.bluehost.com/kb/index.php/kb/article/000166 . He then pointed out that the article says to check the terms and services. When you look at that, they say they are absolutely not responsible for backups and only do them from time to time! So the article says they’ll do it weekly. But if you want to dig through all the fine print, you’ll see that they’re actually not going to do it at all if they don’t feel like it. Wonderful.

That was the last damn straw.

In the 6 years I’ve been with them, I’ve had the hard drive crash and burn TWICE. Both resulted in total losses of the effected data. I literally dug through Google cached pages to dig out old posts and manually put them back. Of course, I told them after the first one that I would gladly pay a monthly fee to have them automatically run nightly backups of the site. They weren’t interested.

I’ve also had the site temporarily go down a multitude of times due to other “load” issues that had nothing to do with me.

In any event, I’m done with Bluehost for good. I’m moving on to the Cloud baby.

I’ve been wanting to move over to a more robust system like Amazon Cloudfront + EC2 or Rackspace’s Cloud files for a while now. This just gave me the extra motivation.

SUBWAYblogger is now officially powered by the Rackspace Cloud. (ooooooo ahhhhh).

Powered by Rackspace Cloud Hosting

Rackspace/Mosso has an outstanding reputation for quality and customer service. So far their tech people have been 1000x better than Bluehost. The hosting is more expensive, but you really get what you pay for. For $6.00 a month with Bluehost, what could I really expect? Crap.

So now the Cloud will mean that the site is infinitely scalable both in size and traffic. SUBWAYblogger can now pretty much take anything that can be thrown at it.

I’m supper pumped and glad to be back online once and for all.

Wordpress for Blackberry

Posted on July 7th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in This just in

Wordpress released a beta version of their new publishing app for Blackberry. All I can say is FINALLY!

I’ve been waiting for this for years. Glad it is finally getting done.

Now I can better control the site while riding the subway.

Happy fare hike Monday.  Actually, the fares jumped over the weekend, but most of us wouldn’t have noticed until today.

So now that we have a $2.25 fare, your pants just got heavier.  How so?  Well, if you buy a single ride with a $5 bill, you’re going to get back two dollar coins plus 3 quarters.  Awesome.

God help you if you paid for it with a $20.  That’s 17 dollar coins plus 3 quarters.

$20 bill goes in, 20 coins come out.

Granted, even a few days ago, it still would have been 18 dollar coins…but still.  It’s pretty insane.

The bigger problem is going to be the little old ladies that have to break out their coin purse full of nickels to get up to the 25 cents.  You know there ain’t no damn way grandma is going to break another dollar if she doesn’t have to.

At least the machines don’t take pennies!

Broken Subway Door?

Posted on June 15th, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in Transit Failures

It’s a good thing I snagged a seat today, or it would have been a pretty crappy way to start my morning.

At 28th Street, my train was stuck in the station because of a door problem. Perhaps some of the motormen that read this blog can chime in on what can cause this.

Clearly it was not something that was going to raise a red flag on this insanely crowded train because they managed to get it fixed after about 15 minutes of waiting.

I was about 3 train car lenghts away from the door that had the issue, so I could see them trying to fix it.  It consisted of one guy hitting the door close button over and over again while the other physically pushed the doors together with his hands.

From what I could see, the doors were closing just fine on their own.  I’m not sure what pushing the doors together by hand was adding to the equation.  I guess he was just trying to get the sensor to engage or something.  If you stepped back and looked, you would have no idea something was wrong with the door because it closed all the way by itself.

After the threee stooges finished slamming the doors together over and over again, we got back on our way.  Of course, we were so far behind that we immdediately had to start skipping stops to get caught up.

A frustrating way to start your Monday.

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