Monday, May 16, 2016

Morning Enabler

Every addiction has one, right?

"Mass. drivers getting more tickets for texting while driving" by Matt Rocheleau Globe Staff  May 16, 2016

The number of motorists on Massachusetts roadways ticketed for texting while driving has steadily increased since the state passed legislation banning the practice six years ago, with men and people under 40 the most common violators, newly released figures show.

State and local police wrote 6,131 tickets for the offense last year, up sharply from 1,153 tickets in 2011, the first full year the ban was in place.

“As a culture, we are more and more ‘addicted’ to staying in touch at all times,” said Kara Macek, a spokeswoman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Speak for yourself.

The habit has had a devastating effect: Nationally, distraction-related crashes killed 3,179 people and injured an estimated 431,000 in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Globe reviewed data from the state Transportation Department on 18,383 tickets issued for texting while driving from the year the practice became illegal in 2010 to mid-April of this year.

Specialists say the trends are likely driven by a variety of factors, including the behavior of drivers and the practices of police officers who pull them over.

“Law enforcement are developing better tools and techniques to detect texting drivers, although it is still a big challenge,” Macek said.

I need to pull over here and type a few things. The first thing is this is not a defense of texting and phoning behind the wheel. It's simply a step back and see sort go thing.

Back when this was passed the populace was assured it wasn't going to be enforced per se, it was just going to help prosecutions in fatal accidents and provide authorities with data for the problem. People warned it would be turned into more, but that was dismissed.

And now here we are, six years later, and like the Patriot Act (only to catch terr'rists, remember?) and the cameras at intersections (they mail you the traffic fine yet?), those that warned have been proved right. In this case, cops are posing as homeless at intersections and then yanking people out of their cars if they catch 'em. 

Good thing there are no rapes, robberies, or murders to solve -- or drug dealers to bust, something that is taking far more lives. Of course, they are making mistakes behind the wheel, too.

Oh, light just changed....

Younger drivers — most likely to text or use social media — are particularly tempted by texting. Drivers in their 20s represent 23 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes but account for 38 percent of the drivers who were found to be using cellphones in fatal crashes, Macek said.

“Texting is often the top form of communication for those in their teens and twenties,” said Mary Maguire, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association.

People in that age group are also “heavy users of social media,” she said. That means they could be looking at photos, typing, reading, or even taking selfies as they drive.

What did you expect? They have been conditioned for the total $urveillance $ociety and have been made to embrace it as indispensable.

Professor David Strayer, who heads a research center on distracted driving at the University of Utah, said that as younger, cellphone-savvy people get older, and as mobile device use proliferates, texting is becoming more common among older drivers.

“We’re starting to see it migrate to the older generations,” he said.

Not here. I don't even like the phone. It's there for emergency.

For now, tickets for older people remain relatively rare. Police wrote tickets only 120 times to drivers 65 or older. (Those ticketed included an 88-year-old man who was cited by officers in Westwood last year.)

The Massachusetts data that show that men have been ticketed for texting while driving more often than women, in some ways, counters what researchers have found nationally. 

Oh, men are being discriminated against in Ma$$achu$etts. No problem with that here!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in annual observation surveys has consistently found female drivers texting behind the wheel more often than males.

It might be that men wind up with more tickets overall because they tend to drive more miles per year than women, specialists say.

National studies have also found “that men generally engage in riskier behavior when behind the wheel,” Maguire said.

Are you sick of the stereotyped sophistry?

“Compared with women, men have a higher incidence of severe crashes, speeding tickets, and driving under the influence,” she said.

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that about twice as many men are killed in crashes each year, compared with women.

But a Globe review of traffic tickets issued statewide in 2003 found women were far more likely to receive written warnings instead of tickets when stopped for identical traffic offenses as men.


Pretty woman, texting down the street, pretty woman.... crash!

The race and ethnicity of drivers cited since 2010 for texting nearly mirrored the racial and ethnic breakdown of the state’s population, according to the new state data.

The most common time of day for drivers to be cited for texting while driving was during the evening rush hour — between 4 and 6 p.m. The next most common time was during the morning commute to work.

In April of this year, State Police alone issued more than 2,200 tickets, apparently as a result of stepped up enforcement of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“April is when Massachusetts has, for the last couple of years, conducted a Distracted Driving enforcement mobilization with state and local police,” said Jeff Larason, the state’s director of highway safety.

Looks like a milking of the ca$h cow, and maybe that was the intent all along.

