Tag: Portland

Use the mobile Web? Cloud Four needs your help

Cloud FourPortland-based Cloud Four, a burgeoning startup that has found more and more of its time dedicated to mobile development, could use some of your help.

We need your help for a research project. If you have a phone that have web access, please go to http://cloudfour.com/mobile/ to test the number of concurrent connections your phone makes. Your phone’s browser will need to display images for the test to work.

We’ve also set up a SMS keyword to make it easier to get to the test url. You can simply text MOBILETEST to 41411 on your phone, and you will receive back instructions on how to test your phone.

For those of you who haven’t dabbled in mobile Web development, it’s very much akin to Web development in mid to late ’90s. Lots of desire to develop, but not much in the way of data to guide that development.

With mobile devices, the speed of web pages is even more important given bandwidth, processor and memory constraints. Yet, for those trying to take advantage of the techniques promoted by Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site, it is nearly impossible to find how mobile browsers differ from desktop browsers.

For more information on the test and the thinking behind it, visit Cloud Four.

Portland and Boise startups: A lot more in common than I-84

Editor: I grew up near a town that was the big city for a fairly rural state. It was the home to many traditional high-tech companies. It had great skiing nearby. And it had a river running right through the middle of it.

Thing is, it wasn’t Portland. It was Boise, Idaho.

And, I had a strange feeling that those aren’t the only similarities between our two towns.

So, when Chris Blanchard offered to write a guest column on the state of the Boise tech environment, a bit of my former Idahoan homesickness came into play. And I jumped at the chance.

The biggest surprise for me? How closely connected the two communities are. And how they, in Boise, are struggling with some of the exact same issues we, here in the Silicon Forest, find ourselves struggling.

Boise, ID: Not ready for prime time? Don’t tell us that.

I feel like the Apostle Paul writing a letter…

Greetings to you Silicon Florists, Portvangelists, Portvangelistas, members of the Twitterverse and others of the technology startup brother/sisterhood from your Brother here in Boise, ID.

Anyway, our friend Rick was kind enough to let me guest post from over here in the Silicon Sandbox, Boise, Idaho.

Why? I’m getting to that.

Last year me and a few friends started a company called Pronetos, the first social network for scholars.

The idea is to give scholars a place to network and collaborate, and ultimately give them a platform to publish their work. We’re still testing the publication tools—a combination of open source software and print-on-demand components—but they are pretty slick and pretty cutting edge, especially when you’re from Boise and resources are limited.

Thanks for your help, Portland

We spent a lot of time last year in Portland, and have a lot of props to dish out to the PDX community for helping us with technology, marketing, business planning, etc. We couldn’t have come this far without you, PDX!

  • Brian Jamison and the guys at OpenSourcery built the Pronetos site in rapid fashion.
  • Nate Angell (raised by wolves; cloned daughters) led us through the academic community over there (and to a great restaurant in McMinnville)
  • Mark Gregory at pdx.edu was a great help in our development (and encouraged us to move to PDX)
  • We met with the entire crew at Engine Works—very sophisticated and smart guys
  • Scott Kveton has helped us with contacts, business advice, and bacon addiction
  • @wendemm, @Turoczy, and the guys at Box Populi have been good friends to us as well

So thanks PDXers for helping grow Boise’s start-ups in addition to your own.

The state of technology in Boise

Boise is doing OK as a region. You might have seen that Forbes named us the 7th most promising new tech region or something or other. We get lots of awards like that.

Quality of life is GREAT! Still, the tech community is young. There are very few contract developers here. There are lots of software gigs open here all the time. Boise State graduates about 25 CS engineers every year and 100% have jobs when they graduate. Still, we do have a MySQL office here!

As far as financing goes, a couple months ago at a Kickstand meeting (this is the local tech start-up group) we heard from an angel investor that the local angel group had reviewed 100 business plans in the span of 90 days or so, and funded exactly zero.

We’ve got only one VC here in town and they don’t fund seed deals (and not often true early stage deals). So we have an angel group that wants to fund companies with 3 years of operating history and a VC that wants to fund mezzanine deals (oh, I can hear them racing to the comment link below).

So, if you’re interested, here are some cool things about Boise that may heighten its appeal—and your perception of our town:

  • If you are developer—Boise could be a place you want to pay attention to (especially if you are an open source guy—we have lots of MS devs here). We had exactly one Ruby dev in this town as of very recently, and all the PHP guys are employed by the man (not too many solo operators or small shops).
  • If you are a VC or angel that is looking for early stage deals—those are here too—in spades.
  • If you are a guy (or gal) that understands anything about long tail b-plans, web 2.0, user generated content, new media—and you’ve had a successful company in those areas—we (Boise) could use your help too. Just last night it was interesting to note that a group of cowboys got stares in downtown Boise (boy times they are a changin’), but we still don’t have a good base of people who have been successful in this new landscape. We do have a fair amount of successful folks from the widget economy and a few good software entrepreneurs. But we can use more.

We’ve got a good night life scene, beer and blog group, the Tech Boise Blog, 180 Twitterers, and we ran a great Code Camp a couple weeks ago. We’ve also got good institutional support from places like Idaho TechConnect, and the Boise State TECenter.

So it’s coming together—but is Boise “not ready for prime time?” Well don’t tell us that, but I’m still glad for all of you over there in PDX that act as out adjunct tech community.

If you want to keep up on what’s going on over here (like we do with PDX) find me on Twitter—@LGM1—and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Peace to you, PDX. Now a letter to our friends in Corinth.

Portland Octopus launches with new skin

Portland OctopusLooking for more news on what’s happening on the Portland scene? Who isn’t?

Luckily Portland Octopus—now with a brand new look and feel—is hoping to help.

No, not that Portland Octopus.

Unlike the more well-known octopus that tends to hang atop Greek restaurants, this Portland Octopus serves as a group blog focused on Portland cultural happenings:

We absolutely love Portland but have never quite been satisfied with the community networking websites available. We thought we could do a better job of providing this service ourselves. And so, Portland Octopus was born. Music, food, art, architecture, hiking, biking, sports, festivals, local beer, wine and spirits—we are here to celebrate all that Portland has to offer!

Originally launched in December 2007, Portland Octopus is a side project of Selliken Systems, LLC. (Yet another Portland-based mapping application I need to add to my next Portland map app round up.)

(Hat tip Nino Marchetti)

BarCampPortland: Five reasons to attend

[Editor: Leave it to Dawn Foster—chair of Legion of Tech, publisher of Portland is Awesome, and blogger at Fast Wonder—to over deliver. I asked for five reasons to attend BarCampPortland, and she graciously composed an entire post. So, without further ado…]

BarCampPortland:
Portland Geek Culture: building an active tech community in Portland, Oregon

BarCamp PortlandBarCampPortland is an unconference for the Portland tech community, produced by the Portland tech community. It is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. BarCampPortland is also an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. You never quite know what to expect at BarCamp.

The event will be held on May 2, 3, and 4th at CubeSpace. When you arrive on Friday, there will be an agenda framework (times / rooms), but the content for the sessions will be decided by the participants. You can expect interesting topics, cool people, wifi, fun activities, and more!

You can watch this BarCamp video if you want to learn more about the BarCamp format and concept.

5 reasons to attend

  1. The participants set the agenda. No big, corporate conference planners deciding what you want to hear; you get to decide what we talk about!
  2. Fun! We have plans for evening werewolf, other games, and maybe even a movie on Saturday night.
  3. You get to hang out with cool people. Last year about 250 of the coolest people in the Portland tech community attended.
  4. The format is highly interactive: you can ask questions, contribute, and participate. Keep in mind that roundtable discussions work better than presentations at BarCamp.
  5. All topics are welcome: open source, wiki, programming, knitting, online communities, science fiction, and much more. Get creative with your topics. Want more time on a topic or want to hold an adhoc discussion? We have plenty of flexibility built into the BarCamp format.
  6. Bonus: You can get a cool t-shirt if you donate to BarCampPortland by april 26th. Design by Brash Creative will be announced mid-week.

If you have not yet RSVPed on Upcoming, please do it now. Having an accurate count of attendees really helps us plan the event!

Holding events can be expensive, so we are still looking for sponsors. None of the organizers make any money on the event – all of the sponsorship money goes toward event costs. The more money we raise, the more we can do for the event. If your company is interested in sponsoring, please contact Selena Decklemann (selenamarie on gmail).

For more information, visit the BarCampPortland wiki.

Silicon Florist is a proud sponsor of BarCampPortland.

37signals: Start up your startup somewhere else (like Portland)

It seems everyone is getting into the Silicon Valley bashing, as of late. But that’s what happens when you’re at the top.

And while I’m not going to pile on with the negativity, I thought a recent 37signals post—entitled “Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco?“—brought up one very positive point that we should all bear in mind:

So stop worrying to much about where you are and start worrying about how you’re going to make your business succeed the old fashion way: Through having a better product than the competition that people are willing to pay for.

