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10 Apr
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Hoppit Launches The World’s First Ambience Search Engine For Restaurants | TechCrunch

10 Apr

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Finding a good restaurant – even in a city you’ve never been to – has never been easier. Thanks to Yelp, Urbanspoon and its various brethren, a good place to eat is generally just a few clicks away. What if you want to find a restaurant with a very specific atmosphere, though? Say you’re in the mood for a pizza at a relaxed place where the noise level is just right for a good conversation? Chances are, Yelp won’t be of much help there, but the newly redesigned Hoppit is putting these kinds of searches at the core of its service. The New York-based startup describes itself as the “world’s first ambience search engine for restaurants and bars.”

The service is now available in 25 cities and offers desktop and mobile web apps. Its apps for Android and iPhone should launch in early May.

To get started, you simply tell Hoppit where you are and what you are looking for. You can use keywords to search for specific places and dishes, but you can also just tell the service what kind of atmosphere you are looking for (classy and upscale, hipster, romantic, swanky and posh, etc.). From there, you can restrict your searches by cuisine, neighborhood, atmosphere (fireplace, dimly lit, view) and noise level. The site also aggregates food and beverage deals from Groupon and Gilt City.

To aggregate all this data about these restaurants, Hoppit uses what it calls “state-of-the-art natural language processing technology and related algorithms [that] take into account a consumer’s preferences and provide personalized search results.” For the most part, this works really well, though I noticed that while Hoppit will happily show you search results for virtually any town and zip code in the U.S., its filters don’t actually work in most of these places (the full-blown service is only live in 25 major cities, after all).

So if you are looking for that perfect French restaurant with a wine bar and exposed brick for your next date, give Hoppit a try.

Hoppit Launches The World’s First Ambience Search Engine For Restaurants | TechCrunch.

FINALLY! AT&T and Other Major U.S. Carriers Will Start Tracking Stolen Mobile Phones to Reduce Theft!

10 Apr

The Wall Street Journal reports that the four major U.S. wireless carriers have reached an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to work toward a centralized database to track and disable stolen mobile phones.

The database, which the wireless companies will build and maintain, will be designed to track phones that are reported as lost or stolen and deny them voice and data service. The idea is to reduce crime by making it difficult or impossible to actually use a stolen device, reducing resale value.

Currently, Verizon Communications Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. block phones that are reported stolen from being reactivated. AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA don’t. All four have agreed to be part of the new database.

The report cites a study from the New York Police Department showing that electronics are now the most commonly stolen type of property, with mobile phones accounting for over 80% of thefts in that category.

According to the plan, the major carriers will develop individual databases within six months, integrating them over the following 12 months. Smaller carriers will also join the database after that point. The database will also be interoperable with similar efforts in other countries to allow for international tracking of stolen phones, although many countries have yet to develop such databases.

As noted by ifoAppleStore, Apple has typically taken a hands-off approach when it comes to stolen phones, with Genius Bar staff routinely offering free warranty replacements in exchange for stolen phones. Apple’s policies reportedly stem from a lack of centralized tracking of stolen devices and a desire to not become involved in potential confrontations over the stolen merchandise, but an official database supported by the carriers could help Apple become more proactive about handling stolen iPhones.

via Major U.S. Carriers Agree to Develop Centralized Database to Track Stolen Mobile Phones – Mac Rumors.

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