Category: Oregon

Ignite Portland hits the mainstream press

We’ve been waiting for this to hit, and now it has.

I couldn’t be happier to announce that Ignite Portland has gotten real ink (as opposed to the pixels I dedicate to the subject [Full disclosure: Silicon Florist is a sponsor of Ignite Portland 2.]) in The Oregonian. Not only that, it’s front page news. Well, front page of the Living section. But that’s a front page. And front page is front page in my book.

Ignite — a Seattle invention that spread worldwide — came to Portland last fall courtesy of several self-described geeks in their 20s and 30s. They knew each other through the social networking site Twitter and techie workshops called BarCamp. If they thought Ignite was cool, the group figured, so would some other Portlanders.

Boy, did they. Response was so overwhelming, the Ignite crew plans to host quarterly events — starting now.

As always, news quickly percolated throughout the Portland Twitter crowd. And Dawn Foster has announced the article in Fast Wonder, with pictures by Scott Kveton:

w00t! We made the front page of the living section in the Oregonian with a really nice write-up about Ignite Portland. You have to buy the Saturday paper edition to get the full write-up. I’m curious what this will do for RSVPs?

The Q&A style article has many members of the Legion of Tech—the force behind the event—chiming in to round out the picture of Ignite Portland and its purpose. Quoted are Josh Bancroft, Audrey Eschright, Dawn Foster, Todd Kenefsky and Raven Zachary.

Raven Zachary has covered the coverage on the Ignite Portland blog, including additional folks who also deserved recognition:

[T]he print version is worth the trip to the store to buy a copy for $0.50. There are a few people whose names were not mentioned in The Oregonian article who have been a big help with Ignite Portland planning – Scott Kveton, Adam Duvander, Aaron Hockley, Ann Marcus, the rest of the board of Legion of Tech, Renny Gleeson, and a whole host of volunteers who help from crowd control to cleanup and everything else that needs to be done to make Ignite Portland operate smoothly. Thank you!

And, Banana Lee Fishbones sums up the appeal of Ignite Portland very nicely in her coverage on Metroblogging Portland:

Specifically in Portland this event has a great story: Some geeks from here were in Seattle for a conference that happened to coincide with the Seattle Ignite event. They went and loved it. When they got home they thought, “Why don’t we do something like that here?” and they went out and did it. And it was good. And it is stuff like this that makes me love living here. “Hey that would be cool, let’s do that!” and then DOING IT. Not sitting around bitching that nobody else is doing it for them.

To read the print article in pixels, see “What’s on your mind? You’ve got five minutes…” from The Oregonian, Saturday, January 26, 2008.

And perhaps most importantly… Obviously this increase is exposure will have an impact on the number of attendees. Please make sure to RSVP if you’re planning to attend.

BREAKING: Portland Startup Weekend

Just a quick note to let you know that your votes for have counted. Portland now has a Startup Weekend of its own.

Thanks to all of you have taken the time to vote. I think this could be a really interesting event for Portland and our community.

Details are still slim, but the date is set for the weekend of May 23 – 25.

More as details become available.

For more information, visit Startup Weekend.

Lunch 2.0 comes to Portland

Sometimes, there are people at a cool company with whom you would really like to meet. But maybe they’re the competition. Or it’s hard to get on their schedule. Or you’re just not the kind of person to hit them up for lunch.

Lunch 2.0 was designed to solve this problem. An event started down in the Silicon Valley—where churn can be exceptionally high—Lunch 2.0 is designed to give colleagues an opportunity to stay in touch. No matter where they’re currently employed.

We read about these companies in the blogs, and we use their products, and we’d probably all love to see how these companies and people live and work, but we don’t. Even though they’re like 5 minutes away from us, and they’re full of people just like us that would love to see how we live and work too!

And now, Portland’s Jake Kuramato of Oracle Apps Lab is working to bring Lunch 2.0 to Portland.

The inaugural Portland Lunch 2.0 will be held Wednesday, February 27 from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM at the AboutUs offices, located at 107 SE Washington Street, Suite 520 in Portland.

Here’s hoping you take this opportunity to spend some time with a number of Portland bloggers, entrepreneurs, and just darned interesting folks. I’m planning to be there, if schedule permits. And I hope to see you there. RSVP for Portland Lunch 2.0 on Upcoming.

Portland Topic o’ the Day: XMPP

Seems like I couldn’t read a Portland feed today without encountering a reference to Portland-based Jive Software’s Matt Tucker and his post on XMPP, entitled “XMPP (a.k.a. Jabber) is the future for cloud services.”

It even hit the front page of Digg.

And finally it sunk in: if everyone in Portland is blogging about it, maybe, just maybe, it’s important.

First off… What is XMPP? The acronym stands for eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. To be simplistic, think of it as XML for IM and buddy lists. (You don’t read this blog for the brilliance of my technical mind—and if you do, I have a few things to say to you—so if you’re interested in more, you could read Wikipedia’s XMPP entry or you could visit the XMPP Standards Foundation.)

But the buzz, today, is all about its potential.

