New Wi-Fi 'Payphones' May Include Controversial Location-Tracking Beacons

Categories: Technology

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Jim Pennucci via Flickr
On November 17, New York City announced an ambitious new plan to replace payphones across the five boroughs with nine-and-half-foot pylons beaming free Wi-Fi to any device within a 150-foot radius, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new network, Mayor de Blasio declared, would be "the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world."

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An Activism Start-Up at Columbia University Wants to Turn Protesters Into Paid Journalists

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Photo credit: tripletstate via Flickr
"Because our generation cares about more than cat videos" - #protestify
In a world of more than 7 billion people, we can probably assume that at any given time, somebody somewhere is protesting something.

And although it's not for lack of trying (journalists love themselves some protests), reporters are simply not able to cover each and every one. Sometimes this is just because there isn't enough time to cover everything that goes on in any city on a given day. But often it's because organizers have difficulty getting their content to appropriate news agencies. One group from Columbia University, calling itself "Protestify," has taken it upon itself to solve this problem by making it easier for organizers to spread the word.

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Google Loves George Carlin. Apple, Bing, Mapquest -- Not So Much

Categories: Technology

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Via Google Maps
About this time last week, New York City was preparing to dedicate part of a Morningside Heights street in honor of comedian George Carlin. The dedication came and went. Tributes poured in. We wrote about it. So did everybody else. By Wednesday afternoon, a block of West 121st Street -- between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive -- was officially renamed George Carlin Way. New York, essentially, had a new street. You just couldn't find it anywhere besides Google Maps.

See Also: George Carlin Gets His 'Way,' Has Final Say With His Former Church

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Filmmaker Miranda July's New Somebody App Lets Your Intimate Messages Be Delivered By a Complete Stranger

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Image via Miranda July's Twitter
If Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr don't allow you to air quite enough of your private life, Miranda July's got the app for you. The filmmaker, artist, and author launched Somebody today, a messaging service that enlists strangers to verbally deliver your messages.

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The Brooklynite Who Brought the Joys of A Transit Countdown Timer Into His Home

Categories: DIY, MTA, Technology

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Ian Westcott
Westcott's own personal, magical, countdown clock.

When it comes to mass transit, the only thing New Yorkers really care about is punctuality. We'll elbow onto a packed bus and huff a stranger's armpit for thirty minutes -- and we'll do it gladly -- if it means we get to our destination on time.

But to do that, we need to know when that bus or train is actually going to arrive. That's why there's something magical about a countdown timer.

A 2011 MTA survey found that transit stations featuring countdown timers -- with their soothing, authoritative glow -- increase customer satisfaction in mysterious ways. Survey respondents liked the stations with timers better, but they didn't know why.


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Free Wi-Fi Coming to Brownsville, Harlem, the Bronx, and Housing Projects in Brooklyn

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W X Y architecture + urban design
A rendering of Brooklyn's "Tech Triangle"
On the heels of a report that New York's tech sector grew faster than almost any other city's--becoming the city's second-largest industry this year--comes more good tech news.

Mayor Bloomberg announced Monday the city will be rolling out free and public wireless corridors to 10 neighborhoods in December.

Alongside monied enclaves like Flatiron and the Financial District, lower-income areas like Brownsville, Harlem, the Bronx, and a slice of downtown Brooklyn encompassing two housing projects will be getting free access to the Internet.

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Want to Know at Which Restaurants People Get Food Poisoning? This App Might Help.

Categories: Technology

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Flickr/Philo Nordlund
A group of graduate students at the University of Rochester have devised a program that tells users which restaurants to avoid if they don't want to get food poisoning. But this ain't your run-of-the-mill Yelp for food-borne illnesses. The program, called nEmesis (heh), tracks tweets from dining establishments in real time to determine if users get sick or not. Using geotagged tweets and machine learning algorithms, the program can detect whether or not the tweeter has gotten sick within 72 hours of eating somewhere.

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Seamless and Grubhub Agree Not to Monopolize Online Food Ordering Market, New York State Attorney General Allows Them to Merge

Categories: Technology

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Photo Credit: alles banane via Compfight cc
Two months after announcing their merger, Seamless and GrubHub are finally getting the greenlight from New York state. But it comes at a price: To make sure the takeout barons don't monopolize the "food technology" industry (which is increasingly a thing), Seamless must end its exclusivity agreements with the hundreds of restaurants in serves in New York.

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Use the Sun to Charge Your Phone for Free Across the City

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In a Sandy-wrecked metropolis, New Yorkers learned how vulnerable their phones are once the lights go out; without electricity, nomadic residents were left charge-less at a time when communication with the outside world was needed more than ever. Luckily, as a gift to the city (presumably out of shame for their dead spots), AT&T is launching a program that will harness sunlight to get your smartphone battery up to 100 percent in no time.

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The Mayoral Candidates Talked Tech in Queens Last Night and Didn't Sound PC

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John Surico
"What type of cellphone do you have, what carrier is it and what's your favorite app?" At 7:30pm, after media and tech folk scrambled into the Museum of the Moving Image off 35th Avenue in Astoria, the NYC Tech Forum began. Hosted by Coalition for Queens--a non-profit organization that promotes the tech community from Long Island City and elsewhere--Sal Albanese, John Liu, Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Anthony Weiner were subject to numerous questions about the realignment of New York City as the next Silicon Valley. Let's just say the phrase "coaxial cable" was in abundance last night.

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