Thoughts from the Bus: Subpar Internet

(Image source and a fun article about QR Codes courtesy of

Sometimes news is better late than never, that’s why I’d like to share this article about OC Transpo agreeing to release their GPS data by March 22nd. Personally, I’ll only believe it when I see it but whether they find a way to make the best app and milk the ad revenue or if an independent designer makes the app of choice, hopefully they take into account my former recommendations. I’ve decided I’d like the notifications to subtly buzz and stick to my home screen, the same way my Facebook wall posts do.

That being said, I recently took a trip to the center of the Canadian universe (Toronto) and it appears that technology meets a wealth of challenges when faced with public transit’s faster, more reliable option of the subway/metro line. I don’t know about the rest of the Big 3, but Telus fails me every time I head deeper underground (yes, that is a throwback to the 1998 Godzilla soundtrack). I get infinitely frustrated when all the subway ads present me with QR codes, websites and apps that I obviously cannot access while I’m a captive audience and will definitely forget about once I emerge into the sunlight. In fact, if I move to a large city, I may even need to invest in books again* or start accepting those grimy free daily newspapers I despise so much (a rant about how they should solely exist online is atrophying in my drafts folder).

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? I want to bump into some techies who can tell me whether or not there is any way to hook up the subway with wifi (though presently in Ontario, having more wifi in public spaces might be met with some protest, which I think is pretty questionable but I’m biased by my desire to wifi the whole world). Alternatively, I can envision the longest Ethernet cable ever, spanning the length of the subway train with millions of off-shooting wires connected to some sort of adapter that allows you to plug in your device – hmm, I just got flashbacks to the scenes in the Matrix where they plug in their brains, perhaps not the best idea. Anyways, there must be something. As we move away from print material and most entertainment and information gathering activities become available only through newer, online media (think about the death of personal files and anything that doesn’t exist in the cloud), there will need to be an answer.


*Alright, I still buy books. I don’t want to carry another $100+ device on public transit (my iPhone almost got smashed by a fellow rider the other day) and I always tell myself I’m going to highlight or digest the book in tactile ways that can’t be re-created perfectly on a reader yet. Plus, I lose files left and right, so having books on my overloaded shelves at least ensures the information won’t just disappear or walk away.

However, a recent experience has caused me to rethink this stance. Usually I buy my books online from Amazon (see? I’m not a luddite) but I was in a rush before my trip to Toronto and stopped at the Chapters store to scour for something to read on the bus since Greyhound doesn’t have wifi yet (though its local competitor Megabus sure does). Even though I was in one of the largest locations in the city and looking up relatively new books, most of them were unavailable but the machine boasted that I could always instantly buy them online for the Kobo. I’m not sure how this feature in a physical Chapters search kiosk could possibly be anything but frustrating considering that NO ONE takes the time to walk to the offline store to buy e-books, guaranteed. But don’t worry…I’m still aware the ultimate moral of this story is that I absolutely need an e-reader or a tablet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: