Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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RIP Kobo

My kobo1, appears to be no longer capable of holding a charge. I plug it in overnight and it seems like it’s charged, but then a few hours later (during which time it isn’t being used) and I see this:

My kobo won't hold a charge :(

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, as it is more than 4 years old and in electronics time that’s like 1000 years old. Plus I’ve not been able to get it to connect to my computer for quite some time now, which means that I haven’t been able to put any new books on it. I was hoping to read the books that I already had on there that I hadn’t yet read though. I’m in the middle of reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. Though I can’t tell you exactly how far because my goddamn kobo won’t hold a charge. Guess it’s time to start looking at what’s happened in eReader technology in the last four years…

  1. Which I had named Luna, after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. []

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What’s Been Amusing Me in the Twittervese Lately

It’s been a year and a half since I shared my favourite tweets, so I figured it was time to check out what’s been amusing me in the Twitterverse.

Given the year that was 2016, quite a few of my favourites were related to politics:

NDT

Trump's scientific paper

Trump trauma

$900M debt

comparison

Qualifications aren't a thing

For some of the politics ones I feel like I need to provide context, as they might seem quite nonsensical without it. Like this one in response to then-candidate for the Republican nomination Ben Carson’s claim that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grains, rather than to bury pharaohs:

Pyramids

At the Republican national convention, Melania Trump gave a speech in which she plagiarized a speech by Michelle Obama. When Donald gave his speech, this guy made this pithy remark:

plagiarism software

The next two are related to people’s responses to Trump’s misogynistic comments related to how he can sexually assault women and they just let him because he’s famous; many politicians and pundits said things like “as a father of a daughter, I am offended” or “as a husband of a strong women, I am appalled”:

Women are people

This next one collides politics with another thing that happened in 2016: the fact that there were a reboot of the Ghostbusters movie with all female leads (and people got all pissed off about that):

Rebooting the Clinton administration

Shortly before the election, someone smashed Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame1 and this was George Takei’s response:

Horcuxes

In response to Russia’s interference in the US election:

Russian election hacking

And in probably my favourite of all the political tweets was this one that came during the second presidential debate. Donald Trump, in one of his examples of islamophobia and racism, was ranting about Muslims being terrorists and how Muslims need to report people whose behaviour is suspicious, and, in reference to earlier in the debate when Donald was menacingly standing behind Hillary Clinton on the debate stage, was this brilliant tweet:

report

Moving on to less political things, there were a few hashtags that amused me, including #scienceamoviequote:

#scienceamoviequote 5
#scienceamoviequote 4
#scienceamoviequote 3
#scienceamoviequote 2
#scienceamoviequote 1

and #HarperAirport (when it was proposed that Calgary airport be re-named after the much loathed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper):

#HarperAirport

That last one refers to these really terrible radio ads the Conservatives ran during the election that said Justin Trudeau was “just not ready” to be Prime Minister.

This next one refers to Bill C-51, an “anti-terrorism law” that gives the government sweeping powers to invade people’s privacy that was brought in under the Harper government:
#HarperAirport 2

A tonne of my favourite tweets over the past year and a half have come from the account “Shit Academics Say”:

preetenure

Shit Academics Say 5

Shit Acadmics Say 3

Don't bring anecdote to a data fight

Shit Academics Say 2

Don't bring anecdote to a data fight

to err

Shit Academics Say

A few have a feminism theme::

"unisex" tshirts

Female ghostbuster

So lucky

And several have cats in them:

helper cat

Drunk Pickles

bread tag kitty

Hockey cats

Kitty

Office cat

And then there is a whole bunch of random stuff:

stress reduction

wrong park

fully support

For the record, I have *no* idea what campaign that tweet refers to. Dr. Dan, do you remember?

bacteria-free

There is no cloud

80s playlist

10,000 characters

cheques
spanx

the new "netflix and chill"

