Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Sled Dogs have reached the U.S. A few pairs, anyway.

The mad Norwegians who own the rights to the Sled Dogs design and name re-entered the U.S. market this year. They (or their Hungarian partners, it’s all sort of opaque to me) made only a few units available and most sizes sold out quickly. When I pre-ordered a pair months later, it was only order ID 45, suggesting that perhaps only a few dozen pairs of skates had made the initial run.

My skates arrived this week. Perhaps too late for this season, but the lining around the heels of my old SD250s had been worn to nothing and I needed a new pair. The color of the F5s is striking but the overall design is very similar to that of the 250s, and the bases are identical. The new logo is forgettable, but they’re cheaply silkscreened onto the boots and will probably wear off in use anyway.

Sled Dog F5

I retrieved my 250s and K9s for comparison; I haven’t used the K9s in many years and had forgotten how heavy they were. As I recall them, the K9s were nearly impossible to control, best for when you want to spin down a slope at reckless angles.

A video of the unboxing, below

MTA BusTime is a great thing

Usually, in New York, if you want to get someplace more than a few blocks away, you take the subway, or if you need to go crosstown, you brace for misery and take the bus. Busses are typically more pleasant than subways, but they are often slow and come unpredictably. I’d be delighted to take my boys to school on the M60 every morning, but busses can come 20 minutes apart. Of course, when you do get one, two others will often follow close on its heels.

The MTA has finally launched, city-wide, an online service that tells you when busses are coming. It’s called BusTime.

bustime logo

 

As is standard practice for the MTA, they have made the BusTime data feeds publicly available, so that people can integrate them into iPhone apps and the other services. The bus app that I use, unfortunately, seems to have done this incorrectly.

NYC Bus logo

 

It clearly believes it has the correct data but the results it produces are nonsense. A friend at the MTA guesses that it is reporting the busses as scheduled, rather than the their actual locations. The easiest solution is to tap into the MTA’s data feeds at their own mobile website. For example, the URL to check the busses in front of my son’s school is http://bustime.mta.info/m/?q=403119 and it produces results like this:

bus time

 

Totally accurate, and hugely useful as we decide whether to take the bus or the subway each day.

Rando is a newish “anti-social” photo sharing app, available for iOS and Android. You snap a picture (it’s automatically cropped to a round shape), and Rando sends it to somebody far away. You never learn who they are, though Rando will later tell you where in the world they live. (Brazil and Russia are common destinations). The recipient of your photo is similarly told where you are, but nothing else, and has no way to contact you (though they can rate your photo, and some people have been posting “randos” of their e-mail address as a way of establishing contact with strangers.

I found the service charming for a while. The serendipity of it, slices of life from half a world away.

But pretty soon a problem emerged. I would send photos like these:

Broadway and 110th

Broadway and 110th

Boys' Gate, Central Park

Boys’ Gate, Central Park

Citibikes

Citibikes

Battery Place Statue of Liberty

Battery Place Statue of Liberty

 

and I’d get back photos like these:

Fluorescent light, Santa Barbara

Fluorescent light, Santa Barbara

Fluorescent light, South Korea, near the DMZ

Fluorescent light, South Korea, near the DMZ

Shoes, Curitiba Brazil

Blurry shoes, Curitiba Brazil

Who knows? Central U.K.

Who knows? Central U.K.

It’s easier to take a lousy picture than a good one, and absent any kind of reputation system, Rando has no way to encourage people to send anything interesting. The result is a lot of blurry photos of people’s feet and of fluorescent lights.