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Posts Tagged ‘cellphones’

My vision for Metro: Expansion

Part 1: Buses Part 2: Marketing itself One of the things that new Metro Chair Carrin Patman has been talking about is a regional transportation plan, to get everyone – including cities and counties not currently involved with Metro – to agree on what transit is and how we best go about doing it in […]

Metro smartphone payment system debuts

Progress marches onward. Metro riders will be able to board a bus or train without a fare card or cash within a few days, just in time for some of the transit agency’s heaviest use during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials on Wednesday said they had completed testing and preparation […]

New parking meters coming

No more paper receipts to clutter up your dashboard. Some things about street parking in downtown Houston are unlikely to change: It will always require a keen eye for available spots and the courage and skill to wedge your car between large trucks. A paper receipt, however, is becoming unnecessary as the city replaces its […]

Metro and HCTRA exploring other payment options

Look for them soon. Many transit riders are clamoring for smartphone payment for Metro buses and trains, which the agency originally announced would be ready by the end of 2015. Those plans have been delayed because of contract negotiations, but about 100 riders will be chosen for a test of a smartphone-based payment system in […]

Want to help Metro test a mobile ticketing app?

Here’s what you need to know. METRO is launching a new mobile ticketing application for smart phones, and we are looking for volunteers to help us test the app before it is released to the public. By volunteering to be a beta tester, we ask that you agree to the following: 1) Actively participate in […]

An app to help the homeless

This is a great idea. A shower. A meal. A place to sleep. Those basic needs come to mind when most think of the homeless. Our Calling, a Dallas nonprofit, has given the homeless an iPhone app. The faith-based nonprofit is using technology to help people who live under bridges, near crack houses and in […]

On cellphones and school zones

I guess I need to talk about this. Six years ago, state lawmakers hoping to protect students banned drivers from texting and talking on hand-held cellphones in school zones. The ban, however, has never been enforced in Houston. City and school district officials have opted not to install the warning signs needed to issue tickets, […]

Metro and your smartphone

Nice. As Metropolitan Transit Authority officials planned for the new system – which will affect practically every bus ride in the region – they have also focused on offering new services. One of those, a system that allows bus riders to text a code listed at each bus stop and receive a reply with the […]

You have the right to a phone call

But it won’t help you much if you don’t know what number to call. [Harris County Sheriff’s] Deputies on Wednesday outlined a pilot program they hope will help lower the jail population by letting detainees copy five numbers out of their phone before it is sealed in a bag with the rest of their valuables. […]

There’s an app for birth control

I’m sure this won’t controversial at all. “Isn’t there an app for that?” Turns out there is, if what you’re after is birth control or a test for a sexually transmitted infection. In the latest example of fast-growing “telemedicine,” video conferencing that virtually extends medical expertise, Planned Parenthood is rolling out a pilot project for […]

911 to text is here

As expected. Text-to-911 service is available now in Harris and Fort Bend counties for Verizon and T-Mobile wireless customers. “This is not to be used just because people like to text, but when people cannot make a voice call,” said Sonya Clauson, spokeswoman for the Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network. The service for Verizon […]

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 […]