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March 31, 2010

iPad Apps roundup


Here's a quick late afternoon roundup of iPad Apps-related news moving quickly on the Web right now:

:: The Huffington Post has a cool video montage of 10 iPad-ready apps, describing them as "awesome." We'll see....

:: BBC has a report that iPad apps will generally cost more than their iPhone/Touch counterparts. Of course they will!

:: This Saturday, April 3, is when the iPad hits the stores. Expect pandemonium. The San Jose Mercury News reports developers have been racing to build apps that can get approved in time for the launch. Crunch time!

Below is an interesting, "hands-on" video by Engadget with the iPad that isn't official Apple marketing material:

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 2:50 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Apps, Wireless

Google Fiber: Baltimore's feelin' lucky


Baltimore is one of more than 1,100 communities across the U.S. vying to win a pilot project called Google Fiber for Communities. Google wants to install ultra-high-speed broadband in a lucky community to use as a proving ground for new Internet technologies.

Local tech geeks and public officials have banded together to promote Baltimore to Google (and the world, really) as a place to invest innovation dollars. Does Baltimore stand a chance?

I just spotted a new feature on the Baltimore team's website, over at Check out the photo slideshow and comprehensive pitches to Google. Pretty impressive stuff.

Makes one sorta proud to live in Baltimore, no?

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*

Verizon iPhone: would you buy?


Are there thousands -- perchance millions -- of people out there who have refused to buy an iPhone because it's only available on AT&T's network? Well, what if the news gods were to tell you, in unconfirmed/ anonymous reports, that the heralded iPhone would be coming to a Verizon store near you in less than a year's time?

That's what the Wall Street Journal reported this week -- and it set the tech world a-Twitter. The WSJ was short on details, but everyone speculates that AT&T exclusivity deal with Apple to market the iPhone must be close to expiring. And Apple is probably looking to keep the iPhone revenue train rolling ever onward.

So an Apple/Verizon arrangement for the iPhone makes sense. (Thanks to ZDNet for the image, left.)

But what I want to know now is if a Verizon iPhone is something you would finally buy. Take the poll below:

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:49 AM | | Comments (33)
Categories: Smartphones

BaltTech on WYPR's Maryland Morning


True confession time: I'm a print guy but I LOVE doing radio. Or at least, I enjoy being a guest speaker on radio. Actually producing radio -- good radio, that is -- is tough-as-nails work. But sit me in a studio and turn the mike on, and I can gab and gab all day. 

Which brings me to WYPR and Nathan Sterner (pictured left), of Maryland Morning fame. Nathan is inviting me on the show about once a month to talk local and national tech trends.

This week, we talked about Google Fiber for Communities and Baltimore's chances for the project, broadband availability in the Baltimore region, and the iPad -- which debuts this Saturday.

Take a listen here if you if you have time today:

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Geeks

March 29, 2010

Billionaire George Soros to Google: "Consider Baltimore"

georgesoros.jpgGeorge Soros, billionaire philanthropist, has pumped $70 million in Baltimore through the Open Society Institute. Now he's challenging Google to invest in the city, too, by making it the home of its first pilot project for ultra-high-speed broadband access.

From a statement OSI released today:

"Google should consider Baltimore for this trial for the same reasons that I selected Baltimore for my philanthropic investment, and as the site of the only field office of the Open Society Institute in the United States," said George Soros. "Baltimore has strong community institutions but still many people who suffer from being disconnected from important resources. The city and its residents would benefit dramatically from enhanced communications infrastructure. An investment in Baltimore is sure to yield positive returns both for Google and for the city."

Baltimore was one of more than 1,100 communities across the U.S. that filed an application on Friday's deadline for the Google Fiber for Communities project. Google wants to install a 1 Gbps fiber optic broadband network in a community of between 50,000 and 500,000 people, so the Internet giant can test next-generation Internet applications and services.

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:22 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: *NEWS*

The connection: broadband adoption and income

If people made more money in Baltimore, would our city's broadband adoption rate be better?


This is one question that arose while I put together a story about Baltimore, the desire for better broadband, and the city's recent application for the Google Fiber project.

