I collected 378 letters from my fellow classmates (63 letters for 6 legislators) concerned about the severe cuts to California's public transit systems, the odd routing of OCTA's rapid bus system, and the disproportionate amount of funding OCTA's American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is dedicating to freeways over transit. I'll be hand-delivering them to Sacramento on Monday while I'm there lobbying for universal healthcare with about 500 other medical students. read more→
Don't know what to get your transit-riding friends for the holidays? Want to convince folks at work that riding transit can be cool? Get them some transit-related gifts!
OCTA has a lot of corporate-logo merchandise such as beanies, visors, water bottles, canteens, squishy stress buses, and even cute teddy bears. I've found most of this merchandise for cheaper than even general stores — the water bottle in my pic came to about around $4. You won't be able to buy these items online; you'll have to stop by OCTA's main headquarters at the OCTA Store, 550 S Main St, Orange, CA during weekdays. I'm sure they have plenty of items in stock.
Los Angeles Metro store has much more trendy apparel, Christmas ornaments, and large toy replicas of their buses. Metro sells posters with beautiful artwork that makes the thought of riding transit pleasant. However, their higher quality products translate to a higher price. The Los Angeles Times even featured the Metro Store a few years back: "Wearing a Los Angeles Metro T-shirt is 'completely counterculture, ... Because L.A. is car culture.'... Enthusiasts say part of what makes transit systems interesting in London, Berlin, Paris and New York – and why people want to buy merchandise from those places – is that they were marvels of their time when they were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."
New York MTA's Transit Museum Store sells cool station signs, toys, drinkware, and more. If you happen to visit New York, stop by their museum!
Happy shopping! read more→
Only two members of the public were present (I one of them). I asked the board to consider UC Irvine as a stop with the Bristol-Irvine Rapid Bus (what will be route 557). I don't think I articulated it particularly well, but I brought up my fears that: read more→
At today's OCTA rapid bus public hearing, it was clear that OCTA's board is not in sync with what's really going on. read more→
An update on OCTA's Bravo system on Harbor Blvd: OCTA is having a Rapid Bus public hearing set for Mon, Dec 8, 2008 9:00am at their headquarters. Their description (with my own emphases added)? "Route 543 will operate primarily on Harbor Blvd between the cities of Fullerton and Newport Beach on weekdays only between approximately 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. The purpose of the BRT [sic] service is to provide a rapid transit option to Orange County commuters and visitors as well as satisfying congestion mitigation commitments and regional air quality conformity requirements by the end of 2010 in the South Coast Air Basin. The BRT service will supplement the existing local service in order to maximize operational efficiency and passenger convenience. The BRT service is proposed to be implemented with the June 2009 service change effective June 14, 2009.
It's about time!
I happened to pick up the September/October 2008 edition of the Greater Santa Ana Business Alliance's newsletter CityLine at The Depot at Santa Ana, and they had a fascinating article titled "Light Rail System Moving Closer to Reality." In essence, light rail will be a reality in five years, from the Metrolink station to Garden Grove: read more→
We started microbiology labs this week and it's actually fun to see stuff grow. My friends — Ash, Jonny, Cliff, Jen, and Charitha — and I cracked open a bunch of agars and swabbed various things onto them and incubated them for 48 hours at 37ºC. This particular media has such a weird name: "Brain Heart Infusion agar (BHI) is a complete media used to cultivate a variety of fastidious organisms including bacteria and fungi." read more→
One of the great things about rapid buses is that with introduction of rapid bus service, most transit agencies push a fresher, more hip transit marketing effort. Take Metro. I'm a big fan of their style, and it's not undeserved: their work has won them a 10-page exposé in Communication Arts magazine's Interactive Annual 12. read more→
I just gave my last talk this Sunday morning at the DrupalCampLA conference. The talk brushed on elements that contribute to effective designs for social networking websites. It's heavily inspired by Joshua Porter's new book Designing for the Social Web, and includes insight on which Drupal modules help support user participation. I also cover my own personal Drupal case study, P=MD, a social networking site made for my friends; with that experience, I learned that recruiting and retaining users is a huge challenge and requires an additional marketing/publicity mindset (beyond design and development) and I learned that all these modules in Drupal provide amazing functionality but it takes additional effort to make them all work together into a coherent, usable website.
The presentation files are here in PDF form and includes bonus slides on (1) how to promote the sharing of with your website as a viral marketing tool, and (2) what modules can harbor the collective intelligence of your crowds (your site visitors). I can upload a Powerpoint or Keynote file if you e-mail me.
I had a wonderful time speaking and I loved meeting new friends in the audience. I hope I can help out again with DrupalCamp and other Drupal promotions in the future, because this was such a valuable experience for me. :) read more→
I just gave my first talk for the public today at DrupalCampLA! DrupalCampLA is a complimentary, open-to-the-public convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center covering the Drupal content management system, and I spoke about creating static corporate sites from the ground up. I had about 100 or more attendees, so it was a healthy crowd. read more→