04/24/17 11:29am

Just five minutes to smoothie magic with Greenblender.

Last week the internet enjoyed a rare moment of harmony as it gathered together to mock Juicero, the high tech juice company that raised $120 million to hawk $400, wifi-enabled juicers. A meticulously reported Bloomberg story and accompanying video demonstrated that despite its boasts of aircraft-grade aluminum and four tons of pressing power, it was possible to squeeze Juicero juice packs–which you cannot buy without first purchasing the juicer, called The Press–by hand, to pretty much the same effect.

A tech writer friend and I have had an ongoing joke about Juicero since this gushing New York Times profile of founder Doug Evans came out last year, the punchline being, if you’re a certain type of white guy (read: unconventional, but rich, with a charming if slightly sociopathic personality), you can get Silicon Valley dollars like you have an ATM card, no matter how dumb your idea is.

But here’s the rub–I like drinking juice or smoothies for breakfast, and most juicers really are a pain to clean and I get annoyed by my own lack of creativity when it comes to my smoothie game. Surely there must be some kind of juice interruption that actually delivers, without having to purchase a $400 lie.

There is and the company started in Brooklyn, of course.

Greenblender, to use a tired, but useful formulation, is Blue Apron for smoothies. For $49 a week (less if you commit to several months at a time) you get recipes and ingredients for five different smoothies, two servings of each. You just pop them in a blender and voila, breakfast in about five minutes. Technically these are smoothies–no pulp or fiber is removed, it’s all blended all in there, but they’re much more fruit and vegetable foward than your standard smoothie, which is really a milkshake in disguise. Think of Greenblender concoctions more like super juice. You could not squeeze these ingredients with your bare hands and get a drink from your efforts. (more…)

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03/09/17 11:37am

Moovn Apps

On January 28, the hashtag #DeleteUber started trending with a vengeance. Following the announcement of the Trump administration’s executive order declaring a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, NYC taxi drivers went on strike, declaring a one-hour work stoppage at JFK  in protest of the ban. At the same time, Uber announced that it would suspend surge pricing at the airport, which many saw not as a consumer service, but as an attempt to profit from the strike, and from the ban. For many already uneasy users it was the last straw for a company whose CEO was then still on Trump’s Business Council.

That same weekend Lyft, Uber’s rival in the ride-sharing game, announced that they would make a $1 million donation to the ACLU, and got a boatload of new customers out of the controversy. However, Lyft still counts Carl Icahn and Peter Thiel, two of Trump’s biggest richest supporters, as members of their board. Both companies have grappled with reputations for treating drivers poorly and for bro-centric work cultures.

Socially-conscious riders eager for an alternative have started turning to Moovn, a new ride-sharing app that prides itself on a no-surge-pricing policy for customers, as well as better wages and stronger protections for drivers. It’s also a tech business with a black founder, which is important to note as the disruption game is notoriously white.

“We put the driver first,” said Godwin Gabriel, founder and CEO, in a phone interview. “As long as we do, he or she will go the extra mile for the customer…the driver is our biggest stakeholder.” He sees other platforms as “pushing the driver to the curb.”

Gabriel went to say, “Drivers are getting paid well on our platform. We only take a 10-15 commission…we are looking at going even lower. At any time, the driver maintains 85-90% of the fare, not including tip. You hear all of these issues about drivers being disenfranchised, marginalized. They don’t earn enough on other platforms.” For lack of a better word, Gabriel explained, many drivers told him it was like “modern day slavery.” (more…)

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06/23/16 12:46pm

iphone-4-broken-screen-repair-copyHow many new iPhones have you bought because your old one was too expensive to repair? How much are you paying each month in phone insurance because you’re afraid of it happening again. If the answer is “too many,” or “too much,” things may be about to change, at least in New York State.  

A surprisingly wide coalition including upstate farmers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, techies and mechanics across the state are lobbying the New York State Assembly and Senate for a floor vote for bill, S3998 in the State Senate and A6068 in the State Assembly that would require manufacturers of electronic products from cell phones and computers to refrigerators and thermostats, to release their manuals and schematics to the general public so consumers can take repair into their own hands. It sounds harmless enough–what’s subversive about a repair manual, aside from the migraine the non-handy among enough will endure trying to parse it?

Well, according to Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of Right to Repair, the answer is an all too familiar song of corporate greed. (more…)

01/08/14 11:00am

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Wanna learn how to fence? Cook an authentic Indian curry? Throw a pot? Use Photoshop? Build a website? There are classes teaching all these skills, and thousands more, for the taking in New York City. This January, we say ditch the resolutions and instead spend your quiet winter months learning to do something new. To that end, we’ve teamed up with PureWow, Gothamist and CourseHorse to give one lucky reader $1,000 to spend on classes–that could mean one master class or a bunch of cool new experiences for you and a friend. It’s up to you.

The $1,000 is good for any of the 37,000 classes listed on CourseHorse, one of the best resources in the city for people who like to learn new things. There’s such a wide range of classes available, including workouts like spinning and yoga; professional and personal development like storytelling, meditation and public speaking; cooking classes spanning the cuisines of the globe, plus cheese and wine courses; languages classes galore; and art and craft classes ranging from architectural theory to digital design tools to introductory knitting and crocheting. In short, unless you already know how to do everything, there’s a class, or three, for you on CourseHorse.

When you enter to win, you’ll have the chance to sign up for two of our absolute favorite emails. Gothamist sends out a daily rundown of all the top news around New York City, and PureWow is always turning us on to some new service or strategy that makes life better. Pretty much every app we actually use was downloaded at PureWow’s suggestion, and we’re pretty sure that their new weekly money email is going to change our financial lives. So enter now and get ready to add underwater basket weaver to your already impressive resume.

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