City

California Regulators Are Fining Uber, Lyft, And SideCar

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/california-cpuc-uber-lyft-sidecar-2012-11

Lyft car and passenger

The California Public Utilities Commission has cited and fined Uber, Lyft, and SideCar, three San Francisco-based startups offering on-demand transportation through mobile apps, TechCrunch reports.

Lyft and SideCar, which let any car owner sign up as drivers to offer rides, received fines of $20,000, the companies told TechCrunch. Uber, which contracts with professional limo drivers, maintains that it’s not subject to regulation by the PUC, which already regulates its drivers.

The commission is classifying the companies as “charter-party carriers.”

The companies argue that such rules don’t apply to them, because they’re offering an Internet-based service to connect riders and drivers.

The city of San Francisco has generally proven friendlier to its local startups. It’s formed a “collaborative consumption” task force to come up with a framework for handling ride-sharing services and other new businesses like Airbnb which run up against older regulations.

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 news No Comments

Mayor Bloomberg Calls On AirBnB To Help Sandy Victims Find Housing

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-airbnb-help-bloomberg-free-housing-sandy-victims-2012-11

airbnb-sandy

When apartment rental site AirBnB started making waves across the U.S. last year, New York City officials were quick to draw a line in the sand –– making it illegal and punishable by as much as $5,000 to rent rooms for longer than 30 days. 

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it looks like they’ve agreed to bury the hatchet, at least for now. Mayor Bloomberg announced today his office will support AirBnB’s efforts to put free roofs over the heads of some 40,000 New Yorkers displaced by the superstorm. 

AirBnB had already offered discounted lodging for Sandy survivors, but it’s now created a landing page for entirely free Sandy listings.

By Wednesday afternoon, there were already dozens of listings to choose from.

Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to a superstorm when it made landfall in New York and New Jersey early last week, but the damage is far from repaired. Public transit is only now chugging back to full speed, with some downtown areas still without normal service.

But it’s the tens of thousands of residents who lost their homes or were forced to leave in the wake of the storm that have posed the largest problem. Temperatures are dropping each day and with Wednesday’s Nor’easter dumping a pile of unexpected snow and slush on the city, it’s no wonder the city has ramped up its efforts to find these people a safe and warm place to stay. 

For an yone willing to offer up space in their homes to people in need, sign up here.

See Also: What it was like to live in the dark of Manhattans’ projects after Sandy > 

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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5940946/20-google-search-shortcuts-to-hone-your-google+fu

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuHidden behind Google’s search box are a slew of shortcuts leading to so-called “OneBox” results that provide awesome tools and display helpful information quickly and directly. You might think you know them all, but a few are more hidden than others.

Google’s OneBox is the result you get when Google magically knows the answer to a search you perform. Above the normal search results, Google gives your the definitive answer to your search—or a miniature, interactive tool to continue your search. These are different from search operators that help you narrow your search. With the OneBox results you can quickly find the weather, learn what a medication is, peek at a musicians discography, and even find release dates for movies. With this power you can find the information you’re looking for almost instantly, and you’ll look like the smartest person in the room for knowing the results before anyone else.

Get Instant Artist Discographies and Filmographies

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWant to take a quick look at a musician’s discography? Or maybe just a list of all the films from a director or actor? Just type “[artist] [movies or albums]” into the search box and you get an instant list of what they’ve done. For musicians, you can also search “[artist] songs” to get a list of their popular songs.

Find Release Dates for Movies, Games, and More

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWant to know when a game or movie is getting released? Type “[name of movie or game] release date” and you get the result. Movies automatically show the theatrical release date, but you can add “dvd” to get the DVD or Blu-Ray release. This search works for both upcoming and past releases.

Find Current Movie Showtimes

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuTo quickly find movie showtimes in your area, type “[name of movie] [zip code]” into the search box and you get results for theaters close to you. If you don’t have a particular movie in mind, you can also just type “movie [zip code]” and get a list of everything playing in your area (if Google knows your location you can just type “movie”).

Instantly Find Simple Factual Information

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuFor any search you might want to do that includes a definitive fact you can often search for the answer directly. These include dates like “[name of famous person] death,” certain stats like, “[mountain] elevation,” or even population with, “[city] population.” Essentially, if you’re searching for anything that has a number attached to it, you can often search for it directly.

