Thursday, October 3, 2013

Government program beginning even though it's clearly not ready!

Do you know where your Ventra card is?
It occurs to me that the headline on this post may be misleading for out-of-town web searchers surfing the Ether for snark about Obamacare. Sorry, Red State visitors, but here in Chicago we have Ventra. (Cue scary music.)

It wasn't until last night, after reading 43rd Ward Ald. Michelle Smith's email newsletter, that I realized I won't be able to put any more money on my CTA Chicago Card as of Monday.

I'd received an email from the CTA -- some time ago, come to think of it -- telling me that my Ventra card would soon be arriving in the mail.

But it hasn't arrived.

At least it hasn't arrived in my mailbox.

According to the Chicago Tribune, it is entirely possible that CTA customer Dan Lasky may have gotten my Ventra card, and probably yours as well.

The Tribune website features this picture of Mr. Lasky's mailbox and the linked article notes that Mr. Lasky has been informed that he also has another 'tray' of mail waiting for him at the Post Office.

I have noticed some Ventra cards already in use. It's been hard to miss the people cursing, pounding, or jumping from turnstile to turnstile trying to find one that will read their super-duper high-tech Ventra card. And I've been reading the horror stories about multiple fares being deducted by the Ventra card without the customer's knowledge: The 'old fashioned' Chicago Card tells you your balance when you enter the turnstile; you can quickly verify that the machine has deducted the expected amount -- but there's nothing analogous on the Ventra system.

I know I'm supposed to be reassured by more recent press accounts that say that the initial glitches in the Ventra rollout have been fixed, but my 'early adapting' days ended forever many years ago when I purchased what today we'd call a notebook computer equipped with Microsoft Windows for Pen Computing Version 1.0. (Cue more scary music.)

I was hoping to stall Ventra off until at least Christmas.

Apparently that will be impossible.

Mr. Lasky, I'll be stopping by your apartment this evening looking for my #@$!& Ventra card....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Justice James Epstein on NTNM

Appellate Court Justice James Epstein is one of Avy Meyers's guests on this week's edition of North Town News Magazine. NTNM is shown on CAN-TV 19 in Chicago on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and on Fridays at 2:30 p.m. In Evanston, NTNM airs on ECTV 6 on Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. NTNM airs on several other suburban cable systems; consult your local listings.

My thanks to Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew, Sonny Hersh, for allowing me to share Justice Epstein's NTNM appearance here.

My most recent appearance on NTNM

Avy Meyers was kind enough to invite me to appear recently on his North Town News Magazine program. This is that interview. My thanks also to Avy Meyers's entire technical crew, Sonny Hersh.