Applying Efficient Technology the the ‘Real World’

23 Feb
2007

There are few things in life that bug me than inefficient systems. I don’t

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mean inefficiency for the sake of art or beauty. Hell, I hate cellphones etc because I find it imperative to get a break from being connected all the time.

There are two common place systems that are the bane of me: traffic lights and elevators.

Now that I’m no longer in a bustling metro (Toronto), the elevator issue is mostly gone. But oh dear did it used to bug me – you would imagine such a system would put a high priority on efficiency. When I was in Toronto, I lived in a pretty upscale condo (my rent was 25% off as my friend owned a few condos in that building). I was on the 30th floor – my office view was fantastic (for those in Toronto, I was at Yonge/Yorkville and could see all the way up Yonge). But I remember once waiting 15 minutes to get to the bottom floor. Absolutely insane. You would think a building with three elevators would be able to get me down to the ground faster than 900 seconds.

And now traffic lights. While in Toronto, where the subway/walking was the norm (I miss walking), traffic lights weren’t a big headache. Now living in a more subarbanish US city (still with a population over 750,000) the traffic lights drive me insane. Green left turns that stay on when there was only one car (and why even bother with a green left turn). Lights that turn red because they are based on a simple timer. Lights that turn green for a single car and literally take over 30 seconds to turn over.

What bugs me about the above two is that the problems are not unique to a geographic area or special circumstance. They happen in every damn city everywhere in the world. You would think the control logic would be smart enough to make choices (as a computer engineer by degree I can see the logic involved).

3 Responses to Applying Efficient Technology the the ‘Real World’

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Mike Bogo

February 24th, 2007 at 2:00 am

A lot of cities actually have cameras and other trackers that they’re adding to lights. Unfortunately, they’re only slightly better than timers. Guess there just isn’t enough money in the industry yet…

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Ahmed

February 26th, 2007 at 1:26 pm

I don’t care if it is about money :) It is a municipal issue that the local government should be taking care of. It is in their best interests to keep traffic moving – it lessens road rage, which lessens the chances of accidents.

Elevators – that should be the development of an algo. Thinking in terms of OOP – an object that acts as the ‘elevator operations’, and then functions to addElevator, removeElevator, goingUp(floor_number), and goingDown(floor_number). I just don’t see how hard that would be to do :)

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