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Metro Tech

Metro Tech

Speedballing: Time Warner Cable Spends $25 M. to Improve Broadband in Startup Hubs

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Today Time Warner Cable announced that the company expects to invest $25 million to expand its fiber optic network in both “established and emerging” business sectors around New York City. Many of the areas highlighted in today’s announcement happen to coincide with burgeoning tech hubs.

In a press release to Betabeat, Time Warner said it would extend its broadband capabilities in “the World Trade Center, the Flatiron District, all areas of Midtown and throughout the Financial District,” in Manhattan. In addition to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Time Warner is also upgrading fiber in the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Industry City.” Long Island City in Queens, the future home to Shapeways 3D-printing factory, will also benefit from the effort. Read More

Metro Tech

Meet Marie: LaGuardia Airport’s New Thumb-Twiddling Customer Service Avatar

LaGuardia Airport General Manager Tom Bosco introduces Terminal B's new customer service representative, Marie.

Wednesday was the first day on the job for Marie, LaGuardia Airport’s newest customer service hire: a virtual avatar designed to answer questions and help guide visitors through the airport.

The round-faced, chestnut-haired young woman we saw before us was merely a video of a human woman–the Port Authority wouldn’t disclose the actress’s name–projected on Read More

Metro Tech

Last Night at New York Tech Meetup: Condoms, Robots, and Bicycles

Representatives from Shindig, Skillcrush and Appguppy answer questions about their products.

Crowded into NYU’s Skirball center, the New York tech world got one step closer to developing Skynet Tuesday night at the monthly New York Tech Meetup, just one day after NYTM reached the 25,000 member mark.

“What I fell in love with was the community. I had not really had any tech in my background at all, and yet felt totally at home here,” gushed Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of NYTM, as she announced their membership accomplishments to cheers from the boisterous crowd.

Perhaps of more relevance to the future of our society—Jonathan Gottfried, a developer evangelist at Twilio, did a live demonstration of the TwilioBot 3000, a possible predecessor of assassin cyborgs. Mr. Gottfried was able to control the TwilioBot with his phone, sending it commands by typing numbers on his keypad … until he accidentally hung up on the TwilioBot. Read More

Metro Tech

Mayor Bloomberg’s Big Plan to Improve Broadband

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It’s hard to crown yourself innovation capital of the world without the physical infrastructure to support it. With that in mind, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council speaker Christine Quinn announced a number of new initiatives this morning, aimed at improving the city’s broadband connectivity for the 21st century.

In a press release, the city said the efforts are “designed to capitalize on the growth” of the tech sector. With the success of the applied sciences campus competition, it looks like the city will be relying on that model when it comes to broadband as well. Read More

Metro Tech

Can Genius-Grant Winner Majora Carter Bring the Tech Boom to the South Bronx?

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Silicon Hunts Point may sound like a far-fetched idea . . . to people who haven’t seen Majora Carter’s compelling TED talk about how neighborhoods like the South Bronx, where she grew up, suffered from urban policies that left residents exposed to air pollution, or living next to power plants.

Now the environmental justice advocate, who was awarded a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship for her pioneering work with Sustainable South Bronx, is setting her sights on ensuring the same kind of equality when it comes to New York’s booming startup sector. Read More

Metro Tech

Blackstone Group Refashions the Iconic Times Building as a Playground for Startups

new york times building

The corporate financiers at “private equity juggernaut” Blackstone Group have their work cut out of them. After all, how does one take a stodgy Midtown building and make it appeal to bunch of self-stylized iconoclasts? With scooters, of course!

After purchasing the top 12 floors of 229 West 43rd Street last year, Blackstone has spent $105 million in renovations to appeal to fast-growth startups, reports Bloomberg. That means ping-pong tables, Razor scooters, and a basketball court, proving, once again, that everyone’s idea of startup decor is frozen in 1999. Read More

Metro Tech

New York’s Proposed Angel Tax Credit Could Discourage Outside Investors

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Last Friday, Democratic Assemblymember Micah Kellner proposed a new tax credit to incentive investing in local startups–an area of particular interest to Mr. Kellner, whose district includes Roosevelt Island, the future home of Cornell and Technion’s applied sciences campus designed to unleash an army of developers and untold number of startups into the five boroughs.

The Angel Investor Tax Credit, which Mashable reports is currently under discussion in the New York State Assembly, would give 25 percent tax credit to investors who invest between $25,000 and $1 million in a New York City-based startup. In order to qualify, 60 percent of the startup’s employees must be based in New York. According to Mr. Kellner, similar incentives in Connecticut and Wisconsin, have seen boosts in angel investments of up to 500 percent over five years. Read More

Metro Tech

Gov 2.0 FAIL: El Bloombito Thinks New York City’s 311 App Really Bites

The Mayor's Instagram account is working just fine.

While the outside world piles accolades on New York City  for tech-forward initiatives like the applied sciences campus, hackathons, and open data efforts, residents who’ve tried to digitally interact with city government know there’s still a ways to go.

That’s partly why the city’s 311 app is so vital–imagine reporting that pothole or broken traffic light when you see it. Sadly, that has not been the case. The city’s social media presence may have gotten a sprucing up, but reviews of the app like “Greatest city in the World with a govt that uses 1980s technology,” are not uncommon.

Although it was first released back in 2009, the app’s general ineffectiveness finally came to Mayor Bloomberg’s attention earlier this year when he tried and failed to complain about a dirty, vacant lot. Read More