Every single day, I’m lucky enough to talk to people who get this. People who have started amazing companies here in Portland and the Silicon Forest.

But you know what else is interesting?

We’re starting to become a destination, as well. We’re starting to attract both the talent and the companies to employ that talent. Companies that have chosen to come to Portland to succeed. Companies like Vidoop, LUNARR, Intrigo, Jive, WeoGeo… the list goes on and on.

All of these companies see something special here in Portland. And that is even more exciting.

(Hat tip Josh Bancroft)

WebWare 100 loves Sandy

SandyEveryone’s favorite anthropomorphic digital assistant, Sandy—the smartest hire Portland-based Values of n has ever made—is now even more popular, given that she’s been named as one of the WebWare 100.

I hope she’ll still take my tweets.

While much of Sandy’s personality has fallen by the wayside in the WebWare write-up, I’m including it for those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Sandy:

[S]imply add “her” as an e-mail contact to get started. Sending Sandy an e-mail with a small message will have the system scan what you wrote and convert into an e-mail reminder or calendar appointment that will be sent back to you at whatever time you note. It also has been designed to work with the popular microblogging service Twitter, letting users remotely set reminders while away from their regular e-mail.

At first blush, Sandy appears to the only Portland type to get a nod, although Vimeo, whose Dalas Verdugo lives here in Portland, also received the honor of being named to the list.

If you happen to see a Silicon Forest based on company on the WebWare 100 winners list that I overlooked, please let me know.

Yes, yes. I’m asking you to help me out. I’d really appreciate another set of eyes. Go to it, cub reporter!

ConfIdent people are attractive, especially when it comes to OpenID

And more OpenID news is rolling off the presses here in the Rose City. Portland-based ConfIdent Technologies, the new spinoff from recent Portland-transplant Vidoop, has announced partnership deals with ClaimID, Clickpass, and ooTao for its RecognitionAUTH™ technology, a patented system that does away with traditional passwords in favor of managing security credentials with images.

In related news, Vidoop has announced that the new JanRain OpenID ID Selector will be incorporated into the Vidoop affiliate program.

The ConfIdent announcements are important for a number of reasons.

First, partnerships of this nature continue to introduce concepts and technologies that hold the promise of moving OpenID from the realm of “cutting-edge technology types” to “everyday Web surfer.”

Second—and perhaps more importantly—it is a major step forward in security that is both more rigorous and yet, at the same time, easier to manage for both users and adopters. With ConfIdent’s system protecting the identity of the OpenID holder, stealing OpenID identities just became a great deal more arduous—if not nearly impossible.

And third, this kind of news is just another reminder that Portland is well on its way to becoming an OpenID powerhouse—if not a full-fledged tech hub. Lest we forget that, today, as two major OpenID announcements dropped, the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation was in town for a lunch at Huber’s with the Chair of the OpenID Foundation and a variety of other folks from the community.

That’s a lot of OpenID activity for one day.

And other Portlanders, like Marshall Kirkpatrick (who also happens to be the fifth most influential tech blogger around), are beginning to make note of the trend:

Already the home of the inventor of the wiki (Ward Cunningham), the initiator of the Linux kernel (Linus Torvalds), a boatload of RSS and OpenSource-heads, Portland Oregon is also becoming a hotbed of OpenID work.

Here’s hoping that trend continues. (I’ve already done my part, by finally repairing the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments.)

For more information on the partnership announcement, read the ConfIdent Technologies release. For more on the technology behind ConfIdent, read up on RecognitionAUTH.

OpenID ID Selector promises to make OpenID less geeky

This week, Portland-based JanRain will be unveiling their latest contribution to the OpenID community: a compelling means of simplifying OpenID logins for the everyday user called ID Selector. With ID Selector, JanRain has managed to reduce the complexity—and, well, geekiness—of the OpenID login process in the same way that products like AddThis have simplified the social-media-submission process.

JanRain OpenID ID Selector

Long story short, the ID Selector reduces your OpenID login to clicking an icon and providing a username. It’s a shrewd move, given that every OpenID provider has a standard structure for its URLs, a structure that allows JanRain to reduce the amount of user input to a traditional “username.”

JanRain has always done a great deal of the heavy lifting when it comes to working on OpenID and being open with the libraries they’ve developed. So they understand how to work for the greater good when implementing OpenID solutions.

