Northwestern is opening a "new space" in San Francisco featuring joint programming from the Medill School of Journalism and McCormick School of Engineering.
As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block is on indefinite hiatus. The site will remain up in archive form while we evaluate our options, which may include a redesign or sale.
✶ Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. ✶
Tuesday, May 24
Northwestern is opening a "new space" in San Francisco featuring joint programming from the Medill School of Journalism and McCormick School of Engineering.
Wag is an app that allows you find professional dog walkers in your neighborhood. It recently launched in Chicago.
We keep hearing that Chicago's tech scene is suffering from a talent drain and lack of venture capital. The first half of that argument is questionable, and the second half is also weak -- and getting weaker.
Uptake, a predictive analytics startup founded by Groupon's Brad Keywell, raised $45 million in investment, making it a rare "unicorn" -- Silicon Valley speak for $1 billion valuation -- in the Midwest. Of course, unicorns aren't so rare these days.
Chicago's luster as a trading center has faded as commodities, options and futures have gone digital, but we're on the rise as a treasury bond market.
🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭— Superdawg Chicago (@Superdawg) October 21, 2015
Beyond the Stacks, a new podcast about interesting jobs in library and information science, kicked off with an interview with Gemma Petrie, a user experience researcher at Mozilla and former GB contributor.
TipYourself is a Chicago-based startup aiming to help people save money and celebrate personal achievements by, well, tipping themselves.
The University of Chicago will get $3.1 million from the National Science Foundation to further expand its "Array of Things" project, which will install sensors measuring everything from temperature and light to pedestrian traffic around the city.
Got an idea for a fun app or web project? Comedy Hack Day Chicago, being held Oct. 3-4 at Cards Against Humanity's offices, is the perfect place to develop it.
Who knows what's buried in your old computer's hard drive, but if you donate it to FreeGeek they'll wipe the memory clean and use the gear for good.
While Chicago continues to grow in popularity as a startup hub, a focus on fast-scaling tech businesses may also contribute to a relative lack of diversity in the sector, writes Katherine Raz.
It didn't take long for activists and police critics to hijack CPD's hashtag-based "tweetalong."
Calling all trolls! >>> #CPDBPD— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) August 21, 2015
Some entrepreneurs think Midwestern tech skepticism actually leads to more sustainable businesses focused on long-term growth.
Amazon's PrimeNow local delivery service is now available in Chicago -- but only in the ZIP codes 60614, 60610, 60654, 60622 and 60642. Two-hour delivery is free, one-hour delivery costs $7.99.
Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify are nine percent more expensive in Chicago due to new taxes imposed by the City.
Tech in Motion's 1st Annual Timmy Awards recognize the best workplaces and managers in the professional sector.
Property investors are betting heavily on Chicago's future as "Silicon Prairie."
Today GB's documentary video series, The Grid, features three 360° videos shot with a special six-camera rig. The videos, which let you point the "camera" in any direction, are about the April 28th demonstration at the CPD headquarters, droning in the Chicago Park District and the Art Institute's recent MFA show.
The latest installment of Mortal Kombat appears to be even more gory than its predecessors -- but when is video game violence too extreme?
Dunno if you heard, but Zayn Malik left One Direction this week, possibly due to meddling by Modest Management, Malik's manager. As a result, Chicago startup Modest Inc., no relation, got a ton of Twitter hate mail.
Markr is an app that lets you add "visual hashtags" to your photos and explore what others have posted under that hashtag.
Cards Against Originality brings Cards Against Humanity to any device with a web browser.
The Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center is currently building out a makerspace in a three-story building which was the original home of Chicago Radio Laboratory (which eventually became Zenith Electronics). Interested makers will definitely want to check out the current Indiegogo campaign for membership and other perks.
Uber is adding a panic button to its app in Chicago soon, a representative told the Sun-Times.
Modest, a mobile commerce platform startup led by former Threadless and Obama for America CTO Harper Reed, officially made it out of beta yesterday.
Tech startup hub 1871 is looking toward version 3.0, but the launch of the proposed WiSTEM program (née FemTech) has been postponed. More than 200 women came to an event for Women Tech Founders, leading the Trib's Melissa Harris to opine 1871 needs to step up for women or the city should fund an organization who will.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will move the hands of the doomsday clock to 11:57pm thanks to threats to humanity posed by climate change and nuclear weapons.
Steve Chen, one of the co-founders of YouTube, donated $1 million to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy to help build an innovation center in the Aurora STEM school. The new center was named IN2 Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry after its now-famous alumnus.
Chicago's commitment to open civic data and the community that's built up around it are an example of how to do it right in Next City's overview of "the open data movement's turbulent teenage years."
It turns out infrared light from heat lamps on CTA platforms can't penetrate layers of clothing, but it's strong enough to warm up exposed skin.
Chicago Public Library will begin offering wireless hotspots this year to help close the digital divide.
Chicago's top five Google searches of 2014 were Robin Williams, World Cup, iPhone 6, Ebola and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Mumzy is a new crowdfunding platform specifically for mothers looking to start new projects.
Perhaps you've always coveted Andrew Bird's awesome gramophone-style horn speakers from Specimen but couldn't afford the $2,400-and-up price tag. Well, Gramovox Bluetooth speakers, originally launched via Kickstarter, are just $399.
A picture frame for your Instagrams, split-section cast-iron pans, a documentary on modern burlesque and a movie app for kids are among the campaigns currently funding on GB's curated Kickstarter page.
Sensors strapped to streetlights monitoring things like temperature, light, and carbon monoxide are debuting in Hyde Park this month. (previously)
After announcing plans to sell off its suburban newspapers, Sun-Times Media's parent company will be debuting mobile-focused news portals for cities across the country.
A documentary on transgender faith leaders, an app for children's films from Facets, a 3D carving machine and the easiest cube puzzle ever invented are among the campaigns on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.
Chicagoans get the best cell service in the country on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, according to an industry group.
AT&T announced plans to bring its ultra-fast broadband network to Chicago, which it claims can provide connections of up to 1 gigabit per second.
Plenario is a new open platform for working with civic data, developed by former Chicago CIO Brett Goldstein and Charlie Catlett at the University of Chicago Computation Institute's Urban Center for Computation and Data. WBEZ talked with Goldstein about the project's goals and uses.
Smart Chicago Collaborative is bringing together local people and organizations who use data for public good to document their impact and find ways they can work together.
Polymathic and Catalyze Chicago host Software <3 Hardware: A Makers' Field Day Sept. 7 in Humboldt Park, filled with fun techie games and challenges. Get $15 off tickets by using the code "gapersblock" on checkout.
Comcast is expanding its reboot of EveryBlock to Philadelphia, with plans to introduce the hyperlocal news site to several more cities in the near future.
Augur, a new iPhone app by former GB contributor Felix Jung, turns Twitter into a fortune-telling device.
The Reader reviews an exhibition of personal data-based art at Elmhurst's art museum and the "life loggers" behind the works.
Small boxes filled with sensors will soon provide real-time measurements of things like temperature, air quality, and noise levels in areas of the city.
StreetScore, a project from the MIT Media Lab, assigns a perceived safety score to images from Google Street View. The Chicago map reveals some of its limitations -- such as Navy Pier and Buckingham Fountain getting low, dangerous scores.
Hypelocal is a new app designed to help you explore the city beyond your usual bubble.
The first man arrested in Chicago after he was identified by facial recognition software was sentenced to 22 years in prison for armed robbery, although questions remain about the technology's efficacy.
Techweek Chicago cancelled its Black Tie Rave after the group faced criticism for promoting the event using pictures of women in provocative poses.
Techweek Chicago is facing a barrage of criticism for using somewhat-sexy images of women to advertise a charity event, as the tech industry already faces scrutiny for its treatment of women. Techweek Chicago has apologized, saying they will host discussions about their promotions and diversity in tech. EDIT: Jacqui Cheng notes that Techweek should have learned their lesson six months ago when they were called out for having bikini models dance at their afterparty last year.
From Uber to Google Glass, legislators are unsure how to regulate new technologies without stifling innovation.
YouTuber Devin Graham produced a real-life version of the upcoming Watch Dogs video game set in Chicago.
Civil libertarians and the ACLU are concerned new traffic cameras giving CPD 360-degree views around the surrounding area could be used to monitor non-criminal activity.
A weather balloon launched by students with the Adler Planetarium's Far Horizon program landed safely in Battle Ground, Indiana, after reaching 85,000 feet in its trip to near outer space.
Polygon profiles videogame designer John Block and The Men Who Wear Many Hats about the game based on the city's violence that they're developing with kids from Chicago All Stars and Young Chicago Authors.
Google is hosting a series of Get Your Business Online workshops around the city for small businesses that don't currently have a web presence.
Inventables CEO Zach Kaplan launched a new app this morning at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Easel is a free app that makes designing stuff to produce with a desktop 3D printer or milling machine quicker and easier.