I found recently released data from the FCC that showed broadband adoption among communities across the country, and I was able to compare Baltimore to other Maryland jurisdictions and other big and small cities. Baltimore, for the most part, lags when compared with its peers. In Maryland, the city has about the same rate of broadband adoption as its most rural areas.

Below is a table featuring Maryland jurisdictions sorted by median income, high to low. The connections column refers to connections per 1,000 households.

What do you think?


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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:53 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: *NEWS*

Google Fiber: The nationwide response

Looks like Baltimore will have stiff competition in the contest to attract Google to build an ultra-high-speed fiber optic network in our city.

After the deadline passed Friday, Google reported that more than 1,100 communities had submitted an application, and the company received 194,000 individual responses.

Below is a Google-made map of the responses: The larger red dots indicate clusters of 1,000 individual responses and the smaller dots indicate the official community responses.



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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*

March 26, 2010

Baltimore mayor, Google Czar file fiber application

photo.jpg Shortly after 3 p.m. today, Baltimore mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake hit the submit button on the city's online application for Google Fiber for Communities pilot project.

In the photo to the left is the city's volunteer "Google Czar", Tom Loveland, and Dave Troy, another volunteer who helped put the city application together. (Troy is sitting at the mayor's desk and computer, shortly after she submitted the application.)

Now, it's wait and see time.

Google said it'll pick a lucky winner for the ultra-high-speed broadband project by the end of the year.

As of 1 p.m. today, Google said more than 600 communities had submitted the request for information. I expect that number to grow significantly higher by the time the application deadline rolls around by 7 p.m. tonight.

Watch the video of the button-pushing!

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 3:33 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: *NEWS*

Google Fiber deadline today


Today is the deadline for applications from Baltimore and other cities and towns across the U.S. of A. who are vying for Google Fiber to come to their communities.

In case you don't know, Google wants to do a pilot project where they install a 1-gigabit-per-second fiber optic network in a lucky community of up to 500,000 people.

Scores of communities across the U.S. are applying for it, and some have undertaken quirky (or lame) publicity stunts to draw attention to their bids. Google is asking communities and individuals to submit an application for why they think their community deserves the fiber.

The folks behind Baltimore's application to Google have not gone the PR-stunt route, other than naming a volunteer "Google Czar" to shepherd the process.

Here's a video from Google on the project:

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:45 AM | | Comments (3)

March 24, 2010

Hey Marylanders: how fast is your Internet?

Maryland is using stimulus funds to survey its citizens to measure the broadband connectivity, from the western part of the state to the south to the Eastern Shore.

This is an important effort, so if you live in Maryland, you may want to take time to do the Internet speed test from your work and home computers, and fill out the easy questionnaire.It's simple and takes less than 5 minutes.

According to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the survey will help the state "better identify where broadband coverage currently exists and also identify areas where it does not exist or needs a faster connection. Once the data is collected and analyzed, the State will have a more accurate assessment of what areas where broadband coverage needs to be established or improved."


You can take the speed test at:

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 3:18 PM | | Comments (10)

Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day


Ada Lovelace is considered by many to be the first computer programmer, dating back to the 19th century. Ada Lovelace Day has become a day for bloggers to celebrate women in technology. In that spirit, Baltimore techie Mike Subelsky (co-founder of the Ignite Baltimore speaker series and offers this guest post on a young woman who's very active in the Baltimore tech scene. Here's Mike:


Today is Ada Lovelace day which aims to draw attention to women in the science and technology fields.  As soon as I heard about it, I knew I wanted to write about Heather Sarkissian (it's more like I'm writing about Heather to draw attention to the day!).  

She's the CEO of an important mobile computing technology company here in town,, which Gus has written about before.  The company combines several different facets in a compelling way: it's a popular forum, a crowd-sourced design company, a consultancy with Fortune 500 customers, and a niche ecommerce store.  Their office in the Emerging Technology Center includes a small warehouse of electronic parts, making it one of those rare web businesses that has actual inventory and real-world relevance.  They do it all with a small staff led by Heather.


Heather is a very active member of the local tech community.  We first met at the SocialDevCampEast unconference, which mp3Car had sponsored, and the company has supported many of our other tech community organizing efforts including my own project, Ignite Baltimore.  Heather took on a lot of the burden for Ignite and is in charge of securing sponsors.  Each Ignite costs over $2000 to produce so that is no easy task!  She's become such a big part of Ignite that she recently became a full partner and co-organizer in the event.