Twitter expansion

Email filter

Assertive

meeting fail

muffins v cupcakes

1 v 0.78

science

Cat video calls

White chocolate

Calling her bluff

Life imitates art

Microsoft Edge browser

Proportional lineups

Outrage

Cat kisses

I quite liked Jen’s response to this tweet of mine (see below):

Luna Park

Luna Park reaction

Video calling software

Safe does not equal comfortable

Cistrionics

Mr. Pepper

Flu shot

Homeopathy

Neuroscientist's dread

economics

And this one was fun because my friend Cath was reading the interwebs one day and discovered I was internet famous:

My quokka buddy and I are famous

And there’s even a few of my own that I favourited, because I amuse me (and I didn’t want my best tweets to disappear into the bottomless pit that is Twitter and my terrible inability to remember stuff)

First, one that would only appeal to nerdy scientists who also like Pokemon (so, basically, only me and Cath):

Schrodinger's Pokemon

Then there’s one I thought hilarious and apparently at least one other person agreed:

BMDK

And finally one that I tweeted, but was actually a quotation from my sister, so she get the credit of the hilarity of this one:

Hockey as described by my sister

  1. Aside: I can’t believe Trump had a star and Carrie Fisher didn’t! []

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If Pokemon were hockey fans

I was chatting with Cath during the Canucks-Leafs game yesterday and this conversation happened:

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

 

 

Untitled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled

 

 

 

Untitled

And while I can only think of two other people besides Cath and I who might find this amusing (i.e., those in the overlapping area of the Venn diagram of hockey fans + Pokemon Go players), I find it ever so amusing that I had to blog it.

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Inventory

“Inventory is evil” is what my supply chain management prof always used to say. Inventory is your money being tied up so you can’t use it. Inventory is risk – risk that you’ve put your money into making that product, but maybe you won’t be able to sell it or it will get stolen or eaten by rats or go past its expiry date or become obsolete. Inventory costs you money because you have to store your inventory somewhere. “Inventory is evil” is something I’ve been experiencing vis-a-vis Pokémon1.

In the Pokémon game, you get 250 storage spots for all the little pocket monsters that you catch (or hatch or evolve). But when you live and work in heavily Pokéstopped areas, you end up catching lots and lots of Pokémon – way more than 250, though lots and lots of them are multiples of ones you have2. Since the objective of the game is to catch each different type of Pokémon, you need to have enough room in your inventory to store all the different types, but given how often you just keep catching the same type you already have, you quickly run out of space! You can “transfer” your Pokémon to the professor in exchange for candy (which frees up a spot in your Pokémon inventory) but (a) that requires the hard work of tapping icons and words on your screen, (b) many of the Pokémon are sooo cute and I don’t know what the professor is doing to them (but it can’t be good), and (c) my pack rat tendencies. It’s actually mostly (a). I tend to catch Pokémon as I go about my day – walking to the Skytrain station, on the way to the grocery store, etc. – so it sort of fits with the flow of my day, but cleaning up my inventory requires concerted effort just focused on playing the game, and since I’m not typically a gamer, this is not something I’m used to. Once you fill up your storage, you can’t catch anymore Pokémon until you either transfer some out or pay money for more storage spots. This is where my cheapness overtakes my laziness3!

I mostly do my Pokémon inventory management on my Skytrain ride. I sort the Pokémon by name so that I can see which ones I have multiples of, check out which one is the most powerful (or which two if I’m keeping an extra one around to evolve4.), and then transferring the superfluous to the professor. It’s a lot of work! Also, while doing this important work, I’m often interrupted by my phone vibrating, which signifies that a new Pokémon has spawned where I am so I have to get out of my inventory box and go catch it. Since my Pokémon are sorted alphabetically by name, I often clear out my extra Caterpies and Drowzees, but less often get to my Spearows and Zubats. Case in point, I seem to own all of the Tauroses5:

All the Tauroses

Or I did. After I took that screen shot, I transferred a bunch to the professor and now I have a tonne of Tauros candy – I used as much of the candy as I could but apparently cannot power him up anymore until I become a stronger trainer.

