The Future Will See You Now
Say cheese! According to a new study by Quinnipiac University, an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers–82 percent–support an increase in surveillance cameras in public places. The majority is spread across all racial and sexual demographics, and even transcends the furthest boundaries, with both Democrats and Republicans strongly supporting it.
Airbnb and Me
Temporary apartment renting service Airbnb has had its share of tussles with New York law. In 2011, the city instituted an illegal hotels statute that makes it illegal for users to rent out their apartments for less than 29 days, effectively rendering Airbnb hosts subject to fines. Last September, the city council jacked up the fines that could be levied upon illegal hoteliers advertising their wares through Airbnb from $800 to $2,500.
After rumors swirled the past few days that food delivery companies GrubHub and Seamless were in talks to merge, the news is now official. Bloomberg reports that the companies are combining in an effort to out-deliver their competitors in the fast-growing online ordering sector.
Matt Maloney, CEO of Chicago-based GrubHub, will lead the merged entity while New York-based Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky will be its president. Financial details have not yet been released but neither company is paying to acquire the other. The company will be rebranded, although a new name hasn’t been selected.
Google is well-known for its opulent work spaces and fantastic perks, which make everyone else feel like we’re working in Soviet-era prisons. Look at that spacious rooftop at Club Goog’s New York office: it emanates so many chill waves that Washed Out could play an impromptu set at any moment.
CB Insights released a new report about venture capital financing for the first quarter of 2013, and after a bleak 2012, things are looking up for New York startups. The state beat out Massachusetts for the second time in the last two years on “overall number of deals and funding” (not exclusive to tech companies), placing just behind California.
Expect a marked drop in “running 15 late sorrrrrrryyyy don’t hate meee ” texts thanks to a new feature on Google Maps that shows real-time travel updates on its desktop and mobile products.
Google is getting timelier information by pulling from the MTA’s open data program. However the improved intel is only available for numbered lines (sans the 7) and the Times Square Shuttle thus far. If you are dependent on perpetually infuriating lettered trains like, for example, the C, you are out of luck.
Play Your Video Games
What do you do when you lack the technology to create your own simulation of New York City under missile attack? You use footage from video games, of course!
Kotaku reports that a new space race propaganda video put online by North Korea’s propaganda arm Uriminzokkiri depicts a city that looks an awful lot like New York being struck by missiles. Buildings begin to burn as an American flag waves overtop the footage. The video is couched as a dream sequence, showing the dreaming man aboard the rocket the country successfully tested in December.
New York has just published a lengthy profile of Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, and it confirms what we’ve long suspected: This young man has the chutzpah of a well-capitalized comp lit major. After serving as PR interlocutor for Zuck and helping Barack Obama on his path to the presidency, Mr. Hughes is now plowing that Facebook fortune into the ailing New Republic.
But New York suggests that before he settled on his current property, the most literary of the Facebook mafiosos asked around about a different outlet. Buried in the profile is this tiny tidbit:
Ride or Die
It’s a secret point of pride for experienced New Yorkers that we know how to properly parse the mystifying taxi light system. It gives us a leg up over tourists, who spend so much time trying to differentiate between the Available and Off Duty lights that by the time they realize the cab is free, a local has already settled into the backseat.
But now, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Taxi & Limousine Commission has voted to revamp the baffling system: during scheduled taxi inspections between January and April, all taxis will be outfitted so that their signs only display one light when they’re available. When they’re taken or off-duty, the sign will be dark.
Tech and the City
A few months ago, City 24×7 teamed up with the city of New York to create touchscreen neighborhood directories in phone booths across the city. Today, in partnership with Cisco, the company announced that it’s rolling out the high tech public communications systems to 250 more phone booths across the New York area.
Each phone booth is outfitted with a 32-inch touchscreen device that offers directory information, city news and alerts, transportation schedules, restaurants and maps. City 24×7 has partnered with a host of companies to bring up-to-the minute info to each booth.
“You can get your real time train alerts, best New York restaurants through Zagat, green market information through Grow NYC, theater tickets through Theater Mania,” said Tom Touchet, City 24×7′s CEO. City 24×7 has also partnered with CityMaps for hyperlocal maps for each booth, and will provide services for those who are disabled and have difficulty using a standard pay phone.