'Smart Screens' To Replace Pay Phones

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To be honest, we can't remember the last time we consciously noticed a pay phone in the city (that is, save for ones used in the episodes of Felicity we've been watching on Netflix). But the New York Post reports today that 250 phone booths will get high tech updates within the next month. Now-obsolete phones will be replaced by 32-inch "smart screens," which will provide users with neighborhood information and connect them to 311. The screens could indeed eventually sub in for all of the 12,800 outdoor pay phones throughout the city -- their franchise contracts will be done come October 2014.

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TLC Seeks Proposals For Taxi Payment App

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The days of having to carry around cash in order to take cabs are so long gone. Now, in addition to taxi's ubiquitous credit card machines, the Taxi & Limousine Commission is soliciting proposals for an app that will allow people to pay for their ride on their smartphone. It's just the next step in the inevitable progression to being beamed to our destination through our iPhone. In all seriousness, though, according to a notice from the TLC a payment app will serve functions beyond simply the exchange of funds. An app can allow riders to get emailed receipts that could help them find property that might have gotten lost or file a "compliment/complaint." (There already is an app just for complaints.)

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Studies Look At What The Internet Can Do To And For Kids

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There was a period in history when we assume being a teenage girl or a girl on the verge of teenagedom must have meant listening to a Joni Mitchell record while writing in a diary. Now, there's Taylor Swift, blogs, Facebook, texting and the like. It's all so confusing. So two recent studies have tackled how the Internet affects young people. Let's take a look.

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Presenting the Most and Least Compatible New York City Neighborhoods

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A "heat map" for NYC, from OkCupid last Valentine's Day.
According to data released to us by OkCupid, some New York City neighborhoods are more likely to make connections on the dating site than others. This may seem intuitive in some ways, but it's better to know these things for sure, right? After all, just like that map that tells us where the single men and women live, we can use this for our own purposes, whatever they may be. The numbers below reflect "the average compatibility between people in each neighborhood with other neighborhoods." The NUMBER 1 top compatibility is between...drumroll please...Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy, featuring a 46.09 compatibility return!

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The Status Atlas Tells You What Brooklynites Are Tweeting on an Hourly Basis

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The Status Atlas at 10 a.m. (Midwood = vibrator)
Ricky Robinett, the tech brain behind FakeGirlfriend.co (which, by the way, he's offering up for sale to none other than Kanye West), has unleashed a new app with the help of Brian Wrightson. It's called The Status Atlas, and it's a "Twitter + Brooklyn mashup" compiling the tweets of Brooklyn to tell you which neighborhoods are tweeting which words the most. (Click on the lines of the map for neighborhood names.) How you might use this data is up to you, but as Robinett says, "It's a fun way to visualize things. In Williamsburg, one time the word was 'women.' When it's raining, you see a lot of shit and fuck."

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RentStuff.com Wants to Become the 'eBay Meets Facebook' of the NYC Rental Market

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Just one of the items you might rent on RentStuff.com.
Most New Yorkers are pretty O.K. about renting things, at least when it comes to our living spaces. As for those living spaces, we're pretty resigned to them being on the small side -- so small that we might have to rent additional storage space for, say, our skis or summer wardrobes or collection of whatever it is we happen to collect. But would you prefer to just rent that stuff in the first place? RentStuff.com, founded by 29-year-old twin brothers Chris and Robert Jaeger, thinks you would. Chris Jaeger describes the site as "a eBay for rentals, or an enhanced Craigslist for the rental marketplace." There's a social component, too, a/k/a, "eBay meets Facebook for the rental market."

Jaeger lived in New York City for 6 years and says the idea for the site came from his own frustrations about living in the city, in a small apartment shared with four roommates. He says, "I'm an avid outdoorsman, and I wanted to rent equipment for a mountain bike trip. The process of finding a bike was one of more frustrating experiences I've had -- I had to leave work early on a Friday, go across the city to get it, and then I had to do the same to get it back. I realized that the bike I wanted was probably in my own building, and if I could just connect with people in my community, this would all be so much easier."

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Andrew Hyde, the Guy Who Only Owned 15 Things, Has Upsized

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Adria Ellis
Imagine minimizing your life to the extent that you have but 15 items in your possession -- and none of them, not a one, is a $65 Dave Eggers shower curtain! We're talking about the very efficient shopping life of "extreme minimalist" Andrew Hyde, who has been written about widely as owning a mere 15 possessions (not counting underwear or socks). We were curious to find out if that was still the case in 2012, and he's written a post detailing what he's acquired since and what he's gotten rid of.

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Al Qaeda Wants to Be Your Friend on Facebook

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According to a recent study from the University of Haifa, your latest friend request on Facebook may be from a terrorist organization, for, like the rest of us, they have shifted their Internet activity focus to...social networks, obvi! "Today, about 90% of organized terrorism on the Internet is being carried out through the social media," says Professor Gabriel Weimann, who's been conducting research on the matter for the last 10 years. "By using these tools, the organizations are able to be active in recruiting new friends without geographical limitations," he says.

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Texting While Walking: The Proper Technique

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Casey Neistat, the guy who brought you that video on bike lanes in which he willingly crashed into whatever happened to be parked in said bike lanes for PSA purposes, has brought us another informative guide to living in the city. This latest Op-Ed, with video that merges the old-timey PSA-style of our youth with modern-day OMGs, published in the New York Times, is about what we like to call "death by Smartphone": the likelihood that we are going to be hit by a car, bicycle, or other fast-or-not-even-moving, heavy object (human, perhaps?) while we stare, entranced, into our phone and keep our feet moving in the direction of our hoped-for destination. Because, like rubbing your tummy and talking, or chewing gum and blow-drying your hair, texting and walking is hard! And what is difficult is often dangerous. This is why we have the Darwin Awards.

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Facebook 'Business' Cards Are Here

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What do you get for the person who has everything, including a Facebook account? A Facebook "business" card, of course! We're not sure if these are more or less insufferable than the Facebook shower curtain (equally so, perhaps, but different?). On one hand, the point of Facebook is, we suppose, to network, so giving someone a card with your contact info on it instead of making them search through the "Jennifer Dolls" to try to find you in the bleary hours of the next day may be an efficiency-positive move. On the other hand, do you really want to proclaim your devotion to Mark Zuckerberg's social networking beast with such American Psycho devotion? What's the thickness of this card stock, anyway? (200,000 users will get them free -- otherwise, they start at $15 for 50.)

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