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Category: Oregon

Startupalooza: Start making your plans to attend

Portland’s Startupalooza, the March 29th bootcamp for startups—both existing and planned, continues to expand its roster of speakers. And it’s shaping up to be quite a gathering of local startup talent.

As part of the continuing build-out of its schedule, Starupalooza has announced the addition of a Toonlet demo, a Vidoop demo, and the formation of a “Technopreneur” panel featuring Sarah Gilbert of Cafemama, et al., Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWrite Web, Justin Kistner of Metafluence, and some other guy.

Startupalooza is an interactive forum for the Portland tech startup community. Find out about cool tech startups, learn from successful tech entrepreneurs and meet local tech-business people in a candid, no-BS environment. Admission is free.

Mobile Portland getting mobilized

Jason Grigsby, who authored the first Silicon Florist guest editorial on Mobile earlier this week, has some more exciting Mobile news to share: the formation of Mobile Portland, a new user group for folks working and developing in the Mobile space.

The idea for Mobile Portland came from our desire to have a place to share what we’re learning and collaborate with other mobile developers. The idea took hold when during a conversation with Jon Maroney of Free Range Communications after the recent PAF panel on mobile marketing.

In addition to Free Range, early enthusiastic collaborators for a local mobile user group include individuals from eROI, GoLife Mobile and bBoing (a.k.a., Summit Projects). We’re pleased that we’ve got a group of people interested in making this happen.

For more information, see the Cloud Four blog. Or visit Mobile Portland to add your email to their contact list.

Prerequisite Valentine’s Day post

COLOURLovers | Fight for love in the color revolutionIn case you hadn’t heard, it’s Valentine’s Day. And while other florists are generally overwhelmed on this day, this florist is searching desperately for something interesting to tell you, gentle reader.

I mean, aside from “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Thanks to Portland-based Colourlovers, I have something more interesting than that.

Started by Darius A Monsef IV, Colourlovers is well-established social network for creatives that focuses on the creation and sharing of color palettes. And today, pinks and reds are among the palettes of choice.

COLOURlovers is a welcoming, creative and supportive community and we want to hear you shout your love from the mountain tops for color. We want you to stand outside the tree in the front yard, late at night in the rain until color opens the bedroom window and tells you it loves you too. (Please don’t actually wait outside our bedrooms…)

For more, visit Colourlovers.

TwitterThreads: Portland’s love affair with Twitter continues

One of the biggest drawbacks of trying to follow Twitter conversations is that Twitter tends to come at you in one stream. And if you’re following enough people, it’s a fire hose. That said, one of the biggest benefits of using Twitter is that, with the availability of the API, someone is going to figure out how to fix pretty much any Twitter “drawback” you can highlight.

Case in point: TwitterThreads from Portland-based CouldBe Studios, a one-night project that delivers Twitter conversations in—shockingly enough—threaded format. (Man, they should call this thing… oh wait, they already have.)

Developed by Matt Beck, TwitterThreads provides a more conversational view of your tweets, allowing you to see multiple tweets from the same person grouped together or to more easily follow conversations as the @s start percolating.

To see it in action, visit TwitterThreads where you can view the public timeline. Or, login and see how your conversation threads come together.

Guest editorial: Is Portland behind when it comes to mobile?

[Editor’s Note: In a brief flash of humility, I came to the realization that there were any number of experts here at our disposal in the Silicon Forest. Experts who have important things to say. Experts who can help us place the Rose City and the Silicon Forest within the context of a larger picture. Experts who are—quite frankly—more interesting than just little ol’ me.

And with that, I decided that some other viewpoints would be valuable. So welcome to a new feature on Silicon Florist: guest editorials.

First up, please welcome Jason Grigsby of Portland-based Cloud Four.

Knowing full well that one of Jason’s areas of expertise was mobile, I asked him “What’s up with mobile? And how is it going to play in Portland?” And he has graciously replied.

If you find his take interesting (and I know you will) make sure to peruse the mobile series he’s writing for his company’s blog. Or, you might seriously consider attending his presentation at Portland Web Innovators on Wednesday, February 13.

