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Monday, April 28, 2008

The money (unknown amount) is from Quigo Technologies co-founder Yaron Galai. Why invest in yet another “directions” service? In short, Google doesn’t do a great job. HopStop is now available on the Web, mobile and with some voice instructions for Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and its hometown of New York. I still have trouble with the name…

- Venture Beat

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/28 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

TechCrunch offers a review of Presdo, a simple meeting scheduler. You start with plain English: “Meet Ray for a run on Sat am in Arlington.” It populates fields, offers up suggested times and locations. Then you can send off an e-mail with an invitation and sync the data with a calendar app. The guy behind it, Eric Ly, was a co-founder of LinkedIn.

While I love the idea - I feel overwhelmed by how many of these “life management” widgets one might need to keep life in order. I’m still using my head for most of it.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/28 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Los Angeles, like many other cities, has a goal for planting trees. But it’s tough to be an urban tree - no soil, sidewalks crowding you, people stapling things to you… The Washington Post, in honor of Arbor Day, the last Friday in April, discusses many of the initiatives and challenges.

And, then there’s the geography of urban trees:

Driving around Los Angeles in his Prius is Andy Lipkis, the founder of TreePeople, one of the nation’s most experienced organizations of “citizen foresters,” who is helping Mayor Villaraigosa reach his million mark. Lipkis points to shady boulevards lined with ficus trees and then to entire neighborhoods devoid of any shrubbery at all, and he confirms what satellite imagery tells us: Poor people don’t have plants. The thinnest tree cover is, no surprise, over the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Where ritzy Bel Air has 53 percent canopy coverage, gritty South Central has only 7 percent.

And, then there’s the challenge of finding spots for new trees:

When Los Angeles launched its “Million Trees LA” project, it was assumed there would be plenty of room, but as it turns out, “the space is actually quite tight,” says McPherson, the scientist with the Forest Service who surveyed the city’s bio-inventory with the help of aerial reconnaissance and computer algorithms. McPherson found just 1.3 million spots to “realistically” plant in Los Angeles, most in the yards of private homes.

 

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/28 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

iPodNN reports on a new Nike patent suggesting the company will be enhancing the Nike+ Ipod fitness options. Now the shoepod simply tracks pace and distance (based on your stride and time). New versions may include other sensors for heart rate, EKG, hydration (how do they measure that?) and perhaps GPS. There may be options for the device to interact with an iPhone or computer and show motivational video.

I lost my Garmin ForeRunner (GPS watch) last fall and have yet to replace it. My iPod shuffle is however my constant companion when I travel on public transportation or do long runs on my own. Anything small enough to clip to my hat for 3 hours of entertainment, and not be impacted by heat, cold, sweat and the odd drop on the floor, is ok by me.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/28 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Living on Earth (NPR radio show) asked the question of why it’s been 18 since the last one.

GELLERMAN: So why hasn’t the United States Department of Agriculture released a new hardiness zone map in almost 20 years? I put the question to the USDA’s Kim Kaplan.

KAPLAN: Well there’s actually been no set interval between any two editions of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. One of the things that drove this one, frankly, is that the government printing office called and told us they were out of the old one, and should they print the same one again or were we going to do a new one. Because the old one was done in 1990 and predates the internet, it was not digital, and we knew we wanted to go to something that was state-of-the-art – something GPS, GIS compatible, much more detailed and much more sophisticated and most importantly web-friendly.

It’s expected in months not years.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/28 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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