Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Electric bikes that move between bike share stations may solve the bike-rebalancing problem:

The goal of this research is to derive algorithms directing the vans and trucks that bike-share operators use to shuffle bikes from station to station within a city. Trouble is, rebalancing is a moving target with several layers of complexity. You not only need to predict how many bikes a station will need at a certain time, but you need to minimize the (costly and time-consuming) movement of these vans and trucks—and you need to do it all while the system is in use.

Algorithms aren't the only option. Wald reports that at least one researcher is modeling a system in which driverless bike-share trucks could rebalance stations automatically. Of course, an easier way would be for bike-share systems to use electric bikes that shuffled themselves. But the thought of a bike traveling without a rider does bring up the problem of, you know, balance.

Meanwhile, Chicago's Divvy system will add another 100 or more stations next year, all the way up into Rogers Park and down to the far South Side.

Wednesday 27 August 2014 12:50:49 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | US#
Thursday 29 May 2014

Crain's reported this morning that the Divvy bike-share program lost $150k on $2.2 million in revenue last year:

Though the operating loss is not unexpected, and the amount is relatively small, it comes at a time when Mr. Emanuel is under intense pressure to cut costs and avoid tax increases. The bicycle-sharing program has not yet reached many neighborhoods, reinforcing a view that Divvy is merely a toy for yuppies and tourists.

With the program expected to ramp up this year, achieving profitability is crucial to its long-term success. The administration expects Divvy to at least break even this year.

The program has proved popular with out-of-towners, but it must win over more price-sensitive customers, such as city residents.

So, the program seems on track, and the $12.5-million infusion from Blue Cross certainly hasn't hurt. I'm encouraged.

Thursday 29 May 2014 11:41:09 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Saturday 1 March 2014

Parker, 14 weeksI'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 7½-year-old mutt. I last updated this About... page in September 2011, more than 1,300 posts back, so it's time for a refresh.

The Daily Parker is about:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on 1 September 2006.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-lefty by international standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than 13 years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change, though happily we no longer have to do so under a president beholden to the oil industry.
  • Chicago (the greatest city in North America), and sometimes London, San Francisco, and the rest of the world.
  • Photography. I took tens of thousands of photos as a kid, then drifted away from making art until early 2011 when I finally got the first digital camera I've ever had whose photos were as good as film. That got me reading more, practicing more, and throwing more photos on the blog. In my initial burst of enthusiasm I posted a photo every day. I've pulled back from that a bit—it takes about 30 minutes to prep and post one of those puppies—but I'm still shooting and still learning.

I also write a lot of software, and will occasionally post about technology as well. I work for 10th Magnitude, a startup software consultancy in Chicago, I've got more than 20 years experience writing the stuff, and I continue to own a micro-sized software company. (I have an online resume, if you're curious.) I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code, some of which may appear here.

I strive to write about these and other things with fluency and concision. "Fast, good, cheap: pick two" applies to writing as much as to any other creative process (cf: software). I hope to find an appropriate balance between the three, as streams of consciousness and literacy have always struggled against each other since the first blog twenty years ago.

If you like what you see here, you'll probably also like Andrew Sullivan, James Fallows, Josh Marshall, and Bruce Schneier. Even if you don't like my politics, you probably agree that everyone ought to read Strunk and White, and you probably have an opinion about the Oxford comma—punctuation de rigeur in my opinion.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy The Daily Parker.

Saturday 1 March 2014 14:27:44 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Baseball | Biking | Cubs | Geography | Kitchen Sink | London | Parker | Daily | Photography | Politics | US | World | Religion | Software | Blogs | Business | Cloud | Travel | Weather | Windows Azure | Work | Writing#
Thursday 2 January 2014

My walk to the bus this morning, through a park path that I forgot they don't shovel:

I could have taken a Divvy bike but...well, for some reason they're closed today:

The good news is, it's stopped snowing for now. The bad news is, we're heading down to -17°C tonight.

I texted some friends in Atlanta and Houston with the top photo. For some reason they don't want to visit Chicago just now.

Thursday 2 January 2014 13:08:05 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Weather#
Monday 16 December 2013

Apparently, Chicago's Divvy is really popular with tourists—and tourists have trouble returning the bikes on time:

Chicago's Divvy bicycle-sharing program took in up to $2.5 million during its first five months, a figure driven by tourists and others who bought daily passes and racked up the majority of overtime fees, according to a trove of preliminary customer data provided by city transportation officials.

