Everyone loves tamales and everyone loves late night situations where a friendly stranger delivers hot fresh tamales right to your bar stool. So, after some intense conversations surrounding the Tamale Guy here in Chicago, we came up with a great idea. What if it were some how possible to follow the Tamale Guy via Twitter as he made his rounds? A user community that would tweet when and where they saw the tamale guy and then users could be able to follow the progress by following the twitter.com/tamaletracker (tamaleguy was already taken).
How it works:
- twitter users send a @Reply to @tamaletracker when they see the Tamale Guy at their favorite pub in Chicago.
- then a scheduled listening service looks for any @Replies that have come into twitter.com/tamaletracker.
- when a new tweet comes in, the twitter.com/tamaletracker account then ReTweets on their behalf.
- twitter users sign up to follow twitter.com/tamaletracker or simply go to twitter.com/tamaletracker.
- choose to recieve sms alerts when twitter.com/tamaletracker tweets.
I created this the other day and have not tested it beyond my own tweets up until now. So if anyone does choose to use this little tool please let me know what bugs you find or if it just plain doesn't work for you.
Sorry to post to two groups, but I think this essay and interview with Usman Haque, creator of Pachube, is worth general discussion as well as posting in sensor networks. Interesting that Bruce Sterling was involved as "visionary adviser".
The possibilities of this forum are practically limitless - so let's start exploring them! While we haven't had a physical meet up (yet) this space can be a starting point for Twin Cities specific DIY ideas. Please, respond to this thread with
-what the ideal DIY TC would look like
-urgent (TC specific) issues you want to tackle with DIY tech
-next steps in addressing those issues
Also: how can we spread the news about this project? Like any forum, it depends on a quantity of quality contributors - spread the word!
Check out what's being done in London to create a global sensor data repository - the YouTube of sensor data - that lays the foundation for interactive environments and remote sensing applications.
The MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering for the eighth year to recognize, sustain, and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police that promote neighborhood safety and revitalization.
Awardees will receive cash grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each. Case studies about award-winning partnerships will be disseminated throughout the community development and law enforcement industries. Previous winners have used award money to pay for special patrols, trainings, and equipment for officers.
Grants will be awarded in two categories. Neighborhood Revitalization Awards (six grants of $15,000 to $25,000 each) celebrate exemplary collaboration between community groups and police that result in crime reduction as well as economic development activity, including real estate development, business attraction, and job growth. Special Strategy Awards (six awards of $15,000 each) will be given to community and police partners that have achieved significant accomplishments in applied technology, aesthetics and greenspace improvement, diversity, inclusion and integration, drug market disruption, gang prevention and youth safety, or seniors and safety.
Further information and a link to the full Request for Proposals is available at the LISC Web site.
Disasters really are the ultimate DIY setting - stakes are high, centralized solutions are often insufficient, overwhelmed or disabled, and volunteers and donors are everywhere. Often you'll see new communications tools and practices go through major transformations - Americans didnt initially take to cell phones as fast as the rest of the world, but that all changed after 9/11.
I spent a lot of time studying the role of communications in disasters a few years ago when I was doing research at NYU's Center for Catastrophe Preparedness. I wrote a report, which I think is still a useful reference
"Telecommunications Infrastructure in Disasters: Preparing Cities for Crisis Communications"
Some other examples:
Sahana - http://www.sahana.lk/node/12 - general purpose open source disaster response toolkit
KatrinaList - http://discovermagazine.com/2005/dec/emerging-technology - good article by outside.in founder Stephen Johnson on how the Katrina victim and refugee lists were coordinated using Web 2.0
What other kinds of problems could DIY disaster response solve?
One thing that occurs is that none of these are particularly mobile friendly frameworks. There are loads of SMS alerting schemes out there, but most are top-down, intended to be used by authorities to alert large groups of residents. Are there any p2p disaster messaging platforms out there?
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.
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?
Seth Godin recently posted about an Iphone application idea he had:
"Have the iPhone use the gps data... upload where I was a minute ago and where I am now. Figure out my speed and route. Use the data to tell other RadaR users which route is best."
You can read the full post here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/11/an-iphone-app-t.html
We're really excited about the potential for this app and what all of you here at DIYcity can do to make it come to life.
What is the most amazing DIYcity idea you've got? The thing you've been thinking about building for years, or something just off the top of your head right now. Let's have it.