Category: Portland

Geek Lunch with David Recordon, OpenID evangelist

OpenIDOpenID aficionados rejoice. I just got word that David Recordon, one of the leading forces behind OpenID development and vice-chair of the OpenID Foundation, will be making a trip to Portland in April.

That’s great news.

Even better news? He’s extending his trip to make time for a Great Portland Geek Lunch on Monday, April 21.

Details are still slim until we get an idea of the number of folks interested in attending. So, if you’d like the chance to meet Recordon and some of the other OpenID-oriented folks in Portland, please RSVP for the Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted as things solidify.

Tweetpeek: Create your own Twitter-based “Pulse of (whatever)”

Arguably one of the most popular Twitter-powered tools in Twitter-happy Portland, Pulse of PDX has had a lot of folks thinking about how to broadcast their own “group-think,” exposing the conversations of Twitter to a much broader audience. Pulse of Open Source is another great—and popular—example.

And so, maybe, you’re interested in doing the same thing by creating your own Pulse of… well, whatever. But, problem being you’re not really in command of the skills it would take to get the Twitter api to bend to your will.

I hear you, brother and/or sister. And that’s why I’m glad to have found Portland’s newest Twitter-based tool, Tweetpeek.

Tweetpeek is designed to help anyone build a pulse-of-anything widget in a few easy steps:

  1. Create a Twitter account for the entity. Take for example, Silicon Florist.
  2. Follow the folks whom you would like to participate in the flow of the conversation.
  3. Head over to Tweetpeek and tell it the name of the Twitter account you created.

And voila! You now have a site or widget to which you can point anyone, Twitter user or not (for shame!).

http://siliconflorist.tweetpeek.com/widget/

That’s right, my friend, you’re now in the business of building api-driven widgets. Just like that.

Tweetpeek was a joint project of Portland’s Michael Richardson and Josh Pyles. The current version is a very early, yet highly functional, build. Even if you’re not interested in building a pulse, I’d encourage you to spend some time with Tweetpeek, because I’m positive that you’ll immediately conjure up some applications for it.

For more information or to build your own, visit Tweetpeek.

Portland Lunch 2.0: The sequel

Portland Lunch 2.0, the opportunity to meet your Portland peers over lunch at one of the area’s cool office spaces, has set the date and location for the next get-together.

The next lunch will be held April 9 at the eROI offices in Old Town.

Come one, come all, whether geek or not. Have some lunch on eROI, mix and mingle with your fellow Portlanders, learn about the tech scene in Portland, go home or back to work happy.

For more information, see the post on the official Lunch 2.0 blog, or if you’re already sold on the idea, RSVP on Upcoming. I hope to see you there.

SXSW: Josh Bancroft featured by Forrester’s Charlene Li

Now, okay. I’ll give you that Josh Bancroft doesn’t exactly work for a “startup.” (He works for a little company called “Intel.”) But no one can deny his impact on the Portland startup scene. Be that his efforts on Ignite Portland, his participation in the Legion of Tech, (both of which are “startups” in their own rights) or even his conversations and guidance via Twitter—he’s a startup guy at heart.

And he’s Portland through and through.

So, it was a proud moment for all of us when he was recognized as a thought leader—or more accurately, a “Revolutionary”—by Charlene Li of Forrester during her SXSW presentation on Sunday.

Dawn Foster of Fast Wonder and Jive Software summed it up best, observing:

[Li] also used Josh Bancroft as an example of someone who made something happen inside a big company using social software (wiki) to create Intelpedia under the radar of the executives (bonus points for a little Portland geek cred).

Other coverage included:

SXSW 2008: Silicon Forest contingent making the sojourn to Austin

It’s hard to believe that the annual geek pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, is almost upon us. That’s right, it’s time for SXSW 2008. The geeky portion of the event, SXSW interactive, begins on Friday, March 7 and runs until Tuesday, March 11.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of Portland and Silicon Forest folks who make the journey down to the event on a regular basis. This year is no different. There’s even a breakfast get-together for Oregon folks organized by Portland Web Innovators.