As much as $703,500 came from late charges, which kick in when bicycles aren't returned within 30 minutes. Just a sliver of that money was generated from Divvy's clock-conscious annual members, who checked out bikes for short trips instead of hopping into taxis or riding public transit, city officials concluded.

It's not clear whether the Divvy public-private partnership, supported by $25 million in federal funding and $6.25 million in local matches, is turning a profit.

The article goes on to suggest that tourists have trouble understanding the point of the 30-minute time limit. It's not to prevent you from riding Divvy bikes; it's to keep Divvy bikes moving. If the program didn't have a 30-minute window, people would ride to their destinations, park the bikes, and ride back, possibly tying up a bike all day.

So the problem seems to be user education.

Still, I'm glad the program is making revenue. I really hope it's profitable.

Monday 16 December 2013 15:20:55 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Wednesday 11 December 2013

While London's bike-share program seems to have some problems, Chicago is expanding its Divvy program, and asking for user input:

To cap off the Year of the Divvy, the city is crowdsourcing all you urban dwellers for suggestions on where to install 175 more stations across Chicago next year. Still no word on if they will make sure Divvy riders know not to ride the bikes on crowded Michigan Avenue sidewalks.

They bred like rabbits this summer, popping up in succession so close to each other. I could literally crawl from Divvy station to Divvy station if I had to. Doesn’t seem like the best use of multiple resources, especially in an area so accessible by transit. Sure, a Divvy station next to a major road or train stop makes sense, but four of them seems excessive.

The suggestion map shows interest in Divvy bikes clear up into the northern suburbs, but not so much on the south and west sides. Some wag even suggested a station at O'Hare.

Wednesday 11 December 2013 13:46:24 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#

The Atlantic Cities blog sounds the alarm about London's bike share program:

While the system recorded 726,893 journeys in November 2012, last month there were only 514,146. To cap these poor user figures, today Transport for London announced that the scheme's major sponsor, Barclays Bank, will pull out of its sponsorship deal in 2015. Given the bad publicity the system has received recently, it may be hard to find a replacement sponsor without some major changes.

None of this would matter much if London’s scheme was entirely self-sustaining. But while Paris's bike-share scheme actually makes money for the city, London's 4,000 bikes cost local taxpayers an average of £1,400 per bike per year. As the Daily Mail points out, this would be enough to buy each of the scheme's 38,000 registered users a £290 bike. Barclays has thus found its sponsorship deal a mixed publicity blessing – though the bank itself may be part of the problem. The £50 million it promised was never going to be enough, and the amount it has actually handed over so far suggests their ultimate contribution could be at little as half that.

So, Toronto and London are having problems; Chicago and Paris are booming. This is turning into a fascinating natural experiment.

Wednesday 11 December 2013 12:50:17 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Geography | London#
Thursday 28 November 2013

First, housekeeping. After my last entry I managed to stay up for about 30 minutes, then slept for almost 7 hours. If you do the math you see that means I was up before 3am. So, even thought it's 1pm on Thanksgiving back home, I did some client work to clear it off my agenda for the rest of the week.

Now the point of this post:

Toronto’s plan to save Bixi transfers the bike-sharing program to the Toronto Parking Authority, turns over management to a Portland-based firm and uses money from Astral Media that was going to be spent on public toilets, the National Post has learned.

The deal, approved at a closed-door meeting of city council 10 days ago, will also see Toronto “eat” the $3.9-million in loan guarantees that the city gave to Bixi, owned by the City of Montreal, according to a source.

The city is negotiating with Portland-based Alta Bike Share, which manages Chicago's Divvy program, among others.

Friday 29 November 2013 04:13:05 KST (UTC+09:00)  |  | Biking | Travel#
Thursday 14 November 2013

At least, by number of stations:

There’s more good news on the Divvy bike-share front. The Chicago Department of Transportation announced this morning that they scored a $3 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant to add 75 more docking stations to the 400 already planned. The system recently reached 300 stations and 3,000 bikes.

While the expansion of Divvy is an exciting development, CDOT’s press release exhibits a bit of Second City syndrome, boasting that with 475 stations Chicago will have the largest bike-sharing system in North America and the fifth largest in the world. While it’s true New York City currently has only 331 stations, and Montreal has 434, NYC has about 6,000 bikes and Montreal has about 5,000. Even if the ITEP funding comes through, we’d only have about 5,500 bikes, so it’s wishful thinking to claim Divvy will be larger in the future than the Citi Bike program is now.

