It was nice to see Philadelphia mentioned several times for forward-thinking use of technology. I wish we did more of what’s in this article.

Tomorrow’s cities – the lamp-posts watching every move

By Jane WakefieldTechnology


It’s not like the sensors are going to diminish. What seems like it might be an invasion of our privacy will be looked at differently. Regardless of whether or not it’s looked at positively or negatively, it must be looked at MORE.

Because somebody will be looking at it.

Here’s a related piece I saw today regarding the future of shopping.


A street full of sensors: facial recognition, payment from your phone, expanded information on expanded bar codes, kiosks for ordering from anywhere so your package is at your home when you get home, or delivered to you while you wait by a copter-drone. The 3D printer will be the biggest innovation since the internet began if it progresses to the level of a future printing shop for all to visit.

It makes me think that retail shops better get used to the idea of sharing space with one another if they want to be able to keep their shops.

Food and coffee shops will always be in need. Unless we can find a way to 3D print them, too.

friday afternoon

Here were the steps around three o’clock on Friday afternoon…

I went to get a soda from the vending machine…it got stuck.

I looked all over the vending machine twelve times until I’m absolutely sure there’s no number to call.

I ask three people, who all tell me there’s a number to call on the vending machine.

I find another vending machine that has nothing to do with this, and call the number I find on there.  They promise to tell a supervisor, then tell me to visit a receptionist on another floor that will give me my money back. 

I decide to print this info out before going to that floor to get my money back, so I type it up and hit print.  I go to the printer and see that it wants toner.  I look around and see no toner nearby, then find that there’s a hundred jobs to print in front of mine.

I ask several people near the printer and they say you have to call the help desk.

I delete my print job, and go back to my desk.  There’s another printer I can use, in the same room that has the bad vending machine.  I go to add the printer to my machine, but it won’t let me because it can’t find the drivers on the network. 

I go back and forth twice, until I’ve downloaded and installed the drivers to the printer in several different versions to no avail.

I just wanted a soda.  Nobody fixes these things because of getting lost in the very abyss that I’m in now where everything is broken and disconnected and the answer is always somewhere else.

No, I will resolve this, or I will bite somebody.

I call the help desk, which asks me a bunch of questions that don’t seem related to the problem at hand.  What’s my employee id, because my name isn’t good enough.  I give them the number on my picture id card.  Not good enough.  What kind of toner is needed?  They tell me to go back to the printer and look on the screen.

I do, but the error on that screen is now complaining about something else.  I play with it for about a half a minute and can’t understand what its problem is now, and I can’t get back to the original toner error.  I start feeling the stirrings of a world where screaming and biting are the norm.  This is why nobody called the help desk.

I get back to my desk and tell the help desk person that I don’t know what’s wrong but to just come here and fix the god-damned printer and add the driver to this other printer while they’re here.  Can’t do that, it’s a completely different job ticket.  They saved me from biting my own hand by not making me call again. 

I just want my soda.  I crudely write what to do for vending problems on a piece of paper that I stick to the vending machine. I briefly consider adding an anatomically impossible suggestion.

I had to fill out another report for the receptionist that gave me my money back.  She told me to drink more water because it’s better for me.


Philly & TianJin


Okay, not good enough.  The whole text of the article follows my next paragraph:

I have images of our Chinatown expanding, as it already is.  I like it.  I have images of Drexel, Temple, or U.of Penn.’s Universities (the baseball caps that Mayor Nutter wore while in TianJin) expanding.  I see TianJin residents wearing Eagles, Phillies, Flyers & Sixers apparel.  I see a whole lotta good for both of us.  I wish I knew how Philly can answer TianJin’s needs, and how to be a part of it.  Just working with TianJin can answer ours.  If only the futuristic super-rocket-train existed here and through the oceans.  Say, Philly to LA, LA to Shanghai, Shanghai to TianJin.  I’d be having dinner in TianJin late tonight. 

Nutter in China, recruiting investment for the city

December 06, 2012|By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer

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At a Beijing school, Mayor Nutter helps with a Sesame Workshop effort to raise environmental… (JENNIFER LIN / Staff )

BEIJING – For a trip that started with an unplanned encounter with a man dressed as Santa Claus doing a Rocky run up the Great Wall, it was only fitting that Mayor Nutter should wrap up his five days here with a photo-op next to Big Bird in a schoolyard.

The mayor’s trip had many surreal moments, but there was serious business as well.

Nutter was invited to China as a speaker for a conference hosted by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, whose think tank in Chicago is tackling the critical issue of making China’s megacities more livable and sustainable. Nutter, like Big Bird, was recruited to get the message out.

During his stay, Nutter – "Na Te," his name in Chinese – stepped into many roles, swinging adroitly from one to another.

There was Nutter as statesman and Nutter as pitchman. One moment he was signing a memorandum on future city-to-city cooperation with Tianjin’s mayor, the next he was meeting in the offices of Air China to argue for nonstop service to Philadelphia International Airport.

