Digital Watermarks: Has Digimarc’s time finally come?

Beaverton-based Digimarc, while far from being a startup, is—like many startups in the Silicon Forest—very much in the position of being way ahead of its time in terms of digital watermarking. (Full disclosure: I used to work there.)

But the impending demise of music DRM may be just the opening Digimarc needs to shine. At least, Wired’s David Kravets thinks so.

In an article entitled “DRM is Dead, But Watermarks Rise From Its Ashes,” he asserts:

Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks. At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser. So far, though, labels say they won’t do that: Warner and EMI have not embraced watermarking at all, while Sony’s and Universal’s DRM-free lineups contain “anonymous” watermarks that won’t trace to an individual.

The article also goes on to mention:

Microsoft is betting on watermarking’s future, winning a patent for a “stealthy audio watermarking” scheme called El Dorado in September.

I’m betting that Digimarc’s digital-watermarking-patent portfolio would likely be an area of interest, as well.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this flag raised. It will be interesting to see if it elicits a rallying cry, this time around.

For more information, visit Digimarc. For more on the benefits of digital watermarking, visit the Digital Watermarking Alliance.

Pulse of Portland begins beating

The Portland-area Twitter hits just keep on coming.

In the “links arrangement” below, I highlighted a post that Scott Kveton published yesterday, where he mentioned an idea for following what Portland was talking about on Twitter. Today, Josh Bancroft made it a reality.

Pulse of PDX has launched.

How does it work? Anyone from Portland who is followed by @pulseofpdx on Twitter (and following @pulseofpdx is the easiest way to be added) will be added to a stream of comments that are published to the Pulse of PDX site.

So, if you’re not using Twitter (For shame! Here’s how you get started), you’re still dipping your toe in the Twitter water, or you’re not really interested in following all of Portland and Vancouver, try checking out Pulse of PDX and listen in on the talk of the town, today.

Portland Startup Weekend: Could it be what the Rose City needs?

One of the best things about writing this blog is getting the opportunity to chat with a wide variety of folks. I mean, sure, a lot of us are geeky. And that’s pretty much where I focus the coverage. But I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of folks who are interested in Silicon Forest startups.

And in the conversations I’ve been having, there’s one consistent theme that comes through time and time again: For all the activity in Portland—all the cool startup energy and amazing tools being built—people feel pretty darn isolated in our relatively small town.

I think that’s part of the reason why Portland’s Twitter community is so active and responsive. It’s why there’s a ever-growing number of us who are really getting excited for Ignite Portland 2. It’s why things like the PDX Tech Calendar project are taking off.

But there’s still more to do. There’s still more crossover needed.

I mean, let’s be honest: This needs to be more than just techie-types leading the charge. It needs to be a group effort. And a diverse effort.

And that’s what appeals to me about Startup Weekend.

“What’s Startup Weekend?” you say? I’m glad you asked.

Startup Weekend is very much like the Ignite concept. Only it’s for a company.

I know. I hear you. “I’ve been to weekend codefests before.”

But, see, here’s where this one is a little different: It’s not a product. It’s a company.

One weekend to create one company.

That means design, development, marketing, public relations, business development, user experience, legal, and project management. All of those disciplines. In one room. Working to create a company under the gun.

What’s more, this isn’t some “Oh wasn’t that fun. Now let’s throw away all that work and go back to our lives.” This becomes a real company.

Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of small business entrepreneurs to build a community and company in a weekend. The founders decide what to make as a team, and earn an equal share of stock in the developed business. Attendees are responsible for bringing the desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with a brand new business, in a short 54 hours. Sound intense? It is.

So why all the hoopla from me? Well, there’s a little voting platform for deciding who gets to host Startup Weekends. And Portland is already on the list. So, we’re already part of the way there. All we need is to provide a little more oompf and we could have our very own Portland Startup Weekend.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? And I’m confident that with the brilliant folks in this town—and the great organizations that are working to bring us together *cough* Legion of Tech *cough*—we could turn it into quite an interesting event. A spectacle, if you will. In a good way. And an example of how we, as Portlanders and Silicon Forest… um “creatures” can come together to build something great.

And to start to eliminate some of those feelings of isolation.

If you’re even partially convinced that this might, just might, be a good idea. And that it might be good for our community. I highly encourage you to take two seconds to vote for Portland Startup weekend.

For more, visit Startup Weekend.

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.

Power of PDX Twitterverse

More Twitter love from Portland. Scott Kveton shows the dynamics of Twitter in action over the topic of (what else?) bacon.

Green Lite Motors wins Round 3 of OEN’s Seed Oregon.

Here’s the latest on the Seed Oregon competition. As an aside, I’m really looking forward to a time when ALL startups pick up the Web 2.0 practice of launching a site and a blog prior to releasing a product. It would be great to follow these companies from the beginning. Unfortunately, for now, that remains only a hope.

CandyBar 3 upgrade released

Portland-based Panic, makers of beautiful and useful Mac software, are on an upgrade tear. First Transmit, now CandyBar.

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Lighting a fire under your derriere

Have you submitted your Ignite Portland presentation concept, yet? What’s that? Don’t you know that there’s less than a week to get it submitted?

C’mon. You can do it.

I mean, sure. You may not have a title as cool as “Eggs & Chard: How eating local and seasonal can fill you up and save us all,” “What Would Dr. Seuss Say About Online Communities,” or “How to Be An Undercover Hooker.” But I bet you have a cool idea. And I bet you could talk about it for 5 minutes.

What’s that? Not your cup of tea?

No worries. Why not just show up? Watch a few presentations. Meet some people. Have some refreshments.

