Friday, July 28, 2006

Whole state agencies bend to my will

How about that? I, the guy who gets like four visits a day to his site, somehow got the MBTA to change the not-really-a-password problem, which exposed the e-mail addresses submitted to an online survey. They even left a comment on my original post.

That's what you didn't know about me; I got pull.

For my next trick, I'll try to convince them to eliminate the proposed fare double-standard for people without Charlie Cards, to green light the promised red-blue connector, and to sell Meth to pay for basic maintenance. What do you say, guys?

OK, maybe not the Meth part. But hey, at least they were good enough to fix the loophole. Thank you. The problem, however, is now you can't see the results of the poll, either. If the powers that be at the MBTA (or their PR firm) are still reading over here, how about releasing the poll results for everyone to see? When you're done collecting the info, of course.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MBTA: e-mail snitches

So my buddy Rob decided to take the T Web site redesign survey yesterday. After he was done, he clicked on the link to see the overall results of the survey. That took him to a page asking for a password.

Most people would quit there, but Rob's a daredevil. He tried the first thing he could think of as a password for the MBTA: Charlie. It worked.

And what Rob found was the survey results, along with the e-mail addresses of everyone who submitted the info to the survey.

Yes, that's a small transgression, and the worst that'll happen is some harvester will collect those addresses and send people more spam, but seriously: The T couldn't take some step to protect this information? Yeesh. And why have a password at all if its going to be so damn easy to figure out? It's like using your own name or "money" for your ATM card.

But it was interesting to see what people would like to see on the T Web site. The best suggestions: T maps overlaid with street maps, the ability to recharge CharlieCards online, and overall suggestions to simplify the design.

The best snarky sugesstion (via Jason): "Here is, so far, my favorite response to the question of what should be on its new website: 'Why we have such poor service'"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Shut-in grandmas stage bloodless coup on Morrissey Blvd

Where's Dan Kennedy when you need him? It appears that the editorial board of the Boston Globe has been deposed and a new junta of retirees from my neighborhood has taken control of the paper. I came to this conclusion after reading the paper's editorial on all those spoiled kids going to their fancy colleges:

At the moment, this is a generation that lacks the common sense to stay off
deadly train tracks or campus rivers when they're icy. A generation that can't
seem to make decisions without texting home, and whose helicopter parents -- so
named for their hovering ways -- have actually begun negotiating salaries with
job recruiters on their kids' behalf.

The evidence of the grandmotherly coup:

  1. They're complaining about crank kids and their too-fussy mommas.
  2. The story they refer to ran in the paper two weeks ago. All my uncles complain about stuff they read or saw "on the TV" two weeks ago.
  3. It appears as though they nodded off for a nap around the fifth graf.
  4. They've taken a point I initially agreed with and nagged about it to the point where I take the other side just to be stubborn. I am six years old again.
  5. Word has it tomorrow's editorial will be about "those goddamned squirrels getting into the bird feeder again. Those seeds are for THE BIRDS!"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chicago, good friends, good ballpark, terrible fans

It's been a while, I know. I was lazy, and then I was on vacation. Sorry about that.

I went to Chicago last week for a vacation. I have a bunch of friends out there, although oddly almost none were originally from the city. It's a great city to visit, and I go pretty often.

My friend Molly performed with her sketch comedy troupe at a benefit show. She was great, as were some of the other groups. But others were awful. What was the worst? The headlining act for this battered women's charity event was called "Pimprov." Seriously.

I also saw a buddy's reading. My friend Jonathan runs "The Dollar Store." It's a monthly reading of stories inspired by items bought at—wait for it—a dollar store. Really fun.

I also saw The Grackles (a friend's band) play, and went to the aquarium. And ate like a bastard. Good trip.

Lots of my friends out there are going through some personal shit, and I won't exploit that stuff here. And I don't have a lot of pictures, because I'm stupid and forgot my camera every time I went out. So let me tell you about the Cubs game I went to.

The park, once you're in your seat, is awesome. I was on the first base side, so I had a great view of the Budweiser house and home bleacher sections neighbors put up. The ivy really does give the park a different feel, too.

But some stuff was bad. They have a hand-operated scoreboard, which is cool, but the information on the board was all over the place and hard to read. Plus, a lot of pertinent information, like the pitcher's line and stuff, was no where to be found. Lousy.

And the fans were all kind of stiffs. I was told repeatedly by friends out there that people only go to Cubs games to drink Old Styles and be seen by other people, and it's totally true. They knew more about baseball than the awful fans in San Francisco, but still weren't into the game.