God Bless Google News Alerts. Thanks to my daily search, I found this interesting application for the iPhone called Muni Diary. It’s a remarkably simple application for you to document what happened and where on your daily Muni ride (or daily Muni Fail, as it were.) It’s a simple, easy way to organize your Muni incidents, be they fights or fun, or whatever.
The application is the work of Aaron Tait, a programmer living in West Portal. I have been trying out the application and it’s simple, but an easy way to jot down notes in a Muni-specific fashion. I’ve often used the iPhone’s Notepad for short notes but this one is kinda cool.
Plus, I see how one could extend this application, and connect it to other apps some day, etc. If nothing else it’s fun to use.
I did a quick email interview with Aaron this afternoon, and asked him a few questions about his latest work, after the jump:
What is your name, and what Muni routes do you tend to use around SF?
My name’s Aaron Tait. I live in West Portal so I’m kinda lucky in that I can take an L, K, or M to and from work and home. I’ve started a new ritual on Sundays of taking the 76 up to the Marin Headlands too. It feels really weird to be on a Muni bus in it what seems like the middle of nowhere. Everybody in San Francisco needs to experience it at least once.
What inspired you to come up with the idea for Muni Diary?
I’m a transit dork so knowing which lines and vehicles I’ve been on has always been an interest to me. But recently I started thinking about how Muni becomes a third place for San Franciscans (excuse the cheesy Starbucks marketing reference). A significant portion of our day to day lives is spent on Muni, depending of course on how delayed it is. When I’m stuck in an underground tunnel I think about where I was going or how I was feeling the last time I was in that vehicle. I take Muni just about every day so I know I’ve been in the same vehicle more than once. I think it’s an interesting idea to capture what we’re thinking in this in-between state and who we were the last time we were in this vehicle.
Aside from that, Muni is a show on rails and wheels. I wanted Muni Diary to also be used as a way to catalog all the outrageous things that happen on our transit system.
What do you hope will happen as people use your app? In what ways do you imagine people might use it?
It’s funny; I made this app for myself in a few hours not even knowing if I was going to release it to the App Store or not. I decided to release it just to see what the reaction would be and how people would use it. I didn’t know if anybody would actually download it. It’s like a social science experiment to me. I’ve seen quite an enthusiastic response so far and so I’m going to spend a lot more time working on it. It’s going to be a lot more useful when people can share their diary entry’s with the world.
What features might we see in the future? (Twitter/Tumblr/Other integration?)
Sharing has to be the number one feature I want o implement. The ability to share your entrys on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or Email would be super cool. Twitter’s new location API would be fun to work with. Imagine being able to see a map of real time experiences on Muni.
Along with sharing, I want to add support for taking photos and videos. The geek in me also wants to export the entry’s to a CSV file that you can email yourself.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on Muni?
Come to think of it, it’s hard for me to recall any funny moments that really stand out. It’s a good thing I wrote this app! Getting home on the L OWL from the Castro on Halloween was quite a scene. The party essentially continued onto the bus and the poor driver had to deal with a bunch of drunk people screaming Lady Gaga songs the whole way.
Anything else you’d want our readers to know? What do you do when you’re NOT riding Muni? Etc.
My day job is working as an iPhone Developer at this awesome startup called Stitcher. Stitcher is an app for listening to great news and talk programming on the go. We have clients for iPhone, Palm Pre/Pixi, Blackberry, and Android. It’s great for catching up on news while you’re riding Muni and we have tons of content!
I also have aspirations of doing my own startup which you can learn more about here: http://phinetech.com
Aside from all the geekery, I love being outside and exploring this amazing city we live in. I take my Canon T1i just about everywhere I go and post pictures to my Flickr.