Tech + Gadgets
It’s Friday evening, and you desperately want a table at Frances.Unless you’re a VIP who keeps the general manager on speed dial, you scour OpenTable where, if you’re lucky, you may find a seat at 5 or 10 p.m.—score one for little old ladies and European tourists. But here’s what you don’t know: The lack of seats doesn’t necessarily mean the house is packed. Turns out, some of the city’s hottest restaurants hide peak-hour tables from the only major reservations system online.
It’s hard not to become a bit nostalgic on the eve of this year’s Macworld convention, the first since Steve Jobs died.
After all, it was 28 years ago this month that Jobs unveiled the very first Mac at the first-ever of these events.
If you’re like me, your email inboxes have exploded over the years to the point they are bursting with incoming messages, some of which are bound to get lost in the shuffle. And, depending how many merchants you buy from, a healthy percentage of that email is probably composed of marketing messages.
Somebody recently asked me, "So, when you were a kid, and you were playing with trucks and cars in the sandbox, were you parallel parking all of your hotwheels?" I told her that I have memories of controlled vehicle chaos in the sandbox like other kids...but with an occasional explosion to give the Tonka ambulance and fire-truck something to do. So upon reflection, even then, I was afflicted with the childhood version of parking anxiety, and intermittent explosive disorder.
Sooner or later, almost everyone has to deal with finding a plumber, a carpenter, or a housecleaner to help deal with some issue around the place we call home.
The question is what can information technology do to help make this process more efficient?
If you go to Google today, you'll notice that its logo has been blacked out.
If you go to Wikipedia, you'll see a headline that reads "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge," followed by the following text:
"For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."
The reason for these actions by Google, Wikipedia, and other major web-based companies is a pair of bills currently being considered by both houses of the U.S. Congress. They are best-known by their acronyms, SOPA and PIPA.
As we figure out how to meet more and more of our offline needs in online marketplaces, one key issue always arises -- trust. How do we know we can trust the people we meet online?
And if this is an issue with sharing or exchanging things, like our apartments (Airbnb), cars (Getaround), and services (Zaarly), it's even more the case with the decisions about which people will take care of our kids.
San Francisco-based UrbanSitter has emerged over the past six months to help parents and babysitters meet up. It starts with Facebook Connect.
While it’s true that anyone can be a publisher in the Internet Age, it’s also true that the most commonly used tools aren’t for everyone.