If it’s anything like the first Ignite Portland, it’s not an evening you’ll soon forget.

And, besides, I’d like the chance to meet you. You’re one of my favorite readers. (You’re really my very favorite, but don’t tell the others.)

Looking forward to seeing you.

Ignite Portland is an event for sharing burning ideas. And sharing them really, really quickly. Just about any topic will do, as long as it’s interesting. To RSVP, visit Ignite Portland on Upcoming. For more information on the event, visit Ignite Portland.

Wiki-based AboutUs edits its offerings

AboutUsPortland-based AboutUs, the wiki that has rapidly become the de facto source for company Web site information, has announced three new service offerings that promise to improve the promotional nature and the utility of AboutUs services. Not to mention, help the AboutUs bottom line.

The new services include:

  1. Monitor any page on AboutUs for free. Now, anyone (you don’t even have to have an account) can monitor any wiki page on the AboutUs site for changes. Think of it like Google Alerts for your Web site profile.
  2. Hire an AboutUs expert to design your presence. Sure, the beauty of wikis (wiki? wikia?) is that they can be edited on the fly. But, let’s be honest, that doesn’t always make for the prettiest presentation. To help solve this problem, AboutUs is now offering a premium services package that includes in-house design and personalized wiki coaching for a one-time fee of $99.
  3. Sponsor a collection of pages. AboutUs is also introducing the option of sponsoring a collection of links on a given topic—they refer to these landing pages as “portals”—that aggregate business listings and functionality like calendaring and maps for cities around the world and industry verticals. Obviously, my favorite portal page is the Portland Tech Portal. Although I must admit, I’m quite fond of the Portland Tech Blogs page, as well.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the AboutUs announcement is the level of traffic (emphasis is mine) these guys are generating. And the types of revenues to which that traffic may lead.

Though AboutUs is a collaborative project built together by people from around the world, it needs none the less to be economically viable. Advertising revenue from 5 million monthly unique visitors to the site and Portal level sponsorships are already coming in. The new products launching today should lead to a further, substantial increase in site traffic and company revenue.

No doubt, the Silicon Florist page on AboutUs has a great deal to do with those numbers.

Allen Stern of CenterNetworks has also covered the AboutUs news, highlighting:

Clearly it’s working based on the traffic they are receiving. I like the options they are offering to monetize the site past AdSense and the monitoring could help clear up sticky edits quickly. Again, this relies on a business even knowing there is an AboutUs page about them.

AboutUs is a wiki whose goal is to create a free and valuable Internet resource containing information both about websites and other community created topics/information. The site was pre-populated with information about many different websites and thousands of updates are now being made by people each day. For more information on AboutUs, see its AboutUs page.

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.

Times Square rocked during New Years Eve with partyStrands!

For New Year’s Eve 2007, MTV used Corvallis-based MyStrands partyStrands to allow Times Square folks to interact with the jumbotron. Here’s a recap (includes photos).

Transmit 3

Portland-based Panic, makers of beautiful and highly functional software for the Mac, have released the latest version of their elegant FTP software, Transmit 3.6.4.

Want to Learn about OpenID?

Portland-based OpenID proponents JanRain has gathered a useful collection of links to help get you up to speed on OpenID.

View all my bookmarks on Ma.gnolia

Jive offers Clearspace X free of charge (to some of you)

Developer group? Non-commercial open source project? Need some community tools? Oh my, my friend. You are in luck.

Because Portland-based Jive Software has announced that they will provide your group with a free license for Clearspace X, their award winning community platform.

If you have an open source project or a developer group (users group, etc.) and want to take advantage of the free licenses, you can find more details and a short request form on the free license page on Jivespace.

For more on other organizations already taking advantage of the Clearspace X offer, see Dawn Foster’s JiveTalks post. For more on the platform, see Jive’s Clearspace X area.

With your help, finding Portland events may soon get a lot easier

Many of us here in the old Silicon Forest have bemoaned the overlapping of interesting events happening in town. And the lack of one single place to go for event information only exacerbates the problem. (That’s right, I said “exacerbates.” I’m not afraid.)

On any given day, we’re jumping from Upcoming to Meetup to specific sites, trying to figure out what the heck is happening where and when with tech-type folks in Portland and the surrounding areas.

Enter Audrey Eschright (@spinnerin for you Twitter types) and the Portland Tech Calendar project.

Eschright has gathered a group of folks together—currently hovering around 20 members—in hopes of building a single resource for all of the tech events happening in Portland. Using Google Groups as the foundation, the service promises to pull feeds, consolidate information, and allow for the posting of new events.

I’m in the group, and I’d love to see you in there, too.

For more information, sign up for the Portland Tech Calendar project.

Beyond the Forest: Google and Facebook join DataPortability.org

Now, granted, I try to keep my focus right here at home in the Silicon Forest. But I had the feeling that news about these two little Web companies—Google and Facebook—might, just might, have some repercussions for the local tech scene.

I’ll also defend this post by reminding you that The Goog’ has an installation in The Dalles.

Portland’s own Marshall Kirkpatrick broke the news this morning that Google and Facebook are joining the Data Portability group. And as indicated by Marshall’s own admission, this is huge news. A bombshell, as it were.

Okay, that may be gobbledy gook techie speak to some of you. So, why is this so important?

The non-participation of Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market, was the biggest stumbling block to the viability of the project. These are two of the most important companies in recent history. What’s being decided now is whether they will be walled-garden, data-horders or truly open platforms tied into a larger ecosystem of innovation with respect for user rights and sensible policies about data.

For more information, read Marshall’s post on Read/Write Web. For additional coverage, follow the story on Techmeme.

%d bloggers like this: