Choo Choo Paradise ?

The red line trains are going to be shut down south of Roosevelt! The red line is one of the main train lines in Chicago. The red line will be running on Green Line tracks for a couple months or until the construction has been finished. What will we do? Well, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has finally upgraded the bus/train tracker because of this major shutdown.

The upgrades that they have are as follows:

  • CTA riders can now know the duration of their trip from where they are now to their destination.
  • People can now search for stops that are near them. This will help if you are lost. Once you get on a CTA train, it is almost impossible to get lost once you get back to the loop or somewhere you are familiar with.
  • You can now type in your stop instead of having to scroll down the long list that was available. I remember when I was trying to look for the Adams and Wabash stop for the orange line and I was looking under the A’s, and it was not there. I had to scroll down the list about three times just to spot it.
  • People can now watch the trains move from their stop on their desktops when they are tracking their train to see where the train is at at that current time.
  • There will be “better schedule information: This will help riders who travel during off-peak hours and start their trips near the end of lines.”

Of course, the customers can still know when the train or bus will be coming to their stops once they check. CTA tried to make it more convenient for their customers.To be honest, I do not think the upgrade for watching the trains on the desktop was really necessary. That idea sounds really cool, but if I want to track the bus or train, I just really want to know what time it will get to the stop so I can start walking to the train station and get there in time.

I really like the upgrade for knowing the whole duration time for a certain trip. I just wonder if this duration time includes transfer time. For example, I want to go to O’hare airport. I have to take the orange line and transfer to the blue line, will this tracker help me determine my overall duration for this trip including my transfer time to the blue line?

Questions: If you do use the CTA bus tracker, what other upgrades would you like to have made available to you? Do you find the upgrade in the CTA bus/train tracker be more useful and convenient? Are there any of the new upgrades that you found to be unnecessary?


Saving Minutes With Facebook

Facebook has come out with a messenger app that allows free voice calling for iPhone users. How convenient would that be?! Instead of using our minutes, we could get free minutes! That is like a dream come true, right? There are positives and negatives about this app as well. Because this is a new app, it is understandable that there might be a few glitches, like almost every new product out there.

Some positives about this new free calling messenger app is:

1. This app does not need to be updated in order to be used.

2. You save your minutes! It is really helpful if you just happened to use all of your minutes, or your family used them up for you if you have a family plan.

3. You can get free calling in a tap of a button. There will be a circled “I” icon in the conversation that the user is in. The user can press that button and tap free call to have this free messenger app call the person.

4. You can leave voice messages.

5. This is like a regular messenger where there are emoticons that you can choose from.

Based on the following positive traits stated in the article, it does seem tempting to just switch over to Facebook. It is a phone and a regular messenger all in one! You can call, leave voice messages, and emoticons! Because I could leave “stickers”, which are emoticons, I would assume that I can leave text messages as well. Then again, there would have to be more information about the texting.

According to this article, the only negative to the new Facebook messenger app is that the quality is really poor. The sound of the other person was fuzzy and tinny. I would not want to spend time to just understand what the person is saying on the other side. People do not like lag! They want this convenient. Don’t you just not like it when someone is talking, and they are cutting up and you can’t hear what they are saying? In this situation, I get frustrated and want to attempt to make my internet faster. This is, again, understandable because it is a new app.

I have rarely seen a new released product that does not have a negative side to it. Because Facebook let people sample on them, they would get their feedback and, I would hope, further enhance the new messenger. By doing this, they would need an update.

Question: Would this new Facebook app be a new trend? I know there are many other messengers out there that have free texting and free calling, but they only give you so many minutes. After you use them up, you would have to pay for them. Therefore, with unlimited minutes, would people start to just go over to the Facebook application for calling, even with low quality? If this Facebook messenger application was enhanced with higher quality, would you decide to switch over to use this new Facebook messenger app?