Uber starts releasing transit data to cities

Following a conflict with New York City over its ride data, Uber has begun giving some of its transit information to Boston in a pilot program. It’s using ZIP codes as the basis for the place-based information, and it’s anonymizing some of the details to protect riders and passengers.

In a blog post, Uber suggested that Boston would serve as a trial for the program before the company expands it to other cities. Uber isn’t handing over any pricing details, but it is giving cities information on every ride’s drop off and pick up ZIP codes, the time of day each occurred, distance and time of each trip, and “technical support” for combing through the data.

As Gigaom’s Derrick Harris noted in a previous post on the company’s data strategy, “Uber certainly appears to see data as an important arrow in its quiver as it fights for legitimacy in cities around the world.” In the past it has hand-selected which data sets to release, publishing a blog post to prove it wasn’t discriminating against low-income riders in Chicago and months later publishing information to argue that Boston should extend its public transit hours.

However, this is the first time the company has agreed to give ongoing data information on key topics to a city government.

New York will be glad to hear it given that its Taxi & Limousine Tribunal recently suspended five out of six Uber bases for not handing over trip data. Uber is still in negotiations with NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission over it. Local governments want the information because it helps them plan everything from public transit routes to traffic patterns to emergency response protocols. It also allows regulators to ensure that transportation companies aren’t discriminating against people in certain neighborhoods.

Until now, Uber had resisted giving its data away, citing concerns about trade secrets. Trade secrets could mean a lot of things, but as some have pointed out, Uber was probably worried, in part, about local governments using Uber data to help taxis work more efficiently.

iPhone OS 4.0: Details, Details, Details

I’m downloading iPhone OS 4.0 right now, and the reason that I’m doing so isn’t the big multitasking feature, which grabbed a lot of attention but won’t actually be implemented until devs start including the features in their apps. I’m doing it for the little things.

Microsoft Courier Shaping Up as a Truly Novel iPad Competitor

It may be a little early to say this, but to me it seems like Microsoft (s msft) took all the disappointment and fear resulting from Apple’s (s aapl) dominance of the mobile devices category over its own products through the years and used that energy to create the Courier. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen another company’s product and thought “That seems like something Apple would’ve made.”

Engadget posted more details about the device late last week, including two lengthy HD interface videos. Microsoft isn’t yet officially saying anything about whether or not this will become a production device, but Engadget seems very confident in its sources, and I’d be inclined to believe them since it seems more than likely Redmond is taking a page out of Apple’s marketing playbook by keeping things somewhat hush-hush but using “leaks” to steal focus. Read More about Microsoft Courier Shaping Up as a Truly Novel iPad Competitor

What Every Client Needs

All clients are different, but there are some things you can count on every client needing from you as a freelance contractor. Some may be obvious, but others might not be so apparent, and having them in place could save you a lot of both embarrassment and money.

In this post, I’m going to list the standard things I provide every client. If any of these elements are missing, I find that someone walks away dissatisfied, be it the client or me. When present, they seem to allow things to progress fairly smoothly, although, as we all know, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Read More about What Every Client Needs

Skype for iPhone Gets Official, Details Revealed

skype1

Last week we got news via our very own sister site, GigaOM, that Skype would finally being releasing their own official app for the iPhone and iPod touch, and that the release date was imminent.

Skype has since officially confirmed the upcoming free app, releasing a slew of screenshots which were published over the weekend by SkypeJournal.com, among others. App usability and technical details were also made known, so we pretty much know exactly what we’re getting when the app drops tomorrow at CTIA ’09.
First of all, in case you were hoping to circumvent your carrier’s talk time rates by using Skype over your 3G connection, you will be unable. Honestly, that’s not really a surprise, but I suppose there was no harm in hoping. Like any other VOIP application currently available, you’ll have to have an active Wi-Fi connection to place voice calls with Skype. Read More about Skype for iPhone Gets Official, Details Revealed

Apple iPhone 3.0 Event: A Grab Bag of Much-Needed Additions

iphone_301Today was Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone 3.0 Software event, and iPhone users will now have to think up a bunch of other things to moan about in its wake. Among the laundry list of over 100 new feature additions are some of the most frequently talked about omissions, including Cut, Copy & Paste, MMS, landscape keyboard support for all main Apple applications, and push notification for third-party apps.

New iPhone SDK

But that’s just a taste of what was revealed at Cupertino today. Developers will probably be a very happy crowd, since the new developer’s SDK gives them access to over 1,000 new APIs. Read More about Apple iPhone 3.0 Event: A Grab Bag of Much-Needed Additions