Those high speed Myki scanners

I was wondering what the government meant when they said “high speed scanners”.  Well, I visited Jolimont station to have a look myself.
No such thing as a high-speed scanner.  What they’ve done is add lots of normal scanners.

Mkyi High Speed Scanners at Jolimont Railway StationMkyi High Speed Scanners at Jolimont Railway Station

So assuming 500 people get off the train at Jolimont station station to watch the Cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, how long will it take them to leave the platform?

At a “touch off” time of 2 seconds, that’s 1000 seconds, divided by the number of scanners (8), equalling 2 minutes.

In comparison to 0 minutes under the Metcard system.  The Metcard system didn’t have “touch off” at most stations, including Jolimont.

Now the assumption I’m making is that the 2 second touch off time won’t change increase when 16 people (8 gates per platform at Jolimont) all try to touch off.  Normally a system will slow down when an increasing load is applied to it.

In my last post, Bec summed it up well:

For the amount of money they have wasted on the Myki system (by the way, Myki is an Incan word for shit), they could have achieved all of the following:

  • Tram conductors for the next 60 years.
  • Every station staffed for the next 50 years.
  • Concrete sleepers through the entire electrified network.
  • A single signalling system through the entire metropolitan network (currently there are seven)
  • Had enough spare change to roll out an extra six new trains.

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A week with the Myki smartcard

Post Office Box with Myki envelope Myki is the new ““smartcard”” travelcard which is to be used on public transport here.  Trains, trams and buses.

3 years late, $350 million dollars over budget, and it’s failed to deliver every promise.  Just like a typical IT project.

It doesn’t work on trams or buses yet.  Unlike train stations, trams and buses do not have a fixed landline to handle the communications back to the Myki processing centre.

Having said that, I’ve carried one for the last week, and here’s my opinion:

  • You need to “scan on” & “scan off” the system.  This takes about 2 seconds.
    This is a bit different to the current Metcard system where people don’t need to “scan off” at the majority of destinations.
    So, a “scan off” has been added for most people travelling home.
  • Will it scale?
    I wonder what the scan off delay is going to be, when there is 1 million people using the system.
  • It doesn’t work on trams and buses.  So if I want to catch a tram at lunchtime I have to buy an extra ticket.
  • The Myki card is readable scan though the thickness of my wallet, so that’s a plus.

For the most part, Myki does seem to work.  It’s a shame that it’ll take 19 years to recover the cost of Myki.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

Well, one definition of rapt is “to be transported with emotion,” which sort of describes the feelings of James Rowan and Dean Fidock, who headed South Australia’s State Transport Authority when Adelaide’s Metroticket system was introduced in 1987. According to another story in The Australian, the two said they were “stunned at the amount of money wasted in the Myki fiasco.”

Adelaide’s was the world’s first electronic ticketing system and, like what Myki is supposed to eventually do, covers buses, trains and trams. However, the Adelaide ticketing system only cost AU$10.5 million to develop.

Even accounting for inflation since the mid-1980s, AU$1.3 billion does seem a wee bit excessive for a ticketing system in comparison.

IEEE – The Risk Factor Blog

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Vista Performance: Is it really that bad?

Here is what Adam Breindel wrote: Vista Performance: It Really Is That Bad, which I saw via Robert Scoble’s shared google reader list.

My comments in reply:

Enjoyed the post, and I am going to "sit on the fence" with my reply (ie. I kind of agree with you, but don’t)

My background, spent the best part of 30 months as a Vista Beta TAP tester, and was involved in the SP1 test program.

We’ll disagree on NLA.  NLA is used by Windows Firewall to determine what network you are on.  If you are a member of a Domain, Windows Firewall will give you a Domain profile.

We’ll agree on Aero Glass.  Think it was Corey Hynes who said something like "You’ll run it for 10 ten minutes, then shut it off".

Performance.  Yes it is more resource hungry.  SP1 does improve things though.

For a corporate environment, give me Vista.  There are plenty of benefits to make it worth it (UAC for a start).
For a home user, Windows XP please.  I’ll even settle for Windows 2000, in a pinch.

My current work machine?  Dual processor 3.0ghz, 2gb ram,  Dell machine running Windows 2000.
The sitting on fence part?  Have not noticed a whole lot of usability difference between Vista and Windows 2000.

“Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers” – with a bug or two FREE!

From the Vista Team Blog

In my blog post on the subject, I noted that we were going to make SP1 available to customers in stages to make sure we delivered a great experience.  As I explained, one reason for this is that we are working through an issue with a small set of hardware devices that may not function properly after the Windows Vista-based PC they are installed on is updated to SP1.

– blogpost: Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers

And from my experience, it’s a problem which only has occurred late in the SP1 Beta cycle.  Didn’t see the problem with SP1 RC, but did with SP1 RC Refresh (6001).

The driver with the problem?  Well in my case, the Intel 2915ABG Wireless network driver.  I expected better from Intel.

Eating Your Own Dog Food – Windows Vista Testing

Windows Vista logoReaders might remember that I was testing Windows Vista…

Well I’ve just finished, and I’m back with the trusty Windows XP.

So why did I change back? Too many niggling problems with Vista.

Minor things like I can’t run a plugin for Microsoft Outlook, as it crashes part of Vista. And there is no PDA synchronisation support. OH SURE, they CLAIM there is support, just as I might CLAIM to have a John Holmes sized tool. It ain’t necessary so.

Another disappointing thing about Beta testing Vista, was the number of bugs I reported in the pre-Beta 2 build, which were closed as being “Fixed”, but weren’t. And they’re still not. I’ve seen the release timetable for Vista, and I doubt they’ll be fixed before the November manufacturing release.

So, eating the dogfood which is Windows XP, have I noticed any differences?
Well yes, two.

  1. The screen clarity is nowhere as good. Vista is of so much easier to read.
  2. The new “Photo Editor” and it’s crop function is the other.

My advice to customers wanting to upgrade? Wait for Vista Service Pack 1.

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Better to have and not need… – on self reliance, and the lack of, these days

windowsvistaSpent the last day looking at Windows Vista Beta 2. It’s amazingly stable for a Beta program.

Things I don’t like:
* Office update doesn’t work
* Some programs which worked under Windows XP don’t work here
* Not a whole lot of driver support yet.

Things I like:
* Security is much better.

I’ve blue screen’d it once so far in 24 hours. By installing software I just knew it would barf at. System Restore saved me.

For a beta product, it’s good.

Better to have and not need, than to need and not have…
Saw this in a security presentation some years ago, and was reminded of it when Cyclone Larry barrelled though parts of Queensland.

When I was living in the north, I used to keep a “cyclone kit” with 2 weeks worth of supplies. Soon as a cyclone watch was declared, straight down to the local servo to refuel both cars. Rest assured, if a cyclone was going to hit, it would be straight into the cars, heading down south.

Miranda Devine sums it up:
Australians, especially outside the big cities, used to pride themselves on their self-reliance and resilience, forged in a hard, unforgiving land. Now, according to images beamed back to Sydney, they have become helpless victims. A category five cyclone comes to town and it’s all the fault of Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Prime Minister John Howard.

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