On the other hand, as a Streetsblog reader Dennis Hindman pointed out, New York is about 3.07 times the population of Chicago. We currently have roughly one Divvy bike for every 725 residents, almost twice the service level compared to their ratio of one Citi Bike for every 1390 people. Once we expand to about 4,750 bikes, we’ll have one for every 571 Chicagoans, and with 5,500 bikes there will be one for every 497 citizens, almost three times the bike-share density of NYC. That will be something to brag about.

Also, they've got a deal with Chipotle to give away burritos to members next Tuesday. Cool.

Thursday 14 November 2013 11:05:07 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Wednesday 13 November 2013

Another packed day, another link roundup:

All for now.

Wednesday 13 November 2013 15:25:25 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | US | Weather#
Thursday 7 November 2013

Chicago's bike share program could become the nation's largest, thanks to Federal subsidies:

There are currently 300 Divvy stations up and running around Chicago, with 100 more stations in the works to be installed by next spring. Officials from the Chicago Department of Transportation said Wednesday they’ve secured a $3 million federal grant to build 75 additional stations next year, bringing the total to 475 by next year. The grant comes from the US Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

So far, the U.S. DOT has provided $25 million dollars in federal grant funding toward the Divvy bike share program.

There’s been some criticism that Divvy stations are concentrated downtown, and don’t serve the south or west sides of the city. CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, speaking to alderman at his department’s city budget hearing Wednesday, said they’ll bring Divvy to Englewood by spring, and with this grant, they’ll be able to expand the program farther in all directions.

Klein also mentioned that Oak Park and Evanston could be joining the system next year.

Thursday 7 November 2013 14:25:10 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | US#
Wednesday 30 October 2013

This rocks:

The so-called "Starpath" is a type of solar-enhanced liquid and aggregate made by Pro-Teq Surfacing, a company headquartered southwest of London near the awesomely titled town of Staines-upon-Thames. It's in the prototype phase, with a test path running 460 feet in a Cambridge park called Christ's Pieces. (The British and their delightful names!) The material works by absorbing UV rays during the day and later releasing them as topaz light. In a weird feature, it can somehow adjust its brightness levels similar to the screen of an iPhone; the path gets dimmer on pitch-black nights "almost like it has a mind of its own," says Pro-Teq's owner, Hamish Scott.

Pro-Teq is hoping that governments will embrace its self-aware, supernatural-looking pathway for its energy-saving elements and the ease in which it goes down. The installation is fairly quick (the Cambridge job took about 4 hours), and because it's a resurfacing technique doesn't involve the burdensome disassembly and disposal of existing pathways. "The main bulk of the U.K. path network is tarmac, where perhaps it's coming toward the end of its useful life," says Pro-Teq pitchman Neil Blackmore in the below video. "We can rejuvenate it with our system, creating not only a practical but a decorative finish that's certainly with the Starpath also very, very unique."

From the company's press release:

This product has recently been sprayed onto the existing pathway that runs through Christ’s Pieces open space, Cambridge between the city centre and the Grafton Centre, and is used by pedestrians and cyclists during the day and night.

The Cambridge pathway measures 150 square metres, took only 30 minutes to spray the material on, and the surface was ready for use less than four hours after the job commenced. This short installation time allowed minimal disruption to the public.

Bike hike to Cambridge, anyone?

Wednesday 30 October 2013 11:36:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | London | Cool links#
Thursday 10 October 2013

If you wondered how often people actually ride Divvy bikes, everyone's Divvy online trip summary page has the answer. They put the trip ID right on the page. My first Divvy trip, on September 18th, was #522105; this morning's was #732089. Assuming they use an ID field that auto-increments by 1 for each ride, that means Divvy users rode about 210,000 times in the past 22 days, or about 9,500 times a day (on average). That rate gives them nearly 3.5 million rides over the next 12 months.

Compare that with the CTA's 314 million bus rides and 231 million train rides, though. The 79th Street bus had 10 million rides last year; the #36 bus (one of five that stop near my house) had 5.8 million; most of the 150-odd routes had over a million. So will Divvy actually eat into CTA ridership? Not for a while.

I'll look for more official sources of Divvy participation, especially on revenue.

Thursday 10 October 2013 13:08:13 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Travel#
Monday 7 October 2013

Probably not. But Bixi, who manufacture the bikes and stations used here in Chicago, has cash-flow problems:

Montréal’s own Bixi bike-share, the inaugural PBSC venture launched in 2009, was the largest system in North America until Citi Bike launched in New York this summer. (Technically, PBSC is the parent entity and Bixi refers to the bike-systems in Montréal and other cities where PBSC runs operations, although in practice the two names are often used interchangeably.) But according to a letter filed last month by Montréal’s auditor general, the company’s finances are in disarray – the latest chapter in a series of money woes that have plagued PBSC and Bixi, which was founded in 2007 by the City of Montréal's parking authority for the purpose of creating a bike-share system for Montréal and is still under the city's administration.

