Saturday, February 10, 2007

Name dropping: Twice this week

So I'm watching cable cast of city council's post agenda meeting on city technology and possible plans for wi-fi at 9:45 pm, flipping back and forth with MIB II, and Councilman Bill Peduto drops my name.

At the meeting this Thursday he gave me a mention as well, when I was in the council chambers. Then they were talking about the merger of the purchasing deparments between city and county. He said citizens have an interest in how things are being done and want to offer input as I have mentioned repeatedly in the past.

Okay. Okay.

Yes, I do want to see the "Power Point." I guess it is available from Bill's web page.

So, it is clear I don't have much to do on a Saturday night with my wife and kids in New England for the first edition of a memorial for grandpa. I'm home alone. Most of the day I was coaching a swim meet, as we hosted Grove City in our last dual of the winter season.

What did I learn:

Seems that there are about 4,000 wi-fi sessions a month with the PDP's network downtown. Many are 'double-dipping' and that new software is going to come on-line to help prevent that. The system allows for 2-hours of free access. I guess spare usernames and passwords are being used, often by the same individuals. Beats me. I wouldn't use wi-fi on an unsecure network -- except to surf or stream as a faceless user.

Double decker isn't same as double dips Wi-Fi.
From Pens Village

Seems that there is a rash of vandals who bash parking meeters to rip off the quarters.

There are more than 60 police cars with wi-fi and they pay $50 or so a month. Must be via cellular connections now. The number will double in the months to come. A city-wide wi-fi might save 200 units x $50 = $10,000 per month or $120,000 per year. That puts a dent into the $5-million start-up.

However, does this mean that the vandals that are smashing parking meeters to get quarters would climb telephone poles to pinch wi-fi's digital dust?

I'd much rather use an octopus card rather than a credit card for parking meter fees. We should be doing Octupus Card technology for fares and transactions around town. Then Pittsburgh would be a leader in North America.

Bill Peduto wants to get 'credit' for the winkles they've put out in the planning of wi-fi documents that have yet to materialize in RFPs. Boston lifted sections from what was talked about in Pittsburgh. To me, that is still a good thing. To some, it isn't -- I guess. Well, if we rolled out an Octopus Card in Pittsburgh, like they already have in Hong Kong and Netherlands, then Boston could CONTRACT with Pittsburgh's tech providers -- creating an industry here.

It is nice to know when the next bus arrives, and when the next stop arrives -- via a consumer scoreboard display utility built upon GPS. But, that brings us back to those damaged parking meters. How would they last in a bus shelter? It would be better to work upon the toll collection component first, i.e., Octopus Card.

If you're not sure what I mean when ranting about Octopus Cards, search this blog.

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