Month: April 2008

BarCampPortland: Five reasons to attend

[Editor: Leave it to Dawn Foster—chair of Legion of Tech, publisher of Portland is Awesome, and blogger at Fast Wonder—to over deliver. I asked for five reasons to attend BarCampPortland, and she graciously composed an entire post. So, without further ado…]

BarCampPortland:
Portland Geek Culture: building an active tech community in Portland, Oregon

BarCamp PortlandBarCampPortland is an unconference for the Portland tech community, produced by the Portland tech community. It is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. BarCampPortland is also an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. You never quite know what to expect at BarCamp.

The event will be held on May 2, 3, and 4th at CubeSpace. When you arrive on Friday, there will be an agenda framework (times / rooms), but the content for the sessions will be decided by the participants. You can expect interesting topics, cool people, wifi, fun activities, and more!

You can watch this BarCamp video if you want to learn more about the BarCamp format and concept.

5 reasons to attend

  1. The participants set the agenda. No big, corporate conference planners deciding what you want to hear; you get to decide what we talk about!
  2. Fun! We have plans for evening werewolf, other games, and maybe even a movie on Saturday night.
  3. You get to hang out with cool people. Last year about 250 of the coolest people in the Portland tech community attended.
  4. The format is highly interactive: you can ask questions, contribute, and participate. Keep in mind that roundtable discussions work better than presentations at BarCamp.
  5. All topics are welcome: open source, wiki, programming, knitting, online communities, science fiction, and much more. Get creative with your topics. Want more time on a topic or want to hold an adhoc discussion? We have plenty of flexibility built into the BarCamp format.
  6. Bonus: You can get a cool t-shirt if you donate to BarCampPortland by april 26th. Design by Brash Creative will be announced mid-week.

If you have not yet RSVPed on Upcoming, please do it now. Having an accurate count of attendees really helps us plan the event!

Holding events can be expensive, so we are still looking for sponsors. None of the organizers make any money on the event – all of the sponsorship money goes toward event costs. The more money we raise, the more we can do for the event. If your company is interested in sponsoring, please contact Selena Decklemann (selenamarie on gmail).

For more information, visit the BarCampPortland wiki.

Silicon Florist is a proud sponsor of BarCampPortland.

37signals: Start up your startup somewhere else (like Portland)

It seems everyone is getting into the Silicon Valley bashing, as of late. But that’s what happens when you’re at the top.

And while I’m not going to pile on with the negativity, I thought a recent 37signals post—entitled “Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco?“—brought up one very positive point that we should all bear in mind:

So stop worrying to much about where you are and start worrying about how you’re going to make your business succeed the old fashion way: Through having a better product than the competition that people are willing to pay for.

Every single day, I’m lucky enough to talk to people who get this. People who have started amazing companies here in Portland and the Silicon Forest.

But you know what else is interesting?

We’re starting to become a destination, as well. We’re starting to attract both the talent and the companies to employ that talent. Companies that have chosen to come to Portland to succeed. Companies like Vidoop, LUNARR, Intrigo, Jive, WeoGeo… the list goes on and on.

All of these companies see something special here in Portland. And that is even more exciting.

(Hat tip Josh Bancroft)

toonlet phones it in

Portland-based toonlet, the only Silicon Forest based service I’ve found that holds the promise of turning you into the next Jim Davis Scott Adams Matt Groening, has released a couple of recent updates that have made the joy of creating toonlets more, well, joyful.

Much like Bruce Banner gaining superpowers after being accidentally irradiated, the toonlet team has discovered that a series of recent Safari-focused improvements have imbued toonlet with superpowers of its own. And you reap the benefit.

So—wait—maybe it’s you that has the superpowers and toonlet is more like the radiation giving you those powers?

I don’t know. My analogy kind of fell apart there.

Anyway. Suffice it to say that, thanks to these Safari improvements on toonlet, you gain the ability to create, compose, and edit toonlets from your Apple iPhone (or someone else’s iPhone if you wish).

In fact, I created the toonlet below from my iPhone. (Yes, I agree. It’s unfortunate that they have yet to fix the “lacking humor” problem. Baby steps.)
http://toonlet.com/embed/strip?i=9156

Second, and easily more important, toonlet has added an “edit” feature for its strips. So now, when you make typos, pick the wrong character, or write something unfunny… Not that that happens to you. I mean, you’re always funny. But if someone less talented than you were to make that sort of mistake, now they can go back and make the toonlet better.

As always, toonlet remains the conversational comic strip service, allowing you to comment on other’s toonlets with toonlets of your own. So please, by all means, head on over and tell me how unfunny that strip above is by creating your own toonlet.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 21

Transmit 3.6.6 is now available

Steven Frank writes “Shortly after releasing 3.6.5 last week, we discovered that TransmitSync (a helper application for syncing Transmit favorites over .Mac) was crashing under certain configurations and circumstances. (You would receive a ‘TransmitSync has unexpectedly quit’ dialog if affected.) This is fixed in 3.6.6”

Twictionary: A Twitter Dictionary Wiki

Aaron Hockley writes “Today on Twitter there was some sort of discussion about some word that was a mashup/mangling of ‘tw’ plus some other word. I decided there should be a directory of such words. A twictionary, if you will. And thus was born Twictionary, a wiki-based glossary for twitterisms.”

