Today’s Train Ride

April 29th, 2007

I caught CalTrain from San Jose to San Francisco today. Two things about the ride stood out.

  1. Someone had brought their child with them to work. I have only a disembodied voice to go on, but I’d guess a 5 year old announced each and every stop between Sunnyvale and Hayward Park. (before presumably getting bored) I had thought we lived in too restricted and controlled a world for such bits of randomness and delight. Maybe only on Sundays?

  2. At several points someone who was not 5 years old got on the intercom and gave news update about the “MacArthur Maze blaze”. I’m trying to think of what other items have ever been newsworthy enough for the conductor to share en route and very very few come to mind. We are a culture that takes freeways very seriously.

MacArthur Max collpase scene
originally uploaded by pixieclipx

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One response to “Today’s Train Ride”

  1. Hey you are a bloody genius…..I have been searching for something like iCalico….and didnt know what to look for,….its an amazing story how I found you!!!!!

    But, let me not babble on….I want to use iCalico….how can I do that? I am organising an Innovation and Thought Leadership Festival for my company and bookings need to open next week. Please can you contact me at and I will call you. I am in Sydney Australia.

    I’d also like to use a variation of this code…or a supplementary function, to create the post-session feedback notes….hereunder is a note I wrote for someone else to help me find / build it? Can you do it…I am sure in the space of one cup of magic coffee!

    Help??? I am looking for an example of some manifestation by way of web technology for collecting lots contributions from lots of minds and showing it through a collective lens.

    Eg….I have 500 people attending a keynote-address. I would like to gather their feedback in bites no more than 140 characters (average mobile phone message). I’d like them to e-mail / text their feedback to an address, and as comments come in, through some form of computer-code, they are posted in a random fashion but they then cluster semantically in front of your eyes in a single web “page” – rendered a bit similar to a cloud list which picks up on key words.

    The page then produces a report on total number of comments received, top 5 words with their tallies.

    This is a way of visually representing and interpreting in a glance say 500 people’s contributions…a kind of cross between cloud lists, crowd-sourcing and Gapminder.

    Does it exist, and if not, can you build it for me?

    Annalie Killian