On January 8, 2013, I attended NY Tech January 2013 meetup featuring 10gen, CouchCachet, Disaster Remote Response, HeTexted, PeopleHunt, Maker’s Row, GoldRun, Sherpaa, Karma and Voluntarily.
Disaster Remote Response, created by Haris Amin and Raquel Hernandez was developed at Hack & Jill Hacksgiving 2012 in response to Hurricane Sandy. It is a platform where remote volunteers could provide information to people in disaster areas. Disaster Remote Response is a p2p platform and does not use an automated system or a data feed to respond to users. It uses a Twilio client API, which allows users to leave voicemails or text messages that volunteers can receive in real time. Organizers can create campaigns to help serve more disasters. Disaster Remote Response is open source and can be accessed through Github.
Voluntarily was created to help relief organizations coordinate operations by canvassing data in a central system to make it accessible to volunteers and organizers. The idea came from using pencil and paper—”outdated concepts” for relief operations in the 21st century— as “you can’t see what you’re writing in the dark.” Voluntarily provides disaster relief data visualization as well as an urgency meter for volunteers to note the severity of the emergency that is needed. Organizers can monitor the data on their mobile or on a PC. Voluntarily seeks to prevent duplicate visits from volunteers and optimize time for relief.
PeopleHunt connects users with people in networks based on their interests. It connects people to have conversations face to face. PeopleHunt lets users arrange and meet with people and uses Facebook and open groups—independent of Facebook. There is a 30 second time limit to accept a connection, Once it is accepted, the connection is made and the users can chat and connect with each other. There is an immediate notification to alert the user that a connection has been attempted.
HeTexted is a way to get real-life advice by crowdsourcing. It allows users to post text messages they have received from people they are dating or looking to date and crowdsources advice from the internet—through the HeTexted website. HeTexted is described to be a “real time Q&A service dedicated to dating questions.” HeTexted is a space where the user can find answers and advice from people who are on the outside looking in—an unbiased answer.
Karma lets users share WiFi with others and earn free data doing so. It is the first “social hotspot.” Users have the ability to pay for data as you go. It uses 4G to allow users log in to the internet. Karma lasts up to eight hours on a single charge. Users log in using Facebook and all accrued data is stored using the user’s Facebook account. To first-time users, Karma gives them free 100 megabyte and more for thanking the data provider. Users have the opportunity to earn more data as they share their network with others. There is no monthly fee for Karma.
Maker’s Row is an online marketplace for manufacturers and designers in the United States. Maker’s Row makes factory saving easy. It breaks down manufacturing steps into six steps: Ideation, Pattern-making, Materials, Sample-making, Tooling and Production. Using the six steps, users can identify what materials they need to create their product with ease. Maker’s Row personally visits factories to get to know the owners and to provide detailed facts as well as photographs to give users knowledge of the factory and how materials are processed. It also allows the users to see the craftsmanship of the factory. Maker’s Row is a unified platform for manufacturers “to bring back work to the USA.”
The Hack of the Month went to CouchCachet, an app that increases social status while users do absolutely nothing. “Wouldn’t it be great of there was an app that shows you cool places around your neighborhood,” Brian Fountain asked. “You know what would be better? A social application that will lie and say that you are already doing those thing while you’re sitting at home.” CouchCachet automatically checks into bars on Foursquare, Tweets lyrics, Tweets pictures all within 2,000 meters of your home. It also uses Foursquare to determine which locations your friends have not checked into to make sure you avoid questions later on. CouchCachet also sends emails the next day after collecting data from social networks and provides a summary of who ReTweeted you and what the next cool things to do are the following week.
Sherpaa is an app provides “healthcare expertise for you and your bottom line.” Sherpaa is trying to fix healthcare. It is estimated to save anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per employee healthcare for companies. There are doctors on-call for Sherpaa 24/7 and all of the cases are dealt on the platform. Sherpaa aims to create a template to standardize diagnosis for consistency and ease. Sherpaa is a product management system and it structures data to save people online. The user interface is catered to doctors, providing allergies and health complications immediately after the name for an effective information design.
GoldRun allows users to create and share photographs with virtual content. It is a “photo-driven engagement platform that transforms digital media placements into immersive and immediately shareable brand-consumer engagements.” GoldRun uses GPS-based augmented reality to make photobombing extreme. “Ad dollars are rapidly shifting from PC to mobile,” Vivian Rosenthal, founder and CEO of GoldRun said. “This is a solution in mobile space to disrupt the ad world.” Users can make their own advertisements. It’s changing e-commerce to v-commerce (virtual). GoldRun has its own API for brands to use, but brands are responsible for their own marketing.
10gen presented MongoDB and its text search platform. It can perform basic queries and takes titles to stem them. The titles are stored for search. The database loads fairly quickly, taking 1.5 gigabyte datasets and indexing them in under two minutes. It can be used as a basic search engine for a blog (a basic text retrieval search). Data can be ranked, but users have to either insert the string themselves or place weight on certain words. The database cannot, as of yet, handle misspelled words.