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By Rhizome

I just wanted to write a quick post about the ITP Spring Show. A friend of mine talked me into going on Tuesday and it turned out to be a very interesting experience. The ITP Sring Show is where graduate computer science students at NYU showcase projects they've been working on all semester (thesis projects or some kind of academic thing). Most of the exhibitions fell into one of three categories: very artsy, educational toys or a mobile based web 2.0 app. Obviously I was very interested in the mobile apps (at least from a browserless perspective), although there was some interesting projects like the live action super mario brothers or the drawing produces from conversations on blogs. I think that MoBeeLine is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.

Out of the mobile/web 2.0 apps (hence forth refered to as "mobile 2.0"), I saw a lot of innovative projects and some emerging trends. Here are some of my favorites:

Snagu.com, the mobile scavenger hunt. Very interactive and potentially addictive. Everyday they send you a word and you have to find a picture that matches it. Then your photo is compared with others with the same word and the commuity votes on which photos are the best. An interesting use of mobile technology and bringing a web based game into "real life".

PlacesToDo is a mobile 2.0 app that allows you to set up a "to do list" of places by sending the location via SMS to a server. It logs the location and what you wanted to do there (examples are the store, an art gallery you walk by or a hot girl's apt). Then you can share the list in a social fashion. Useful app if they have a good breadth of locations in their system.

free4md (pronounced "free formed") which is a clever perl hack that allows people to upload video from their phone and put it into a community structure. The asthetics could use some work, but the idea is solid and will provide a great tool for capturing live, unfiltered events. Though I have questions about the quality of video captured from most mobile phones, all it takes it one major event uploaded before the site becomes very popular.

You Are Hear's GeoTag lets you associate a sound file with any location a map. It doesn't have GPS capability (yet), but you can put in an address and link a sound to that. If they could just come up with a "tour of the city" feature that will let me walk around and quickly for an audio guide at any point in the city. Also very useful for identifying good bars, exhibits and loose women.

The mobile 2.0 concept is new and very interesting. It combines the attributes of most web 2.0 sites (social, tagging, gibberish name) with the real life experience of walking around. You still have to use the website to register, etc in most cases, but much of the interaction can be done only using the phone. One of my favorite tricks that I saw was encoding an audio file from a phone conversation and associating it with a location (you walk by a bar, call a number then leave a review. Then users from the web can hear your review as opposed to reading it). I think this a great combination of web and non-web interfaces and a great example of mostly browserless technology at work. I wish all of these students well and I'm sure they learned a lot in putting together these interesting apps.

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