Tag: Portland

Vidoop secures Messina and Norris

The Web world—and the world of distributed social applications—is buzzing with some momentous news. And happily enough, a Portland company is right at the middle of all of the excitement.

Portland’s Vidoop, has announced that Chris Messina, aka factoryjoe, and Will Norris, of the DiSo Project have joined Vidoop as full-time employees.

Suffice it to say, this is huge.

Messina and Norris are among the most recognizable names in the Web world today. Specifically for their efforts on the next generation of social technologies—technologies that promise to transform “social networking” from its current form of “destination sites” to being part of the very fabric of the Web, itself.

Their chops are, quite frankly, legendary. So much so, in fact, that Portland’s Marshall Kirkpatrick admits that he expects “nothing less than magic”:

Vidoop has had a strong team of engineers from the start. As someone who’s excited about standards based identity and the innovation that open technology makes possible – I am very interested to see what Vidoop and its new additions will be able to do. Check out what the two have sought to do for some time over at the DiSo Project. Now that they are doing that work with backing and as a part of a substantial team, expect nothing less than magic.

Messina sees opportunity

So—clearly—those of us on the outside are all excited about the news, but how do the DiSo guys—the people actually in the middle of this—feel about it?

Messina posted some of his thoughts about his new gig, highlighting:

Working full time on this means that Will and I should be able to make much more progress, much more quickly, and to work with other projects and representatives from efforts like Drupal, BuddyPress and MovableType to get interop happening (eventually) between each project’s implementation.

And, he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, to provide some additional insight.

What’s your new position at Vidoop going to entail?

Well, for the most part, doing what I was already doing with DiSo, but actually focusing on it full time.

What this means is that Will and I and other project leaders will be hunkering down and working out how we’re going to architect the project to better include external contribution, to better explain what DiSo is all about and how to get involved, to explain why and how to use the core technologies that we’ll be leveraging in DiSo, and to start formulating a more coherent roadmap for the project that other platform implementations might follow along with (for example, while we’ll be focusing on WordPress and working with the BuddyPress folks, we want to see MovableType and Drupal also getting this kind of functionality and open API support).

What were some of the key reasons for your deciding to join the Vidoop team?

Well, the conversation started innocently enough, but when I met many of the Vidoop folks at SXSW, I became more generally interested in what these guys were up to. When Kveton joined up and then, along with Luke Sontag, the co-founder, offered me the chance to come work on DiSo full time, and offered me resources to make it happen, there was really no way that I could turn that down.

As I’ve gotten to know more of the Vidoop team, I really think these are world class folks ready to make an impact on the world. That they have faith in open source and open technologies and were smart enough to bring on folks like Kveton and Kevin Fox speak to that wisdom, and suggests that I’ll be working alongside folks who get it and want to do the “right thing” is equally motivating.

It also helps that Vidoop is still small and scrappy and looking to define itself as a leader generally in the secure identity space… I think that that’s going to start mean more things to more people over the next couple years, so getting in at the ground floor to help set that direction is tactically something that also appeals to me.

What problems are you most excited about helping Vidoop solve?

Well, I think there’s a gaping hole in the marketing of OpenID right now about what you can do with an OpenID, or why they’re URLs and not, for example, email addresses. Providing a salient, compelling answer to that question is one of the first things I hope to tackle, and is essentially what the DiSo Project is predicated on.

That we can also help turn Vidoop into a leading open source factory is also a nice bonus, and something that, well, I don’t think exactly happened with Flock (for contrast).

What are some of the biggest opportunities you see for Vidoop and OpenID in general?

As I mentioned, it’s kind of demonstrating what an OpenID endpoint should look like. I don’t think anyone quite has this right yet, but we’re still early.

I also think that there are A LOT of user interface problems with OpenID (Kyle Neath cited some the other day) that are inhibiting its adoption. So rather than lead with a technology and expecting people to be like, “Oh yeah! OpenID! I want one of those!” we need to address real use cases and develop opportunities where it just so happens that OpenID is the easiest and most compatible solution for the job.

