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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Tech Tuesday – April 22, 2014

App Alert: Kitestring

Referred to as your “virtual mom” by The Huffington Post, Kitestring debuted in headlines this past week. A personal safety application compatible with any phone with an Internet connection, Kitestring “checks up on you and then basically freaks out if you don’t respond. You know, like a mom,” according to Time magazine.

Kitestring is a mobile web application that requires a simple username, password and cell phone number to set up. No downloading necessary, users are able to navigate directly to Kitestring’s website to record an estimated time of his or her arrival at a destination without telling a friend or family member. Users are then prompted to input at least one emergency contact name, number and a message. If a user does not respond within five minutes to Kitestring’s text message sent at the designated time, emergency contacts are notified that their friend or family member may not have arrived at his or her destination safely.

Whether you are planning on meeting up with your match from Tinder or going for a run to the art museum steps, it is comforting to know that Kitestring won’t allow you to disappear without a trace. Worried about your phone dying before you get a chance to respond? Your friends and family would likely prefer five false alarms than not knowing until it may be too late.

For more information, visit www.kitestring.io.

Smart Student: RentSafe

Senior Amber Heilman and junior Connie Lin of the College of Computing and Informatics were part of an all-female team at Philly’s second annual LadyHacks event. Heilman, Lin and their three other teammates were the masterminds behind the web application titled RentSafe. RentSafe is an open source project that compiles crime data on available properties listed on sites like Craigslist. The application then displays this data on a map using a key that is shaded like a heat map to indicate crime levels.

Philadelphia is such a diversely populated area, and crimes often do not have boundaries. Playing it safe by making smart choices such as traveling in groups or concealing valuables have a sizable impact on safety, but knowing the type of environment in which you live can help you better prepare and protect yourself. RentSafe is helpful for students looking to move out of Drexel housing and into an apartment close to campus as well as for those relocating to the area.

For more information about RentSafe, visit ladyhacks.github.io/RentSafe.

Working World: Money at your fingertips

Poor college student mentality? Maybe you just want a little extra spending money? Time is precious, especially when you’re a student at Drexel. Luckily, companies are beginning to learn the potential of technology and how it can be used to benefit their business while also reducing costs. Websites and mobile phone applications such as American Consumer Opinion, Google Opinion Rewards, iPoll and Rewardable are quick and easy ways to make a couple of extra dollars for minimal work through “microjobbing.” Basically, you are paid to give your opinion to businesses.

Getting involved is fast, easy and — best of all — free. There is no minimum commitment, and opportunities are virtually endless. You can start as soon as tomorrow and have as much time off as you’d like. For just a few extra minutes on your smartphone — to which so many of us are already glued — you can have your Starbucks addiction fully funded!

Maria Elena Marinelli is a junior information technology major and the assistant web production manager for The Triangle.