He said that while not every city and town across Massachusetts has participated, many — about 140 to 150 — have, causing a spike in ticketing during that month.

The State Police ticketing spree last month will certainly cause a surge in the 2016 numbers.

While enforcement has gone up overall, it is not uniform across the state. Over the six-year period, no tickets were handed out by local or State Police in 40 Massachusetts communities, mostly smaller ones in the western part of the state.

Findings from the data included....


Good thing Ma$$achu$etts ain't Missouri.

That explains the push for self-driving cars, doesn't it?


Google, Chrysler team up to make self-driving minivan

Start 'er up!

Former top Porsche developer, suspended in VW scandal, quits for good

VW clears managers of wrongdoing in emissions cheating scandal

Look out.....!!!!!

Takata air bag defect is traced to moisture and temperature

Takata recall could more than double in size

Takata predicts return to profitablity despite massive recall of air bags

Gotta place to stay for the night?

"US federal mediator Kenneth Feinberg rejected the Central States Pension Fund’s rescue plan that would have cut benefits for more than 250,000 working and retired union members. Feinberg’s decision upholds retirement obligations to members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. About two-thirds of the 400,000 members would have had their pension checks reduced under the rescue plan, some by 50 percent or more, documents show. Central States, one of the nation’s biggest multiemployer pension funds, pays out more than $2.8 billion in benefits a year. The decision could dim the chances for multiemployer pension funds to avoid insolvency by slashing benefits. Central States projects that, without the cuts, it will be out of funds by 2026 because it’s currently paying out $3.46 for every $1 it takes in."

Who stole your pensions as GM books record profits?

Rear hatch door prompts Nissan recall

Look what else was in the trunk:

"Nissan may move to take over Mitsubishi" by John Lippert and Steven McPherson Bloomberg News  May 11, 2016

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which has been battered by a scandal over falsified fuel-economy ratings [and] which admitted last month to cheating on the fuel-economy ratings, said on Wednesday that nine more models including a sport utility vehicle may not have been properly tested as the scandal spreads beyond the initial batch of minicar. 

I think it is safe to conclude they lied about them all. 

Orders for Mitsubishi vehicles in Japan have plunged since the company first revealed it had overstated the fuel economy of its minicars by as much as 10 percent. The scandal has also affected Nissan Motor Co., which sold two of the minicar models under a partnership agreement.

Nissan wasn’t involved in setting the fuel-economy targets for the minicars in question, Mitsubishi Motors President Tetsuro Aikawa said at the briefing. Mitsubishi had raised the fuel-economy targets five times for the minicar models to 29.2 kilometers/liter from 26.4 km/l in a bid to outperform the competition.

From 62 mpg to 70 mpg, according to print.

Mitsubishi Motors hasn’t sought support from Mitsubishi group companies and aims to solve the crisis on its own, chief executive Osamu Masuko said at a Wednesday press briefing in Tokyo. The company should be able to handle compensation with its own resources, he said.

Mitsubishi’s investigation into the cheating has been insufficient, Takao Onoda, an official at Japan’s Transport Ministry, said on Wednesday.

The automaker hasn’t provided a complete picture of its misconduct and hasn’t clearly explained whether there was any data manipulation in fuel testing of other models, he said....


Also seeNissan throws a lifeline to scandal-stricken Mitsubishi

They are pretty buoyant from what I read:

Honda, Nissan break records as auto sales stay hot in April

‘‘I think it’s full steam ahead,’’ said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book who doesn’t see any economic forces that would cause car sales to slow. Lindland said consumers are pulling sales up, and automakers aren’t creating demand with wild incentives or crazy lease deals like they have in the past.

Oh, yeah?

"With carmakers under pressure to maintain last year’s record numbers, they are once again turning to the same tactics that got them into trouble a decade ago." 

I guess a lot can change in three weeks. 

Either that or I'm being shoveled endless piles of $hit.

Lindland said they could even fall off a bit as GM and other automakers reduce sales to rental car companies. Still, she said, retail sales to individual buyers would be up, and for now, the outlook is still sunny."

At least that will dry out the turds they keep laying. 

Maybe you should just call a cab, 'er, whatever:

New app gives Uber a little disruption of its own

It's helping them get along with the union (shudder).

Sometimes you just have to stand up to the bully and knock him down, and I suppose it's better than waiting for the bus.

So when does lunch arrive?