In addition to my Pokémon storage, I also have a limited inventory for carrying around items in your bag – Pokéballs, Megaballs, and Ultraballs used to catch , plus Revives and Potions used to heal your Pokémon after you force them to fight at a PokéGym6. This used to be a problem for me, as my I kept getting messages that my bag was full – again, you could pay for a bigger bag, but I’m way too cheap. I often throw out Revive and Potions, because I don’t fight at PokéGyms that much, so I’d rather have room for more balls7. But in the past week or so I’ve found that not having enough inventory room is not my problem – my problem has been that I keep running out of PokéBalls! Which is probably because I keep running into situations like this one:

All the Pokémon

I ran into this gaggle of Pokémon outside my pet store when I went to buy food for the kitties. I ended up catching 11 Pokémon in a row there! Hence why I keep running out of Pokéballs!

So, yes, it seems it’s feast or famine when it comes to PokéInventory – either too much or too little. Inventory really is evil.

  1. Yes, I’m still playing Pokémon, even though everyone else is so over it. Because I have a bad case of completism and I’ve still got 38 Pokémon that I haven’t caught yet! []
  2. You have to catch multiples of the same type of Pokémon because (a) catching Pokémon gives you experience points (XP), which is how you level up (which makes you more powerful, lets you catch more powerful Pokémon, and gives you useful objects) and (b) it also gives you candy, which you need to evolve or level up a given Pokémon. []
  3. My friend Cath and I (the only two people I know who are both still playing, made a solemn vow to not spend any actual money on this game. We only get items through either getting them for free at Pokéstops or getting them for free when we level up or earning PokéCoins for free by putting our Pokémon on gyms. []
  4. Or extras if I’ve given them a particular name, like my Meowths, which I named after my kitties – an idea I stole from Cath []
  5. I appear to have a Tauros nesting ground right outside my home and right outside my office so I catch them all. the. time. []
  6. If this is your first time at PokéGym – you *have* to fight! []
  7. Although, I have this feeling of guilt for throwing away perfectly good Revives and Potions because it feels wasteful….. even though I’m entirely away that they are *imaginary* and I got them for free at PokéStops! []

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A Wild Pidgey Appears

When my dad was young, he and his brothers would go hunting with my grandpa. My dad’s older brother, Bob, used to say that if he died, he would be reincarnated as a duck and then one day when his brothers were out hunting, they would take aim at a duck, but would miss and the duck would laugh at them. My Uncle Bob died in a boating accident when he was 21. And then one day my dad and his brothers were out hunting and they took aim at a duck and were sure they had the duck in their sights, but when they fired, they missed and the duck quacked and quacked in the duck-like way that sounds like a laugh. Personally, I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife or reincarnation, but I always loved that story.

My dad used to raise pigeons for racing and every time I see a pigeon – which is quite often where I live – I think of my dad. In Pokémon Go, the most common Pokémon seems to be Pidgey, the pigeon-like Pokémon. Sometimes when you throw a PokéBall at a Pidgey (which is how you catch a Pokémon) you miss and I would swear that the Pidgey is laughing at me.

Pokemon GO

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Games

Jumpman_2I’ve never been much of a video game player. The number of video games I’ve ever really gotten into can be counted on one hand. I remember playing Jumpman Jr on my Dad’s Commodore 64. The main character was a pixelated stick figure who you could make climb ups pixelated rope or pixelated ladder, trying to avoid being shot by a bullet (which was a single pixel) while you.. hmmm… I can’t actually remember what the object of that game was.

In university my friend Therese and I enjoyed a game called Theme Hospital where you built hospitals. It was sort of Sim City-like and you had to decide who to hire (nurses, doctors, custodians, etc), what units to build (more surgical suites or more diagnostic imaging rooms?) and how many vending machines to put into your waiting room (if you put enough, you got an award from the national dental association for increasing business for them). During those times I also played NHL ’98, as my then husband got me hooked on that one.