With all of the folks in attendance, I thought it might be valuable to have a list of what companies and what folks will be down in Austin. (If you don’t appear and would like to be listed, please comment, and I’ll work on updating the list.)

Silicon Forest companies down at SXSW include:

As far as individuals headed down that way, I know of:

This list is by no means complete. Just what I know.

I mean, there are also a ton of Portland people from the creative industry headed down to SXSW. I lost count of the number of Wieden + Kennedy folks making the trip.

So, again, if you’re going down to Austin and you’d like people to know, post to the comments and I’ll continue to update this post.

And for all of you back home in Oregon, please stay tuned to SIlicon Florist for updates on the Silicon Forest contingent and their participation in SXSW. Or feel free to follow me on Twitter. There are sure to be some cool things happening.

Showdango: Find and promote Webinars

I like Webinars, Webcasts, and online presentations as much as the next guy, but it’s rare that I attend one without having randomly stumbled upon the opportunity.Well, all that may change with Showdango, a Portland-based startup that aims to be your source for finding Webinars.

Showdango’s community-driven Webinar index also provides RSS feeds and the ability to automagically add an event to Google Calendar and/or iCal (the GCal and iCal links are included in the RSS feeds to boot).How did Showdango come about?

It all began with a webinar that we attended by Seth Godin. We were so inspired by Seth’s webinar that we decided to look for other webinars, and that is when, regretfully, we found out that there weren’t any good resources for webinars… until now. showdango is the world’s first webinar index, and our vision is to provide a valuable resource that anyone can use to share, view, and track webinars. We hope that you will help us spread the word about showdango.

Showdango was build by CartoSoft, a small geospatial startup based out of Portland, Oregon. The company’s mission is to extend the reach of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to a broader audience through the use of Internet Mapping Solutions.For more information, see the Showdango post on the CartoSoft blog. Or to try it for yourself, visit Showdango.

OEN announces the winner of Angel Oregon (and it’s not a tech company)

I just received the official announcement from Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) naming the winner of the Angel Oregon competition. [Update: Who won the elevator pitch competition? Steve Morris has your answer over on Oregon Startups.]

And unfortunately, for me, the winner is an apparel company. (Upside? They have a blog.)

Well, that doesn’t really fit the Web startup flavor of Silicon Florist, so I’m going to cover the runners-up, instead. Because, honestly, these two finalists have the most potential of becoming regulars here on the Silicon Florist:

  • OsoEco, the first online community that allows consumers to shop and research green products and services with friends, interests groups and consumers
  • Revelation, a software company that optimizes qualitative market research, enabling companies to develop and harness rich understanding of customer experiences, behaviors and needs at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional research techniques

OsoEco and Revelation each received $57,500 investment awards for winning the Sustainability Investment and Technology/Biotech tracks, respectively.

“The entrepreneurs participation in the investor presentation coaching and exhaustive due diligence process really helped them to articulate their business plan and demonstrate the potential return for investors,” said, Bob Ward, Angel Oregon chair. “Angel Oregon is attracting really high caliber companies. Couple that with value of the exposure and the experience that competing companies get, and the value proposition of the event is pretty compelling for Oregon’s economy.”

For more information on the Angel Oregon program, visit OEN.

MIXr: First mobile social networking app with Silverlight touchscreen UI

MIXr Mood Switcher

Today, Portland-based StepChange Group took the stage at MIX08 to demonstrate a groundbreaking new application: the world’s first gesture-driven, Microsoft-Silverlight powered user interface on a mobile device.

The data-driven touchscreen interface, dubbed MIXr, runs in the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 environment, and was a proof-of-concept to showcase the functionality of these cutting edge development environments for the MIX audience.

“It was lots of fun—though nerve-wracking—to have our team sharing the stage with Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie,” said StepChange’s Kevin Tate.

Aside from the Portland angle, why is this newsworthy?

In my opinion, the release of the MIXr application is important for two specific reasons.