Find the Score of Any Current Sports Game

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWhether you’re a sports nut or you just want to know the best time to avoid going near a stadium, you can search nearly any sports team name to get the current score, and upcoming games. You only need to type in the name. For instance, “colorado rockies” gets you the recent scores, record, standings, win percentage, and upcoming games.

Get a Five Day Forecast of the Weather in Any City

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuNeed to get a quick weather report before you head out for vacation? Search “weather [city name]” and you get a five day forecast for the city you search for.

Find the Current Time in Any City

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuTime zone conversions are a pain, but thankfully Google does them for you. Search “time [city name],” and you get current time in any city. If you’re looking for more results, type in “time [country name]” to get a full list of the timezones in any given country. While you’re at it, you can also get the time of the sunrise or sunset by typing “sunrise [city name],” or “sunset [city name].”

Find Upcoming Dates for Holidays and Events

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWhen you need to quickly see what day of the week a holiday lands on, or when a big event starts (like the Presidential Election, the Super Bowl, Olympics, etc), search for “[year] [holiday name or event title].”

Calculate Almost Anything

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuGoogle’s calculator is surprisingly robust, and all you need to do is enter a calculation into the search box. “5+2” works just fine, but you can also use advanced phrases like “cos(pi) + 4.” If you want a graph, simply add “graph” before the equation. You can also search for “calculator” to bring up the calculator directly.

Convert Units of Measure

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuUnit conversions are handy when you’re cooking or building just about anything. The search in Google is easy. Type “[number] [unit] into [unit].” For instance, you can convert knots into miles per hour like this, “6 ounces into cups.” It works with any type of measurement, including digital storage (“5 mb into kb“). If you need to bring up the unit converter directly, you can do so by searching unit converter.

Convert Currency

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuNeed to get an up-to-date currency conversion? Google’s one of your best choices, and it’s as simple as typing “[number] [currency] to [currency].” For instance, to get the conversion rate of US dollars into Yen, type, “1 usd to yen.”

Check Stock Prices

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWhen you need to check the status of your stocks, search Google for the shortened stock name. For example, to find Facebook’s current price, search “FB.” If you’re not sure of the stock’s name, you can also use “[name of company] stock.”

Find Word Definitions and Synonyms

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuIf you want to quickly find the definition, synonyms, or pronunciation of a word, all you do is type the word into the search box. For many words, Google will automatically pull up a quick definition, pronunciation, and a list of common synonyms. If it doesn’t, type “define” before the word.

Translate Words Instantly

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuGoogle Translate is great for translating large chunks of text. You can translate single words right from the search bar by typing “translate [word] into [language].” For instance, to translate “monster” from English to Spanish, type, “translate monster into spanish.” You can also translate simple sentences. For instance, “translate the monster ate my neighbor into spanish,” will result in “el monstruo se comió mi vecino.”

Search Basic Health Conditions

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuWhen you type in any health condition (like asthma, psoriasis, etc) into Google, you get a quick synopsis of the condition from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you don’t know the condition, you can also type in symptoms. For instance, “abdominal pain on right side” pulls up a list of possible conditions, including appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, and kidney stones.

Find Information on Medications

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuSearch for any medication name (like Ambien, Lipitor, etc) and Google will pull up a quick description with links to side effects, directions, precautions, and more.

Hunt Down Information on Local Restaurants and Businesses

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuLooking for a new restaurant to check out in your area? Type in “[type of restaurant] [your zip code]” and you get a list of every place close to you, including review scores. You’ll also see a map on the right side so you can quickly flip through places not in the top results.

Get Instant Drive Times (and Directions) Between Addresses

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuGoogle Maps is great, but you don’t actually have to navigate to the main page to get directions. If you need to get a quick time estimate or overview of the drive, type “[current address] to [new address]” and Google will give you a quick look at the directions and drive time.

Track the Status of Any Flight

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuYou don’t have to dig around on an airline’s web site to track the status of a flight. All you have to do is type “[airline] [flight number]” into Google and you get instant results from Flight Stats. If you want a quick estimate on flight cost, you can also search, “flights from [city] to [city]” for a search of available flights and prices.

Track Your Packages

20 Google Search Shortcuts to Hone Your Google-FuPaste the tracking number of a shipment from USPS, UPS, FedEx, or On-Trac into your Google Search bar and Google automatically figures out which service has it and links you directly to the tracking page.