There was Nutter as wonk and Nutter as student – now explaining to Chinese policymakers his pledge to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States, then listening as Tianjin officials described the breakneck economic reinvention of China’s fourth-largest city.

But what about Nutter as mayor?

As sure as Eagles fans like to take potshots at Andy Reid, someone is certain to snipe that Nutter has more important matters to tend to at home.

Nutter argues that this type of trip is just what he should be doing.

The trip was paid for primarily by Select Greater Philadelphia, an economic-development marketing organization, with some contribution from the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia.

"From time to time, I will have to get out of City Hall," Nutter said in an interview at the end of his trip, "and I’m doing my job, which is to try to get more jobs and investment in Philadelphia."

Baseball cap diplomacy

Not since the legendary visit of the Philadelphia Orchestra here in 1973 have the Chinese heard the name Philadelphia mentioned so much – from a Beijing conference on cities attended by Chinese policymakers and officials, to television and newspaper coverage of his visit.

Even the mayor’s daily choice of a baseball cap has been a rotating plug for Temple or Drexel Universities, or the University of Pennsylvania.

Nutter’s first order of business was a two-day visit to Tianjin, 70 miles east of Beijing.

Thirty-two years ago, Philadelphia became a sister city of Tianjin. It seemed like a logical match. Both were ports that had seen better days and suffered in the shadow of more prominent neighbors; Tianjin is to Beijing as Philadelphia is to New York.

But Tianjin’s fortunes have gotten a major boost from the country’s central planners, with an infusion of investment that can only be viewed as spectacular. Just as Shenzhen and Shanghai’s Pudong district have been anointed as national economic hubs, so has Tianjin. Its economy is growing at a rate of 20 percent a year.

The central government wants to develop Tianjin as a national magnet for attracting and developing China’s clean-energy economy.

"Clean energy is the government’s current priority for a 21st-century industry," said Merritt T. Cooke, a former diplomat in the U.S. commercial service and founder of the China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia.

His nonprofit is trying to foster collaboration on projects between regional businesses and institutions and Tianjin counterparts. Cooke was part of Nutter’s delegation, which also included representatives from Drexel, Fox Chase Cancer Center, the White & Williams law firm, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp., and the orchestra.

The mayor’s appearance, Cooke said, will get people’s attention here. "The Chinese will not take any institution’s engagement seriously without there being a strong validation at the government level," he said.

The main event in Tianjin was a meeting Tuesday between Nutter and his counterpart, Huang Xingguo, an unelected Communist Party official who administers the megacity of 13 million.

This was no meet-and-greet with a box lunch.

Nutter, the first Philadelphia mayor to visit Tianjin, was welcomed at the city’s government guesthouse, built within a moat and designed to radiate power. A police escort with lights flashing delivered Nutter in a black Mercedes-Benz to the front door. His entrance was the cue for a pianist to begin playing a grand piano.

Heels clicking on the marble, Nutter was escorted into a cavernous reception hall and seated in a red armchair next to Huang in front of a giant mural of the Great Wall.

More than 50 Chinese officials sat on Huang’s side of the room, eyes fixed on Nutter. "I was a little nervous," Nutter admitted later.

In a separate signing room, Nutter and Huang penned a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on many levels, including making their cities more sustainable – a pet issue for Nutter.

Each of the other Philadelphia emissaries also signed agreements with Tianjin counterparts, before everyone convened for a banquet and toasts around a table the size of Logan Circle.

Whether the pomp translates into tangible results is up to Nutter.

He has already invited Huang to visit Philadelphia next year.

"I don’t think either of us," Nutter said, "has any interest in this just being a ceremonial signing."

Shuttle recruiting

For two days in Beijing, Nutter shuttled between the Paulson Institute’s conference at the China World hotel in central Beijing to private business meetings around town.

On Tuesday, Nutter joined Mark Gale, chief executive of the airport, at the headquarters of Air China. On Wednesday, he met with Ambassador Gary Locke for a forum on investment with China-based U.S. executives.

Having the mayor join him, Gale said, "sends a very, very clear message that the city and region are very serious about our desire for new air service."

At the Paulson conference, attended by about 200 Chinese policymakers, scholars, and officials, Nutter the policy wonk was in his element.

Nutter, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, shared a panel with Beijing’s acting mayor, Wang Anshun. Beijing’s biggest problem: a population growing by one million people a year.

Philadelphia’s has grown by 11,000 people since 2010. Even so, Nutter told the audience, mayors everywhere have to make sure that the air people breathe is clean and the water fresh, and that cities remain inviting places to live.

Through a translator, Nutter enthused about solar-panel trash compactors, storm-water management, and the increase in recycling, as well as the uptick in college students and empty-nesters who want to stay in Philadelphia.

A Chinese journalist afterward declared his presentation "fantastic."

Unscripted moment

During his trip, Nutter carried around with him a thick blue binder filled with schedules and talking points.

In a rare unscripted moment, after the pomp and ceremony with the Tianjin mayor, Nutter ditched his black Mercedes and jumped into a bus carrying the rest of the Philadelphia delegation.

