Tag: Portland

Six map apps that put Portland on the mapping map

Maybe it’s the fact that we’re a major inland port. Maybe it’s the affection for the outdoors that permeates the Portland culture. Whatever it is, we’ve got something for maps around here. Portland is map happy. And nowhere is that more evident than our obsession with the mapping APIs that further the technology of cartography.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the mapping and location apps that call Portland, Oregon, home. (Thanks in no small part to the reigning King of mapping, Matt King. An “*” below identifies each of his mapping projects.)

Platial

The most well-known Portland-based mapping application, Platial, is the largest independent social mapping application. According to the Platial site:

Platial enables anyone to find, create, and use meaningful maps of Places that matter to them. Our dream is to connect people, neighborhoods, cities, and countries through a citizen-driven common context that goes beyond geopolitical boundaries. We are building Platial because we adore Places.

Unthirsty*

The admittedly “we did it for the fun of it project” that helps the would-be lush-on-a-budget find the nearest happy hour. And fast.

In Unthirsty‘s own words:

Unthirsty is the work of a group of like-minded souls who were always struggling (for obvious reasons) to remember where and when they last enjoyed that good happy hour. A plan of action was drawn up on beer sodden napkins over bargain pints and some mighty fine nachos. Thus, Unthirsty was launched and dedicated to the good of all mankind’s legally drinking denizens.

KnitMap*

Yearning for yarn? Look no further than KnitMap, your way to finding all of your needling knitting needs or simply getting your Turkish Cast-on on.

KnitMap describes itself as:

[A] site that catalogues and maps the locations of retail shops that sell yarn, knitting supplies and knitting accessories. You can search to find these locations in the US, Canada, UK and most of Europe. Its anywhere that Google maps will work, and the list is growing everyday! Once you’ve found a shop, you can rate it’s attributes, leave comments, upload photos, and add it to your Favorites.

SocialMap*

Think Unthirsty and KnitMap are cool, but interested in putting your own spin on the “plot and find [whatever] via Google Maps”? Then look no further than SocialMap, the mapping technology that powers both of those properties.

Why release SocialMap?

SocialMap was created to help solve the problems we encountered on the web within the communities we are a part of. Through its humble beginnings as a national Happy Hour finder, then a Knitting store locator, we noticed regions and groups that had a passionate user base, but were very underrepresented online. Existing websites and search engines were not only dated in their technology but lacked the ability for users to interact with the information presented.

Mapdango

Winner of the “Best Mashup” at this year’s Mashup Camp, Mapdango takes other API-accessible content and plots it on the map.

Mashup Awards described Mapdango as:

An extensive Google Maps mashup that lets you explore locations with helpful information including weather (WeatherBug), photos (Flickr), facts (Wikipedia), events (Eventful), news (Google News) and more.

WeoGeo

New to the Portland mapping scene, WeoGeo takes a deep dive into online cartography, providing extremely detailed mapping options.

[WeoGeo] supplies surveyors, engineers, cartographers, and scientists with the ability to conveniently store, search, and exchange high-resolution CAD and GIS mapping products. Mappers easily list their data for sale. Researchers quickly find the data they need.

(Bonus) TwitterLocal* (formerly known as TwitterWhere)

It’s not a mapping application, per se, so I didn’t want to include it on the list. But TwitterLocal is another Matt King project that makes location information useful in the context of Twitter. Simply plug in a location and TwitterLocal will provide an RSS feed of the Twitter residents in that area, like Portland, for example. It’s a valuable tool for getting a feel for your neighborhood Twitter types.

That’s just a short list. But, admittedly, there’s so much mapping occurring in map-happy Portland, that I may have missed some obvious maps. If I did, please feel free to admonish me in the comments.

Will Openfire Enterprise going Open Source be good news for Jive Jabber/XMPP work?

