Category: Shizzow

Portland’s PingGadget purports to take a page from Twitter and a page from Foursquare

Sometimes, there is a better wheel. Sometimes, a market has an 800 lbs gorilla that could use a little toppling. And yes, sometimes, I use inane marketing drivel when I can’t think of any better way to get into an article.

But see? Now we’ve made it through the intro. So I can tell you about PingGadget, a new Portland startup that’s looking to take the best of Twitter’s short format and combine it with Foursquare-esque location information to deliver a new microblogging platform. Read More

Shizzow: Side project to startup to side project again

When Shizzow announced that the startup—the foray into becoming a full-fledged company—is returning to the realm of side project

One of my favorite things about having worked on Silicon Florist for more than two years is watching the progress people are making. And watching how things change. I’ve been lucky enough to watch ideas, events, and companies come and go—and I’ve had the chance to document their stories. It’s never something I intended to do. It just kind of happened.

Sometimes those stories are happy. Sometimes they’re not. But they’re always good stories. The latest story I’ve had the pleasure of documenting as it went full circle? The story of Shizzow. Read More

Looking to beat the heat with your friends this July 4th? Send out a Beer Signal

no doubt that Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beer-o-phile-ish towns in the world. We’ve got our bevy of microbreweries, our randomly stocked beer groceries, our brewers’ festivals, and any number of folks working to keep us informed about just what’s happening in the world of beer.

There’s no doubt that Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beer-o-phile-ish towns in the world. We’ve got our bevy of microbreweries, our randomly stocked beer groceries, our brewers’ festivals, and any number of folks working to keep us informed about just what’s happening in the world of beer.

That said, there’s always room for more beer-oriented stuff around here. Enter Portland’s own Taplister‘s new iPhone app Beer Signal—an app that could have more of those beer discussions happening in person. Read More

Shizzow shouts at Twitter

ShizzowI know you’re busy. Updating Twitter, blogging, running around from coffee shop to coffee shop, updating Shizzow. The list goes on and on.

If only there were some way to combine a few of those things to save you a little time.

Well, we can’t move the coffee shops any closer together, but the folks at Shizzow have come up with a way to keep your location—and your Twitter friends—up-to-date on your latest whereabouts.

Thanks to the magic of OAuth, Shizzow now shouts to Twitter.

Simply enable the feature in your External Preferences and you’ll be able to post your location update and shout to Twitter from within Shizzow.

Just want to update your location and not bug your Twitter followers? Don’t add a message. No message, no tweet.

As you may have seen, I got to test the feature down at SXSW while it was still top secret, and it performed flawlessly.

Shouting from Shizzow to Twitter

If only AT&T had performed as flawlessly, Shizzow would have been invaluable at SXSW. Unfortunately, with the Edge network cratering under the sheer girth of iPhone traffic in Austin, neither Shizzow nor Twitter managed to live up to their potential.

But now that we’re back in the land of the speedy connections, Shizzow will no doubt shine. And since many of us monitor Twitter far more than we monitor Shizzow, maybe just maybe we’ll have some more of those chance meetings that Shizzow was designed to facilitate.

For more information on the new feature, see the Shizzow post. To enable the feature for yourself, go to your Shizzow profile.

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SXSW 2009: 60+ Twitter accounts for Portland and Silicon Forest Twitter types

SXSW Twitter accountsThere are a number of folks from Portland and the Silicon Forest headed down to Austin, Texas, this week for SXSW. And while I’ve heard about a number of those folks anecdotally, I thought it might be helpful for all of us if we compiled a definitive list of Twitter accounts, so you can keep tabs on who’s doing what.

(Of course, to keep tabs on who’s doing what where you’ll want to sign up for Shizzow, too.)

So here’s who I have so far. Please comment if I missed you, if I missed someone you know is going, if you just signed up for a Twitter account, or if I added you thinking you were going but you’re not. I’ll make sure to update the post as comments dictate.

The current list of Twitter accounts for Portland or Silicon Forest attendees at SXSW includes:

Tentative: Nate DiNiro, Alex H Williams (see comment below)

BONUS: SXSW, SXSW Guide, SXSW is easy, and Sched.

Again, if you need to be added or removed, please comment below.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you down at SXSW.

