Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swiss Travel System Video Contest!

Here's my entry in the Swiss Travel System's video casting contest. Please take a look and rate the video highly ... extra points for those who know what I am alluding to ... send me a comment! Thanks, Andy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why blog? Social networking, what is it good for?

Great post about social networking from Seth Godin. Four short videos that explain blogging, social networking for business, etc. Here's the link to Seth's Blog always an excellent read.

Bus Meister

I've been interested in public transport priority for many years. The key problem with public transport priority, it seems to me, is that the projects needed to help make public transport more efficient aren't very sexy. It's all about the little things not the huge new light rail systems or metro projects. So, how to you make public transport priority more exciting?

How about developing an on-line game that people can use to model their own public transport line and linking that to a social networking system that brings people together to lobby effectively for implementation of the best ideas? That's the main idea behind the Bus Meister proposal I am working on.

There's already a game called Gridlock Busters about traffic congestion and social networking sites like see fix click designed to help generate "pressure" for improving urban infrastructure, why not combine the ideas and do something to improve public transport?

I submitted the idea to the ITS Transport Congestion Challenge - a competition where people vote on-line for the best solutions for traffic congestion. I would appreciate your comments and vote! Here's a link to Bus Meister on my website, it presents the whole proposal and gives instructions on how to vote.

Thanks, and please let me know what you think - I plan to continue working on the proposal!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rovine Istria Croatia

We just returned from a short vacation in the city of Rovine, Croatia. Rovine used to be an island, but they filled in a narrow strip of water in the 1800s (?) so now it's a peninsula. The old city is the pretty much a pedestrian area of narrow streets and alleys. It's quite beautiful.

We also traveled around a little through the Istria region. Many of the cities have buildings that look like Venice, no surprise, the region used to be controlled by Venice. In fact, Italian is the second official language.

We stayed at a very nice B&B called Casa Garzotto in the old city. The 'staff' consisted of four young people who did everything possible to make our stay pleasant and memorable. They were really fun. Here's a photo of me with one of the nice espressos they kept making for me.

The water in this area is clean and refreshing. It's possible to go swimming all along the mostly rocky coast. Casa Garzotto has bicycles you can borrow and our best swimming was about 20-minutes south of the city via bike. coffee they kept making for me!

We ate at one of the restaurants that they recommended (Santa Croce) which was very nice, the restaurant's terrace consists of steps up from the main 'street' that act like risers so you can watch the parade of pedestrians as they stroll along through the night.

We also had two wonderful dinners at the restaurant Puntalina, the last building on the water side. A big electrical storm interrupted our last dinner there, so we needed to move inside. I made a film of some of the lightning, I'll post it on YouTube soon.

More photos are in my Flickr Croatia photos.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hallwylerhof restaurant Zurich

I recently had dinner with friends in Zurich at a restaurant called Hallwylerhof. It was updated Swiss food, very nicely prepared and served. The workers were also very friendly and nice. However, the decor caught my eye.

As many of you know I collect photos of WC signs (website coming soon - I hope). I think that it's one of the few places people can be creative these days ... some people at least.

The Hallwylerhof restaurant had a very whimsical design where many items were painted in a sort of primitive style on the walls, for example three framed old postcards from the Swiss mountains with a simple drawing in the middle of them that looked like a postcard.

Given the quality and whimsical-ness of these paintings I knew I was in for a treat when I went downstairs to the WC (no comments please!). And, sure enough, some of the best WC signs I have collected ... my flickr Hallwylerhof photos and all my flickr WC sign photos.

Hallwylerhof Restaurant and Bar: Hallwylerstrasse 43, 8004 Zurich,

Museum Tauernbahn: Austrian Railway Museum

A couple weeks ago we visited the Museum Tauernbahn Salzburger Eisenbahnmuseum (the Tauern Valley Railway Museum). The museum presents the history of the railway line that connected Salzburg with routes to Trieste (the main port city for the Austrian-Hungarian empire.

The museum is small but quite nice. You can reach it by taking the train from Salzburg to Schwarzach St. Veit - about one-hour trip. The museum is a few steps away from the station. If you come by train they give you a discount (3 Euros instead of 4-5 Euros).

The museum focuses on building the rail line through the alps. It has an old tunnel drilling machine, describes the construction process, the history of selecting the alignment and has a model of one of the worker bedrooms. Outside you can climb on an old locomotive and there is an old maintenance hall with exhibits on the signaling/interlock technology, power distribution and a model "station". Upstairs is a model railway (currently being completed) of the rail line.

The museum is open from May to early October Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (and some Thursday nights) - check the internet site for details. The descriptions are in German, but the people are very helpful and many of the exhibits are self explanatory.

Here are my flickr photos of Tauernbahn Eisenbahn Museum.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Model Trains Anyone?

Wired is having a new contest for people to upload photos of their model trains. We don't have a model train at home, but maybe you do? Here's the link to WIRED Model Trains.