And the hits just keep on coming from Portland-based Jive Software. As if their “new Clearspace plus a new site plus acquiring Jotlet” announcement wasn’t enough, they’ve also decided to announce that Openfire Enterprise is now truly becoming an open-source product.

What’s Openfire Enterprise?

Openfire Enterprise addresses the Enterprise Instant Messaging (EIM) market by adding rich reporting, archiving, and control features on top of Openfire.

Okay, so what’s the whole “open source” move mean?

Well, it means a couple of things.

First—and most importantly for open-source advocates—it means that some of Jive’s Jabber/XMPP work has been officially extricated from quasi-proprietary muck which may have prevented more widespread adoption and development. At least, that’s what Jive (and I) hope:

One of our hopes with this move is that the last possible objection to deploying XMPP-based instant messaging at every organization in the world is now removed. Now, everyone will have access to an open standards solution that satisfies all the needs of IT departments… for free. We think that’s great news for the community and getting our technology deployed even more widely is good for Jive Software as well.

Second—and most importantly for Jive as a company—it means that Jive is taking a decided step toward focusing on its Clearspace product by giving the open-source community control of Openfire Enterprise. While Jive will still be looking to drive revenue with Openfire Enterprise by integrating it into Clearspace, they won’t be juggling the two products in terms of managing the overall development.

Maybe it’s just me, but from an entrepreneurial, open-source, geeky frame of mind this announcement is by far the most exciting news coming out of Jive, today.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

(Hat tip Dawn Foster)

WebTrends searches for CEO, finds him at Google

Now, I realize that Portland-based WebTrends isn’t exactly a “startup” around here anymore. (Although some would argues that the company continues to go through fits and starts as it navigates the ever-changing Web analytics landscape.)

But the news from Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian, this morning—that WebTrends has just hired a guy from Google to be their CEO—could have significant impact on the tech scene around here.

Meet Daniel Stickel, a Harvard-educated engineer—Magna Cum Laude, at that—who also boasts a rich 20-year history as an executive, with an impressive record of building businesses.

But I’m especially interested in his experience with preparing for—and living through—acquisitions. According to Stickel’s resume, he was an executive at K2 Technologies before and throughout acquisition, he helped establish the foundations that built Delfin Systems into an acquisition target, and he managed the Alta Vista engineering team that turned that property into a valuable commodity for purchase.

What’s more, it’s not often that you hear of companies in the Portland area hiring folks away from Google.

Let’s see… he worked at Google and he’s got experience in being acquired.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Portland Lunch 2.0: Five reasons to attend

Jake Kuramoto gives us five reasons (well, six, really) we should all consider attending Portland Lunch 2.0:

  • You enjoy meeting new people in Portland, some geeks, others not, all Portlanders, all the time.
  • You like learning about cool companies doing cool stuff in the Rose City.
  • You can’t make the evening and weekend activities like Barcamp, Startup Weekend and Startupalooza, but you really want to do 1. and 2.
  • You like good conversation with smart people over tasty eats.
  • You really need to break up your day by getting out of the office/house, seeing the sky, and checking out a new locale with some new people.
  • And bonus, you can’t pass up a free lunch.

Sound interesting? Well, you’re in luck, my friend. The next Portland Lunch 2.0 will be held Wednesday, April 9, at eROI.

More than 70 people have RSVP’d already. So it promises to be quite a crowd. And, unfortunately, it looks like Jake has had to close the RSVP list due to space constraints.

But, I’m still going to encourage you to show up, anyway. Because that’s just how I am. And because some people will not be able to make it. And the way I figure it—worse comes to worst—we can always peel off and overwhelm Backspace.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Jive Clearspace 2.0 is named “2.0” for a reason

Big news day for Portland-based Jive Software. They just announced the release of Clearspace 2.0, the release of whole-new, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up Web site, and the acquisition of Jotlet, a calendaring and scheduling tool that will be built into future versions of Clearspace.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Clearspace 2.0 and its new feature set on Friday. And I must admit, it’s an impressive step forward for the product and the company as they continue to assert their position in the realm of “enterprise collaboration.”