According to numbers released late last month by the City of Montréal, the company is $42 million in debt, with a $6.5 million deficit and $5 million in outstanding payments.

Will PBSC’s ongoing cash-flow problems affect system users in the multiple U.S. cities that use its bikes and docking stations? Mia Birk, vice president of Alta Bicycle Share, insists that the answer is no. Alta is the exclusive operator of Bixi systems in the United States, managing in a total of eight U.S. programs as well as the one in Melbourne, Australia, and acting as the contractor between municipal departments of transportation and PBSC.

Divvy is getting a huge amount of use. I'm interested what will happen in the winter, but regardless, I think the bike-sharing service is popular enough that the Chicago Transportation Dept. would step in if something happened to Bixi.

I hope so, anyway.

Monday 7 October 2013 17:21:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Tuesday 1 October 2013

Sullivan has a scathing piece about the Republicans shutting down the government again. And closer to home, apparently Chicago has phantom El trains that drive themselves right into other trains.

But yesterday's Atlantic Cities piece on bike-share etiquette is much more enjoyable to think about than either of those:

The central ethos is built into the name. "The whole point of it is it’s bike share, it’s not bike rental," says Kim Reynolds, the office and administrative manager in Washington for Alta Bicycle Share, which operates Capital Bikeshare. In Chicago, the network is called Divvy, which literally means "to divide and share." In Minneapolis and St. Paul, their system is called Nice Ride, a play on the notion that bike-share requires a certain quality that Minnesotans in particular possess.

Bad behavior is technically harder to achieve on a bike. You can’t leave trash in it. The bikes themselves are relatively difficult to damage. And penalties for hogging them are built into the price structure: So you want to take that bike and lock it up outside your office all day? That’s fine. You’ll pay $75 or so in most cities for the right. (Here’s how nice they are in Minnesota: If you do this without understanding the system with Nice Ride, customer service will call you up, gently explain they want their bike back, forgive you, and refund the charge the first time.)

See? Much more pleasant than the rest of the day's news. Or giant, deadly hornets. Better than those, too.

Tuesday 1 October 2013 11:44:41 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | US | Travel#
Saturday 28 September 2013

Now 10 days into the Divvy experiment, I have some data. Since receiving my Divvy key on the 17th, I've taken 17 Divvy trips of between 6 and 46 minutes. (The 46 minutes included waiting 15 minutes at a station for a space to open up.)

A Divvy subscription costs $75 per year. The 17 trips I've taken just the past two weeks would have cost $38.25 on public transit. Or, since my average trip is around 14 minutes, it could be the equivalent of about $73-80 in cab fares.

Obviously, I've taken Divvy instead of walking a couple of times. And just as obviously, I wouldn't have taken cabs on most of those occasions as one can reasonably say that any weather appropriate for biking is also fine for waiting for a bus or train.

The biggest value, however, comes from my morning commute. On Divvy, it's 25 minutes door to door. On the LaSalle bus (the second-fastest way) it takes 45 minutes. That gives me 20 extra minutes in my day, which at my billing rate more than makes up for the annual fee.

Divvy is absolutely brilliant. I'm absolutely going to try the local equivalents next time I visit London or New York. Or other cities with similar systems: Montreal Bixi (the first in North America), Paris Velib' (the largest public bike share outside China), or someday Melbourne (helmet vending machines available as well).

Saturday 28 September 2013 13:50:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Travel#
Sunday 22 September 2013

My experiment with Divvy—the ugliest form of transportation in Chicago—continues. Yesterday I took, I think, five Divvy rides of varying length, and ran into a problem that will always exist in their model.

It wasn't weather. In fact, on reflection I believe that being able to park and forget the bikes means not caring at all about whether it's going to rain later. If it does, all one needs to do is take another way home.

No, yesterday I encountered a supply problem at the remotest Divvy station on the north side. After a 7 km ride, I got to Logan Square, only to find the Divvy rack was full. I had nowhere to put the bike.

First thing to do in this situation is ask for more time. The kiosks have a "station full" button that gives you 15 extra minutes to find another station. Only, in this case, I felt a little put out, because the station map said the full rack I was staring at actually had two free spots. It continued to say this for an hour, until, like a stuck clock right twice a day, there were finally two open spots.