Comcast wants the wireless routers in your house to also provide a free public wi-fi signal for your neighbors.
Too busy to take care of laundry? For a fee, Dryv will pick up and drop off your laundry and dry cleaning. The service area is east of Western and from 290 up to Irving Park, so if you're south, west or far north, you're out of luck for now. [via]
The CTA is moving forward with a plan to boost phone and data service by installing 4G service in the subway tunnels of the Blue and Red lines later this year. The infrastructure currently in place throughout the 24 miles of tunnel space between the two lines was installed in 2005.
The Woodlawn neighborhood may be the first to gain ultra-high-speed gigabit Internet access. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has "innovation zones" targeted for the service and those living near 61st Street to 63rd Street along Cottage Grove Avenue could be the first to begin the project in mid-March.
Divvy has released a dataset of the first 750,000 bike rides, and wants you to make something with it. Entries in by March 11.
Chicago-based ZipFit Denim helps guys find the best fitting (high-end) blue jeans for their measurements.
Google is selling Motorola Mobility to Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo for $2.91 billion. (Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions, which split from Mobility three years ago, isn't part of the deal.)
Chicago 1872, the hardware-oriented tech startup community, has changed its name to Catalyze Chicago and will open Feb. 17.
Adrian Holovaty thinks Chicago's tech scene needs to stop trying to beat Silicon Valley at its game, and instead excel at its own strengths -- such as bootstrapping.
The Tribune's new Tribune Trivia app draws from the paper's archives to serve up questions over a wide range of topics, both local and otherwise.
"I'm actually really tired of talking about how Chicago can be more like San Francisco," says Harper Reed in a Tribune interview. "What I want to know is how Chicago can be more Chicago, if Chicago is using its power to do great things." Amen.
Now you can help Chicago meteorologist Tom Skilling battle the weather in a race against time. Tom Skilling's WGN Weather Challenge app, by Cubicle Ninjas, is available for free download in the iTunes app store.
If you're looking for a way to stretch your brain in the new year, Sneaky Smart is here to help with daily 5- to 10-minute lessons delivered by email.
Cards Against Humanity used more than $100,000 in profits from its 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit project to go on a "classroom shopping spree" with DonorsChoose.org, a site where you can fund projects in classrooms across the country. Maybe you should give a little, too.
The Economist sizes up the local startup scene.
ProPublica has created the ER Wait Watcher app, which gives users the average wait times at nearby emergency rooms. The app has data on Chicago hospitals and includes how many patients are likely to recommend the hospital.
A South Loop man wants to open the Midwest's first ATM offering cash for bitcoins, a digital, unregulated currency.
The Chicago Building Age Map shows you the oldest parts of the city, as well as what's new.
HearHere Radio hopes to reinvigorate radio through its Rivet iPhone app, which will deliver radio content based on where you are in the Chicagoland area -- leaving out traffic reports from two counties away, for instance.
Chicago entrepreneur Howard Tullman will take the reigns at 1871, a co-working space that helps startups get started and sits at the center of Chicago's growing tech community.
Add to the growing list of tech-oriented coworking spaces The Warehouse, backed by Lightbank, the VC firm that helped launch Groupon, and housed in the same building, the Montgomery Ward warehouse at Chicago and the river.
ChicagoCode.org, created by the OpenGov Foundation, makes the city's municipal code Public.Resource.Org's easier to search and reference online. Here's Carl Malamud's speech introducing the project. [via]
Chicago hacktivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the politically-motivated hacking of a private intelligence firm in 2011.
Mayor Emanuel announces commitment to double Chicago's tech economy and add 40,000 new jobs within ten years.
With a preference for building practical products, Chicago tech companies raised more than $600 million dollars since the beginning of last year, and interest in "Silicon Prairie" startups seems to be on the rise.
Polygon takes an investigative look at Chicago's system of surveillance cameras, through the prism of Ubisoft's upcoming video game, Watch Dogs. (Read GB's past coverage of the CPD's blue light cameras.)
A study found that AT&T's wireless network is the best in Chicago, while Sprint ranked last in calling, data, and texts.
City CTO John Tolva has a plan to put Chicago at the forefront of the tech world. Think broadband in sewer lines, among other things.
Jacqui Cheng reflects on her experience teaching 150 inner city kids about social media this summer, as part of Smart Chicago's Civic Innovation Summer -- and what it revealed about how kids use Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Another new iPhone, another scene on Michigan Ave. of people lining up to get it first.
Grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding into Chicago, partnering with Trader Joe's. The company promises delivery in as little as an hour, which unfortunately means service is limited to within quick driving distance of a TJ's for now, but they plan to add Whole Foods, Dominick's and Costco soon.
The Koch brothers apparently decided that rather than buy the Tribune's newspapers, they'd just go pick up Lisle-based Molex, an electronics company, for $7.2 billion -- which means they'll soon make a little bit of nearly every computer you use.
The latest version of the Cobra iRadar iOS app has been updated with the locations of the 50 speed cameras around town.
Toilet Hackers is an international organization working to improve sanitation conditions in the developing world. There's a fundraiser this Thursday in Chicago; you can still show your support even if you can't make it.
Chaz Ebert announced today the launch of a new Twitter account, @ebertvoices, that will tweet RogerEbert.com news, so as to separate that stuff from @ebertchicago and give Chaz room to "innovate" with the account as Roger requested.
Public Good Software, a benefit corporation founded by Obama campaign vets, are setting up a pop-up office in the Harold Washington Library to give the public a hand as "geeks in residence," as well as upgrade CPL's website.
The Park District has installed free wifi at North Avenue, Osterman/Hollywood, Montrose, Foster and Rainbow beaches. Don't get sand between your laptop keys.
Pretty Quick calls itself a "personal beauty concierge," designed to help busy women take care of their looks.
Kitchensurfing is a site that helps you find a chef to cook for a dinner party, teach you how to make something, or put together a catering plan, based around your budget. It just launched in Chicago with a couple dozen chefs on board.
The Tribune's apps team built a site where you can up- and downvote articles from the Trib and RedEye in a fashion similar to Reddit or the late, lamented WindyCitizen, as part of a Global Editors Network hackathon this week.
Mayor Emanuel nominated Brenna Berman to be the new Department of Innovation and Technology commissioner and chief information officer. She has been acting commissioner since Brett Goldstein, the city's first chief data officer, stepped down to take a fellowship at UofC's Harris School of Public Policy.
Ed Domain, publisher of the Chicago/St. Louis tech blog Techli, was in a head-on collision with a cab driver who was texting a couple months ago, and is suffering from serious injuries that prevent him from working. His sister has organized a fundraiser to help pay for an electric wheelchair and cover other medical expenses. (Thanks, Kathryn!)
If you haven't found enough ways to celebrate the Hawks' win, you can now add free Blackhawks emoji to your iPhone.
Ron May, tech reporter and publisher of the eponymous May Report, has passed away, as first reported by tech blog Technori.com on Twitter. May battled diabetes for years, and was hospitalized earlier this year in connection to his illness. He was 57.
Here's Ron trying to interview Harper Reed, then CTO of Threadless.
Chicago has a history of segregation -- and it apparently extends to smartphone types too, to a certain degree. MapBox teamed up with Gnip and map designer Eric Fischer (previously: 1, 2) to map 3 billion tweets by phone brand and other variables. Start in the Loop and zoom out.
So fab, in fact, that they're creating a free Fab Lab, due to open on July 8. In this case the "fab" stands for "fabrication" and will consist of a 3D printer, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, a milling machine and a variety of design software at the Harold Washington Library. Access will be free and open to the public. So renew that library card and get ready to make some fab things, Chicago.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on Kickstarter, a supposedly LA-based campaign for Kobe beef jerky raised suspicions with its too-good-to-be-true pricing. It was soon discovered to be an apparent fraud perpetrated by someone based in Chicago. It's since been suspended.
Ramon DeLeon, who rose from delivery driver to franchise owner in his 28 years with Dominos Pizza, announced this week that he's moving on to focus on his customer engagement consultancy, which grew out of his masterful use of Twitter.
Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is heading to San Francisco to start his next venture, he revealed in a blog post Thursday. He also said something about recording an album of business motivational music, but that was probably just the gin talking.
Chicago Girls in Computing is working to "provide a friendly environment for high school girls in the city of Chicago who are interested in technology." They're raising money on Piggybackr to make it happen. (Thanks, Veronica!)
If you think you got food poisoning from that last taco, pad thai or whatever, fill out a report at Foodborne Chicago or tweet at @foodbornechi. Your case will be logged into the 311 system for the City to check out.
Crain's ranks Chicago businesses in terms of innovation with its new Eureka Index.
Steve Vance has updated his Chicago Bike Map app into a full Chicago Bike Guide chock full of new features.
