Posts Tagged ‘Tube’

What do web trends and subway maps have in common?

April 9, 2009

Answer: Quite a lot if you live in Japan. Some clever people at Information Architects have mapped the most popular web trends of 2009 onto the Tokyo tube system map. Each rail line represents a topic – for example there is an Advertising Line, Entertainment Line and a News Line – whereas each station represents a particular trend, which could be a brand, person or internet meme.

But what’s really clever is that each web trend correlates to the characteristics of each real-life station. For example, if this was a map of the London Underground we might see YouTube represented as Liverpool Street, due its large traffic and association with flash-mob videos.  Similarly, Old Street might be Twitter due to the large population of social media types based in Shoreditch.


Obviously these subtleties will make more sense to those living in Japan but it’s an impressive piece of work none-the-less, and they’ve picked up quite a bit of coverage off the back of it too. Click here for a high-res version of the map.

Snowed under?

February 4, 2009
Dont forget your snowshoes...

Don't forget your snowshoes...

Anyone who was staring forlornly at an indicator board on Monday morning was asking the same question. How could London, a world-class city, be brought to its knees by a few inches of snow? Other major cities have to contend with continuous snow: Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Moscow, the list goes on – and these cities do not grind to a halt…

Buses were abandoned in their depots, planes were grounded, mainline rail services disappeared and most of the tube gave one last gasp and died. Many have seen this as a failure of technology to cope with the elements and have called for investment in new snowploughs and equipment to deal with the problems.

But Boris was right, this would have been a waste of money for a city that only occasionally sees heavy snow – especially when London’s problems had little to do with machines and everything to do with people. Many wondered how underground lines could be shut by snow. Because most of the drivers had failed to turn up for work, of course!

Similarly, the buses were prevented from moving because of the risk to public safety. Transport for London said all buses – which would normally carry 6 million people on an average day – had been withdrawn from service “due to…dangerous road conditions” endangering the public.

So was this a strike by another name? Did everyone just need a day off?

Well, it’s certainly true that for just a few hours people forgot about the credit crunch and concentrated on the crunch beneath their feet. That can’t be all bad.


30 minutes on the Tube

November 17, 2008


‘Travel with style’, is a phrase I always try to keep in mind whenever I frequent public transport. I apply this to my coat, shoes, handbag, and then accessories. This includes my phone – phones plural now actually, as I recently acquired a BlackBerry – something I’m really starting to like.

However, I was browsing the internet today at work, and I noticed an announcement about the ‘credit crunch phone’.  The new Samsung B130 costs just £4.95. £4.95!! Amazing.

Despite times being hard though – do we really want to sacrifice style when for about £50 more you could get a reasonably better looking phone? Who in their right mind would want to whip out a phone that looks like this on their daily commute, when it would ruin the rest of their stylish attire?

Call me shallow, but these things are important to some people – myself included!


The oh-so-chic brick phone...

30 minutes on the Tube

October 29, 2008

I had the unpleasant experience of having to travel on the Tube the other day minus music, as I left my iPod at home.

The results: not good. I thought my music blocked out merely the rattling of the Tube, however it turns out it blocks out a multitude of other sins. Namely – the interference of other people’s music on the tube. I’d never realised how irritating it is!

Therefore I believe some form of music etiquette should be followed at all times:

  1. Have your volume at a reasonable level – i.e. so no one else can hear the not-so-faint strains of some hideous happy hardcore tune blasting out by your left ear. There have been studies done in the past where MP3 manufacturers have had to set limits on the volume at which music can be played – clearly some MP3 players managed to avoid imposing this legislation.
  2. Do not hum, sing, or worst of all, whistle along with the tune.
  3. Don’t drum your fingers in an annoying ‘I want to be the drummer’ style tapping rhythm.

I obviously abide by my own rules at all times – although I have noticed I tend to attempt to do some form of mini-dance moves occasionally when on the train. Ultra embarrassing!

On similarly hilarious theme –  this made me laugh a LOT this morning. I think every seasoned Tube user has seen something similar to this:

30 minutes on the Tube…

September 30, 2008

…can bring up some interesting finds. I enjoy people watching, as does pretty much 100% of the population, and for me one of the best places to do this is on the Tube on my daily half hourly commute into work. It’s for this reason I’ve decided share with you all my foray into the world of 30 minutes on the Tube.

Today’s 30 minutes…’When technology fails’

I often spot people casually whipping out their BlackBerry/iPod etc and then revealing one of a few potential faces. I’ve reduced it down to three basic faces:

Happy: Phone is working and all is right in the world

Surprised: Phone is not working much to owner’s surprise

Angry: Phone is not working and this causes rage in the owner of said gadget.

I witnessed the ‘angry’ face this morning. A businessman, aged about 30 I’d say, pulls out his phone to check his emails/text messages so far for the day. It’s a new phone, very stylish and modern. He tries turning it on – but to no avail. He looks around, and tuts, once, very loudly. He tries taking off the back cover, checking the battery’s in there, and starts muttering, probably some form of expletive under his breath. He tries turning it on again. It’s simply not going to work. And then, out comes the ‘angry’ face. It’s amazing how we rely on technology and mobile phones in particular, and when they fail it’s seen by some, possibly many, as an absolute catastrophe. The ‘happy’ face and ‘surprised’ face weren’t present on the Tube today, maybe they got off before I got on? Either way, they don’t travel as regularly as the ‘angry’ face – especially when mobile phones are involved.

Next time

MP3 players and such-like: musical etiquette on the Tube…

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