That Google’s Friend Connect supports OpenID is huge, but it’s really only the first page of the next chapter. The opportunity is writing the volumes that come next.

What are some of the biggest hurdles you see for Vidoop and OpenID in general?

Well, apart from better demonstrating what OpenID is really good at, I think that there are serious issues with the mobile OpenID experience (Twauth is one approach to making it better). I think this is going to require conversations with mobile providers, but also will require a more critical consideration about what expectations are when people are using apps in a mobile context or environment.

Part of that is going to necessitate the development of human interface protocols that help people recover when OpenID fails, or when errors occur that don’t have obvious solutions. In some ways it’s about educating people about the ways in which OpenID can stumble, but also the ways in which you can recover gracefully. Frankly, hardly any discussion has materialized around those topics yet, and I think without more thought and design put to those matters, OpenID will continue to be seen as a developer or geeky tool not ready for the “masses” (i.e. people who really don’t, and shouldn’t have to, care about the background technology that makes the web work).

Will we be seeing a lot more of you around Portland?

Dude, I love the Ace Hotel and Stumptown, so I’ll definitely be spending more time up there! Seriously though, I imagine I’ll definitely be up there pretty regularly.

How long can you resist Kveton’s Portvangelist charm before you feel pressured to move up here?

Portland is definitely one of my favorite cities, and if I ever leave San Francisco, it’ll probably be where I end up next.

In fact, my half-sister used to live in Portland, and I remember when I was in college I came to visit her and her family for a week. Since her husband was a day trader, we had to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to be at the office at like 5AM so he could be trading when the east coast markets opened up at 9AM. Anyway, I decided that I’d walk around the city that morning rather than stay in the office, and I remember clearly the cool fog, the sun, walking by Powell’s and the seeing the Willamette Week in newsstands (its design was an inspiration at the time, given that I was in design school!). Anyway, my point is that I pretty well fell in love with the city that morning, so at some point, I’d definitely love to come back and stay some day!

Anything else you’d like to make sure the Portland tech community knows about this news?

Well, I’ve always been really impressed by the openness and inclusivity of the Portland crowd ever since (and even probably before) I attended BarCampPortland.

With Vidoop making Portland its new home, I think we can only expect to see more and more interesting things emerge, and continue to emerge, from the Portland tech scene. What with Ignite, Startup Weekend, BarCamps, werewolf!, all this bodes well. Oh, and if there are any passionate WordPress devs looking for a project to hack on in their spare time, DiSo is certainly looking — and imagine we’ll start doing meetups in the not-to-distant future as well… watch our Twitter account for more.

Vidoop continues to impress

Obviously, this is a huge win for Vidoop, a company which has already done an impressive job of attracting top local talent to its rapidly growing Rose City footprint. And with this move, Vidoop steps into a whole new arena: attracting leading talent from San Francisco.

“We’re excited about Chris and Will joining Vidoop,” said Scott Kveton, Vidoop’s VP of Open Platforms, another recent tech rockstar hire for Vidoop. “We’re seeing a set of open technologies are emerging to help describe the ‘digital you,’ and Chris and Will have been at the center of those discussions. These are the technologies that will really enable the Open Web.”

And it’s not just the execs. The Portland team clearly realizes the opportunity that now lays before them: helping define the future of the Web.

When I mentioned to Michael Richardson, another recent Vidoop hire, that he just happened to luck into the dream team. He concurred.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with Chris Messina and Will Norris,” said Richardson. “It’s a great chance to work with people who not only have great experience but also possess a clear vision of the upcoming open web. I look forward to working with them and the rest of the Vidoop team to make that vision a reality.”