Nutter was pumped. It was a postgame pep talk.

"As Philadelphians, we often downplay what we have to offer, that we’re not good enough," he told the others. "I’m trying to break that."

He reminded them that Tianjin is just one of seven sister cities of Philadelphia. "It’s time for us to open ourselves up," the mayor said. "We can’t be a secret anymore."


Let alone making a model of it, I very personally think the Millenium Falcon is the second perfect place to live. I mean, seriously, my apartment would be comparable in size….maybe a little bigger, still it could be done. And my commute would be better; I’d just fly to work.

But my first choice would still be some of the castles I’ve seen in various vampire movies, populated by as many of the “Hammer Horror” actresses as I’ve seen over the years as would be legally safe. Commute would be a showstopper, though.

Now, the perfect world would be if I had the Falcon parked in the castle’s courtyard or something…

So I had said that there’s nothing like a deadline to make you effective.  A deadline where people are coming over and you have to have a home that’s worthy of human consumption.

Well, the deadline was today, and the people playing the role of making me responsibly effective are my veterinarian and assistant.  This is the first year that they’re doing house calls, and I wasn’t going to let them in today without picking up and cleaning up around my place…enough work to make me hurt waking up this morning.

Anyway, they cancelled because they’d be driving through rush hour plus snow, and I didn’t complain.  Just gives me more time to finish going through my archeological dig of an apartment.

Note to self: don’t try to carry four boxes of books upstairs after running 2.5 miles.  It’s because of that we’re not running tonight!

At least the heavy work is out of the way.  Now, it’s just piece-meal.

Saw another Luther episode last night.  I’m really enjoying the dark nature of the storylines, as well as the tension between Alice and Luther, although I might be the only one thinking that.

I’ve discovered the British show Luther, which adds nicely to the list of Criminal Minds, CSI-NY, NCIS, etc. that I’ve been watching.

I’ve only seen the first two shows, but I like it so far.  I like the fact that it’s in England, which is a change from all the American shows I’ve been watching.  Luther’s a bit on the edge, which doesn’t hurt a detective character either.  Probably a bit more on the edge than the other shows I’ve seen, but I like it.

Changing the genre completely, I queued up the first season of Downton Abbey for me to watch, after being told by many that it’s all that.  It sounds intriguing, though not my normal cup of tea.

I wonder what TV shows the characters in my book are watching, and if I could stand it.

On that note, I started them blogging once again.  Hope I stick with it this time.

Ran last night, then watched Luther for 2 hours.  Can’t repeat that tonight…have to clean up the archeological dig that is my apartment.  Nothing like having someone over to really get you to clean up.

update ova heah

Some updates since the last I posted in here…

Mike Carey (of Felix Castor series) is now one of my favorite authors; I’m caught up with the series and now have to wait impatiently for the next one to come out.

I got a Kindle Fire, making me an e-reader reader.  It took a little while to get an e-book that I knew would give me the page-turning experience I needed to get into the device.

I love the fact that it’s also a tablet running android since my phone is also android.  So, NOW, I can read books on my phone, kindle, and my pc if I wanted to.  And they all remember what page I was on.

Curling up with a good book was taken to a new level with the Kindle Fire because of several reasons.  One, it has it’s own backlight – meaning you won’t have to turn any lights on when reading.  This is important because when you’re falling asleep and you get up to turn off the lights so you can have a nap, you end up not because now you’re awake.  With the Kindle, you just fall asleep, the book turns itself off and when you get up again you start reading again.  I did that for several hours one wintry day.

On the downside, I almost ran out of battery while at the laundromat, which would have sucked because I would have been stuck without a book to read for twenty minutes.  A felony at the laundromat.  I have to make sure I bring the power cable for certain occasions like that.

Been eating better this year which was one of my new year’s resolutions.  All isn’t perfect but I’ve been getting my nutrition through food, so that’s good.  I haven’t done as much running as I wanted to, but I have done some each week. 

I’ve been toying with the idea of fasting one day a week, followed by a juice fast the next day.  I figured Mondays were a good day to start with the fast.  Fail.  I had a headache and finally ate a bowl of soup around 1:30 today.  Then I needed a mountain dew to give me some caffeine because the headache didn’t go away.  Finally, I needed some doritos because it’s comfort food and technically I didn’t do so bad…see how easy the rationale breaks down?

We’ll see how the week goes.  More on this topic later.

I’ve been reading a John Le Carre novel because I really felt I needed to read one of his since I love the spy genres.  Having a real hard time with his style of writing in A Perfect Spy.  I just got the movie on NetFlix, thinking that watching that might help me with the novel because I’m just not into it and I don’t like putting a book down.

And lastly, I’m watching early seasons of NCIS, CSI NY, & Law & Order –
Criminal Intent.  I already watched the whole of Criminal Minds up to a few episodes ago.  I’m thinking a lot of how a paranormal element would do with any of these shows.

Much more on that topic later.