High-tech’s no longer Oregon’s high point

Mike Rogoway writes “Oregon startups have rarely transformed into major employers, but that isn’t stopping an array of very small businesses from dreaming really big. Companies such as Jive Software, Iovation Inc., Platial Inc. and Ensequence Inc. together won millions in venture capital backing last year. Online connections and offbeat public forums such as Ignite Portland link Oregon software developers across companies. That ‘cross-pollination,’ as it’s known in the startup community, has created a fervor for new ideas that was largely absent in the collective pall that followed the dot-com era. “

Seeing the Forest AND the Trees: Using Social Media to Enhance Community

Bob Uva writes “I’m doing a new community film project entitled ‘Using Social Media to Enhance Community’ (until I can come up with a better name). This film will briefly explore what social media is (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogging, wikis) followed by interview clips, short screencasts, and some fly-on-the-wall views of at least one in-person meeting of people who are involved in social media.”

OpenID Usability: Two Solutions That Could Take OpenID Mainstream

Marshall Kirkpatrick writes “JanRain, owners of MyOpenID.com, and ConfidentTechnologies are both making announcements that could help make OpenID much friendlier. Confident is the half of Vidoop that serves enterprise and financial institutions.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

WebWare 100 loves Sandy

SandyEveryone’s favorite anthropomorphic digital assistant, Sandy—the smartest hire Portland-based Values of n has ever made—is now even more popular, given that she’s been named as one of the WebWare 100.

I hope she’ll still take my tweets.

While much of Sandy’s personality has fallen by the wayside in the WebWare write-up, I’m including it for those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Sandy:

[S]imply add “her” as an e-mail contact to get started. Sending Sandy an e-mail with a small message will have the system scan what you wrote and convert into an e-mail reminder or calendar appointment that will be sent back to you at whatever time you note. It also has been designed to work with the popular microblogging service Twitter, letting users remotely set reminders while away from their regular e-mail.

At first blush, Sandy appears to the only Portland type to get a nod, although Vimeo, whose Dalas Verdugo lives here in Portland, also received the honor of being named to the list.

If you happen to see a Silicon Forest based on company on the WebWare 100 winners list that I overlooked, please let me know.

Yes, yes. I’m asking you to help me out. I’d really appreciate another set of eyes. Go to it, cub reporter!

ConfIdent people are attractive, especially when it comes to OpenID

And more OpenID news is rolling off the presses here in the Rose City. Portland-based ConfIdent Technologies, the new spinoff from recent Portland-transplant Vidoop, has announced partnership deals with ClaimID, Clickpass, and ooTao for its RecognitionAUTH™ technology, a patented system that does away with traditional passwords in favor of managing security credentials with images.

In related news, Vidoop has announced that the new JanRain OpenID ID Selector will be incorporated into the Vidoop affiliate program.

The ConfIdent announcements are important for a number of reasons.

First, partnerships of this nature continue to introduce concepts and technologies that hold the promise of moving OpenID from the realm of “cutting-edge technology types” to “everyday Web surfer.”

Second—and perhaps more importantly—it is a major step forward in security that is both more rigorous and yet, at the same time, easier to manage for both users and adopters. With ConfIdent’s system protecting the identity of the OpenID holder, stealing OpenID identities just became a great deal more arduous—if not nearly impossible.

And third, this kind of news is just another reminder that Portland is well on its way to becoming an OpenID powerhouse—if not a full-fledged tech hub. Lest we forget that, today, as two major OpenID announcements dropped, the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation was in town for a lunch at Huber’s with the Chair of the OpenID Foundation and a variety of other folks from the community.

That’s a lot of OpenID activity for one day.

And other Portlanders, like Marshall Kirkpatrick (who also happens to be the fifth most influential tech blogger around), are beginning to make note of the trend:

Already the home of the inventor of the wiki (Ward Cunningham), the initiator of the Linux kernel (Linus Torvalds), a boatload of RSS and OpenSource-heads, Portland Oregon is also becoming a hotbed of OpenID work.

Here’s hoping that trend continues. (I’ve already done my part, by finally repairing the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments.)

For more information on the partnership announcement, read the ConfIdent Technologies release. For more on the technology behind ConfIdent, read up on RecognitionAUTH.

OpenID ID Selector promises to make OpenID less geeky

This week, Portland-based JanRain will be unveiling their latest contribution to the OpenID community: a compelling means of simplifying OpenID logins for the everyday user called ID Selector. With ID Selector, JanRain has managed to reduce the complexity—and, well, geekiness—of the OpenID login process in the same way that products like AddThis have simplified the social-media-submission process.

