Jul 31, 2009

Accuracy of Google Maps Traffic Reports

Recently, while driving back from Pennsylvania, we ran into some traffic on a highway. On a whim, I decided to take a look at what Google Maps had to say about it. Using the Google Maps mobile application for my Blackberry, I brought up the Traffic overlay.

Surprisingly enough, Google was providing traffic overlays far outside of the DC metro area. So, that got me thinking - how are they so 'real-time' with this. And yes, they were pretty accurate about the traffic situation that we were in.

Did some research today, and it looks like originally they were getting this data from a number of sources, including road sensors, commercial trucks using GPS, commercial car fleets using GPS which they were able to aggregate to see how traffic was flowing.

My guess, during my drive, was that they are probably tapping into thousands of cell phones for this information - not tapping into the phones, but at least following where the phones are. Google Latitude uses this technology of cell-tower triangulation to give you your own position to some degree of accuracy. So, it seems it would be easy enough to take that data and use it to get an idea of traffic flow - lot more cell phones out there as compared with commercial vehicles with GPS.

I saw this link, which validates my theory. Looks like Verizon is providing anonymized data to allow for more accurate calculations of traffic flow.

What do you think about this? I think it is ok, but it would be interesting to see what others think...

Apr 21, 2009

Obama and cricket

I saw this posted on Cricinfo, and thought I would share it.

I think Obama looks pretty decent trying out that shot. The article references Bush trying cricket out in Afghanistan. Actually, that was in Pakistan, but the fact remains, that Obama looks cooler & more comfortable with a bat. Then again, he has Lara teaching him, and not Inzamam-ul-Haq, aka Aalooo.

Check out the following link -

Mar 14, 2009

Why Kundra Should Resign

I have to start with saying that when I heard the news that Vivek Kundra had been appointed the Federal governments' CIO, I was thrilled. There were a couple reasons for that - 
  1. Kundra seemed to have 'seen the light' - and had adopted the concept of cloud computing
  2. Kundra brought a sense of cool to geekdom
  3. Kundra had been leveraging Google Apps (and I am a huge fan of Google Apps) to build out applications at great speed & tremendous savings
  4. He is an Indian-American.
Once I started to research some of what he had done, it sounded like maybe this was not that great right off the bat. However, I thought that this still looked like a brave move by Obama, and one with great potential. After all, Kundra had been successful in DC in building these cloud apps, and had put in place systems that promoted greater transparency, etc. So what if all he had done was run an organization with a budge of $70M and now would oversee a budget of $70B. I was reasonably sure he would make it. Maybe not be successful in all his efforts, but enough to make a difference.

So, I was thinking of way that clouds could be leveraged in the federal government systems that my company and my clients work on, and it seems to be a good thing.

Then, the new broke about the FBI raid on his old offices, which he was making his 'break-out' speech at FOSE. Yes, the FBI and every other alphabet soup out there is saying that Kundra was not connected to the raid, or the bribery scandal. But, think about it  a minute and see if Kundra still should be the national governments' CIO. As much as I hate to say this, I don't think he can.

Here is why - 
  1. These shenanigans were going on not in some outlying department, but RIGHT UNDER Kundra's nose, in the Office of the CTO. Brings up the question of his managerial ability.
  2. 1 of the claims to fame was the procurement system put in place, using Google products, which increase transparency. How good was that system that it did not catch this crap right in his own office
  3. Kundra says that he has implemented systems in DC that allow people within the government to talk more openly and collaborate more with their colleagues and the citizens they support. So how come NO ONE saw this fraud, and it was left to 1 man who decided not to participate in this fraud to go to the FBI and for the FBI to break this. The system was not really any good, was it? 
  4. If a $70M organization was too much for Kundra to oversee, how can he really look at the federal governments systems
  5. I am thinking that Kundra is really good with the buzz words, and with the concepts at a very very high level of using technology and web 2.0 to bring people together and increase government responsiveness/transparency, but in reality he doesn't really know how to implement.
  6. I think Kundra had a tough road to start with, but with this slam of not even being able to get it right in his own little office, I feel that rightly or wrongly he is tainted, and no longer can be the visionary and driving force to implement the ideas that he so eloquently spoke of at the FOSE speech.
Even before he gets going, Kundra is a lame duck, and so I think that he needs to pull out and resign from his new role. Save everyone the trouble, and let Obama get a new guy. Speaking of, what is the deal with the Obama guys and their complete ineptitude with screening their candidates for high profile jobs!! Come on guys, you were doing a better job in the damn campaign. Let's get it together!!