Drawing on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, last year Heather started BmoreSmart, a group of social entrepreneurs and technologists in Baltimore aiming to make the city a better place.

So you can get a sense of Heather and her leadership in the mobile computing industry, we did a short interview.

1) Where does mp3Car see the mobile computing market headed and where do you see the company fitting in?

In the longer term, the next 5-10 years, the mp3Car team sees devices converging - phones, netbooks, laptops, etc -  all having the same core component that is the size of a penny.  We don't think that people really want 10 devices that do 10 different things, but do each of them really well.  Consumers will want simplicity with choice, which means that they want one core device which does everything fairly well.  But there is a market for upgrades, attachments or even docks.  For example, why the Kindle and an iPhone?  Simple, because there is no attachment for the iPhone yet that allows you enlarge the screen.

These devices will always be connected, storage space will be cheap and almost all of your data will be in the cloud.  We think that the user will access everything they need from a web browser.  And you will not only interact with the touchscreen.  New technologies are changing how we interact with devices. The creators of the Nexus showed us a prototype smartphone at CES which allowed you to interact by squeezing, scrolling your finger along the sides and scrolling on the back with a trackpad.  The entire device was a sensor and part of the user interface experience [details].  

Components will become smaller and the role of mp3Car will change in two ways. First, rather than building mobile computers, we will help businesses to make the best use of mobile computing on the B2B side.  Second, we need to support our DIY community as they increasingly innovate and test the limits of mobile computing. We will be launching in the next month an app store, where it will be easy to find and purchase all of the free and paid software that our community has created.

2) What's the hardest part of running a technology company, and what's the best part?

Technology constantly changes: to stay competitive you have to keep innovating.  It is really easy to let months pass and not think about the future.  mp3Car's role is to drive innovation in cutting edge mobile computing and we have an obligation to support and motivate our members to keep pushing the boundaries of technology.  This is a lot of hard work and experimentation for us and for many of mp3Car's most active members.  I really enjoy learning and adapting to new environments, so it is an ideal industry for me.

3) What's been your biggest mistake so far, or which mistake have you learned the most from?

I think in technology mistakes are bound to happen; you need to try and test ideas, albeit efficiently, in order to be successful.  I think my mistake was not being as focused on the big ideas as I could have been until recently, not asking the community directly what they think about technology, what they would like from us.  This is easy to do because if you do not test, you never really know what you missed out on.  The App Store was their idea, and I expect that it is the first in a line of community-inspired changes that mp3Car makes.

4) What's been your biggest or most unexpected success so far?

When I started at mp3Car, the staff were sort of at odds with the community and the arguments were public and heated.  At CES this year, a well-respected forum member that I had never met called me because he said he valued my opinion on a business issue.  I immediately realized how much trust there is today between the community and the company.  This trust is the result of dialogue over time and I think it is the foundation that mp3Car will build upon.

5) What could we do to make Baltimore a hub for your industry?

In order to attract technology businesses like mp3Car and really become a tech hub, Baltimore City and Maryland need to really understand that the tech community culture is fundamentally different. Bureaucratic red tape and taking months or years to get something done will drive technologists away because values such as achievement, innovation, and openness are really important.  Dialogue is important so that the tech community can feel more involved and wanted, and I think that this is starting to happen.  Also, it would be great if the City and the State administrations could work with the tech community to create a "fast lane" for innovative ideas that will improve Baltimore and Maryland.  Technologists have the ideas that could drive the local economy by creating jobs and attracting tax payers. I think we just lack the processes or common ground that would transform these ideas into reality

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Entrepreneurs & Risk Takers

The fallout from's collapse -- owner David Rau speaks to The Baltimore Sun


 In late December, a for-profit trade school called abruptly closed its doors, leaving students and employees with barely any notice that they were going out of business.

Students paid at least $13,500 for tuition at locations in 14 states, including two in Maryland. Stories were written about the school's sudden closure in communities across the country where the school operated. Some students and employees have kept in touch through Facebook.