Ack. Looks like my intro is rivaling the length of the content. So, with that, I’ll hand you off to the honorable Mr. Grigsby. Grigs?]

Is Portland behind when it comes to mobile?

People keep asking me whether Portland is behind when it comes to mobile?

I would have never thought to ask this question. If we were behind, what would we do with this information?

Better yet, who would we be behind? San Francisco? Austin? Poughkeepsie?

We might be behind Chicago if Katherine Gray’s out-of-town guests are correct. She wrote to me on Twitter to tell me that her friends wondered why they hadn’t seen many Blackberries in Portland.

Apparently, we specialize in the kind of blackberries that grow on the side of roads and not the ones you carry in your pocket. (Actually, this isn’t true. Oregon’s largest employer, Intel, provides Blackberries as standard issue, and I’ve seen many other business people with them as well.)

If we are behind, what would be the proper measure? The percentage of mobile phone users per capita? The number of smart phone users?

Perhaps these metrics would tell the story. Unfortunately, city-specific data isn’t available.

In the absence of data, I have to fall back to my original, knee-jerk reaction: Of course Portland is behind. The whole country is behind.

In Europe and Asia, both consumers and businesses are more savvy when it comes to utilizing their phones.

  • In Japan, South Korea and China, more people access the web via mobile phones than via PCs.
  • Finland-based Nokia claims 40% of the worldwide market for phones—by far the leading phone manufacturer.

Portland is no more behind than the rest of America. This is one technology surge that we’re late to the game on. And with 3.3 billion mobile devices and growing, it represents the most widespread technology in the world—far surpassing PC, credit cards, and televisions.

Fortunately, there’s still time to catch up before things really take off. Things are lining up for 2008 and 2009 to be big years for mobile. Portland has the perfect combination of technical and creative communities to explore what is possible in this new medium.

I’m excited to see what Portland produces for the Mobile Web.

Jason Grigsby is a founder, Vice President, and Web Strategist at Cloud Four, a Portland-based Web consulting firm focused on Web, Mobile and emerging technology. For more information on Grigsby and Cloud Four, visit Cloud Four. To RSVP for his Portland Web Innovators talk, visit Upcoming.

Toonlet releases embed code

Portland-based Toonlet, the tool that will not only have you writing your own comic strips in a matter of seconds but will also have you using ‘toons as a social networking function, has released an embed code for Toonlets you create.

Okay, geek-talk, what exactly does that “embed code” mumbo jumbo mean?

It means that you can now create strips and then easily insert them into Web pages and blog posts.

This will definitely help folks spread the word about the Toonlet service and will likely increase the adoption. Not to mention increase the value of the social networking features built into the tool.

I’m so excited about it, I’m thinking about making Toonlet a regular part of the Silicon Florist. (It’s a little wide, but this is the first release. Relax.)

http://toonlet.com/embed/strip?i=4989

For more, visit Toonlet.

Silicon Florist: Share your project so I can share your project

I try my best to stay on top of what’s happening in Portland—and the Silicon Forest, as a whole. But much to my chagrin, I must admit that I’m still haunted by the feeling that I’m not covering all that I could be.

I get the feeling that there are still a whole bunch of cool side projects, new Web apps, interesting blogs, amazing companies, and brilliant people that aren’t even on my below-the-RADAR RADAR here in the Silicon Forest.

So, I’m going to ask for a little bit of help.

I’ve thrown together a quick submission form to capture some information about what you’re doing. So that I can add you to my watch list.

You know your project well enough. It should only take a few minutes. So enlighten me.

Even if I happen to have covered you or your projects before, I would encourage you to spend a few minutes filling out the info. Maybe I flubbed your positioning? Maybe you’d prefer another URL? Maybe it would be nice to have me following you Twitter?

Whatever it is, please take a few minutes to share your project with the Silicon Florist, so that I, in turn, can share it with all of the folks who are deeply interested in that cool project upon which you’re working.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing about what you’re doing.

Waxy.org: It’s back and now it’s part of Portland

A few of us here in the Portland area use a little event planning and RSVP service called Upcoming. Actually, at least 600 of us. You might remember Upcoming as the place where Ignite Portland was the second most popular event, next to SXSW. Or you might not.

