WBEZ | Apps http://www.wbez.org/tags/apps Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago competition seeks apps from government information http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-competition-seeks-apps-government-information-88317 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/iphone william hook.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The CTA bus tracker will let you know how much longer you have to wait in the rain. The train tracker will tell you how fast you need to run to the station. Imagine an application that can tell you which stations have coffee shops nearby, or where this weekend’s block party is, or where your towed car ended up.</p><p>In an effort to solve everyday problems, and encourage the use of data made freely available by municipalities, a competition is pitting geek against geek to digitize government.</p><p>The Apps 4 Metro Chicago competition follows New York and San Francisco in the trend of city-wide app competitions.&nbsp; The competition, #A4MC in Twitter parlance, is the first to offer data sets from multiple government agencies.</p><p>Data sets are lists and data made readily available by municipalities. A data set can be hard read or access for the average user such as skimming through a lengthy list to find out where a car was towed to.</p><p>Competitors have 125 data sets to work with from the city, 48 from the state, and 10 from Cook County. The available data ranges from the salaries of public employees to the location of police stations, forest preserves information to tourism data.</p><p>The competition is sponsored by the Metro Chicago Information Center, in partnership with MacArthur Foundation and Motorola Mobility. The first leg of the competition kicked off early Friday and submissions for the transportation challenge close just before midnight on August 15 –a tight deadline for developers.</p><p>“There has been a call for open, transparent government data for a number of years,” Virginia Carlson, president of the Metro Chicago Information Center said. MCIC is hosting the competition as the hub of information and data.</p><p>The MacArthur Foundation is offering over $50,000 in prizes and Motorola Mobility is chipping in another $10,000.&nbsp; Other partners are the Chicago Community Trust and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.</p><p>Built into the judging criteria is the long-term usability of the app and whether it will have legs and business sustainability, Carlson explained. Other judging criteria include functionality, creativity and usefulness. The competition has three main parts – the transportation, community and grand challenge.</p><p>Fabian Bustamante, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern University, foresees the biggest problem being the time constraint.</p><p>“Developing a basic barebones app is relatively easy to do in a few days,” he said. “Smoothing out the user interface, that’s where the time will go.”&nbsp;</p><p>A4MC&nbsp; isn’t limited to just the people behind the code. Community members with an idea for an app or a problem an app can solve, are able submit ideas on the competition’s <a href="http://appsformetrochicago.com/">website</a>.</p><p>“We’re having virtual and actual conversations between the code writers and community to bridge the divide in order to build apps,” Carlson said. She added that MCIC will be moderating conversations between community leaders and developers. That way the app design will be both human centered and community realistic for any problems.</p><p>Bustamante called these meetings a “silver plate” for developers. “One of the problems you run into is having an app that has social impact.” By bringing the community leaders into the conversation, the developers will have an immediate audience for the app.</p><p>Correction: A previous version of this story had misspelled the MacArthur Foundation, a partner in the competition.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 20:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-competition-seeks-apps-government-information-88317 Exploring kid-friendly apps that parents like too http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-05/exploring-kid-friendly-apps-parents-too-86102 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-05/Apps Getty David Paul Morris.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The type of smart phone or tablet a person sports doesn't matter: It’s the app that dictates the fun and functionality of a mobile device. For many parents, the array of kid-friendly apps might prove just the ticket for engaging a bored or teary child. It turns out apps for children are truly inventive to boot.</p><p>To provide tips on navigating this convergence of technology and parenting, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with Judy Sutton Taylor, editor of <a href="http://timeoutchicagokids.com/" target="_blank"><em>Time Out Chicago </em>Kids</a> magazine.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Young Holt Trio, "Wack Wack", from the CD Instrumental Classics: Soul, (Rhino)</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-05/exploring-kid-friendly-apps-parents-too-86102 Connectivity Means When Your Phone Talks To Your TV http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/connectivity-means-when-your-phone-talks-your-tv <p><p>According to my pedometer, I clocked five miles on Wednesday navigating my way from press conferences, product demos and luxury hotel convention centers looking for the big themes at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.  All that walking led me to more Internet connected devices than I've ever seen at CES and some of them are talking to one another.</p><p>Sony CEO Howard Stringer began a press preview by pointing out that by March of this year his company will have enabled 50 million Internet-connected televisions through Google TV, the Ps3 or its Wi-Fi connected Blu-ray player. But, the device that caught my eye was the <a href="http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/">Sony Erickson Xperia Arc </a>, a very pretty new smart phone that lets you watch movies on its 4.2 inch touch screen. If you happen to be watching a film on the train home from work and haven’t finished at the end of the commute, you’ll be able to connect your phone to your TV at home and finish watching on the big screen.</p><p>This coming year, we are going to see a lot more cars that are connected to the Internet. Toyota showed off its <a href="../entune/http:/www.toyota.com">EnTune system</a>, which the company plans to start putting into the dashboard of some its cars this year. The system includes a touch screen and voice recognition software. It will have Pandora Radio and Open Table in case you want to make a dinner reservation while driving. (They didn't explain to me how you will do that with both hands on the steering wheel.  Let's hope the voice recognition works well.)</p><p>A device made by <a href="http://mavizontech.com/">Mavizon Technologies</a> will connect most cars made in 1996 or later to the Internet according to the company's Business Development Manager Madison Hamman. It plugs in below the dashboard and it monitors all your cars systems. If your transmission is about to blow, it will send a message to your iPhone -- later this year it will work with Android phones. If you have an accident, it will send out a text message to your loved ones and alert the police with a GPS locator. And if you can't remember where you parked your car, no worries.  Your phone will help you locate your car.</p><p>Perhaps the connected device that amused me a little bit was i<a href="http://cobrairadar.com/">Radar</a>, a radar detection device that connects to your iPhone. It works like the detection devices of yore, only it's your iPhone that will bleep when you get near police radar. What's a bit different is that it's social radar detection! It alerts you and any nearby members of the iRadar network where the police trap is located by sending them a tweet. Somehow, I don't think law enforcement is going to like this one. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294302430?&gn=Connectivity+Means+When+Your+Phone+Talks+To+Your+TV&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=CES+2011,Apps,Social+Web,All+Tech+Considered,Business+Story+of+the+Day,Around+the+Nation,Digital+Life,Technology,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132697023&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110106&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=132693708,125104835,125104516,102920358,126475680,132685015,127857532,127602855,103943429,131960177,132681852,132681604,132681601,128704066,127602530,103943429,132680690,127869695,127602596,103943429,132680125,132680122,127603218,127602971,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 01:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/connectivity-means-when-your-phone-talks-your-tv