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August 29, 2011

Amazon tablet could take a bite out of Apple's iPad: report

An analyst with Forrester Research predicted today that if Amazon.com launched an Android-based tablet in the fourth quarter, it could end up selling three to five million units -- a significant chunk that could eat into the iPad's market, according to a Reuters report.

The article notes that Apple has sold 30 million iPads, while its rivals -- Motorola, Research in Motion and Samsung, to name a few -- haven't been serious competitors.

What I like about this speculation:

1) Amazon has had some success with the Kindle, so these rumors point to indications that it may be gaining confidence in designing hardware. And apparently, Amazon is willing to sell the Kindle at a loss, and make its money through ebooks -- so it is indeed a "nasty competitor," per the Forrester analyst.

2) E-books are turning into a big business, and Amazon is a huge player -- meaning that users of an Amazon tablet will have access to a robust ebook marketplace at their fingertips. Amazon is also selling other virtual goods -- i.e. music, videos -- as well as physical goods. I wonder how an Amazon tablet can change the retail physical-goods buying experience, as opposed to just the virtual one.

What doesn't make me optimistic about an Amazon tablet offering:

* Apple's now got 100,000 iPad apps. Android Honeycomb has a pittance of around 300, according to Forrester/Reuters. Tablet buyers want confidence that they will have a deep catalog of apps to choose from. Not a month goes buy that I don't discover a new iPad app that completely changes how I use the device. App developers aren't building tablet apps for Android. It's the chicken-egg scenario all over again for Amazon.



This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 3:36 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: *NEWS*, Gadgets
        

College presidents: there's value in online courses

The impact of the Internet on a university education is real.

About half of college presidents say that their online university courses provide the same educational value as those that students take in physical classrooms, but only a third of Americans feel the same, according to a new Pew Research Center report released yesterday.

(Mind you, in my view, it behooves college presidents to trumpet the value in their online courses, partly because such courses offer flexibility and attract non-traditional students. Also, the profit margins of such courses are generally higher.)

The survey showed that more than three quarters of institutions now offer online courses. Half of the presidents believes that most of their students will be taking courses online.

Some other findings direct from the report:

• 15% of college presidents say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, and 50% predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online.

• Nearly two-thirds of college presidents (62%) anticipate that 10 years from now, more than half of the textbooks used by their undergraduate students will be entirely digital.

• Most college presidents (55%) say that plagiarism in students’ papers has increased over the past 10 years. Among those who have seen an increase in plagiarism, 89% say computers and the internet have played a major role.

• The leaders of the nation’s colleges and universities are a tech-savvy group. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) use a smartphone daily, 83% use a desktop computer and 65% use a laptop.

• College presidents are ahead of the curve on some of the newer digital technologies: Fully half (49%) use a tablet computer such as an iPad at least occasionally, and 42% use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:59 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

Cool app: University app turns smartphones into live broadcast tool for security

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Computer scientists at the University of Maryland have built a first-of-its-kind smartphone app that automatically connects students and staff with campus police by opening up video and audio feeds on their devices.

The app is called "M-Urgency," and for now, it's going to work with Android phones. An iPhone version is coming for the campus.

I have more details in my Sunday story about the app and the burgeoning business of campus security apps.

But don't expect those quaint "blue light poles" -- the ones with the phones that patch you through directly to campus security -- to go the way of the dodo bird anytime soon.

blue-light-pole.jpg

[Image source: Sinclair.edu]


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Apps, Gadgets, University Tech
        

Hacking email, government: a conversation with Dave Troy

 


I recently sat down for an interview with Dave Troy -- CEO of 410Labs and longtime Baltimore-area entrepreneur -- over Skype. You'll see a tightly edited portion of that interview in the above video.

A more in-depth representation of the interview can be found at this link.

Troy is not your ordinary computer geek. He's a bit of a Renaissance man, in fact. His interests vary from computer programming to the environment to politics. At the intersection of many of his interests is his belief in the power of technology and the Internet to improve society, and specifically, the functioning of government, for the people, by the people.

I've thought some about how technology impacts government, and I've taken to heart one of the central points of Evgeny Morozov's recent book, "The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom." Morozov gives examples of how the Internet was used in other countries, not only by government critics and revolutionaries, but by the established government power structure to further monitor and repress people.

This is the larger debate we face as a society. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus are all wonderful tools for connecting people. But there are also powerful interests -- governments, corporations, etc. -- that are increasingly handling their dealings with individuals with more sophistication.

