Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

Waze for Public Transportation Commutes

Photo via Tech Crunch

I’m a big fan of Waze – especially when it takes me behind a grocery store then through an alley and back onto a side street – and it’s no surprise that the transportation time-saver was bought by Google for $1.1 billion. Perhaps fellow Israel-based traffic app Moovit is next.

Moovit focuses specifically on public transit in more than 400 cities around the world, and uses the live data to tell you the quickest way to commute. Thanks to its constantly growing user base, it has discovered some super interesting stats. For example, don’t move to Los Angeles unless you’re okay with a two-hour-plus commute time. And, don’t expect to get anywhere fast in Rome – it has one of the longest wait times for transit. 

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|  September 29th, 2014

Luxury Transport Service Delivers You In Style

Photo via Uni Baggage

Uni Baggage is a low-cost delivery service aimed mainly at college students in the UK who are looking to ship their personal belongings from home to school with ease. Now Uni Baggage is expanding their services to include luxury transportation for “freshers” – that’s short for freshman – who want to arrive at “uni” – that’s short for university – in style.

The Very Important Fresher service includes drop off in a private jet, ultra luxury vehicle, or horse and carriage. Your belongings will arrive later in a van. It may cost you £25,000 pounds (that’s, like, $40,000 USD), but wow will you make a first impression. 

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|  September 29th, 2014

Reinvent Yourself with Switch

Image via Facebook

Ever regretted the major you chose at age 18? Feel like you’re in a career that you enjoyed at age 22 but have no interest in now? Want to get into the technology field but don’t want to go back to college and get a second degree? Check out Switch – it hopes to become the TripAdvisor of alternate education and career changes. 

Switch gathers reviews of courses, programs, and boot camps straight from the alumni themselves. Their mission? “To help people learn tech skills and switch into the careers of their dreams.” Down the line, they plan to offer scholarships and financing as well as a mentorship program. Take the eight-question quiz on their home page to see which tech career is right for you. I got Interaction Designer. Hmm… 

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|  September 1st, 2014

Get a Date via Your Photos

Image via iTunes

Location-based data, mutual likes, and photography all mix together in Looksee, a new app that’s like Tinder meets Instagram. There’s just one twist: it’s anonymous.

The only chance at revealing a user’s cover in Looksee is to “like” one of their photos. If they’ve “liked” one of your photos, the mask will be dropped and you’ll have the chance to message each other via the app as well as see a Facebook or Instagram profile. The real question is: is this a dating app or a photography app? You can’t comment on other’s photos and you can’t even see which photo the user liked. And you can search photos by location. So it’s more about making connections with people in your area based on mutual interests. Right? Sounds like a love connection to me. 

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|  August 25th, 2014

The Social Network For Parents

Image via Parenthoods

There are a lot of annoying things about social media and baby photo overload is just one of them. I’ve unfollowed a new mom on Instagram and blocked a couple first-time parents from my Facebook feed. I’ll admit it. But if you think about it from the perspective of new parents, you might see things differently. They’re lonely and stuck at home.

Two women – one a former Google and Foursquare product manager and the other a new mom – decided to make a change. The culmination of their efforts is Parenthoods, a Twitter-like app where new parents can share their day-to-day struggles, arrange local meet-ups, and even buy and sell used items. There’s even a place to ask anonymous advice – an important feature as I’ve had a new mom’s breastfeeding question to a “private” group pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. Embarrassing!

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|  August 25th, 2014

Fiverr is Flourishing for Now

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Image via Fiverr

Online service marketplace Fiverr started as a place to hire virtual help for $5. I’ll edit your photos for $5… I’ll proofread your resume for $5… I’ll cast a love spell for $5. (Really, that’s a listing.) It’s a dream for those who need online help fast, but maybe not so much for those freelancers who are only getting paid a five-spot.

The company has seen so much success that it upped it’s maximum listing price to $500 and secured $30 million in funding, according to VentureBeat. But all of the random services I browsed on the well-organized site were still at the low-low cost of $5. TaskRabbit has more sustainable hourly rates in the $15-$25 per hour range, but they only offer cleaning, handyman, personal assistant, and moving services.

Would you purchase or list services for only $5? Tweet us @WIREDInsider.

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|  August 18th, 2014

Wanna Get Away?

Image via Crumpler

By now we’re all accustomed to using high-technology to plan our travel, and we’re outfitted from here to Tuesday with fancy apps, cameras, and other gadgets to help us wring every drop of vacation from our vacations. But sometimes its the low-tech stuff that can have the most consistent impact on our journeys. For me, it always comes back to a bag.

Like other experienced travelers, you probably only pack one bag, and that bag is a carry-on. This summer Smarter Upstarter is keen on the new Vis-á-Vis Cabin from Crumpler. Long known for their excellent camera bags, Crumpler have outdone themselves with this new line of luggage, seeming to have thought of everything from built-in security mechanisms to clothes compression to handle-switching. The hard-shell “Cabin” version will fit in virtually any overhead bin with a little room left to spare, and come with a lifetime guarantee. Happy trails!

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|  August 11th, 2014

How WIRED’s Giant Creature Came to Life for Comic-Con

Image via The Scene

One of my favorite old videos as a kid was the making of “Return of the Jedi”. Seeing the sculptors, engineers, and puppeteers bring the creatures from Jabba’s lair to life somehow made the whole thing even more magical. I was thinking about those old videos this weekend when WIRED unveiled its surprise for 2014 Comic-Con: The Giant Creature.

Conceived by the same team that brought us the 2013 WIRED Comic-Con mechwarrior, this year’s Giant Creature may have been an even bigger hit. Check out this great WIRED Video series that takes you through the process of bringing this big guy to life—all the way from the first pencil sketches to the GC’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. My favorite part: watching the full body mechanics that make GC move, and realizing that these creature pro’s still use a lot of the techniques the team from Star Wars used more than 30 years ago. 

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|  August 4th, 2014

Oscar is a Dead-Simple Healthcare Startup

Image via Oscar

How about a new kind of health insurance company that’s using technology to make insurance simple, intuitive, and human? If you’ve ever spent time deciphering a health insurance bill or braved the Obamacare website, that sentence probably sounds like a distant, hopeless fantasy. It’s actually a direct quote from the homepage of Oscar, a health insurance startup that launched last fall with over $75 million in seed funding alone.

Oscar makes personal health care easier to understand by simplifying insurance to its most basic elements, then providing a website and smartphone app that let you easily track and price what kind of healthcare is available to you. Add-on bonuses include free phone calls to actual doctors, free generic prescriptions and a clever health timeline (kind of like your Facebook feed, but for medical history).

So far Oscar is only available to New York state residents, but with one of Instagram’s original investors behind it, that will likely change soon.

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|  August 4th, 2014

If Cycling’s the New Golf, Here’s Your Bag

Image via Rapha

Startup folks aren’t wild about golf. Play nine holes for fun now and again, sure, but as a networking activity? That’s for the Fortune 500 set. Entrepreneurs tend to favor the more group-oriented cycling because everyone can play, it’s cheap (you know, after you buy the fanciest bike there is) and just like golf there’s beer afterward.

Thanks to WIRED’s Summer Gadget Lab series you’re going to discover a bevy of new gear to help you maximize every outdoor excursion—and cycling’s no exception. Along with this curated list of cycling gear from the Lab, we’ve got one late addition for you. With all that spandex there’s not a lot of room left for your stuff. Enter the Rapha Seat Pack, which can carry everything from smartphones to tire patches in its burrito-like, weatherproof form factor. It fits neatly under the seat of your bike, leaving your shirt pouches free to hold all that water you’re going to need.

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|  July 21st, 2014