New Banner Pictures

In an effort to have as nice a blog as Kelly and Eric , I added pictures to the banner of my blog. There are 14 different pictures that can show up at the top of the page. With the exception of the Escher lizard pattern, Susan or I took all of the pictures. Most are from our trips including Baja California, Galapagos, New York, and Colorado, but also local trips to Stone Mountain and the Kangaroo Center. One (a funny one of Katie) is from my backyard. You can keep clicking Refresh (or Reload) to see more images. Or you can cheat and click here to see a list of them.

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You Digg?

Yesterday I was checking the web page statistics for my website and saw a bunch of referrals coming from digg.com. Almost all of the hits on my web pages come from search engines with a few exceptions. This one showed up over and over again. I visited their website and found that digg.com is kind of like Slashdot where people submit links to websites or news stories they think are interesting. Then other people evaluate those articles and the ones that the most people approve (by clicking the ‘digg it’ button) are listed in their directory.

So it looked like someone had submitted my iPod battery pack page. I saw that 4 people were diggin’ that page and I had gotten about 50 hits. I remember when iLounge’s site came to a standstill when they posted a story by a guy who had taken apart and ruined a just-released iPod mini and someone had submitted a link to it to Slashdot. Would I have the same problem?

No, not really. The mini was brand new and it seemed amazing that anyone would willfully destroy something so hard to get. But most people aren’t interested in battery packs. I did get up to about 80 hits per hour from digg, before that submission slipped to Page 2, then Page 3, then Page 4. Originally posted at 7:00 PM, by 11:00 I had been pushed down to the fifth page and had still only garnered 9 diggs. By this afternoon, I had stopped getting hits from digg entirely. It did push visits to my site past 500 for the day and I got 4 ad clicks.

10 Years of MARTA Cards

When I first started riding MARTA to work I would buy weekly or monthly passes made out of paper. They would be a different color each time and the monthly cards had a pattern on them. But nothing exciting. Then, in September 1995, they started making plastic cards. These had full-color pictures on them and they started with a series of cards with pictures of Olympic athletes for the upcoming 1996 Olympics. After the Olympics they started other series featuring local colleges, MARTA station artwork, MARTA employees, holidays, and even had one with the color-coded terrorism threat levels (I guess it would make a handy reference . . . they said “red”, now is that good or bad?).

Deck of Cards

I’ve gotten my money’s worth from each one, using one 40 times or so a month. Then they go into a drawer with all the others. With each trip being 10 miles, I have saved 48,000 miles of wear and tear on my car and saved about 2,000 gallons of gas from being burned. So now I have 120 cards. At about $40 each, that’s almost $5,000 worth of MARTA cards in my drawer. Now worth zero.

Marta Card Collection

Bus Bridge

Today I got off of work at about the normal time (6:00) and walked to the MARTA station. Just outside the Georgia State Station a guy asked me which way Five Points was. I pointed and asked him why he was going there. He said that the MARTA system was shut down because someone jumped on the tracks (usually people do this as a suicide but sometimes they fall or are pushed; between the high voltage ‘third rail’ and a rapidly moving train, they usually die if they don’t get out quickly). I asked where they jumped and he said Candler Park.

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But just then a train pulled into the station above going Eastbound. The guy ran back to the station. I entered the station and went to the top of the steps. There was a MARTA guy up there who said the train that had pulled in would be going back towards Five Points (to the West) and that the only way to go East was to catch some buses at street level that would go to East Lake Station. MARTA calls this a ‘bus bridge’ since they are bridging a gap in the rail system with buses. It sounds great, but the trains carry so many people that it takes a lot of buses to carry that many people and those buses take a while to mobilize, plus it’s not like they have a bunch of unused buses and drivers that need something to do during rush hour. As Samantha Baker said in Sixteen Candles ‘I loathe the bus.’

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