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WNYC News

Bratton Says Greed Stops Corps. from Reducing Cell Phone Thefts

Monday, March 03, 2014

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton accuses smartphone makers of tolerating rampant theft because it's profitable.

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New Tech City

Phones + Mischief: From Muggers to Dennis Crowley

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This week New Tech City takes you into the bodegas, laundromats and back alleys of New York's black market for stolen cell phones. More than 15,000 handsets were snatched in the city last year alone.  

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Transportation Nation

NYC Taxi E-Hail Program Delayed

Thursday, March 07, 2013

(photo by bluepix52 via flickr)

A pilot program allowing New Yorkers to hail taxis via smartphone will not begin Friday after all.

On Thursday afternoon, New York State Supreme Court Justice Carol Huff issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the city from implementing its e-hail app program while she considers the case. She is expected to make a decision on March 19.

Livery car companies sued the city last month, saying the e-hail program violated the law. They got a boost Wednesday when two New York City council members filed amicus briefs in support of the suit.

A representative for two of the groups suing the city -- the Black Car Assistance Corporation and the Livery Roundtable -- issued a statement saying the groups were "relieved," adding: "This is the first step in sending a clear message that no one is above the law. We now look forward to presenting our case in court."

NYC Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said in a statement that "passengers can wait ten days to enjoy the latest technology.” Michael Woloz of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, a coalition of fleet owners siding with the city, said e-hail technology will "potentially make hailing yellow taxis more modern and more efficient." He also dismissed the livery car companies' argument as "pure nonsense."

Updated 8:28pm

For more, read this.



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New Tech City

The Effect of Touchscreens and Social Media on Kids, Plus 3D Printing

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Americans have purchased millions of smartphones, tablet computers and other digital tech this holiday season, and many of those gifts are showing up under Christmas trees this morning.

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Money Talking

Money Talking: How Safe Are Money Market Funds?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Investors have been flocking to money market funds for decades, and today their total value stands at $2.5 trillion. Businesses, non-profits, government and individuals seem to think they're a sound investment, but how safe are they?

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Transportation Nation

Companies Get in the Race for NYC Taxi App

Monday, June 11, 2012

NYC Taxi (photo: Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) A taxi app competition sponsored by New York City is heating up. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is accepting proposals for an app that will help passengers pay for their taxi trips with their smartphones.

"You could pre-load your credit card and pre-set the tip amount that you use and that way when you get in a taxi you click that app and you don't have to worry about swiping that credit card at the end," said TLC Commissioner David Yassky.

In addition to the convenience of not having to dig for a credit card before getting out of a cab and having a record of the receipt, at least two of the companies in the running also promise their technology will assist customers in locating a taxi.

One of the competitors, Jay Bregman, who is CEO of the company Hailo, said, “We want to help solve the inefficiencies in the taxi market.” The company already offers a popular taxi app in London. “Why go into the street when you can hail the cab from inside the house or the bar?” he added.

Radios and dispatchers are barred from use in yellow cabs but companies like Hailo said that there isn’t any need for a dispatcher with their app — it’s more like putting your technology in the air, instead of waving your arm in the air to hail a cab.

But some in the industry are against using gadgets to find cabs.

The Livery Roundtable, a group that represents over 300 livery bases in the city, said in a statement: “Digital hailing is just another sleight of hand by the TLC to masquerade its desire to de-reregulate ground transportation … Besides forcing the driver to text and drive — prearranged service is legally the exclusive right of the for-hire service sector.”

But TLC Commissioner Yassky said digital hailing isn’t necessarily their goal — it’s only a function they’re considering.

"App developers are welcome to give us other functions on top of payment … we'll see what comes in," said Yassky.

Another company keen on getting into the city’s taxi market is GetTaxi.

The company’s CEO, Jing Wang Herman, said they’d like to provide drivers with a dashboard-mounted box that will help them connect with customers. In addition to other functions, their app will help disabled customers find a wheelchair-accessible taxi.

Yassky said the number of winners in the app contest depends on the quality of the submissions.

The last day to submit entries is Thursday. Winners are expected to be announced this fall.

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The Takeaway

Google Moves to Acquire Motorola's 17,000 Patents

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Google is attempting to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings and — as part of the package — Motorola's 17,000 patents. Google’s CEO, Larry Page, explained the motivations in a blog post about the deal: "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."

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Soundcheck

Flash Mob Performs iPhone 'Symphony' on Wall Street

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Passersby walking down Wall Street on Tuesday afternoon came across some unusual sights and sounds. Around forty iPhone owners came together in a circle outside the New York Stock Exchange to perform an experimental 8-minute music piece called “GROUP,” as part of the Make Music New York Festival happening around the city.

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Features

Artists Mix Times Square Street Sounds into Music

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Most New Yorkers try and block out the sounds of the city. But a new smartphone application, along with a collaborative sound project called UrbanRemix, is encouraging city residents to transform the recordings of screeching subway cars, hawking vendors, rowdy teenagers and other ambient street sounds around Times Square into music.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Knowing What They Know

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors in New Jersey are now investigating whether some smartphone applications are illegally grabbing or transmit your personal information without the proper disclosure. It’s an issue that came up during Leonard’s discussions with WSJ editor Julia Angwin in August 2010 and last month.

The online music service Pandora is one of the companies that has received a subpoena, but the WSJ tested 101 apps and found that 56 of them were transmitting information about the device without the user’s consent.

Do you think that you’ll change the way you use your smartphone? Will you cut back on the apps you use on your iPhone or Droid? Should information gathering be a criminal offense? Let us know what you think in the comments section below

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Soundcheck

Overexposure at Concerts

Friday, October 08, 2010

These days when the house lights go down on a concert venue, the glowing screens of cell phones come out. As more and more concertgoers use their smartphones to capture their favorite bands in the act, a debate is emerging. Many concertgoers – and musicians – find the constant documentation frustrating and distracting, while others simply want to take a piece of the show home with them. John Jurgensen, a reporter who covers music for the Wall Street Journal, explains why this tiny gadgetry is causing such a big storm.

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WNYC News

With 24,000 Restaurants and Dozens of Search Tools, How Do New Yorkers Decide Where to Go to Dinner?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Zagat's just released its 32nd annual restaurant survey. But with the arrival of Web sites like Urbanspoon, there's lots of competition in the restaurant advice business.

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