While the rapidly diminishing amount of sunlight has many Silicon Forest developers returning to the seclusion of heads-down work on their own projects, it’s always nice to take a break, get out, and see what other people are creating these days. And in my mind there’s no better place to see a random creative assortment of tech projects than Portland Web Innovators’ Demolicious, where Portland Web pioneers gather on a quarterly basis to share their “not quite ready for prime time” or “ready for prime time but no one knows about them” projects.
You may remember news earlier this year about Reductive Labs, a company started by a couple of former Reed students who—upon garnering $2 million in venture capital—announced that they were moving their company to Portland. Or you may know them as the folks behind Puppet, an open source language for configuration management.
Interested in the freshest new products from the Portland technology types? Who isn’t? We all love the cutting-edge tech stuff around these parts.
Well, you’re in luck. Because there’s no better place to catch a glimpse of these new products in the wild than Portland Web Innovators’ quarterly Demolicious—an evening of folks demoing products you’ve probably never seen.
Even better news? It’s this week. That’s right! This Wednesday. I know. I can’t wait either. Read More
Portland Web Innovators was founded because we don’t just like the technology or the design. Yes, those are a big part of our craft. We also want to work on fulfilling projects, for companies that do good stuff. For many of us, we want to start our own companies. In fact, many Web Innovators already have.
Interested in seeing some of the newest projects in the Portland Web scene? Then don’t miss Portland Web InnovatorsDemolicious. It’s a night of demos of some cutting edge projects from our peers here in the Silicon Forest.
Who’s up? Benjamin Stover with “I Need to Read This!,” David Abramowski with “MioWorks,” Jason Glaspey with “Black Tonic,” Sam Grover with “Avatari,” and Richard Forbes with “VoteFair ranking.”
The event will be held at Jive Software, starting at 7 PM. For more information (including how to get in the locked door), visit Demolicious on Upcoming.
Akshay Dodeja demoed Mugasha. Originally developed during Portland Startup Weekend, the site has gone through several iterations in development—now it’s ready to launch in private beta.
If you’re into electronica, you’re going to want to check it out. What’s it do? Basically, it parses DJ set podcasts—usually one long multi-hour track with no song info—into separate song tracks, allowing user to play the songs they want to play and actually know which tunes they’re playing.
Taking a different cut on a previous iteration, Kevin Chen demoed a new version of Metroseeq, a mapping application that gives you the options to search for resources around a town, in-between two locations, or by marking your own route and allowing the service to plot resources along that route.
The new version of Metroseeq relies on the Google API and returns to the four closest resource for any search.
The other three demos showed off some new development.
Michael Kelly showed us Foodisms, an early version of a restaurant and food searching site with a twist: rather than searching by cuisine, you search by ingredient. Foodisms then looks for that ingredient and suggests a variety of dishes at any number of restaurants.
The current dataset is currently limited to 100 Portland restaurants (which, for Portland, is a narrow subset) but the foundational structure for the product has been established. If they can scale the data entry—dish by dish, ingredient by ingredient—this is going to be very cool indeed.
Scott Andreas shared Sunago, community management software for nonprofits—especially advocacy groups. Its mission is simple:
“We’re tired of companies charging exorbitant amounts of money for apps that, well, suck. We’d rather you to spend your money on your vision, not software. That’s why Sunago is free for small organizations, and affordable for larger ones.”
Sunago has already been deployed with several nonprofits and Scott is constantly adding new features.
Finally, Dave Miller demonstrated OpenLaszlo, an ECMAScript tool for building “rich internet applications” that will let the developer script structured content that can be compiled and deployed as either HTML or Flash—from the same code. Dave showed off some of the capabilities and demoed an app he had built.
Based on the beginning of his demo, I’d also offer that Dave is available to perform as a mime for your kids’ birthday parties or your next corporate function. Or not.
This evening, I had the honor to take a little walk down memory lane with the folks at Portland Web Innovators as we took a little time to reflect of the cool accomplishments of the Portland Web and Open Source startup community over the last 12 months.
It was kind of like signing yearbooks. A lot of nostalgia and a lot of kind words. And—of course—a lot of tweets.
I wanted to thank everyone who took time out of their schedules to come hang out and chat about our past and our future. And to those who took the opportunity to hang out online.
Here’s a quick round-up of what I’ve got at this point. I’ll add more as it rolls in, and as always, your comments are welcome.
Thanks so much to Bram Pitoyo for streaming this video and moderating the chat room. (NOTE: There’s a bit of a hiccup at about 90 seconds into the presentation. If you wait, it comes back. Or you can click into the timeline to kickstart the video again.)
I’m holding a contest. Count how many times I say “amazing” during this presentation and post it in the comments. You could win… um… I don’t know. Something.
We managed to accumulate quite a few tweets. You’ll be happy to hear that I managed to resist the urge to tweet during the presentation.
Portland Tech Community
“Over the last year, I’ve written several emails to people moving here describing different events to attend and at those events introduced people new to the area to others in the Portland Tech Community. Despite the fact that I had found myself doing that multiple times, I never really thought about it as a need. I just considered it some ways part of being a good host for the town I grew up in…. But there is a clear need. If someone doesn’t know to ask or whom to ask, they may never find their connection.”
The Year in Retrospect, the Year to Come
“One of the things Rick declined to do was talk much about the ‘why’ – what’s the secret sauce that makes the Portland tech community a community and not some loose aggregation of companies and coders? Why is there such a drive to connect here, while other communities with equal opportunities just don’t work as hard? And most importantly, why is community so important to Portlanders, and what are local companies of all types and from all industries doing to connect and generate a sustainable economics through close attention to community members, the locality, the exigent needs of the people? What does innovation look like in tough circumstances?”
So where better to launch the latest version of the leading OpenID plugin for WordPress—wp-openid—than Portland?
Will Norris, the lead developer of the wp-openid plugin, happens to be in town this week. And, as such, he has just announced that he will be launching wp-openid 3.0 this Wednesday at Portland Web Innovators “Demolicious!“, the new hip spot to unveil cool new tools here in town.
What does wp-openid do?
This plugin allows verified OpenIDs to be linked to existing user accounts for use as an alternative means of authentication. Additionally, commenters may use their OpenID to assure their identity as the author of the comment and provide a framework for future OpenID-based services (reputation and trust, for example).
So, if you’re a WordPress type who’s been using OpenID or who is interested in deploying OpenID on your blog, make sure to attend Demolicious! on Wednesday night at NEMO Design. Even if you’re just OpenID curious, I’d highly encourage you to attend.
Plus, as always, there will be some other cool stuff being demoed there, as well.