Cambridge Connect…

I recently stumbled across the website of Cambridge Connect, an initiative “to help create an enduring system of rapid and sustainable transit that would help address the transport challenges facing Cambridge, while ensuring that the social, educational, economic, environmental, historic and cultural qualities that define the City are maintained and enhanced”. So far the energies of Cambridge Connect seem to have been mostly spent investigating and proposing a light rail rapid transit system for Cambridge, something that I agree needs to be pursued as a long-term transport solution for the city and surrounding areas. It’s also probably a good time to propose the idea again because, as I initially feared, it looks like Cambridge’s city deal money is almost certainly going to be mostly spent on relatively piecemeal improvements that make Cambridge a less attractive place to live for most people1.

A Dublin Bus bus in Cambridge

An old Dublin Bus bus (now Go Whippet branded) in Cambridge

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  1. Buses (at least the ones in Cambridge) are mostly unpleasant for anyone on or near them and much of the cycle infrastructure in Cambridge is dangerous when combined with drivers not familiar with the city. Also, as argued previously, the prevalence is cycling in Cambridge is probably contributed to by the poor public transport. []

Listen to Huntingdonshire…

Huntingdon Community Radio is a useful radio station to listen to when using the soon to be upgraded section of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon (though the signal is a bit weak beyond Bar Hill). As well as playing one of the best ranges of music that I’ve heard on radio, it provides detailed information on the roads and rails around Huntingdon. However, until recently, I was puzzled by a daily occurrence on the radio station that was never announced nor acknowledged.

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The Cantabits tree…

As you may have noticed over the last few years, since becoming Cantabits the image at the top of this blog rapidly evolved into a monthly image of a particular tree near Cambridge. As the seasons changed, so did the image. Recently, I decided that it was time for a change – since December 2013 I’ve been uploading different images. Already, with photos of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway1, the East Coast Main Line2 and a road leading into Thetford Forest3, a transport theme seems to have emerged. However, I expect this to evolve further over time and there’s no longer a need to keep updating the image regularly.

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  1. See this here. []
  2. See this here. []
  3. See this here. []

Future Mobility…

One of the things I have been busy doing recently was a talk for the University of Cambridge about ‘Future Mobility’ at the European Student Science Parliament held there. Specifically, I was talking as an expert (due to my work building up to and resulting in Cambridge Automated Metro) about the future of sustainable transport options in cities with historic cores, like Cambridge. This was my third time giving a talk like this12, and I quite enjoyed it. Like the blog post that preceded Cambridge Automated Metro, it’s fun to have an excuse to research one’s ideas further and wrap up the results into a good summary. A talk is a particularly good format to convey this summary in, as it can be adjusted to suit the audience and feedback from the audience is normally genuine and useful.

The River Cam

The River Cam is a potential thoroughfare that didn’t feature in any ideas I suggested or heard.

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  1. The other talks I have given were not on this subject, so there was a lot of preparatory work I needed to do. []
  2. I had talked about Cambridge Automated Metro to a local newspaper and on regional TV and radio. []

Cambridge Computing at 75, revisited…

If you were interested in my previous posts about the 75th anniversary of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Lab (and celebratory publications, lectures and other events), you might be interested to know that much of this content is now available online.

The Computer Lab and University Computing Service

Currently, the Computer Lab occupies the West Cambridge Site’s William Gates Building (right) and the University Computing Service recently relocated to the Roger Needham Building (left).

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Website of the month, October 2013…

The website of the month for October 2013 is A view from the cycle path. The website seems to be primarily about cycling as a means of transportation but also has some posts specific to the problem of cycling in Cambridge. It explores issues such as the exaggeration of cycling levels in Cambridge as well as the fact that many cycle due to various restrictions and issues with other forms of transport in the city rather than because they would otherwise freely choose to. I feel that the local councils could do with reminding of these and other facts as they proceed to waste large sums of money on “pro-cycling” schemes that are of little benefit to anyone. As I highlighted during media coverage of Cambridge Automated Metro, I’m that a large chunk of the new large “city deal” transport budget will be spent on previously unheard of amounts of red paint for cycle lanes on roads that are too small in a city with no alternative transport conduits.

This month I am also highlighting the Finn McDonald YouTube channel on which one can find (a decreasing number of) long YouTube videos containing the music produced in soundtrack recording sessions, including my favourite music. A number of films with good soundtracks are covered by the channel.

In other news I remain quite busy but I have recently finished off and scheduled a few posts that I started many months ago.

Cambridge Automated Metro (CAM): the reaction…

Last month’s Cambridge Automated Metro post got quite a reaction. Beyond the tens of comments on this blog, it made pages 11 and 2 of Cambridge News, was reported on by ITV News Anglia and got me an interview with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire2. The proposal has certainly inspired some debate and thoughts, which was good to see. Below are my reactions to the coverage and your feedback.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who has added their thoughts to the debate as, encouragingly, the vast majority of responses have been constructive. I had anticipated a more NIMBYish response sprinkled with some vague engineering concerns – this is the response that proposals for tunnels under Cambridge have been countered with in the past.
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  1. If anyone is a subscriber to the E-Edition of Cambridge News, you may have enough information for me to link to a better image of the front page. Please contact me if you can help! []
  2. If you know of a legal way of sharing that radio show with others now that it’s no longer on iPlayer, please do let me know. There’s a shred of evidence here, from around the time I was interviewed, indicating my presence on the show. []

Website of the month, August 2013…

To celebrate the summer, the website of the month for August 2013 is TIKI Brand – a cool website that sells trendy-looking outdoor torches, lamps and candles to help you create “paradise in your backyard”.

I’d also like to highlight The Centre for Computing History, which has been previously mentioned on this blog. Apparently the necessary funding for a move to Cambridge was acquired and it opened near Cambridge Retail Park and The Beehive Centre on Saturday (the 27th of July).

The Centre for Computing History

The Centre for Computing History

The centre contains an interesting range of computers, some of which you will not have seen for many years and others you may not have seen in person at all! There are also many games consoles and most of the machines seem to be in good working order and powered on for you to have fun with or re-acquaint yourself with. A number of displays give plenty of information, from a brief history of Acorn, Amstrad and Sinclair to amusing famous quotes about computers from their early days. Tickets are half price until later in the year while they get all of the displays fully up and running, but there was already plenty there to do on Saturday.