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Am I supposed to take understand that it's okay to be condescending and dismissive if you're pg and not anyone else? I'm really shocked no one else has called him out on this. Normally I see people jumping all over comments like this. Is HN such a cult of personality?

Everyone, even "ordinary" or "normal" people have their trains of thought and to belittle them by suggesting otherwise...

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HN is indeed a cult of personality. Perhaps you would be better served by chiming in with your anecdote that shows how you too are exceptional in the same way as pg.

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Valley-style entrepreneur culture seems to feature quite a generous serving of self-aggrandising ass-hattery. Is it really any wonder the king of Hackernews has a good few scoops on his plate?

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The article primed us for a bitch fest. I came to the comments expecting it. So in this one case, for the therapeutic effects that come from getting shit off your chest, I expected and overlooked the belittling and pretension; maybe others did too. I think that one's perception of quiet is affective --- quiet is relative, and at some point you'll just hear your heart beat, and so there is something else at play here to make everyone so angry about noise --- and these reactions to noise show a degree of misanthropy, which is confirmed by the comments.

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It's real-time in the sense that it's based on the published schedules of the train lines, but it's not "real" real-time because it is not based on the actual locations of the trains.

It's not useful at all, but it's a cute visualization and because trains in Japan run very nearly on schedule during normal operating hours, it will be mostly accurate the vast majority of the time.

edit : In the "About this site" link on the upper right, it explains that :

① The site uses the scheduled operating information and displays the location the trains are running on the map at the current time.

② The contents, URL, etc., can change at any time or can be made no longer publicly available.

③ & ④ The site adminstrator takes no responsibility, etc. You are responsible for your own actions.

In the other information section, the author specifies that it's for Japan only and that the icons used are representative for those lines.

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>but it's not "real" real-time because it is not based on the actual locations of the trains.

It's "real-time" enough in Japan because trains in Japan are almost always on time.

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Baaahahahahahahahahhahahahaaaaaa

Train was 8 minutes late this morning and 3 lines were stopped. Probably due to the Typhoon yesterday causing scheduling problems but even on normal days Japanese trains are not the paragons of time-keeping the west seem to make them out to be

(Although they ARE miles better than anything I have seen in the UK for instance.)

[EDIT] Note: Previous poster downgraded the conviction of his statement after this comment was posted.

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Nothing is perfect, not even Japanese trains, but in my experience, the grandparent poster is closer to the truth than you are: Japanese trains are paragons of time-keeping ("paragon: a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence").

Obviously right after a typhoon is a bad time to measure anything, but in normal operation, Japanese trains are extremely punctual, to a degree that's downright astonishing to anyone used to trains in most other countries. Arriving more than a minute late is unusual (less than that is hard to judge because the timetables don't include seconds).

The only real exceptions are situations where it's almost impossible to do better—cleaning up after a suicide (and here they're still many times faster than in the U.S., for instance), or operating in inclement weather so severe that attempting normal operation would be dangerous.

These exceptions do happen often enough that anybody who lives in Japan will be inconvenienced occasionally (with suicides being the main offender), but 99% of the time, you can set your watch by train arrivals.

More to the point, there seems little they could do to make punctuality much better, unless they can figure out how to cheer up the population to the point of discouraging suicides (and of course they are actually working on this issue by moving to platform doors on some lines, not to mention more wacky methods like the blue lights underneath the ends of platforms).

If something is so good that there's little practical room for any improvement, doesn't that make it a pretty good candidate for being called "a paragon"?

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Slightly off topic, but when my brother was young he became obsessed with preventing train suicides and we actually came to the conclusion that placing an airbag on the front of the train would most likely (help to) resolve this issue.

Based on our calculations it should be feasible to prevent death in at least a few percent of cases.

Given that the biggest draw for train suicides is its near 100% success rate that would probably quickly reduce train suicides by a very significant factor.

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I also thought this is an almost impossible problem to solve, until a friend pointed out that on the Jubilee line extension (London Underground), it is solved.

The edge of the platform at the newer stations is walled off from the track by glass. The platform doors line up with the train's, and open/close at the same time. So there's no access to the track at any point, hence no opportunity for "person under train".

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They have those doors in many places in Asia also, but most of the trains people are jumping in front of in Japan are above ground and the stations are literally just platforms with a roof.

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Platform doors are certainly possible above ground too.

Usually in Tokyo, they use chest-height barriers/doors for above-ground lines, e.g. currently the Meguro-line has these, and in the future, the Yamanote-line will. This doesn't make suicides impossible, but makes them more difficult to a degree which will certainly discourage many people (you can't just fling yourself off the platform at the last moment). [Some subways, e.g. the Fukutoshin-line, use these as well.]

