The NY Tech Meetup group meets on the first Tuesday of every month, as the New York tech community gathers to see short (5-minutes) demos of cool stuff their peers are working on. It also happens to be Internet Week here in New York, which may explain why last night's meetup was, by all accounts, above average.
In addition to some exciting updates to well-known web apps (Aviary announced a web-based sound editor, Livestream demo'd their free desktop streaming app, and Jason Calacanis talked about paying people to use Mahalo), here's what was new at FIT:
Pretty much the only thing brick-and-mortar has on ecommerce is immediacy; you can have the best interactive shopping experience imaginable, but when it comes to actually getting your stuff, you're still at the mercy of FedEx, or worse, the Feds. With the help of MakerBot Industries, you can now download 3D objects and print them out - almost literally. In the demo, Bre Pettis printed out a miniature three-dimensional Empire State building. And while it can't replicate a hot cup of Earl Grey tea yet, it's not entirely trivial: Thingiverse has dozens of 3D files available for download; need a shot glass? Lost your lens cap? Print out a new one!
Since Senator Malcolm Smith took the helm of the NY State Senate as Majority Leader early this year, they've made impressive strides in redesigning their website to make information more transparent to the public, and accessible in an intuitive way. There's even YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook integration! Ironically, it looks like the Office of the Chief Information Officer, which did the specs for NYSenate.gov, could use some website work themselves.
These guys debuted at NY Tech two years ago, so it's not really new, but they demo'd their iPhone app, which looks just about as awesome as their Java version. Not only is it a 3D rendering of New York City (other locations are on their way), but it pulls data from places like Yelp, Google Maps, and others to give rich location-based information on popular and upcoming bars, restaurants, stores, etc.