Idea: Bike-Friendly Residences

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mark
Participant
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there have to be enough nerds on the board to make something that you txt an address and it spits you back the closest house on the list, the list wouldn’t have to be public and you would only be contacted if you were the closest house.

i’m pretty sure you should do this all for free… i just don’t quite know how.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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i can likely do all that, but it might be a bit of a project (though i do have time at the moment). however, i surely couldn’t afford the necessary infrastructure (an sms gateway would be ideal, though an email address could work, but that would still likely require a server somewhere).

and also: that’s kind of what i was thinking. in fact, i was thinking more like texting back contact info and/or an address, if the user opts to allow people to see their address.


mark
Participant
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ya definitely… you txt your address, we text back closest match… i feel like all this can be done for free, i have access to a database, can make the data base… if you txt to a google voice number and have it autoforward to a (i have no clue) that querys the database and then emails the info to phonenumber@txt.att.net or whatever other provider, thats that… i use all of those various things for things and all that should work, i just don’t know how to query the database and send the email (but i feel like i could figure it out no problem)

maybe they would have to txt address, wireless provider, always assume pittsburgh, pa … they hardest part is figuring out how to put the database info into something that can figure out which entry is closest… everything else should be pretty easy.


mark
Participant
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txt: 176 49th street, att

response: eroks house 123 obvious st.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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they would sign up and give their mobile number and provider, and enter a number from a test text sent to them. then we’ve got all the necessary info, and an assurance that it works.

i have a quickly hacked together smtp library that i wrote (in c++). i have no idea what state i left it in, but it probably just needs a bit of error handling work. i know it can send emails. i’ve even sent texts with it. and i’m sure i still have a list somewhere of a mapping between providers and email domains.

i don’t know off the top of my head how to do the proximity measurement. presumably it would be done with some google maps api?

we would need a dedicated smtp server, plus a server that receives emails. these would almost certainly be the same physical machine, and these are low-resource, low-bandwidth operations, presuming we wouldn’t have to be sending and receiving 746 texts a minute, so a home computer with good security and connectivity could work (i do not, at the moment, have such a computer).

to do it right, i would prefer having an sms gateway. but an email works. and so does a google voice number, if someone has one to spare.


mark
Participant
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can’t anyone just get a google voice number?

for sending the email I was thinking something like just using the php mail function… i guess this would be a good reason to learn the google maps api if people are into it.

this lays out exactly what we need to do, the only thing we’d have to figure out is getting the txt into the googles and we’d be set.


dwillen
Participant
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Pretty sure anyone can get a gvoice number. There are plenty of conditions you agree to when you sign up. I expect using the number for such a service is probably frowned upon, but it is worth reading all the fine print to find out.


mark
Participant
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considering this would be used 1 time a week max i don’t think it would matter… may be wrong though


dwillen
Participant
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I agree it wouldn’t be flagged for overuse, but just saying check it out before you go and have signs with a phone number printed up. It would suck to get a few months in and have them axe your gvoice account for some silly TOS violation. Might I suggest some sort of X (3?) addresses a week retrieval limit per number? Without such a safeguard, it would be very easy for a geek (there are plenty of them in PGH) to reverse engineer the database with a small script that randomly feeds the service addresses.

All that said, this sounds like a mighty fine idea.


mark
Participant
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i was thinking about that, if someone wants to do that they are going to do it anyway… i was thinking about somehow making a quarter usage fee if we are going to have to pay for anything (a reliable sms gateway might cost like 10 cents per txt) and this would also cut down on abuse, i wouldn’t mind paying a quarter for something like this if it worked


lolly
Participant
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This project is a lot more high-tech than I was thinking. While I like the simplicity of stickers in people’s windows, it would be pretty neat for this system to evolve through the message board.

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