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.

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement

Sometimes, a link says more than I could ever say. Here are some fragrant little buds I’ve found recently, courtesy of ma.gnolia.

Join fellow Portland bloggers helping other bloggers over beers at Beer and Blog

Portland bloggers helping bloggers over beers. What could be more Portland than that?

Bay-area employees have “Lizard Eye”

Portland’s Sam Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer at Jive Software, compares working in Silicon Valley to working in Portland, to wit: “Having lived and worked in both San Francisco and Portland, and I can tell you that building a company outside the silicon Petri dish has been one of the best experiences of my career.”

ORblogs and PayPerPost

ORblogs, one of the most popular aggregators of local blogs, has decided to remove pay-per-post bloggers from their directory.

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Calagator gnaws on the Portland tech calendar problem

Last Saturday, the Portland Tech Calendar group dove headlong into a code sprint around the problem of aggregating all of the tech calendars for Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas. The result? Calagator.

The group made a great deal of progress during the code sprint. A full recap is available via Google Groups. Highlights are available on the Calagator blog. (That’s right, they have the beginnings of code and a blog. These guys have accomplished more in a weekend than I’ve accomplished in the last six months.)

Some highlights (Go microformats!):

  • The existing group websites we examined can be imported much more easily with the addition of hCalendar markup for the event details. Selena and Daniel created documentation that we can share with event organizers. We discussed the possibility of using a hCalendar generator to provide ready-made HTML to paste into websites and blogs.
  • A next step for encouraging hCalendar usage will be to contact individual groups who aren’t using a standardized calendar format, and tell them about our project.
  • Paige created a sample email template that can be used to structure event information, for organizers to cc to our system when they send out event announcements. Email seems to be the one tool everyone uses, and this would help with our goal of accessibility.
  • Igal and I set up a new Rails application, and added it to a group repository at http://code.google.com/p/calagator/. The application now has a bare bones structure for adding and viewing events. We also decided that event venues were important attributes, and that combining information on venues across events would be highly useful, so users can now add and update venue information as well. We’re using a temporary view scaffolding system to allow us to add and edit information in the database. We’ll develop a more polished interface as we continue.
  • In order to begin pulling sample data from websites, Igal and Reid are creating an hCalendar event importer. This can also be used as a model for adding other calendar formats to the system.
  • Igal is going to set up our calendar program on a server where people will be able to try it out. Getting feedback early and often will be important to ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our users.

The next code sprint is planned for February 2. That’s Groundhog Day for those of you keeping score at home.

For more information on Calagator, the PDX Tech Calendar project, visit the PDX Tech Calendar Google Group or the Calagator blog.

Ignite Portland 2 presenters named

Ignite Portland 2Ignite Portland, the fast-paced event designed to share burning ideas in a 5-minute presentation format, has named the selected presenters for Ignite Portland 2.

The group of 14 presenters was selected from a pool of nearly 60 applicants. (And, yes, “How to be an Undercover Hooker” made the list.)

Obviously, the volume of submissions made the selection process challenging for the Ignite Portland team. But they persevered:

We looked for a mixture of topics from presenters with a variety of backgrounds. We’ll kick things off with a quick “What is Ignite?” primer then dive into 14 of Portland’s hottest burning ideas.

Ignite Portland 2 will be held February 5 at the Bagdad Theater. Space is limited to around 600 people. RSVPs have been received from approximately 230 folks, currently.

It would be great to have you there. Please RSVP for Ignite Portland via Upcoming. For more information, visit Ignite Portland.

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)

Silicon Florist’s links arrangement

Sometimes, a link says more than I could ever say. Here are some fragrant little buds I’ve found recently, courtesy of ma.gnolia.

Yahoo! Support of OpenID brings us to 368 million

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Yahoo! has announced support for OpenID. See what Portland OpenID provider JanRain has to say about the news.

Jive Talks: Eye poppin’ ROI stat

Dave Hersh, CEO of Portland-based Jive Software, reveals that Jive customers have found that “40% of people who joined their community switched to their product in less than a year.”

VanPortlander: Announces “Another Portland Blog”

Power blogger, Twitter type, and Flickr photog from our neighbor to the north, Aaron Hockley, reveals, “Tonight Brandon over at Welcome to Blog announced he’s changing sites, and will now be known as anotherportlandblog.com – which has got to be one of the most honest domain names out there.”

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

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.

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