Keep this in your back pocket for when you've got to give out-of-towners a tour of the city: Stray Boots "gamifies" tours on your phone. The company just launched an Android app to go with the iOS version.
The Verge talks with Marty Cooper, the man who invented the cellphone at Motorola in 1973.
Startup Three Man Rocket hopes to raise enough through their Kickstarter campaign to fund a gadget called Bike Spike that would allow bike owners to not only track their bike if it's stolen, but also alert loved ones if they have an accident. (It's on our curated Kickstarter page.)
ChicagoTribune.com was the slowest among major news websites in a recent study, taking nearly 17 seconds to load a page. By contrast, the BBC's website takes less than eight seconds to load, and USAToday.com takes less than three.
The Reader has created an online jukebox to go along with its bar issue. If you've got a Spotify account, you can make a request.
Our very own Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals says Google isn't liable for unflattering search results, so don't bother suing them if your name is associated with "E.D."
The Art Institute now has free wifi in the galleries -- all the better to use the free tour app just released for iOS. All the better to tour the new Picasso and Chicago exhibit that opened yesterday.
"Patent troll" Innovatio IP Ventures can go right on suing hotels, cafes and other places offering wifi, after a lawsuit by Cisco, Netgear and Motorola accusing the company of racketeering was thrown out last week.
A "patent troll" is suing Adam Carolla's podcasting company for infringement of a patent on a "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence." The patent is coauthored by a Chicago patent attorney.
Personal Audio, LLC has successfully sued Apple several times for infringing on its patent. Interestingly, Chicago's divine InterVentures is a footnote in another recent patent troll case -- one that was less successful for the troll.
Here's the podcast patent:
And that someone is whoever at Chicago Public Schools mistyped an URL in an email to parents about standardized test scores, instead directing them to a private website about women's sexuality.
Frequent Rearview photographer Noah Vaughn spotted auto-obscured faces of Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama and others depicted in a mural at 407 S. Kedzie Ave. in Garfield Park.
Two U of I researchers conducted an aerial photography assessment of food gardens in Chicago and determined there may be as many as 4,500 of them. While those familiar with food gardening in Chicago can probably already see that the methodology is overly conservative, it's an interesting view of urban agriculture.
The city recently launched a new website, Chicago Digital, to promote its digital initiatives. Some highlighted resources are Open Data applications, a developer forum and a list of city social media accounts.
The Buzzed Buzzer is a party noisemaker that only makes noise if it detects alcohol on your breath. Make a few for your New Year's Eve party and take away the keys of anyone noisy enough not to drive!
Want to learn 100 riffs in about 12 and a half minutes? Soundslice plus Alex Chadwick from Chicago Music Exchange show you how.
ETA Chicago is a new web app that tells you what the closest CTA options are for your current address (assuming it can be pinpointed) and when the next bus or train on that line will arrive.
Applications for the Firebelly Grant for Good are due by Friday, which means there's still time to get design help for your favorite local nonprofit.
Behind the scenes here in Chicago, a team of hackers led by former Threadless CTO Harper Reed were ensuring President Obama got reelected. Ars Technica and the Atlantic have excellent profiles of how it all worked, while Crain's talked with Reed to find out what's next. (The technology behind the Romney campaign didn't fare nearly as well.)
Local computer forensics company Forensicon discovered a security breach on ChicagoElections.com that allowed basic personal information of 1.7 million voters -- and much more detail for 1,200 job applicants -- to be accessed online.
If you have a smartphone, ChicagoBallot.com helps you figure out who you're voting for in advance and provides a convenient reminder when you get to the polls -- especially for those easy-to-forget bottom of the ballot names and issues.
A documentary about a neighborhood hero, a no-spill cup designed by a teenager, and an amazing-looking video game are just some of the projects on the Gapers Block Kickstarter page right now. And over on Indiegogo, you might be interested in this comic book about bands or this touchscreen watch with a nonprofit mission.
Chicago's 311 system is now integrated with SeeClickFix; as of today, the City will be monitoring services requests made on that site as well as its own avenues. You can also track your 311 service request online.
Chicago startup AdYapper lets you give participating companies feedback on their online ads.
SideTour, a deal site offering unusual activities, officially launches in Chicago on Monday. A couple of events have already happened, and the reviews seem positive. Meanwhile, Chicago-based Dabble just relaunched its indie class-finder site, now with nationwide reach.
Chicago was recently ranked the seventh best city in America for tech start-ups by the National Venture Capital Association. Also on the list are San Francisco, Boston, New York, LA, Washington D.C., San Diego, Austin, Boulder/Denver and Seattle.
In honor of Chicago Ideas Week, the city turned to Twitter to ask users their opinion about the best way to get guns off of the streets. They received over 300,000 responses, varying from stricter parenting to looser gun control.
A scammer called Ars Technica's Nate Anderson claiming that his (nonexistent) Windows computer was infested with viruses. Anderson decided to play along.
Online grocery service Peapod will expand its virtual retail locations to nine CTA and eight Metra stations across Chicagoland. Customers can use a free app to select and pay for their items and schedule home deliveries.
As of this morning, Millennium Park features free wi-fi -- the first of Emanuel's push, which plans to include all parks and public spaces in Chicago. The City is looking for everyone's help in designing the network via The Broadband Challenge.
Tribune Apps senior developer Joe Germuska and the Investigative Reporters and Editors won a Knight News Challenge grant to continue development on census.ire.org, a resource for journalists to work with US Census data.
Getaround is an app that lets you take car sharing to the personal level by putting your car up for rent by the hour. So far, 104 cars are available in Chicagoland, for between $5 and $25 an hour.
The bloom may be off Groupon's rose, but Chicago's tech startup scene is thriving, says the Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal. He's even made a map for you.
Showfile is a social network built around music festivals and concerts: explore your friends' taste in music and keep track of which shows you've gone to see.
Has your relationship gotten stale? Chicago startup Lovendar aims to help couples reconnect and bring a little spark back. (And not in a dirty way... necessarily.)
Built In Chicago doubled their list of Chicago's biggest digital companies to 100 this year (previously). Google/Motorola Mobility, Groupon and CareerBuilder top the list; Forbes' Kelly Reid delves into the list.
The Art Institute launched two new free iOS apps for its 91,000 members: a Digital Member Card for iPhone and a digital version of Member Magazine for iPad. Handy for sure, but they're no Magic Tate Ball.
Last night Greater Good Studio's George and Sara Aye launched a Kickstarter to develop a new, innovative CTA app, and they want your help to create it. Read more about the project in our exclusive interview with the Ayes -- and see more interesting Chicago-based projects on our curated Kickstarter page.
"I've become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy," said Federal Appellate Court Judge and UofC Professor Richard Posner in an interview on NPR last week. He also thinks the patent system has gotten out of sync with modern business, particularly regarding technology.
Monthlys is a new app that helps manage your services and subscriptions, such as housekeeping or coffee of the month clubs.
Emmanuel's current downtown wi-fi push involves making traffic and street lights 'smart polls,' which would allow constant access throughout downtown, as well as on underground on the CTA.
McDonald's, Allstate, Abbott and other big Chicagoland companies are snagging custom TLDs; watch for http://www.imlovinit.mcd and http://yourein.goodhands on your browser in 2013.
Travelers will have free, albeit limited, wi-fi service at O'Hare and Midway Airports by the end of July.
Facebook dug through two years of "check-in" data for 25 cities and determined the most popular places to announce your presence on facebook. In Chicago, it's Wrigley Field; in Oslo, Norway, it's a T.G.I. Friday's. Check out a graphic with the "social landmarks" from all 25 cities after the jump.
Apparently, Fermilab has had a bison farm since 1969. The team that oversees them got a surprise when the cows started birthing on May 30.
Installation of electric vehicle charging stations in Chicago is months behind schedule, and the City is investigating "financial irregularities" with the contractor.
37signals is building a physical interface collection as inspiration for their digital interfaces. Maybe they'll inspire you, too.
The Center for Green Technology is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Saturday.
Want to ask the chief technology and data officers of Chicago some questions? Ars Technica will hold a live chat with John Tolva and Brett Goldstein this Thursday, June 14, at 1pm.
UofC professor Judge Richard Posner stepped into some controversial territory last week when he threw out a patent dispute between Apple and Motorola Mobility, and said in passing on his blog that the patent system is dysfunctional.
Read Posner's decision in Case: 1:11-cv-08540, Apple Inc. & NEXT Software Inc. vs. Motorola Inc. & Motorola Mobility, Inc., below.
The Chicago version was recently released, and it's pretty much what it sounds like -- an (iPhone only, as of now) app that allows you to hunt down BYOB-friendly joints by cuisine or neighborhood. [via]
Another potential reason to be annoyed that NATO is in town: jammed cellular service.
At a hack day last year, Melissa Pierce was told, "No room for noobs with boobs!" by a rude programmer. So she created Chicago Women Developers, a resource for woman-friendly coding classes and events.