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Fly away! Be free! Shizzow launches from Portland nest in preparation for SXSW Interactive

We’ve all been watching Shizzow come into its own, from its early beginnings as a Portland-only tool to its expanding private beta to its API.

It’s been a true Portland success story. And very much embraced as a Portland tool by the Web community around here.

But there comes a time when every little startup needs to leave the nest. When it needs to spread its wings and explore the broader market.

Today, Shizzow goes national with a public launch of their social location service.

Shizzow’s new home

According to the announcement:

Today we are announcing the public launch of Shizzow, a location-based friend finder where you can declare your location, and it will notify all of your friends so that they may come join you for a drink or a cup of coffee. Shizzow has been in private beta since August 2008 with invites open only to a limited number of people in Oregon, California, and Washington. Anyone in the United States can now sign up for Shizzow with no invite required.

Why now? Shizzow has big plans for SXSW—the annual geek get together in Austin, Texas—where people are constantly trying to figure out “Where the heck are you?”

You may remember that Twitter took off at SXSW in 2007 by helping people find one another. Since then, everyone has had aspirations of recreating that magic. Shizzow has a good chance to do so, given that it’s even better suited for that “Where the heck are you?” task. Plus, they’re promising some features specifically targeted at the SXSW crowd.

But wait. There’s more.

Not only is Shizzow opening up, they’re also unveiling some of the apps that have been developed using the Shizzow API. And opening the public beta of that API.

Here’s a look at some of the apps that have already taken advantage of the API:

IceCondor

IceCondor is an android application that allows you to follow people and events in real-time. IceCondor takes advantage of map coordinates embedded in RSS feeds (called GeoRSS feeds) and allows them to appear as red markers on googlemaps. IceCondor works with multiple services including Brightkite, Shizzow, and Upcoming.org. Built by @donpdonp.

Shizzeeps (Alpha)

Shizzeeps.com shows you which shizzow users (known as shizzeeps) are congregating where at the moment. It also allows you to see their shout messages, and even send your own ephemeral message to the group at a particular place. Shizzeeps also offers a Twitter service: follow @shizzeeps to get updates every 15 minutes. Built by @crunchysue.

Shizzup (Alpha)

An iPhone client with list and map views of people and places, detection of nearby places to shout from, ability to auto-shout, and more. You currently need to build the Shizzup client from the source code to use it. Built by @wajiii.

f’shizzow (Alpha)

A simple Shizzow application for Android to quickly find out where your friends are, or find out who’s nearby and listen to them. See their locations on a map, or their recent shout history. Browse nearby places, search for places by name and tag, add to your favorites, and shout from them. Automatically detect your location using GPS/wifi, or manually set it on a map for finer control. You currently need to build the f’shizzow client from the source code to use it. Built by @petercowan.

Baken (Alpha)

Baken is an Android (and iPhone, eventually) app that automatically finds nearby locations from Shizzow’s database. It also provides much of the functionality found on m.shizzow.com. Matt also has plans to take the app in new directions in the near future. Built by @mattg.

Exciting times for the bootstrapped Portland startup. Here’s hoping they continue to soar. And I’ll be sure to report on how they’re received by the crowd down at SXSW.

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Shizzow starts shouting in the Bay Area

ShizzowPortland-based Shizzow—the service designed to help you find and meet up with friends as quickly and easily as possible—has had a good run in the Portland area. But now, they’re feeling the need to stretch their horizons a bit.

And where better for a cool Web-based and SMS-friendly app to stretch than the Bay Area? Um. Well, nowhere, really. So, starting today, Shizzow has decided to expand its “heretofore relegated to the Silicon Forest” user base to include our friends in San Francisco and the surrounding area.

Now, granted, our friends to the south get to test this kind of thing more often than most. Why should they take a look at Shizzow? According to the folks at Shizzow—arguably the best ones to respond—there are a number of reasons their service is different.

But the one that strikes me—an active Shizzow user—as the most poignant is this one:

We developed Shizzow to solve a specific need: the desire to find our friends and hang out with them. The other services had so much clutter that we weren’t able to effectively solve our need using any of the existing location-based applications.

If you’re in the Silicon Forest and haven’t had a chance to try Shizzow yet, drop a comment below and I’ll get you on board. Same goes for our Shizzow neighbors in the Silicon Valley. Or you can always go straight to the source.