Google seems to add more and more of these quick OneBox search tricks to its search engine all the time, so count on more popping up in the future. Google also introduces new tricks for specific events, like the medal count during the Olympics, or the election hub during the elections. With these tricks you’ll be the fastest Googler around, and will certainly impress everyone with how quickly you can acquire all types of knowledge.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Newspaper Uses Photoshop to Make Syria Look Worse

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5929952/newspaper-uses-photoshop-to-make-syria-even-worse-somehow

Newspaper Uses Photoshop To Make Syria Look Even Worse SomehowThe Kronen Zeitung is Austria’s largest newspaper, with a daily readership of around three million people. Yesterday, those readers were treated to the image on the left of war-torn Aleppo, bombed out and desperate. Except, as one sharp-eyed Redditor points out, that wasn’t the scene at all. It was just another Photoshop job.

Just to be clear, the family in the photograph is, in fact, in Syria; the original photo (on the right) came from the European Pressphoto Agency. But merely fleeing a city ravaged by guns and mortars apparently isn’t quite dramatic enough on its own. The editors of the Krone—as it’s commonly called—needed this baby to sing.

Using Photoshop to make actresses and models look unrealistically attractive is bad enough. Using it to make a part of the world that has enough problems as it is look even more apocalyptic? That’s just disgraceful. [Facebook via Reddit]

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Sunday, July 29th, 2012 digital No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5914577/did-this-sad-old-democrat-buy-his-facebook-popularity

Did This Sad Old Democrat Buy His Facebook Popularity?Campaign season is heating up, and in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district the Democratic primary battle pits an entrenched 60-year-old against a young social media upstart. Guess whose campaign has more Facebook Likes? Old man Steve Pestka’s. He’s got the best Facebook friends money can buy.

Eclectablog reports the curious rise of Steve Pestka’s Facebook popularity. Pestka has been running a pretty traditional campaign against Trevor Thomas, who’s running a “more modern campaign” that “involves heavy use of social media to create a buzz and appeal to a wider cross-section of voters.” Then a few weeks ago, Pestka’s Facebook popularity skyrocketed from just over 1000 likes to some 7500. Impressive! Er, except it’s pretty suspicious:

But what’s even stranger than the surge is the demographics of his followers. If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see his “Most popular age group” is 13-17 year-olds and his most popular city is in Israel. In April, it was kids in the age range of 13-17 from the Philippines:

While this is hardly definitive proof that Pestka’s campaign went on a Facebook Like shopping spree, it’s hard to think of any other plausible explanation. Eclectablog spoke to the Pestka campaign, which claimed that the meteoric rise was due to nontargeted Faebook ads. Yeah, sure, right. Dear inexperienced social media people of the world: Don’t try to be sneaky. We will catch you. [Eclectablog via Sean Carlson]

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Thursday, May 31st, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Jewelry Made by Mapping Out Your Check-Ins [Foursquare]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5914582/most-ridiculous-foursquare-thing-jewelry-made-by-mapping-out-your-check+ins

Most Ridiculous Foursquare Thing: Jewelry Made by Mapping Out Your Check-InsIf you’ve ever stopped and wondered why you obsessively check in to Foursquare wherever you go, Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang have the answer. They’ve come up with a unique jewelry line that lets Foursquare users create custom geometrical designs based on where they’ve been.

On their website, meshu, you can either login to Foursquare and use its online editor to choose what locations you want to shape your piece, like a connect the dots puzzle. Or, you can just load a map of any city and manually add points anywhere you want. The creation process lets you be as abstract as you want, and once you’re finished you have the choice of creating earrings, necklaces, or cufflinks which are all manufactured through 3D printing or laser cutting processes. So for somewhere between $75 and $150, you can claim the title of mayor of questionable taste.

Most Ridiculous Foursquare Thing: Jewelry Made by Mapping Out Your Check-Ins

[Meshu via Ubergizmo]

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Thursday, May 31st, 2012 news No Comments

RentHackr Bypasses Landlords And Brokers To Show The Real Price Of NYC Apartments

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/renthackr-shows-the-real-price-of-apartments-2012-4

 

nyc, new york city, apartment, building

A new app could make apartment hunting in the Big Apple a lot less hellish.

RentHackr uses crowd sourcing to bypass landlords and brokers to show exactly what tenants are paying for any given pad.

Using the service is easy. Just sign in with your Facebook account, punch in some info about where you live and what you’re paying, then click “Let’s do this” to spread the word and view apartments around the city.

