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Posts Tagged ‘cellphones’

Text to 911 option coming locally

Ever wonder why you can’t text 911? Well, in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, you will soon be able to. By the end of the year, millions of Houston-area residents are expected to have a silent alternative: the Text-to-911 option for emergencies. Despite the popularity of messaging, the service hasn’t been available in most of […]

San Antonio will take its time on Uber and Lyft

As was the case in Houston, San Antonio City Council is in no rush to take action on updating their vehicles for hire ordinances to deal with Uber and Lyft. After an emotional and colorful Citizens to be Heard session, the City Council Public Safety Committee unanimously agreed to hold-off on sending a staff-recommended ordinance […]

There’s an app for alternate mobility in Houston

This makes a lot of sense. Technology companies might soon upend Houston’s paid ride market, but they’re already adding new options for getting around the region. Local groups and software developers are tapping into Houston’s sophisticated traffic management system to offer solutions beyond heading onto the freeway. The hope is that better information will help […]

Here comes the 346

We’re getting another area code. Starting July 1, Houston area residents might see phone numbers that begin with 346, when a new area code comes to town. The Public Utility Commission of Texas last year announced a new area code was being added and this week cell phone companies are texting their customers as a […]

Texting 911

This is clearly the way of the future, though I admit that I myself would be a bit leery of using it right now. With eight of 10 Americans using their cellphones to send or receive text messages, some emergency response centers are updating their technology. Among them are centers in 12 Texas counties, hoping […]

Yik Yak

News flash: A new app that enables the posting of anonymous unfiltered thoughts can cause headaches for school administrators. Film at 11. A recent bomb threat alerted many Memorial High School parents and administrators to something that many Houston-area students already knew about: Yik Yak, a smartphone app that functions as a kind of cyber-bathroom […]

Metro to make real time bus info available

Good news from Metro: METRO’s partnership with Google is getting real – as in offering real-time bus info. To sweeten the ‘real’ deal, METRO will also be providing Google with detour alerts as well. “We are focused on improving the customer experience,” said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “Not only will our customers know when […]

Calculator apps

This seems reasonable to me. Despite concerns about test security, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Thursday that he would allow some students to use calculator “apps” on state exams next school year. Under current rules students may use only traditional calculators. But with more districts giving students iPads or other tablets, some school officials […]

There will be an app for your auto insurance

Do you frequently forget to put your proof of insurance in your car and/or your wallet? The Lege has provided a solution for you. Thanks to a law passed during the 83rd legislative session, motorists will be able to pull up proof of insurance on their phones to show officers. Lawmakers and insurance industry professionals […]

Parking Panda

Interesting Parking Panda, an online parking reservation system, launches Tuesday in Houston and Dallas. The site’s already up and running, taking reservations for lots around many area venues, including Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center. The concept is pretty simple: Go online, find the parking lot you want, based on price and […]

Uber

Mark me in favor of this. A smartphone app could be the subject of the year’s most spirited regulatory battle at City Hall, as lobbyists line up for a fight that pits taxicab companies against a car-service technology company called Uber. The firm’s entry into more than 20 U.S. cities has sparked lawsuits and cease-and-desist […]

First Hackathon project released

Cool. Budget Bootcamp, a new city website application that provides easy access to city budget information, is the first Houston Hackathon project to become reality.  Budget Bootcamp is hosted on the Finance Department’s website and provides citizens an educational walkthrough of the City’s budget data – both for the recently adopted Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, as well […]

Hello, Motorola

Welcome to Texas. Cellphone pioneer Motorola announced Wednesday that it’s opening a Texas manufacturing facility that will create 2,000 jobs and produce its new flagship device, Moto X, the first smartphone ever assembled in the U.S. The company has already begun hiring for the Fort Worth plant. The site was most recently unoccupied but was […]

Now there will be an app for your auto insurance

Good. Legislation allowing Texas drivers to prove their insurance coverage with a wireless communications device is on its way to the governor after winning final approval from the Senate on Thursday. The measure by Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, would bring Texas in line with six other states that already enable drivers to prove insurance coverage […]

The updated TRIP app is here

This came in last week: If you’ve got a smart phone, we’ve just made riding our buses or trains a lot easier. Today, we officially launched the METRO T.R.I.P. app – a tool that retrieves our schedule information, predicts real-time arrival of buses and helps you plan your trip on our system. T.R.I.P. stands for”transit […]

The Houston Hackathon

From the Mayor’s office: Houston Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston will host a 24-hour “Open Innovation Hackathon” on May 17-18 at the Houston Technology Center and at Start Houston. A hackathon is a day-long event in which software developers, designers, and data analysts collaborate intensively on data and software projects. Over […]

Check this out

Scan while you shop, and other technological advances to get you checked out faster. In February, San Antonio-based H-E-B invited customers to try out a new scanning “tunnel” for the first time at its McCreless Market location on South New Braunfels Avenue. The company spent about three years developing the so-called Fast Scan technology, which […]

