Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ventra To Use Windows, Free Bus Rides for Chicago ?



Ventra is the newest payment system used in CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) which received lots of critics for being unstable, people keep getting errors. A friend of mine Alex recently took screenshot of a error message on a Ventra machine. in which you can see the operating system used is Windows (Surprise !) .

But is that a bad thing ? Heh Not for me !  recently I have got lots of free rides on the bus just because the system was down and the driver had to let people in for free, so I guess using windows is not that bad at all .

Privacy concerns in Ventra website.



Speaking of using windows on a large scale service, lets take a look the website The first impression I get by looking at the ventra website, is it was created by following a step by step tutorial for making a ruby/django web app, and the developer forgot to change the views templates and polish the looks.

Example of poorly designed user interface,look at the different font-sizes in a line.

You might say why should we care, it is just an interface, doesn't affect the functionality of the card in train/bus, but here is why you should care:

if you login to your account,you see it has logged every location and time you used your card and it is not limited to the recent transactions but all of them.

I personally used the card for 5 months, and now I can see exactly where I have been at exact time, during the past 5 months, is that a bad thing ? heh it is not bad for me to know where I was but what if someone creepy wants to misuse the information to harm someone else?
We hear in the news hackers got hold of information in big sites like Facebook, Gmail, Linkedin, stealing millions of people's passwords, what if they hack into ventra, they can see all the location and times someone was from the beginning to now and even export it to a CSV file. Quite frankly the way the Ventra site looks like I think hackers could hack to it a lot easier than Facebook and Linkedin .



Ventra has export button so you can export all the locations you have been to a excel file.


P.s:
+Fun fact  Ventra is a $454 million dollar contract, I wonder how much it would be if they had used Linux ?


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