Month: June 2008

Scoble interviews Akshay Dodeja of Portland Startup Weekend’s Mugasha

I hate it when I write the whole story in the headline. But, suffice it to say, that Akshay Dodeja, who came to Portland to attend Portland State and happens to be one of the folks who built Mugasha during Portland Startup Weekend, got the chance to sit down with some guy named Robert Scoble.

I don’t know. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

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Incredibly well spoken, calm, and collected. What a great representative of Portland tech startups.

(Hat tip to Troy, the Infovore)

Three reasons to attend Beer and Blog: Vidoop, Vidoop, and, well, Vidoop

Hey! It’s Friday. And it’s going to be nice. And you’ve been working hard. All week. What with having to go to Ignite Portland 3 and the after party and Backfence PDX. I would imagine you’re plum tuckered out.

You deserve to kick back and relax. And what better place to do it than everyone’s favorite Friday afternoon activity, Beer and Blog?

What’s that? You’re “thinking about it”?

Well, clearly, you need a little bit more of a shove. So, let’s give you a few reasons to attend, shall we? How about three: Vidoop, Vidoop, and Vidoop.

  1. Vidoop Troop #2. The next wave of soon-to-be Portlanders has walked uphill in their bare feet, all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma, just to meet you. (They told me they were happy to meet other folks, as well, but they mentioned you by name.) And they actually had to fight their way through a mob of angry Tulsans to get here. They’d really like to meet you. And, you know, “hang out.”
  2. Vidoop is buying. What’s better than a Beer and Blog on a Friday afternoon? A Beer and Blog with free beer on a Friday afternoon, silly. And Vidoop is making that possible. But don’t go to the usual spot. Or you’ll be both lonely and buying your own brews. Head on over to Plan B.
  3. Vidoop is going to reveal a top-secret, skunk-works OpenID project. Seems Michael Richardson has been up to something at Vidoop. Something “that enhances the usability of OpenID.” And he’s going to be giving everyone at tonight’s Beer and Blog a peek behind the velvet curtain. What is it? I don’t know. But all you breaking news blogging types (I’m looking at you Marshall Kirkpatrick) might want to show up to get an early glimpse at some OpenID goodness.

How’s that for convincing? I think you have to be a pretty hard-headed hard-hearted individual to turn this one down.

So, I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Ignite Portland 3: Third time easily as charming as the first two

To those of you who attended Ignite Portland 3, let me start out by apologizing. Because honestly, I feel like a complete ass. When I stepped on to the stage to give my little sponsor pitch, the last thing I expected was the incredibly kind response I received from you. And it kind of took me by surprise.

Okay. Not kind of. It downright flustered me.

So, I’d like to do now what I should have done then—but failed to do. And that is to say “Thank you.”

Thank you so much for the encouragement and support. I can’t really explain how much it means or how humbling it is to have had this really random chance to meet so many of you, the amazing, intelligent, and incredible people of Portland and Silicon Forest. Please know that I really, really appreciate the fact that you take the time to swing by here from time to time. And I feel really lucky to have had the chance to be part of that.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And I really do follow you on Twitter.

So, now where were we? Oh yes! The Ignite Portland 3 round-up.

Well, it seems that the Strands Ignite Portland After Party cut into the amount of blogging that usually occurs after Ignite events. Apparently, everyone was waxing poetic about the event vocally instead of bloggily.

But be that as it may, there are a few posts streaming through. And of course the videos, the pictures, and the tweets. (The usual caveats apply. If I’ve missed your post, photo, tweet, or anything else, please comment and I’ll add it to the list.)

First and foremost, the videos of the presentations…
http://web.splashcast.net/go/so/1/c/PKPF6226XX

Add Ignite Portland 3 to your page

And here’s more on Ignite Portland from the folks who attended

Finally, thanks again to all of the amazing work, countless hours of stress, and “making a great thing even better” effort from the Legion of Tech. You did it again. And for that, you should be congratulated.

Looking forward to Ignite Portland 4.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 19

Vote For Your Favorite Rock Band Site, Rock Music Site & more | 2008 VH1 Rock Honors

Justin Kistner (@metafluence and @beerandblog), who was kind enough to donate the theme design work for Silicon Florist and Ignite Portland, is up for a VH1 award for another blog he designed: The Roxy in LA. How cool is that? Your vote could help him win and give him and Portland some pretty cool cred.

Online Marketing Summit 2008 Regional Tour

The Online Marketing Summit will be passing through Portland on August 5. Interested in attending? SEMpdx can get you in with a 20% discount. Just use the code “IMAPORTLAND.”