Case in point: Techdirt today reports on a DOJ report obtained by security blogger Chris Soghoian that showed requests for warrantless "emergency" ISP requests quadrupled in 2009.

And in other news: The Obama Administration refused to release the Bush Administration's legal rationale for allegedly illegal wiretapping of Americans.

So yes, the power of the Internet cuts both ways for us, at the same time enabling and hindering our freedoms in the hands of different players.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:11 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Big Ideas, East Coast, Entrepreneurs & Risk Takers, Geeks, Startups
        

August 25, 2011

Tech firms top Inc. list of fastest-growing Maryland companies

inc-500-top-10-baltimore.PNG

The Inc. 500/5000 was recently released and it ranked the top fastest growing Maryland companies, based on their three-year revenue growth rate.

This is a GREAT list that offers insight into the revenues of dozens of privately held companies. (Admit it: you're nosy like me and want to know what all these small companies are all making around us!)

There are numerous technology companies on this list, some of which I've written about, such as Millennial Media and Aegis Mobile (Maryland's high-tech firm of the year).

The list also is an indicator of the types of businesses that are strong in Maryland: innovative energy and technology companies, systems integrators, cybersecurity and software and project management firms. Firms that deal in government contracting are, of course, well represented.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:44 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs resigns from Apple CEO post

Multiple reports breaking now about Steve Jobs resigning from the CEO post at Apple:

* WSJ has the press release.

* Fortune's post.

* And Reuters has a blurb.

* Engadget's take. Shocking indeed. But he has been fighting serious illness.

* Techcrunch's report.

* And the Twitter search stream for "Steve Jobs."


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 6:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

Baltimore's first earthquake tweet

first-tweet-quake.png


We all know by now that social media, specifically networks such as Twitter and Facebook, played a big role in connecting people after yesterday's earthquake. [Note:Did you see my story about it?]

Well, the folks at Twitter sifted through all those messages yesterday and then emailed me with some interesting facts, including Baltimore's first earthquake tweet.

The tweet came from Verna-Catherine (@prettyinbluee_) Her first tweet was "Earthquake?" (see above)

At first, as you see by her tweets, she thought someone was breaking into her house. Then, she grabbed her dog and her TV.

Here's the tweeter -- she's fast with her texting. Someone in the media should think about hiring her!

first-earthquake-tweeter.jpg


My favorite tweet of hers: "People just happy that something interesting happened in MD."

Some other earthquake facts from Twitter, courtesy of PR person Jodi Olson:

* A Tweet can reach your followers in less than a second. So in areas far from the epicenter, some people read Tweets about the quake before they felt it.

* Within a minute of the earthquake, there were more than 40,000 earthquake-related Tweets.

* Twitter hit about 5,500 Tweets per second (TPS). For context, this TPS is more than Osama Bin Laden's death & on par with the Japanese quake.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:38 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: *NEWS*, Smartphones, Social Media
        

August 22, 2011

Greg Cangialosi and Blue Sky Factory: Do you know this guy? Tell me your stories!

Greg Cangialosi, a Baltimore tech entrepreneur, started Blue Sky Factory 10 years ago. He grew the business, hired bunches of employees and just last month, sold it all to an Atlanta-based firm, WhatCounts.

Greg has been a key part of the Baltimore tech scene. I'm fixin' to do a profile about Greg, and I can use your help.

Do you have any good anecdotes about Greg? What makes him tick? Did he mentor you? Give you good advice? Invest in your startup? Did you ever work for him and employ his company, Blue Sky Factory, for email marketing?

Feel free to email me your stories; we can also chat by phone. Drop me a line at gus(dot)sentementes@baltsun(dot)com.

greg-cangialosi-baltsun.JPG


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:12 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Big Ideas
        

BestBuy offering free iPhone 3GS with contract

best_buy_free_iphone_3gs.jpg
Word is out on the Internets [MacRumors] that Best Buy is offering the iPhone 3GS for free with a two-year contract with AT&T.

It's a "Deal of the Day" so this may mean it's only a one-day deal.

If you've never owned an iPhone before, should you jump on it?

My recommendation: If you must get an iPhone, save your pennies up and get the iPhone 4. Or at least wait another month or two for the next generation iPhone.

The iPhone 3GS was an excellent phone -- 18 months ago. But there's a lot you can do now with iOS that seems clunky on the 3GS, i.e. Facetime and Skype video chatting with ease. iPhone 4 is also a faster experience, and the retina screen causes far less eye strain. If you sign up for a two year contract with 3GS, that's a long time to go with yesterday's tech.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:44 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Gadgets, Smartphones
        

August 19, 2011

BioMarker Strategies, Baltimore biotech startup, files for $4M capital raise

Baltimore biotech startup BioMarker Strategies, which is based over at the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins in East Baltimore, filed notice today with the SEC that it's intending to raise $4 million in equity financing.

