It is with a heavy heart that I report that well-known and beloved Portland tech blogger Russell Shaw has passed away.
He will be missed.
It’s the 15th of the month again. And that means its time to update the Techvibes Portland Start-up Index. While there was neither much movement this month—the top 4 remain in the same positions as last month, with AboutUs retaining the #1 spot—nor, apparently, any new sites added to the index, I do find it interesting that two of the most newsworthy companies in the area, Jive and SplashCast, have actually dropped down the list one and two spots, respectively.
Given that the list changes month to month, here’s the ranking, for historical reference. To see the metrics and movement, please visit Techvibes. And, as always, I offer this with the “fruit salad” caveat: This is a very apples and oranges comparison, in terms of companies and products. The other caveat that bears mentioning is that widget- and mobile-based tools often report far lower Alexa and Compete numbers than Web-based services.
So, here’s the list:
I was going to write a post about the next Calagator code sprint which is going to be held tomorrow, March 15, from 10 AM until 5 PM at CubeSpace. But I’ll be darned if Igal Koshevoy’s note didn’t put that write up to shame.
So, I’m just going to quote liberally from that note.
Calagator is an all-volunteer, open-source project to develop a calendar aggregation system for the Portland technical community. We’re making lots of progress, so please join us in the effort.
Where does the code sprint take place?
We’ll doing another code sprint to work on the project this Saturday, 10am to 6pm at CubeSpace. We usually meet in the FlexSpace (also the place where the Ruby Brigade meetings usually are), but the friendly front desk staff will tell you where to go if you’re not sure.
I’m not much of a “coder,” is there anything I can do to help?
Everyone is welcome to participate, even if you haven’t attended a code sprint before. Experience with Ruby on Rails and agile development is helpful, but you’re welcome to come even if you’re new to these because this is a great way to learn. You do not have to come to the entire event, so swing by if you have time.
I’m standing here at CubeSpace and you guys are nowhere to be found.
If you drop in and we’re not there, you’ll probably find us eating lunch at the “Side Door” bar/restaurant a few blocks away.
Mashable‘s Kristen Nicole is reporting that Portland-based SplashCast has jumped on the MySpace application platform making them one of the first applications to enter this new bastion of social network media.
According to Mashable:
Now that the MySpace platform has finally launched its first approved applications, Splashcast was ready with a distributed plan to roll out applications for its clients across the MySpace network as well. This includes SonyBMG, Universal Records, Warner, and even Hillary Clinton.
In my opinion, one of the most compelling aspects of the SplashCast approach to this new platform is the way that the SplashCast application appears as the artist, not SplashCast. See, for example, the Chris Brown splashcast on the early list of MySpace music apps.
This approach has two particular benefits. First, it gives SplashCast the opportunity to create innumerable instances of its applications where other apps are stuck with one specific instance. And second, it gives SplashCast the opportunity to curry further favor with the labels and artists, by highlighting the artist instead of the application delivering the artist’s content.
Given the prevailing MySpace demographic and SplashCast’s recent repositioning as “the deepest, most sticky relationship between [sic] brand, content, and consumer,” this move promises to solidify SplashCast’s position as a big-media-company tool with a flare for interacting with youth on the Web.
Given the pageviews that MySpace continues to garner, the property remains a leading venue for many. As such, the new MySpace application platform has launched with a full cadre of applications in the offing.
For an overview of the new platform, I would highly recommend Portland-based Marshall Kirkpatrick’s write-up for ReadWrite Web, which focuses on the win for OpenSocial applications:
MySpace users are going to be happy to share their contacts and info from other applications off-site with apps on the MySpace platform because they’ll be able to do so securely. MySpace is about to become the biggest use-case of the oAuth authentication protocol, something many sites are scrambling to implement.
I’m not tracking any blog posts or press releases from SplashCast, yet. Should more relevant information become available I will post an update. In the meantime, please stay tuned to SplashCast for more information as it becomes available.
OpenID aficionados rejoice. I just got word that David Recordon, one of the leading forces behind OpenID development and vice-chair of the OpenID Foundation, will be making a trip to Portland in April.
That’s great news.
Even better news? He’s extending his trip to make time for a Great Portland Geek Lunch on Monday, April 21.
Details are still slim until we get an idea of the number of folks interested in attending. So, if you’d like the chance to meet Recordon and some of the other OpenID-oriented folks in Portland, please RSVP for the Geek Lunch on Upcoming.
I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted as things solidify.
Arguably one of the most popular Twitter-powered tools in Twitter-happy Portland, Pulse of PDX has had a lot of folks thinking about how to broadcast their own “group-think,” exposing the conversations of Twitter to a much broader audience. Pulse of Open Source is another great—and popular—example.
And so, maybe, you’re interested in doing the same thing by creating your own Pulse of… well, whatever. But, problem being you’re not really in command of the skills it would take to get the Twitter api to bend to your will.
I hear you, brother and/or sister. And that’s why I’m glad to have found Portland’s newest Twitter-based tool, Tweetpeek.
Tweetpeek is designed to help anyone build a pulse-of-anything widget in a few easy steps:
And voila! You now have a site or widget to which you can point anyone, Twitter user or not (for shame!).
That’s right, my friend, you’re now in the business of building api-driven widgets. Just like that.
Tweetpeek was a joint project of Portland’s Michael Richardson and Josh Pyles. The current version is a very early, yet highly functional, build. Even if you’re not interested in building a pulse, I’d encourage you to spend some time with Tweetpeek, because I’m positive that you’ll immediately conjure up some applications for it.
For more information or to build your own, visit Tweetpeek.
Portland Lunch 2.0, the opportunity to meet your Portland peers over lunch at one of the area’s cool office spaces, has set the date and location for the next get-together.
