News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.
In this edition, we take a look at who's using technology and social media in South Florida in cool, new and practical ways.
MIAMI TOUR COMPANY GOES HIGH-TECH
Miami Tour Company has jacked up its GPS-guided buses with new audio and video capabilities. Digital sound has replaced an FM signal, with individual headphones for tour guests broadcasting in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
In addition, a video camera on the front of the bus projects the driver's view to four small screens in the middle and back of the vehicle and two large screens on the front.
The idea is genius because it gives tour guests the opportunity to see more of Miami from the "front seat," especially on such beautiful routes as Bayshore Drive, Ingraham Highway, Old Cutler Road and the tree-lined paths of Coral Gables.
I recently interviewed Gus Moore, company owner, about the technological improvements.
The Forge recently re-opened with revamped decor and menu led by Executive Chef Dewey LoSasso, but it's the new elegant Wine Bar that grabs our attention here because it serves up an exclusive iPhone app: The Forge Wine Web App.
While the application will never replace a face-to-face conversation with a sommelier, it's a quick and easy guide to a collection of 64 wines available through a self-serve Enomatic Wine System. You can purchase 1, 3 or 5 ounce pours with a special card available at the bar.
Search wines by region, vintage, varietals or by category ranging from "mild" to "powerful" and find pricing, description, tasting notes, pairing suggestions as well as a regional map for each wine. If you're a newbie enophile, the application is helpful in identifying what might please your palette. Register for the app and add favorite wines to your own "cellar" and leave comments about individual tastings.
The app is currently not available at the Apple Store but you can download it by visiting http://theforgewine.com/ on your iPhone browser.
Don't have an iPhone? No worries. There are iPhones attached to several of the wine bins so that everyone can browse the app.
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
Imaneed, founded by local geek Matt Lally, offers a useful neighbor-to-neighbor network when you need help locating a product or service. It's very simple to use: send a text to 954-876-4128 and Imaneed will help connect you with whoever can fulfill your request. Imaneed is anonymous so there is no need to worry about your phone number getting into the wrong hands. Think of this as full concierge service -- everything from concert tickets to help with changing a flat tire -- with locals and businesses coming to the rescue.
The free service is currently available only in South Florida, from Boca to Miami, but will eventually go nationwide.
Willie Morris, Web and Operations Director, was recently interviewed on NBC 6 about Imaneed.
Kudos go out to Temple Judea in Coral Gables, one of South Florida's largest reform synagogues, because they're using social media and technology to reach out to members. Rabbi Edwin Goldberg does podcasts of his sermons and has put together Youtube videos to promote events and fund raisers. Bar and Bat mitzvah students use Skype to practice their presentations with their mentors and tutors. Rabbi Goldberg is also working on an iPhone app for the temple.
There are two rabbis at Temple Judea and both of them blog: Rabbi Goldberg and Rabbi Judith Segal. Some religious services are also available via live web streaming. Visit Temple Judea online for more information.