A few talk about organizing a class action lawsuit. In some cases, it seems, students are applying to their respective states for refunds of their tuition (for-profit schools usually have to post a bond for each student, which can be used for such refunds.)

Why did, which is based in Hunt Valley, Md., close so suddenly? What happened to all the money it had been making and the $1.5 million business loan it obtained from lender BB&T? Are former employees entitled to any kind of severance?

My latest story appearing today tries to answer some of these questions, along with comments from David L. Rau, the school's owner, who had until earlier this week avoided the news media.

Here's the March 24th story.  

And then there are my two previous stories about


:: Hunt Valley computer training school closes unexpectedly, Jan. 7, 2010

:: BB&T sues closed computer school over loan, statements, March 16, 2010

This post will evolve, like a Wiki, as all of you help contribute to the research effort. If you're a former student or employee of ComputerTraining and wish to be of help, leave comments below about your personal experiences with the school. Or email me directly at gus.sentementes(at)baltsun(dot)com with your detailed account.

If you're an earnest Internet detective, we could use your help in finding facts. Only post facts and links -- libelous comments and personal attacks against individuals will be screened out. I will curate the information and post on the jump.


Other outstanding questions that remain:

:: Why was ComputerTraining's tuition $13,500 in some states (such as Maryland), but more than $27,000 in other states, such as Ohio?


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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: *NEWS*

March 23, 2010

Dell's smartphone


The Dell Aero looks like it'll be pretty cool. It'll run the Android operating system and be on AT&T's network.

Check out the Engadget's writeup. And here's AT&T's teaser web page for the phone. No hard date yet on its availability, other than it's "coming soon," according to AT&T. Kinda looks like a more rounded iPhone, no?

Is Dell just too little too late to the smartphone game?

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Smartphones

March 22, 2010

Get your startup on at Bootstrap Maryland

bootstrapmd-logo.jpgI learned from the Baltimore edition of StartupDigest this morning that the second annual Bootstrap Maryland conference is right around the corner.

The gathering is about expert panelists sharing their advice and experience on how startups can gain traction with limited (or no) funding. From the website:

Expect a crowd of entrepreneurs with a passion for technology and our region. Don't expect lectures. You will learn from really sharp people who will help you to launch the next big thing.
Did you go to last year's event? If so, drop a note telling us how it was. Thanks!
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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:07 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Startups

March 18, 2010

The year of the Internet on your TV?

This may well be the year of the Web on your television.

Now there's word that Google is looking to partner with Sony and Intel to bring Web videos and other apps to the television through a set-top box. The New York Times reports that Google plans to base the platform on its Android operating system for smartphones.

Televisions are being sold now that that can hook up to the Web and use at least some apps, such as social networking sites. There's also the set-top boxes made by Roku (I own one) and video console systems like the Xbox, Wii and PlayStation that have some Web connectivity.

Meanwhile, TechCrunch theorized that Google's entry into this area would finally spur Apple to do something more with its own offering, called Apple TV. Apple TV, which is a very closed system right now, has a long way to go because, I think, people will want variety in their TV/Web offerings (Netflix, Amazon video, etc) -- and not just a commitment to Apple's iTunes environment alone.

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:26 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Apps, Media, Web Dev & Apps

Disgruntled auto employee hacks database, electronically disables 100 cars

Wired's Threat Level blog has a fun, eye-opening story of a disgruntled employee coming up with a creative way to get back at his employer. The 20-year-old guy was clever -- but not smart. Read how he got busted.

More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:05 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*

March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Apps abound

stpattysmusicapp.jpgOf course there are St. Patty's Day-related iPhone apps, silly!

Check out "St. Patrick's Day Songs" -- a free iPhone app that hit the App Store earlier this month.

Live stream Irish tunes and sing along while you drink your green beer and eat your corned beef and cabbage.

St. Patrick's Day apps abound in the iPhone App store. Just type in "St. Patrick's" as a search to pull them up.

Don't you feel lucky now?

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:34 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Apps

No cut/copy/paste for Windows Phone 7

Apple fanboys: here's your chance to beat up on the Microsofties.

Tech blog Engadget confirmed that Windows Phone 7 Series -- Microsoft's entry into the smartphone market due this holiday season -- will not feature clipboard operations. Meaning: no cut, copy and paste.

iPhone users moaned for a long time that their phones didn't have that feature, until OS 3.0 last year. Bringing cut/copy/paste to the iPhone was seen as one of the top imperatives among the gadget's fans.

