Archive by Author

Dealble – Set Keyword Alerts on Daily Deal Sites

19 Aug


Dealble is a little hack I put together to solve a specific problem I have having: I get way too many emails from daily deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, BuyWithMe, etc..

Opening up your inbox and discovering a coupon for something that you’ve wanted or are interested in is great, but it happens rarely. Because most of the deal sites out there use categories to target their customers, people wind up getting deals that they might not necessarily be interested in.

Because I once bought a street fighting class, that does not mean that I am interested in all types of classes.


Dealble lets you type in words or phrases that you know you want and then alert you when deals that contain those words or phrases pop up. You can set alerts for things like “movie tickets”, “skydiving” or even “50% off”. You don’t need to constantly check your inbox and wade through all of the junk, hoping to find a gem.

Currently Dealble is using the Yipit api to aggregate the content from over 482 daily deal sites across a variety of cities. Users can set multiple keyword alerts and the system pings the Yipit database every 4 hours so you can be sure that you’ll never miss a deal’s deadline.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Diggin in the crates

19 Aug

Diggin in the crates

Diggin in the crates is the beautiful thesis of designer/developer Roland Loesslein, and is an interactive installation which offers possibilities to explore Sampling as a production technology of modern music.

Diggin in the crates

While dynamic data visualizations will be navigated using modified turntables, information graphics as well as auditory contributions will help participants to understand the complex contents and relations.

Diggin in the crates

To learn more, and see some gorgeous dataviz, watch the Diggin In The Crates video on vimeo.

DJ Jami & DJ Benny B: Hey Hey

1 Feb

DJ Jami & DJ Benny B: Hey Hey

hey hey

If you have read this blog before you know that I’m a fan of NYC DJ Benny B. I posted one of his mixes on here before and have seen him play out a couple times.

Today I left my music library at home and since I can’t seem to work without music in the background, I started looking on sound cloud for mixes. While browsing though mixes I came across DJ Benny B’s soundcloud and found a great mix by him and DJ Jami. It’s a mix promoting a party that happens Wednesdays down in the L.E.S. While I don’t have a track list, it’s a good mix of nu disco, house, and some classic.

You can give it a listen here:

Hey Hey Volume 1 by thatdjbennyb


23 Nov


For the past few months I have been working on a building a Q&A cooking community that has recently gone live, Wetawa. Because I’m admittedly not a fantastic cook, a Q&A site is something that is a necessity for someone like me.

The current landscape for online culinary knowledge leave a lot of be desired. Almost all google searches bring up recipes,which is great if that is something that you’re experienced. But, im my position, I’m still left dumbfounded. What if I dont have all of the ingredients? Which substitutes can I use? What if I don’t know what some of the terms mean, or how to change the number of servings?

Cooking isn’t just recipes, there is a whole knowledge base that isn’t easily accesible online. That is what we are trying accomplish with Wetawa, our goal is to make cooking and food in general more approachable, easy and fun.


The project began almost a year ago when my old colleague, Akeem Philbert, approached me with the concept. What started as a simple question and answer site has grown into an intelligent, merit-based community that actively rewards participation. The site experience is also fully customizable. All content is tagged with keywords that users can like or dislike. Those likes & dislikes, combined with their location and browsing history allow us to offer really powerful and appropriate recommendations to our users.

The content of each page can be adjusted in realtime to narrow the results to quickly find whatever it is they are looking for. The site also leverages one-click, Open ID account creation. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, Facebook, or Twitter account then you can quickly and easily start participating in the conversation.

After a short invite-only beta test we have decided to open Wetawa to the general public. Although the site is still in its infancy, we are excited about the response that we have gotten so far. We have a long list of new functionality planned – lots of cool features for bargain hunters, bloggers, and both budding and established chefs.

Please join in the conversation and let us know what you think!

Finally the death of Myspace?

2 Sep

Does anybody reading this still use myspace? Really, anyone? I have not logged into my myspace account for years. After the internet’s mass exodus to Facebook Myspace became over ran with spam bots and accounts went dead. No one is really on myspace anymore.

Unless you are in a band.

Go ahead and google a band or musician that you like. Changes are that if they don’t have their own website (and even if they do), that their myspace page will be at the top of the results. A while back Myspace made a conscious effort to rebrand itself as a platform for musicians to get exposure. And it worked. If you have a band or are a musician it’s now really easy to share your songs, add tour dates, share your status and converse with your fans.


As Myspace declined in popularity as a personal social site, it grew in popularity with musicians trying to reach their fans. That all could change with Ping, the new social network recently announced by Apple. Ping allows fans to follow artists, get updates about their events and to also see what their friends (and friends of friends) are listening to.


Personally, I tend not to visit Myspace pages of bands I like. I can almost always find the information I need on their twitter account or other sites and not have to wade through the confusing UI and spam bots that overrun Myspace. While I’m still finding my way around Ping, I see it as a serious contender and eventual replacement of Myspace for that reason alone

But where Ping really differs from Myspace is their integrated shopping. Ping is connecting the artist, the fan, and the store all together in a seamless experience.
You can’t buy music directly from myspace, clicking on a ‘buy’ link will take you to another site, such as Amazon. And with such a large distribution platform it’s a no brainer that artists would want to be here.

(On an unrelated, does anyone else think that the Ping logo looks like the Gist logo?)

Social Bicycles

18 Aug

The Social Bicycle System from Ryan Rzepecki on Vimeo.

Lately I’ve been riding my bike to work. While NYC has already done a lot in the short time I’ve been riding to make the city more bicycle friendly, it still certainly has a long way to go. One sure-fire way to make the city more bike friendly is to increase the numbers of cyclists on the streets and to increase awareness about city cycling.

The Social Bicycle System (SoBi) is a public bike share system that uses GPS, mobile communications, and a secure lock that can attach to almost any bicycle and lock to any regular bike rack.


SoBi takes its inspiration from the bicycle shares that have grown in popularity in Europe. What makes SoBi unique is the technology involved. Each SoBi bicycle is equipped with a built-in bicycle lock, a GPS tracking device, and is synced with a server that users can checkin in via their smart phones.


The system does not require separate infrastructure and can be deployed at approximately one-third the cost of existing systems. Administrators will be given powerful tools to manage demand and map patterns of use. Users will enjoy door-to-door transportation and an interactive cycling experience that can track miles traveled, calories burned, CO2 emissions offset, and connections to other Social Cyclists.

They will be doing a trail launch in New York City this fall.

Vote for them in the Pepsi Good Idea Challenge

Active Vs. Passive Checkin

13 Aug

View Larger Map

I was among the first of my friends to hop on the Foursquare wagon. I battled with coworkers to win the office mayorship, I created locations for my favorite falafel cart, my favorite dive bars and cool spots in the park. I was an active and eager participant. But then it just got old. Once you get the mayorship of a place, so what? Has anyone ever really used foursquare tro find out where their friends are and join them?

Wanting something new I switched to Gowalla and went through the same motions – create new spots, check in, collect items, and that too grew old. Neither of these systems have good enough game design to make them addictive (SCVNGR seems to be doing some fun stuff) and the promise of a free cup of coffee, or whatever, isn’t worth the level of effort required to obtain it.

Checking in becomes a chore. I have to stop whatever it is I’m doing, load up my app and hope that it finds the correct location. It becomes counter productive when people are stopping mid conversation to check into a social application. To really make geolocation platforms work they way they are intended the checkin process needs to be automated.

What Sucks About Foursquare Today
View more presentations from JESS3.

JESS3 makes a good case for why location based checkins should be automated in his slideshow, and it seems that the demand is already here.

The primary argument against passive checkins is privacy. What are the repercussions of automatically alerting other to my exact whereabouts? Sites like Please Rob Me and this Daily Beast article illustrate the real-world consequences of oversharing.

