Monthly Archives: January 2012

Machine that replaces railroad ties (video)

As I was pulling into my office yesterday, I saw a bunch of these machines removing old railroad ties and replacing them with new ones. I thought the machines were pretty cool so I stopped and took a video. If you have children who like interesting specialized machines, show it to them!

Photographs of the Houston Marathon should be “crowd-sourced”

I ran the Houston half-marathon yesterday and here’s an obvious idea that came to me: photographs should be crowd-sourced!

With more than 20,000 runners, I’d estimate there are probably 5,000 to 10,000 cameras shooting photographs from the sidelines– the friends and family of the runners. ┬áThe Chevron Houston Marathon should host a site where people can upload their photographs and the site would have the needed bib number recognition software to tag the photographs and make them searchable by bib#. How hard can that software be?

And the Cheveron Houston Marathon could do a *ton* of things with the photographs that are taken, for the purposes of marketing and promoting the race… Give runners the option of linking their marathon registration with their Facebook accounts and runners could check a box to allow the Marathon to post photographs of them.

And while we’re talking about it, why can’t the race organizers do a live stream of the entire run and also tie-in bib-number recognition so people can watch their friends and family run from home, from their iPhones, etc.? ┬áMaybe a harder technical problem and a harder problem from an infrastructure standpoint (ie you’d have the codec problem of supporting all viewing platforms, and in general it’s harder to build an at scale video sharing site than a photo sharing website), but for similar reasons, it’s worth doing.