Vidoop’s Kevin Fox sees similar potential—and opportunity—for the burgeoning Vidoop talent pool.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Messina on past projects and have always found his enthusiasm and honesty refreshing,” said Fox. “His ability to form a vision, then create and galvanize a community is unmatched. I look forward to helping build communities around the great products that Chris, Will and the rest of the stellar Vidoop team create.”

Now, it’s really starting to get exciting here in Portland.

CallVerifID: Hi, it’s your OpenID account calling

CallVerifIDPortland-based JanRain, arguably the leading developer for OpenID solutions, is on a roll. It seems like they just released ID Selector, and now they’ve come forward with another OpenID solution: CallVerfID.

CallVerfID allows OpenID users who login with an *.myopenid.com identity to take an extra security precaution with their login: getting a phone call.

And here’s the best part: it’s on any phone. Well, okay, any phone with buttons.

Instantly receive a call when signing into myOpenID. Simply answer and press # to authenticate. No certificates or text messages. Use any phone.

My point was: it’s not SMS messaging. It’s an actual phone call.

I even tried it with Skype and it worked flawlessly.

Since I’m always one to try to shoehorn an analogy into any situation, I’d say that CallVerifID is akin to your credit card company calling you when a strange charge request is made. It’s simply an added precaution to ensure that your credentials are being used by you, and only you.

So, why the added precaution? Do I really want to get called every time I post a blog comment?

No, of course not. But as OpenID begins to take hold, and more and more personal and business applications become available, this type of multi-factor authentication is going to become necessary. Because, at some point, there’s going to be some fairly sensitive information and access rights tied to that OpenID. Banking, travel, and shopping just to name a few.

JanRain’s solution is quite simple and elegant. And it’s easy to adopt, no matter what your technical expertise. I, for one, think this is a step in the right direction.

For more, visit JanRain’s myOpenID to learn about CallVerifID.

Platial heightens the experience, unveils new look and new features

Portland-based Platial, one of the original social mapping applications and caretaker of more than 150 million geobits of information, has rolled out a new build of its application that promises to take a critical step forward in social mapping, moving from the ability “to plot points on a map” to the ability to have much deeper and meaningful experiences with locations and the people who love them.

Platial

The newest release—dubbed “Flanders,” following the alphabetical NW Portland street structure that governs Platial’s release naming—introduces a number of new features and a whole new look for Platial.

Not the least of which are a ton of new categories for your map items:

Platial categories

Sharing the experience

But the most important part of the release may not be the things that you see. The most important part of the release may be the things that you feel.

Because the latest build of Platial focuses on helping the viewer move from disconnected innocent bystander to participant, by immersing him or her in the rich contextual fabric of the location.

“We’re trying to push a little further,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, Platial CEO. “We’re trying to capture that experience by providing relevant and contextual information.”

And that experience is definitely heightened by Platial’s move into the content space.

I’m happy to see Platial’s flavor of social mapping move beyond the realm of “writing a few notes about this pin on the map” to something that furthers the storytelling that has always been at the very core of the Platial service.

And with the Flanders build, I see them moving into something that truly gives meaning to location: history, context, deep content, and differing views.

It will be exciting to see where this goes.

(Hat tip Marshall Kirkpatrick)

TwitterLocal Leader Board adds Top Twitterers by region

With TwitterLocal, Portland’s Matt King took a interesting foray into tracking Twitter users based on their geographical location.

But was that enough for Matt? Oh no.

So, he had to go and make it even more compelling by adding a “Leader Board,” that listed the top 30 Twitter cities, based on the number of tweets per capita.

Brilliant!

Still not enough for Matt.

But now he really may have gone too far. Because he just snuck in what could amount to one of the most compelling slicing-and-dicings of the Twitter types I’ve seen.

That’s right folks. The Twitter leader rankings heretofore relegated to the global stage of Tweeterboard have now—thanks to Matt—taken on a decidedly local flavor.

The TwitterLocal Leader Board now provides the leading Twitter users for each city. (Here’s a snapshot of Portland’s leading Twitter users over the last 24 hours, for example.)

