Thursday, March 18, 2010

No More Ads

Google Adsense
Since November 2009, I've been experimenting with Google Adsense ads. But now I think it's time to call it quits. As of today, I've only made $44.92 theoretical dollars, and at the rate I'm earning revenue—usually pennies a day—it could take me another year to finally earn $100. (Google only sends you a cheque after you've earned a $100.) Simply put, the garish ads aren't worth it.

Image from Google Adsense.

> Continue Reading: No More Ads

Toronto Then and Now: Bloor and Islington Redux

Then
Islington Avenue and Aberfoyle Crescent 1918Aberfoyle Crescent and Islington Avenue, facing southwest towards Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue. (1918)

Now
Islington Avenue and Aberfoyle Crescent 2009Aberfoyle Crescent and Islington Avenue, facing southwest towards Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue. (2009)

Usually, when I'm looking for photos to recreate for my Then and Now series, I try to find images that contain structures (buildings, bridges, etc) that are still around today. These points of reference are important, as they help to tell the story of an area. Of course, over the past century (and even decade) certain parts of Toronto have changed beyond recognition. I try to avoid doing posts about these kinds of photos, as there's nothing to really compare. But in the case of the photo above, I thought I'd make an exception, seeing as I already looked at Islington Avenue and Bloor Street West in an earlier article.

The 1918 photo of Islington Avenue and Aberfoyle Crescent is from the Etobicoke Historical Society. The 2009 photo is from Google Maps.

> Continue Reading: Toronto Then and Now: Bloor and Islington Redux

Friday, March 05, 2010

Toronto Then and Now: Bloor and Royal York

Then
Royal York and Bloor Street West Northeast corner 1958Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, northeast corner. (1958)

Now
Royal York and Bloor Street West Northeast corner 2010Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, northeast corner. (2010)

Wow, Bloor Street West and Royal York Road was just as boring and dominated by chains in 1958 as it is today. Though I suppose it's no worse than Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue, and like that intersection, at least some of the older buildings have been preserved. Still, it's hard for me to get excited about an intersection that sports a Rogers Plus.

While Second Cup, HSBC, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Rogers Plus own the intersection today, in 1958 it was home to Esso, the Toronto Dominion Bank, and two of the largest and most influential department stores of the period: F.W. Woolworth Co. and S.S. Kresge (which would later become Foot Locker and K-Mart, respectively). In 1958, both of these five-and-dime stores were at their peak. Over the next half century, Wal-Mart, supermarkets, and discount stores would erode both companies' market shares, leaving them a shadow of their former selves.

Also interesting: note the number of residential television antennas that were already installed by 1958.

More photos after the break.

Then
Royal York and Bloor Street West Northwest corner 1958Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, northwest corner. (1958)

Now
Royal York and Bloor Street West Northwest corner 2010Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, northwest corner. (2010)

Then
Royal York and Bloor Street West Southwest corner facing east 1958Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, southwest corner facing east. (1958)

Now
Royal York and Bloor Street West Southwest corner facing east 2010Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, southwest corner facing east. (2010)

Then
Royal York and Bloor Street West Southwest corner 1958Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, southwest corner. (1958)

Now
Royal York and Bloor Street West Southwest corner 2010Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, southwest corner. (2010)

Then
Royal York and Bloor Street West Kingsway Car Care 1958Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, Kingsway Car Care Centre. (1958)

Now
Royal York and Bloor Street West Kingsway Car Care 2010Bloor Street West and Royal York Road, Kingsway Car Wash. (2010)

The 1958 photos of Bloor Street West and Royal York Road come from the City of Toronto Archives. The 2010 photos are by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: Toronto Then and Now: Bloor and Royal York

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hatin' On the TTC

Deliver us from the TTCTaken at Keele Station.

One of the TTC's biggest problems is its inability to deliver concise messages during real emergencies. By real emergencies, I mean any cascading delay that lasts more than five minutes. The TTC excels at informing passengers of minor issues that cause little to no delay, but the whole system seems to fall apart in the face of any serious emergency.

Take two situations on the Bloor-Danforth line last week. On Friday morning, passengers were informed of a medical emergency at Greenwood station seven times in less than five minutes. In the end, the emergency didn't even end up causing a delay. But on Wednesday morning, a massive delay at Runnymede station that shut down half the line only warranted one confusing, barely audible message.

"Attention passangers on the Bloor-Danforth line, there's been a delay at our brr-rrrz-zzz station, due to brr-rrrz-zzz! Please exit the train at the next station."

This message wasn't even broadcast to everyone, which caused even more confusion.

If the TTC's new customer service panel is serious about improving service, then the system's communications problem needs to be addressed. Delays suck, and will probably always piss people off, but if they're properly explained, then they're at least bearable.

Photo by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: Hatin' On the TTC