Saturday, November 28, 2009
One of the essential steps in any kind of open-source collaboration would be some kind of classification shorthand to enable the parties to better reference their work, and the work of others. For example, if I want, presently, to refer to a system in which the vehicle is perched on a vertical extension of a captive bogey which extends from a slotted track, I have call it an “ITNS” or “Ed Anderson” design and mention Taxi 2000” or “SkyWeb Express”, (or vice versa) to be evenhanded. Making comparisons and design offshoots using those and a few other systems in a single discussion could get pretty confusing. The confusion would extend to procurement, contract awarding, etc. At some distant future point, someone will create some kind of certification process for aspects like track construction. That’s kind of hard when you can only describe the track in terms like, “It’s like the ULTra track but it will have screened middle sections like MegaRail…with a third rail…”
Originally I was going to fold this all under the “SMARTS” umbrella, (Small-scale Modularized Automated Rail Transit System) but realized that some important systems fall outside of that description. (A little note here. I think I like “Standardized Modular Automated Rail Transit” better. It is more descriptive of what I am up to…) Anyway, I believe breaking up the systems by key attributes, rather than vendors and inventors, allows a more substantive dialogue.
There are also obvious disadvantages. First of all, without the above picture as a key, nobody can use the system to classify anything. Secondly, who really knows the exact numbers to put in for the various systems except the designers themselves? I imagine one half-solution would be to simply “x” out the unknown latter details, so that the ULTra would be a “BGBxx” while MISTER would be a TIxx and I have been designing a TELxx, but Anderson likes the BELxx.
All I can say is that just because I don’t have the resources to make something happen, it doesn’t mean it is entirely useless to point the way. After all, classifications are essential for everything else, including roads, bridges and the vehicles on them.
Finally, I would like to thank alert reader “afransen” for pointing out that I can feature recently posted comments on the main page. (On right, scroll way down) This may help stop threads from going dead so quickly. Unfortunately it doesn’t show which post the comment refers to. Perhaps very alert readers will learn to preface their comments with a post number when they are commenting on older threads, which I will do myself. We’ll see how it goes. I’d love to see the threads get more content rich over time.
This feature is one of what Google calls “Gadgets” and it turns out that there are a whole lot of them, including the our new search feature. Believe it or not, I have been spending time every day this week creating an index. If I had known about the search “gadget” I would not have bothered. Now that it’s half done, I will probably finish it. If anyone cares, it is post zero. (oldest of the old posts) It links to posts by subject matter. When it is more complete I will show it as a link under the search bar.