The next video game I played wasn’t for probably a decade or so – Boogie Bunnies. It was like the various jewel matching games, but you had to match bunnies of the same colour. When you matched them they danced and giggled and blew up. I never understood why those bunnies were so happy about getting blown up, but the game was rather addicting.

Fast forward to last year, when my then boyfriend’s kids got me playing an iPhone/iPad game called Cooking Fever.  In this game, you serve meals to people at various restaurants. You can upgrade your kitchen equipment, your ingredients, and your restaurant’s interior to make more money and then use that money to but more upgrades and more restaurants. Now, I have to point out that in my youth I worked in restaurants serving food to people and I hated it, yet here I am playing a game doing exactly that, but for fun. This game really lends itself to completism, because you work to complete all the levels of a given restaurant and then you want to complete all the tasks in a given restaurant (one of which is to complete all levels with 3/3 stars), but then there is a list of achievements to complete across the whole game (like upgrade 5 of your restaurants or make a total of one million dollars from your restaurants) and you want to complete those. I’ve now completed everything in the game and so have to wait for the occasional “challenges”, where you get a limited amount of time to complete 15 new levels, or new restaurants, which don’t come out all that often because they must take a lot of work to create.

Soon after all that, my Twitter friend Jen introduced me to Neko Atsume or, as I call it, the internets kitty game. The object of this iPhone game is to attract cats to your yard by putting out food and toys for them. In appreciation, the cats leave you sardines or goldfish, which you can use to but more food and toys (why a cat would leave you a fish rather than just eating the fish is beyond me, but I guess I’m not an internets cat, so I just don’t understand how their minds work). There are special rare cats that require specific combinations of certain toys and food to show up and your goal is to get all the cars to come to your yard, get photos of them when they are there to fill up you album, and get them to come enough times that they leave you a special gift. It’s another game that really lends itself to completism.

Internet cats

A whole bunch of Internet cats in my yard!

And now we have Pokémon GO. I downloaded it to check what all the hype was about and started playing it like I do most games – I just randomly click thinks and see what happens. I’ve been able to figure out the basics – you create a character for yourself (the game walks you through this part) and then you start walking around and the game uses GPS to show your character on a map. When you encounter a Pokémon, you can throw a PokéBall at it and trap it; if you manage to do this, the Pokémon is registered in your Pokédex (which I gather is a list of all the Pokémon you have caught) and you get points that I don’t know what they are for. Sometimes you catch a Pokémon but it manages to escape from the PokéBall – I assume that these are stronger Pokémon and I need to do something in order to be stronger to catch those one – thought I’m totally guessing on that. Real life locations are PokéStops – places where you can stock up on PokéBalls that you use to catch Pokémon that you encounter, as well as other objects that I have no idea what they do. A building, a piece of public art, or other such location can all be PokéStops – you see them on your map as your wander around and if get close enough to them, then you can stock up on stuff. There are also PokéGyms, which I assume you train at to get better at catching Pokémon, but that’s just a guess because the one time I was at a PokéGym, my game playing technique of randomly clicking things was not effective – I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do and then it told me that I lost. I think I may have to actually read about how you are supposed to play this game if I want to go any further with it.

Pokemon GO

A Pokémon in my kitchen!

Pokemon GO

A scary Pokémon I caught on my way to my massage appointment the other night

Pokemon GO

This Pokémon was in the Skytrain station. I wonder if he tapped in?

Pokemon GO

This Pokémon was in my office! These things are everywhere!

Image Credits:
Jumpman posted by Abel-Archer on Flickr

Theme Hospital posted on Wikipedia under fair use.

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Gone With The Wind

Totally thought this posted a few days ago, but just came onto my blog to write a new posting and discovered I hadn’t. Anyway, here it is now!

