Sunday, August 5, 2007

Things I saw in Redmond

I saw two interesting things in Redmond today...

First I saw a beat up blue van, the kind with no windows in the back that makes mothers hold their children close. On top was a roof rack with a very interestingly shaped box. It was about the size of a standard full-width dry roof box, but with part of a barrel (smaller than a 50 gal drum, but big like that) sticking out the top. Behind the case was a small oddly shaped antenna.

It took a minute to figure it out, but looking more closely the shiny spots on the side of the drum appeared to have lenses behind it. So, it would appear that it was either a Google or Live 'street level mapping' van. (sorry for the bizarro guy in the video!) The drum on top would be the 360 degree camera, and the small antenna would be the external GPS antenna.

Then, on the way to Seattle, I saw a flipped over car. It wasn't smoking, the wheels weren't spinning, basically it looked like it had been there awhile. An SUV was parked near with someone running to the car and another SUV was pulling over so maybe we just missed seeing the disaster. There were no other injured cars, so it is not clear how the sedan ended up on its roof on the side of the relatively straight and level interstate.

I called 911 to be on the safe side, and I wasn't entirely thrilled with the operator. "Get an ambulance, there is a blue car rolled over on the side of 520 westbound, right after the 148th St exit ramp, and a bit before the 148th St on ramp." You would think that that would be enough information. It wasn't. There were several rounds of back-and-forth trying to narrow down where it was (between the fraking off ramp and the on ramp, it isn't like this damn interstate has so many entrances that we've started lettering the damn things). Is it a car of an SUV? I said blue car, so yes it is blue and yes it is a car. Now, seriously, I wanted to just say "Get the fraking rescue team on 520 westbound via the entrance before 148th (ummm, 50 or 42 I forget which it would be, either would work though) and just drive down the road until you see the damn car flipped over on the side of the damn road with people freaking out! I simply can not imagine the fire and ambulance drivers going down the road, seeing a flipped over blue car and saying "Well, Jim, that looks like those people are in trouble, but that doesn't match the exact description we are looking for, so even though there are no other flipped over cars on this 100 yard stretch of highway we better just call it a false alarm"

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