Boston Parking Improvement

New to South Boston is smart parking. Starting on Wednesday people will be able to use an app called “Parker” designed by Streetline, Inc in order to see if they can find parking in the Seaport area. Use the links at the bottom to direct to the apps, on Android and iOS. The city of Boston has installed smart parking sensors along the curbs on four streets; Seaport Boulevard, Congress St, Summer St, and Boston Wharf Rd. They have also installed new signs that help to drivers to find the quickest path out of the area. These signs will be installed at; Sleeper Street, just before Seaport Boulevard driving from Northern Avenue; East Service Road, just before Seaport Boulevard driving from Congress Street; and Seaport Boulevard, inbound at Congress Street. You can also create custom maps using Parker Maps.

Now you will be able to just pick up your phone and see if there is parking in the Seaport district. Hopefully this will improve ease of parking and travel all over Boston as well.

Source: Boston.comAndroidiOS

Boston Housing and Rents

Boston Back Bay Skyline

According to an article in the Boston Globe, Massachusetts now has the 6th highest median rents in the United States at $1,000 a month. Along with this the average rent in the Greater Boston area is $1,800 a month, which is up from $1,300 from a decade ago. This reported stated, across the US, that “while median rents nationally have risen 7 percent to $861 a month in 2012 from $802 in 2000, median renters’ incomes have fallen from $3,106 to $2,711 in the same period”

This study showed that 1 in 4 renters in Massachusetts are spending more than half of their income on rent alone.  This is quite an outrage for me as a Bostonian. I love Boston, it’s an amazing city, but these jacked up rent prices are ridiculous.

Source: Boston Globe

Coin

Coin is a new idea that is similar to the idea of Walla.by but slightly different. Currently on preorder for $50 (full retail $100). This idea provides a very convenient way to carry your credit cards around. You now can take up to 8 credit cards and store the magnetic bar code information in the one Coin. This involves the use of a dongle and a smartphone application. This is available both on Android and iOS. Now all you will really need to leave the house with is your ID, Coin, and cash if you want it. I have already preorded this device, and it is currently supposed to be available June 2014.

For people like me, who have several cards in order to maximize your rewards on your credit cards this is an amazing idea. If you are worried about security and losing the card, fear not. If you move out of range of the LE Bluetooth, the card will deactivate so you’re cards are still safe. There are still some snags that the company has to get through with the credit card companies. However, hopefully this will come to light because it is definitely easier that carrying around all your cards with you

Project Ara

Project Ara  is Motorola’s new attempt at a modular smartphone. There is another company that will be working alongside Motorola, that is Phonebloks For those that aren’t familiar with the modular design concept, it is not for all product designs, but for a phone this is a solid concept. The “modular” idea is that you can have a standard base platform alongside a series of peripherals, of which, these peripherals can be interchangable (i.e. screen, battery, storage, etc.) So as new, more efficient, products come out, you can just replace the single part/component and keep the rest of your phone design, rather than having to buy an entirely new phone. This also allows for customization, so if you work in the cloud, you can remove most of the storage from the phone, and replace it with a longer lasting battery. If you take a lot of pictures, you can exchange for a better camera. This concept provides a very novel change to the current design of smartphone replacements.

Here is a link to the Motorola Blog for more information.

Disclaimer: This should not be considered an official advertisement or promotion of any of the mentioned products or brands. 

Gay Rights In Russia

I have been following the Russian movement of not supporting equality for LGBT community. This is putting it lightly since they are doing anything and everything in their power to prevent equal rights.  The Russian government has enacted a series of anti-gay laws in their country, which have been passed and are now part of law.

The Russian government has put a “short-term”, “temporary” ban on Gay-pride parades, after a series of attacks on these parades, of 100 years. So for the next century gay-pride parades will not be allowed in Russia. Russia also passed a law, in June of this year, that bans people even talking about equal rights for gay people or about being gay, this law has been deemed by them as an “anti-propaganda law”. The next law that Russia has passed, prevents Russian children from being adopted by same-sex couples from not just Russia, but any country. They also went so far as to include single people, or unmarried straight couples from adopting as well, if you live in a country that allows same-sex marriage. There are as many as 600,000 Russian children that are up for adoption, that now are limited in this regard from possibly finding a loving family and a home. The next law that Russia is looking to pass contains provisions to allow the government to be able to enter any person in the countries home, and remove children from the care of their parents if those parents are gay. This includes adopted, foster, or biological children.