JanRain OpenID ID Selector

Long story short, the ID Selector reduces your OpenID login to clicking an icon and providing a username. It’s a shrewd move, given that every OpenID provider has a standard structure for its URLs, a structure that allows JanRain to reduce the amount of user input to a traditional “username.”

JanRain has always done a great deal of the heavy lifting when it comes to working on OpenID and being open with the libraries they’ve developed. So they understand how to work for the greater good when implementing OpenID solutions.

Their take on the OpenID ID Selector is no different. It allows the folks who implement it to customize the providers that show and the order in which they are listed—even if that means JanRain’s MyOpenID doesn’t make the list.

This is yet another step forward for OpenID and its burgeoning user base. And, truly, one of the first ways I’ve seen that highlights to everyday Web users—millions of people who use services like AOL, Yahoo!, and Blogger—that they already have live OpenIDs which they could be using to manage services.

It’s great for users, but it could also mean some exciting developments for the companies who choose to become OpenID providers. Rafe Needleman of WebWare, for example, sees a simplified OpenID moving into the realm of loyalty programs:

Major sites, like portals, could still do a much better job pushing the OpenID concept. That would be good for them, not just because it’d make OpenID more accessible to users, but because there’s a lot of brand affinity that sites can win by having users authenticate against their sites even when they’re using some other company’s service. Think of OpenID branding as the affinity credit card of the Web: Every time a user logs on to a service they’d get the authenticator’s brand popped up in front of them — just like Harley-Davidson does when its Visa affinity card users make purchases.

JanRain, not surprisingly, gets this, and will provide a complete white-label OpenID technology infrastructure for companies or brands that want to become authenticators. So if you want to log on to Web sites with an ID from your alma mater or local Rotary club, JanRain will make that possible.

But we still have a ways to go, before we get there. Allen Stern of CenterNetworks is wondering if part of the problem might be the marketing of the “OpenID” name itself:

From my side, I am starting to believe that we don’t need to market the term ‘OpenID’ to consumers. No one cares about the technology, they only want to login to their favorite service using their AOL or Google id. It’s like TCP/IP, no one cares how it works, just that our email shows up in the inbox and Twitter loads when we want to tell our friends we just saw Britney at CVS.

Clearly, we’re not out of the geek forest yet. But JanRain is making significant strides to see that we’re on our way.

For more information, visit JanRain.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 21

Unix Rockstar Job, CD Baby

CD Baby writes “Small department specializing in digital distribution for independent musicians seeks one laid-back, self-motivated geek to join our growing content delivery team.”

Who Are The Top Tech Bloggers?

Congratulations to Portland’s own Marshall Kirkpatrick, lead blogger for ReadWriteWeb, on being named the fifth most powerful tech blogger on the planet in TechCrunch’s analysis of the Techmeme leader board.

Portland’s GetRichSlowly.org on Money Magazine’s 100 Best List

Via Around the Sun “GetRichSlowly.org, a personal finance blog written by Portland-area resident J.D. Roth, has been named “Most Inspiring” blog in the May 2008 issue of Money Magazine. GRS is one of three blogs included in the magazine’s annual list of the top 100 ‘people, places, things and strategies worth knowing right this minute.'”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 20

Want a BarCampPortland T-Shirt? Act Now!

Dawn Foster writes “This year we’re asking Portland BarCampers for a small donation if they want an event t-shirt. For a donation of $20, before April 26th, you help support the event (things like the space, food, and supplies) and get an awesome shirt designed by local design group Brash Creative.”

VC investment turns down, especially in Oregon

Mike Rogoway writes “By no means does one quarter constitute a trend — especially in Oregon, where the small sample size makes for high quarter-to-quarter volatility. And Dow Jones VentureSource says it’s too soon to attribute the dip to the national economic slowdown”

It’s official: Venture investment declined in Q1

Venture investment fell 8.5 percent during the first three months of 2008 compared to the final quarter of 2007, according to the new MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The report is a big, comprehensive study that reinforces what everyone already kind-of knew, or at least suspected. It tracked a total of 922 venture deals worth $7.1 billion — in terms of dollars, that’s an 8.5 percent drop.

Unix Rockstar Job, CD Baby

CD Baby writes “Small department specializing in digital distribution for independent musicians seeks one laid-back, self-motivated geek to join our growing content delivery team.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for April 18

Five Wrong Ways to Pitch RWW and One Great Way

This is great advice from Marshall Kirkpatrick for any startup looking for coverage from the major tech blogs. And here’s the thing… it works for exceedingly micro blogs like Silicon Florist, too. The first question out of my mouth is usually “Do you have a blog or an RSS feed I can follow?”

Design resources for everyone

Michael Sigler writes “In preparation for my presentation at Beer and Blog I hastily put together this list of useful design resources. I hope people find them helpful. I’m also quite positive I’ve left off quite a few things that are obvious. Please feel free to leave suggestions.”

TannerVision: Updates from the field on EeePC pilots

Via TannerVision “For those keeping up with the status of the ASUS EeePC pilot project, here is some feedback from the teachers actually implementing it. I have included the schools, grades, and subject areas, but not names.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

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