As an added bonus, this new view into Twitter locales also provides a flowing tweet stream from local residents.

Our little TwitterLocal is now a big ol’ “Pulse of [your leading Twitter city here],” with insight into who is currently contributing the most to the conversation.

Tweet globally, rank locally.

For more, take a moment to review the TwitterLocal Leader Board and click through to some of the leading locales.

Same Portland Lunch 2.0 building, new Portland Lunch 2.0 host, also bacon

Sad that you missed seeing the eROI space at the last Portland Lunch 2.0? Well, wipe away those tears, gentle reader. We can get you close.

The latest Portland Lunch 2.0 date and location have been announced. And, as luck would have it, it’s in the same exact spot, only one floor down.

Vidoop, one of the ever-burgeoning residents of the eROI-owned space in Old Town, has volunteered to host the next Portland Lunch 2.0, to be held May 28. Those interested in attending can RSVP via Upcoming.

This lunch marks a celebration of sorts for the Vidoop team, in a Welcome Wagon sort of way:

From what I hear, this will be a cool time for Vidoop. Apparently, their entire Tulsa office is transplanting itself to Portland this month, in an epic roadtrip. So, this will be a great chance to welcome them to Portland and give them a taste of how we do Lunch 2.0 here.

No word on the amount of bacon to be had. (Knowing the hosts, I’m assuming this is not an “if” question, but rather a “how much” question.) But, rumor has it that Ford’s on Fifth may be tapped to cater the event.

Jake Kuramoto, the energy behind Portland’s version of Lunch 2.0, has said he’s interested in squeezing a few more Portland Lunch 2.0 gatherings into the summer months. So, if you’re interested in hosting, please ping Jake on Twitter or feel free to comment below.

Future Portland Lunch 2.0 hosts include Wieden + Kennedy and maybe, just maybe, yours truly. But first, let’s all head on over to see Vidoop’s new digs.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

OregonLive Reddit now based on latest not greatest

OregonLive Reddit is completely borkedSince I had written an earlier editorial on OregonLive Reddit about its wealth of potential, I thought it appropriate to post that—until further notice—that potential is now completely gone.

Why? Because now OregonLive Reddit stories make the front page of the OregonLive not as a result of their popularity or user voting, but as a result of the order in which the OregonLive Reddit articles were submitted.

That’s right.

It’s important to note that the OregonLive home page now features the most recent submissions, and not the hottest posts.

And here’s my favorite part…

This change took place about one week ago in order to keep the Reddit posts fresh on the home page.

Perhaps the folks at The Oregonian and OregonLive are even more Web 2.0 than I thought, given that the new system follows the logic that “shiny and new” far outweighs “relevant and interesting.”

So go ahead and vote the Silicon Florist submissions up or down. It doesn’t really matter.

-1 for social media

At a time when the OregonLive Reddit user base was in the midst of asking good questions and having deep discussions about the nature of the service—at a time when many were working to embrace the potential of this feature—the team at OregonLive chose to remove the one and only thing that made the feature worth using: the voting that allowed the populous to determine what appeared on the front page.

Currently, the social feature has absolutely no bearing on what appears on the front page. It’s all chronological.

Kind of like, oh I don’t know, a printed newspaper?

I hear you, “Sounds like sour grapes to me, Turoczy. You’re just mad that you can’t keep content on the front page.”

You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

As I mentioned in my earlier editorial, I felt this service was one of the more promising avenues to give startups in town some of the much needed limelight they deserved from traditional media. And I find it unfortunate that that avenue—an avenue that I thought had so much potential—has taken a hit.

Here’s hoping they reconsider this move.

Until that point, I’ll continue my search for other resources that truly have the potential to highlight the great work many of you are doing here in the Silicon Forest.

Because the people around here need to see the amazing things you’re doing.

Just not on OregonLive, I guess.