It has gone so far now that an American group, National Organization for Marriage, has been working with the Russian parliament in order to pass Russians adoption ban for same-sex couples. A leader of this organization, the president, has confirmed that he helped pass this law in the Russian government, and that he is proud of it. This seems to be just the beginning of what Vladamir Putin and the Russian government will be doing, in what seems to be an attempt to eradicate gay culture. Putin has been quoted as saying, “you know what don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country for the Olympics; we believe in one man, one woman marriage. There is no room for homosexual marriage in Russia.” What’s the next step? Death by being gay?

What this tells me is that if I was born today in Russia: My parents couldn’t talk about being gay, they couldn’t admit to being gay, they may have even second guessed having me due to all these laws. I could not be adopted by my non-birth mother, even though these are the only two parents that I’ve known and loved. Not only would they be arrested for talking about it, but I would be taken away from them. The government would think that I was better off in an orphanage rather than in the loving arms of a same-sex couple.

Words cannot even describe how wrong Vladamir Putin and the Russian government is, with what they are doing. You would think that the world is changing to be more accepting of all genders, cultures, ethnicities, origins, orientations, social classes, or any other characteristics of a person. Sadly this does not show the leaps and bounds that have been taken, and how far we have come, this shows how far we still have to go…

Barilla Pasta

This is a little bit late, but none the less…

On the 25th of September, the president of Barilla pasta decided on an Italian radio show that he was going to express his view/dislike of same sex couples. His company took the brunt of his blatant disregard for equality, as it took a major backlash from the LGBT community. The comment that he made was that Barilla pasta would never feature same-sex couples in the company’s commercials, this was because he prefers traditional family.

Guido Barilla never actually retracted his statement, that he made, instead he counted the outrage with, “I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt some one’s sensitivity. I have the utmost respect for anyone, without distinction of any kind. I have the utmost respect for gay people and for every one’s right to express themselves. I’ve also said – and I would like to reiterate – that I respect gay marriages. In its advertising, Barilla represents the family – because it welcomes everyone.” Keep in mind that this was the company issuing the statement, not the individual who expressed his opinion as his companies’ opinion.

His comments could be easily stated as ignorant, but this is a clear indication that we still have a ways to go. People in this world are still holding onto the fact that they don’t believe that everyone is equal. It is sad to see that this will probably be the case for awhile, if not forever. As you still see discrimination based upon race and religion, which has happened for hundreds of years. Hopefully in the coming years the mindset of the the world and not just certain factions of people will come to the realization that everyone should be created equal.

New Jersey Same Sex Marriage

On September 27, 2013 a New Jersey superior court ruled that same sex marraige will be made legal on October 21, 2013. We are yet another step closer on the equality for same sex couples. Same sex marraige is now legal in 14 states, and is recognized by the federal government as being equal to heterosexual marraige in the eyes of the law. So yes, we may only be a little over a quarter of the way there, but it is meaning all of the difference to those couples that are affected.

My parents had to wait over 15 years before they were legally allowed to marry in the state that they lived in. Of course they choose Massachusetts to be their settling ground, as this is one of the, if not the most liberal states in the entire US. Now there are couples that do not have to wait. They do not have to worry about the dealing with people, and the government, telling them that their commitment to one another is not valid by the government.

For years same sex couples used commitment ceremonies as a way to dedicate themselves to eachother. These commit ceremonies may still be used, but now with the changes that have happened in 14 states, and soon to be who knows how many states, they are allowed to be recognized under law, and this is absolutely huge for the LBGT community.

Of course the next step will be that people, not just government, actually recognize that there is no difference between a same sex couple and a opposite sex couple. I see the major problem in the future, to be similar to that, which the african american community has had to face for years. There will still be bigotry and judgement from the people of the US, hopefully my generation and generations after me are able to show the American public that everyone is equal and deserves the same treatment.