Get your text on: Shizzow adds SMS

ShizzowOur favorite local location-based social networking service, Portland-based Shizzow, has had great uptake around the local area. And with good reason. It’s a really simple and effective way to keep tabs on who is where when.

But one thing has been holding it back for some folks: the fact that you’ve had to use a mobile Web browser to update your Shizzow location.

Well, not for much longer, my friend. Because Shizzow just announced a beta release that enables you to shout updates via SMS:

We’ve tested it as much as we can, but we need for you to try it out and let us know if you find any issues or have suggestions for how we can make it better. Until I perfect that mind reading device I’ve been working on in my garage, we can’t fix the bugs that you forget to tell us about! Log all of your suggestions on our Get Satisfaction page.

Want to try to out SMS for yourself? You’re going to have to configure your profile, add some nicknames, and learn some new lingo:

Available Commands and Abbreviations

#message (#m) – Add a message to a shout.

#shout (#s) – Shout from a favorite place.

Shout from a Place

Format:
shzow #s {place nickname}

Example:
shzow #s happyplace

Shout from a Place with a Message

Format:
shzow #s {place nickname} {message}

Example 1 (explicit)
shzow #s happyplace #m here til noon

Example 2 (implicit)
shzow #s happyplace here til noon

Send (re-shout) a new Message from your Current Location

Format:
shzow #m {message}

Example:
shzow #m here til noon

So get to trying it. And give Shizzow your feedback.

What’s that? You’re in the Portland area and you don’t have a Shizzow account? Comment below and I’ll send you an invite.

Just a Cozy Lunch with Rick

And 200 of his closest friends.

According to Eva, that was the count for yesterday’s sixth installment of Portland Lunch 2.0 hosted at CubeSpace by our good friend Rick Turoczy, a.k.a. the Silicon Florist.

Rick had reason to celebrate because this blog is now one year old, which is like 10 human years or something. Anyway, Rick’s hospitality brought out the largest crowd yet for a Portland Lunch 2.0. The event was really inspiring for me, as the Lunch 2.0 guy, and for Rick, as the guy everyone came out to see.

At most points during the lunch, there was a line three to six people deep to talk to Rick. Bram and I joked that he needed a “Now Serving” sign to keep track of who was next in line. Rick was so busy chatting up his guests, he forgot to eat. That’s why we all like him so much though. Because he doesn’t eat much.

Anyway, enough about Rick. Other highlights.

  • Nicholas catered the lunch, always a good day when you eat Nicholas, especially for free.
  • There was a Marshall Kirkpatrick sighting. He even blogged while he was there, simultaneously standing on one leg, eating, chatting with two people and doing his taxes.
  • I got to see about half the people I follow on Twitter IRL, and I met several new people including a bunch interested in keeping the Lunch 2.0 train rolling.
  • Ryan Snyder of recently launched Shizzow and his fellow Shizzites (Dawn, Mark and Sam) introduced their new service and handed out a bunch of beta invites.
  • A good time was had by all, even Rick.

All-in-all, it was a highly successful and entertaining lunch. Thanks to all who made it. Thanks to Rick for picking up the lunch tab. Thanks to Eva and CubeSpace for providing the space. Thanks to you for reading all the way to here. Keep going, there’s more.

In typical Portland fashion, the party didn’t stop at 2 when Lunch 2.0 ended. Shizzow hosted their first Shizzup at the Green Dragon (on the brand new patio and place for Beer and Blog this Friday). After that you had to choose between the monthly game of Werewolf and Back Fence PDX. Someone should have hired a party bus. This is one (of many) things I love about Portland. Always so much to do.

Anyway, if you love Lunch 2.0, there are more on the schedule. We’ll be at SplashCast on September 17; please only RSVP if you’ll be there for sure because the space is a bit small. And then, on October 15, the Art Institute of Portland opens its doors to Lunch 2.0. RSVP on Upcoming.

I have a definite date for November and several solids for the next few months. So, it looks like we’ll keep this thing going for a while; maybe I’ll pencil Rick in for another Silicon Florist birthday party/Lunch 2.0 next August.

Can’t believe it was that much fun? Or maybe you want balanced coverage? Check out a few other accounts of the Lunch 2.0 and Silicon Florist birthday that was.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Hockley used under Creative Commons.