Interesting gigs on the Silicon Florist Gig board

Looking for a new gig? You might want to take a look at the Silicon Florist Gig board to see what’s what. Web startup looking to hire? Use the discount code freebie to post your open gigs for free.

Or maybe you’re a Portvangelist-to-be looking to move to the Rose City? Or someone who already lives here who’s looking for something new to do or a side project?

Well, don’t be shy. Feel free to use the gig board to pitch you skills. Just make sure you use a subject that makes it obvious like “inbound” or “looking” or “I am really cool” or something. Again, freebie at checkout and it’s, well, free.

As far as gigs, here are some of the newest ones:

  • Flex programmer at toonlet
    “toonlet is looking for a skilled contract Flex programmer to help us build out our online comic-creation tools on a short-term, per-project basis. If you’ve got the skill-set, we could really use your help.” [Editor: Personally? I’d jump at the chance to work with these guys. Not only are they exceedingly pleasant, they’ve got some really cool ideas going with toonlet. And obviously, much more to come.]
  • Django developer at Extreme Arts & Sciences
    “Extreme Arts & Sciences, a change management and business consulting firm, is looking for an established freelancer to tweak our django CMS to better conform to our needs. We also anticipate a revamp of our site architecture and look-and-feel update coming soon, and will need to meld the new graphics and whatnot with the django CMS.”

BarCamp Portland: The Weekend that was

BarCampPortland 2008Another (dare I say “wildly successful”?) BarCamp Portland is in the books, thanks to the efforts of the Legion of Tech, the hosts, the sponsors, and—of course—the attendees and session leaders.

I could easily prattle on for pages about the wide range of interesting topics, the community building and strengthening, the learning opportunities both inside sessions and out, and the general just, well, geeky fun of the whole thing.

But, I always find roundups to be the best way to provide the most coherent and well-rounded picture of these kinds of events. There’s no possible way of covering the entire thing from one perspective, so only many perspectives will do.

That’s what I’ve seen so far.

No doubt, many people are still recovering and gathering their thoughts.

If I’ve missed you or if you’ve just posted your thoughts, please by all means, comment below with a link to your post or resource, and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.

BREAKING: Ignite Portland 3 throws out the first spark

I just received word that we now have an official date for Ignite Portland 3. The next Ignite Portland—a wildly popular event that features 5-minute presentations on just about anything—will be held June 18, 2008, in the same location as Ignite Portland 2, the Bagdad Theater.

While the site is still getting tuned up, the Ignite Portland 3 Upcoming page is available, so let the RSVPing begin!

For those of you who might not be familiar with the Ignite format:

What is Ignite Portland? A bunch of fast-paced, interesting presentations – 20 slides for 15 seconds each. Our mantra is “share burning ideas” – just about any topic will do, as long as it’s interesting. From tech to crafts to business to just plain fun! There will be time to network and chat after each series of presentations.

(One of these days, I’m going to run out of fire analogies, but man, do I love writing about Ignite Portland.)

More news as it becomes available.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

What does the Portland tech community look like?

While a good number of us here in Portland tend to interact on Twitter or via blog comments or at events, it’s rare that we’re all in the same place at the same time. So getting a comprehensive picture of the “Portland tech community” has been difficult, at best.

So what do geeks do to solve that problem? We employ technology.

Audrey Eschright has put together a Legion of Tech survey that will give us a view into the Portland tech community, in terms of the demographics and general foci of the folks living and working here in the Portland community.

It’s goals, according to Audrey, are pretty straightforward: get some semblance of an idea about who we are and what it is we do.

If you’re in Portland, and involved with any kind of technology activities for work or fun, please go to http://moourl.com/lotsurvey. The more responses, the better, since we want to see the breadth of our community, and whether Legion of Tech events are on your calendar. Tell your friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

If you consider yourself part of the Portland tech community—or if you’d like to be part of the Portland tech community—please take a few moments to walk through the Portland tech community survey.

I’ll make sure to highlight the results in a future post.

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