LinkNYC Hooking Up with Brooklyn

Nov 21, 16 LinkNYC Hooking Up with Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Technology

New York City has been transitioning to a city of free-WiFi, but somehow Brooklyn has been left behind. But not anymore. Brooklyn joined the world of superfast communication when two hot-spots were switched on. Both of them are in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, on Fulton Street, but do not fret; that is just the very beginning. Brooklynites should not fear that to get their free Wi-Fi they will have to travel to points far flung. The near future is poised to bring free Wi-Fi to nine more areas in the weeks ahead. Expect to see free internet access near LIU-Brooklyn and in Prospect Park. Staten Island is not being left behind, either. It already has its first kiosk, with many more on the horizon. All this connecting is made possible by LinkNYC, which offers more than just free internet access for phone calls. In addition to  free domestic phone calls there will be easy connections to 311 and 911. Plus, if your phone’s battery is running low (again!), just plug into the USB ports also available at the kiosks. Tablets will allow users to look up services in the city, and the kiosk itself will have on display public service announcements. LinkNYC does not allow free web browsing, which it did in its early days. But it does allow travelers and the homeless, and others without guaranteed internet phone service to stay connected in the greatest city on...

read more

Fluctuations in Air Travel

Sep 27, 16 Fluctuations in Air Travel

Posted by in All, Technology

Over the last ten years or so, airplane travel has changed significantly.  There are many reasons for this and the result of these changes has been both positive and negative for the passengers and airport industry workers. Given the events of 9/11, airport security has transformed in a way that makes it possibly unrecognizable from what it was pre-2001.  While that is good for air passengers’ peace of mind it leads to a few primary issues:  an increase in airfare price due to added government-run airport security (but with that a jump in employment opportunities); a potential escalation in delay for flights and more aggravated passengers. According to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, today the air travel experience is much more relaxed than it was back in the 1960s when people would for example, actually dress up for getting on a plane.  “Now if anything, they dress down, wanting to be as comfortable as possible,” Sonnenfeld remarked. But at the same time, it is much easier to get a lower-priced, ‘no frills’ flight than it was 10 years ago.  When plane fares dropped initially it was just for local flights but now it seems airlines are popping up and are able to offer cheaper flights internationally (without the frills) as well. One such example is Spirit Airlines. A lot of travelers find the air experience much more comfortable than they did a few decades ago. Elio Moti Sonnenfeld also pointed out the benefits of the relatively new non-smoking rules, noting out “Some years ago, people were allowed to smoke on a plane, causing discomfort to the non-smokers.” In addition, the amount of passengers choosing air travel has increased substantially over the last few decades.  According to Marcelo Risi of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), while in 1950 there were 25 million traveled abroad, this figure shot up to 1.1billion in 2014. Consolidations and corporation mergers have led to an improvement in air travel according to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld. With the 2013 creation of the...

read more

DIVAS Developing App to Help Girls Cope with Life’s Intimate Questions

Feb 24, 14 DIVAS Developing App to Help Girls Cope with Life’s Intimate Questions

Posted by in All, Technology

The Digital Interactive Visual Arts and Sciences (DIVAS) for Social Justice organization works hard to teach youth in under-served neighborhoods how to use today’s technologies to promote social change. Their latest undertaking, under the DIVAS “Imaging Ourselves” program, is to create a mobile app which will answer the most personal and intimate questions girls have about themselves, their relationships, and the complex world around them. The app will be called “My Sister’s Keeper” and will allow users to ask many questions which girls would otherwise have no one to ask due to their intimate and soul-searching nature. Under development in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn by documentary photographer and multimedia developer Murray Cox, “My Sister’s Keeper” will feature videos of different girls asking questions, and then cutting to women giving videotaped answers. Under development since October, 2013, DIVAS held a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to finance the app and hopes to release it to the general public in March to coincide with Womens’ History Month.  Youth members of DIVAS have been poring over questions that girls might ask themselves to choose the most critical ones for the app. They have been filming girls asking the questions and also the women who are giving loving, thoughtful answers to those questions which girls often ask themselves about body image, hair, and relationships. The following description of “My Sister’s Keeper” comes from the Indiegogo site where donations to help create the app can be sent: “The My Sister’s Keeper App will provide a platform for a global community of women and girls to receive loving affirmations about the questions young girls ask themselves growing up. Not everyone has a positive maternal confident to help answer their questions and DIVAS wants to help fill that void by creating a free mobile app where a young girl can ask a question about body image, relationships or just know someone loves them. The youth of the organization have been surveying their friends and providing the questions that all girls ask...