News site Ars Technica has been completely redesigned. If you're familiar with the old one column layout, you'll find this primer very useful.
What do you get when you mash up the latest pair of social networks to go viral? Pinstagram, developed by local startup Tapisto.
John Tolva and Brett Goldstein, the CTO and CDO of Chicago, will be doing a live chat on Ars Technica today at 1pm, discussing the data portal and how it's helping change how the city is run. UPDATE: Due to technical difficulties (Ars just launched a redesign), the chat has been canceled.
Toodalu is a new service that gets you a discount at local restaurants, bars and a few shops -- with the added twist that every purchase also earns money for the charity of your choice.
Soup Next Door is a startup that handles ticketing for "unique food experiences" hosted by anyone from underground restaurants to budding chefs. There are only a couple listings for Chicago at the moment, but expect more soon.
Paintings and sculptures from the Art Institute are among more than 32,000 pieces viewable on Google's new Art Project, which launches today. Streetview cameras were used to photograph many of the artworks in the gallery setting, providing a virtual visit to more than 100 museums worldwide.
MacMall is opening this Saturday at 329 W Grand. Their first location outside of Southern California, they sell refurbished Apple products as well as accessories, support and repairs.
On the day the new iPad comes out, This American Life is retracting the incredibly popular story about Foxconn's factories in China by monologist Mike Daisey (previously). Tonight's episode of the show will be an explanation of why the story is being retracted and how it occurred.
This American Life and WBEZ have also canceled the performance of Daisey's monologue, The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs, scheduled for April 7 at the Chicago Theatre.
The following email was sent to fans of the show:
From: Ira Glass
Date: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Subject: Our recent Mike Daisey episode
I'm writing to tell you that tonight, This American Life and Marketplace will reveal that a story that we broadcast on This American Life this past January contained significant fabrications.
We're retracting that story because we can't vouch for its truth, and this weekend's episode of our show will detail the errors in the story, which was an excerpt of Mike Daisey's acclaimed one-man show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." In it, Daisey tells how he visited a factory owned by Foxconn that manufactures iPhones and iPads in Shenzhen, China. He's performed the monologue in theaters around the country; it's currently at the Public Theater in New York.
When the original 39-minute excerpt was broadcast on This American Life, Marketplace China Correspondent Rob Schmitz wondered about its truth. He located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter Li Guifen (who goes by the name Cathy Lee professionally with westerners). She disputed much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio.
During fact checking before the broadcast of Daisey's story, I and This American Life producer Brian Reed asked Daisey for this interpreter's contact information, so we could confirm with her that Daisey actually witnessed what he claims. Daisey told us her real name was Anna, not Cathy as he says in his monologue, and he said that the cell phone number he had for her didn't work any more. He said he had no way to reach her.
At that point, we should've killed the story. But other things Daisey told us about Apple's operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him. We didn't think that he was lying to us. That was a mistake.
Schmitz does a 20-minute story on our show this weekend about his findings, and we'll also broadcast an interview I did with Daisey. Marketplace will feature a shorter version of Schmitz's report earlier in the evening. You can read more details on our website, and listen to our show on WBEZ at 7 p.m. tonight, and noon tomorrow.
We've been planning a live presentation of Daisey's monologue on stage at the Chicago Theatre on April 7th, with me leading a Q&A afterwards. Maybe you've heard me advertising it on the air. That show will be cancelled and all tickets will be refunded.
I've never had to write an email like this. Like all our friends and colleagues in public radio, I and my co-workers at This American Life work hard every day to make sure that what you hear on WBEZ is factually correct. We will continue to do that, and hope you can forgive this.
© 1998-2012 Chicago Public Media. All rights reserved.
WBEZ / 848 East Grand Avenue / Chicago IL 60611-3509
The discrepancies in Daisey's story were uncovered in part by a report by Marketplace's Rob Schmitz.
Daisey has posted a statement on his own site, saying in part, "I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity."
Below is the official press release from This American Life regarding the incident.
An interactive exhibit based on the Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" opened at the Museum of Science and Industry today.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica has ceased the production of its printed volumes and is selling its remaining inventory. Of course, it's trumpeting the transition as a step into the future. Some reaction from the Trib, The NY Times, The Atlantic and the Financial Times.
* So, for example, if your order comes to $15.49, that's still what you pay, but GrubHub will donate 51 cents to Feeding America.
A new trailer for the video game MLB 12: The Show imagines what Chicago would look like if the Cubs won the World Series.
WBEZ and This American Life are bringing The Agony & The Ecstacy of Steve Jobs, a one-man show by Steve Daisy, to Chicago for a performance on April 7 at the Chicago Theatre. Ira Glass will do a Q&A afterward. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, March 1 at 10am.
TAL aired an adapted version of the monologue in January, and it quickly became one of the most-listened-to episodes in the show's history.
OpenChicago is a new site connecting developers interested in participating in the open data movement. All you need is a Github account.
Chicago residents can now volunteer to shovel a snow-covered sidewalk by claiming a section of the city on their smart phone through a new web app, Adopt-a-sidewalk. The app also connects volunteers with seniors and people with disabilities who might need help with snow removal.
Film podcast F This Movie! is holding the first-ever Twitter film festival this Saturday, Feb. 4. To attend, just get hold of the films in the lineup, follow @fthismovie and start watching and tweeting at noon! [via]
What Gizmodo calls "the closest thing the iPhone has to manual focus" is the creation of local designer/programmer/photographer Ben Syverson -- and it's their App of the Day.
Via Twitter (of course), Fischer said, "[The map] is paths from one geotagged tweet to the next by the same person, routed along the most heavily geotagged path in between." In a comment on Flickr, he clarified, "Keep in mind this is trying to be a map of travel from locations to other locations, not of individual tweets. The individual tweets are just to guide the paths. I think what you are seeing here is mostly a lot of travel between O'Hare and the Loop, not a particular tendency to tweet while driving on that route. (Also, the Edens is hardly represented here at all. Those two big routes to the north and northwest are Clark Street and Milwaukee Avenue."
A new "center for digital entrepreneurs," 1871, was announced today. The 50,000-square-foot space will be located in the Merchandise Mart and is meant to foster the city's startup scene by offering affordable deskspace and other services.
Xrivo is a newish social network based in Chicago that's all about connecting writers and readers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold another Facebook town hall meeting on January 23. Emanuel's previous virtual town hall was the first of its kind from a sitting mayor. Chicagoans can submit education-related questions online here.
Newly launched Found In Town is a new service designed to help track down things like phones lost in the back of a cab.
Have a lot of free time or want something to do during this weekend? WBEZ has a guide to help people create their own ward maps. Data and links to required programs are listed, but assembly is required.
Uber customers in Chicago and elsewhere got a bit of a shock if they used the private car service on New Year's Eve: "surge pricing" that drove the cost of a ride up as much as 6.25 times the regular price. Not surprisingly, the reaction was uber negative.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is conducting a study examining the correlation between bike seats and male impotence.
Local comedian Steve Gadlin will be on "Shark Tank" Jan. 27, seeking investment in IWantToDrawACatForYou.com, his cat-drawing service, which has produced over 1400 custom cat drawings since it launched two years ago.
ReadWriteWeb's Alicia Eler talks with Chicago artists about the effect SOPA would have on online artists.
The Verge features MNML's TikTok and LunaTik watches (previously) in its look at Kickstarter's role in the new product development cycle.
Benevolent is a new Evanston-based crowdfunding site with a twist: it's oriented toward individuals in need, who are "validated" by a nonprofit. The campaign goals are usually low, so even small pledges make a big difference.
WBEZ mapped and analyzed 10 years of school closing patterns, finding that closed schools tend to be in African American neighborhoods on the South and West Sides -- and are often replaced with selective enrollment or lottery schools.
The CTA has provided developers, and those with "some computer savvy," the tools to create their own CTA arrival screens. Great for businesses who want to create a waiting area inside their warm establishments, or others who just want to shelter public transit users in a storm.
The Sun-Times and its suburban sister publications will start using a metered method allowing 20 free views every month before readers will have to pay. The paywall goes into effect on Thursday.
The Apps for Metro Chicago Grand Challenge, the final phase of the year-long program, opens for voting at 4pm today. Vote for your favorite apps by Dec. 12.
More specifically, would you be willing to pay $1,750 to lease YOURNAME@Chicago.com for 10 years? Josh Metnick thinks you might be.
The first of these experimental Apple-inspired retail outlets is set to open in the Northwest suburbs, complete with a Learning Center, Solutions Center, Small Business Center, and, God willing, a chewy chocolate-covered center.
QuickTrain is another iPhone CTA tracker app, with the distinction of being very good looking.
MentorMob, a site for putting together "learning playlists" of tutorials and informational pages, launched this week in alpha.
The Reformed Broker waxes poetic ahead of Groupon's Friday IPO. (Thanks, Pete!)
