ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Andrea Dulko


A series of iPhone apps targeting special interest groups including NHL fans, BookClub goers, BBQ enthusiasts, and swimmers.

Little Computers,Thesis

While many applications try to reach the broadest audience, with this project I hope to highlight the importance of quality, curated, relevant information over what has become a sea of mediocre facts. Each app in this series allows users to contribute and edit information, connect with others, and get straight to what they are looking for without painstakingly searching.

HereToday always begins with a ever-changind database of time-stampled, location-sensitive information. Here, I am highlighting the elements of time and location as they have remained in the forefront of my desires for a thesis outcome from the spark of thought about this project. On the concept of time, I have, for quite some time, been disturbed by what I think of as "gaps in the internet". It's simply more desirable to accept what can be accessed from one's bedroom as fact then the thought of venturing out for alternative possibilities. Non-digitized information seems more and more to be sought out on a desperate-need-only basis. What happens to books, art, and the multitude of other materials that just miss the cut off of worthyness to be shaporoned into the present with a fresh new format? With the number of people with an online presence is at an all-time high and steadily growing, the internet is our collective repository for knowledge and, while I put forth no arugment against its importance and value, I seek to question its "survival of the fittest" and present-obsessed mentality. While we can all agree that having the best chunks of data florish and thrive can in no way bring dismay, the lose-nature in which I have used the term "fittest" becomes somewhat problematic. While we would all like to think of a question while simoltanesouly have it answered, the chances of that happening are deternimed by the opinions of both experts and those far from it as well as phenomonons like mob mentality and and passing fads. Opinions and, therefore, the character and nature of venues, ideas, and people change so quickly and with the change dies the essence of what has brought the entity to its current state. Often all that matters is the final say. perhaps the best way to describe it with Tommy Lasorda's quote, "You're only as good as you're last at bat". This concept is my inspiration for including a timeline of iterations as an integral part of all HereToday apps. The other beforementioned element is location. This has been a major focus of much of my work here at ITP. I can not think of anything more relevant than things associated with where where one is at any given moment. Places describe people and vice versa. "Where are you from?" is without question uttered during a first interaction. That being said, a sure test of relevance and desirability in a given apps return is the users geographic position.

The first iteration of HereToday is the most general and populates its database with articles derived from This decision was made after presenting several comrades with a random sampling of ideas (including but not limited to tuna, Floam, and Goro) and their informing me that the popular site of user-generated content would be their first stop for research on the given and the like. While more and more Wikipedia articles are being associaled with their respective latitudes and longitudes, most that carry these added numerals are of a predictible sect. Buildings, cities, parks are expected to be ties to their place, but, through this project, I sought to exploit the notion that a much broader array of genres is naturally associated with an area so why not make these connectins and, at the very least, open a discussion. GeoPedia is an existing app of noteworthy populartity to which I have given much though during my development of HereToday. While both aps present Wikipedia articles based on the user's location, there are several aspects of Geopedia I sought to either improve of eliminate. Firstly, unlike the structure of Geopedia, I was determined to develop a true iPhone application. A browser-based mobile site would not only compromise the speed and functionality of the app itself, but also defeat my goal learning and new programming language and environment while combining that with my exitsiting experience and interests. Secondly, I found that many of the items returned by GeoPedia are irrevalant. Since it is dynamically pulling from all geotagged articles, the results are often piecemeal with no way for the user to sort by subject, proximity, or popularity. In contrast, HereToday's content has been hand edited on a "keep vs. delete" basis and, in the pilot app, returns are given in order from most proximal outward up to one mile. Lastly, GeoPedia has a photo feature that seems entirely disconnected from all other elements. While it tries to show area photos, most of my attempts to use this ended with empty results. When pictures did surface, they had nothing to do with the articles I was given and were of building in my area, which thus defeats the need for a picture. This last point serves to add to the argument for cagtorigorizaion and time sensitivity. Perhaps "photos of people taken within the last hour" would give a better idea of the flavor of the community in with the user stands.

iPhone users

User Scenario
User starts app, selects category, scrolls through location-based information on specific subject