Their take on the OpenID ID Selector is no different. It allows the folks who implement it to customize the providers that show and the order in which they are listed—even if that means JanRain’s MyOpenID doesn’t make the list.

This is yet another step forward for OpenID and its burgeoning user base. And, truly, one of the first ways I’ve seen that highlights to everyday Web users—millions of people who use services like AOL, Yahoo!, and Blogger—that they already have live OpenIDs which they could be using to manage services.

It’s great for users, but it could also mean some exciting developments for the companies who choose to become OpenID providers. Rafe Needleman of WebWare, for example, sees a simplified OpenID moving into the realm of loyalty programs:

Major sites, like portals, could still do a much better job pushing the OpenID concept. That would be good for them, not just because it’d make OpenID more accessible to users, but because there’s a lot of brand affinity that sites can win by having users authenticate against their sites even when they’re using some other company’s service. Think of OpenID branding as the affinity credit card of the Web: Every time a user logs on to a service they’d get the authenticator’s brand popped up in front of them — just like Harley-Davidson does when its Visa affinity card users make purchases.

JanRain, not surprisingly, gets this, and will provide a complete white-label OpenID technology infrastructure for companies or brands that want to become authenticators. So if you want to log on to Web sites with an ID from your alma mater or local Rotary club, JanRain will make that possible.

But we still have a ways to go, before we get there. Allen Stern of CenterNetworks is wondering if part of the problem might be the marketing of the “OpenID” name itself:

From my side, I am starting to believe that we don’t need to market the term ‘OpenID’ to consumers. No one cares about the technology, they only want to login to their favorite service using their AOL or Google id. It’s like TCP/IP, no one cares how it works, just that our email shows up in the inbox and Twitter loads when we want to tell our friends we just saw Britney at CVS.

Clearly, we’re not out of the geek forest yet. But JanRain is making significant strides to see that we’re on our way.

For more information, visit JanRain.

Reminder: Meet OpenID developer David Recordon

If you’re like me, you’re a huge fan of the potential of OpenID. (Even though my current implementation continues to malfunction here on Silicon Florist. And that’s my fault, not OpenID.)

And while we get to chat with Scott Kveton, the Vidoop (and now ConfIdent) guys, and the JanRain folks on a regular basis, sometimes it’s nice to get to hear from some of the other leading voices in OpenID development.

That’s why I’m really excited for lunch on Monday with one of the original OpenID developers, David Recordon.

David currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation and works as the Open Platforms Tech Lead at SixApart. You may also remember him as a collaborator and editor of Brad Fitzpatrick’s “Thoughts on the Social Graph.”

And to keep this all on the up-and-up as far as Silicon Florist goes, Recordon has Portland ties, as well, having graduated from Catlin Gabel.

If you’ve got time on Monday, come on down to Huber’s for lunch to meet David, Kveton, and a number of other OpenID-o-philes. RSVPs are appreciated so that Huber’s has an idea of how many to expect.

For more information or to RSVP, see A Great Portland Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

Vidoop is ConfIdent, Portland gets two for one

I’ll have to admit that this one completely slid past me. But luckily I took the opportunity to swing by the Vidoop booth at InnoTech. At which point Kevin Fox and Michael Richardson brought me up to speed.

I blame myself.

When Scott Kveton announced he was joining Vidoop and opening a Portland office, I was pretty excited. Exciting young company. Cool technology. OpenID focus. All good things.

But I never imagined that Portland would be getting two companies out of the deal.

Meet one of Portland’s newest startups: ConfIdent Technologies, the Athena bursting from the head of Zeus spinoff, from Vidoop.

ConfIdent Technologies, a Portland, Oregon-based software technology company, has unveiled a revolutionary secure login authentication technology. RecognitionAUTH™ promises to change the face of Internet security with a new secure login solution that eliminates passwords, adding a layer of security that is more secure yet intuitive for users to understand, without requiring additional hardware.

But, just so you don’t completely hate me for missing the breaking news, I’ve got something else. I found it buried at the bottom of the Vidoop post, announcing the launch:

Both Vidoop and ConfIdent Technologies LLC will be based in Portland, Oregon.

Obviously, given my myopic view, this could easily be the most exciting part of the announcement. Portland getting a Vidoop office was great news. Portland getting to be Vidoop and ConfIdent Technologies headquarters? That’s a huge step forward for the town and the Portland startup community.

I’ll continue to track and report on this development as more information becomes available.

For more information on Vidoop’s spinoff and the technologies that fall under its purview, visit ConfIdent Technologies. For more on the parent company, visit Vidoop.

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