Sandpaper Article about the LBI 411 App
There’s an App for That! LBI 411 Comes to iPhones Everywhere
In a world that seems ruled by smart phones, taking no notice of what it means to be on vacation, it’s no surprise that applications for nearly everything a person might need exist on all the latest smart phone platforms.
In mid-July, the LBI 411 application came to the iPhone. Born from a desire to have all the information tourists or locals alike might need in one handheld location, LBI 411 features must-know information such as Island restaurants, where to go for every imaginable family-friendly activity, what bands are playing on the Island for the weekend, the best places to fish and where to get a weekly rental, among plenty of others.
“I love LBI; I made an app for it. Why not?” said Dan LaPlaca, who created the app earlier this summer. “I just thought it would be really cool for people coming down, especially renters who don’t really know the area that well and don’t know where they are on the Island.”
Beyond just listing local businesses, the application also features a map link powered by Google Maps and a phone button that will allow the user to press a button and call the business directly without having to copy and paste a phone number. “We were on the boat last weekend and my brother made a (dinner) reservation,” LaPlaca said.
He said his goal is to make it easy for people in the area to find food, entertainment or assistance. That’s why the application includes information such as the nearest hospitals, as well as a section for marinas, the idea for which LaPlaca said came out of personal experience after getting stuck in a broken-down boat last summer. “I had a BlackBerry at the time and I just Googled marinas, and we found one right there. But now, with the app, I could just go to the marina section. And that’s why I put it on there, because I know what it’s like to be in that situation.”
The application is updated on a regular basis, with weekly entertainment, new categories and locations, which LaPlaca does himself. It also features live RSS feeds that update themselves with information including local news headlines, current weather conditions and more.
LaPlaca, principal of the digital multimedia company DLP Media LLC, is based in New York City, but spends as much time as possible on LBI both in- and off-season, and has since he was a small child. He focused his energy on making the application packed with information while still being easy to use. “It’s pretty straight-forward. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s all the information right there,” he said.
LaPlaca also maintains a LBI 411 Twitter account, with updates such as drink specials at local bars, how many crabs he caught in an hour, what it’s like on the beach and how long it took to drive from Beach Haven West to Ship Bottom.
With LBI 411 now available for just 99 cents on the iPhone and iPod Touch, LaPlaca said he hopes to expand to the BlackBerry and Android platforms within the next several months. The application is mostly text-based, with lists, links and RSS feeds, which LaPlaca said should even translate to the iPad well. He also said he hopes LBI 411 will be the first step in both expanding his presence at the Jersey Shore and making the area more easily accessible by the smart-phone-toting community.
“I’m trying to help the businesses down here and offer a new medium for people to find information,” LaPlaca said.
— Ashley Tedesco