Dear London

Getting into the spirit of the Olympics

You were amazing. We realise that now. You hosted athletes from all over the world, put on a cracking Olympics, and did it without too many transport dramas.

We realised we can win when we drive ourselves as a country, we’ve got a shedload of gold medals, and countless more silver and bronzes. Our cyclists showed the world what meticulous attention to every detail can achieve. Don’t ever say we don’t make things anymore: we made amazing bikes, bikes that made champions.

We walked past the amazing beach volleyball venue at horse-guards and were warmed on spring nights by the cheering of hundreds of spectators.

We struggled past That Damn Website trying to get tickets, and when did get into the park the organisation was top-notch, the food was ok, and people smiled.

And we smiled when we left. We smiled at tourists. We smiled at the pink signs everywhere when we realised that the city wasn’t in meltdown. We yelled “GET IN” in public when we won things. We smiled watching our city on the TV hosting the marathons and triathlons.

So my plea, can we carry on smiling?

We’re one of only a few cities in the world that is truly global, and for these 2 and a bit weeks we’ve been even more-so.

London, you’re harsh, noisy, grimy – a big city with character, that’s the way it will always be.

But please, at least for a bit after the Olympics and Paralympics, can we keep on smiling?

On loving the internet version of Countdown

The web implementation of the TFL Busses countdown data is useful, and pleasing.

Every time I use or more commonly the mobile version I find it inexplicably pleasing. I thought I’d try to figure out why:

  1. It meets a real need. Knowing whether to wait for the irregular but useful 355 was the bane of a previous commute. If it was due I could be at Brixton in 5 minutes, if it was running late I could walk faster than wait the 15+ minutes for it.
  2. It super serves that need: no longer am I restricted to viewing the stop I’m at: I can answer “do i get this bus at stop x or that bus at stop y” from my phone. If services are rare, I can time my exit from the house to avoid standing in the rain.
  3. It just feels future-y. Interactions of things in the real world with that panel of glass in your pocket always feel a bit more special than posting a funny tweet.

I mean, sure I’ve nearly missed the bus arriving sometimes because I’ve been too busy checking when it’s due, but still, it’s just pleasing.