So it turns out that I bought my last phone a really, really long time ago. Like more than 3 years ago, which in phone-years, means my phone was 892,386 years old. It was an iPhone 5 – not even a 5S, let alone the newer 6 or a 6 Mega-Double-Plus size. A lot of features have come out on iPhones since I bought that phone – like TouchID (where you scan your fingerprint rather than typing in a passcode to unblock your phone, which is super useful),or the phone being able to count the number of steps you take (slightly less useful when you leave your phone sitting on your desk or your kitchen counter for half the day, but kinda cool when you do carry it around) or a camera that can actually take decent photos in light that is less bright than full-on sunshine at high noon). But I am cheap and I don’t like throwing out things that are useful and replacing them with a slightly newer and shinier version. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was that my battery, after 3 years of constant use, decided that it no longer wanted to hold a charge, so it wouldn’t last me anywhere near a day (despite the fact that I put the phone into “Low Power Mode” pretty much all the time), which necessitated me constantly having to bring my charging cord with me and always needing to find a place to charge it.

My problem then became what phone to buy. I really love my iPhone, but I did *not* want a phone that is bigger than the one I had. I run a lot and when I do, I have my phone strapped to my arm. And I am a small person, so the iPhone 5 already takes up most of my upper arm – I couldn’t even imagine having something bigger – it would be so cumbersome! Fortunately, Kalev keeps abreast of all the iPhone rumours and told me a while back that Apple had a plan to bring out a phone that basically had all the feature of the iPhone 6, but in the iPhone 5 size. And so I waited and lo, the prophesy was true! The iPhone SE has basically all the features of the iPhone 6 that I wanted: TouchID, wicked good camera, Apple Pay, stuff that makes it faster than my old phone1.

While I was deciding it was time for a new phone, I also decided that it was time for a new cell phone provider. I was with Fido and while I never had any issues with their service, their price tag seemed a bit high for what I was getting. So I decided to switch over to Wind. Wind is a lower price carrier – I’m able to get everything I had in my Fido plan (unlimited calling and texting in Canada, caller ID, voicemail) plus 5 times as much data (5GB vs the 1 GB I had with Fido) for less than half the price I was paying to Fido. The trade-off is that the Wind network doesn’t have as good of coverage as Fido, though I’m so rarely out of the city, it’s not really a problem for me2.

I consulted a few people who use Wind and they all told me that they’d not had issues and one person even pointed out that since you don’t sign a contract with Wind, I could try it out and if I don’t like it, I can always go back to one of the bigger carriers. So I decided to take the plunge and sign up for Wind. After a couple of technical hiccups3, I was up and running with the new phone and am ever so happy with it.

The next step in the process was that I needed a name for my phone. I’d totally phoned4 it in one my last phone (the iPhone 5) and named her Bellatrix 2, as the previous phone (the iPhone 3G) was Bellatrix. I name my electronics, with some exceptions, after female literary characters (see: Bellatrix, Hermione, Ginny Weasley (my external hard drive), Marla, and Daenerys), and the name for my new iPhone SE just came to me as I thought about the fact that I’d “Gone with the Wind”. Everyone, meet Scarlett ((I absolutely loved the movie Gone with the Wind when I was a kid and watched it many times, as we had it on a VHS tape. Because, like my previous phone, I am 892,386 years old. I even dressed up as Scarlett O’Hara one year for Hallowe’en.)):

My new iPhone SE

I thought that since I was getting a new phone that is the exact same size as my old phone, I’d be able to keep using the same case, but my old case has a slight problem:

My new iPhone SE

As you can see in the above photo, my old case covers the home button, which was fine with the iPhone 5, as you can still press the home button through the silicone case. You cannot, however, do Touch ID through the silicone case because the home button needs to be able to scan your fingerprint, which it cannot do through silicone, and Touch ID is my favourite thing that this phone offers. So I ordered a new case that won’t have this problem. It also gave me the opportunity to buy a case with a slot on the back to put my Compass card5 in.

My new iPhone SE

I currently keep my Compass card stuck in the back of my case, but it’s a bit of a pain to have to take my card out from there, especially given that 5 days a week I have to tap my card a total of eight (!) times going to and from work and the faregates cannot read the card through the silicone case. Apparently once I set up Apple Pay, I won’t be able to leave my Compass card in my new case when I scan it (as Apply Pay interferes with the Compass Card system), but even still, it will be a lot easier to slide it out of a card slot than it will be to half remove my case every time I want to tap my Compass card. I’ve ordered a new case from Amazon – should be here next week. Hmm…. I suppose I will have to name my new case Tara.