For more information on the release, I’d recommend reading Sam Lawrence’s overview of the new Clearspace features.

And, as I’m probably not the best person to comment on the comparative feature/functionality of the tool in regards to the market at large, I would highly recommend Marshall Kirkpatrick’s ReadWriteWeb write-up on the Clearspace 2.0. I noticed that Anthony Ha at VentureBeat took a liking to the new Clearspace project management features. And, for additional insight, TechCrunch’s Mark Hendrickson has covered the Jive news.

That should give you plenty of insight from folks much wiser than I. So, let’s get to that upon which I do feel comfortable commenting….

Honestly, what I found most interesting about my conversation with Jive and the demonstrations of their new feature set were the types comparisons I kept making. And they weren’t the kind of comparisons you’d think that I would be making while watching the demonstration of a piece of enterprise collaboration software.

“The front page reminds me a lot of Netvibes.”

“That river of information is a lot like FriendFeed or Facebook.”

“That works a lot like 37 signals’ Basecamp.”

“Oh, like Google Docs or Writeboard?”

Fact of the matter is that, throughout the demo, I threw out so many “that’s kinda like…” or “that reminds me of…” references to other Web 2.0 products that it suddenly became excruciatingly obvious to me why Clearspace 2.0 is version, well, 2.0. Because Jive has worked to incorporate the types of features and functionality that echo some of today’s most popular Web 2.0 tools.

Now, I know a number of you are starting to heave a big “So what?” sigh, but bear with me. Because there is something important happening here.

Those of us who live and breathe this Web 2.0 stuff or who are lucky enough to work in small thoughtful organizations that leverage these types of tools are in the vast minority. I’d argue that 99.9% of the population has no idea that this stuff exists.

What’s more, if you’re in a larger organization and successfully running something like Basecamp within your department? You’re a complete anomaly. Smart. But anomalous nonetheless.

Large organizations have things Microsoft SharePoint—or worse. They don’t tend to have access to collaborative tools like this. And that’s what makes this such an interesting release to me.

Marshall touches on this, as well, albeit more eloquently:

[T]hose of us who take things like startpages, News Feeds and Jabber seriously outside the enterprise get some solid validation from Jive and its customers.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. (That’s why I just quoted him.)

It will be interesting to see how Jive’s target market—the Fortune 500 companies who deploy this type of solution to thousands of users—respond to the type of functionality that we—as users of Web 2.0 tools for business—have come to expect.

And it will be even more interesting to see how the Web 2.0 crowd responds to this kind of validation.

Silicon Florist gig board pricing reduced

[Editor: I apologize for the heavy Silicon-Florist-oriented content this week. Lots of stuff swirling about the site while news has been light. I’m digging around for more stories to get the focus back on you. Have something interesting? Drop me a line or, better yet, add your Silicon Forest startup to my watchlist.]

We’ve lost our lease! Everything must go!

Oh wait. This isn’t one of those posts. But it is about dropping prices.

Given that the Silicon Florist Gig board is all about helping Web startups, boutique development groups, and other companies with Web-tech oriented positions find the talent they need, it makes sense that, well, folks actually feel comfortable using it.

And unfortunately, since the free postings have been exhausted, the board has gone a bit stagnant. Which makes me think that the price to post may have been aggressive, at best, and perhaps oppressive, at worst. So, I’ve decided to drop the prices for posting.

Pricing is now a buck a day: $15 for 15 days. Hopefully, this will pique some interest and lower the pain of posting to the board.

Honestly, I’d just really like to see this work for employers, for jobseekers, and for the Silicon Forest tech community. So I’d love to hear from you. Still too expensive? Not long enough? Think I should givep the dream and just go free? What can I do? Let me know.

Feeling more comfortable with this direction? Please consider posting a gig.