"Where’s the cable guy? Your phone can show you" by Nick Wingfield New York Times  April 24, 2016

SEATTLE — Some parents find peace of mind in the location-tracking features in smartphones that let them keep tabs on their children. There are also the dog owners who can rest easy knowing that hired dog walkers are doing their job. And that the dogs are doing their business.

And then, there is the comfort of tracking your pizza delivery.

When Lora Mastrangeli orders one from Pizza Hut every other week, she does not just wait for it. She stalks it.

The moment her order leaves the nearest Pizza Hut, about 30 minutes from her home in Plano, Texas, the restaurant sends Mastrangeli an alert on her smartphone with a link to a map showing an image of a pizza delivery car driving toward her house. Since she knows her driver’s location, she knows precisely when to scoop her two small dogs up and sequester them in a back room to keep them from yapping at the driver.

“My husband and I absolutely love it,” said Mastrangeli, who works in sales for Nordstrom. “We’re walking out the door when he pulls up.”

Tyranny through data collection is so convenient. Moving toward a totally monitored world, inside and out.

People were amazed six years ago when the ride-hailing service Uber let them track the location of their drivers on a real-time map as they waited for a ride, rather than accepting the vague assurances of taxi dispatchers. Other tech startups followed with maps to pinpoint the location of all sorts of things, from shoes to food and the dog walkers.

And new services from Comcast and Time Warner Cable allow customers to see the exact location of the cable repairman on the way to the house.

The question, of course, is whether maps offer a bit more information but do little to improve underlying problems. Knowing where your cable guy is does little to address complaints about escalating prices.

“I’m not sure that’s the root of the problem,” said Frances X. Frei, a professor of service management at Harvard Business School and author of “Uncommon Service,” a book about customer service.

So does tracking your pizza on a map just make you feel better?

No. I always say pick-up. It's just around the corner. I could walk there if I had to.

“It’s pure psychological effect,” said Nicholas Goubert, head of project management at Here, a digital maps company that provides location data to Amazon and other businesses. “Your pizza is not going to come any sooner. But it’s moving.” 

A watched pot.... (knock, knock, knock).

Soon UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, may also begin showing customers exactly where their stuff is. UPS is exploring giving location maps of its familiar brown trucks to customers.

Executives at big, established companies concede that their moves are inspired by on-demand businesses like Uber, which have changed what customers expect from all kinds of services.

Not me. I expect to be treated like shit, and am.

“It brings that visibility and transparency that they’re starting to come to expect with the Ubers and Lyfts,” said Baron Concors, global chief digital officer for Pizza Hut, which began sharing the location of delivery drivers with customers in some markets about six months ago. “There’s a new bar for experience when it comes to delivery and transportation that everyone is going to have to meet.”

Just don't ask for it from government or corporations or expect to find it in their mouthpiece pre$$.

The technology behind most of this is not complicated. The maps typically rely on the GPS location provided by, say, a pizza delivery driver’s smartphone and triangulate that with Wi-Fi and cellphone tower signals to pinpoint a location.

In many cases, companies that provide customers with live tracking information have a practical motivation. The service is intended to eliminate situations when someone misses a knock on the door by stepping into the shower or backyard. A missed delivery or service call is a logistical headache companies want to avoid.

Yeah, it's all for the good.

The only question I have is why would you step out or into the shower when you know a delivery is coming? What idiot does that? 

I do know people who have called for pizza delivery and then passed out drunk. I was told pizza carriers left a note, said never deliver again.

“If they have to come back, they lose money,” said Bryan Trussel, chief executive of Glympse, a location-tracking startup in Seattle that works with companies like Pizza Hut, Comcast, and Time Warner.

Some companies are going to bizarre lengths to provide transparency to customers through maps. Last year, Wag, a startup in Los Angeles, introduced the mobile app that includes a live map that shows the pet owner the route of the Wag walker and pooch.

Joshua Viner, chief executive of Wag, said the map allows pet owners to verify that their dog is getting the amount of exercise the owner is paying for.

“There’s no way to cheat the system,” said Julien LoPresti, who works in sales and operations for a technology company in New York and has used Wag to find walkers for Reptar, his Labrador mix.

“It gives you extra confidence,” he said.

So much so that is where the print version ended it.

In the next month, Wag will go even further by allowing walkers to commemorate where pets relieve themselves by tapping the screens on their smartphones. Corresponding emojis will materialize on the apps of pet owners.

I'm choosing the third one down on the far right hand side, the one just above the devil sign from the Illuminati woman.

