11/02/16 3:40pm
Maybe you should ask the businesses before you give away their wifi passwords. via screenshot

Maybe you should ask the businesses before you give away their wifi passwords. via screenshot

One of the singular phenomena of the modern age has been the exponential growth of the freelance workforce. Over the past decade they’ve come to command the vote, dominate the cultural narrative, and are now having a bigger effect on the city’s physical landscape than ever. Art studios are losing their spaces to co-working complexes as the sliver of NYC’s work-from-home professional pie grows ever larger. Coffee shops are becoming library-like spaces full of glowing Macs. And now, there’s even a new app called Workfrom that’ll show you “the best places in the city” where you can work remotely. Oh, and it also gives you all their wifi passwords.

Workfrom is a directory of coffee shops, co-working spaces, public library branches and the occasional Whole Foods. The directory includes places like the Greene Grape Annex in Fort Greene which, as you may know, doesn’t exactly like you treating them as your personal workspace. No coffee shop does, frankly, nor should they.

It only takes talking to a barista or two in order to understand why BK coffee shops don’t want to be filled with tappity-tapping freelancers all day long. Some shops — including Greene Grape Annex — have even started to limit their wifi access so they can at least enjoy business turnover, if not genuine human interaction in their establishment.

When we first made our exhaustive list of BK co-working spaces, we never thought coffee shop culture would land here, quiet rooms of hushed voices and “what’s the wifi” customers. Workfrom caters to these very customers. The app, which launched last week on Itunes and Google Play, goes beyond basic coffee shop campout etiquette into territory that feels like an affront to the already volatile state of New York’s dwindling café culture. (more…)

10/05/16 10:05am
Thanks to this app, you won't spend hours trying to find the memorial day BBQ. via screenshot

Thanks to this app, you won’t spend hours trying to find the memorial day BBQ. via screenshot

This is 2016, so of course there’s now an app specifically for enjoying a public park. The Prospect Park Alliance has just released its free “Prospect Park” in the App Store to help folks explore, understand and appreciate the park.

Staring at your phone while you walk doesn’t exactly like the best way to appreciate, or stay safe in, a public park. But the app functions mostly as a map, and if you’ve ever tried to meet up with friends in Prospect Park, you know that a detailed schema of the park can be surprisingly necessary. Plus, it’s way more comprehensive than Google or Apple maps, so you can actually look for the “Fallkill Falls and Pool” instead of “that one place with the trees near the water?” (more…)

04/29/16 3:10pm
How I watched a Brooklyn start-up sellout: The downfall of MakerBot as seen from the inside

The author in front of one of the locations of the MakerBot store — which all closed. Photo via Isaac Anderson.

Once upon a time, MakerBot Industries was the darling of the Brooklyn start-up world. I’d know, because I worked there.

The company this week announced its productions are being outsourced to China, so it’s come a long way from a hackerspace in Boerum Hill. But let’s start at the beginning: MakerBot was the brainchild of a few 3D printing enthusiasts and unabashed nerds who wanted to contribute to an open-source hardware community founded by an eccentric British professor enamored with the prospect of self-replicating machines. It turned out a lot of folks wanted to get their hands on a thing that made things, and it also turned out that the community that made the original MakerBot possible greatly facilitated MakerBot’s rapid expansion, offering useful feedback and oftentimes original design work that was ultimately integrated into the company’s core product.

For a while, MakerBot was equally generous in giving back to this community. They embraced the spirit of openness and freely shared their ongoing improvements to the public. Demand skyrocketed for a product that was improving in real time, so it made sense to double down on Brooklyn, and MakerBot built a full-blown factory for its products in Sunset Park. It was whimsical! The impossible was possible! In the early days, nearly everyone built printers as a rite of passage. They learned the machines inside and out and became ideal candidates for promotion through the ranks to engineering, repair, customer support, and sales roles. In an emphatically post-industrial city in an outsourced 21st-century world, MakerBot fearlessly bucked the trend by building physical things locally, hiring from within, and committing to the mantra that sharing was caring. It was hard not to like them; their fan base ranged from the obvious, like geeks to geeks who like open-source stuff, to hipster geeks, to, uh, local artists previously involved in Occupy Wall Street? Whatever it was they were doing, it was working. Neither MakerBot nor their affable CEO could do any wrong… until they did.

