Techies Create Spate of News Gizmos for Tenderloin

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Nov 11, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 AM PDT
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Techies Create Spate of News Gizmos for Tenderloin

At last, you have instant access to everything you ever wanted to know about the Tenderloin.
A group of fifty reporters and engineers met this weekend to tinker with hyperlocal news technology. The result: five application that seek to connect Tenderloin events to the people who care about them.

The app "Tenderlearn" would allow locals to exchange skillsets. Its creators write, "Our project would match teachers and learners with locations in the TL where they could meet face to face to share their knowledge. Classes would cost a buck that would be charged to your phone.  Classes would convene at community centers and donated spaces. A feed of class offerings and class requests would be published in a weekly pdf to be distributed around the TL."

"Tender-ville" is like a Sim City for just one store. It simulates a grocery store at Eddy and Taylor. A simple algorithm allows users to decide how they would run their store, and then calculates the revenue and number of shoppers at the end of a month. But as one commenter points out, "if you’re interested in playing 'corner grocery,' go work in one, and if you’re interested in getting to know your neighbors, introduce yourself to them. You don’t need an app."

Another, called "Neighborizer," would verify the addresses of your neighbors by sending them a piece of mail, and then somehow facilitate connections between neighbors. Details are a little spotty on that one.

"We All Need" records audio of Tenderloin residents' conversations about their daily needs and wants.

And finally, "Tendermaps" joins together hand-drawn maps of the neighborhood to show how users regard their surroundings. An interesting discovery: some of the people who work in the Tenderloin don't know the area very well. They simply drive in, work, and then leave, without spending any time interacting with other businesses.

None of the project is quite finished, so it's unlikely that they'll get much use anytime soon. But it's still fun to imagine the future.

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