A more problematic issue is stations which handle many disparate types of trains on the same platforms, which makes it much more difficult to achieve the consistent door positioning you need for platform doors.

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As a guy sitting in a soba joint in Tokyo right now...I cannot imagine how much it would cost to put those doors on all the JR and Metro stations. It's certainly in the realm of prohibitive.

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They do end up saving some money too, though, not only by reducing suicides and accidents, but because platform doors seem to be considered a prerequisite for "one-man operation" (ワンマン運転) on most lines, and that can help reduce staffing costs.

Most Tokyo stations also have high enough ridership that such capital improvements are a lot easier to swallow than they would be for "concrete slab in the countryside" stations.

Luckily, it's the sort of thing they can do incrementally in the places where it makes the most sense; no need to do every line and every station immediately. I imagine they'll probably continue to do it slowly, just as they're slowly adding elevators and other accessibility improvements to even minor stations.

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Some metro and train stations have those in Japan too, though they are still somewhat rare sight.

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You might end up with idiots jumping in front of trains because 'it's safe now'.

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True; we didn't think of that.

I still think it would be a good development on the whole though and hope somebody somewhere will build this...

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What is considered late there? If a train arrives within 6 minutes of schedule and departs within 11 it's considered 'on time' in my part of Australia.

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Sorry, previous commenter said something along the lines of "Trains always on time to the second" which prompted my response.

I don't know the exact numbers they use for their statistics (I think it used to be 1 minute).

If a train is delayed by 10 minutes you can ask for a ticket to take to work to show your boss that being late was not your fault.

Don't get me wrong, the punctuality is much better than most European countries I have lived in and quite a lot of the time the are perfectly on time, but the west has raised the Japanese public transport system to near mythical status.

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In germany we're glad when the train arrives within the hour that it was scheduled for...

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Not true. http://www.bahn.de/p/view/buchung/auskunft/puenktlichkeit_pe...

In August 2012, 99.1% of all stops happened within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time, 94.2% happened within five minutes. Looking only at long-distance trains, 75.8% of all stops where reached within five minutes of the scheduled time and 90.5% of all stops were reached within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time.

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Not true. Today morning "We appologize bla bla", last Saturday evening "We appologize bla bla aprox. delay 60 min". In the end it was about 120 min. In Germany trains do have delays a way TOO OFTEN.

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I don’t think you should respond to data with anecdotes. That’s not very useful.

You might be using a train connection that – for whatever reason (construction work, etc.) – is consistently late. Sucks for you, doesn’t mean train in Germany are in general late. Most are on time.

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If you click on "Fernverkehr" you'll notice that actually only 90% of intercity-trains have been within the 15min window.

Every 10th train was late for more than >15min.

Yes, Regios may be better. That doesn't help when, for example, you need to catch a plane in a different city.

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One in ten seems pretty good to me. Everything else are completely unrealistic expectations.

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Depends on what type of train I guess. Probably no bullet train (shinkansen) has even been more than 59 seconds late (under normal circumstances that is). Naturally any type of bad weather like blizzards, typhoons or earthquakes will cause delays but most likely due to a complete cancellation of service.

Local trains are more prone to delays, for example the Yamanote line in Tokyo being the most notorious due to ahem, being the preferred line used by Tokyoites to say bye-bye to this world.

For local city train lines a delay of more than 5 minutes will result in the driver profusely apologizing on and on, and the line to start issuing "certificates" that people can get to show their employers blaming the lateness on the train line.

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Sometimes they arrive 1 or 2 minutes late due to stuff like urgent track inspection/maintenance. This is generally not considered a big deal, although the conductor will still announce it and briefly apologize for it.

Leaving 6 minutes (let alone 11) later than the schedule is definitely considered late. If you're changing lines, which in practice most people have to do when commuting in Tokyo, a 5 minute delay can result in an even bigger total delay (e.g. if the next train you take is an express one, and it comes every 15min).

Delays longer than that are usually due to bodily accidents which is an euphemism for "someone just jumped in the tracks", and typhoons and other natural accidents. The former is more common.

What I found more amazing when I fist came is that buses also come on time! Although of course short delays are more common than with trains, they're pretty much on schedule. The flip side is that they run very slowly and stop every other block. When I used to commute by bike I often kept up with buses for long stretches.

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For frequent trains like like loop lines and subways in major cities, you can generally expect them to arrive when scheduled. These arrive every few minutes, so anything longer than a minute is perceived as a delay. These will be reported and apologized for.

For trains like JR that run longer distances and less frequently, delays of 15-20 minutes due to accidents or weather can happen. This seems to happen once every few months or so.

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When there isn't a typhoon on, they pretty much arrive on time to the second. Anything later than a few minutes results in the platform staff handing out notes to that effect so that employees can prove to their companies that the train was actually late.