Fine, the map at Logan Square showed a station only 800 m away. Only, my phone didn't. I went to investigate anyway and discovered, nope, no station, but a spot where they intend to put the station "soon."

I wound up parking the bike at California and Milwaukee, about 1500 m from my original destination, and the weather was gorgeous so walking didn't really bother me that much. But it put me on notice: when a remote station shows nearly-full, don't believe it.

I'm also going to download the developer's tools to find out how often the data get updated. I'll post when I find out.

Sunday 22 September 2013 10:53:34 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Thursday 12 September 2013

Well, I've signed up for Divvy, Chicago's bike-sharing program. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I think I'll be able to commute by Divvy without arriving at the office a sweaty mess.

Long-time readers know I used to bike a lot, until my knees decided it was time to stop. Divvy bikes should be a lot easier on my knees than my Felt.

If I use it just a few times rather than taking cabs—for example, tonight, from pub trivia—the sign-up fee will be worth it.

More as events warrant.

Thursday 12 September 2013 13:42:47 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 29 May 2012

Via reader AS, a frustrating story of suburban kids not allowed to bike to school:

[Saratoga, N.Y.,] Maple Avenue {Middle School]'s student body of 1,650 is delivered via 39 school buses—and as at thousands of other communities around the country, many parents elect to drive their children. Thus, every weekday morning, scores of idling cars line up behind dozens of buses disgorging waves of kids. Amidst this, Janette and Adam—each of whom was about 5 feet tall—seemed like a pair of diminutive daredevils wading into a tsunami.

As Adam locked his bike to a fence, a radio call came in to the administrative office. "Security told me that two bikes were getting involved with the buses," remembers the school principal, Stuart Byrne. "We hadn't heard from anyone beforehand. My assistant responded and said, 'Where are they?'"

An assistant principal, Robert Loggins, found Janette in front of the school, waiting for a lull in the traffic so she could depart. Adam had already gone inside.

"What are you doing here?" Loggins asked Janette.

Janette thought this an odd question. "It's Bike to Work Day," she said. "Did you ride your bike to school?"

"Bicycling isn't allowed at Maple Avenue School," said Loggins.

I imagine that when they grow up, the portly children of Maple Avenue School will drive to the gym twice a week.

Fortunately, the story has a (relatively) happy ending. But it highlights a number of symptoms that have created a generation of mentally-helpless children: helicopter parents, fear of lawsuits, car worship, middle-school assistant principals—evils which never seem to go away, despite clear evidence of the harm they cause.

Tuesday 29 May 2012 09:41:15 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | US#
Monday 10 October 2011

I had some time yesterday afternoon, and the weather in Chicago was gorgeous, so I hopped on my bike. But where to go? How about on a route that was largely clear of traffic and had recently been swept clean by the city, like, say, this one. Good choice: I don't think I've ever ridden on cleaner roads in my life.

Only, I left home too early, so near 18th and Ashland I caught up with the street sweepers:

A dozen blocks farther on I had to wind my way through the garbage trucks, and then near 31st St I actually found the last runners on the marathon course. So I said goodbye to the marathon route and hit the lake front path, which, because of the weather, I'm lucky to have survived without hitting anyone.

The marathon route takes runners through parts of the city that people might not otherwise see, like a one-block enclave of leafy town houses on West Jackson between Ashland and Laflin I never knew was there. It's also a good distance for biking, though I did cut off about 5 km.

Monday 10 October 2011 08:45:10 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#
Friday 16 September 2011

ParkerI'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 5-year-old mutt. I last updated this About... page in February, but some things have changed. In the interest of enlightened laziness I'm starting with the most powerful keystroke combination in the universe: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Twice. Thus, the "point one" in the title.

The Daily Parker is about:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on 1 September 2006.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-lefty by international standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States.
  • Photography. I took tens of thousands of photos as a kid, then drifted away from making art until a few months ago when I got the first digital camera I've ever had that rivals a film camera. That got me reading more, practicing more, and throwing more photos on the blog. In my initial burst of enthusiasm I posted a photo every day. I've pulled back from that a bit—it takes about 30 minutes to prep and post one of those puppies—but I'm still shooting and still learning.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than ten years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change, though happily we no longer have to do so under a president beholden to the oil industry.
  • Chicago, the greatest city in North America, and the other ones I visit whenever I can.