MentorMob officially launches today. It's a site for crowdsourcing knowledge to help collectively teach a variety of subjects, from salsa dancing to chemistry.
Congratulations to downstate firm Elastec/American Marine on winning a $1 Million X Prize for a novel, vastly more efficient oil skimmer.
Tech community site Built in Chicago released its first Top 50 Digital Companies list, based on number of Chicago-based employees. Topping the list are Groupon, CareerBuilder, Navteq, Classified Ventures, Orbitz, Echo Global Logistics, Restaurant.com, OptionsXpress, InnerWorkings and Thinkorswim.
Entrprnr and #MsTech have teamed up for SweetHack CHI+NYC, a two-city hackathon aimed at "evolv[ing] the conversation of female entrepreneurism beyond the issue of 'changing the ratio,' and towards actively advancing the quality of their businesses, networks and resources." It's this weekend, Oct. 14-16; register here.
Outside the Michigan Avenue Apple store, there's a pair of banners on the light pole memorializing Steve Jobs. Interestingly, they're not an official tribute by either the store or the city -- they're by local computer graphics firm ImageFiction.
Photo by Therese Flanagan
Speaking of apps, the Chicago History Museum today launched The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory, an app for iPhone and iPad that brings to life that fateful event 140 years ago. Download it from iTunes here for 99 cents.
Tributes to Steve Jobs are everywhere; here are some from Chicago media and tech world: 37signals, Ars Technica (more, even more), Nick Harrison, Andy Ihnatko, RedEye, Phil Rosenthal. Know of more? Tell us on Twitter. A few photographs from the Michigan Avenue Apple Store memorial are after the fold.
Fermilab posted a video of the particle accelerator shutdown ceremony, including remarks from various people involved and the actual switching-off. For those curious, their website has some great info about the Tevatron, and the Reader's recent cover story does a great job fleshing out Fermilab's history.
HuffPo blogger Keith Ecker wonders what Chicago's tech industry nickname ought to be. My two cents: If we want to lose the "flyover state" rep, perhaps talking about cornfields is the wrong direction. Meanwhile, Crain's named its first Tech 25.
Feel the need to be a typography locavore? In Chicago, you have a few to choose from: Ascender, T26, Okay Type, Blank is the New Black, Hazen Type, No Bodoni, Arlo and, interestingly, Cooper Black. Many more here. (Thanks, Grant & Su!)
A 51,000-square-foot center for tech startups is in the works, according to the Tribune. The venture capital-backed plan would allow startups to rent desks or suites -- so it might turn out to simply be a massive coworking space.
Clever Apes sends off the Tevatron with an episode dedicated to the world's most powerful proton-antiproton accelerator.
Uber a private car service you set up via web or phone app, officially launched in Chicago yesterday. Now, for a minimum of $15, you can press a button and a black car will show up out front to pick you up.
Today the Trib is among the papers revealing iCircular, a new advertising platform for newspaper apps developed by the AP.
Cornell Creative Machines Lab has developed a 3-D food printer that will allow the creation of previously unheard of cuisine. And not just a hamburger with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard inside, either (though also that). Chicago's Moto Restaurant looks like it'll be one of the early adopters.
The Apps for Metro Chicago competition is still on, and in fact the Metropolitan Planning Council is sponsoring a new challenge for "placemaking" apps. There's a hackathon at Google Chicago this Saturday, if you're interested in diving in.
In the latest twist in Groupon's IPO saga, WSJ reports the company has canceled its investor roadshow and is reevaluating its IPO date "on a week by week basis" due to the market's volatility.
"Powers of Ten," a 1977 Eames film made for IBM, centers on a lakeshore picnic and zooms out 1,000,000 light years. Pretty crazy stuff.
Last year, noise and tech and new media and those who love them came together in the form of the GLI.TC/H festival. For five days, the strange and wonderful ways data can be corrupted were celebrated with videos, art, coding and more. Although a success, the people behind GLI.TC/H need more than pops and errant flashes to bring it back to life. Head to their Kickstarter page to make it happen again.
Local artists Taylor Hokanson and Chris Reilly have reached their Kickstarter goal for their low-cost CNC machine, but the fundraiser's still going until 11 tonight, so check it out if you're into art made by robots.
The corporate cultures of Google and Motorola might not be a match made in heaven, the WSJ reports.
Libertyville based Motorola Mobility, the split handset division of Motorola, is being acquired by Google for about $12.5 billion, mostly in an effort to gain patents in order to compete with rival Apples iPhone. Google plans to run Motorola Mobility as a separate company and plans to keep its Android platform open.
They haven't had their IPO yet, but Bnet's Jim Edwards has decided Groupon should just declare bankruptcy now.
TheNextWeb asked Chicago's tech community why they think Groupon grew up here rather than Silicon Valley.
University of Chicago fourth year Mitchell Kohles challenged the automated storage and retrieval system at the U of C's newest library, the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, to a race. How did Mitchell do? Let's go to the tape, err, YouTube video.
The Tevatron at Fermilab continues to make progress on the possibilities of the Higgs boson even though the accelerator is slated for closure at the end of September.
Big congratulations to Dan X. O'Neil today. He announced that he has left EveryBlock to lead the Smart Chicago Collaborative. Their main goal is to bring high-speed Internet and resources to Chicago's underserved communities.
Gis.to, the startup formerly known as Gistrr, is using Kickstarter to raise money to pay for well-written abstracts on a variety of topics. It's just one of many projects on Gapers Block's curated Kickstarter page.
Art Barcs is a novel way to share your art with the world: through QR codes that provide additional information about a work on display. (Thanks, Elizabeth!)
Last summer, UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory grad student Arthur Nishimoto created Fleet Commander, a Star Wars video game that's played on a wide-screen multitouch display. He's currently working on a TRON game. [via]
Food Genius is a new app for Android and iOS that helps you decide what to eat at Chicagoland restaurants.
The Apps for Metro Chicago developer contest has a new video featuring Rahm Emanuel, Toni Preckwinkle and Pat Quinn.
Chicago start-up SceneTap wants to bring facial recognition software into bars so owners can monitor the number, age, and gender of their customers. Because figuring that out without computers would be impossible, right?
The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, a marathon site-building experience dedicated to helping non-profits in a very direct way, has extended its deadline to July 15. Go sign up here. Want to help out? There's a form for that too.
Startup MyZeus promises to give movie recommendations based on your music preferences, and let you share recommendations with friends.
Got an extra parking space? SpotHero is a new startup that'll help you rent it out -- or help you find one to rent if you need one.
Got One, Need One is an iPhone app that helps you find tickets or get rid of extras day-of without the need of middlemen. That is, if you can find other people using the app.
Groupon has filed for an initial public offering to raise $750 million. Meanwhile, CEO Andrew Mason revealed plans for a travel deal site with Expedia during his talk at the D9: All Things Digital conference.
The City is opening the tap on data, moving beyond the FOIA info that has filled the City Data Portal for the past couple years. (Meanwhile, Michael Miner worries that FOIA is becoming passé among journalists.)
Proving they're willing to willing to take a step in the wrong direction in more than just publishing, the folks behind The Printed Blog have launched Kumbuya, which rolls the Groupon concept back to when it was a spinoff of The Point.
Dabble launched today, offering Chicagoans the opportunity to take a class on something they've always been curious about -- and also to try their hand at teaching something they're passionate about.
You may have noticed a new share widget on GB this week: local startup ShareApon gives you points toward coupons just for tweeting or "liking" stuff.
Are you a non-profit looking for a better website, or a developer, designer, or project manager (or master copywriter or QA genius) with a desire to help non-profits get present a great online face to the world? Check out The Nerdery's Overnight Website Challenge -- August 20-21, the web development shop is organizing a great opportunity for non-profits and nerds of all stripes alike. Non-profits register by June 30, volunteers by July 15.
Dishtip is meant to be a guide to the best food in a city, but some of the results are a little odd. Is the salad bar at Fogo de Chao really the second best dish in Chicago? And since when does Lou Malnatti's serve New York-style pizza? [via]
GISTRr is a people-driven site providing 200-word overviews of articles, blog posts, webpages, etc. for folks who don't have time to read the long version.
It's tough starting a business with little ones at home. Naptime Entrepreneurs aims to be a support group for parents in that situation.
The Chicago Public Library (and other area libraries using Overdrive) will soon offer the ability to borrow books via Kindle. Whet Moser notes you can already do the same on your iOS or Android device.
If you've ever been interested in designing a video game, head over to the downtown Dave & Buster's tonight for the IGDA Chicago meetup.
Daily deal site YouSwoop is launching SwooperMarket, a place to swap deals you can't or don't want to use for some reason. It'll also offer some "expired" deals at slightly higher prices for people who miss out on the first round.