Either way, what does Upcoming have to do with anything? Isn’t that a service owned by Yahoo!?

Well, yes. But—stick with me here—before it was purchased by Yahoo!, it was one of Andy Baio‘s projects. But not his only project. Another one of his projects has been waxy.org, a popular tech blog. And while publishing was a little haphazard during Baio’s stint at Yahoo!, postings are back on now.

So what does this have to do with Portland? Well, Baio lives in Portland now. So waxy.org is officially a Portland pub. So you should be reading it.

At least that’s the story with which I’m going.

(Hat tip Marshall Kirkpatrick)

Beyond the Forest: OpenID adds Microsoft, Google, Verisign and IBM

With the wealth of OpenID thought here in the Silicon Forest—thanks to folks like JanRain and, soon, Vidoop—any efforts surrounding OpenID are likely to have a significant impact on our tech scene.

When you add names like Microsoft, Google, Verisign, and IBM, [Update: And Yahoo! says Scott Kveton] (I linked all of those, in case you haven’t heard of these folks) that purported impact becomes a foregone conclusion. With today’s announcement, you can rest assured that if you’re in tech, OpenID will affect you. No question.

Scott Kveton, Chair of the OpenID Foundation, has a great roundup post on all of the folks covering this announcement.

Some of the highlights?

Portland’s own Marshall Kirkpatrick advises that the news, while momentous, should be taken with a grain of salt:

All of that said, big vendors have a lot of short term interest in controlling identity silos. It won’t be easy to get their long term interests in openness to prevail. Fortunately, they are participating but are in the minority on the OpenID Foundation board.

Allen Stern of CenterNetworks (Who, as luck would have it, recently featured a brilliant and insightful article on the Silicon Forest… Um. Ahem. Where was I?) maintains that, despite these heavy hitters, the problem for OpenID to solve remains less technical and more educational:

I continue to stand firm that what OpenID needs is marketing more than technology. Yahoo’s implementation of YahooID last week is a good move towards adoption of OpenID across the Web.

And Michael Arrington of TechCrunch offers that for all the excitement, how “openly” the solution is implemented will be the true test of the commitment of these tech giants:

But it’s not clear that any of them are in a hurry to become a “relying party” (allowing users with third party OpenIDs to log in to their sites). OpenID looks like it’s going to be a winner, so big companies making their user accounts OpenID compatible is a good hedge. Everyone, of course, wants to be an ID issuer, since they get to “own” the user. Less attractive is allowing users from other sites to log into your services, so don’t expect that functionality to come for some time.

From the vantage point here in Portland—especially with our wealth of OpenID expertise here—I maintain that this could herald the start of a very important upswing for our community. One in which Portland and its OpenID providers have the opportunity take a leading role on an international stage.

I, for one, am anxious to watch this story develop.

Silicon Forest and the Identity Management Working Group

Sometimes, I get pretty focused on OpenID-flavored identity management. But there are other startups in town working on a different type of identity management. The kind that involves your offline existence. (If there is a such a thing.)

The Santa Fe Group, a respected consultancy focusing on fraud reduction, has just announced the formation of its “Identity Management Working Group.” Among the group’s top concerns will be the growth of business identity theft, in which bogus entities use existing business names to compromise business accounts.

And the group has two Silicon Forest ties, one direct and one tangential.

First, the direct. Rick Kam of ID Safeguards, a Beaverton-based startup focusing on the identity fraud protection and compromised identity recovery, has been named the chair of the new organization.

“Collaboration is a critical component of curbing identity theft ,” said Kam. “This group will work together and with the industry at large to share knowledge that will find new and effective ways to protect us all.”

Second, the tangential. CheckFree, parent company of recently acquired Hillsboro-based startup Corillian, is also part of the working group.

Interesting news for the Silicon Forest, and perhaps the early rumblings of an opportunity.

What if all of the “identity” focused folks here in town got together and started working on this whole problem? I’m thinking these fraud protection folks, the Portland-based OpenID folks like JanRain, and the soon-to-have-a-Portland-office, rethinking-online-credentials Vidoop folks could have a pretty interesting conversation.