May Board Meeting Minutes at Legion of Tech

Want some insight on where the Legion of Tech is up to? They do a great job of providing access to meeting minutes for your edification. (Minutes trail a month due to approval cycles.)

MyStrands goes WidSets: A new way to enjoy music on your cellphone

From the Strands blog “Good news for the mobile enthusiasts out there: MyStrands is now available on Nokia’s WidSets platform, bringing a new way to discover music and see what your friends are listening to, right on your cellphone. In the two weeks MyStrands WidSet has been available, more than 65,000 users have downloaded it!”

Illustrating the Enterprise Octopus

One of the things I love about Jive is how open they are with their creative process. Here’s another entry from Michael Sigler on their latest endeavor.

Tulsa-based Vidoop Moves Out

And Oklahoma is clearly not happy. Their loss is our gain.

Vidoop troop #2: Portland by way of Tulsa

I can’t tell you how great it was having the first wave of Vidoop employees in Portland last week for Beer and Blog. And I have to say, the response from all the Portland tech types who showed up and people who responded to the Vidoop’rs’ questions really made Vidoop feel welcome. It was a true representation of what makes Portland great, through and through.

So you missed it? There, there, gentle reader. There’s another chance! That’s right. The second round of Vidoop visitors have made the sojourn for the tour of their new hometown. And they’re looking forward to hearing all your hyperbolic insight about our fair city.Like their predecessors, Vidoop troop #2 be at the Vidoop-sponsored Beer and Blog, this Friday. (NOTE: Location change folks. Beer and Blog will be at Plan B, this week. Plan B. Did I say “Plan B”?)

So, who’s going to be there? And what’s their deal? Let’s take a few moments to meet this collection of Vidoop’rs (Bonus points if you can figure out what all of these folks have in common—besides being employed by Vidoop and the fact that they’re moving to Portland):

Chad Blomquist, Software developer

What? I help design and implement various products. Recently, I’ve spent most of my time working on our IE and Firefox browser plug-ins, and let me just say, we have some exciting new features in the next release (coming soon).

How? Born in Missouri, raised in Oklahoma. I got a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and stuck around for a master’s in computer science at Tulsa University as a member of the ‘Cyber Corps’. Post graduation I worked for a couple of years at the computer security division at NIST in DC. Two years ago I was recruited back to Tulsa by company President and co-founder Luke Sontag (who I befriended while at TU).

Links? World of Warcraft, NIST

Questions about Portland:

  • How’s the snow skiing?
  • Where are the best places to camp/hike?
  • What is the best restaurant in Portland?

Jennifer Blomquist, Lead Program Manager

What? Product development planning, project management, and general cat herding.

How? Though I’m moving out from Oklahoma, I’ve only actually lived there for about ten months (followed my husband, Scott out after he was recruited to Vidoop). Prior to that I lived in Bellevue, WA working for Expedia and Microsoft. This is my first go ’round with a start up and it’s been quite an adventure! Having spent much of my life in Washington, I’m looking forward to being back in the Pacific Northwest but now exploring a new city! When not working, I dig viewing and participating in theater, dance, puzzling, crafting, and flying (and if you promise to keep a secret, I’m a reality tv and celeb gossip junkie too).

Links? Um… http://twitter.com/nightimp, guess that’s it for now 🙂

Questions about Portland:

  • What’s the best way to get involved in local theater (performing/crew)?
  • Any good teriyaki joints in downtown?
  • Any awesome spots for some pinball madness?
  • Do The Shins play locally very often? (very cool to hear they are from Portland)

Scott Blomquist, CTO

What? Figure out how to ship Vidoop’s crazy ideas and other feats of magic that, to sufficiently advanced civilizations, appear indistinguishable from useless overhead.

How? Born in Missouri; grew up in Oklahoma; studied electrical engineering in Missouri; learned the art of software development at some software company in Seattle’s East Side suburbs; fell in love with the Pacific Northwest; was recruited by my brother Chad (see above) to Vidoop in Tulsa; thrilled to be moving to Portland, although Seattle still feels like home to me; love my wife, my 3 cats, technology, puzzles, and games; I’m also an unapologetic Microsoft advocate.

Links? Puzzle Hunters, Scott Blomquist, Scott Blomquist on Twitter

Questions about Portland:

  • How is Portland cooler than Seattle? [Editor: Um, Microsoft isn’t headquartered near here? Oh, I kid. I kid.]
  • Are there any puzzle fans reading this blog? (@sparckl, you should be if you’re not; any others?)
  • How about puzzle events in Portland? (In the style of Michael J. Fox’s totally-B breakout Disney Movie “Midnight Madness” or otherwise)
  • Best gathering place for a pick-up board game or two?