read more

Free Apple iPad Usage For Airport Patrons at LaGuardia and Beyond

Jul 18, 12 Free Apple iPad Usage For Airport Patrons at LaGuardia and Beyond

Posted by in Technology

After a one and a half year trial run, project planners have declared that the free use of Apple iPads for travelers at airports is a good idea. OTG Management, a company that manages restaurants and newsstands at a large number of key airports introduced free iPad use at LaGuardia Airport last winter, and now that they see that their idea is a good one, they are revving up to bring about 7,000 of these internet enabled devices into three additional major airports: JFK in New York; Minneapolis-St.Paul in Minnesota; and Pearson airport in Toronto. “People are very anxious about where they’re going, is their flight on time, where’s their flight leaving from, did the gate change,” says Albert Lee of OTG Management. “We’re putting all the tools in front of them so that they can reduce their gate anxiety. So from the iPad, you can order anything that’s available in the airport and have it delivered directly to your seat. You can have magazines delivered to you. You can have top-notch food delivered directly to your seat.” OTG even won a FAB Award (Best Food and Beverage related innovaton) for 2012 for this idea. Having the iPad right next to your gate makes purchasing so easy and convenient, there is no longer any excuse not to buy something while waiting for your flight. Travelers can check to see if their flight is ready to leave or they can check their email, play games, watch videos, or just about anything else that can be done on an iPad that is loaded with the right apps. OTG says they will constantly be adding new apps as they make deals for them. Travelers that are worried about leaving important account information and passwords behind when they run for their flight need not be concerned. As soon as the iPad is sent back to home, all personal information is wiped clean. “All you have to do is hit the home button, run for your flight and we’ve...

read more

Wi-Fi Hot Spots Coming to Pay Phone Kiosks in New York City

Jul 15, 12 Wi-Fi Hot Spots Coming to Pay Phone Kiosks in New York City

Posted by in Technology

Just when you thought living in New York could not get any more fun, the powers that be have decided to embark on a program to get more of the city wired- by placing Wi-Fi hot spots around town. And where better to put a hot-spot than in what used to be New Yorkers' main mode of communication when out on the town; a public pay-phone kiosk. "What we are doing is taking the current infrastructure that we have already have, leverage it up, add few more technological advance and, frankly, with the new information age you can put so much information and pack it up into small devices," said Rahul Merchant, Citywide Chief Information and Innovation Officer. In case you were thinking that these kiosks should go the way of the dinosaur, think again. First of all, it’s kind of nice to have those pay phones around just in case your cell-phone’s battery runs out, or your phone is lost, stolen, or dropped in a fountain during lunch hour. Apparently this happens more often than you might guess; New York’s pay phones were used to make 27 million calls last year, excluding emergency calls to 911. So if the phones are staying, might as well make them more useful, and so the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications– (did you know we had such a department?) posted a “Request for Information” document soliciting ideas from the public for what to do with our pay phone kiosks. The DITT came up with a few ideas of their own for the sidewalk phones, including making the kiosks into power stations or possibly adding touch screens into the booths with information and maps and other helpful forms of media. But according to Rachel Sterne, New York’s Chief Digital Officer, the most popular idea seems to be creating Wi-Fi hot-spots out of the kiosks, and the project is already underway on a small scale. So far, out of the city’s 12,000 phone booths 10 have already been...

read more

Space Shuttle Thrills Brooklyn as It Travels to New Home

In what is proving to be an exciting last ride, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was flown to JFK Airport piggy-back-style on a Boeing 747 from Washington’s Dulles Airport on April 23, where it already thrilled spectators as it made a fly-by past the Statue of Liberty, and a perfect landing at JFK. The shuttle was kept at JFK until it was put on a barge and floated to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey this past Sunday. Sunday’s trip took the Enterprise along the southern shoreline of Brooklyn, passing such easily accessible locales as the boardwalk in Brighton Beach and Coney Island. The huge shuttle also passed under a number of New York bridges, including Marine Park’s Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. From Staten Island a wonderful photogenic moment was enjoyed as the shuttle could be seen passing by the Statue of Liberty, in a watery replay of its fly-by about 6 weeks ago. Brooklynites, New Yorkers in general and visitors gathered to watch the spectacle, and were thrilled to see the shuttle floating down their waterways. “I was hoping that it would come a little bit closer to the shore but it was still a lot of fun. Hopefully I will get a glimpse closer in the coming days or on the actual Intrepid when it winds up there,” one onlooker said. The Enterprise never actually entered space but was a prototype used exclusively for approach and landing tests as well as being used to conduct sixteen atmospheric flight tests. On Wednesday the Enterprise will make the last leg of its journey to retirement as it proceeds from Port Elizabeth and heads on over to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum on Manhattan’s west side. The Enterprise Space Shuttle will be ready for visitors beginning on July 19,...

read more