Feb 28, 2009

Prince George's County Police at it again

It seems to me that this is a story that keeps on going, new chapters added all the time. PG County police continue to show that they are just a bunch of incompetent thugs. First we had that idiot who was their 'Homeland Security' guy, who shot 2 delivery guys in his house. And there have been more chapters added to the story, but I just read about this new one today.

The Washington Post has an article about a  case against a citizen being dropped by the county. The case claimed that the poor fellow assaulted a police office. Turns out, the video in the police cruiser shows that was not the case, and it clearly shows that the police assaulted the driver. Add to that the 'culturally sensitive' office mocking the drivers Latino accent, and you have a couple of stellar represntatives of the PG County police department.

So, can some one  explain to me why this continues to happen in PG County, and why the cowardly county officials cannot stand up to the goons who claim to be serving the publicS? What does the police union think of this? Oh yeah, I know, they have a tough job, and they have to face danger all the time, etc. But, come on, slamming a hand-cuffed and pepper-sprayed guy against the car, and beating him about the head with a baton is a bit over  the top, don't you think?

Why did the FBI stop their oversight of the goon squad? I think it is time to bring that back on, and for starters they should fire the police chief. Then, throw these 2 jokers in the slammer.

Feb 24, 2009

What are they trying to do - Kill off Test Cricket?

These days we have been having some intense Test matches. See the recent Test series between Australia/South Africa, Australia/India, India/England, West Indies/England. Great cricket, fierce competition, and results.

And then we get this farce between Sri Lanka/Pakistan. What the hell are the Pakistanis trying to do - kill off test cricket for good. Well, if this ridiculous stuff continues, why would anyone want to play in Pakistan - even if security improves? I mean, I for one, will not want to watch any match like the one going on right now. Hell, it is boring even to look at the scorecard the next morning on Cricinfo.

Come of Pakistan - get a clue!! Make wickets that give bowlers a chance!

This is so bloody awful. I am looking forward to the West Indies v England matches, and the India v NZ and of course the big one - South Africa v Australia [go SA]. I seriously doubt those are going to be similar to the crap being dished out in Karachi.

Feb 17, 2009

The Shining Knight of English Cricket

Well, well, well. English cricket bosses at the ECB had embraced the millions offered up by Allen Stanford just recently. Buoyed by that infusion and the 20/20 for 20 game in the West Indies that the ECB greedily signed up the English cricket team for, they even announced an EPL to rival the IPL.

Just a few months later where are we - England lost in the 20/20 for 20 match, Stanford sat wives/girlfriends of England cricketers on his lap in the pavilion, showing his 'class' [I won't comment on the class of the 'ladies' involved], the EPL is history before it even started, and now Stanford is charged by the SEC for fraud!!

Now this idiot who runs the ECB, Giles Clarke, admits it was wrong to tie English cricket so closely with Stanford. What the fuck did they expect? This is what happens when you whore yourself for a few bucks, trying to keep up with the Joneses (really the Modi's). I really loved it when the English sniffed at the IPL like it was unholy. Then they whored themselves and their WAGs for Stanford, and now their top players are running at fast as they can to get into the IPL!! 

I think it is time for the ECB to cut its' losses, apologize to their fans, and get the hell away from Allen Stanford. And oh yeah, they need a new boss - Giles Clarke screwed this up royally, and needs to get the fired.

Feb 4, 2009

Aussies cheat on!!

It seems to me that the Australian cricket team, lead by that brute - Ponting, continues to set the low standards in world cricket for sportsmanship. These guys are nothing but a bunch of bullies & cheats.

Last year, during the Indian tour of Australia, they cheated their way to a win in the Test match, and then continued that brutish behaviour through the series and the 1-day tournament (which they got soundly thrashed in).

Add to that the complete ass that Symonds has been making of himself, and you have a team that is out of control and unable to deal with that fact that they are no longer world-beaters. The Aussies thought that they would recover some of their lost lustre (after defeats in India and at the hands of the South Africans) by beating their cousins from NZ. But, alas, NZ has their number too.

So, now they resort to CHEATING!!

Here is a video of the incident as well - cheats at work! The replay clearly shows Haddin knock the bails off with his gloves, and the ball was never going to hit the stumps otherwise! CHEATS.