NY Tech MeetUp Showcases Some Useful New Technology, Some Not

NY Tech MeetUp is a monthly event for the technology community in New York that allows emerging companies to demo their new ideas in front of a large audience of like-minded techies. It's a safe place for these tech geeks, but it's open to outsiders like us, too. We went last June as well, took July to recover, and came back full force last night to see what the best of "Silicon Alley" (get it?!) has to offer. Some things were awesome, some were just over our head -- but nonetheless, here's the latest! Broken down into layman's terms, of course.

Foursquare Variations
Foursquare, in case you were wondering, is a location-based social networking website and software for mobile devices. Users "check-in" at venues using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application. They are then awarded points and sometimes "badges" for going to the same place repeatedly. Now other people are taking that same idea and applying it to more specified niches.

  • Eventros: This iPhone/Android application connects you with other people in the room at professional events. It's basically an event-based foursquare, as opposed to location-based, and it's more focused on the people attending than the location. Once you meet someone at an event, you can write a note about them in your personal event database. Just make sure you write something nice; the feature emails your note to that person once the event is over!

  • Philo: Now you and your friends can have TV show viewing parties without ever having to meet up! Like foursquare, you "check in" to the show you're watching, and can then comment in a tweet-like format with other people watching television "with" you. You can also unlock "badges" for checking in and commenting -- such as the "Jesus Badge" for saying "OMG" in a comment -- and, for a limited time, if you're into the Real Housewives of New Jersey, the site donates 1 cent to the SAVE TERESA fund. Social Networking and charity at its best!

Since the invention of Napster in 1999, people have been embracing the use of digital music file sharing, but it was mostly music that had already been produced. Here's how that's changing.

  • Indaba: This would be seriously rad if you play music. Indaba is an online community of musicians that allows them a platform to make music together via the web. It features a collaborative Garage Band-like recording system, which means you and your online music partner can create, price, and sell your music collabs on Myspace Connect.

Online shopping is constantly revolutionizing itself to make it cleaner, more accessible, and community-based. These two start-ups do just that.

  • Market Publique: What Etsy was for DIY: Market Publique is a website for vintage clothing vendors to sell their goods all in one place. Vendors go through an extensive process with the site's executive board to make sure the clothes are legit, and are offered better, uniform technology to photograph and showcase their pieces in a more appealing manner than a personal website. MP takes 5% commission, but the aggregated traffic couldn't hurt.

  • Turnto: This connects online shopping to social networks and allows a uniform review system for products you purchase on the web with people you know. Seems better than trusting the review of "HeartBieber4Eva" on that couch we've been eyeing on Target.com.

Still Trying To Understand This
Every once and a while at these things, something comes out of the blue that will probably never be useful to the average person, but some big business might go gaga for it.

  • Twilio: Twilio does a lot of things, apparently. The presenter went up there, typed some code, everyone cheered, and then got everyone to call this phone number that magically appeared on the screen, and we were all magically on a conference call of sorts. Then we hung up, and he got the system to call all of us back. He called it an "open source phone system for businesses"...Wha? Where's the Twitter for TV?

Toys for Rich People
This is the first time we've seen something like this at NY Tech MeetUp. It's usually a bunch of code nerds with an good, earnest idea, but this took it to a whole new level in terms of machinery and engineering.

  • Texai: Literally, a mobile Skype on wheels that allows you to see and navigate around a room half way across the country. It basically looks like a Segway with a TV screen on the head. It's a robotic communications platform, and we so wish we had one.

Actually Really, Really Useful
Seriously! This will change your life.

  • New Bing Apps: We've always questioned what the big difference was between Google and Bing. When you put "Bristol Palin Levi Johnston Sex Tape" in to the searches, for example, they usually come up with the same results. But the applications are what sets Bing apart from your average search engine. Last night, they showcased some new ones using their Maps feature. There is now a parking finder, and internal floor plans of select buildings -- wouldn't that be nice for the maze of pots that is the Met? New York's internal floor plan system is still developing, and you can't get directions inside yet, just where the walls and stairs are, but it's coming our way soon. The map also documents Foursquare check-ins (if you're into that), and calculates cab fare.

These events are always fun for us -- finding new ways to distract ourselves on the Internet is always a plus. SAVE TERESA.

NY Tech MeetUp Showcases Some Useful New Technology, Some Not

[Annie Werner | on Twitter]

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