Everyone thinks riding the start-up wave is the ticket to noble success, a mix of idealistic principles and the cutting edge profitability of the new economy. But sometimes that wave crashes, and this is one of those stories.   (more…)

06/17/15 1:34pm

Because you know what needs more attention in our daily lives? Our phones. Image via Flickr user Chrisphoto

Summer is upon us, so we all have to get prepared for being outside for long periods of time. Rooftop parties, urban exploration, whatever you have on your agenda this summer, you need to get equipped. For the next couple of months you will need to have your phone fully charged to take on any kind of obstacle or situation you may find yourself in this summer. We’re confident you have app that points you free condoms; and we are sure you have a backup plan when you don’t want to feel old by staying in and watching PBS instead.of going out and being cool. But it’s not enough. Thankfully for you, we have eight free apps to download right now to help you survive Brooklyn this summer.  (more…)

06/01/15 3:12pm
Using this space to say you s should really be listening to the new season of the Start Up Podcast. Image via Facebook

You should really be listening to the StartUp Podcast. Photo taken by Charlotte Christophervia Facebook

Suck it Silicon Valley! (The place, not the TV show) Brooklyn has the highest percentage of tech start ups with female heads in the country. According to a recent analysis done by Crunchbase, the national average for start up tech companies with at least one female founder is 15%, Brooklyn on it’s own is thirteen points higher at 28%. (more…)

01/09/15 1:13pm
Finally, have good times like this on your schedule and not the bar's schedule

Finally, have good times like this on your schedule and not the bar’s schedule

Happy hour, we all love happy hour because it means cheap booze. And what is life without cheap booze? Honestly a horrible nightmare that shouldn’t even be contemplated, so we’ll just stop doing that. Sometimes though, you have the kind of schedule that keeps you away from bars around those magic three or four hours where the prices are shaved the booze flows extra fast. A bunch of enterprising young people have heard your cries though and have made a new app, Happy, that gets you an hour of happy hour-priced drinks when it’s convenient for you. Either that’s the best part, or the fact that it’s free is the best part, we’re not sure. (more…)

10/16/14 3:35pm
That guy on the end must be from Brooklyn, not expecting WiFi or anything. (via imgur)

That guy on the end must be from Brooklyn, not expecting WiFi or anything special. (via imgur)

Today, Governor Cuomo introduced Phase II of his world yogurt domination scheme Transit Wireless Wifi plan, a seven-part process to equip all 277 underground subway stations with WiFi by 2017.

Starting today and through November, 40 more stations will be wired for  subway WiFi service. 11 of these stations are in Manhattan (including 42 Street Bryant Park, 34 Street Herald Square and Grand Central 42 Street) and 29 will be in Queens (including Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue Station, Jamaica Center Station and Court Square Station). (more…)

07/11/14 8:00am
Got a lot of work to do; gonna need some more Mountain Meow Code Red.

Got a lot of work to do; gonna need some more Mountain Meow Code Red.

If we know anything about the future, it’s that it will be inherited by those who know how to code, and that people will forever love looking at cats on a computer. You get to combine the two next week at a free coding workshop at NYU: the Kitten Coding Club on July 15 will be an introductory coding class, and it’s all based around the theme of cats.

The cats “are adorable and already an intrinsic part of the internet,” founder Ieva Urbaite tells us. “They set the tone for our fun, accessible, and supportive group. Every project will involve lots of adorable cat pictures while teaching solid coding skills.” No experience necessary; just bring a laptop, and at least a functional tolerance for cats. (more…)

03/13/14 11:02am
wolf of wall street

Will you end up like this guy? (SPOILER ALERT: No)

The stock market: America’s ever-expanding and completely infallible engine of wealth. You might think that it’s exclusively the province of rich guys in suits, but like art, that’s apparently not the case. A new app, Acorns, is offering to round up every debit card purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invest this “change” in the stock market. Our strategy is saving all of our change and spending it on the year’s Glug harvest, but hey, if you want to get poor another way, have at it! (more…)

09/09/13 10:50am
Guaranteed to work better than just shouting "Jesus Herman Christ look at the size of that pothole!" via Flickr user Tom Chance

Guaranteed to work better than just shouting “Jesus Herman Christ look at the size of that pothole!” via Flickr user Tom Chance

Introverts are very in right now, for whatever reason. We get it, reporters of America, you listened to “Ask” a few too many times and decided to do some pitches based around it as a joke. But, here we are, lionizing the complete inability to enjoy human contact, so we may as well ride it out. So for introverts, and for people who like making snap judgements without thinking of things, the city has a present for you: a new 311 app, for both Android and iPhone spacephones, that allows you to report things to 311 without ever talking to another human being. (more…)