First, it proves the viability of Silverlight as an environment for delivering rich mobile applications. And, on a day when the use of these types of technologies in the mobile environment is being rejected by a major player, that’s a pretty big win.

Second, it gives us a glimpse into the future of social networking.

Unlike many of today’s “social networks on mobile devices,” the MIXr application, developed by StepChange in partnership with San Francisco’s Stimulant, demonstrates how the future of social networking may transition to your mobile device.

In other words, this isn’t a “m.” mobile view into an existing social network application; it is the social network application:

[MIXr] uses real-time user updates to track the mood and status of clubs and venues—and helps friends to connect and coordinate with one another during a night out.

It aggregates user ratings, such as a venue’s mood, line length, and music, and uses interactive data visualization to make it easy to figure out what’s hot and what’s not.

“Rich mobile applications are going to quickly change the way we use the Web everyday,” said Tate. “We’re focused on creating applications that leverage the powerful advantages of location, personalization and communication that the mobile environment provides – and have chosen Silverlight as our platform because of its portability and performance.”

For more information on MIXr and developing rich mobile applications using Silverlight, see Stimulant’s post on the MIXr release and StepChange’s announcement on the MIX08 Keynote.

Jive Software selects new digs

Jive Software, the rapidly growing young linchpin of the Portland tech startup renaissance, has been hinting for some time that it was getting a bit too big for its britches building. And with its need to hire showing no signs of slowing, it became clear that a move was inevitable. So, the search began.

Only one question remained: Where to go?

Well, now, that question has been answered as well. The winner? The Federal Reserve Building on SW Stark and SW 9th.

And according to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Jive’s buying up some room to grow:

When the dust settles, Jive will occupy three floors of the building: the current third and fourth floors, and a fifth floor, with a penthouse and more than 37,000 square feet of office space, that’s being added as part of the remodel.

Early reports point to the Jive employees being taken with the new location—or at least the thought of getting some more space. They’ve already affectionately dubbed the new locale “Club Fed.”

And while Jive relieves some growing pains, the rest of the Portland tech community may benefit, as well. Jive is well-known for taking a leading role in hosting Portland tech events and helping to foster (pun intended) a more cohesive tech community, here in town. No doubt, this new space will lend itself more readily to more of the same.

Vocal Nation takes political news in slide

Vocal NationI was recently introduced to Portland-based Vocal Nation, a service that is part feed reader, part social political-news system.

Okay, I hear you. Any time the term “social news” is bandied about, the phrase “Digg clone” immediately jumps to mind.

But, let’s not jump there so quickly. I think Vocal Nation has a specific application and some interesting functionality that make it worthy of a second look, and potentially a strong niche showing.

And I’m not alone in that thinking. Kristen Nicole at Mashable, who has reviewed the tool previously, described Vocal Nation this way:

In an effort to differentiate itself from Digg, Digg clones and the Digg voting system all together, Vocal Nation’s new feature helps set it apart in two primary ways: an automated submission process and a sliding scale used for voting.

The “automated submission process” is Vocal Nation’s feed-slurping feature. Point Vocal Nation at an RSS feed and it will consume the details, automatically feeding articles into the voting system. Not only does it make the current set of articles available to the Vocal Nation community for voting, it keeps track of the feed and continues to update Vocal Nation as the feed updates.

As an example, here’s the Silicon Florist on Vocal Nation.

While Vocal Nation can handle any site’s RSS feed, it becomes truly useful when it’s handling news on politics. And, that’s where Vocal Nation’s second voting slider comes into play. With that slider, the service encourages users to provide feedback on each article’s political disposition. Is it conservative? Liberal? Neutral?

And that news arena is where Vocal Nation could really shine. With the number of political blogs in Oregon, alone, Vocal Nation could prove to be a key to navigating the girth of coverage that is sure to overwhelm us until November. And likely after.

When you combine those submission and voting features with its pleasant UI and some subtle AJAX transitions, the Vocal Nation site merits a second look.

For more information or to try the service yourself, visit Vocal Nation.

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