Not all of Portland, Oregon is dreaming of the ’90s. As proof of that, the region’s transit system, TriMet, is taking a step into the future by launching the beta test of an electronic ticketing system that lets riders purchase fares from their smartphones. The ambitious effort extends to all of TriMet’s major operations, which includes city busses, the MAX light rail, the WES commuter rail and the Portland Streetcar. As it stands, 150 participants will take part in the beta trial before the program opens to all riders later this summer. The push toward modernization is made possible by a Portland-based company, GlobeSherpa, which has developed a payment system and ticket validation app that also allows for fleet optimization and provides service alerts to riders. Currently, the TriMet app is available for Android and iOS, but GlobeSherpa tells us that it’ll deliver future versions for BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Hit up the break for a peek at what’s in store for The City of Roses.
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Changemakrs, a platform for sharing inspiration built by an ex-Facebooker, is tapping into the Christmas spirit with a version of the site that lets anyone share holiday quotes. If you sign into the site, Changemakrs will automatically add holiday quotes to the homepage, using some natural-language processing algorithms that categorize the quotes. They also do quality filtering through internal user rankings. This holiday version of the site was hacked together in a few hours. The site has picked up holiday quotes from Bon Jovi, the movies “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Elf,” and Charles Dickens. Changemakrs is a platform where anyone can post and share inspirational quotes. It was born out of some experimentation by a former Facebook business development manager Sacha Tueni and his co-founder Mathias Wagner. After working on a Twitter client (yes, a Twitter client) for a couple months, they built a tribute site to Steve Jobs that overlaid his best advice on top of stark, black-and-white photos of him. The barebones site quickly went viral, accumulating 3 million pageviews in about 48 hours. They then repeated that approach with many other famous figures like Albert Einstein and Lady Gaga, with similar results. They then turned it into an open site where anyone could share or accumulate bits and pieces of aspirational wisdom. The site came out of beta earlier this month. Yes, it is a bit of brain-dead, simple concept, and strangely, web-focused in a mobile-first world. But the team says that while there are plenty of quote sites across the web, these competitors are outdated with Craigslist-era design. Plus, they’re not designed to be particularly social or viral. Tueni, who used to work at Facebook, has been involved in social change-oriented projects before. Before he joined Facebook, he built a mobile service that let Lebanese voters report election irregularities with their feature phones. Changemakrs is currently bootstrapped for now.
PBS screens the cultural eye-candy early to Apple devices, ushers iOS users past the public velvet rope
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, you’ll probably want to tune in to PBS’ new Prohibition-era doc — on your iOS device. That’s right, the federally-funded public station’s hip to our digital distributing times, and is giving an early access viewing window to users of its PBS app across Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The high-brow art’ll get its stream on September 23rd, with the full series to air on broadcast from October 2nd through the 4th. While the doc’s two subsequent episodes will also stream live day and date on PBS’ video hub, your mobile apps won’t get the visual goods until the day after air. Of course, if that bevy of options doesn’t jive with your busy schedule, you can always download the show direct from PBS or iTunes. Official PR awaits you after the break.