Like Pad Mapper, RentHackr plots apartments on a big map of New York’s five boroughs. You can click any of the green flags to see the price of an apartment or room and the tenant’s situation (how long he plans to stay there).

However, unlike Pad Mapper, there’s no filter to find what you want, and anyone new to the city might have trouble deciphering where Queens ends and Brooklyn begins.

Additionally, there’s no way to contact whoever posted the pad, so if you happen to find a place that meets your criteria, you’re bound to be frustrated.

That said, RentHackr could disrupt the way tenants and landlords do business. Both prospective and current renters will get the upper hand in lease negotiations by virtue of knowing how much a place actually goes for.

Even better, a shady landlord sizing prospective tenants for higher rent won’t get away with it if he can argue the place isn’t being advertised fairly.

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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 news No Comments

30-story prefab skyscraper built in two weeks. Of course it’s safe!

Source: http://boingboing.net/2012/03/08/china-30-story-prefab-skyscra.html

In Changsha, China, a 30-story hotel project went from blueprint and prefab parts to finished building in fifteen days. Some are questioning how the construction project could possibly be safe, but the builder defends it. From reporter Jonathan Kaiman, the Los Angeles Times‘ man in Changsha:

In early December, Liu Zhangning was tending her cabbage patch when she saw a tall yellow construction crane in the distance. At night, the work lights made it seem like day.

Fifteen days later, a 30-story hotel towered over her village on the outskirts of the city like a glass and steel obelisk.

“I couldn’t really believe it,” Liu said. “They built that thing in under a month.”

Architects and engineers weigh in, too. Read the story here.

Video Link: Time-lapse of the project, showing the prefabricated building assembled on-site.

(via @RamCNN)

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Friday, March 9th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

SeedTable Is A Stunning New Way To Interrogate CrunchBase

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/08/seedtable-is-a-stunning-new-way-to-interrogate-crunchbase-and-find-investors/

Screen Shot 2012-03-08 at 10.22.40

I have a love/hate relationship with CrunchBase. On the one hand, it has great information about startup tech companies. On the other hand, it relies on a wiki-like structure which means it is sometimes not updated as frequently or as accurately as old-style databases which used to employ people go over the data regularly. However, its wikiness means it can be free – pretty useful for the entrepreneur! Perhaps the real unsung hero of CrunchBase is its API which means third party developers can whip up new things with the data. The latest is SeedTable, a new project from Imran Ghory, a founder of CoderStack.

Ghory has built a brand new interface to CrunchBase which exposes a few things CrunchBase itself can’t right now due to the limitation of its interface. And it really is very good. A quick tip: start typing in the name of a city in the search box.

“I wanted to see how London was doing compared to other cities in terms of startups,” Ghory told me. In building SeedTable he realised it was also really useful for discovery, thus you could click London, then Consumer Web, then see who had backed those companies.

So we can now see the ‘Most Active Cities’ (in the last 12 Months) in terms of startup funding are San Francisco, New York and London. However, there are separate figures for Palo Alto and Mountain View, which suggests Silicon Valley remains head and shoulders above the rest overall.

Drilling down to a city, say London, we can see historic trends such as a big hump when many companies were founded in 2008-2011, and we can see VC, Angel and Exits tacking upwards.

One anomaly Ghory found was that companies often only add themselves to CrunchBase after they have funding, which throws their founding data out of whack. If people just entered super-accurate information, and did it early, we’d see better data. (Anyone can add anything to CrunchBase).

SeedTable also exposes the top Angel rankings by investment count in London. This includes The Accelerator Group, Stefan Glaenzer, Index Ventures, Eden Ventures, Seedcamp and Sherry Coutu. The same listing for most active VCs lists Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Eden Ventures, Balderton Capital and Pentech Ventures.

Of course, this only relies on CrunchBase, which needs to be maintained and updated.

When you get to places like Istanbul, CrunchBase starts to show its gaps, with far less data available, even though it’s clear the city is in a tech boom. At least the upward graph is there on founded companies.

SeedTable is an example of data being made a great deal more useful via interface. I can see myself using it almost as much as CrunchBase.


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Thursday, March 8th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882542/new-york-citys-energy-consumption-mapped-out-building+by+building

New York City's Energy Consumption Mapped Out, Building-by-BuildingConvinced you’re more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.

The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard’s PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:

“While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity.”

The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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