It's time for a meetup! And we finally have a date locked in. And that date is Wednesday, January 14th.
This is going to be a global meetup - we want to get as many cities as possible involved on that date, holding meetings of their own. It seems like there's a multiplier effect that could result from getting everyone working and thinking about this at the same time, in their respective local areas. We want to explore that as much as possible.
So far we have the San Francisco Group, the New York City Group and the Paris Group committed to holding meetings on that date.
If you belong to a group in another city (or if you'd like to start a new group in another city) and you want to also host a meetup on that date, let us know at diy-at-diycity-dot-org and we can all coordinate with one another to make this a really interesting and eventful thing.
And if you live in one of the areas that will be participating in the January 14th meetup and want to attend, just check on that area's DIYcity page for details on how to do this. All are welcome to participate.
More details to come.
I had an idea over the weekend for an app that would allow people who wanted to share the cost of a taxi together to find each other in a city. This would be a very straightforward app to build, no? Match up people for starting point and destination point, along with time of departure. Make it a system that operates on the fly, people can look for a taxi share just a few minutes before their departure.
Could work well in cities at night, when mass amounts of people are leaving bars, restaurants, clubs, etc in nightlife areas and heading to residential areas. And for that matter, could work well the other way too, when mass amounts of people are leaving residential areas and heading to the restaurant, bar & club areas.
You could approach the safety issue in various ways if you wanted. Wont go into that here.
It's kind of like Dodgeball, but for after you leave the bar.
Could be very useful, money-saving to individuals, and could cut the # of solo taxi rides out there.
A response from Richard Pauli to DIYcity Challenge #2. Richard writes:
I have been promoting this ridesharing idea - described on http://ithumb.org/
I have not shared it widely enough, but everyone who hears it, gets it and knows it would work. Personally, I think it is both technically possible and inevitable because this is the type of service any user would want - fast and trusted.
Thanks for holding this challenge... and thanks for considering this notion.
Richard has a lengthy write-up of this ridesharing proposal at http://ithumb.org, which you should check out for the full play-by-play. Here's the basic breakdown:
Proposed Domain monikers: WiRide.com & iThumb.org
For Pedestrians: Use Your wireless GPS/WiFi device to rideshare with a selected Driver on your route.
For Drivers: Use Your GPS/WiFi car based internet connection to rideshare with the closest passenger.
Requirements: a WiRide account, a GPS/WiFi location mode enabled wireless device - (And Web access with application)
1. Register with WiRide or iThumb - trusted and secure required (photo, registration, fingerprint, etc)
2. Logon and tell us where you are going or Where you want to go.
3. See on your device a map of your route, a list of fellow travelers on your route and time that you can connect with them.
4. You each select your ride / rider
5. You each see a meet up location and time
6. You each verify identities before connecting.
8. End ride and your transit is logged. Your government may wish to reward you for helping with transit.
Richard adds: Real-time, trusted ridesharing using GPS/WiFi location tracking is inevitable.
Wanted to repost this comment that got lost in the shuffle last week. From user baniak:
In Portland, OR ~5 years ago I remember an "Anarchist Post Office" - a DIY bike messenger service that would deliver packages within the city of Portland for free. I moved shortly after that, so I don't know if anything became of it. (And I cannot find any mention of it online.)
The idea stuck with me, and when I stumbled on DIYCity a few days ago, I instantly thought of how technology could make this idea more feasible, and even expand it. Here is a proposal:
A very basic method would be to create a Twitter user for our Open Source Post Office (i.e. OpenPostOffice) service. Users post to @OpenPostOffice with a start zip code, an end zip code, a brief description (size/shape, not contents) of what they want delivered and when they want it delivered:
@OpenPostOffice 60610 to 60660 20 lb. box 12/5/2008
People who read the tweet who will be travelling a similar route (in this example near or through zip code 60610 to or through 60660) can respond with "I will be willing to deliver your package"
Details can be worked out by the two parties outside of Twitter.
(Read baniak's full proposal here).
This idea seems really interesting, though difficult to make work. Seems like it might work best in a small town somewhere with a college campus, like Santa Cruz CA or Eugene OR.
Also, does it need to be bikes? What about just an "I'll pick up your stuff if I'm going your way" service?
