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Archive for November, 2009

Urbanspoon for BlackBerry

November 26, 2009 1 comment

UrbanspoonI’m a little behind on this one, as I’ve been away in Europe for the last couple of weeks, where my Bell Canada CDMA BlackBerry 8330 does not work.  But here we go…

I installed Urbanspoon for BlackBerry earlier this week, and have been playing with it for a few days now.  I must admit that I have been anxiously anticipating this release ever since the first time I saw this app on a friends iPhone a few years ago.

So far, I have been pleasantly surprised with the application.  Prior to this release for BlackBerry, I have been using Poynt and OpenTable’s BlackBerry apps to search for restaurants.  Both of these apps are location-based search apps, but have their limitations.

The OpenTable app is well designed and works well, but had a couple of glaring limitations that were quite frustrating.  First, there was no way to read restaurants reviews in the application.  Therefore, it would find restaurants in my area, but other than a short description of the restaurant, offered no additional information.  Secondly, the app is limited to restaurants that sign on to the OpenTable reservation program.  So a great app, but quite limited.

Poynt is a great location-based search tool, but searches directories (i.e. YellowPages) and therefore, provides restaurant names, contact information, address, and directions, but does not provide any additional information, such as reviews or descriptions.  So while Poynt is one of my favourite and most used BlackBerry apps, it is not entirely suited to finding restaurants.

Enter Urbanspoon.  I like that it has the ability to search based on proximity, type of cuisine and price range.  The randomization (spin) feature is nice, but is purely aesthetic.  I do, however, really like that it offers ratings (% of people who like it) and reviews for each restaurant.  Additionally, the app integrates really well with BlackBerry Maps to provide navigation and/or step-by-step directions.

However, the app leaves room for a couple of improvements.  First, each time I open the app, the sound is turned on, even if my phone profile is set to quiet or vibrate.  Easily turned off, but easy to forget.  Second, the reviews open in the browser instead of in the app itself.  While still functional, would be nice to see this functionality built into the app itself.  And lastly, the app opens with a background image of a cup of french fries.  Not exactly the haute cuisine I am searching for.  If I want fries, I can always find the Golden Arches.

Overall, a great app, and it is great to see that it has finally been added to the BlackBerry lineup.  The app is available in the BlackBerry App World or from the Urbanspoon directly.

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Update: Proposed Vancouver Wine Bylaw

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Great news for wine lovers in (or visiting) Vancouver!  Vancouver City Council has revised the new proposed bylaw to state that establishments under a restaurant license must offer their full menu while alcohol is being served.  This is a much more lenient limit to the original 50/50 ratio that was proposed.

Here are links to articles posted by the Vancouver Sun and News 1130 for more information.

See my original post here.