Trains Ain't Planes, it's plain to see from Risks Digest21.51

From: tim finin (
Date: 07/19/01

Here's a not from Risks Digest21.51 that provides an 
amusing example that can be used to illustrate an 
ontology problem that DAML can easily solve.  It
might be good to use in explaining what we are doing to
lay audiences.  Tim


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 10:19:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Daniel P Dern <>
Subject: Trains Ain't Planes, it's plain to see

Usually, I do my work-related travel between Boston and New York by
plane, but I've been meaning to try train again, especially Amtrak's
allegedly-faster Accela.

So I call the company travel office to make reservations.  (I already
know which trains -- whatever the rail equivalent of "flights" is --
I want.)  An e-mail confirmation shows up a few minutes later, with a URL
pointing to an itinerary.

The itinerary showed the correct train numbers and arrival times.  No
departure times.

And had me going between (something like, IIRC) Aptco Test, Texas and
someplace in Arkansas.

I called the travel group back; they called Amtrak.  My reservation's
correct, but when the AmTrak system passed info to the next system, it tried
to parse City Codes as Airport Codes.

More obvious than the "metric vs. English" glitch, but still shows that just
because two programs _can_ talk to each other doesn't mean they've agreed on
what they're saying...  Fortunately, if I get on a southbound train from
Boston (traveling at n miles an hour accompanied by a parrot with a balloon
tied to one foot) it'll be hard to miss arriving in New York.

Daniel Dern, Executive Editor, <>

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