I remember when Apple finally announced the feature at an event last year, people in the audience cheered wildly. Nerds are awesome that way.

Mind you, the lack of cut/copy/paste in the iPhone didn't inhibit it from being a runaway smash hit amongst consumers, who've complained but mostly managed to live without several "missing" features of the iPhone (i.e. no Flash video support, no mini-SD card slot, no removable battery, limited multitasking, etc.)

So, it's odd -- or maybe it's not? -- that Microsoft is flirting with incurring the wrath of geeks everywhere by not enabling clipboard operations in Windows Phone 7 -- especially since its old Windows Mobile platform has that capability, as Engadget notes. (And a site called Trusted Reviews details other features that Windows Phone 7 will lack.)

What's up wit' dat, Microsoft?

What's do you think's going on here?

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:39 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Wireless

March 15, 2010

South-by-Southwest Website honorees

Looking for cool new Websites to discover?

Here's Wired's list of the Websites that were honored at the 13th Annual South-by-Southwest Web Awards in Austin, Tex. yesterday.

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Geeks, Web Dev & Apps

Google Fiber: Pick me! Pick me!


If you're watching closely the city's efforts to bring Google Fiber to Baltimore, take a look at The Baltimore Sun's editorial today on the project.

It's titled "Five Reasons Google Should Pick Baltimore."

As an aside, I've been thinking about how clever Google has been with their fiber effort. The free publicity they've gotten for it has been amazing.

Also, the online search giant has probably saved a lot of time and money by basically asking for municipalities to provide them information.

In the old days when a big company wanted to do a project like this, they'd usually spend tons of money on researching an ideal location.They'd narrow it down to some top candidates and then work with those selected to make it happen, with behind-the-scenes lobbying and negotiations going on, of course.

But Google is getting municipalities like Baltimore, Topeka "Google" Kansas and others to trip over themselves to submit the relevant information on their communities, for free.

It's really a brilliant move on the part of Google to essentially "crowdsource" the interest in this fiber project.

For Google, why waste time pursuing it in communities that may not be excited about it, when there are scores who are willing to do whatever it takes to lure Google to their community?

Google: you'z so smart.


UPDATE: You should check out the write-up of the Baltimore Google Fiber effort by the huge tech blog, TechCrunch. It's here.  Read the comments, too, if you care. Baltimore represents!

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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:39 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Big Ideas, East Coast

March 11, 2010

Baltimore's Google Fiber team

It's official: the city of Baltimore is going full-bore after a Google Fiber project. (Not sure what I mean about Google Fiber? Check this out.)

tomloveland.jpgI got tied up on another story this morning and couldn't make it to the press conference at City Hall, but it's good to see the city and our new mayor promoting this effort, which has really been led by some grass-roots geeks.

Some big names in the public and private sector are behind this push, including Tom Loveland (picture left) of Mind Over Machines, who was named the volunteer "Google Czar." (Now that's a title I can get behind.)


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Posted by Gus Sentementes at 2:32 PM | | Comments (1)

March 8, 2010

Startup story: Millennial Media

I interviewed Millennial Media's Paul Palmieri and Chris Brandenburg for a story that appeared in the Baltimore Sun's Sunday's Business & Jobs section.


Sipping a venti coffee at a Starbucks in Timonium, Chris Brandenburg, a computer engineer and caffeine junky, was ready for a new challenge – and Paul Palmieri was about to give him one.

On that day in April nearly four years ago, the men were at a crossroads in their lives: Brandenburg (pictured left) had just left and Palmieri (pictured right), a veteran wireless industry executive working for an investment fund, was hungry to make his mark with a startup.

Palmieri had several ideas, but the one he talked about most during their coffee shop meeting was an advertising network that would tap the nascent market of advertising on cellphones. Brandenburg was game. Within two weeks, he would go on to build a rudimentary computer server that could dish ads to cellphones – and showed it off to Palmieri.

“He walked me through the demo and it was just like, ‘Wow, we’ve gotta do this. We’ve gotta go hard after this,” Palmieri said.