  1. It doesn’t have 3D Touch, but I don’t really care about that. []
  2. I looked at Wind 3 year ago when I got my Fido account, but at the time I had a job where I covered the Fraser Valley and beyond and Wind didn’t have coverage out there, which would have meant that every time I went to, say, Abbotsford for a meeting, I wouldn’t be able to use my phone. Wind now has coverage there, but I don’t have that job any more, so it doesn’t actually matter to me. []
  3. First, they messed up porting my number from Fido by accidentally typing my Fido account number in wrong. Fortunately, since they typed the account number in wrong, Fido didn’t know that I’d cancelled, so they didn’t give away my number and Wind was able to port it the next day. Second, because I was on the temporary number (which was only supposed to be on my phone for ~1 hour until my original number ported) for half a day, my iMessage got all messed up and kept trying to use the temporary number (which I no longer had access to once they fixed my porting problem) instead of my real number. The Apple engineers were able to help me out with that one though. []
  4. Pun intended! []
  5. For my non-Vancouver readers: Compass card is the card you use to pay for travel on our Skytrain, buses, and Seabus in the greater Vancouver area, and you have to tap in and tap out as you enter/exit fare paid zones of the transit system. []

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Nerd Stats 2015

Ordinarily I would post this at some point on Dec 31, but since I was in Ottawa for a friend’s wedding, I was too busy to put these stats together (along with my next two postings, which are a review of my 2015 goals and my goals for 2016). So instead, I’m posting them today! Which kind of makes sense, since I really should wait until the end of the year so that all the blog postings/tweets/blog views are in!

Blog postings Tweets Visits to my blog Average number of blog visits per day Busiest day on my blog
2008 423 2,227 32,410 93 Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)
2009 357 1,815 45,153 126 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)
2010 344 2,302 44,689 122 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)
2011 380 3,625 60,560 166 Oct 10, 2011 (374 views)
2012 201 875 63,844 175 Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)
2013 213 945 46,665 128 Sept 4, 2013 (721 views)
2014 91 910 33,948 93 Mar 7, 2014 (208 views)
2015 118 800 34,930 96 Nov 23, 2015 (512 views)
% change from 2014 29.67% -12.09% 2.89% 3.23% N/A

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Where Should I Keep My Compass Card?

Compass CardTranslink is in the process of introducing the Compass Card, which is a new fare card system for riding transit in the Greater Vancouver area. In the past, we’ve used a paper-based honour system – you either had a paper monthly pass or paper tickets (that you validated at a machine) and then just walked onto the bus/Skytrain/Seabus – on the bus you either showed your monthly pass to the driver or stuck your single use ticket into a machine to verify that it was good for that day & time – and on Skytrain you just walked on, though there was sometimes Translink staff checking fares either on the train or in the fare paid zone of the station (I rarely take the Seabus, so I don’t remember if they checked your fare when you got on or if it was an honour system like Skytrain).

Now we have the Compass Card, which requires you to tap your card on a reader on the way in and out of a Skytrain or Seabus station, or just tap in on the bus. The reason for tapping in and out is that there are different fare zones, so they need to know if you traveled in one, two, or three zones to know how much to charge you. If you forget to tap out, they will charge you for the full 3 zones, so it’s really important to remember to tap out. At the moment, we are in a transition period where you can use either the Compass Card or the old paper passes/tickets, so they haven’t closed all the fare gates (as the paper users don’t have any way to getTransLink Compass Card Gate the fare gates to open), so it’s actually easy to just walk through the fare gates and forget to tap out. The buses only require a tap in because it turns out that the system – which cost way more and took way longer to get implemented than they had planned – is too damn slow so if they required everyone to tap out, it would slow the buses down so much that they’d never be able to maintain a reasonable schedule, so they had to make it that buses only charge a 1 zone fare, regardless of how many zones you actually traveled through.