Now, it’s your turn

There they are! Have some Portland insight that would answer these questions? Please comment. Or, come on over to Plan B on Friday afternoon at 4:00 for Beer and Blog.

As always, I’m looking forward to seeing your bright and shining face there. As is Vidoop. Who is buying.

Oh I see. Now you’re going. I see how you are.

Getting wiki with it: Wiki types (AboutUs included) collaborate on universal wiki edit button

Universal Edit ButtonAs home to Ward Cunningham, father of the wiki, Portland has a special place in the world of wiki. And, of course, we’ve also got AboutUs here—Ward’s current employer—which holds the promise to be one of the leading wikis in the world.

So when something momentous happens with wikis, it affects Portland. And today’s announcement definitely fits the bill.

Introducing the Universal Edit Button.

What is the Universal Edit Button? Well, you know how we’ve all become conditioned to look for the little RSS chiclet as an indicator that an RSS feed is available? This is that same idea—only it’s an icon that indicates a page is editable.

And while the conversations around the concept have been circulating for a few years, like wikis themselves, the actual development took place quite quickly.

“We were at Recent Changes Camp in May, when the discussion about this concept came up again,” said Mark Dilley of AboutUs. “And suddenly it was like ‘Let’s just do this.'”

That was a little over a month ago. And now, 20 different wikis are participating. That’s mind boggling to me. And a testament to the wiki community.

So how will it work? The Universal Edit Button wiki describes it this way:

The Universal Editing Button (UEB) wiki.png will allow a web surfer to more quickly recognize when a site may be edited. It will be a convenience to web surfers who are already inclined to contribute, and an invitation to those who have yet to discover the thrill of building a common resource. As this kind of public editing becomes more commonplace, the button may become regarded as a badge of honor. It may serve as an incentive to encourage companies and site developers to add publicly-editable components to their sites, in order to have the UEB wiki.png displayed for their sites.

Portland’s Marshall Kirkpatrick put it this way:

Leave it to people in the wiki market to know how to collaborate. Nearly 20 different wiki providers have teamed up to offer a new Firefox extension that will notify users whenever they are on a page that is publicly editable, using a standard icon that sits in the same place the RSS autodiscovery icon appears. Clicking on the icon… will take you to that page’s editing interface.

Again, I think this is a huge step forward in wiki collaboration and its great to see. But what I remain even more impressed by? The speed at which this whole thing took place. And the collaboration that helped them achieve it.

I think there are any number of open-source and open-specification pursuits that could stand to learn from this.

For some of the history and discussion of this concept, you can see some of the dialogue on the AboutUs Universal Edit Button page. For more on the sites supporting this fledgingly concept and information on how to participate, visit the Universal Edit Button wiki. Convinced? Here’s the Universal Edit Button Firefox extension.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 18

Award Recipients for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2008 Award in the Pacific Northwest Announced

Dave Hersh from Jive Software wins the E&Y Regional Young Entrepreneur Award and goes on to compete at a national level.

reddit goes open source

From the Reddit blog “Today we’re excited to announce that we’re open sourcing reddit…. When we say ‘open-source’ we mean specifically that the code behind reddit is available to the public for download, and we’re inviting the public to submit code to help improve the site.” Why yes, I am trying to plant ideas in your head. Why should The Oregonian have the only reddit site for local focus? I’m just saying. I mean, Michael Richardson and his cronies know a thing or two about Python, don’t they?

Ignite Portland 3: Tips and Tricks

Finally! It’s time for Ignite Portland 3. That’s right folks. Tonight! One night only! Tons and tons of pulse pounding action! We’ll sell give you the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge!

Oh, I’m sorry. I might have gotten a tad carried away there.

But, seriously, Ignite Portland is a great event. And I’m looking forward to seeing you there. But—like the presentation format—it’s quick. So I thought it might helpful to give you a few tips to get the most out of your experience.