As a consumer, you've probably shopped for a credit card and you know it is a pain. But it is even more of a pain for people who want to accept credit cards. Thanks to FeeFighters.com, that process is now a lot simpler. Which makes it possible for business owners without a degree in economics to get the best deal.
Northwestern and its partnership with Google to provide email and other services for its students is targeted in a lawsuit alleging the applications are inaccessible to students with vision impairments and constitute discrimination.
Chicago is the first city actively accepting digital photographs and video via 911. The city has received 40 images so far, mainly of property damage.
Columbia College and USC have teamed up with YouTube to create "Creator Institutes" to train students in digital media. To be one of the 10 students in the YouTube-Columbia College Creator Institute this summer, apply here.
Groupon is in talks with cash register manufacturers to add a Groupon button, making it easier for retailers to handle groupons. Meanwhile, GrubHub raised $20 million in funding in its quest to be "the next OpenTable."
Life in Perpetual Beta, a documentary about "the ways in which technology has/is/will change the ways in which we think about ourselves as individuals and a society," is now streaming online, on demand.
@MayorEmanuel was none other than Dan Sinker, Columbia College professor, creator of the Chicago Mayoral Scorecard and founder of Punk Planet. He'll be on Eight Forty-Eight tomorrow to discuss the project.
Ars Technica performed extensive tests comparing Verizon and AT&T's iPhone performance in neighborhoods from Andersonville to Hyde Park.
Ben Joravsky takes a hard look at some of the more interesting aldermanic races around town.
Shelfluv fills a virtual bookshelf with recommendations as you search; click through and buy what you find on Amazon.
Urban Offer takes a different tack from the many group deal sites popping up: make an offer for how much you're willing to pay for a service (currently limited to salons and body care businesses, it seems) and see which business takes you up on it.
If you have foursquare on your phone, don't forget to check into the Snowpocalypse 2011: Chicago Edition.
If you're Jewish and single, you may have complicated feelings about TheJMom.com, a new dating site that lets Jewish mothers connect their adult children.
If you've been thinking about starting a business, lawyer Coco Soodek's Profit & Laws blog might help you decide what type of business to form. And her new book, Birth to Buyout, gives you pointers on every step of the life cycle of your business.
From the folks behind Chicago Art Magazine comes TINCmag, an online magazine about Chicago's technology industry.
Keymote is an app that turns your iPhone/iPod Touch into a keypad for all your shortcut key commands.
Bluelight is a safety app for iPhones that alerts a contact if you don't make it to a destination by a certain time.
Craig Shimala turns Chicago into a water wonderland with a digital camera strapped to his windshield (and a nice ambient soundtrack).
The New York Times has an interactive map for searching distribution of ethnicity and race all over the country based on American Community Survey data from 2005-2009. Chicago's maps are, uh...just as I thought.
Mapding is location-based mobile app for buying and selling items, such as concert tickets. It's available free on iPhone and Android.
Did Comcast internet service go out for you on Sunday night? Comcast wants to give you a couple bucks for the inconvenience.
Groupon's board is meeting today to discuss Google's purchase offer, which is officially official now, I guess. Should the deal go down, Henry Blodget has some suggestions for Google on how not to screw it up.
Rumors are swirling that Google has purchased Groupon for $2.5 billion. No official announcements so far, but vague Twitter exchanges are being pointed to as evidence. UPDATE 11/30: Google's offer is reportedly $5.3 billion. Still no official word from either company.
A student-faculty collaboration at IIT has designed a "replicable, low-cost, durable, practical laptop charging" device for Haitian primary schools, 95% of which do not have electricity. They just won an award for their work and are raising money to implement the project.
The easiest way to get involved in Chicago's grassroots Neighborhood Technology movement is to attend the 1st Annual Chicago Neighborhood Digital Excellence Conference at DePaul University on 10/29. Details in Slowdown.
Not phrases usually found near each other. And yet there it is: a coffee ground-filled robotic "gripper" hand that wraps around an object and stiffens to pick it up, developed by a team led by led by Eric Brown of the University of Chicago.
Built in Chicago is a new social network "promoting technology companies in the world's greatest city."
City Council may soon consider the recommendation of the Inspector General to require all Chicago taxis be trackable by an integrated GPS network.
Ever wish someone would just make you something to eat? Or maybe you'd really like to cook for someone. CookItFor.Us, a new site, er, cooked up at a hackathon last week, can help party A find party B.
How much do you spend on transportation? Abogo from the Center for Neighborhood Technology shows you what the monthly average is for your neighborhood.
Sometimes developers have trouble finding designers to make their projects pretty; likewise, designers sometimes need help making what they create work. Just-launched Interhoods helps them find each other based on which neighborhood they live in, here as well as in SF and NYC.
Kiyoshi Martinez wrote a satirical article on The Wacky Deli about Mark Zuckerberg threatening to shut down Facebook if The Social Network is a hit. As a result, links to The Wacky Deli were blocked as "abusive" for a couple days.
How many are there now? Anyway, TreKing Chicago is one for Android users, available in free and $3 versions.
A suburban Menards was evacuated on Saturday when an employee saw a man placing a box in a parking lot light post. Apparently the item had been cached there since January.
The cumbersomely named tech startup conference midVenturesLAUNCH is a month away, and just announced that Groupon's Andrew Mason will be the keynote. There's still a little time to submit your startup concept to compete for $100,000.
Greenway Parking Garage, at Clark and Kinzie, is seeking LEED certification. The parking garage features twelve helical wind turbines, but might still have trouble shaking the irony of their slogan "Chicago's first earth friendly parking garage."
Speaking of fundraisers, Chicago-based GiveForward provides the ability to create a fundraising page for anyone or -thing.
If you're headed to the vast empire of Lollapalooza, stay up to date with your friends' schedules and where to find them in the throngs of thousands with a new free app for smart phones called Lolla.me. Details in Transmission.
The federal government has granted two Chicago groups a cumulative $16 million to expand broadband Internet access in the city. Maybe that'll put a dent in the gaping one-fourth share of Chicago without Internet.
Gli.tc/h is "an international gathering of noise & new media practitioners, and it's coming to Chicago Sept. 29 through Oct. 3.
The folks at Argonne National Laboratory wanted to know how a caterpillar moves. So they built a tiny, custom-built caterpillar treadmill and blasted it with fancy x-rays, discovering that at least one species of caterpillar precedes each step with a thrust of its gut. According to NPR, the finding points to an entirely new mode of animal locomotion and could lead researchers to develop new robotic tools for exploration and medicine.
How could Chicago be more like Silicon Valley? Groupon's Andrew Mason has some suggestions.
AT&T will soon be rolling out free wifi in an as-yet unconfirmed "Chicago area" hotspot to help alleviate traffic congestion on its cellular network. The service is already in Times Square and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC.
Geeks at Northeastern University have plotted more than 300 million tweets over three years. The results is a series of neat cartograms that map the mood of twitter users across America. Using a psychological word-rating system, the tweets suggest that the west coast is happier than the east coast, and that national happiness peaks each Sunday morning and crashes Thursday evenings. Roger Ebert couldn't wait to tweet this!
37signals just introduced Draft [opens in iTunes], a sketching program for the iPad.
Brad Flora, founder of WindyCitizen, is one of this year's Knight News Challenge winners. He received $250,000 to develop his Twitter-connected "real-time ads" into a full-fledged ad platform, NowSpots.
Got an idea for a startup? Take it to Startup Weekend June 25-27 and you might see it launch.
Another transit app for your consideration: ChiTransit. (
Get a little creative with your best Ferris Beuller movie reenactment ideas, and you could win a couple of tickets to fly friends into town to have a great "day off." Explore Chicago is sponsoring this Ferris Foursquare mission today and tomorrow. Leave your ideas on this Foursquare Facebook wall post to enter.
Local startup Readeo helps parents (or others) read with their children wherever they are, online.
Brandon Copple, managing editor of Crain's Chicago Business, is leaving to work for Groupon. Interesting timing, in light of the magazine's front page story and video profile of the service last week.
Lightology, the locally based largest contemporary lighting showroom in North America, is having a design contest. The concept must feature at least one foot of Lightology's LED Soft Strip, and prizes include a $2,000 Lightology gift card and a feature in i4 design magazine. More details here.
Buzzd offers a look at what places around the city are "buzzing" on Twitter and other social media sites.
Tech fund Scalewell announced its two latest grant winners last night: WinkVid, an online video-based speed-dating service, and CommuniTeach, a social network that helps people teach each other new skills.
Orggit is a locally based web app that helps organize important documents (like health records) while keeping them secure.
All you need to do is write insightful tweets about the First Amendment and if they're good enough, you'll win an iPad. Time Out Chicago's TOC Blog has the details.
The removal of many of the Eisenhower's traffic travel sensors has caused IDOT to seek a new way of measuring traffic speed: Bluetooth.
The Tech in the Middle conference will help tech folk get up to speed on mobile technologies; if you're interested in delving into that space, this might be the place to start.
