Category: Oregon

Stripping in Portland

Portland-based Toonlet is a fun little Web-based Flash application that lets anyone create comic strips.

And while there are a wide variety of illustrations at your disposal, unfortunately there is no “make this funny” button—as is made excruciatingly obvious by the comic I created below.

Toonlet

Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write Web (the blue panel above) also covered Toonlet today, citing:

There’s lots of sites on the web where you can create your own comic strips but few of them let you build your own characters…. Each character you build can have multiple versions, depending on the mood they are in in a particular panel. The variation of characters and moods makes the site a lot of fun to click through.

For more information or to create a comic strip of your own, visit Toonlet. And feel free to share what you create, either by replying to the comic or replying to this post.

[Update] Be forewarned. The traffic from Marshall’s post already took down the server once. And now his story is climbing Digg. So, response times may be a bit erratic. Stick with it. It’s worth it.

(Hat tip Raven Zachary)

AirMail: Portland takes the lead in MacBook Air accessories

Introduced at the MacWorld keynote on Tuesday, the MacBook Air is the new coveted toy serious work machine among the Apple faithful.

But how do you cart that darn thing around? I mean, one slip and it could be gone forever. Whisked away by the wind.

Don’t worry your pretty little head, you little Mac lover you.

Enter AirMail. The only MacBook Air carrying case you’ll ever need.

AirMail Manila folder notebook sleeve for MacBook Air

The brainchild of Portland’s own Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, AirMail promises to be the gift for your favorite spoiled Mac aficionado. Who probably already has every Apple product he or she could possibly ever want. Including a pre-order receipt for the MacBook Air.

Only $29.95. While supplies last. Act now!

(Hat tip Bram Pitoyo)

wired.MD gets wired into a new parent company

Portland-based wired.MD, which focuses on helping healthcare organizations provide health education to patients and consumers, has announced its acquisition by Krames, the leader in patient education, headquartered in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

According to a message posted by the CEO, Mark Friess, wired.MD will continue to produce and distribute content, with the benefit of having more capital and resources at its disposal.

We will continue to provide the same suite of products that we have to date, with an effort to continue to expand our video library to meet the needs of our clients and partners. Our team in Portland remains at the ready to assist you in whatever needs that you have regarding your wired.MD videos and applications…. Most importantly, this will allow wired.MD to achieve the legacy as both a pioneer in video patient education, as well as cementing our ability to lead that vision for years to come.

wired.MD was founded in 2000 with the hopes of “empower[ing] healthcare professionals to improve patients’ healthcare experience and reduce costs by making patient education more engaging, effective, and efficient to deliver. ”

For more information, visit wired.MD.

Apparently, CLIQ didn’t click with its new owners

CLIQ, a dynamic blogroll widget which has been running in the sidebar of the Silicon Florist since I covered the tool in September 2007, is being shutdown as of January 31, 2008.

The widget was built by Portland-based StepChange Group in concert with Offermatica.

CLIQ was created as a joint-venture with our partner Offermatica – the leading online testing optimization platform, which was recently acquired by Omniture, Inc. StepChange managed all aspects of CLIQ’s strategy, design, development and has managed launch process for Offermatica (including the Private Alpha and Public Beta Programs).

I spoke to Kevin Tate of StepChange Group to get his perspective on CLIQ’s demise. He said his organization was taking the news in stride, seeing it as an opportunity for more Portland-centric efforts.

“While we’ve enjoyed working on CLIQ, we’re frankly looking forward to having more bandwidth at StepChange to put toward our own product development,” said Tate. “From a ‘Portland Perspective,’ it feels good to be able to let some of our project work go, so that we can spend more energy building a great software company here in PDX.”

The news of CLIQ’s shutdown was broken by Jeffro2pt0, who had this to say on the demise of the fledgling widget:

[W]hy Cliq is shutting down?

As it turns out, CLIQ was a client of Offermatica, INC and was built as a way to extend their story into the social media space. Well, Offermatica has since been acquired by Omniture. Omniture already has a number of projects within the social media space and therefor, it makes no sense for them to continue development and funding for Cliq.

Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, who covered the story for Mashable, offered a similar assessment:

Clearly, part of the reason the service is being shut down is that it didn’t receive the traction it needed to survive the merger; other projects within the Omniture family had a wider userbase in the same space.

Personally, I found the widget useful, inasmuch as it provided additional metrics for determining what Silicon Florist traffic was generated by other Portland blogs. Plus, it served as another yardstick for assessing the popularity of companies, subjects, and stories.

Finally, I’m a bit chagrin to report that CLIQ also gains the dubious honor of being the first tool covered by Silicon Florist to go under.

An email will be sent to all CLIQ users, informing them of the Omniture decision.

Startupalooza announces date, initial speakers

It’s official! After some stealthy preparation, Startupalooza, the latest Portland-technology event from the Legion of Tech team, has been slated for March 29, 2008. The event will be held at CubeSpace.

What’s the deal?

Starupalooza is an interactive forum for the Portland tech startup community. It’s where you can find out about cool tech startups, learn from successful tech entrepreneurs and meet local tech-business people. The event features discussions, presentations, demonstrations and networking allowing participants to share, learn and connect in a candid, no-BS environment.

Oh, and I did I mention, it’s free?

A number of speakers have already been announced:

For more information, visit the Startupalooza, subscribe to the RSS feed, or follow @startupalooza on Twitter. To RSVP, visit the Startupalooza page on Upcoming.

Google Android likes Jive Smack

If you don’t think that’s the weirdest headline I’ve ever written, I’ll give you five bucks. But you have to cite the weirder one.

Portland-based Jive Software has just announced that Android, a free mobile platform designed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance, incorporates Jive’s open-source eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) library, Smack.

Recently Gato, the lead engineer for Jive’s Real Time team, came across this post from Davanum Srinivas that talks about how to use the Smack XMPP library built into Android. Smack’s inclusion in Android was news to us, but we’re honored that our work will be included in one of the most anticipated technology releases in the mobile world since the iPhone.

What’s that mean? Well, in simple terms, it means that, in the future, Jive’s contribution to the project could be helping to power instant messaging on millions of mobile phones.

For more information, see the original post about Android and Smack or the Jive posting. Paul Biggs also covers the announcement, as does Metafluence and Fast Wonder.

Discogs rocks the Portland Start-up Index, now at 40 sites

A few weeks ago, I reported on the Portland Start-up Index, a ranking of Portland-area startups compiled by Techvibes, based on the average of Alexa and Compete rankings for each Web site. At that time, there were fewer than 30 sites listed on the index. And I noted it was a bit “apples and oranges,” but interesting nonetheless.

Well, apparently, things change quickly around here.

Techvibes has released their first update to the index. And some interesting things have happened.

Not only has the index grown to 40 sites, but now, the top position—formerly held by Portland-based media-widget-wonders SplashCast (#2)—has been soundly claimed by Discogs (#1), a community-built discography engine that is working to categorize artists, labels, and their recordings. Perhaps most interesting about this change is that Discogs’ combined average (4,648) is nearly 50,000 points higher than SplashCast’s (53,642).

Other new entries I noticed (when the index updated, the original list became inaccessible) include Grabb.it (#10), fmyi (#18), Goboz (#20), and Free Range (#27).

And because it has become clear that—without a snapshot of the list today—we’ll be unable to compare the next rev to the previous one, the entire list is included, below. (For actual Alexa and Compete numbers associated with the rankings, please visit Techvibes. They did the research and rightly deserve the traffic. I’m simply republishing to save the information.)

  1. Discogs
  2. Splashcast
  3. Sandy
  4. MyOpenID
  5. Earth Class Mail
  6. Cliq
  7. Gone Raw
  8. Stikkit
  9. NetworthIQ
  10. Grabbit
  11. Attensa
  12. KnitMap
  13. Walker Tracker
  14. Pibb
  15. UrbanDrinks
  16. Iovation
  17. GadgetTrak
  18. fmyi
  19. Imindi
  20. Goboz
  21. Picktastic
  22. Art Face Off
  23. Box Populi
  24. Pheedo
  25. ChoiceA
  26. Lunarr
  27. FreeRange
  28. Kumquat
  29. Kryptiq
  30. GoSeeTell
  31. Avnera
  32. Techchex
  33. Lumeno.us
  34. Workplace2go
  35. Jama Software
  36. MomHub
  37. Lightfleet
  38. YourList
  39. Cendix
  40. IDP Solutions

Being the astute reader you are, you’ll likely notice a few missing.