First, the venue info:

Bagdad Theater
3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
7:00 – 10:00 PM

Ticketholders get in at 5:30 PM
General Admission at 6:15 PM
Admission is always FREE

Here are some “Do”s and “Don’t”s that will help you get the most out of your first, second, or third Ignite Portland experience:

  • DO rest up. You’ll need all the energy you can muster. Plus, there’s the after party.
  • DO read the tagging guidance from the Ignite Portland folks.
  • DON’T bring your laptop.*
  • DO bring your camera, your phone, or any other way of capturing the event. Then upload it and tag it using the guidance from the Ignite Portland folks.
  • DO get there early. Really early. I’m serious. Early. Did I say “Early”?
  • DO be prepared to give everyone and anyone your Twitter name. (Don’t use Twitter? Get on it.)
  • DO be nice to all the Legion of Tech folks and volunteers. (They’re all volunteers, actually. And they’re doing this in their free time.)
  • DO talk to Kelly Guimont/@verso/Banana Lee Fishbones (she’s working the door) about Star Wars. (If all else fails, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” or “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” may work.)
  • DON’T be a wallflower. Talk to people in line while you’re waiting to get into the venue. Talk to people while you’re waiting in the food line. The Bagdad is a great venue for presenting, but talking to folks at breaks will take some doing.
  • Now that you’re on Twitter, DO try to tweet about the event and hashtag it #ip3.
  • DO try to get in front of Aaron Hockley and his camera. I swear, that guy even makes me look good. If not him, Kveton will make you look good too.
  • DO take the chance to introduce yourself to me and tell me about the cool side projects you’re pursuing.

It’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

* Unless you’re Jason Harris.

SplashCast makes advertising more immersive, hints of Blade Runner and Minority Report

Having been a marketing guy for most of my career, I’ve always been struck by those movie scenes inspired by Philip K. Dick‘s somewhat nightmarish vision of the future. Like the scenes from Blade Runner (“Let’s go to the Colony!”) and Minority Report (“Hello Mr. Yakamoto! And welcome back to the GAP!”) where the advertising has moved from today’s static format to a more immersive and inclusive medium.

Sure, kind of creepy. But at the same time, in a reckless optimist kind of way, it’s that same type of personalization and interactivity that might actually make advertising relevant—instead of just interruptive.

And while the retinal scans and 3D environments may be a ways off, Portland-based SplashCast could be ushering in a new feature that helps advertising technology take a step in that direction. Case in point: its new SplashCast HotSpot.

So what is it? Well, in simple terms, the SplashCast HotSpot is an interactive product placement. Taking the familiar concept of product placement and extending it to a more interactive and informational component of video.

SplashCast Hot Spot Editor

Huh? Okay, let’s step back.

So, let’s say that you’re watching a video of me writing my latest post on Silicon Florist, trusty MacBook Pro at my side. (Exciting! You need to get out more, my friend.) As the camera pans over the Mac, it’s highlighted. A click on the highlighted area gives you information on the specs and lets you know where you can buy one. Pan by a half-eaten slice of Hot Lips Pizza on my desk, it highlights, and you have the opportunity to order your own slice for delivery. Pan to the screen where you see me working in WordPress. It gets highlighted, and from there you can get information or you could start your own blog on WordPress.com.

Miss the chance to click on one of the highlights? No worries. The links appear on a toolbar at the top of the video, allowing you to access them at any time.

You get the idea. It’s like “choose your own adventure” with product placement. Or, to put it another way, it’s hyperlinking video in the same way we’ve been hyperlinking text and images for years.

When I put it that way, it gets a lot less creepy, hunh?

And while the applications I’ve proposed are fairly remedial—and for the most part trivial—I’m a big believer in people smarter than me. I know someone will come up with some wacky ways to use this new platform for hyperlinking video elements.

Maybe it will be a new way to convey information in video format. Maybe it will be a new way of documenting and tracking video. Maybe it will be a new means of educating folks.

I can’t wait to see how people incorporate this.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for June 17

Depopulating the Silicon Forest

I found this post to be an interesting indicator of the transition of the Silicon Forest, from gigantic lumbering (pun intended) hardware companies to small nimble application companies. I don’t see that many IPOs in our future. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Portland Small Business: Results from user survey

Kevin Spence writes “The most liked portion of the site are the blogs and the biz directory. Every registered user can create an entry for their business in the directory and can blog about their business. The traffic to the blogs has been up over the past month as more users have started blogging.”

GadgetTrak on KATU

GadgetTrak talks with the KATU folks.

Ignite Portland 3, Tonight (er, Tomorrow)!

Peat Bakke writes “Than Ignite Portland is the event for you, and tomorrow is the night to get your rear to the Bagdad Theater. The doors open at 5:30, but get there early — last time we hit capacity and had to turn away a few hundred people, and this time around the early bird tickets were all nabbed within 24 hours.”

Personal Telco Project: Comment on the 6/16 Oregonian Article

Michael Weinberg writes “While I appreciate that in the aftermath of a large failure, such as MetroFi’s Portland network, there is a natural tendency to focus on the failure and to be pessimistic about the future, we feel that the Oregonian and the City are overlooking the great potential that still exists in the hands and minds of individual Portlanders willing to get involved and unwire Portland anyway. Consider this…”
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