June 15, 2007

mini-buses trying to disguise themselves as surveillance vehicles

catherine @ 4:14 pm

As a wheelchair user, naturally I use the Montreal Paratransit Service of the Société de transport de Montréal to travel to and from places that are just too far to get to using my own power or that of my power wheelchair. I have been using this service for almost 20 years now and it has often been the bane of my existence, to the point that I have always tried to find apartments that were close to work and to all the goods and services that I am likely to need on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there are times when I need to use adapted transit services as I do not drive and after all, Montreal is a big place.

I often get remarks from non-disabled people concerning adapted transit that eloquently reflects how clueless people are regarding this service. Things like: “Oh, you are so lucky, you get door to door transportation, like a limo service” or “There may be a few hassles once in a while but at least it is free, right?” or “Ok, maybe you have to pay a fare like us but it is far below the real cost of the service you get”, etc., etc.

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June 6, 2007

the nine billion eyes of god

catherine @ 7:21 pm

The title of this post is actually inspired by a short story by Kathy Kachelries, published in September 2005 on 365 tomorrows, called The Nine Billion Names of God. And when I read about the new street view service recently concocted by Google, I was instantly reminded of this creepy story about how, in the not too distant future, Google has swallowed up the Internet and basically defined who we are.

Anyway, this article, found via maxdesign’s always useful “some links for light reading” feature, illustrates exactly what I have been trying to get my flat-mate to understand in the last year. That privacy can not be taken for granted, even in one’s own home. That, for example, if you leave your curtains open in the evening with all the lights on full-blast, you can bet that someone out there will not be able to resist taking pictures and, why not?, post them on flickr for all the world to see. Now I admit, this has been a topic of moderate dissent between us but up until this morning, he just did not seem to (or want to) get it. After I showed him the aforementioned article, he just gave me the look, the one that means “shit, she has a point” but that he can not bring himself to say out loud. Euh, whatever.

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