Soon after, Millennial Media was born.

In less than four years, the Baltimore company has raced to the top of its industry. Millennial Media has raised $40 million from investors, including several million during a brutal economy, enabling it to expand and hire this year. Two of its biggest competitors were recently bought by Google and Apple for hundreds of millions of dollars each – which has driven Millennial’s own worth up, analysts say.

The company is positioned at the forefront of an industry that many say has excellent long-term growth potential. For Palmieri, launching Millennial was the culmination of a long obsession with the combination of wireless technology and marketing.

Millennial’s successful growth thus far is largely a Baltimore story. Several of the company’s top executives are refugees of, which is owned by AOL. The company’s offices are in the city’s incubator space in Canton. When technology observers talk about the next local startup company that could attract a generous buyer or unveil a lucrative public offering, Millennial is usually at the top of the list.

“They are a high-flying company and I think they have great upside potential; they have the talent, they’re building a great team,” said Steve Kozak, executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, an association for local tech companies.

Kozak compared Millennial to Timonium-based Bill Me Later – “a quiet little company that nobody knew about”—that ended up getting bought by eBay in 2008 for $945 million. “I don’t know what their exit plan is, but I would not be surprised if some really good news came out of that company,” said Kozak.

What has fueled Palmieri’s vision for the company is his belief that mobile advertising is a new, largely unexplored world compared to traditional online advertising. People interact with their cellphones and smartphones when they’re on the move in unique ways, and the gadgets themselves can do things a desktop computer can’t, such as offer location-based services.

But the industry is still young and fragmented, with wide variations in technology, offerings and marketing adoption.

For years, industry prognosticators have talked about the money-making possibilities in mobile advertising. The platform itself offers various choices for marketers, such as text-message campaigns, or advertising within applications or on mobile Web sites.

But it’s only been in the last year or two – with the growing adoption of the iPhone and other high-powered smartphones – that industry analysts see mobile advertising beginning to fulfill expectations. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has projected that the mobile advertising industry will grow from $416 million in 2009 to $1.56 billion in 2013 – fractions of the many billions spent on online advertising in general.

Both men had worked at for a time, but didn't know each other well while there. Instead, they got hooked up by a mutual friend at the company after they had both left. Here's a little background on them.

(click through to read more)

Paul Palmieri is a 39-year-old man who's already started going gray. It's not the stresses of running of a startup that did it to him, though. He said he's been going gray since age 25.

Paul was born in Connecticut and raised on the Jersey Shore by parents who were lifelong teachers. He went to college at Mt. St. Mary's in Emmittsburg, Md., where his father graduated from in the 1960s. He was a singer in a college band called "That's Irrational" that covered songs by INXS, The Cure, The Alarm, Billy Idol -- songs from the late 80s/early 90s.

His first job out of college was selling copy machines in Philadelphia. He quickly learned that he loved sales. His first boss made every employee memorize a mantra that they had to be able to recite on the spot. More than 15 years later, Paul still remembers it and recited it without difficulty:

I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered into this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be slaughtered by my shepherd and I refuse to talk, walk or sleep with sheep. The slaughter house of failure is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed.

He spent the first five years out of college working first in sales for copy machines, then for a company that sold commemorative rings. He switch over to the telecom biz with his first job at a Sprint subsidiary in Bethesda. Next stop was Tessco Technologies Inc. in Hunt Valley, where he led a new division in marketing. In 2000, came calling and he did an eight month stint there.

His next big break came from Verizon Wireless, where he ran the data efforts. Back then, revenue from data was only around $35 million a year, Palmieri remembers. By the time he left in July 2005, Verizon's revenue from data plans had grown into a multi-billion dollar business.

He took a break from the corporate world, with ideas about wireless marketing brimming in his brain, and went to work as an entrepreneur in residence at Acta Wireless, a Mid-Atlantic investment firm that helped Palmieri incubate and cultivate his ideas.

A friend at eventually hooked Palmieri up with Chris Brandenburg, 35, a Harford county native and UMBC grad in computer science who had worked as's senior director of enginnering.

