Expect a marked drop in “running 15 late sorrrrrrryyyy don’t hate meee :(” texts thanks to a new feature on Google Maps that shows real-time travel updates on its desktop and mobile products.
Google is getting timelier information by pulling from the MTA’s open data program. However the improved intel is only available for numbered lines (sans the 7) and the Times Square Shuttle thus far. If you are dependent on perpetually infuriating lettered trains like, for example, the C, you are out of luck.
Good to know the MTA is putting the increased cost of our metro cards to good use: Fast Company reports that several stations are getting a high-tech new amenity. The agency has hired a design firm, Control Group, to design and install 90 touchscreen map kiosks across the subway system, starting later this year.
Just like with the subway pole, however, it’s a bring-your-own-Purel situation.
A billboard in the Union Square station is kind of like the Inception of Internet references, collecting every advertiser’s notion of what is cool/hip on the web and slapping it onto one delightful subway ad.
Guess it’s going to be a little longer before we can do away with our easy-to-misplace, hard-to-use-up MetroCards: While the MTA has been experimenting with near field communication technology for subway fares as far back as 2007—inviting us to imagine a day when we can pay for mass transit with the tap of a smartphone or debit card—the full adoption of the technology remains beyond our grasp.
Rose-Colored Glasses Warby Parker just released its annual report for 2012, and it’s a pretty fun slideshow to click through. The glasses empire now has 113 full-time employes and 42 part-time employees. Of those bespectacled folks, 108 have company-sponsored gym memberships. In other Warby Parker health news, 2,507 pounds of salad were eaten in the office this year. Although there are not too many exact sales figures in the package (besides the fact that 296 monocles were sold this year) a diagram on the last page shows that sales from the first quarter of the year to the last one have nearly tripled. Warby Parker says it gave out 250,000 pairs of glasses this year, some of which went to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
pink and pink
Let’s talk about the G train, aardvark of the New York City subway system, the sole major line that doesn’t reach into Manhattan, and the train that Brooklynites love to hate for being too slow, too short, too often suspended and too little loved by the powers that be.
Microsoft has chosen the Times Square-to-Grand Central shuttle to launch an advertising campaign for the Surface, and it’s a full-on assault: not only did the company install video screens to loop an ad for the tablet computer, but it painted entire cars flamboyant pink, the same color, Mashable points out, as the double duty screen protectors/keyboards that Microsoft calls Touchcovers.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it became clear that the MTA’s worst fears were realized: not only were many of the subway tunnels flooded, but they’d become inundated with salt and brackish water scooped up in the storm surge and funneled into the subway system.
The MTA has gotten parts of the system in Manhattan and Queens up and running, but pumping water out of stations dotted around Brooklyn along the East River will take some time. Seven subway tunnels beneath the East River have flooded, leaving switches and signals “likely damaged.” MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota said in an earlier press conference that the subway system “has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.”
Better charge your electronics: Thousands are already without electricity. [Boston Globe]
The MTA took to its Flickr account to chronicle the slow process of shutting down and locking up every last station in the public transportation system. [Flickr]
Our own colleagues are liveblogging the storm here. [New York Observer]
In an example tailor-made to remind us all how much easier we’ve got it in the age of livestreams and weather apps and early warning systems, the 17-person crew of a replica HMS Bounty was forced to abandon ship last night off the coast of North Carolina. [NBC News]
The MTA has screwed you over once again: There’s now a publicly available, easily searchable archive of all service alerts issued over the last four years. Your best excuse for tardiness is now gone. [New York Post]
“Theirs was the only [event] that got worse as the week went on.” Things aren’t going so well for Microsoft’s advertising business. [Ad Week]
Check it out: You can now search in attachments in your Gmail. [Google Operating System]
NBD, just a version of “Somebody That I Used to Know” composed entirely of computer noises. [Make]
The Internet of Things is making it easier for Swiss farmers to get their cows efficiently knocked up. [New York Times]