Shizzow knows Portland, Oregon. Now get to know Shizzow.

ShizzowSharing information about your current location with people you trust has always held this glimmer of potential. The glimmer of actually finding the time to meet face-to-face during our ever increasingly busy schedules. The glimmer of that impromptu meetup with people whom you would like to get to know better.

To date, that potential has always remained a glimmer.

The reality? That’s been slightly less beneficial. Reality has tended to be a useless stream of updates, declaring your friends are “in Portland, Oregon” or, worse yet, at some random address that holds little to no meaning.

Introducing Shizzow

And that’s why I’m so glad to see Portland-centric Shizzow opening its private beta, today.

What’s Shizzow?

Shizzow provides the technology for you to notify your friends of your location, with as little effort as possible, so you can spend more time hanging out with your peeps and less time trying to coordinate bringing them together through phone, email, SMS and IM.

I hear you. “Another one?” But hold your horses. I think Shizzow’s got a number of things going for it. And, as far as Portland goes? I think Shizzow has nailed it.

First and foremost, Shizzow is for Portland, Oregon. And only Portland, Oregon. Not the world. Not the Northwest. Portland. And that’s it. Shizzow isn’t about the video-game mentality of adding as many followers as possible—followers you may never ever meet in person. Shizzow is about knowing where your friends in Portland are. So that you can meet them, face-to-face, when those opportunities avail themselves.

Simple and local. By Portland, for Portland. And in my book, that’s huge.

Second, Shizzow is designed to understand where you are—and to tell people where you are—as simply and easily as possible. And I’ve been duly impressed by how hard they’ve worked to make sure that the database of locations is as deep and intuitive as possible.

Why is that important? Two reasons:

  1. No more (or far less) “Please enter the address of your location.” When you “shout” with Shizzow, you just need to know the name of the Portland place in which you’re currently standing. Not the address. Not the GPS coordinates. The name of the place. Easy.
  2. I know places better than addresses. When I’m reading the shouts of my Shizzow friends, it’s a lot (a lot!) easier for me to process “EcoTrust Building” than it is for me to process “721 NW 9th Avenue Portland, OR 97209.” That means, that I’m more likely to go meet my friends or plan my trips accordingly.

Sounds good, huh? I know! So let’s get you involved in this private beta.

Beta invites available

Dawn Foster has been helping Shizzow with its community, so if you’re in the Portland area and interested in an invite, she’s the best person to ping… but you better hurry:

Right now, the beta invites are limited to a couple hundred people living in Portland. I’ll be sending out invites today along with the rest of the team.

Even now, I’m already happily getting a flood of new friends (thank you!), so I know the Portland gang is getting involved. I can’t wait to see how this works once we get big group shouting.

A true side project to startup story

And the final reason that I’m so happy for these guys? They’ve truly made the leap from side project to startup:

Each member of the Shizzow crew has a full-time job outside of Shizzow, and it’s taken a ton of sweat equity and sleep-deprived nights to bring Shizzow to fruition. But because we’ve believed in our vision and believed in the idea of bringing friends and like-minded people together, the sacrifices we’ve made have not seemed like work but instead like… something we simply had to do. And now, 10 months and tens of thousands of lines of code later, we’re ready…

I can’t really put into words how proud I am of these guys. And how excited I am to get everyone in Portland on this service.

That said, what if you don’t happen to make the initial round of invites? Fear not, gentle reader. There’s still another way to get into shouting with Shizzow. As Dawn says:

If you want an invite, and don’t hear from me today, you can get one from me at Lunch 2.0 on Wednesday.

That’s right! Shizzow will be the guest of honor at the Silicon Florist’s Portland Lunch 2.0, this Wednesday. So come on down to CubeSpace, grab some lunch, meet some people face-to-face, and get signed up with Shizzow, so that you can continue those discussions—and continue getting to know your Portland peers.

Call me evil and conniving, but I’m seriously hoping you don’t get an invite. Because that way I get the chance to see you, in person.

In any case, I’m really, really looking forward to all the shouts from CubeSpace, this Wednesday. And to running into you in person—thanks to Shizzow—in the near future.

 

Shizzow is a location-driven social networking service that encourages quality relationships via face-to-face interaction. Dig in at http://shizzow.com . For more information on the launch and Shizzow’s story, see the Shizzow blog.

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