O J Way Oren Rosenthal Austin,TX

Gaming the System - Driver’s Ed

Posted in Uncategorized by OJWay on April 19th, 2010 permalink

From Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic, I learned about DriveCam, a company that improves the way people drive. They make a device that when placed in a car records the exterior view and the driver. If it senses sudden braking, cornering, acceleration, or a collision, then the ten seconds before and after are uploaded and analyzed. Drivers are then coached appropriately.

They do great work with commercial fleets, where they’ve reduced crash rates by 30-50%. They’re now starting to use this technology for student drivers. As part of a trial in Iowa, they put DriveCams in the cars of high school students. Believe it or not, in Iowa you can start driving at age 14, so this is a very good thing.

But these students are clever, and they have figured out a way to game the system. Vanderbilt quotes one of the participants, who says, “I figured out how to beat the system. I just look way ahead and anticipate traffic and slow down for corners and I haven’t set it off in a month.”

Making Myself a Better Blogger

Posted in Uncategorized by OJWay on February 14th, 2010 permalink

I am a bit of perfectionist, and I usually won’t invest time in a blog post until I really really know I want to write it. Then I spend way more time than I thought I would. I take editing a lot more seriously since I realized my wife, Shana Burg’s income can potentially benefit from it. So thanks to Chris Clarke’s super-duper blog, Coyote Crossing, I now have a template on how to do it right - How to Write an Incendiary Blog Post.

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people.  .  .  .  .

I’m going to try it out in earnest, once I find a topic I really really want to write about. Keep your eyes open!

The Record Business Becomes the Music Business

Posted in Uncategorized by OJWay on February 10th, 2010 permalink

I’ve just seen an article that explained changes in the music business better than any other analysis out there (and I’ve seen plenty!) At first I was surprised that I didn’t read it in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, or Billboard - it was in the Wall Street Journal. But now I realize that makes perfect sense, because I often confuse music with the music business.

The big change is that music income is being viewed holistically, and this is called the 360 model. In the old days, record deals covered music sales, and tours were subsidized as promotional efforts to support record sales. The new deals cover music sales of course (and they predict that this year revenue from digital sales will surpass physical sales), but now touring, merchandising, licensing, and even corporate sponsorships are all part of the mix. Concerts are now a major revenue stream. I pulled some of the data from the article, the accompanying graphic, and other sources to break down the changes to the business models.

Old Model (1999)

Dying Model (2009)

New Model (2009)

#1 album in physical units: Backstreet Boys “Millenium”, 9.4 Million

#1 album in physical units: Taylor Swift “Fearless” 3.2 Million

Top Selling Digital Track: Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” 4.7 Million units

Top Selling artist in physical units: Michael Jackson, 8.3 Million

Top Selling Digital Artist – Lady Gaga, 15.3 Million units

Susan Boyle – 133,000 MySpace plays.

Lady Gaga - 321.5 Million MySpace Plays

Average concert ticket price: $36.84 ($47.18 adjusted for inflation)

Average concert ticket price: $62.57

Total album sales (units)

754.8 Million

Total album sales (units)

373.9 Million

Total revenue from digital channels: $4.2 Billion

Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA – 15 Million album sales

Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream” album sales: 546,000 album Sales

Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream” tour: $156 Million gross

So, to get from the music business back into the music, the article raves about Lady Gaga and says she could be the next Madonna. I think she is. And if you check out this clip from before she was Gaga, when she was Stefani Germanotta, you’ll see the biggest difference may be that Gaga has a whole lot more musical talent.

What Bug Is This? - Part 3

Posted in Science and Bugs by OJWay on October 27th, 2009 permalink

This bug I actually know. It’s the American Snout Butterfly, and last week they were all over town!

According to the  Austin American-Statesman, the drought we had all summer, followed by the heavy rains in October set up the conditions for this to happen.  

The rain knocks out parasites that feed on the butterflies, and the spiny hackberry plant, which nourishes the butterflies, becomes abundant. When the butterflies exhaust the food supply in an area, they move on.

On Saturday they were everywhere I drove. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Saturday night I discovered one of the butterflies had made its way into my garage, so I took this picture.



Bus Stations

Posted in Architecture by OJWay on October 14th, 2009 permalink

There’s a lot to like about the City of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Blues lovers will tell you all about that. But my first trip into town was at night. And right in the middle of downtown was this gorgeous Greyhound Bus Station!

The next day we were in Greenwood, just a ways down Highway 49, smack in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Guess what we saw there? A primo art deco masterpiece!

I figured there must be something going on. So I went in and ended up speaking with Lise Foy, Executive Director of an organization called Main Street Greenwood. It turns out these aren’t active Greyhound stations. Greyhound service no longer runs in that part of the Delta. But Main Street Greenwood is dedicated to rehabilitating historic downtown Greenwood. They renovated the old bus station for their offices, paying close attention to historical detail. Importantly, they’ve kept the original floorplan of two segregated waiting rooms. And it looks just as good as it did in the 1930’s.

Historic Photo of Greenwood, MS Greyhound Station in 1930’s courtesy of Main Street Greenwood.

Here is a site dedicated to classic Greyhound stations throughout North America, and their Mississippi bus stations in particular. 

Times Square Yoga. Should I believe this?

Posted in News and Events by OJWay on September 12th, 2009 permalink

Yoga in Times Square - Summer Solstice 2009

I saw this picture of a giant yoga event in Times Square, and it’s hysterical. But I couldn’t decide whether or not it was a staged photo. On the one hand, New York is the kind of city where you might find a babushka curious enough to try out this “yoga thingy”. On the other hand, New York is also the kind of city where a marketing professional or an enterprising photographer might seize the opportunity to set up a shot like this.

The photographer is Gus Powell, so I decided to try to contact him. Sure enough he responded, and this is what he said:

it was a serendipitous moment . . . something that i think new york is rather generous with. i don’t know where that fine lady came from but was certainly delighted to see her there. she was at a prime spot - so perhaps some soul in group that was running the event might have encouraged her to take that spot . . . or maybe she just got there early. . . who knows . . . i kept looking for other folks who might have been there with her but never found them . . . she had a wonderful giggle . . .

i took a mess of pictures that day and there were a few that i liked but i knew that that frame was probably gonna make the page . . . and was delighted that TNY was able to use it. it’s been great to get so many warm responses to the image.

Thanks Gus!

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