Monday 23 June 2014

Ghastly Google Gigo (1)

Bludner once again
This blog (incomplete) was wrongly posted on-line for a while on Wednesday last.
Here are some the events that took place on May 14th.

1643 – Four-year-old Louis XIV becomes King of France
1727 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter is born
1796 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination
1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Jackson takes place
1897 – The Stars and Stripes Forever is first performed in public
1919 – Henry J. Heinz, U S businessman dies (sadly NOT aged 57)
1929 – Wilfred Rhodes takes his 4000th first-class wicket
1926 – Eric Morecambe, English comedian and actor is born
1948 – Israel is declared to be an independent state
1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor, dies
2014 – Stephen Sutton, English activist and blogger dies


2014  – a huge step forward in Public Transport Infromation

And fbb missed the big day!
The body supplying the data said that the huge popularity of Google's service meant its move was significant. "It's an amazing shop window for our operators' services," said Julie Williams, chief executive of Traveline, a partnership of Great Britain's transport operators and local authorities. "The presentation and way Google has pulled together the data looks exceptional; we've not seen anything like that before."

“In Britain, public transport is part of the national psyche," said David Tattersall, product manager for public transport in Google Maps. "The biggest changes will be on mobile, as devices are becoming more and more powerful and they’re things we spend a lot of time with. We’re aiming to really improve users’ lives.”

Absolutely amazing. 

And "real time" as well. Fan---tastic!

Each one of these bastions of all that is sound and solid in 21st century journalism duly reported what they had been told to report in Google's press release. Not one of these bastions of all that is sound and solid in 21st century journalism bothered to check up on what they had been writing about.

The gist of most of the copy was that Google was providing a new and hitherto unobtainable service whereby users could plan their journeys by any mode and its "would even tell them where to get off." The fact that such a service has been available via Traveline for over a decade seemed to pass the hacks by; possibly because they never travel by bus.

If they had used the new old system, would they have been so full of praise?

Well, it's a bit late, but fbb will redress the balance and look a little more closely at what Google Maps offers.

And the first problem is finding what exactly they are all prattling on about. For those unfamiliar with the all-conquering monster that is Google ...
... fbb will guide you through the process. [Apologies to web grandmothers who object to being taught how to suck on-line eggs!] Here goes.

Go to "Google Maps" ...
... and type in "Seaton". There are many plain Seatons in the UK but because Google knows where you are (you cannot hide!), it assumes you want your local Seaton. First pitfall. If you want another Seaton, you have to know its county and add that to the search box.
Of course, if you haven't been trapped into telling Google where you are, it might give you a choice of Seatons. fbb doesn't know; the claws of the Google-monster are well embedded in fbb's internet flesh.

Watch out for the adverts ...
... which tell lies. There aren't five hotels in Seaton; Google only lists 1 hotel as "popular" ...
... The Eyre Court; although the fbbs can recommend Blue Waters B & B, having resided there on two occasions during their hasty house buying happenings. Second possible pitfall; always remember Google makes its money from advertising, which will lead you up Google's profit-related path wherever possible.

Having typed in Seaton, you will get a map ...
... which you can enlarge with the on-screen slider.

Once enlarged almost to maximum, you will see little blue icons.
These icons do not enlarge with the slider so you may have to zoom the whole page to see what and where they are.
They are bus stops, illustrated by a little picture of a train! Well, it might be a bus of a US design but it looks like a universal global train icon to fbb?

Click on the bus/train and you get public transport information - of a sort.
And it is this "service" that we will examine tomorrow. 

But it is not new; it has been around for (?) years.
Poor (as in "unfortunate") Service 30!
Suffering from local diversions and delays in Taunton, the service 30 from Axminster is in trouble again from today. fbb was tipped off by his Minister at Church yesterday. The route normally takes 1 hour and 23 minutes ...
... but from today ...
... on Mondays to Fridays, 1 hour and 53 minutes. An extra half an hour added between Chard and Ilminster. Clicking on the "30" on the Buses for Somerset web site brings up the standard, unchanged times. To find the drastic revision you have to look under "news"; and we all do that on every occasion we look for a bus time, don't we. In "news" we are told ...
... merely that the service is diverted between Chard and Ilminster but with no clue to the route.  Surely more detail is needed; especially for passengers on the bit that isn't served?
More importantly, perhaps a note on the home page might encourage the potential passenger to spot the temporary and highly disruptive arrangements. Certainly the revised details should be there when you click 30 on the "timetable" list. Let's hope that whoever is blocking the road is paying for extra buses and staff.
 Next bus blog : Tuesday 24th June 

1 comment:

  1. Without wishing to second guess the next part of the story, this arrangement means Google take a regular Naptan update rather than the occasional ones they did in the past. At least now the blue blobs will be in roughly the right places. Ken Traveline Dorset