If you’re ever riding a Citi Bike with a low or flat tire, skipping gears, a dragging chain, or otherwise in need of some serious TLC, return it to a dock and press the “wrench” button.

This does two things. First, it locks the bike into the dock, so that no one else can ride it before we fix it. Second, it activates a red light… which is why if you see a bike with a red light, you won’t be able to check it out! The red light is an indicator that the bike needs a repair.

Q: Don’t hooligans press the wrench buttons for fun?
A: The wrench buttons can only be activated for a minute or two after a bike is docked, which makes them harder to mess with.

Q: Can’t someone “reserve” a Citi Bike by pushing the wrench button to lock it in place and then come later to unlock it?
A: Nope. Once a bike is locked in with the wrench button it takes a special staff key to unlock it again.

Been using Citibike for a year+ and knew nothing about the “wrench” button nor what the red light meant.  Huh!  

(from the monthly Citibike email)


Less is more

I bolded the part that really resonated with me.  As much as I love this stuff, I am also finding I love *not* being connected for certain parts of the week / weekend.


I wasn’t in the audience at the time, but the very first time I saw the video of Steve Jobs presenting the iPhone to the world I was in awe.

Sure we had plenty of smartphones previously but this was something entirely different.

I pre-ordered mine as soon as I possibly could.

It had nothing to do with my work trying to understand the latest new thing. I wanted it for myself. After I had embraced this new thing, my mind opened up to a world of possibilities, for my personal life and my professional life. 

I pre-ordered the next iPhone and every other one that came out since. And last week I did the same thing with the iPhone 6. It looks like another insanely great product.

Last week, along with so many people around the world I watched Apple introduce the Watch.

It is a thing of beauty. It’s thoughtful, well designed and capable. 

But at this time I don’t have any plans to pre-order it when it becomes available. 

I really don’t want another thing to power up and charge in my life. I don’t want another thing to interrupt my moments.  I don’t want to see any sort of notification when I’m playing basketball in the driveway with the kids.  I am finding the joy of walking into my house, taking the phone out of my pocket and leaving it on the counter. 

I love the miracle of the mobile, high speed internet. But I want to choose my time with and without. 

There is a real possibility that by not getting an Apple Watch I will miss out on important emerging trends. That’s a concern I suppose. Or maybe developers figure out how to innovate and respect our time along the way.

There is also a chance I eat the words of this very post as we get learn more about Watch and as it’s capabilities radically improve as these things always do. 

But less is more in so many ways and this might be another example. At least that’s how I’m feeling at the moment. 


13 years ago today…

I wrote this on the 5-year anniversary of 9/11.  I re-read / re-post it every year. 

I was asleep when the first plane hit the North Tower. The boom must have woken me up as I remember looking at my alarm clock and thinking “8:46, why am I awake?” I was unemployed at the time (got laid off from Vindigo in June). Since I was awake, I got up, turned on my laptop, and went to get some orange juice (unemployed morning ritual). When I came back my screen was covered in IM windows asking me if I had seen what happened or knew what was going on. Someone wrote that the WTC was bombed. 

I was living in the West Village in that apt with big terrace out back and a ladder that went to the roof. My apt was probably about a mile from the Twin Towers. After reading those IM messages, I went out onto the terrace and saw the North Tower on fire. The hole in the building was enormous. 

I still didn’t know what had happened. I went inside, turned on CNN and watched as they were starting to pieces things together. I was watching CNN’s coverage as the second plane hit the South Tower. It was probably the loudest sound I’ve ever heard. Our TV was about five steps from the terrace - when I stepped outside I could still see the explosion happening. 

I spent most of morning running back and forth from my bedroom (laptop), to living room (tv) to the roof. The few friends I had who were still employed had no idea what was happening - most of the news websites were too slow to use and no one had TVs at work. I was posting photos online and trying to recap what CNN was reporting via IM. Cell phones and landlines didn’t work - everything was a fast busy signal. I had to IM Mike Ferrari (who was in DC) and ask him to call my parents to tell them I was at home and okay. 

There was about a half hour between when the second plane crashed and when the first tower fell. I was on the roof most of the time, watching though these binoculars I stole from my dad. I could see things falling from the building (which we later learned were people jumping). Inside on CNN, they had just figured out that the planes had left from Boston on cross-country routes, which is when I remembered my dad casually mentioning something during our Sunday Night Phone Call about flying from Boston -> SF for work. That felt pretty shitty. 

I was inside and watching on TV when the South Tower collapsed. In the two seconds it took to run from the TV to the terrace, there was already so much dust in the air (not near me, but downtown) that you couldn’t see either tower. I went to the roof. When the dust cleared you could see that there was only one tower standing. I never expected the tower to fall (did anyone?). I can remember standing on the roof just a few minutes before thinking things like, “How do they even fix a hole like that? Does scaffolding go that high? What’s it going to look like when the sun sets behind it?” I was watching from the roof as the North Tower collapsed about 30 mins later. 

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. We tried volunteering places (St. Vincent’s, the Armory) but got turned away. I found out (via IM) that my dad was fine as he flew out on Monday (not Tuesday). We got a bunch of our friends together and went out to dinner. I eventually moved out of the city for the winter, returning six months later to go to ITP @ NYU. I was fortunate enough not to have personally known any of the victims, though we all have friends-of-friends who were affected. 

Not really a teendrama-esque post, but I watched that documentary by the two French brothers last night on CBS - maybe the first 9/11 recap I’ve allowed myself to watch (Fahrenheit 9/11 doesn’t count) which is what motivated me to write this up. 

You can also see my pics and recap from 2001.

Here’s the original post from 2006.

Third, there’s a big button below the crown, again on the right side. Apple showed only one function for it: Press it to summon the icons of the people you communicate with most frequently, in order to send them texts, drawings, or — this is so cool — tap signals.

For example, when you want to leave a party, tap three times on your watch’s screen. Your spouse feels the same tapping pattern on her wrist, elsewhere in the room. Or you could send a silent “I love you” tap to your spouse’s wrist when you’re thousands of miles apart.

David Pogue on the Apple Watch.  <— this is a great quick read btw

IMHO this is the most interesting part of the Apple Watch story.  This mini-sketch/haptic communication stuff will inspire a lot of creative spin offs and experiments.

When I was a student at NYU’s ITP program, there was 1-2 projects a year like this — sharing lightweight presence and connectivity and often involving heartbeats and physical haptic nudges (“hey, i’m thinking about you”). Each project was all awesome in their own little way and you always wished they were real projects (and real projects that worked for longer than just a demo :)  The Apple Watch will bring a lot of these playful themes to the masses and that’s going to be cool to watch.