Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Divvy Diary: There's an app for that....

Despite — or maybe because of — how it's slowly crushing my industry, I'm interested in observing technology's steamroller as it  inches forward.* Such as this guy in his mid-20s who wrote an app for Divvy bikes just for the hell of it. What I didn't mention in this column is that my 47.5 miles on the Divvy bike puts me at No. 15 on the Leaderboard. And yes, I planned to ride Monday, just for the insanity factor, but Divvy closed the system down again, for the second time in a week. I want my 20 cents back! 

    Necessity is the mother of invention, and also can drive you to new apps — those small programs that live on your cellphone, for my readers who still subscribe to Life magazine, at least deep within the smithy of their souls.
     The app that tells you where the nearest Divvy bike station is, for instance, I downloaded while straddling a Divvy on May Street. It was a wetware problem — the phrase “May and Fulton,” where the station I sought actually was located, had somehow morphed into “May and Kinzie” in the faltering, moist organic circuitry of my brain. Loading the app was easy, took a minute or two, and I parked and headed to Jupiter Outpost for a sandwich — one advantage of Divvy, it expands the range of places to eat.
     Not necessity but vanity inspired me to load the DivvyBrags app, which lets members see the length of their bike trips. The app’s 25-year-old creator, Alex Soble, savvily tweeted me of its December rollout (a PR trick that can elude even seasoned pros: notice what someone in the media does and approach with matters of actual interest). Since he asked, I thought I’d check it out.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

* That's a crappy sentence, isn't it? How to rewrite it so that it reads smoothly? I'll come back to it later in the day, but suggestions would be welcome.


  1. ... crushing the journalism industry ...

  2. Divvy Diary is not necessarily accurate. Does it just calculate the most direct route between where you start and end your ride? OK, what if you don't just go one mile north on, say, Clark Street, between two Divvy stations, but instead go a few blocks east, then a few west, then end up at your destination?

  3. @Bill -- you mean DivvyBrags, I assume. Yeah, I had that thought too. It's an approximation. I suppose.

  4. Despite — or maybe because of — the way it's slowly crushing the industry of journalism ...