1)
It is unclear if we have to tap in then out again on a bus, or if one tap is enough. What difference does it make if I only tap in? If I were on a pay as you go credit on the card rather than a monthly pass, could I possibly be charged more for tapping twice vs once? These are questions I would expect from many bus riders.
There should be clear labelling and instructions on what the protocol is for tapping in/out busses and it should not affect how much I am charged.


2)
Compass card readers seem to easily interfere with other RFID cards in wallet.

3)
The card reader beep, is an unsatisfying lower pitched, 1.5 second beep. It should be unique, like our skytrain tone. Just like the design of that tone, it should be uplifting and cheerful.
I would suggest three quick beeps, three notes increasing in pitch, similar to the skytrain sounds. I would also suggest starting in a higher pitch, as the current beep is barely audible in a noisy bus or station.
Also, the beep on the bus card readers are way too quiet.

4)
Slightly slow, laggy response on the gates and the card readers. Its about a few tenths of a second slower than it should be. I was recently in Hong Kong and London and their reader response was instantaneous.
This was especially true, when using a monthly pass beyond it's 1 zone, and an add-fare needs to be charged, the system seemed to lag more.



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Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator":

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Looks like we are moving out of the Era of Movie Sequels and moving into the Era of Ridiculousness! I present my evidence:

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When watching videos of TED Talks or other great lectures/talks, have a notepad handy and take notes of the ideas that intrigue you.

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As a general observation, 'Scent Branding' is increasingly common in retail design.
Consider:
-The 'Subway smell' - a byproduct of their fresh ingredients and baking of their bread, but very recognizable.
-Distinctive Lush smell coming out the front doors of Lush stores - from their many fragrant bath and body care products.
-Cinnamon Bun shops and their cinnamon aroma.
-Any bakery
-Coffee shops

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Over the past year or so, I have worked on an airship project (weBlimp - a social, crowd controlled blimp). In the process of research and what-not I have come across some other very cool projects and flying things. After seeing some cool animal airship videos:

Air Manta Ray, Air Jellyfish, Air Penguin, Air Fish

... I want to see an Airquarium! :D Like an aquarium, but in the air. This would be best inside a large, open indoor space inside a building, such as an atrium or mezzanine.

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The upgrade to Firefox 3.5 was a huge and welcome improvement, especially with its new faster javascript engine. However, one of the most annoying things about the upgrade was the inexplicable removal of the browser.link.open_external option.
open_external Background:
Other applications will often use the systemís default browser to load web pages. When a Mozilla-based browser is running, it can catch links sent by other programs. This preference determines how Mozilla handles those links.

Possible values and their effects:
1 = Open links from external programs in the current window.
2 = Open links from external programs in a new window.
3 = Open links from external programs in new tabs in an existing window. (Default in Firefox)

While this an 'under-the-hood' option that can only be accessed via about:config, it is an important one because in my browsing routine, I want URLs that I click in my email program or instant messaging program to bring up links into new windows, not buried as one of the many tabs in one of the many open browser windows. Also, when it is directed to a tab instead of a new window, the page does not pop-up and into focus for me to read and I have to go searching for it. So i prefer open_external=2.

After months since the update to Firefox 3.5, I have finally found a solution. An AddOn created by mrchucho.net called Tabs Open Relative (Modified) 1.0 (a modified version of the Tabs Open Relative AddOn), which restores the open_external behavior!

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Here are some answers - Some peeves that I must point out, things I must clarify to you, or answers to questions that are often discussed around me. I will periodically add and update to this list over time.

+ The word you should be using is Contemporary, not Modern. 'Modern' design, is something else - its a cultural movement.
+ Interdisciplinary, is a discipline that exists in between that of other disciplines, crossing traditional boundaries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdisciplinary

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Today I watched a screening of Gary Hustwit's film Objectified about industrial design and the design of everyday objects.

First thing I learned:


Japanese toothpicks are an amazing piece of etiquette design!
In the movie, Andrew Blauvelt revels that the ends of these toothpicks can be broken off. Why? Well first to simply indicate that they toothpick has been used. But also it can be used as a rest to keep the tip of your toothpick hygienically off the surface of the table. Awesome.

IDEO was working on a toothbrush design to make toothbrushes less disposable and more sustainable. Something that 'gets better with time' and is infinitely reusable. That one wooden handle looked nice, I wouldn't mind trying that out.

They talked kinda briefly about Interaction Design, with Bill Mogridge. But only briefly skimmed it and not explaining it to anyone. Afterwards during the Q&A with the director, Gary was hinting that he is thinking about a third design documentary (first was Helvetica, second is this one, Objectified). I hope his next film will delve into Interaction Design.

My favorite quote from the film:
[As a child,] All of my dreams were about the future.

I don't remember who it was by, perhaps Karim Rashid (but I generally find him too elitist).



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Finally! After years, they finally power washed the ground at Surrey Central Station bus loop!
It just looked unsightly with all the dark blobs all over the ground from people who spit their gum out and it gets mushed in to the ground tiles with dirt.

This goes a long way in making people feel good about their city, its hard to have civic pride when the city centre doesnt look the best it could be.

[update]
But it doesnt take long for the spots to come back.

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Paul Hillsdon is the 18 year old who wants to run for Surrey city council, and is swirling in ideas of sustainability. From the brief look at what he has to offer, it is very surprising to me just how much he knows. Sustainability, successful urban design, building vibrant communities and cities, examples of success from elsewhere, etc ... all pop out at me when I read his blogs. This kid is thinking in a way I never did when I was at his age.

He even references World Changing - If he often reads this blog, or the book, then he's got his head in the right place. Makes me wonder if any of the current Surrey city council members even know of World Changing.

His idea of creating an Interurban Rail system using a current freight rail is quite intriguing. This shall prompt me to research further.

Ever since the time when I used to drive across the Port Mann Bridge on a regular basis, and had to endure the ever constant insanely backed up traffic, I had made a simple observation. There are FIVE lanes on the bridge. TWO going west and THREE going east. Why don't we have a counter-flow lane instead in the middle lane? Similar to that of the Lions Gate Bridge or Massey Tunnel. Much faster and cheaper to implement than twinning the bridge - and would provide relief (an albeit smaller scale) to congestion in the meanwhile before this other new toll bridge is built. Simple idea right? Guess so - cuz Paul also thought of it too!

In terms of ideas for Surrey - I hope he considers "Transit-Hub-Centric Communities" and "Multiple Community Center Cities" as models for urban design in the city. Things I will blog at length on at a later time...

In conclusion - Paul seems promising as a Councilman, though I expect he lacks the committee experience - hopefully someone can help him with that. And also a promising future if he ever decides to become a Designer.

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So I am starting this blog...
I am usually a person who doesn't find much time to be able to sit down and write a journal, or willingly expose my thoughts to the universal intraweb public. However, as I venture on im my academic career, the things that I have learned collide with the things that I see. So for a while now, I have been feeling compelled to share my thoughts, ideas, and possible innovations / improvements to the world around me -- in the hopes of feedback, further idea development, or just inspiring someone to make this world a more liveable place

So here on this 'blog', I shall regurgitate my random thoughts and inspirations on a variety of different topics -- Urdan Design mostly at this point, as its what I've been interested in lately. Improvements mainly in areas I live - and comparisons to places I've been where it works better.

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