I got my Compass Card on Oct 16 – just a bit before they were released widely to the public – because Kalev told me that you could get one early if you went to a machine at Waterfront Station that is close to the West Coast Express. WCE users were one of the groups that got earlier access to Compass Cards as part of the phased roll out of Compass. I figured I’d get mine there so as to avoid being caught in a lineup once they were released at all the other machine.

One of the nice things about the Compass Card is that you can register it online so that you can (a) get any money stored on your card back if you lose the card, (b) pay for your monthly pass online (so you don’t have to stand in that giant line up at Safeway (or other fare dealer) at the end of the month), and (c) set up an auto re-load of money on the card if you are just paying per trip, so you never need to buy a ticket – you just always have money on your card!

Compass Card Point (Bus)I’ve been using my Compass Card for two months now and while it’s more of a hassle than having a paper monthly pass, which only required me to buy a pass at the start of the month and then leave it in my wallet and just walk on and off the Skytrain at my leisure, it’s more convenient than having to validate a single use paper ticket every time I went on Skytrain, especially at New West station, where the ticket validating machines are located in such a way that I had to go out of my way to validate them and then double back to go the train. And given that a monthly pass is only worth buying if I’m transiting to work on the vast majority weekdays – and between September and November I wasn’t, as I drove to work on Wednesdays due to having to go up to Burnaby Mountain to teach at SFU (and transiting up there and home afterwards would take eleventy thousand hours) – I’ve actually preferred having the Compass card as I don’t have to go out of my way to validate those paper tickets for each trip.

However, one challenge I have is where I should keep my Compass card. When not in transit, I keep it in my wallet. But while transiting, I need to take it out to tap it on the card reader and it doesn’t seem worth putting it back in my wallet each time, as my daily commute involves four (4!!) taps – I have to tap into the Expo Line at New West, out of Expo Line at Waterfront, into Canada Line at Waterfront, and then out of Canada Line at Broadway-City Hall. On Skytrain, I’m usually reading stuff on my phone or my eReader, so I generally just hold onto my card with my device, but it seems like I’m going to drop the damn thing one of these days. And once I’m done all the transiting, I end up holding it until I get to my office, as it’s a big rush of people and I don’t want to stop in the middle of all that to put my card into my wallet. I should probably get a case for my phone that has an easily accessible pocket for my card. But I’m curious as to what other people do with their Compass (or similar type transit fare card in other cities). What do you do with yours, dear readers?

Update: I can’t believe I forgot to mention this! When you register your Compass Card online, they ask you to name it. Mine is named “Trillian” (cf. Zaphod Beeblebrox the Car).

Image Credits:

Compass card photo is my own photo.

Fare gates photo posted by Go To Van on Flickr with a Creative Commons licence.

Card reader on bus photo posted by Ian Alexander Martin on Flickr with a Creative Commons licence.

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You forgot the “chill”

In class today, I was demonstrating a method of data collection formally called “Dotmocracy” (but now being referred to as “Idea Ratings Sheets”). The basic premise is that you are looking to get a group to rate ideas and you have them write their ideas on a sheet and then everyone in the group can rate it from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” – and they can also add comments about strengths or weaknesses of the idea. For this demo, the class decided that the topic would be “What is the best thing to do over the Christmas holidays?” and some of the ideas were things like “Spend time with family”, “Eat delicious foods”, “Catch up on TV”, etc.

After everyone did the rating, we checked out the results. And by far the best comment was on this one, where the idea of the best thing to do over the Christmas holidays is “Binge watching Netflix”:

Don't forget the "chill"

And the comment that one student wrote on it:

Don't forget the "chill"

“You forgot the “chill””.

And that explains why tonight I said a phrase that I never anticipated saying as a university professor in response to a student’s question about what a concept means: “You’ll have to Google “Netflix and chill””.

For the uninitiated: Netflix and chill.