App Ecomony

City Unveils Exciting New App That Lets You Refill Your Parking Meter

Fancy parking meter. (Photo: Flickr)

Be gone, parking meter anxiety!  Today Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled  a new app that lets users refill their meters remotely, thus eliminating the debilitating mental condition of worrying when the parking meter maid is going to strike next.

The free pilot program is currently being tested on nearly 300 meters in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office. The New York Post notes that the initiative was announced in 2009 but is now finally being deployed. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Lena Dunham Takes a Stab At the ‘Bougie Nightmare’ Of Working In Startups

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It’s been said that if Sex And The City were still on the air, Carrie would be dating a startup dude. (For related theories on how George Costanza would deal with Snapchat, please see @ModernSeinfeld.)

Lucky for Lena Dunham that her Brooklyn-based take on entitlement coincides with the rise of New York’s nouveau tech riches. We already saw boho babe Jessa slum it with a square venture capitalist. (Factcheck on his “Steal My Sunshine” mash-up, though: In real life, VCs are much more partial to posting indie rock or dad rock on their Tumblr. And we’re sorry to report you probably picked the same song of the year.) Read More

Wither the Web?

Medialets Goes Beyond the App With Rich Media Ads on the Mobile Web

A Medialets streaming ad inside the NY Times app.

When Betabeat last wrote about Medialets, we highlighted the fact that they offered rich media solutions through HTML5, meaning advertisers didn’t have to worry about tweaking their campaign for Apple versus Android versus RIM. This had helped Medialets to score clients like The New York Times and The Daily, which despite being in bed with Apple during its creation, chose Medialets over iAd for their rich media needs.

Today Medialets announced it would begin offering the same services for the mobile web. “We didn’t go into mobile web first, even though there was audience, because the browser wasn’t ready,” Eric Litman, CEO of Medialets, told Betabeat by phone this morning. “But Apple and Google have been doing a ton of work on this, to the point where the mobile browser can support things like location or an accelerometer.” Read More

App Economy

Watch the Uber-Emo Trailer for PostSecret’s New Smartphone App [VIDEO]

If you didn’t already hear about PostSecret’s soon-to-launched iPhone and Android app via its upcoming party at the Bell House in Brooklyn, then do we have the trailer for you. The site, which primarily crowd-sourced the new app, just released a video that looks like it could double as the background for a very emotional pop ballad.

“Everybody has secrets,” says the earnest voiceover. “There are dirty secrets, soulful secrets. Shocking, sexy, and silly secrets. There are secrets that might haunt you. And secrets that can heal you.” Basically there are just a whole mess of secrets, okay? Anyways, here’s the video. We have to go find somewhere to confess a secret about how a promotional video for an iPhone app gave us the chills. Read More

App Economy

Meet Blu Trumpet: The First Chick to Fly Out of IAC’s Hatch Labs

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They grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s been just five months since IAC announced Hatch Labs, a “technology sandbox for mobile start-up”, as part of its push in into the new app economy.

Today the incubator has its first launch: Blu Trumpet, a  platform for mobile apps that helps publishers monetize and advertisers increase distribution. It’s already got IAC apps like Daily Beast and College Humor signed up as clients. Read More

Makeouts To Go

In Which Sam Yagan Tries to Convince Us OkCupid’s New Local Dating App Is the Anti-Grindr

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When OkCupid co-founder Sam Yagan announced yesterday that the company’s mobile app would now let users connect with members “near you, right now, on the fly,” he did so with no small measure of chutzpah. Along with revealing a “Twitter-like” broadcast feature to plan your night and an integration with Foursquare’s venue database, the headline for the press release came out swinging at the competition: “OkCupid Goes Local with Mobile Dating that People Will Actually Use.” Zing!

Betabeat got Mr. Yagan on the phone to find out what exactly he meant by that, what makes OkCupid Locals any different, a time before smartphones (yes, Virginia, it did exist), and why we may soon see the resurrection of  CrazyBlindDate, a dating service before its time. Read More

Class Is in Session

Khoi Vinh: Publishers Should Be Developing for the Mobile Web Instead of Making Replica Apps

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For this week’s cover story about Condé Nast’s struggle developing for the iPad, Betabeat had the opportunity to talk to Khoi Vinh, former Design Director for NYTimes.com. On his widely-read design blog, Subtraction, Mr. Vinh has repeatedly expressed his skepticism toward publishers like Condé Nast and Hearst and software companies like Adobe for thinking that what iPad readers want is a magazine replica app that takes a print-centric approach to tablet design. But we didn’t get the chance to include some really interesting predictions Mr. Vinh made about the direction he thinks consuming content on the iPad is heading (in short: back to the browser) and what readers really want.

Mr. Vinh, who recently released a book on web design, seem to have contracted that start-up fever making its way around the city and is currently working in stealth mode on an app of his own. He compared the bells-and-whistles of the current magazine app rush to the CD-ROM bubble and advised publishers to think more like Netflix. Read More