[Update]

In the comments below, Jason Grigsby asked, albeit in a bit more couth fashion, “What the heck am I getting for my hard-earned cash?”

Great question. As far as overall Silicon Florist exposure goes, the blog’s traffic numbers are always available via Quantcast or Compete. And the RSS feed subscribers are always available via that FeedBurner chiclet up top.

Below, you’ll find details on the specific number of views each job posting received (from most views to least).

  1. Community manager – Evangelist MyStrands (132 views)
  2. Web design freelance (130 views)
  3. Interactive Strategist Wieden+Kennedy (120 views)
  4. Web Application Developer Intrigo (93 views)
  5. Web Developer WeoGeo (87 views)
  6. Web Application Graphic Designer Intrigo (73 views)
  7. Rails Developer Planet Argon (69 views)
  8. Marketing and Sales Intrigo (67 views)
  9. Software Engineer, Level 1 Jive Software (60 views)
  10. Interactive Information Architect Wieden+Kennedy (55 views)
  11. Interactive Senior Designer Wieden+Kennedy (49 views)
  12. QA Engineer Tripwire, Inc. (46 views)
  13. Interactive Traffic Manager Wieden+Kennedy (45 views)
  14. Interactive QA Engineer Wieden+Kennedy (33 views)
  15. Senior Software QA Engineer Jive Software (30 views)
  16. Software Engineer – Library Development – Contract Position Lightfleet Corporation (19 views)
  17. Senior Optical Design Engineer Lightfleet Corporation (19 views)
  18. Director of Channel Sales Lightfleet Corporation (19 views)
  19. Director of Pre-Sales Engineering Lightfleet Corporation (15 views)
  20. Senior Software Engineer – Linux Kernel Lightfleet Corporation (14 views)
  21. Senior Staff Software Engineer – Linux Kernel Architect Lightfleet Corporation (13 views)
  22. Senior IC Verification Engineer Lightfleet Corporation (11 views)

Sidecar: Ridiculously easy feedback widget for products, blogs

[HTML1]A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to get a glimpse of Sidecar, a new widget from Portland-based widget wizards StepChange Group. The product is currently running in a small private beta with a couple of other Portland-based companies, Sandy and one other.

Sidecar, at its very most basic, is a simple survey widget. It was developed—with product managers in mind—as a way to make it easy for developers to embed surveys and feedback mechanisms within the interface of the Web-based apps they’re developing. The widget was specifically targeted at gathering feedback during the oft-cryptic and hectic “beta testing” cycle that every product experiences.

But, as we walked through the demo, I immediately saw the opportunity for it to do more. Much more.

I couldn’t help but think of all of its potential as a feedback mechanism, a means of managing context sensitive help, a supplemental page-ranking system (think “contextual Digg“), and—last but not least—the means for you (yes, you!) to truly engage in conversations with your users in a format that is easy for them and valuable for you.

That’s a lot to cram into a little widget. But I’m definitely seeing the potential. Even in this beta version.

So of course I piped up with, “You know, I could really see this being useful on my blog. Or any blog for that matter. Blogs get feedback via comments. But that’s post-by-post feedback. I could really use this to assess the impact of Silicon Florist, as a whole.”

So, I continued to beg and plead. (I could almost hear the engineering team cursing me.) And luckily, I was invited to the private beta. Then I saw Greg Rau’s presentation at Startupalooza, and I was convinced that I better get this thing deployed sooner rather than later. So, now, you can see the Sidecar widget running right now, over at the top of the Silicon Florist sidebar.

Feel free to bang on it.

Click to see the Sidecar admin screen fullsizeSidecar is simple. Ridiculously so. And that’s the best compliment I can give it. It took me less than five minutes to build that Silicon Florist widget—and that was with the not-ready-for-prime-time admin panel. The same thoughtful simplicity that informed the design of the widget interface clearly permeates the widget configuration tools, as well. (I’ve provided a screenshot of the beta admin screen for reference.)