In his post, Matt asserts:

[C]loud services aren’t real-time, won’t scale, and often can’t clear the firewall. So, it’s time we blow up those barriers and come to Jesus about the protocol that will fuel the SaaS models of tomorrow–that solution is XMPP (also called Jabber) . Never heard of it? In just a couple of years Google, Apple, AOL, IBM, Livejournal and Jive have all jumped on board.

Dawn Foster, also of Jive Software, continues the thread in her Fast Wonder post, “How XMPP (Jabber) Can Do So Much More Than IM,” mentioning:

I think it is about time we moved beyond the old model of polling and into new, more efficient paradigms. As we come to expect real time, always available tools on the web, we should be thinking about using real time collaboration technologies (like XMPP).

Justin Kistner of Metafluence and Beer and Blog highlights the post, as well. And, word around the campfire is that Portland-based blogger, Marshall Kirkpatrick, is working on a post about it. (Which I’ll link up as soon as it hits.)

As promised, Marshall Kirkpatrick has published a very thoughtful and insightful piece on the XMPP discussion, entitled “Could Instant Messaging (XMPP) Power the Future of Online Communication?” which includes both arguments for:

Ask yourself what a decentralized, open source infrastructure for real time communication could offer. A lot. As an RSS-head, I’d love to see XMPP let my various RSS clients do more faster and get bogged down in fewer unnecessary activities. RSS is all about speed for me but clients can only do so much so often when they have to pester someone else’s server every time they want to check for new information. Those delays can be of real consequence.

And against the potential of XMPP:

First, so much of what’s already been developed is web-centric, based on http, that the options for mashup-fodder are relatively limited for XMPP….The second argument against this rosy picture of the future could be that open standards-based technology falls outside the profit model of many larger companies. If one vendor can corner their respective model with proprietary technology and charge a monopolist’s premium for superior service, then a standards based competitor will have their work cut out for them.

So, Portland—open source mecca we are—seems pretty excited about the potential here. Just a heads up for you, gentle reader, that XMPP might be in your future. Best get up to speed by reading the XMPP post that started the discussion.

Watching the Watcher watching Portland

Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher has a recent post that touches on an interview with Hideshi Hamaguchi and Toru Takasuka of Portland-based startup Lunarr. (You may also remember Hideshi for his presentation, “How to live like Japanese in Portland” at the first Ignite Portland.)

What struck me about “Portland’s High Tech Community And The Space To Think” was this little gem:

When I met with them four months ago, I asked why did they choose Portland as the home base for Lunarr, why not Silicon Valley? After all, there are many companies moving to Silicon Valley every day/week to become part of the great conversation that goes on here.

They said that Portland allowed them to think.

Yes, I know it’s in the headline, too. I get that. I’m just a little dense. Apparently, I need more time to think.

The post also touches on Portland on Fire, Raven Zachary’s side project that introduces us to one interesting Portlander a day. A side project which, coincidentally, is always looking for new folks to profile. So head on over there, and participate.

To read the post in its entirety—and to learn why Portland may be a better place for startups than the Valley—visit “Portland’s High Tech Community And The Space To Think

MyStrands joins Data Portability Working Group

Corvallis-based MyStrands, the service that—among other things—lets you share and compare your musical tastes, has announced that they have decided to join the Data Portability Working Group.

A number of folks are putting their hopes in the Data Portability concept. And, to be sure, their recent “skyrocketing into the tech-public consciousness” momentum may have given them the best chance of solving the problems at hand.

As Scott Kveton highlights in the MyStrands post:

We’re really excited about the work that the Data Portability (DP) group is chartered to do. The goal of the group is to build a set of technical and policy blueprints based on existing technologies and concepts that will allow for the free-flow and control of data by users among sites on the web. Taking advantage of the building blocks like OpenID, OAuth and microformats allows the effort to move that much faster….

MyStrands is committed to the Data Portability group because we believe we can really help make things happen and be an integral part of its success.

Coincidentally, another little company you may have heard of—named Microsoft—just announced that they were going to join the Data Portability Working Group, as well. But, I’m not interested in covering that, because a) Last time I checked, they were a bit north of the Silicon Forest, and b) They may have gotten a little bit of press about it already.

In fact, Portland-based blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick has an insightful write-up on the Microsoft news:

Microsoft’s joining the group is an event of sufficiently complex historical meaning that I’m hesitant to try and interpret it here. Microsoft has both been the ultimate example of lock-in and also an important force behind other open standards efforts on the web, including OpenID. Though no fan of Microsoft, I am consistently excited about what the Live team in particular does. I’ll look for analysis of this and future news about implementation at Live from my favorite source on the topic, LiveSide.

Deep breath. Okay, I realize I’ve just thrown around a whole bunch of jibber jabber at you, which probably makes absolutely no sense.

Just what is this “data portability” and why would we want it? Here’s a simple explanation. (Apparently, Vimeo’s embed code doesn’t like WordPress, so I’m linking now instead. Apologies for the extra click.)