“It’s all real time — it’s almost like you’re part of the experience,” Viner said. 


Comcast was after a different experience when it began letting customers track the locations of technicians last year, part of a much broader initiative to improve customer satisfaction.

The company used to have four-hour appointment windows when technicians could arrive at customers’ homes, which confined the customers there for a good chunk of the day. Now Comcast has cut the appointment windows to two hours.

“The overall premise is we should always be respecting customers’ time,” said Charlie Herrin, executive vice president of customer experience at Comcast.

About 30 minutes before the two-hour window, Comcast sends the customer a notification through the Comcast mobile app giving a narrower, half-hour window when the technician expects to arrive. About 15 minutes before the technician pulls up at the home, Comcast sends a link to a map that shows the vehicle en route.

Frei, the Harvard Business School professor, said customers would be happier if Comcast were more precise with its appointment estimates from the start.

“What I’d like them to do is say, ‘We will be there at 3 p.m.,’ and then what I’d like to have happen is they’re there at 3 p.m.,” she said. “I wouldn’t need any transparency.”

We can always dream, can't we?


Look, a signpost up ahead:

"Senator seeks probe of billboards that use phone data to track shoppers" by Michael Balsamo Associated Press  May 01, 2016

NEW YORK — A US senator is calling for a federal investigation into an outdoor advertising company’s latest effort to target billboard advertisement to specific consumers.

Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, has dubbed Clear Channel Outdoor Americas’ so-called RADAR program ‘‘spying billboards,’’ warning the service may violate privacy rights by tracking people’s cellphone data via the ad space.

Only the U.S. government may do that!

‘‘A person’s cellphone should not become a James Bond-like personal tracking device for a corporation to gather information about consumers without their consent,’’ Schumer said in a statement ahead of a planned news conference Sunday in Times Square, where the company operates billboards.

That's what it is, and what is best is they have made you want to carry it.

But the company, which has more than 675,000 billboards throughout the world, argues that characterization of its program is inaccurate and insists that it uses only anonymous data collected by other companies.

Except it is all ultimately identifiable. They claim to make it anonymous, and yet at the same time want to personalize the ads toward you.

In a statement, company spokesman Jason King said the RADAR program is based on a years-old advertising technique that ‘‘uses only aggregated and anonymized information’’ from other companies that certify they’re following consumer protection standards.

Years old, huh?

King also provided The Associated Press a copy of a letter it sent earlier this year to another lawmaker who had raised similar concerns about the ad service and consumer protections, Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat.

The ad program is a partnership between Clear Channel and other companies, including AT&T and technology companies that collect location data from smartphone apps, company officials have said.

In a video on its website, Clear Channel says that it ‘‘measures consumers’ real-world travel patterns and behaviors as they move through their day, analyzing data on direction of travel, billboard viewability, and visits to specific destinations.’’ 

I know where I'm headed after this post.

That information, the company says, is then mapped against Clear Channel’s displays, which would allow advertisers to buy ads in places that would ‘‘reach specific behavioral audience segments.’’

The program gives marketers a ‘‘solution that provides a more accurate way to understand and target specific audience segments,’’ a Clear Channel vice president, Andy Stevens, said in a news release that announced the initiative in February.

Do they really need to spy on us to get us to fall for their lame pitches?

But, Schumer said, an investigation into the company is necessary because most people don’t realize their location data are being mined — even if they agreed to it at some point by accepting the terms of service of an app that later sells their location information.

The Federal Trade Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment....

Meaning they approved.


Starting to see why IHate blogging?

So where is your package?

"Don’t lose track of online deliveries" by Sarah Shemkus Globe Correspondent  May 13, 2016

Shopping online is a given these days. More than half of global consumers shop online at least monthly, according to a recent report by professional services firm PwC. And that translates directly into more packages making their way to our doors. Or mailboxes. Or that spot under the bush kind of near the driveway.

After one too many delivery misfires recently, I decided to investigate what consumers can do to maximize our chances of receiving purchases intact and in the right spot.

The first step is to take notice of the tracking information that should be e-mailed along with your shipment confirmation. Then, get proactive....

You can check your phone now.


Goodness, it's almost afternoon, meaning our trip for today is over.


Uber driver behind lawsuit now objects to $100 million settlement

Little late arriving, isn't he?

Want to Buy a Self-Driving Car? Trucks May Come First

It's a world without you and me, folks. That is what is being planned sooner rather than later.