There are a bevy of reports and dashboards, as well: feedback, pages, users, and widget-use metrics. But I can’t say much about those until there is actually some data from the widget.

The only downside to Sidecar, at this point, is the installation, which is still a bit geeky. Not overly geeky mind you, but it requires mucking with code. And while that will have little to no impact on the Web-app developer adoption, it may curtail adoption with a broader market. I’ll be interested to see how StepChange puts its simplicity-smarts into making the widget installation (WordPress widget or plugin, for example) as simple as widget creation and management.

I don’t have any word as to when the Sidecar beta goes from private to public beta, but I will be continuing to provide feedback to the StepChange team on issues I encounter and the features I would like to see. If you’d like to chime in, you have two ways: commenting on this post or, preferably, using the widget (hint, hint).

For more information on the widget, visit Sidecar. For more on the people behind Sidecar, visit StepChange.[

Vidoop secures Michael Richardson

The recently founded Portland Vidoop office, headed up by Scott Kveton, continues to make waves in the local tech startup scene. This time, Vidoop has announced that local Reed-schooled Python-magician Michael Richardson has signed on as part of the Portland team.

You may know Richardson as the coding muscle behind such hits as “Pulse of PDX” and “Tweetpeek.” He’s also a regular at Portland’s weekly Beer and Blog gatherings. And just an all-around scary-intelligent coding type.

According to the Vidoop blog:

Michael will be a software developer in the ever-growing Portland office working on OpenID, distributed social networking and other “open web” related initiatives.

For more on Richardson, read the Vidoop post announcing his hiring. For more information on Vidoop and its technology, visit Vidoop.

Grabb.it redesigns, incorporates personal MP3 tumblogs

Portland-based Grabb.it, the service which has the potential to help catalog Web-based MP3s for music lovers everywhere, picked a rather inauspicious date to release a new version of the Grabb.it site. But they’re not fooling around.

The new site now enables anyone to create tumblog posts based on the MP3s they grab.

Grabb.it is the group music blog where anyone can contribute. Sign up to create your own personal mp3 blog about songs you love and to send your posts to services like Tumblr, Blogger and Facebook.

This new feature holds promise, both as a way of allowing users to easily create reviews of the tunes in their respective libraries and—hopefully—as a means of increasing the reach and promotion of the Grabb.it service to active tumblog and Facebook types.

What’s a “tumblog“? I’m glad you asked. According to Wikipedia:

A tumblelog (or tlog) is a variation of a blog that favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, tumblelogs are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary.

Other noticeable changes to the Grabb.it site include a highly simplified UI and a very slick, intelligent bread-crumb trail.

For more on the MP3-finding service and its new tumblogging capabilities, visit Grabb.it.

Portland Web Innovators: Five reason to attend

[Editor: Given the wealth of cool events happening in Portland on any given night, I thought it might be beneficial to have the people who drive these get-togethers give you their take on the events. “Why should you attend [whatever]?” So, with that, I introduce a new Silicon Florist series: Five Reasons]

Portland Web Innovators

Adam DuVander gives us five reasons we should all consider attending Portland Web Innovators.

  • You enjoy topics that are a mixture of tech, design, and business.
  • You like to learn about new projects and find collaborators
  • You love building on the web, no matter what your job title is or what technology you use.
  • You think about what can happen tomorrow, not what can’t happen today
  • You want to learn from a live collaborative discussion between passionate people.

Sound like you? Well you’re in luck. Because the next Portland Web Innovators get-together is this week, Tuesday (April Fools’!) Wednesday, April 2 at ISITE Design beginning at 7 PM. Entitled “Publishing Platform Wars!” the gathering will provide the opportunity to join the pdxwi types—the real users of these publishing systems—as they compare site publishing tools like Drupal, Bend-based ExpressionEngine, and WordPress.

To RSVP, visit Portland Web Innovators on Upcoming. For more information, visit (the spiffy new!) Portland Web Innovators.

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