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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How to Make Your Dumb Phone Smart

Categories: Technology

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yum9me via Compfight cc
As of last autumn, more than half of the people with a mobile phone in this country use a smartphone. By August of next year, smartphone users are expected to make up 80 percent of the market. The writing is on the wall in an extremely legible typeface: Those of you pathetic luddites still trudging your sorry way through life with a non-smartphone, with a goddamn dumb phone, you guys are on the losing side of history, and you're destined for the same scrap heap as your lame, embarrassing phones that you can't even use to read the news or track your stocks or check if the L train is running properly.

That's certainly the message of the gadget-cult evangelists, for whom the planned obsolescence of modern technology is a feature rather than a bug. But not everyone is convinced that the only people who deserve mobile access to information are the ones willing to drop hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone. The developers of the Dumb Store, for example, are working to make dumb phones smart.

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The New "On the Go!" Digital Subway Maps Are a Tourist's Dream Come True

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Along with a subway death solution, a review of the G train and a whole slew of transportation inconveniences, the MTA needs a technological upgrade. Luckily, that'll be arriving shortly (the other issues, maybe not so soon).

Two summers ago, the agency installed several new kiosks at the subway stations in Bowling Green, Penn Station, Jackson Heights, and Barclays. These "On the Go! Travel Machines" are everything one could want if you're 1) not from New York; 2) drunk, lost and unable to understand the stationary subway map; 3) more of a cab person (you know who you are); 4) two or more of the above. They're basically a combination of HopStop and Yelp!--you can pinpoint an exact route and then see neighborhood/leisure prospects along the way.

And now these $15,000-a-pop machines are coming to a station (77 of them, to be exact) hopefully near you. Hit the jump to see where.

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The MTA's BusTime Will Be Fully Operational Across NYC Next April

In the video featured above, the MTA teaches you, in classic infomercial fashion, how to use their new online service that tells you where the damn bus is anytime and anywhere. The program was started back in January of 2012, in which it was deployed to riders in the Bronx, Queens and strictly on 34th Street in Manhattan.

But, according to news yesterday, it will be available in all five boroughs by April 2014 - Manhattan, this very year. Once the fortified island goes online, Queens and Brooklyn will follow.

So, in due time, you'll be able to go everywhere in the Big Apple and find out just when exactly you missed your bus. It's always by twenty seconds.

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