All incoming IIT students will be receiving iPads when they arrive in the fall.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will be lecturing at the Thorne Auditorium at Northwestern tomorrow (375 E. Chicago) at 2pm to discuss the NIH and its role in scientific advancements. If you can't make the event, it will be webcasted live as well.
Registration for Chicago Startup Weekend is now open. Now to figure out what your startup is.
On the map of Apple product concentration, we come in #6, with 2.1 million adults and eight stores.
Want your document to look like it was part of Columbia College's old marketing campaign? Set it in Sansarah.
New locally developed dating site WinkVid lets you speed-date via your computer's camera.
The Web Content conference is in Chicago this June if you're into that sort of thing.
Reel Roulette is a new site aimed at making it easy to find motion graphics pros (you know, the people who make animations and stuff). Local motion graphics pros Nick Campbell and Trevor Turk teamed up with web developer Joshua Schaible and built it in less than two weeks.
The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) gives a nod to new global resource STACKD which lets people connect via their workplace. It's a great opportunity to "Act Local" and connect with others outside of that excruciatingly silent morning elevator ride.
The newest feature on Google Maps provides bicycle directions for many US cities, including Chicago. While some features like helping cyclists avoid steep inclines may not be particularly useful here, an instructional video does point out some helpful tidbits.
Tech and journalism meet with Hacks and Hackers, a merger of two near-identically named organizations here, New York and in the Bay Area.
Now that criminals have learned to operate around the perimeters of blue light cameras, Chicago police plan to deploy smaller undetectable cameras around the city.
Before the Web, there was the Bulletin Board System, or BBS. The first public one was CBBS, launched in Chicago during the Blizzard of 1978. You might think they're a thing of the past, but at least one is still up and going strong.
Explore Chicago has just launched an online gallery of free and cheap Chicago-oriented smartphone apps (mostly geared to you iPhone users, though some work on Blackberry and the like). You can keep track of shows at Broadway in Chicago, menus on GrubHub, get the latest Bears rumors, or locate nearby LGBT businesses through the Gay Cities Guide.
Interested in developing software for cellphones? The Day of Mobile on March 6 may be for you.
The first online bulletin board launched 32 years ago today. Its programmer-inventors founded it during the Chicago blizzard of 1978, paving the way for the snowed-in Twitter hordes of today.
Google is launching a pilot program to bring 1 Gbps internet into the homes of a few thousand lucky users. That's about 250 times faster than the national average broadband speed. They will select communities based on nominations submitted by regular folks and local governments. Tell Google why your neighborhood is a good candidate for a chance to be an internet pioneer and stick it to the cable lobby at the same time.
If you use the social mapping app Foursquare on your phone, you can now get exclusive Chicago-themed badges -- Chicago blues, Chicago-style hot dogs and Chicago film locations -- if you visit certain places.
Looking for work -- or looking for someone to work for you? Jobnob Chicago is holding a job networking event for start-ups Feb. 24.
The department unveiled a new public safety alert system today, designed to deliver urgent, location-specific email and text messages to registered subscribers. CPD says Nixle will help citizens "stay more safe and aware" while increasing community engagement.
If you're getting ready to tune in for Apple's big tablet announcement, Chicago-based Ars Technica has you covered with a liveblog from SF.
Obama's first State of the Union Address will have some major competition tomorrow: Steve Jobs will present what is assumed to be Apple's new tablet computer. Threadless co-founder Jacob DeHart has an interesting theory that the announcement may be even bigger than that.
Here's some productive tagging for you: CTA Stop ID is crowdsourcing the placement of informational stickers or signs on all the CTA bus stops, to help people take better advantage of the SMS-based Bus Tracker service.
Got an interesting idea for a tech start-up? Scale Well wants to give you $1000 and some co-working space to help get you traction.
Nikola Tesla was a brilliant Serbo-American scientist and inventor whose alternating current equipment powered the electric lights of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. According to the thumbnail portrait in the Wall Street Journal, he also recorded the seminal albums The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Lodger.
Chicago.TechScene.us is the latest site attempting to cover ...well, you can probably guess.
GoHuman is a startup attempting to create "a marketplace for local services," ranging from computer consulting to auto repair to knitting classes.
In a couple of months the FCC presents congress with the National Broadband Plan; a road map for delivering high-speed internet to all Americans and closing the speed gap between the US and much of the developed world. So far the plan has received "mixed reviews." Get your two cents in during a public hearing [pdf] Monday at the Gleacher Center.
The NYTimes covers cellphones and the industry's drive to keep people chatting on them when they shouldn't. Interestingly, the piece shows a photo of a 1983 event at Soldier's Field, when Ameritech executives (huge trench-coat fans, apparently) gathered to watch the first cellphone call.
For those with a long memory, the mayor's plans to bridge the digital divide sound awfully familiar.
Hey all of you 3G slugs, step aside. Comcast launched its new 4G highspeed internet service today in the city today, joining Philadelphia, Atlanta and Portlant, Oregon. Just think of it...porn delivered at blazing speed!
Gowalla is an app on your iPhone that lets you share places you've been, and features lots of neat icons for landmarks. Chicago's one of its popular cities, so you'd think they'd a custom icon for the Hancock Building like they do for the Bean and Sears Tower.
GB flickr pool contributor mick.chicago demonstrates why automated news aggregators still have a ways to go with this unfortunate placing of a St. Patrick's Day photograph of the Chicago River next to articles about the Michael Scott death.
It's been a tough week for LGBT media, just ask the now closed Washington Blade (or don't). But like all print media, it's time to evolve. Chicago's oldest LGBT weekly, Windy City Times just released a new iPhone app, providing local, national and world LGBT news and entertainment pieces to join its Facebook and Twitter social networks.
With 24,000 LEDs and 4,000 Swarovski crystals, it'd be hard not to be seen in CuteCircuit's Galaxy dress, commissioned by the Museum of Science and Industry for its current exhibition, Fast Forward: Inventing the Future.
Culinary Culture is a new social network for "serious and aspiring foodies" launched today by Threadless cofounder Jakob DeHart and his wife, Mischa.
Tweet Home Chicago is a site intended to help you find other Chicagoans worth following on Twitter.
The new area code 872 goes live on Saturday, so don't forget you'll need to dial an area code for any Chicago number -- even if it's in the same area code as your phone.
The Trib launched ChicagoBreakingSports.com on Sunday, pushing Tribune property sports content out throughout the day like they do on ChicagoBreakingNews.com. Which got me wondering: what other "breaking" domains do they own?
Stats Monkey is a project at Northwestern's Intelligent Information Laboratory that might one day make sports reporting obsolete. Of course, that'd just mean more time for sportwriters to be columnists. [via]
Stump Connolly of The Week Behind profiles the various ways people are data-mining the government.
Microsoft's suburban data center is experimenting with shipping containers as modular units to be added or subtracted with computing demands.
Local designer Ryan McGovern hosts DesignChat, a live streaming video discussion for creative professionals. Check the site's blog for past wisdom from design luminaries or catch this week's discussion with the award-winning creatives behind Big Space Ship at 5:30pm on Wednesday, in the Mashable chatroom.
CTA employees who clean busses typically need to turn on bus engines to provide light, temperature controls and other power while they work in them. That will change for 80 busses thanks to a new $1.5 million federal Recovery Act grant.
For the past four years, developers in Google's Chicago office have been working on a way for you to take your data (contacts, files, etc.) with you if you leave Google's products, like gmail. Their work has paid off in the form of the Data Liberation Front. [via]
Chicago-based interaction designer Nick Disabato has launched a Kickstarter project to help fund his new book, Cadence & Slang. Simply put, Cadence & Slang is a book about interaction design. Help make it a reality.
If you're annoyed with your iPhone dropping calls right and left, you may be heartened to hear AT&T is rolling out improved network technology in Chicago later this year.
CitySpokes maps out the city's bike paths, with a convenient trip planner to help you take advantage of them.
Not a fan of PayPal or Google Checkout? Local startup mPayy might be your solution.
EveryBlock's Knight grant ran out yesterday, and on that momentous occasion, they released the source code for the platform, allowing anyone to produce a similar site for their town. Read my profile of the company and their future plans in Chicago magazine.
OK, so we're going to try a little experiment. We now have a Twitter tip line at @GBtips in addition to our main account. It's powered by Spotd, the retweet system behind the popular Tamale Guy Tracker. Learn how it works after the jump...
If you've got a Twitter account, you can send us story tips -- breaking news, interesting links, events, whatever -- to that account in the form of an "@ reply" and it'll be retweeted in the GBtips stream. We'll keep an eye on what comes in and possibly use your tip in posts on GB! And of course, we'll give you credit.
This is highly experimental -- it could become a huge mess, or die from disuse. We'll block anyone who gets abusive, vulgar or spammy with it. If you've got any feedback for us, DM us on that account or the main GB account or send us an email.