I've deprecated the Software category, but only because I don't post much about it here. That said, I write a lot of software. I work for 10th Magnitude, a startup software consultancy in Chicago, I've got about 20 years experience writing the stuff, and I continue to own a micro-sized software company. (I have an online resume, if you're curious.) I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code, some of which may appear here.

I strive to write about these and other things with fluency and concision. "Fast, good, cheap: pick two" applies to writing as much as to any other creative process (cf: software). I hope to find an appropriate balance between the three, as streams of consciousness and literacy have always struggled against each other since the first blog twenty years ago.

If you like what you see here, you'll probably also like Andrew Sullivan, James Fallows, Josh Marshall, and Bruce Schneier. Even if you don't like my politics, you probably agree that everyone ought to read Strunk and White, and you probably have an opinion about the Oxford comma—punctuation de rigeur in my opinion.

Another, non-trivial point. Facebook reads the blog's RSS feed, so many people reading this may think I'm just posting notes on Facebook. Facebook's lawyers would like you to believe this, too. Now, I've reconnected with tons of old friends and classmates through Facebook, I play Scrabble on Facebook, and I eagerly read every advertisement that appears next to its relevant content. But Facebook's terms of use assert ownership of everything that appears on their site, regardless of prior claims, which contravenes four centuries of law.

Everything that shows up on my Facebook profile gets published on The Daily Paker first, and I own the copyrights to all of it (unless otherwise disclosed). I publish the blog's text under a Creative Commons attribution-nonderivative-noncommercial license; republication is usually OK for non-commercial purposes, as long as you don't change what I write and you attribute it to me. My photos, however, are published under strict copyright, with no republication license, even if I upload them to other public websites. If you want to republish one of my photos, just let me know and we'll work something out.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy The Daily Parker.

Friday 16 September 2011 18:36:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Baseball | Biking | Chicago | Cubs | Duke | Geography | Jokes | Kitchen Sink | Parker | Daily | Photography | Politics | US | World | Raleigh | Religion | San Francisco | Software | Blogs | Business | Cool links | Security | Weather | Astronomy | Work#
Sunday 22 May 2011

This morning we had weather about as perfect as a human could hope for, 26°C and sunny by the lake, with a gentle breeze out of the southwest. I hopped on my bike for an actual workout, complete with heart-rate monitor, for the first time in a couple of years, then came back, grabbed my camera, and walked the dog. Some results:

ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/640, 225mm

For more photos and some discussion about how Adobe Lightroom is making me rethink photo storage, go to The Daily Parker.

Sunday 22 May 2011 15:56:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Photography | Weather#
Wednesday 4 May 2011

Despite taking my bike in for a tune-up two and a half weeks ago, the combination of weather and after-work commitments since then put off riding it to work until today.

It turns out, I'm a little rusty. The bike isn't; even in jeans, a coat (it's 6°C on May 4th!), and a backpack containing shoes (my Felt 65 has cleat-only pedals), I still managed to barrel down Wells St. at 30 km/h. Bottom line, I got to work in 26 minutes, including the 4 minutes or so to get the bike out of its locker. In other words, I cut my commute in half, and burned a few extra calories along the way.

It's supposed to rain the next couple of days, but Saturday the forecast calls for biking weather. More details to follow.

Wednesday 4 May 2011 09:04:24 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Saturday 23 April 2011

I finally took my bike to a shop for a cleaning and tune-up. I haven't ridden in a while, mainly because of my knees, but I miss it. My doctor recommended taking some ibuprofen an hour before riding as he believes it's simply age-related arthritis. I hope he's right. Even if he isn't, I estimate the ride from my house to work will take about 20 minutes (cf. 45 by bus or train), which isn't even long enough to work up a sweat.

I'm not planning to ride the North Shore Century this year, though. Let's take it slow. If I'm up to 50 km without pain by mid-July, I'll reconsider.

Saturday 23 April 2011 17:22:50 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Friday 17 August 2007

Yesterday I posted about a bike that hadn't been ridden in a while. This morning the bike had gone:

Friday 17 August 2007 12:24:04 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Thursday 16 August 2007

Someone appears to have slacked off from his exercise program:

Thursday 16 August 2007 07:47:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Saturday 11 August 2007

I think winds affect my biking regardless of what direction they're coming from. This morning, for example, in calm winds, I set three personal records on a 60 km ride: best distance over 1 hour (30.9 km); best time for 40 km (1:18:14, beating my previous PR by 4:01); and best time for 60 km (1:58:28, beating my previous by 3:22).

Next week I'm planning to ride 110120 km as part of my North Shore Century training. Maybe another PR or two?

