My T-Comm site gets its 15 minutes of fame

Earlier today, a few local blogs mentioned my T-Comm website (a live map of all the buses in Metro Vancouver):

The site wasn’t really designed for day-to-day navigation, but more for transit enthusiasts who are looking to find specific buses (e.g., the double decker test buses we have on the streets right now, 1008 and 1009).  In addition, I’ve also heard that bus drivers also use the site to locate their bus as it arrives to their pick up point.

I wish I took some time to polish up the site over Christmas, since it’s pretty much still running on the same code base (both in the user interface, and behind the scenes) as when I created it six years ago!  Nevertheless, it’s cool that the site’s been found and mentioned by some local online media, and to spread some “transit geekery” out there.

Driving around with car2go

About a month ago, I signed up for a car2go account.  So far I’ve used it twice already and I’ve been pretty happy with the experience.

Why car2go?

  1. In the case I miss the last SkyTrain home, the car2go would be a cheaper option than taking a taxi, and more time-efficient than waiting for the Night Bus.  (It’s roughly $10 for a 20-minute car2go trip from downtown to Richmond, versus a $35 taxi ride.  The earliest Night Bus gets me home around 3am).
  2. I share cars with my parents, so in the rare case that they need the cars, I wanted to have a backup just in case.  Since there’s no significant monthly fee, it would not hurt to keep the account just for the times that I need to use it. (There is a $2 annual fee though, but that’s pretty reasonable).
  3. It’s the only car-sharing service to service Richmond (albeit only at Kwantlen University, but I live close by).
  4. car2go does not require you to return the car to its original location—it’s a one-way service, which is perfect for my night-time trips.

Coming from driving 20+ year old minivans, the Smart car was comparatively very zippy, and reminded me of driving a go-kart.  The accelerating and braking were quite sensitive, but that was not too difficult to get used to.

In case you’re interested in joining, if you get a referral code from someone you know, you can signup for free.  (Send me a direct message on Twitter @DennisTT if you don’t know anyone with car2go).

Post-summer update

I can’t believe it’s September already.  The weather is starting to become cool and wet, days are becoming shorter, marking the end of what has been an incredible summer (and year to date).  It’s been a while since I’ve written here, so with the changing season I thought I’d share a bit of an update of 2016 so far.

Some of these warrant their own blog posts, but until I have time to write the full thing here is a summary. Continue reading “Post-summer update”

Amateur Radio and the Vancouver Sun Run

Earlier this year, in search of a new hobby, I took an Amateur radio course (also known as ham radio) and received my license about a month ago. Amateur radio is all about non-commercial communication over radio waves.  Most consumer walkie-talkies (like ones using the FRS) work only over several kilometers in the best of conditions.  Believe it or not, Amateurs are able to use equipment to communicate all over the world, and even into space contacting the International Space Station using radio frequencies.  This kind of communication was probably more popular decades ago when there was no Internet, or cheap long distance phone calls.  However, Amateurs still involve themselves in activities such as contests contacting the most people, and on a more practical level (at least to me) emergency and volunteer event communications.

So putting my new license into use, last Sunday I helped out with the Vancouver Sun Run as an Amateur Radio operator.  With about 80 other Amateurs, we were positioned in pairs along the entire 10km route.

Sun Run 2016 Burrard Street Bridge
I’m in the background along the bike lane in the yellow vest. Photo credit: JAWS123, used with permission.

Continue reading “Amateur Radio and the Vancouver Sun Run”

A visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery

Yesterday, for some odd reason, I woke up wanting to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery.  I haven’t been in that art gallery for probably more than 10-15 years.  When I was very young my mom used to have a membership and brought me on Sundays after church to participate in some kids art activities, but I haven’t been since then.

As it was Tuesday, I took advantage of the Art Gallery’s admission-by-donation time in the evening.  It’s the only day of the week that the Gallery is open late in the evening so I could visit after work.  Also, I wasn’t going to pay $24 to look around.  I was originally going to pay $5 to get in (really just wanting a quick look around not expecting to be interested too much), but the sign at the door suggested a $10 donation, so I went with that. Continue reading “A visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery”