My favorite mi xian place, on Wuxing Lu in front of my first apartment in Shanghai. The wall of doors stops the wind from the street.
Yesterday after work, with a friend’s offer of dinner in mind, I threw Mr. Squish in my backpack, with his leash tied to the top handle. Knowing he’d be unhappy eventually I put his furry bed in too, folded as a liner for the bag. And I got on my bike, helmet and all, and set off across the city. He handled it well, head poking up through the unzipped top of the bag, peeking out at the world whipping past. It was cold but not unpleasant, and we rode up through the Richmond and into Golden Gate Park, up JFK and out into the Panhandle. I was worried about him in traffic, because he doesn’t like cars much and busses even less, but he handled it fine, never moving much. He’s really a champ of a cat in most respects.
When we arrived I pulled the bike inside and he scrambled out of the pack, leashed to me while I locked up. He knows the house, having stayed there before while we were out of town, and was excited to see the resident cat. She might not have been as excited to see him, but at least they can cohabit a bit.
Going home was a different adventure. It was dark and cold and Mr. Squish was tired. He had no interest in staying put in my backpack. Halfway back through the Panhandle he was up on my shoulder, crouched with his head facing the wind. Not my ideal way to ride, as he could leap off at any moment and, because of the leash, be dragged by the bike. Once I got into the park I slowed down, and sure enough he jumped off. I did too and for a while walked the bike with him running along side, still tied to my backpack. This wasn’t too bad, we go on walks a lot, but it wasn’t a fast way home, and it was almost midnight. So I pushed him back in the bag and started off again, figuring any bit of the ride I could do on the bike would be worth it.
He scrambled out again almost immediately, up on to my shoulder. Worried about the jump but wanting to keep going I headed up onto the sidewalk, figuring I could ride slowly along it and he’d be ok.
Wrong call. About twenty feet from where I got on the sidewalk the sprinklers started. The first one hit us both in the face, him crouched by my head. No one was pleased, cold water added to the cold wind, and at least three more sprinklers ahead. I did the stupid thing and tried to keep going, grabbing Mr. Squish with my right hand and biking with my left, somehow thinking I could make it through these 3 more sprinklers and be ok. Squish wasn’t having any of it. The second one got us both, but by now I was holding him dangling by the harness as he frantically tried to avoid the third sprinkler. We never made it to the fourth one. After the third I was soaked, scratched to hell, and holding the harness but no Squish.
This is my worst fear with taking Mr. Squish out on the leash. It’s a harness that clips around his middle and neck, connected by a strap with a loop for the leash. Pretty secure, but I know from experience that if he gets really spooked he can squirm his front paws out of the thing and somehow get it off his head.
I hopped off the bike, throwing it to the ground, and headed back to him. He was squatting in the middle of the sidewalk between two sprinklers, huddled in a wet ball. I was pretty soaked too, and bleeding from my hand, though I didn’t notice then. I managed to gently grab him and pulled us both back onto the road, away from the sprinklers, where I calmed him down, somehow got the harness back on, and got him into the backpack. At this point I just desperately wanted to make it home, and I’m sure he did too. He was cold, wet, and at least a little banged up from the scramble and fall.
He stayed in the backpack, just his nose peeking out, all the rest of the way home to Tara, who took him and brushed him and put him in front of the heater.
And that’s how Mr. Squish’s first bike ride went.
Hopefully the next one will go better. And be in the daylight.
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Cherry Hill, NJ
Salt Lake, UT
Lake Havasu, AZ
Fort Collins, CO
El Paso, TX
Los Angeles, CA
Green Bay, WI
Erchless Castle, Scotland
Also, here’s Seth’s list. We do keep moving.
I have a smart playlist that is called “2012” and, as you might have guessed, contains songs released in 2012.
I have iTunes Match.
It appears as though I can simply download that playlist to my iPhone to have all the songs I own that were released in 2012 on my iPhone.
This action does not work. That’s because the playlist, when viewed through Music on my phone, contains 300 songs. Here are some questions:
Why? I don’t know.
Does it contain only songs released in 2012? No it does not.
What does it contain? A random sample of my library.
Random how? Random in that I can not figure out any thing those songs have in common.
Were they released in the same year? No they were not.
Are they by the same artist? No they are not.
Are the songs in the playlist on my iPhone the same as the songs in the playlist in iTunes on my Mac? No they are not.
What do we call this? An example of how poorly iTunes Match handles multiple devices.
What else might we call this? A broken service.
Broken how? Broken in that it does most emphatically *not* just work.
Why is that important? Because that’s what Apple is famous for.
Why is Apple famous for that? Because before attempting such complicated internet-related-things like Siri, Maps, and iTunes Match, Apple’s combination of software and hardware often “just worked” in a way that its competitors could not match.
Why was this good? Because it made people purchase Apple hardware.
What has happened in the interim? Well, much like my problem with iTunes Match, *no one knows*.
Why is this? Because there is no feedback to the user, no master control list, and no way to resolve the problem.
Why is this? No one knows. But it sucks.
Apple’s new Maps are bad. That seems like a statement of fact. Unfortunately, in the United States they are most frequently described as “passable”, which is altogether too generous. Most people do not live in the United States.
Rather than a long diatribe about how international users are important, I thought I’d present some examples, from a city I know well. Per Wikipedia, Shanghai is a city of 23 million people as of 2010. Sorting by actual municipalities, that makes it the largest single city in the world. On that list New York is 19th.
So how does Shanghai look on Apple Maps in iOS 6? And how did it look on Google Maps on iOS 5?
Well, from the default zoom level in Apple Maps:
Zoom in 1 step on Apple:
Zoom in 2 steps, Apple:
Not only does Apple lack roads, parks, train lines, major buildings, districts, and any semblance of a “sense of the city” normally apparent from a map, it lacks the river.
To reiterate: it does not show the Yellow River, the Huang Pu, a major geographical feature of the entire coast, not just Shanghai proper.
The new maps fail in the kind of way that should be impossible to fail: they lack publicly available data. City maps of Shanghai are much more accurate and correctly detailed. Geographic features are visible from satellite.
For the US-only user, these new maps may be passable. For the international traveler or those residing in non-US countries, these maps are disaster, and a true regression in device utility. Quite simply, they represent a reason to buy an Android device over a new iPhone.
Which is quite a software update.