Saturday 11 August 2007 13:39:17 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Weather#
Friday 13 July 2007

Phooey. My ride Saturday seems to have caused some irritation in either the ligaments or cartilege of my left knee. Not crippling, but kind of painful. So no biking this weekend, and I'll have to postpone my planned 80 km ride to the following weekend.

Last year, I couldn't ride the two centuries I'd trained for because of my gallbladder. If I'm out because of my knee this year, I'll be really, really disappointed. And I can't even blame Tonya Harding.

Friday 13 July 2007 11:30:28 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Thursday 5 July 2007

Biking yesterday I hit a new PR for spot speed: 54.0 km/h, beating the old record of 53.4 km/h I set last August 26th. Whee!

Thursday 5 July 2007 11:24:22 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Tuesday 26 June 2007

Apparently there will be a series of bike races just outside my office window on July 22.

Tuesday 26 June 2007 18:20:45 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago#

Even though I'm not riding my bike as much as I should (though this is about to change), I've finally got off my butt and put my Google Earth tracks from 2006 and this year.

Tuesday 26 June 2007 18:09:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Saturday 16 June 2007

I finally got around to updating my biking stats (but not the Google Earth tracks—Garmin changed their XML format and I haven't written a converter yet). I discovered, to my surprise, that I got a new personal record on May 27th: 40 km in 1:22:15, which is an average speed of 29.2 km/h. This bested my previous record by 23 seconds. Cool.

Also, today's ride took me up to Cicada Central. Wow. I only had two collisions (and only one cicada fatality), but the sound was worth the trip.

On the other hand, the abysmal heat (33°C) was not.

Saturday 16 June 2007 15:43:21 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Tuesday 20 February 2007
I'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 8-month-old mutt.
Tuesday 20 February 2007 09:23:06 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Biking | Jokes | Kitchen Sink | Parker | Politics | Software | Blogs | Weather#
Sunday 8 October 2006

Indian summer is here. It got up into the mid-20s (mid-70s F), so I toodled down to Millenium Park. I don't expect weather like this again until March at the earliest. At least I got to enjoy it.

Sunday 8 October 2006 18:57:18 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Weather#
Sunday 1 October 2006

Today is the Apple Cider Century, which I am not riding today because of the late unpleasantness. At this writing (noon in Three Oaks, Mich.), it's 15°C (59°F) with light West winds and nary a cloud to be found. Perfect riding weather.

Sigh.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be beautiful as well. Tomorrow morning I meet with my surgeon for my post-op follow-up, and perhaps he'll declare me fit enought to ride again. If so, I'll at least get to spin a little on the last warm day of the year.

Sunday 1 October 2006 11:00:44 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Sunday 24 September 2006

I'm David Braverman, and this is my blog.

This blog has actually been around for nearly a year, giving me time to figure out what I wanted to do with it. Initially, I called it "The WASP Blog," the acronym meaning "Weather, Anne, Software, and Politics." It turns out that I have more than four interests, and I post to the blog a lot, so those four categories got kind of large.

Sunday 24 September 2006 13:37:44 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Jokes | Parker | Politics | Software | Blogs | Weather#
Sunday 17 September 2006
Today is the North Shore Century, a 100-mile bike ride I've trained all summer for. Sadly, I'm not riding today, because a little less than a week ago my gallbladder turned itself green, and my doctors didn't think a major athletic event five days after surgery would be a good idea. But I can't stop wondering, how would I be doing?
Sunday 17 September 2006 11:14:42 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Parker | Biking#
Thursday 14 September 2006
When I ate lunch on Sunday, my gallbladder contracted to help digest some of the cheese in my salad. A tiny piece of calcium was already lodged in my biliary duct, however, preventing bile from getting out.
Thursday 14 September 2006 14:25:24 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Parker#
Tuesday 29 August 2006

First, I just put a major project to bed. It was my first time out doing litigation support, meaning I wrote software to crunch a whole bunch (= about a billion) of numbers for a law firm who represent a large (= about 350,000) class of plaintiffs. They got the results just now, so unless the defendant chooses not to settle and I get subpoenaed, I believe I'm done.

Second, at least one petty little man on the South Shore Line apparently doesn't "get" the whole idea of bikes on a train:

A day trip to South Bend ended up costing a Lincoln Park man $150 in cab fare after a South Shore Line crew member told him he would have to get his bicycle off the train.
What startled Alan Forester, 34, was that he had taken the South Shore Line to South Bend earlier in the day Sunday and no one said anything to him about his bike. Even more puzzling, he said he had followed the bicycle policy that he read on the railroad's Web site.