So far, the company has raised $1.1 million. This would be the second time in about two years that BioMarker has sought to raise money from private investors; it has also tapped into the state's biotech tax credit, to lure investors to invest in them.

BioMarker describes itself "a tissue-based cancer diagnostics company" that's working on a live tumor cell testing platform for improving the treatment cancer. It's received funding from the National Cancer Institute.

I wrote at length about BioMarker in 2009 (my, how time flies!). Here's the story if you want to learn a little about the company's history and founders.

[Correction: Earlier, this post incorrectly stated the number of times BioMarker has sought to raise money. I regret the error.]


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

Un-exclusive: Apple working on iPad 3

Stop the presses: Now we have word that Apple, not content to rest on its iPad and iPad 2 laurels (and profits), is indeed preparing an iPad 3! With a better display!

Get the real scoop from the WSJ, who's on it.

It's coming in "early 2012." And no, this one probably won't have Flash capability either -- get over it already!


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

August 18, 2011

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' wife donated to Otis Rolley

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Fresh off Twitter, supporters of Baltimore mayoral challenger Otis Rolley are letting it be known that Steve Jobs's wife -- Laurene Powell Jobs -- has donated to his campaign.

See some tweets here: http://twitter.com/#!/search/laurene%20jobs

I've reached out to the Rolley campaign and to Steve Jobs himself (I think I have his email) for confirmation. I can't seem to find any contact for Laurene Powell Jobs.

A search of Maryland's campaign finance database shows that a "Laurene Powell Jobs" donated $2,000 to Rolley on Aug. 3.

A woman by the same name also gave $1,000 to Bill Ferguson.

The news was broken on the Facebook page, Baltimore Tech, by Tom Loveland, a Rolley supporter. See here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/baltimoretech/

I'd love to get confirmation of this from the real wife of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, just to make me feel comfortable. Laurene -- if you read this, shoot me an email at gus.sentementes@baltsun.com. Thanks.


Update: Dan Fee, a Rolley spokesman, said in an email to me:

Yes, Otis was very pleased to receive a contributions from Mrs. Jobs. She is a nationally renowned education advocate and as the only candidate in the race who has proposed a plan to improve Baltimore's education system, we were honored to receive her support.
Otis reached out to her because of her strong support for improving schools for every child.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

August 16, 2011

Maryland to hold first "Entrepreneur Expo" in November

entrep-expo-md.jpgIf there's one thing entrepreneurs like to do, it's network. And Maryland's entrepreneurs are apparently about to get that in a big way this November. The state's technology development entity, TEDCO, is spearheading the first Entrepreneur Expo on Monday, Nov. 14, at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum Heights.

The event is taking place during the worldwide Global Entrepreneurship Week. [Registration is $99. More details here.]

The event has the title of "Harnessing the Power of Innovation in Maryland."

The first quote in the official press release today is from Gov. Martin O'Malley ("Entrepreneurship is part of the engine of our state's economy"), who has seized job creation through technology as one of his economic goals. [Remember O'Malley's InvestMaryland initiative passed earlier this year in the General Assembly, which pumps $70 million into tech startups around Maryland?

So, based on the agenda and the "about" page on the expo's site, we can expect an event filled with budding entrepreneurs, potential investors, legislators, university officials and federal lab officials, to name a few. Hit the jump for the full press release:

COLUMBIA, Md. (August 16, 2011) – The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced today that it has partnered with key organizations and stakeholders to lead the creation of the first state-wide Entrepreneur Expo, “Harnessing the Power of Innovation in Maryland.” The large-scale expo will feature dynamic conference programming, including the curation of activities by BETASCAPE, whose mission is to explore the intersection of art and technology. Taking place Monday, November 14 at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum Heights, the full-day event will provide informational and educational tracks and a platform for entrepreneurs to share ideas and cultivate important relationships and connections. The Entrepreneur Expo has been selected as one of 10 featured events in the country during Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 14 – 20) by Unleashing Ideas, the organization coordinating the national week of observance.
 
“Entrepreneurship is part of the engine of our State’s economy,” said Governor O’Malley. “I am pleased that TEDCO will host the first state-wide Entrepreneur Expo to spur innovation and discovery – opening the door of opportunity for Maryland businesses.”
 