If you can coordinate the people who are already in transit along a route with the goods that need to move along that route, you save everyone time and energy.
Possible? Or impossible?
DIYcity Challenge #2: Conceive of a grassroots ridesharing system that can overcome the problems inherent in ridesharing and achieve critical mass.
Ridesharing sounds like such a great idea - everyone teaming up, riding 2, 3 or 4 to a car to get where they're going together. Fewer cars on the road, less CO2 created, everyone happy. But the reality is that lots of ridesharing systems have been designed but none have really caught on to any appreciable amount.
Why is this? There are lots of reasons. Flexibility, reliability, safety, critical mass challenges and more all conspire to prevent rideshare systems from taking off.
Here on DIYcity we've already had a pretty good discussion on building a ridesharing app that works. But nobody has nailed it just right yet. Can you?
Submit your idea for the killer ridesharing app to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don't actually have to build anything for this Challenge, just write a concise proposal and it will be posted to the site.
If you do actually build something then wow, that's really cool, please submit it here.
David Brooks has an excellent column in today's NYT calling for Obama's infrastructure project to include a dramatic, innovative rethink of U.S. urban living patterns. Brooks says:
This kind of stimulus would be consistent with Obama’s campaign, which was all about bringing Americans together in new ways. It would help maintain the social capital that’s about to be decimated by the economic downturn.
But alas, there’s no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past.
I wonder - what role could a community like DIYcity play in achieving that innovation? In helping to define the vision for that innovation? In energizing people to make that innovation happen in their communities on their own, with or without the aid and assistance of government offices?
I had an idea over the weekend for a way to implement the TrafficTweet idea, and do it in a big way. And I'm getting the itch to build it and launch it now. And so that's what I'm going to do!
I'm going to get in touch with a few people who have been involved in the TrafficTweet thread to see if they want to pitch in, and then see if we can get something up quickly, live, for people to use.
If you read this and want to help out, drop me a line. No matter what you do, you're welcome to pitch in.
AND, if you read this and you are some charitable .org that likes to support things like this, also please drop us a line. Even if it's just to offer server space for hosting the idea, every contribution helps.
Servicing the Charlotte metro area, this traffic bot uses the emailed traffic reports from a local radio station and they are fed through ping.fm into the twitter account.
Also still testing is the user reporting feature. Users send a @reply in the format of: "@485sucks report Accident: Tryon and 5th st." and using a feed from search.twitter.com fed through tweetbots, the user tips are tweeted.
Ben's tip for others working in the same area:
Relying on feed based data and using something like TwitterFeed results in delayed reports and also a stack of 5 or so tweets at a time which can annoy many users. The ping.fm method is much cleaner.
Cool, thanks Ben.
Just found out about this, the deadline is tomorrow:
2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge
Update: We've extended the deadline for Project submissions to December 5! The Community Vote will take place from December 8 - 12, 2008.
USAID is proud to announce the launch of the 2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge. Brought to you by the Global Development Commons.
Mobile technology, including everything from inventive applications for smart phones to simple text messaging, is increasingly ubiquitous in the developing world. USAID challenges you to explore its potential through an innovation for maximum development impact in areas such as health, banking, education, agricultural trade, or other pressing development issues.
There are several great threads going on right now on DIYcity, and they're so spread out across the site that I wanted to collect them all in one place, for anyone who wants to follow them and/or jump in with discussion, planning or development.
First, there is an ongoing New York City Zoning Data discussion. An API has been built for a zoning app, and people involved are talking about next steps for creating an actual app around that API.
Then, there's some really interesting talk around improving Andy Weissman's TrafficTweet. The idea is really coming together, and the latest idea seems like something that would really be worth trying out in a city.
There is an ongoing discussion on what would make the best Ridesharing App, that includes some good criticism of the existing apps out there. The latest post is really right on, and I think something good is going to come out of this.
Lastly, there's an interesting idea being floated for a networked, distributed delivery system, which the author is calling Open Source Post Office. Seems promising.
There are several other ideas brewing too, which will hopefully boil up something good.
It's great to see some of these ideas moving toward becoming actual working apps. Anyone who has ideas, energy or resources to help move them to the next stage shouldn't hesitate to jump in and help make that happen.