The Null Device
First Google provided a search engine, then they started handing out gigabyte-sized webmail accounts and then gave the world zoomable maps, and now Google have created their own sophisticated mass transit system. The system is a workaround for the transport woes of the San Francisco Bay Area, with its Californian sprawl, various disjointed transport systems run by different municipalities and levels of government, and consequent commuting headaches. In typical Google fashion, it innovates the idea of mass transit. The buses run on biodiesel, are equipped with wireless internet access, and are tracked in real time, with commuters being notified by mobile phone of their positions, and routes are constantly being revised.
The shuttles, which carry up to 37 passengers each and display no sign suggesting they carry Googlers, have become a fixture of local freeways. They run 132 trips every day to some 40 pickup and drop-off locations in more than a dozen cities, crisscrossing six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and logging some 4,400 miles.
At Google headquarters, a small team of transportation specialists monitors regional traffic patterns, maps out the residences of new hires and plots new routes -- sometimes as many as 10 in a three-month period -- to keep up with ever surging demand.The system is for employees only, though. Meanwhile, other Bay Area technology companies such as Yahoo! have implemented similar systems.
There's a new release from 1980s Mancunian indiepop group The Bodines, of all bands. It's not a new release, though; it looks like someone found some unreleased recordings of theirs from 1988, which Berlin-based C86 back-catalogue label Firestation Records has now packaged up into a 3-track EP, titled Shrinkwrapped. No idea what it's like, or whether it matches the soaring brilliance of Therese or Heard It All.