Locally produced Hot Tweeters should eat up some of your time on a rainy afternoon.
AT&T service will soon be available in CTA subways. Gmail in the station!
Though times may be tough for local video game developer Midway Games, Chicago-based upstart Robomodo has been tapped to develop Ride, the latest entry in the highly successful Tony Hawk franchise. Tony showed off the game and its unique skateboard-shaped controller during the Xbox 360 press conference at E3 last week.
EveryBlock now has an iPhone app, so you can check on crime stats of the very corner you're standing on. (And restaurants nearby, too.)
There are a couple good opportunities for Chicago designers and coders ahead. Camp Firebelly is coming up May 1, 2009 Innovation Summit is coming up at the end of May, FITC brings its Flash conference here mid-June, and you can already register for An Event Apart in October.
Remember the CPD/CPS TXT2TIP [pdf] program? Yeah, no one else did either. The program received 70 text messages since September 10, 2008, and, um, "some were hoaxes." Given its tremendous success, Huberman is reviving the program.
The latest cool iPhone app comes from our very own University of Chicago where two business school students have come up with a clever way to exchange info between users.
Got an idea for a new tech project? Bring it to Startup Weekend this weekend, and it might become a reality.
Can't make it down to the Oriental Institute but want to learn more about mummies? The University of Chicago Magazine created an interactive mummy dissection that combines photographs, CT scans and interviews with researchers to examine the Institute's 2,800-year-old dummy -- without cracking the seal.
A week after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sued CraigsList to stop allowing "erotic services" ads on its site, CL reports that its listings of that type are down 90 percent. We already knew they were lower than elsewhere in the country.
Thanks to a $6 million Homeland Security grant, the city of Chicago has integrated the 911 emergency response center with video feeds from the city's cameras, as well as those from 20 private institutions. An additional 17 organizations are expected to sign on shortly.
According to this somewhat confusing graph, Chicago is the world's third most innovative hub, behind only Silicon Valley and Tokyo, in terms of the
number diversity of separate companies developing new patents. [via]
TextHog is a new service that allows you to keep track of receipts and other expenses by text or email.
Compare and contrast: The possibly overreaching changes to Facebook's terms of service, and the sweet simplicity of the current "25 things" meme.
At the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference here in Chicago over the weekend, cosmologist Paul Davies of Arizona State University says that alien life, in one form or another, does indeed exist and may already be living here on Earth! (I thought that guy at 7-11 looked a little weird.)
Chicago-based video game developer Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today after a nearly five-year battle with their finances. The Mortal Kombat creator recently laid off 25% of their local workforce in an unsuccessful attempt to stay afloat.
Newly launched RepSheet lists which elected officials serve you, and also shows you the latest news mentioning any of them.
Local web firm Mightybytes spiced up its holiday party by creating an internal radio station that played in every room of its office. Here's how they did it. Bonus: listen to their very own groove-tastic playlist.
In between all the other holiday parties this weekend, here's a freebie for you: Jelly Chicago and other local tech folks (including Gapes Block) are hosting a free holiday party at Noble Tree Coffee & Tea, 2444 N. Clark St., Saturday night at 10pm. It's free; just RSVP.
The CTA unveiled new hybrid buses today that plug into an electrical outlet at night and run on battery power for most of the day. The move is estimated to save the CTA almost $7 million annually in maintenance, labor and fuel costs by retiring aging buses.
Chicago-based crowdSPRING is the front-runner in Wired's small business competiton. Watch their video and vote for the local team.
Callpod is a local company producing some very cutting edge gadgets, including multi-device chargers and extra-strength bluetooth headsets.
Yesterday, IIT announced it will build the first smart microgrid electricity system in the United States. The system promises to "virtually eliminate" power outages and allow the university to sell excess electricity, all the while saving at least $2 million a year.
Looks like the trusty Chicago Card may become obsolete in the near future. The CTA is claiming that a new "smart" version of credit and debit cards will be accepted for payment of bus and train fares in about a year. Seems like a rather bold prediction, but it could mean more money for other improvements if it pans out.
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a "life-saving, Slurpee-like slurry" which "rapidly cools the body from the inside out, giving doctors more time to treat patients while staving off harmful complications, saving lives." [via]
For every trend, there's an anti-trend. Twitter has blown up ...and spawned h8ter, created by local webfolk. Sign up for a h8ter account and h8te on all sorts of stuff. Not only that, but your h8tes will be tweeted (anonymously) on Twitter.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the first commercial cellular call, made to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell from a ceremony just outside of Soldier Field. Making the call was a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, also known as the "brick" phone. It cost $3,995, which converts to $8,787.64 in 2008.
Valleywag claims Google wants to buy Chicago-based EveryBlock and/or hire its founder, Adrian Holovaty. However, Holovaty himself appeared in the comments to say that it was news to him. [via] UPDATE: Valleywag follows up with more speculation.
Admitting he never thought he'd win one, University of Chicago Professor Yoichiro Nambu, 87, was awarded a 2008 Nobel Prize for his work in subatomic physics and notified via an early Tuesday phone call from Stockholm. And how did your day start?
Ever wonder why sometimes your cellphone seems to be in service but you can't make a call? Here's your answer.
Cameesa has a lot in common with Threadless: it's based in Chicago, makes user-submitted designer t-shirts and all web2.0-y. The difference is, Cameesa's shirts only get printed if they're pre-sold above a certain threshold within 31 days.
If you use Twitter, you can now follow your favorite El line, buses or the CTA as a whole, and send updates to the group thanks to CTA Tweet, created ex-GB staffer Dan O'Neil, who also created the cellular CTA Alert System and works at Everyblock. More details on CTA Tattler.
Have you visited Chicago2016.com, when you meant to go to Chicago2016.org? The former is owned by a Northwestern grad student, and features a "fair and balanced discussion" of Chicago's Olympic bid -- and the bid committee wants to use it for their own purposes. Both sides are now suing for control of the domain.
In its neverending quest to save lost souls around the globe, Google Maps offered up a new version of its mobile software today (available here) that includes Street View, walking directions and local business reviews. They also recently updated their standard maps to include some building numbers if you zoom in reeeally close.
DoGooderTV doesn't have hot coeds behaving badly, but it does feature some pretty good videos.
NASA named another telescope after a U of C researcher, and this time it's Enrico Fermi. The article also provides a list of other U of C affiliates similarly immortalized, from Chandrasekhar to Hubble.
MAKE: Magazine is coming to Chicago to debut a new event: American Maker, a day-long program that will highlight innovation in the community. American Make will happen at the MSI as part of the upcoming Science Chicago celebration. If you're a local area maker and want more information about how to participate in American Maker, the full details are at the MAKE: blog.
Life in Perpetual Beta is a new video interview series talking with people working on the web, including a bunch of names you already know: Fried, Coudal, Skinnycorp...
If you're in the restaurant or hospitality industry, check out FohBoh, a new social network.
The city has 104 red light cameras. They plan on installing 25 more. They expect to collect more than $50 million in fines because of them. If gas prices weren't enough to make you ditch the car, this might do it.
As a good number of our readers know, Chicago's a fine tech city, ranking seventh for the third straight year.
Unlike other cities, Chicago is showing no special preferences to owners of hybrid cars by giving them a break on feeding the meter and providing them with free parking spaces to encourage their use. Should we really be surprised?
The Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections Conference takes place next week, so don't forget to register if you're planning on going. For an outside perspective on the conference, check out Nonprofiteer's assessment.
It's called Soceeo (pronounced like "socio-economic"), and it went live today.
Chicago Ancestors helps you track down historical and genealogical info based on street address.
Chicago is on track to become the first city to have a street sweeper-mounted camera system. As the sweeper moves down the street it will take a take a photo of any illegally-parked vehicle and a second image of the license plate, relaying both automatically to the Department of Revenue. Strictly for traffic flow purposes, you understand.
The buzz is growing over The University of Chicago Law School's recent decision to cut off wireless Internet access in classrooms. Something about students chatting, checking email or playing solitare during class...
Chicago is set to be a pilot city in a new USPS electronics recycling program.
If you're out on the town and don't have a web-enabled phone, you can still access the Internet via a service that doesn't require calling that friend who's always online. ChaCha is a new human search service you can text with any question. So if you're wondering when the Chicago Diner closes or curious about the middle name of your alderman, they'll text the answer back to you. Also, if you don't already know, you can text GOOGL (46645) for business addresses and phone numbers.
Starting with the establishment of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1848, Reuters walks us through commodity exchange history.
Interested in learning more about audio and video podcasting and other social media? You might want to sign up for PodCamp Chicago, an "unconference" scheduled for early June. [
37signals was profiled in the latest issue of Wired, and were described variously as "brash" "arrogant" "demigods." Jason Fried posted a response to some of the "myths" described in the story.