I've been meaning for a while to post an invitation to everyone to work together on the mobile phone pinging system that has been discussed on the site as an alternative to expensive centralized bus tracking systems going in to some cities.
This seems like it would be really easy and straightforward to build, especially the way roygbiv approaches it in that thread linked to above.
If anyone is interested in figuring this out and getting it built, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get going on it.
Wanted to start a thread here in case anybody wants to comment on the launch of SickCity. Comments, ideas, criticisms (constructive, of course), tangential musings? Post em here.
I'm very excited to announce the newest application by people here at DIYcity. The app is called SickCity, and it provides realtime detection for disease outbreak in cities.
How, you say?
It works by monitoring status messages on Twitter (and soon on Facebook) in cities around the world, tallying up disease keywords such as "flu", "fever", "food poisoning", "chicken pox" and so on. It then takes those tallies and creates a 30-day chart for each keyword in each city. This lets you see in one glance whether conversation about a particular disease is high, low, increasing, decreasing, or not changing. This, in turn, should give you a good idea when an outbreak is afoot.
Here's food for thought: with a budget of $0, we've created an app that may in fact do a reasonably good job at notifying people when there's a nasty outbreak happening in their immediate vicinity.
Is it perfect? No. Is it a prototype? Yes. Will it get better? Definitely.
I cannot say enough good things about the team that put it together. The DIYcity Challenge on this was issued less than a week ago, and immediately several followers of the site chimed in with ideas. Before two days had gone by, we had a rough prototype and a full roadmap, and were chugging toward the finish line. Special congrats to Paul Watson for his masterful prototyping and delivery of the final RoR code. And thanks to all the others for their contributions as well.
Please go check it out...
Well another week has come and gone, and though it has been fairly quiet here on the site itself for the past few days, there is a buzz of activity going on behind the scenes and off the lists. An absolute buzz! Hopefully that will result in something exciting manifesting next week for everyone to check out.
In the meantime: welcome to the new local groups in Waterford Ireland, Kinston North Carolina, and Berlin. Know anyone living in those areas? Tell em to join DIYcity!
Also, here is an article passed to me by fellow DIYcity'er Dave Pentecost:
ZDNet Australia writes that NSW state corporation RailCorp has threatened a Sydney software developer with legal action if he fails to withdraw a train timetable application that is currently the second-most-popular application in its category in Apple's App Store.
read full slashdot article here:
Enjoy the weekend, see you back here first thing Monday morning...
So, it looks like we've got about 12 (ok, exactly 12) members registered for the Chicago chapter of DIYcity.
I think this sounds like a quorum.
Who's up for having an informal meeting soon? Will be a good opportunity to get to know one another, figure out what our aggregate skill set is, talk about directions for our chapter, and perhaps float some potential project ideas...
When / where works for people?
My vote would be some time next week, ~6pm, meet for drinks somewhere downtown.
Looking forward to working with everyone to help make Chicago a better place.
Fantastic! Two people signed up without me having to do anything! Will the new people please introduce themselves? -- Harry
For those of you not listening in on the Discussions group, DIYcity Challenge #5: Outbreak! is now online there:
Design an app that works as an early warning system for outbreaks of flu, colds and other communicable disease at the city level. Bonus points for making it a system that can be easily applied to any city. Extra bonus points for going so far as to outline a spec for getting it built.
And once we have this one in the bag, we'll build it.
p.s. - Tweet this Challenge!
Back in the days of the railway, Winnipeg was Canada's hub. We were, and are, the center of the country. But what about now? Walk downtown and the signs of a stagnant economy is everywhere. Not to mention the feeling that our city lacks innovative thinking in the upper echelons.
If small business is the key economic driver of any urban area, how can we attract innovative small business to Winnipeg, and how can we encourage more Winnipegers to start them.
Y Combinator, an American incubator that provides small amounts of seed funding to startups. Its head honcho, Paul Graham, has put together an excellent article contemplating how any city could become the next hub for startups like Silicon Valley. Here it is:
There is so much going on on this site these days, and it's spread out over so many sections, that I'm trying to start writing week-in-review emails to point people to things they may have missed during the course of the week.
And this week was a big week, so I might as well get started now.
First of all - welcome to all of the local groups that are new this week. We have new groups for Mexico City, Amsterdam, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Curitiba, Campinas, Belo Horizonte, Singapore, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Louisville KY and Grand Rapids Michigan. Whew. We hope to see these groups becoming hotbeds of local DIY action and look forward to their contributions to the central discussions as well. If you know people in those cities, tell 'em to sign up for their local DIYcity group!
Second, we launched DIYtraffic to a nice, loud and positive reception on blogs and on Twitter. As of now we have seven instances of the app running in different cities, with plans being made for the app to be launched in London and elsewhere. If you want to add your two cents on making that package better, you can do so here.
Lastly, there was the beginnings of a good discussion on things you could do to make biking in cities easier, which sort of got sidetracked midweek by the launch of DIYtraffic. Maybe we'll pick back up on that for a day or two next week and see if we come away with anything good before we move on.
Next week we hope to make more big advances in the whole DIYcity idea. This is getting fun as it picks up steam.
See you all then...