Must read report on NYC's Urban Future.

Must read report on NYC's Urban Future.

ReinventPhones Demo day was sold out, so the team watched via  

Looking at the livestreaming counter, there were several hundred people watching remotely.

Once again, NYC is blazing the trail! Reminiscent of the ground-breaking polihack last year when DoITT used a wiki to get feedback on its landmark Open Data Policy, the City doesn't hesitate to use unconventional digital means to reach out to the City and beyond.

And the winning submissions are amazing!  The geek in me loves the sensory capabilities of Windchimes, but the aspiring designer in me (some of Ecco ID's design sensibilities rubbed off) love Beacon's polish.

We can't wait to see NYC's Reinvented Payphone!

AuthorJoel Natividad

I've only been in New York for a brief period of time, but what's impressed me about this city is its willingness to try new things.

These changes may provoke debate and objections on things like soda and now styrofoam but you cannot accuse it of not trying.

We at Ontodia have been direct beneficiaries of such efforts to try new things in the realm of city data and technology -- NYCBigApps, the Open Data Law, the NYU-Poly Incubator and even CUSP.

We're very excited to participate in one of the newer challenges to come from this spirit of trying new things, the Reinvent Payphones challenge. 

AuthorMiguel Javier

Ordered some more urbanist books - "Triumph of the City", "Wrestling with Moses" and "Urban Planning for Dummies." ;)

Decided to try out Amazon Locker and found one on my evening walk home.  Had it delivered to "Gantin" on 666 Greenwich Street.

I must say it was a painless, idiot-proof experience.

Maybe in a future version, Amazon can make its smartphone app smarter and you just need to bump your phone to claim your stuff ;)

AuthorJoel Natividad
CategoriesDesign, Gadgets

Inclusive Design Guidelines.

Of all the panelists during the Info Session, Robert Piccolo - deputy commissioner of the Mayor's Office for Persons with Disabilities, was the most vocal.

Not in a bad way, but it was clear that he was passionate about making sure that entrants consider accessibility when they create their ideas.

So when the panel ended, I made it a point to have a brief chat with him because he did say that he can provide copies of "Inclusive Design Guidelines", of which, he was the Editor-in-Chief.

And it was a really brief chat.  There was a queue, so I only managed to give him my card and exchanged some quick pleasantries.

I made a mental note to myself to reach out to him the following week to ask for a softcopy of the IDG.   Sure enough, I misplaced the bizcard and was just googling him up when Jess at the Incubator flopped down this Manila envelope on our desk.

Hhhmmm.... we were not expecting any packages.  What could this be?

And what do you know!  Robert sent us a printed edition of the IDG!  It had all kinds of useful info that the Ecco Design team can put to good use.  I dropped it off at the Ecco Design office this morning on the bike commute in...

AuthorJoel Natividad

This project is our brainchild.  And as proud new parents, we've been looking for an appellation to call our creation.

But instead of baby naming sites, we were going through thesauri, dictionaries, and domain-name registration sites to come up with a name.

And after today's session, the team has agreed on what Sara and I came up with - NYCDatawell.

It works on so many levels - our design echoes the outlines of an oil well ("Data is the New Oil!"), or as a water well ("River of Data"), as a verb - "to rise to the surface", or as an adverb - "I'm well, thank you!"

And of course, having the domain name available also helps :)

AuthorHarry Lees

An SRO crowd at the FDNY auditorium. The team sat all the way in the back taking in the scene and took copious notes.
It seems a lot of people had some of the same early ideas we explored.

Before parting ways, Johnnathan shares that he just thought of a new form factor...


AuthorSara D
CategoriesBusiness, Event

It was our seventh wedding anniversary the other day so I promised my wife I’ll come up for air and celebrate in style.

As luck would have it, New York Restaurant Week was underway so I could impress my wife with my discerning, epicurean (on a start-up budget) choice – Inakaya.

Truth be told, it was the only Restaurant Week participant across the street from Port Authority that served Japanese.  My wife doesnt like to walk far in heels and we normally park at Port Authority Garage when we drive in from NJ.

So it took me all of two minutes to pick Inakaya.

But being an Open Data geek, and having given our two cents to the  Open Health Inspection Specification that NYC is already testing on its Open Data Portal (thanks to Andrew Nicklin, NYC’s “Open Data Tzar”), I then took the time to literally check out the “dirt” on Inakaya beyond its A rating.

Here’s what I found:

  • Last inspection: 05/19/2012
  • Score: 95, up from a low of 87 in 2011.
  • Health Violations: 1 in 2012 (“Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution”), 15 in 2011(!), and one in 2010 and 2009.

Hhhmmm… it seems that Inakaya had some problems 2011 but is now in deserving of its A rating (89% percentile).  Anyway, the proof in the sushi is in the eating, so I made the reservation.

As luck would have it, even on a busy Friday night, we were seated at the best seats in the house – right smack in the middle of the robata grill facing the chanting chefs 

Very confident that Inakaya was the right choice, I then regaled my wife about all the stats.  This had the desired effect as she excused herself to go to the powder room.  Whereupon I discreetly ordered from the special (as in budget) Restaurant Week menu while she was away.

The verdict – mechauma!   It was a very happy anniversary indeed – thanks to some luck and Open Data!


So what about the Mochi?  Well, Inakaya has a mochitsuki (mochi-pounding) ceremony every night – a Japanese tradition normally reserved for the New Year.  Everyone fortunate enough to be present when they finish one get complimentary mochi desserts.  Delish!

NOTE: Cross-posted from

AuthorJoel Natividad