I think, in general, the concept of passive checkins is the best solutiopn for geolocation platforms, but it needs boundaries. Different levels of sharing for different groups of contacts, one for friends another for colleagues, etc.. I dont quite think that the age of privacy is over, but I think that the demand for location sharing is there but that the current implementation is flawed.

The Stuyvesants

8 Jul

The Stuyvesants

The Stuyvesants is a hip-hop album made up of 25 instrumental that are free to download. It is a collaborative effort between music producer Allan Cole (Algorythm), and record collector Darien Victor Birks (Flwrpt). Both reside in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY.

The two wanted to work together on a project where they could incorporate several of their talents, related to music and design. They wanted to do this under a moniker that would pay homage to the ’70s. The collaboration allowed them to do four major things, design, beat dig, produce amazing music, and simply have fun.


1) Brooklyn’s Finest
2) The Stuyvesant Swing
3) Keep Dreamin’
4) Bring The Horns
5) Roosevelt Projects Jam Session
6) Nyeemah’s Pocket Groove
7) There’s So Many
8.) Soul & Tell
9) Do Anything
10) W.O.M.A.N.
11) Liquid Love (A Sophisticated Meeting Place)
12) Panty Dropper
13) Took Her Curls Out
14) Seldom Seen
15) Greene Ave. Anthem
16) The Fire (Untrue)
17) Oooh Baby
18) Coming Around
19) Hustlers
20) Jefferson Ave. Theme
21) After The Rain
22) Softer Side
23) Breakfast
24) Sunrise In The Stuy
25) Pookie’s Gone

You can download it and learn more about the duo on their site:

Temporary Ties and the rise of social “Like”

24 Jun

A few months ago the Facebook ‘Become a Fan” button died a quiet death. Its replacement was the “Like” button. Overall this doesn’t seem like much of a big deal but because of the level of perceived commitment the new ‘Like’ button took off.

Like is the New Fan

Recently I read a great article about how entertainment brands were seeing a surge in popularity on Facebook.

The bar was lowered in terms of commitment for people, Facebook thought they’d get a better conversion, while believing people would be more in favor of following a page if it was simply a ‘like thing’ rather than a ‘fan thing.’ And they were totally right.

Reading this article reminded me of the concept of temporary ties, as written about by Paul Adams here.

Temporary ties have always existed, but the web is bringing them to the fore. Think about some people you’ve only interacted with once. You don’t actually know who they are. A store assistant, a call center employee, the person you bought from on eBay. These are examples of your temporary ties. Temporary ties are much more common online than offline.

I think that the recent changes in Facebook have only added to the momentum of temporary ties’ popularity. We may not realize it but we use these temporary ties to influence our behavior constantly – I buy product that have highest reviews, I watch videos that have lots of “likes’, I look at similar items that others have also viewed, I read stories that have lots of votes, etc…

In almost every case I do not know the other people, but they have helped influence my actions. Because of the low level of commitment required, often just a click (a vote, a rating, a like, etc..) users are not cautious about engagement. I think in the future we will start to see many more site designers and architects bubble up these temporary ties and more users taking advantage of the benefits.

If you are interested, here are some great articles on the subject:

If you enjoyed this blog post – click the like button below :)

Microsoft Pivot

22 Jun

Pivot is a new project coming out of Microsoft Labs that attempts to make sorting though massive amount of data online fun, intuitive, and fast.

As technology advances, the amount of information that we all have to sort though will only increase and as this amount of information increases, our existing sorting mechanisms fall short and often become unusable. I don’t think that Pivot is quite there yet, but it seems like am interesting step in the right direction.

From the site: When we use the Web today we treat the most fundamental scenarios as separate activities. Search takes us from many things to one, browsing moves us from one thing to another, and recommendations expose affinities that enable us to explore related topics. Can we do better by combining these scenarios into a more unified experience?

Pivot focuses on this intersection, enabling us to learn key lessons while attempting to broadly apply this philosophy to the Web. We hope that Pivot will inspire and fuel transformative experiences across the Web.