Online voter registration bills advance

Some good news. House Bill 313, which received praise from committee members in a Monday hearing, and Senate Bill 315, which was voted out of committee Thursday, propose allowing voters to register online and have that application automatically authenticated rather than having to wait on local election officials to reenter the data in their systems […]

There oughta be an app for your auto insurance

This is a no-brainer. Digging through a cluttered glove compartment to find proof of insurance while a police officer waits may soon be an antiquated frustration in Texas. Lawmakers are considering bills that would allow drivers in the state to prove financial responsibility using a paperless method — their smartphones. Multiple versions of the bill […]

TEC approves texting campaign contributions

From Jerad Najvar: After brief discussion and comments by Jerad Najvar, attorney for Harris County Republicans, the TEC voted unanimously to approve a draft opinion permitting Texas political committees to accept contributions by text message. APPROVED OPINION HERE (the first page is a diagram of each method) The request proposed two methods for processing text […]

The 311 app is here

I’ve been waiting for this. The brand-new Houston 311 app will allow residents to file a complaint and then track its progress. The program officially goes live Tuesday, city officials said. Here’s how the 311 app works, city spokesman Chris Newport said: “Say you see a pothole on your street. Before you even leave for […]

When will we have truly electronic voting?

When will there be an app to cast a vote in a US election? So at a time when we can see video shot by a robot on Mars, when there are cars that can drive themselves, and when we can deposit checks on our smartphones without going to a bank, why do most people […]

There’s an app for beating red lights

Do you ever get frustrated when you get stopped by a string of red lights while driving? If you’re like me, you sure do. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how (legally) fast you should be going to maximize the number of green lights you hit and minimize the reds? Well, there’s an app for […]

Texting campaign contributions

I see no reason why this should not be allowed. A Houston-based PAC is asking the Texas Ethics Commission to approve a proposal that would allow the committee to solicit text message contributions from donors in the state. The Federal Election Commission has approved a text-to-donate model for federal campaigns, but demand for the service […]

Fort Bend ISD goes BYOD

Students in the Fort Bend Independent School District may now bring their own mobile device to class to connect to the school’s WiFi and be part of the curriculum. Fort Bend ISD’s policy allows students to use electronic devices to access the WiFi network in the classroom. Before this year, the district forbade cellphone use […]

Hang up and walk

We all know that texting and other smartphone tomfoolery while driving is a bad idea. Turns out that texting while walking isn’t so safe, either. On city streets, in suburban parking lots and in shopping centers, there is usually someone strolling while talking on a phone, texting with his head down, listening to music, or […]

Pothole app

Harris County now has an app for reporting potholes and other problems. Users must download the app and set up a profile. After that, one can take a photo of the problem, point to its spot on the map or let GPS technology mark the location, label the report with a category – say, “dead […]

New frontiers in spam

Text message spam. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to be seen as a major problem. Once the scourge of e-mail providers and the Postal Service, spammers have infiltrated the last refuge of spam-free communication: cellphones. In the United States, consumers received roughly 4.5 billion spam texts last year, more than double the 2.2 […]

Mobile broadband in Texas

For your perusal. Almost half of adult Texans, about 8.9 million, use mobile broadband devices — cellphones, laptops or tablets using a cellular network — to keep the Internet a constant companion, according to a survey by Connected Nation, a nonprofit that is working to map and improve broadband use in several states. According to […]

There’s an app for binge drinking

There will be, anyway. And it’s not what you’re thinking because it’s the TABC that’s developing it. As college students from across the nation head to Texas beaches for spring break, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is already making plans to have new tools at its disposal for next year’s partiers — mobile phone apps […]

There’s an app for reporting handicapped parking space violators

In Austin, anyway. Ever see someone parked illegally and wanted to do something about it? Your chance might be coming. A new smartphone app could allow people in Austin to report illegal parking in spots reserved for people with disabilities. The City Council on Thursday will consider a resolution to link such an app to […]

McAllen ISD goes digital

Here’s a look at the future, coming to a school near you. A Rio Grande Valley school district plans to equip every one of its 25,000 students with Apple iPads, rolling ahead with a digitally enhanced curriculum effort that’s among the largest of its type in the nation. “It’s not just about a device; it’s […]

There’s an app for finding a bus

Good news. Imagine this: You are walking around the Galleria and want to go to Discovery Green for a concert. But you’re not sure what bus to take. In a few months, you’ll be able use your smart phone to find METRO bus stops, schedules, and eventually real-time, next-bus arrivals. The free app is expected […]

Self service checkout at supermarkets

This AP story about supermarkets scaling back on self service checkout aisles, which was recently in the Chron business section, has been making the rounds in the progressive blogs. Market studies cited by the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute found only 16 percent of supermarket transactions in 2010 were done at self-checkout lanes in stores […]