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In India, if a train arrives, it is considered 'on time'.

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I take it that you've never been to India.

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I agree they are definitely more on time than in other countries (in France the timings are a joke!) but they are still getting late quite often. Several times in a week at least.

It's not so much of a problem because there is a high frequency of trains anyway.

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I though those timetables where more like guidelines !

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This is a fun visualization, but as you mentioned it's inaccurate precisely when you need it most (when there's a delay). Actually, some JR stations in Osaka already have an indicator that shows when incoming trains are stopped at the previous station or whether they are in between stations.

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Stick with your guns. Why would you buy a diamond when you're so opposed to it for perfectly valid (although potentially subjective) reasons? Does the perception of other people that you are "too poor to afford a real ring" matter to you so much?

My wife was appalled when I told her I refused to buy her a diamond engagement ring. "Why wouldn't you want to give me a diamond ring? I couldn't marry someone who wouldn't give me a diamond ring."

We're married now and she doesn't even wear the sapphire ring that I bought for her because of chores, etc. Sure, she had to explain to almost everyone why it wasn't a diamond ring but that just means that she had one more topic to go through with her friends.

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The only person's opinion that matters to me is my girlfriend's, and then my own. I really don't care what others think. I prefer to buck the trend and be non-conformant.

However, I have to take my girlfriend's feelings into account. I have to buy the ring, but she's the one that has to wear it. If she has ill-feelings towards the ring when she wears it, she'll hate it. I'm not saying that's what'll happen, I'm just saying I need to take her wants and needs into account. Simply making a decision for her because "I know what's best." is selfish.

Anyway, I'm slowly whittling her down. She just told me she may be interested in a sapphire ring.

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Can someone who has attended past meetups post some thoughts and impressions? "Great time, very friendly people", "Met lots of like-minded individuals to network with", etc.

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Nice mix of folks with interest in the tech industry, from programmers at banks to Tokyo startup founders to lawyers/accountants/etc. Probably 60% or so are technical. Very friendly folks, made some good friends there. Format is low-key mixer followed by drinks. Has been very useful professionally - met two clients there, got good advice, etc. Hope I have likewise helped folks. Wish more Japanese folks made it out.

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I have been there the last few times and I was never disappointed! There were roughly about 30 people I would guess, working on very different things (arduino hackers, lawyers, web devs, firmware programmers, people who just enjoy reading HN etc.). The majority foreigners and most Japanese people who attended spoke a decent amount of English. However, at the last meeting (or the one before) it was maybe around 50/50 foreigners/japanese...

The atmosphere was very relaxed and "open", so you got to talk to everybody who you wanted to, which made for some really interesting discussions.

Afterwards, I'd say about half the people or more headed out to the "Tap room", a nice bar with all sorts of beer. If you're in Tokyo and have never attended before, I'd give it a go.

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I have been there the past several times (and will be attending this one as well). I have been able to do some like-minded people and I have done some networking. Mostly, though, it was just a fun social time talking about all sorts of various technical stuff. I would definitely recommend coming out if you have the time.

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Here are a few email comments I received after an old event.

And also a broken photo. Better put that in my list of things to look at:

http://www.webnet-it.co.jp/blog/2010/04/10/report-on-hacker-...

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Yes, after I registered, I did some search, and start to feel anxious because no comments found anywhere......until I saw this one:)

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We're an easy-going group and we just mix about and discuss whatever the hackers and entrepreneurs there feel like talking about (just like hacker news really). If you're new, just ask anyone there for Jason or Paul (me) and we'll make sure you get introduced around.

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:-) looking forward to meeting your guys later

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I went a few times and had a great time at each occasion. Jason and Paul are great hosts, and there has always been q quite diverse crowd (not just e.g. entrepreneurs or hard core hackers).

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As much as I loved Ender's Game when I read it the first and subsequent times, I lost all respect for the man and his works after finding out what a homophobe Orson Scott Card is. He's so full of hate.

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A good friend of mine discarded his entire Pratchett collection after the author came out in support of assisted suicide.

Personally, I find myself sympathetic to Pterry's morals in the case in question and unsympathetic to Card's in the case in question; but in neither case do I particularly see the point of linking the author's values and one's appreciation of their work.

However, if you really do feel that strongly, I'd suggest taking the approach my friend did - donating all of his works that you own to a library on the principle that his own personal disagreements with the author were much less important than enabling people to read books full stop.

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You don't have to like the author or agree with him, to like his book. Far too many people were educated to hate.

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I really doubt he is afraid of homosexuals.

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Funny that you should bring up the whole synthetic meat thing. Techdirt just recently had a post with a link to it :

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110909/04255515875/dailyd...

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The real question is, do we have an alternative?

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