I had a similar problem about two years ago, when, after bonking on a very long ride, I attempted to board a Union Pacific North Line train at Highland Park, and got turned away by a conductor who thought my bungee cord was too short. (I think I may have told him at least I had a bungee cord, but we won't go there right now.)

The CTA largely gets it right. All CTA buses have bike racks. This means people can get out of their cars and save the environment by biking without worrying they'll be stranded because of weather or traffic. Why is Metra so opposed to the idea?

Tuesday 29 August 2006 12:38:28 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Politics | Software#
Sunday 27 August 2006
Yesterday I posted that even a bad ride on my new bike is better than a good ride on my old bike. Today I had a good ride on the new bike. I set eight personal records today, including one that stood for more than 21 years.
Sunday 27 August 2006 14:40:43 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Saturday 26 August 2006

First, I promise to take some photos today. Possibly I can convince Anne to take an action shot or two, which I will post, forgetting for a moment that no one—I mean, no one—can possibly avoid looking like a total dork while wearing bike gear.

Second, I've revised and moved my biking stats page. I thought it was only fair to split off my old bike's records into their own table, because my new bike is so much faster it just wouldn't be fair. Case in point: yesterday, I did 40 km (25 mi) along the lakefront, but I wasn't feeling great. It was warm and humid, I was tired, I hadn't eaten very well, there were children and dogs on the bike path, and I had a couple of minor issues with the bike (trouble clipping in, chain slipping off inner chainring, etc.).

Even with all that working against me, I bested my previous 40 km record by more than four and a half minutes. In other words, a bad ride on my new bike was 5% faster than the best comparable ride on my old bike.

As you can see from the chart, though, comparing Wednesday's OK ride to the previous records shows an 8% improvement over 5 km (3 mi) and an 11% improvement over one hour.

Finally, on the chart you may notice my spot-speed record of 52 km/h (32.3 mph), which I set in May 1985. Yes, in 21 years I haven't managed to make a bicycle go faster than that. Well, watch this space, because today I intend to break that record.

Saturday 26 August 2006 09:06:13 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Thursday 10 August 2006
It's not every day that I set five personal records (PRs). This morning I rode 40 km (24.9 mi) in 1:29:19, beating my old PR (set Tuesday) by 2:29. The other PRs are in my expanded PR table on braverman.org.
Thursday 10 August 2006 12:06:00 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Tuesday 8 August 2006

I've put my biking stats (such as they are) on my personal homepage, http://www.braverman.org/. This morning I rode with Anne's Garmin ForeRunner 201, offloaded the XML with Garmin's free software, then downloaded shareware a German programmer named Martin Goldmann to convert that to Google Earth's KML format.

The result: You can now download my track and plug it in to Google Earth.

Tuesday 8 August 2006 12:28:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking#
Friday 21 July 2006
This will interest just about no one but those people who, out of blind love for me, set braverman.org as their home page. I've made a minor change to it, adding my biking stats. To save you the click-through, here they are.
Friday 21 July 2006 09:07:11 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Politics#
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On this page....
Are zombie bikes coming to Chicago?
Modest Divvy program losses last year
About this blog (v 4.2)
Commuting in a winter wonderland
How Divvy made some of its money
Chicago solicits user input for new Divvy stations
Problems with Boris Bikes?
Toronto bike-share program in trouble
Divvy on track to become largest bike-share system in North America
Stuff sent to my Kindle
Roll on, Divvy
Glow-in-the-dark bike path from the UK
How many Divvies?
Are Divvy's days already numbered?
House of Turds and ghost trains? Nah
The Divvy dividend
Divvy supply management
Divvy up my commute
Why Johnny Can't Ride
Great day for a bike ride
About this blog (v. 4.1.6)
Summer comes out for the weekend
How to cut your commute in half
Back on the saddle next weekend...maybe
Bike? What bike?
Anyone seen my bike?
Great ride this morning
Cyclist knee
New personal record
Grand Prix of Cycling in Evanston
Biking tracks up
New personal record
About this Blog
Beautiful day for a bike ride
Perfect weather to wish I were riding
Something has changed
I wonder how I'd be doing?
Wow, has this week sucked
Two quick hits
Biking the way it ought to be
More about the new bike
Ate my Wheaties this morning
Google Earth + Anne's GPS device
Minor changes to my personal site
Countdowns
The Daily Parker +3268d 09h 17m
Parker's 9th birthday 233d 03h 57m
My next birthday 314d 08h 02m
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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