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MBTA introduces mTicket, but not for us (yet)

Update 11/27: An update of the App was just pushed out on iOS which now includes the south side stations, including Providence.
Apparently, Wickford Junction is not yet included. MBTA says it will be added in the next update.

The MBTA’s new mobile Commuter Rail ticketing app, mTicket, launched today, but only on Commuter Rail lines out of North Station.

We can expect the mTicket system to be available for trips on the Providence line starting later this month, and monthly passes for December will also be able to be purchased using mTicket. The MBTA has an FAQ to answer any questions about the system.

mTicket is available to download for free for the iPhone through iTunes and for Android devices through the Google Play store.

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I spent all night playing “Fart Cat!”

News arrived yesterday of the release of Fart Cat!; a new iPhone game by Summer Camp Studios, a group of programmers that formed out of the ashes of the 38 Studios debacle. So, I’m not into cats, and I’m not into games, and I guess I’m not really into farting either, but I decided to drop 99¢ in the App Store to see what it was all about.

Then I played it all night, stopping only long enough to update my bewildered iPhone friends on my progress (I’ve made it to level 15 in case you were wondering).

The game is amazingly simple and stupidly fun, you feed the cat what it wants to eat and try to make it full before its annoying owner pets it. You then tap the cat’s belly and it farts. What is not to love? The devlopers describe it:

Our debut title, Fart Cat!, began as a thought exercise and quickly evolved into a fun game through our newly adopted iterative development process. In order to transition out of the mindset of massive, 200 person projects to the (comparatively) light and fluffy land of iOS development, we needed a simple game concept that would not only teach us how to deliver on a completely new platform, but also show us how we wanted to work as a team! Fart Cat! fit the bill beautifully. It’s a fun, simple arcade game that game be enjoyed by all ages, and has plenty of room for expansion if the crowd demands it.

Seriously, download this thing!

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iPhone app allows Providence residents to report issues to the City

Angel Taveras

Mayor Angel Taveras

This afternoon I took a walk with Mayor Angel Taveras to try out the City’s new ProvConnex iPhone app (an Android app is in development).

The Mayor and I walked down Washington Street and he showed me how the app works on his iPhone. The Mayor’s Press Secretary, David Ortiz joined us and provided more details on the app.

The free app is available in the Apple App Store and integrates with the City’s online ProvConnex system which people may be familiar with. The app allows residents (and visitors I suppose if they like) to report a myriad of issues from unshoveled sidewalks, to potholes, to broken street lights and trash strewn lots, and more.

On my way home this afternoon I reported that a number of streetlights are out at the intersection of Dean Street and Atwells Avenue, the intersection is very dark because of this. Screenshots of my report are embedded in a slideshow at the end of this post, including a copy of the email I recieved confirming my submission. Issues reported through the App are sent to the Office of Neighborhood Services where staff dispatches it to the relevant City department. The app keeps a collection of your reports and allows you to follow-up on their status.

The City attempts to move as quickly as possible on reports, but of course during pothole season the holes can only be filled so fast. Reporting won’t get action in a day, but it will add your pothole to the City’s list.

The App can use GPS to locate where you are when you make a report, or you can search for an address to report an issue when you may not be at that location. It also allows you to upload a photo of the issue you’ve reported.

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