For more on MyStrands reasoning behind joining, read Why MyStrands is joining the Data Portability Workgroup. For more on the Data Portability Working Group, visit dataportability.org.

Meet: Portland Metroblogs monthly get-together

While I’m totally abusing their Creative Commons license for professional use (I’m willing to withstand Banana Lee Fishbones wrath), I thought it important to mention that the Portland Metroblogs team is hosting a meet-up on Wednesday:

Wednesday, January 23 beginning at 5:30pm
The Chesterfield
1101 E. Burnside (across from Hippo Hardware and next to Portland Rock Gym)

With a full spread. Um, of food:

Metblogs will order some food for everyone, but drinks are on you (or McAngrypants if you compliment his slacks.) The Chesterfield does offer great Happy Hour specials until 7pm.

This is a great opportunity to meet with the folks who run one of the most popular blogs in Portland, Metroblogging Portland.

And if you can’t make it? No worries. We’ll find you another cool opportunity to meet the who’s who of the Portland Web, blogging, and geek community (although, the Metroblogging Portland folks are exceptionally cool).

Oooh. I’ve got it. Ignite Portland, my friend. If you can’t make this meet-up, then make sure to make it to Ignite.

Sandy has more to want

Sandy, the anthropomorphic electronic assistant from Portland-based Values of n, has been brushing up on her skill set. And now, she’s ready to share some more of those skills with you.

First, Sandy now lets you share the love with your friends so you can collaborate on appointments and to-dos, just by letting Sandy in on your email conversations.

Staying organized with friends, family, and coworkers is effortless when I work with them, too.

  • send shared reminders (the movie premiere Friday night)
  • add stuff to each other’s calendars (the dentist appointment)
  • share a to-do list (get those to-dos done together)

…and so much more. No more fussing with different organizing systems and calendar applications — just bring me into the conversation and I’ll take care of the rest.

Second, for you getting-things-done, New-Year’s-resolution types, Sandy has added goals. I mean, Sandy already helps you get where you’re supposed to go in terms of meeting and tasks. But now, she can help you get where you want to go in life, as well:

[W]hat better way to keep your eye on the prize than to write it down and keep it front-and-center as you go about your day.

To that end, we’ve carved out a spot in your Daily Digest to add a goal, guiding principle, or inspirational quote that’ll appear at the top of your Digest email each morning and alongside your appointments and to-dos on your “Today” page.

To meet Sandy, visit I Want Sandy. For more on Sandy’s development team, see Values of n.

Trimet Tracker for your iPhone

Anyone who has ridden public transportation knows the frustration of missing a bus or waiting for a train that is never going to come. Portland public transit, for all the lauding it receives, is no different.

That’s why Matt King, the prolific Portland-based master of the making APIs do cool and useful things, has released a new application for the iPhone to help Portland folks get the TriMet public transit info they need in a format that is actually legible on an iPhone screen.

So I present to to you the Trimet Tracker, an iPhone app that allows you to easily find out when the next bus is going to arrive at your stop. Just enter your Stop ID and you’ll get a list of all the arriving buses (or MAX or Street Car), what time they will be showing up, and how long you have to wait. If you don’t know your Stop ID, you can also do a quick search by picking a route and selecting from all the stops on that route.

To make it even easier, you can also save any stop to your favorites list so you don’t have to enter a Stop ID or search for your stop again. Just hit ‘Favorites’ and select which stop you saved.

The most interesting part about this whole story? It’s written off of a TriMet API. Who knew TriMet even had an API?

Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t ride public transit in Portland? Getting tired of me asking questions? Have no fear. You can still use some of Matt’s other tools, like TwitterWhere, KnitMap, and Unthirsty. (At the time of publishing, Unthirsty was down for maintenance.) (It’s back up.)

For more information, see Matt King’s post on Trimet Tracker.

Tastymate adds an extra ingredient to restaurant reviews

Whether it’s true or not, folks in Portland like to claim that we’ve got more restaurants and bars per capita than any city in the United States. And that has a lot of folks thinking about the ranking and reviewing of those restaurants and bars.

I mean, we have a ton of restaurants. But they’re not all good.

Enter tastymate, a new restaurant review tool, which has quietly launched a BETA of its service.

A Ruby-on-Rails side-project for Graeme Nelson, tastymate was designed to be simple, straightforward, and quick, with a simple premise:

I created tastymate because I wanted a better way to find and share tasty restaurants and bars. I wanted to be able to find tasty spots through my friends and their friends.

“Voting” is based on how many people have added the restaurant or bar to their personal lists of “tasty spots.”

So, it’s another restaurant-review site, you say. What’s the extra ingredient?

The little extra ingredient that makes tastymate interesting—besides its inherent simplicity—is tastymate’s Twitter integration.

Follow tastymate on Twitter and you’ll receive notifications when new folks join or when restaurants are added.

If you have Twitter on all-day, it provides a pretty compelling way to answer the “where should I go to eat?” question when you have recommendations flowing in via your Twitter stream. Especially as the user base continues to grow.

For more information or to register for an account, visit tastymate.

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