The conference agenda will cover a variety of programming and multi-format sessions through four tracks: Mentoring/Advising, Special Business Topics, Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and Financing. “The Marketplace,” a unique component of the Expo, will feature entrepreneurial innovations, exhibits from various stakeholders in the entrepreneur community, and a “Town Square” that will serve as staging for interactive programming throughout the day. Another feature of the Expo will be the “Meet Your Mentor” session, a one-on-one opportunity for entrepreneurs to talk to 50-plus service providers and entrepreneurial support organizations on issues directly affecting their businesses. Bryan Sivak, Maryland’s Chief Innovation Officer, is a confirmed keynote speaker and will facilitate a special panel discussion with entrepreneurs.
 
The expo will also feature an “Entrepreneurial Launch Pad” session where companies can pitch their products and services for potential investment. Pitches will be lightening fast and the audience will vote for the most valuable pitch. The three companies receiving the most votes will win a cash prize. Interested participants will be able to apply for participation in the Entrepreneurial Launch Pad session during the Expo.  
 
“The Entrepreneur Expo is a first-of-its kind event for Maryland. Different than traditional conference models, this event will be dynamic and serve to facilitate productive and candid conversations among our state’s entrepreneurs,” said Rob Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “TEDCO is proud to play a role in the development of this important day, and we look forward to an excellent turnout in the event’s inaugural year.”   
 
For more information about the Expo, to register for the event or become a volunteer, please visit www.innovatemd.com.  
 
The Entrepreneur Expo: Harnessing the Power of Innovation in Maryland is the first large-scale conference dedicated to promoting and celebrating the key to Maryland’s entrepreneurs, the key to its innovation economy. The Conference will take place on Monday, November 14, 2011 at the BWI Airport Marriott in Linthicum Heights, Md. Led by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), the coordinating group is the Entrepreneur Expo Leadership Team (EELT) and includes: Association for Corporate Growth, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, Federal Lab Consortium  (FLC) and FLC Mid-Atlantic Region, Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), Greater Baltimore Technology Council (GBTC), Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), Maryland Business Incubation Association (MBIA), Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Morgan State University (MSU), Entrepreneur Development Assistance Center, National Council of Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer, Springboard Enterprises, Technology  Council of Maryland (TCM), and the University System of Maryland. For more information, visit www.innovatemd.com. Sponsor and exhibit opportunities are available.
 
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), an independent entity, was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1998 to facilitate the creation of businesses and foster their growth in all regions of the State. TEDCO's role is to be Maryland's leading source of funding for seed capital and entrepreneurial business assistance for the development, transfer and commercialization of technology. TEDCO connects emerging technology companies with federal laboratories, research universities, business incubators and specialized technical assistance. TEDCO was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine for being the most active seed/early-stage investor in the nation for five consecutive years from 2003-2008 (the last year of the survey) and is a recipient of the national Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development award from the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) for the Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund (MTTCF) program. For more information on TEDCO and its programs and resources, visit www.MarylandTEDCO.org.
 


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Events (Baltimore area)
        

August 15, 2011

Survey: 13% of Americans use cellphones to avoid interactions

In a report today from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 13 percent of Americans indicated that they use their cellphones to avoid real-life interactions with others.

The survey tosses out a number of statistics on the habits of American cell phone users.

Some more:

* Half of all adult cell owners (51%) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away. One quarter (27%) said that they experienced a situation in the previous month in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone at hand.

* Cell phones can help stave off boredom – 42% of cell owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.

* One third of Americans own smartphones. And it's in that demographic's usage patterns do you have a window into our mobile future: Fully nine in ten smartphone owners use text messaging or take pictures with their phones, while eight in ten use their phone to go online or send photos or videos to others. Many activities—such as downloading apps, watching videos, accessing social networking sites or posting multimedia content online—are almost entirely confined to the smartphone population.

[Thanks to @johnbhorrigan, who tweeted out the Pew report.]


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:02 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Apps, Big Ideas, Gadgets, Smartphones, Wireless
        

Did you find a job with help from social media?

In case you don't get the Sunday paper (and why wouldn't you?), I had a story yesterday about the rise of social media usage in recruiting and job-hunting.

I talked with some local companies and recruiters about their efforts in using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with job candidates.

My take-away: professional networking and job-hunting in some ways requires good social media "hygiene." Just like you'd go to a dentist or general practitioner annually for a thorough checkup, you need to be diligent about maintaing a social media presence that's geared toward your career.

Freshen up your LinkedIn page and contribute to its Groups. Use keywords and tweet with hashtags on Twitter. Explore your friends' job connections on Facebook. Keep yourself visible (without embarrassing yourself, of course.)

