Matt Restivo

Great Open Table Feature

Open Table Mod

Open Table Integration on Yelp

Big fan of this one click to reserve feature that automatically suggests available times. Good stuff by @OpenTable. Would be curious to see what they tested before arriving at this experience.

Changing Your Work Environment

When you work at a job where you are sitting at the same desk 5 days a week, it can be a downer without even you realizing it. Especially in New York City, we are constantly confined to small spaces. When it’s nice enough (in other words, when my fingers aren’t too cold to type), I try and get out once every two to three weeks and sit in a park and crank out some work. I find I’m significantly more productive.

In the winter, I’ll try coffee shops on Saturday mornings. Not just a standard Starbucks, I try to find something unique and interesting. There’s plenty of detail in everything around us– and that subconsciously will increase productivity and creativity.

I’m even more productive when I’m disconnected and on a plane. I am almost saddend by the fact that there is WiFi on most flights. I still try to fly one leg “off the radar”. Flying is a great place to be still, thoughtful, which ultimately leads to creativity. It forces you to reflect on everything you’re working on, and sometimes just that can re-prioritize everything or at least get you a deeper perspective.

How To Find An Apartment in NYC

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Seen far too often and far too quickly during the NYC apartment hunt– RENTED.



The trick is… let new apartments come to you.

When I decided to look for a new apartment, I would often get distracted searching streeteasy.com, craigslist.org, nakedapartments.com, nybits.com, renthop.com, and trulia.com. That’s when I figured out the best life hack to the NYC Apartment scene. I decided I would write a feed that IFTTT could ping every 15 minutes, and have a notification sent to my phone every time an apartment came on the market.

It worked brilliantly. I knew within 15 minutes each time a place was posted. Not only did I know first, but after a while of getting these notifications, I knew exactly what proper value was on the market. I got my awesome new apartment because I was first.

One day I decided to check if any of these sites had an API, and the only one that offered one was streeteasy. This worked out because I was finding most of their listings to actually be legit. It took me less than 50 lines of code to grab the data I needed to build a simple RSS feed for IFTTT. I was able to search the neighborhoods I like, price ranges I could handle, and number of bedrooms. Now I set it up so you can do this too in just 6 easy steps;

1. Create a Streeteasy Account.

Go to streeteasy.com, and in the top right click Register.

2. Grab an API key.

Scroll to the bottom of streeteasy.com when you’re logged in, and click API in the bottom right. There you can go through the process of creating an API key. Copy the API key and keep it handy…

3. Search for your Apartment

This basically means click advanced search and set the parameters up so that only places you want to live are being displayed to you in the results.

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4. Extract Parameters

This is where you extract the parameters of your search from the URL bar. We’ll pass these into the RSS feed on my server a little bit later…

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Price: The low and high dollar amount you are willing to pay monthly.
Ex: &price=1000-2000

Areas: A comma separated value list of neighborhoods you want to search.
Ex: &areas=115,158,116,108,162,107,157,306,322,323,305

Beds: A comma separated value list of neighborhoods you want to search.
Ex: &beds=>=2 // 2BR+ 
Ex: &beds=<=1 // Studio or 1BR

Api Key: You must include your Streeteasy API key to make this work.
Ex: &api_key=12345

5. Sign up for IFTTT

It’s easy and it takes a few minutes. Configure your cell phone so you can receive SMS messages via IFTTT.

6. Set up IFTTT

Sign up for SMS messages whenever IFTTT detects changes to the RSS feed. You’ll need to build your URL based on step 4 above;

http://mattrestivo.com/projects/apartments/?price=[YOUR_PRICE]&beds=[BEDROOMS]&areas=[YOUR_AREAS]&api_key=[YOUR_API_KEY]

This is what the configuration looks like in IFTTT;

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7. Great Success!

You should start receiving texts within the first 15 minutes, you may even get the last 20 items instantly, just so you can test it out. You can rename the IFTTT phone number, “Apartment Alert” in your phone book, and click the link to quickly see the streeteasy listing.

Good luck apartment hunting!

Visit: Austin, TX

DSC_8827Franklin BBQ: Standing in line from 10-1130am is well worth it for this wet brisket.

I’ve been to Austin, TX three times– twice for SxSW and once for a bachelor party. I talk to a lot of people about this so I figured it was worth posting. There are a few restaurants that you absolutely must go to you when you visit city;

#1. Franklin BBQ
The hype is legit, I tried Salt Lick, Micklethwait, and Franklin destroys both of them. There’s a reason Obama went there.

#2. Uchi
This dude Tyson Cole has won numerous awards and it is hands down the best Japanese food I’ve ever tasted.

#3. Torchy’s Tacos
Breakfast burritos, Tacos, the queso– everything. Go here at least once every day throughout your trip. It’s hard to put this third, because this is one of the two best Mexican food places I’ve ever been to (the other is in San Diego, CA).

#4. East Side King
Another ballin’ place to get asian fusion food. This place is harder to explain, but trust Paul Qui’s ability here– this place is impressive.

If you’re looking for other things to do besides eat– go for a run along the water, visit UT’s campus, and check out East 6th Street, and the often overlooked West 6th Street.

Thank You For Your Service

Every time I see a soldier dressed in their blues or their camo, I am always sure to thank them for our service to our country. I highly encourage you do the same.

It’s just a few small words– but you can tell they count by their reaction.

Car Accidents

Gideon Lichfield is at it again… another brilliant post to start the weekend.

Whether it was 13, as GM says, or 74, as Reuters asserts, the lives lost in cars fitted with the automaker’s faulty ignition switches are a tragedy. GM this week began its long march to rehabilitation by admitting to a “pattern of incompetence and neglect” that led millions of cars to be fitted with the faulty switches over nearly a decade.

But still, let’s keep some perspective.

From 2003 to 2010, the period in question, 287,586 people died in the US in car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s 98 people every single day. In 2010 alone, the agency estimates (pdf), 3,353 lives would have been saved if only everyone riding in a car always wore a seatbelt, and another 708 if every motorcyclist always wore a helmet. That’s 11 lives saved every day. “Distraction-related” accidents, which include texting or phone-calling while driving, killed 3,328 people in 2012 alone; nine lives every day.

And of course, that’s just in the US. Worldwide, around 1.24 million people die in road accidents each year.

Why is there so much scandal around GM’s ignition switches, while the daily scandal of carnage on the roads is, on most days, largely forgotten? GM should certainly fix its culture, which seems to discourage employees from reporting potentially fatal problems. But if just a fraction of the energy spent on chastising GM went into improving daily road safety, it could save a lot more lives. —Gideon Lichfield