For the second time around, Portland’s wiki-based Web-site-information site, AboutUs, remains conspicuously absent from the list. As does the highly recognized, funded, and awarded Jive Software.

It will be interesting to see the shuffling that occurs once those sites are added.

And, again, the arguments will likely surface about this being a rather superficial means of assessing impact in the market. And how it is an unfair comparison among widget-based tools and Web-site-based tools.

That’s true. But it is an available—and somewhat objective—metric. And it does provide a reasonable indicator of Web traffic from the user population that has download either of the tracking toolbars.

Uh oh. You see it coming don’t you? Oh, all right. I can’t keep anything from you.

If you think that the Alexa and Compete rankings are misleading metrics, what metrics would you propose we use to rank the Portland-area startups? (And perhaps, more importantly: Do rankings even matter?)

If we can answer those questions, then maybe, just maybe, the Silicon Florist could publish an index that provides a clearer picture. Maybe. If you want.

Meet: Portland Web Innovators discuss mobile Web, February 13

Portland Web Innovators has announced the topic of their February meeting: Mobile Web. And who better to speak on the subject than local mobile expert Jason Grigsby of Cloud Four?

Grigsby is one of those folks who is mildly excited by the prospects of the mobile Web. In his own words, “It isn’t possible to ignore the mobile Web any longer. So much opportunity for new discovery, new applications, and ways to make people’s lives better.” And his enthusiasm about the subject is infectious.

To read more of Grigsby’s thoughts on the mobile Web, see recent posts on his personal blog, User First Web, and the Cloud Four blog.

Plan on joining the Portland Web Innovators at Nemo Design on SE Belmont. To RSVP, visit Upcoming. For more information, visit Portland Web Innovators.

Digital Watermarks: Has Digimarc’s time finally come?

Beaverton-based Digimarc, while far from being a startup, is—like many startups in the Silicon Forest—very much in the position of being way ahead of its time in terms of digital watermarking. (Full disclosure: I used to work there.)

But the impending demise of music DRM may be just the opening Digimarc needs to shine. At least, Wired’s David Kravets thinks so.

In an article entitled “DRM is Dead, But Watermarks Rise From Its Ashes,” he asserts:

Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks. At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser. So far, though, labels say they won’t do that: Warner and EMI have not embraced watermarking at all, while Sony’s and Universal’s DRM-free lineups contain “anonymous” watermarks that won’t trace to an individual.

The article also goes on to mention:

Microsoft is betting on watermarking’s future, winning a patent for a “stealthy audio watermarking” scheme called El Dorado in September.

I’m betting that Digimarc’s digital-watermarking-patent portfolio would likely be an area of interest, as well.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this flag raised. It will be interesting to see if it elicits a rallying cry, this time around.

For more information, visit Digimarc. For more on the benefits of digital watermarking, visit the Digital Watermarking Alliance.

Pulse of Portland begins beating

The Portland-area Twitter hits just keep on coming.

In the “links arrangement” below, I highlighted a post that Scott Kveton published yesterday, where he mentioned an idea for following what Portland was talking about on Twitter. Today, Josh Bancroft made it a reality.

Pulse of PDX has launched.

How does it work? Anyone from Portland who is followed by @pulseofpdx on Twitter (and following @pulseofpdx is the easiest way to be added) will be added to a stream of comments that are published to the Pulse of PDX site.

So, if you’re not using Twitter (For shame! Here’s how you get started), you’re still dipping your toe in the Twitter water, or you’re not really interested in following all of Portland and Vancouver, try checking out Pulse of PDX and listen in on the talk of the town, today.

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