Brandenburg, who had extensive experience with complex computer networks from a previous job as a government contractor, nevertheless hadn't been exposed to the mobile ad market during his time at But he was interested in it as an engineering challenge ever since was acquired by AOL in 2004. He spent some time on his own learning "how the different pieces fit together", technology-wise, to accomplish mobile advertising.

"But it was not until Paul and I hooked up did I spend a lot of time thinking about how we'd go about building it," Brandenburg said.

After he and Paul met at the Starbucks in Timonium in 2006, he went home and built "a really rudimentary ad server."

"I had an old Motorola and I tried to figure out how to get ads on it," Brandenburg said. "It became a fun project. I showed it to him. We just bounced ideas back and forth. next thing I knew, we were on a plane up to Boston to talk to some VCs (venture capitalists)."

Very quickly after, Palmieri and Brandenburg launched Millennial Media.

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:36 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: East Coast, Entrepreneurs & Risk Takers, Startups, Wireless

March 4, 2010

The coming irrelevance of the desktop

What would your epitaph of the desktop computer say?, an Irish tech news service, quotes Google's Europe chief as saying at a tech conference:

old_computers.jpg“In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,” said John Herlihy. (Check out the full story here.)

Saying desktops will be irrelevant in just three years is a bold statement, and one that I struggle with.

Most of us use desktops at work. And we tend to have desktop computers at home that have huge hard drives and capacity for running memory-intensive software.

It's hard to imagine giving up the presence of such machines, even if we seem to be using them less and less.

In my own experience, I find that we're using our own desktop machine less at home, since my wife and I both have iPhones. We use mobile devices now to check email, check social networking sites and blogs, surf the Web, pay bills, read news and maintain our calendars.

At the moment, our desktop is basically a repository for thousands of home videos and photos and music files. Only rarely do I use it for editing photos and videos because I can do much of what I need on my iPhone, which has photo and video editing applications.

We do use it for Skype video calls, but even mobile devices seem poised to offer such capability very soon. We may even see it in the future with the iPad.

So yeah, I guess I'd have to agree with Herlihy... The traditional desktop's days are numbered. Even Apple seems to think so, since Steve Jobs declared in January (during the iPad debut) that Apple was the world's largest maker mobile devices. (Think iPhone, Touch, iPod, laptops, etc.)

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:34 AM | | Comments (10)

Seeking video game bloggers


Below is a special request from The Baltimore Sun's Nancy Knight, who oversees our new network of Maryland blogs called Charm City Current.  I hope some Baltimore gamer geeks can help her out!




As you may already know, The Sun has launched what we hope will be a comprehensive network of the best blogs in Maryland, a site called Charm City Current. Along with showcasing the many awesome existing bloggers from the area, we’d like to create some new ones.

In that spirit, Gus was kind enough to lend me his podium for a minute to recruit any video game experts, amateurs or addicts to write a blog about the games, the industry and the people who make these games such hot topics.

We’re looking for someone who not will not only explain the difference between an MMORPG and a first-person shooter to all those noobs out there, but can write clearly and succinctly about the gaming culture that’s become so prominent in today’s tech-driven society.

And I’d especially like to hear your views on Felicia Day and The Guild.

So if you’re interested, or you know someone who’d be perfect for the gig, please e-mail me at

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Gamers

March 2, 2010

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's new Website has gotten a fairly extreme makeover. Here's a snapshot of the site's new homepage:


Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development is one of the first agencies that new businesses and entrepreneurs look to for help in launching an enterprise in the state. So, it helps to have a site that's slick and with the times to make a favorable impression on people who want to invest time and money in a business here. DBED's Website used to look something like this.

One of the key differences now is an interactive media player that's front-and-center in the Website, where you can watch video. Going deeper into the site, you get to interact with a map that plots out different kinds of economic and business demographic data across Maryland.

It also seems to want to bring some of the personality of individuals and companies to the fore. Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, is a "featurered entrepreneur" on the home page. And each industry profile features either a person or a company as a highlight. Nice touch.

Personally, my favorite page -- which I'll be bookmarking -- is MdBizTV. It's a hub for photos and news and video feeds, stock price and Twitter feeds, for all things MD DBED- and business-related. Notice how they aggregate news stories from different publishers, such as the Baltimore Sun and the Maryland Gazette. Very good idea and presentation, DBED.

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:11 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Government Tech
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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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