2002-2004 Chrysler 300M photographed in Fort Washington, Maryland, USA. Category:Chrysler 300M (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While I wait patiently for Canada to adopt a comprehensive high-speed rail line and commuter service, the next best thing is a car for working on the go. Though I’m the primary driver these days, there have been times when I’ve been the passenger. I write this now from a very comfortable position next to Exhibition Park in Guelph. I’m doing work on the laptop in the passenger seat (using a 3G USB adapter from Wind mobile).
Rail is my favourite mode of transport because:
You face people. Seats are positioned in a way that fosters communication, unlike cars, in which everyone faces the same direction and it’s hard (and sometimes impossible) for people sitting less than a metre away in the back seat to hear conversation in the front seat.
Work while you travel. When you’re driving, you can’t do anything but drive. It’s dead time; a complete waste of human existence. If you travel by rail, you can accomplish work, read, think, relax, read.
It’s fast. Even current rail service in Canada, specifically between Guelph and Toronto, isn’t that bad in terms of speed. My GPS reported that we reached 140km/h at one point. With some proper funding and planning, that could be the average speed, not the top speed.
It’s safe. Rail is a very safe method of travel, especially compared to the car.
You can pee. Every car has a washroom built right in. You don’t have to stop transport to pee.
Still, for times when I need a third place and cafes are closed, I use my car. It’s a 2001 Chrysler 300m. Here are a few things that could have been done better.
Built-in inverter. My car has two access points to DC electricity: One in the front and one in the centre console. It uses the traditional cigarette lighter type adapter, to which I plug in an inverter which gives me AC electricity for my laptop. (An even better solution would be to buy laptops that include a DC plug as well as an AC plug so I could just plug straight into DC since that’s what laptops use natively).
Auxiliary input for the car stereo. I won a free car stereo and had the installers provide access to an AUX IN jack so I could plug my laptop audio in but it would be awesome if this came included out of the box. I have all of my mp3s, oggs, and music modules on my laptop.
DC Access point for the back seat. Currently there is no way to access DC power in the back seat except through the centre console, which, when left open, is uncomfortable for the driver.
Better fuel economy. While I’d love to have a fully electric car (such as the Ford Focus Electric), I realize that in 2001 the technology wasn’t close to being ready. My car gets an average of 11L/100KM in town and 7L/100KM highway. It would have been nice to have the ability to switch the engine between performance mode and economy mode whilst in the city.
The second Guelph Game Jam has just started at the ThreeFortyNine co-workspace. The goal? To make a game in less than a day. We have about 8 hours to design, build, and test our games. Then the last bit of time is spent playing everyone else’s game.
I did this a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The theme this time is ‘Monsters.’ The game designer can take that in any way, whether it be about monsters, being a monster, defeating monsters, etc.
As was the case last time, I’ll be live-blogging my progress here and on my BitBuilder game developer Twitter account.
As of this posting it’s a very early version with still much of the stock artwork and enemy types. But, it’s fun and playable. Go Akihabara!
The story goes that you’re a BastardBlaster, conscripted to battle everything in the world that’s annoying. Flat tires, Blue Screens of Death, when you go to eat pizza and there’s none left… the list goes on and on. If it’s annoying, you shoot it.
I’ve got the anime-ish characters (Terry and Skylar) in, but since I’m a programmer and I’d like to spare you my attempt at drawing artwork, I’ve asked Margaret Gissing to help out with the 2D sprite pieces.
I threw the OGGs and MP3s in the directory and we’re off to the races. Still get “Not well formed” but the game runs. Who knows?