Tuesday, May 24, 2016

LYFT And Their Shameless Caltrain Marketing

So maybe you've heard or not, but the heated competition between Uber and Lyft sounds pretty crazy. But from what I can tell, Uber has this fight, hands down.

But historically speaking, Uber apparently or allegedly got down and dirty at times when competing with Lyft in the early days. Now I don't know about what went down during those earlier times, but I can tell you this:

As a rider of Caltrain in the Bay Area, some of my Twitter feeds are getting pummeled by Lyft. In a shameless fashion.

One morning I did a search on Twitter for Caltrain tweets and more than half my feed was full of Lyft ads referencing Caltrain. After I had a conversation with the official Caltrain feed, the Caltrainer announced that the various posts from Lyft were spam bots.

So a blocking I will go!

On that day, I blocked two different Lyft Twitter accounts.

Maybe a week later I started getting more Lyft spam in my Twitter feed and saw that they started a few more new spam bot Twitter feeds.

Today, I found my feed besieged by a few more Lyft spam Twitter accounts.

On Twitter, I've marked as spam and blocked the following accounts, so far:

Lyft Dashboard - @LyftDash
Steve ‏- @cheapo7
Free Lyft Rides - @10FreeLyftRides
Lyft ‏- @lyftoffer
the dealzer - @thedealzer
test pageSocial - @testpagesocial1

Then there's what happened today.

We had a suicide take place on the tracks... and within the hour Lyft was spotted at the closest Caltrain station handing out flyers to "Lyft to work and save time," in what seemed to be a shameless moment to take advantage of the obviously sad situation.

If anything, Lyft has convinced me exactly who to not ever use for my ride-sharing needs. Period.

I don't support ghoulish, creepy or spam-riddled marketing ploys.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

CALTRAIN's Communications, The Good and The Sadly Bad

Over the last several months I have noticed an improvement in how Caltrain in the Bay Area communicates with its riders during unscheduled events.

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A few months ago when riding the train, there were times my train would come to a complete stop, or slow to 10mph in a 75mph zone. And the ridership was never told one damn thing.

But as time went on, things seemed to improve as the conductors started to pass out information on why we were crawling. (Broken UP signal intersections.)

And they are getting slightly more chatty in general.

But today a new wrinkle slammed into the communication efforts by Caltrain that just seemed unacceptable.

This morning (Mon, 5-23-16) another person stepped out in front of a Northbound train in Burlingame, forcing the train to stop.

I found this information out because I had learned a long time ago that surfing Twitter for the term "caltrain" brought up more information that was pertinent to my travels than anything else.

And it was on Twitter that I followed the travesty that comes from a suicide on the Caltrain tracks.

Caltrain and a few other Twitter users helped the transition of information flow about nicely, so for those on social media, the information was out there.

But sadly, despite at least 30% of my train's compliment of riders looking to switch trains at Tamien and San Jose to head into San Francisco, not one word was delivered to the passengers via either the conductors on the trains or by the electronic signs at the stations.

Google's PICASA Is Going Away

Google's Picasa is going away and maybe you should be aware of that for when the time comes and you are heavily invested in the process from over the years.


Add Picasa to the long list of other Google products that have gone by the wayside at the behest of Google itself.

Back in February Google announced the slice and dice of Picasa.

They reported that in March of 2016 the desktop application will no longer be supported. I'm fine with that, I hated how the app tried to categorize all images on your computer and would not give you the option to turn that off.

But what will be happening is that Picasa will be transitioning to a new platform or name, Google Photos.  Or in other words, it's possible that since no one took to Google Photos, this is how they're forcing for folks into it.

Any how, they're retiring Picasa and consolidating into Google Photos.

They do recognize how many folks have kept up their Picasa albums and said they were taking the time to make this change happen in the best way possible, so there's that.

What they have done is mostly already done.  What was in your Picasa Albums is already over under http://photos.google.com/ .

But if you had tags, captions or comments, those didn't go in the transition, at least from what I gather. And that's what Google is working on.

The changes were scheduled to start rolling out on May 1st... so brace yourself.

Though to be honest, since they've transitioned Blogger over to using Picasa images some years ago, I have to wonder how they'll handle those transitions?  We'll see.

Here's the blurb on the transition:

Moving on from picasa

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Recalls From Sam's Club, Walmart And a Deadly One From Polaris

Alltrade Tools Recalls Ratcheting Tie Downs Due to Injury Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Sam’s Club

The ratchet handle can fail during use, releasing the secured load, posing an injury hazard to consumers.

Contact: Alltrade Tools at 800-994-4343 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at www.alltradetools.com and click on Recall for more information.

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Polaris Recalls RZR Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles Due to Fire Hazard; Severe Burn Injuries, One Death Reported.

The recalled ROVs can catch fire while consumers are driving, posing fire and burn hazards to drivers and passengers.

Contact: Polaris at 800-POLARIS or 800-765-2747 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off-Road Safety Recalls” on the main page of the Polaris website.

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YTL International Recalls Drywall Lifts Due to Injury Hazard.

The drywall lifts can fail during use causing the load of drywall to fall onto the lift operator, posing an injury hazard. (Yea, that sounds like no fun.)

Contact: YTL International toll-free at 888-723-6534 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or online at www.ytlinternational.com and click on RECALL for more information.

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Walmart Recalls 1.2 million Rival Electric Water Kettles Due to Burn and Shock Hazards.

The heating element can fail and rupture, posing burn and shock hazards to the user.

Contact: Walmart at 800-925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Saturday, or noon and 6 p.m. Sunday; or visit the company’s website at www.Walmart.com and click “Product Recalls.” Consumers can also  visit  http://walmartstores.com/contactus/feedback.aspx.

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Monday, May 2, 2016



Check out these recalls below and see if they impact your day-to-day use!

Coleman Recalls Flashlights Due to Fire Hazard   

Product: Coleman® CTAC Lithium-Ion Flashlights

The lithium-ion batteries can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Contact: Coleman at 800-835-3278 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at consumerservice@coleman.com or online at www.coleman.com and click on “Safety Information” under the “Customer Support” tab at the bottom of the page and then click on “CTAC Lithium-Ion Flashlight Recall” for more information. 

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Fisher-Price Recalls Infant Cradle Swings Due to Fall Hazard

When the seat peg is not fully engaged the seat can fall unexpectedly, posing a risk of injury to the child.

Contact: Fisher-Price at 800-432-5437 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.service.mattel.com and click on Recalls & Safety Alerts for more information.

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IKEA Recalls Children’s Bat Cape Costumes Due to Strangulation Hazard

Product: Children’s LATTJO Bat Cape Costumes

The fabric hook and loop fastener at the neck of the bat cape can fail to detach readily during use.

Contact: IKEA toll-free at 888-966-4532 anytime or online at www.ikea-usa.com  and click on Press Room at the bottom of the page, then Product Recalls for more information.

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Ivanka Trump Scarves Recalled by GBG Accessories Group Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard.

Contact: GBG Accessories Group toll-free at 888-771-9047 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or via email at IvankaTrumpRecall@globalbrandsgroup.com for more information.