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NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: New York man sees problem, finds solution


The proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” has been bandied about for centuries. When there’s a need, the saying goes, someone usually finds a solution.  There’s been a lot of need this past year, including having an efficient way to set up an appointment to get a coronavirus vaccine. In many states, consumers must browse through several websites before they find an open time in which to get the shot. The search is often time-consuming as well as frustrating. Enter Huge Ma, a New York software engineer for Airbnb. Like many others, he spent hours trying to set up an appointment for his mother to get vaccinated, reports Sharon Otterman for the New York Times. Instead of spending time being frustrated, Ma created a free website that compiles vaccine appointment availability in New York City and New York state and sends the information, in real time, to Twitter. It took Ma two weeks to develop the site, and it cost him less than $50. “It’s sort of become a challenge to myself, to prove what one person with time and a little motivation can do,” he told Otterman. “This wasn’t a priority for governments, which was unfortunate. But everyone has a role to play in the pandemic, and I’m just doing the very little that I can to make it a little bit easier.”

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