New Kickstarter Call-Out: State of the Re:Union

state of the re:union kickstarter

UPDATE: Just got an email that my funds went through! After a whole month SOTRU hit its Kickstarter fundraising goal with just two minutes to spare! Congrats!

Having just heard that one of my recent Kickstarter investments, CicLAvia, has been funded, a new project has conveniently crossed my path and if you’re into it too, you’ve got a few days left to chip in a few bucks.

State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) is a public media show that seeks to unify its audience by telling the stories of real people through an innovative exploration of a city, detailing how things come together and what pulls them apart. Each radio episode, host Al Letson travels to a different American city or town and explores how community is created. Who are the people who help bring it together? What are the issues they face? How does the culture of an area shape the people and vice versa? Through a unique mix of storytelling, cultural excavation, music and multimedia, SOTRU brings community to life. — Read more | website | Facebook | Twitter.

Kickstarter is a groundbreaking concept in microdonations and in awesome website and community. You pledge to donate the amount you choose — with great incentive rewards for various dollar amounts — and the money is taken via your Amazon.com account only if the fundraising goal is met.

State of the Re:Union is closing in on 50% funded with only 4 days remaining (after a month on the site) so let’s give it a boost by August 21st!

Continue reading “New Kickstarter Call-Out: State of the Re:Union”

10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World

This post was written by Rob Reed. He is the founder of MomentFeed, a location-based marketing, strategy, and technology firm.

Location technologies are transforming how we experience, navigate, and ultimately better our world. From the global to the local, here are #10Ways geolocation is a positive force for good.

Social media has changed the world. It has revolutionized communications on a global scale, and the transformation continues with every status update, blog post, and video stream. The global citizenry has become a global network.

Since becoming widely adopted just a couple years ago, social media has supercharged social action, cause marketing, and social entrepreneurship. Indeed, the true value hasn’t been the technology itself but how we’ve used it. Today, a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for change over the coming decade.

Mobile technologies will extend the global online network to anyone with a mobile device while enabling countless local networks to form in the real world. We’ve decentralized media production and distribution. We’re doing the same for energy. And we’ll continue this trend for social networking, social action, and commerce.

The combined forces of smartphones, mobile broadband, and location-aware applications will connect us in more meaningful ways to the people, organizations, events, information, and companies that matter most to us—namely, those within a physical proximity of where we live and where we are. Can location-based services (LBS) change the world? Here are #10Ways:

1. Checking in for Good: If Gowalla and Foursquare have taught us anything, it’s that people respond to simple incentives. By offering badges, mayorships, and other intangible rewards, millions of people are checking in to the places they go. Apps like Whrrl take this a step further and enable like-minded “societies” to form on a local basis. The next step is for these apps to add greater purpose by encouraging more meaningful checkins and offering corresponding badges and stamps, thus mapping the cause universe. Or for a dedicated app to be developed that rewards conscious consumption, social responsibility, and civic engagement. Yes, the CauseWorld app features a cause element, but it’s not about cause-worthy places.

Continue reading “10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World”

The Sprint HTC Evo 4G: Fun Toy; Great Distraction; Much Too Big

htc evo spring 4G android phone mobile cellphoneI was thinking about trying the HTC Evo — Sprint’s latest offering which was rumored to rival iPhone. And I’ve never had iPhone nor do I care much for the platform (not to mention the principle of needing to plug something in to iTunes). So I walked into the Sprint store on June 5th and heard about the Sprint Free Guarantee. 30 days. Try it out. You don’t like – you get everything refunded (new Sprint customers only). We’ll see if this is actually the case – I still have about ten days left to play with this toy — and it really is a toy.

I still have two devices (a Blackberry and a Sierra Wireless Laptop Connect 3G USB card) on AT&T that I would add up to about $200 in ETFs so it’s just not practical to switch. Not for the Evo. The Evo is less than perfect.

1) It is too big to function as a phone. I feel like I’m walking around with a mini-iPad and STILL

2) I can’t type as effectively with a virtual keyboard as I can with the Blackberry Bold’s physical QWERTY.

3) The battery life is unconscionable. Completely unacceptable and unheard of. This is simply not a portable device — it must always be plugged in or on its way to being plugged in. A two battery approach MIGHT get you through the entire day with minimal internet and app use. NOTE: The software update pushed out this week has improved battery life quite a bit (relatively speaking). I was lucky to download it OTA before it was halted.

Continue reading “The Sprint HTC Evo 4G: Fun Toy; Great Distraction; Much Too Big”

Will All Major U.S. Cities be Connected by High Speed Rail by 2050?

It’s possible, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) calling for a New Deal-like public works juggernaut that would eventually connect all major cities located within 100 and 500 miles of each other.

Here in Los Angeles, we’d be happy to see our long-promised subway to the sea come to fruition (it’s still due this year). Check out the U.S. PIRG report below:


The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High-Speed Rail System for America

Update on My Failing Echo Park Hillside

I immediately fell in love with Avon Street when I first ventured to check out the house that I would eventually move into four years ago. The gradual ascent up Echo Park Avenue excited me — I knew I was heading deeper into an urban canyon, 3 miles from downtown, but surrounded by wildlife and Elysian Park. But once I took the right turn onto Ewing and inevitably downshifted to make it around the broken-up corner to Avon, where it keeps going up on a steep angle before arriving at my house, I knew I had found my shangri-la. You know, for a broke grad school student this was clearly paradise.

The surroundings reminded me of lush hillside villages I had visited in the foothills of the Andes Mountains of Peru and Ecuador. Houses and guesthouses were impossibly built into hillsides that — without a car, or at least a horse — seem more or less uninhabitable for any non-self-sustaining non-hermit.

Rockslide onto Avon st near Baxter near my house in echo parkEven the streets — not only are they broken up here, but these are exactly the kind of two-way roads you see in the third world. These are arguably two-lane roads WITHOUT one side being filled with parked cars, which it always is. And you just have to assume that everyone follows the unwritten rule of travelling South to North on the 2000 block of Avon because come hill or corkscrew turn at Baxter, you’re not going to see an oncoming car until it’s in your lap.

So is this hillside coming down? Compare the photo above to this one taken the morning after some rocks came down. Small trees are sticking out into the road mid-tumble. To compare, check out the Google Streetview image of this spot:

View Larger Map

Will the city need to shut down this block of Avon completely in order to do any construction or repairs should things get worse? And what of these rumors of a new landowner of the impossible strip of property on the steep hill wanting to build directly on top of this unstable mess? And a pool too?!?

Always keeping it interesting up here…