The next lunch will be held April 9 at the eROI offices in Old Town.
Come one, come all, whether geek or not. Have some lunch on eROI, mix and mingle with your fellow Portlanders, learn about the tech scene in Portland, go home or back to work happy.
I like Webinars, Webcasts, and online presentations as much as the next guy, but it’s rare that I attend one without having randomly stumbled upon the opportunity.Well, all that may change with Showdango, a Portland-based startup that aims to be your source for finding Webinars.
Showdango’s community-driven Webinar index also provides RSS feeds and the ability to automagically add an event to Google Calendar and/or iCal (the GCal and iCal links are included in the RSS feeds to boot).How did Showdango come about?
It all began with a webinar that we attended by Seth Godin. We were so inspired by Seth’s webinar that we decided to look for other webinars, and that is when, regretfully, we found out that there weren’t any good resources for webinars… until now. showdango is the world’s first webinar index, and our vision is to provide a valuable resource that anyone can use to share, view, and track webinars. We hope that you will help us spread the word about showdango.
Showdango was build by CartoSoft, a small geospatial startup based out of Portland, Oregon. The company’s mission is to extend the reach of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to a broader audience through the use of Internet Mapping Solutions.For more information, see the Showdango post on the CartoSoft blog. Or to try it for yourself, visit Showdango.
Today, Portland-based StepChange Group took the stage at MIX08 to demonstrate a groundbreaking new application: the world’s first gesture-driven, Microsoft-Silverlight powered user interface on a mobile device.
The data-driven touchscreen interface, dubbed MIXr, runs in the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 environment, and was a proof-of-concept to showcase the functionality of these cutting edge development environments for the MIX audience.
Aside from the Portland angle, why is this newsworthy?
In my opinion, the release of the MIXr application is important for two specific reasons.
First, it proves the viability of Silverlight as an environment for delivering rich mobile applications. And, on a day when the use of these types of technologies in the mobile environment is being rejected by a major player, that’s a pretty big win.
Second, it gives us a glimpse into the future of social networking.
Unlike many of today’s “social networks on mobile devices,” the MIXr application, developed by StepChange in partnership with San Francisco’s Stimulant, demonstrates how the future of social networking may transition to your mobile device.
In other words, this isn’t a “m.” mobile view into an existing social network application; it is the social network application:
[MIXr] uses real-time user updates to track the mood and status of clubs and venues—and helps friends to connect and coordinate with one another during a night out.
It aggregates user ratings, such as a venue’s mood, line length, and music, and uses interactive data visualization to make it easy to figure out what’s hot and what’s not.
“Rich mobile applications are going to quickly change the way we use the Web everyday,” said Tate. “We’re focused on creating applications that leverage the powerful advantages of location, personalization and communication that the mobile environment provides – and have chosen Silverlight as our platform because of its portability and performance.”
[Editor’s note: Continuing the Silicon Florist’s guest editorial series, we welcome Scott Kveton, a well-known force-of-nature in the Portland technology community. And, as you’ll see, the de facto Chamber of Commerce for the Portland startup scene.]
Image courtesy Modified Enzyme under Creative Commons
Having grown up in-and-around Portland, it’s always fun to see the reaction to everything-that-is-Portland from someone who doesn’t live here. (Oh, and the weather we had last week didn’t hurt either.)
I got a chance to talk a little bit about this at Ignite Portland 2, but I’ll say it again: This is the beginning of a fantastic renaissance period for Portland. It’s such a vibrant, eclectic, talented and diverse city with so many things going on, that it inspires the mind and spirit around every corner you turn. Even more, I think Chris Logan had it right: it’s time for Portland to step up and take its place.
There has been some talk about how “if you don’t live in the Bay Area and you’re in tech, you’re basically a wuss.”
So be it. The very last thing I want is for Portland to turn into the Bay Area or Seattle. I want it to be Portland. I want other cities to be saying “wouldn’t it be great if we were more like Portland?” I simply want Portland to come into its own in tech, in the arts, sustainability, green, etc.
But, how do we get to that point?
Well, it takes a bunch of us, it takes some time and, ironically, the city does most of the work for you.
For the past couple of years, I’ve made it a point to try to help people who are considering a move to Portland. I’ve spent countless days taking people around the city, introducing them to others in the city, and generally trying to give them a “locals’ view” of the city.
Now, the tour I take folks on covers a bit of ground and I’m seeking some input on the route. A couple of places I go to:
Where would you take a touring visitor to get a taste of Portland from a local’s point-of-view? Bear in mind, I’m not looking for just a tech-person view on this. I’m all about diversity here.
The key to all of this, and the thing that I keep in mind at all times, is serendipity. Yeah, yeah, I know. Hard to quantify, huh? Well, I’m not the cheerleader type unless I really, really believe in it. Portland I can believe in. This city, the people, the places. It’s easy.
If you’re not predisposed to drink the PDX Kool-aid, then you’re probably not the type of person I’d want here anyway. And, if you’ve ended up in my Inbox or with my phone number, odds are, there’s a reason.
I’ll put this out there; if you have a friend or colleague that is thinking about making the move to Portland I’ll offer up my time for coffee or even the full-fledged tour to introduce them to the city and the people I know. It’s just the right thing to do. And, I’d challenge you to do the same.
Again, it’s not about trying to make Portland something it’s not… it’s about embracing serendipity and helping Portland realize its potential.
P.S. – first round is always on me … 🙂
Scott Kveton is a digital identity promoter, open source advocate, and Chairman of the OpenID Foundation. He has worked at Amazon, RuleSpace.com, JanRain, and MyStrands, and founded the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University. He is a regular speaker on the topic of identity and open source. Kveton currently serves as the Vice President of Open Platforms for Vidoop, a company he recently wooed to the Silicon Forest.