If you found your job with the help of social media, give us a shout-out in the comments below.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Big Ideas, Jobs & Recruiting, Social Media
        

Motorola Mobility added to Google's Circle

Big news on a Monday: Google is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion -- a 63 percent premium over Motorola's stock price.

Google CEO Larry Page laid out some of the rationale for Google buying the handset maker, which makes cellphones tied to Google's Android platform, in a company blog post this morning.

Already, bloggers and tech journos are slicing and dicing the deal for meaning.

* Business Insider makes the point that with Google owning a hardware maker now, it's competing head-to-head moreso than ever with Apple.

* Larry Dignan over at ZDNet's Between the Lines blog gives six reasons why the deal makes sense. Among them: Google is getting tons of patents for wireless via Motorola, and patents help you ward off lawsuits. Also: mobility is the future of computing and Google needs to better integrate the hardware/software experience for Android.

* Here's the Wall Street Journal's straight-news take on the deal.

* So is Google now a "mobile company"? New York Times' DealBook discusses.

* Engadget's post is worth checking out, if only for the Photoshopped Google hearts Motorola graphic.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:24 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Gadgets, Wireless
        

August 9, 2011

Baltimore not very "iPad-friendly": report

Why is Men's Health always hatin' on Baltimore?

The latest indignity from the magazine, which featured a story today on its homepage titled: The Top 10 Muscles Women Love", disses our natives' technology/gadget habits.

Mashable reports on a survey by Men's Health that ranks 100 U.S. cities in terms of "iPad friendliness."

Plano, Texas, came in first place. Baltimore came in 97th. (Toleda, Ohio, came in last.)

Ouch.

Mind you, in March, Baltimore ranked #58 on their list of most socially-networked cities in the U.S.

Hey, at least we're not Stockton, Calif., which ranked 98th in the iPad friendly survey and 95 in the social media networking survey.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 5:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Gadgets
        

Baltimoreans can rent out their parking spots thru Parking Panda

parking-panda-image.gifHey Baltimore: Here's your chance to make a buck off your own parking spot.

Parking Panda, a Baltimore web startup, recently went live with its website -- parkingpanda.com -- which can also be accessed by mobile phone browsers.

Parking Panda is kinda like the Airbnb (a site that lets people pay for or rent out homes and apartments for travelers) of parking.

People who are looking to make a little extra money off their unused or lightly used parking spot can list it for rent on the site. And people who are looking to park in city neighborhoods -- perhaps during big events such as baseball or football games, or the upcoming Grand Prix -- can turn to it to find a spot they can rent with their smartphone.

The site is the work of Nick Miller and Adam Zilberbaum, two young guys from Baltimore who won a startup competition in the city in the spring. They are currently working on their startup in New York City, at the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, but they plan on returning to Baltimore to jump-start their business.

[I wrote a story about Parking Panda and the trend of business accelerators recently.]

And they're hoping the Grand Prix, over Labor Day weekend, will generate demand for their app as people struggle to find parking downtown.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech

Amazon Kindle getting social -- but does it get it?

kindle-social.jpg So it looks like Amazon is trying to make the Kindle experience more social. There's a good write-up in The Atlantic that discusses the new social features of the Kindle and the website, where the e-reader's public notes feature is integrated with Twitter and Facebook.

I'm not a Kindle user so I don't have a feel for how much of a demand users have to be "social" on Twitter/Facebook while trying to read a book.

Amazon's been steadily adding "social" features to the Kindle platform over the past year. But do you want to be social while trying to enjoy the peace of mind of reading a book? I dunno....

I guess I can see some usefulness in it.

As The Atlantic writer notes, readers may enjoy the ability of sharing lending versions of e-books with others in their social networks.

But it's also not in Amazon's interest to make it too easy for people to mass-lend their e-books, cuz it could potentially hurt Kindle sales. Or not?

Tim Carmody, over at Wired, has a good rundown of the details of how Amazon's pimped-up social network is behaving for users. Growing pains are evident.

I suspect we're seeing the early stages of social network experimentation for Amazon. There are rumors they're building their own tablet to compete with the iPad. Building a social network around books (and Amazon does music, and millions of other stuff, too) may be just the beginning.

Amazon could build a social network that incorporates and integrates both the virtual AND physical worlds better than anything out there right now that Apple/iTunes or Facebook/Twitter or Google/Microsoft could ever hope to accomplish. One that's powered by its deep reservoir of customer reviews and integrates well with its Amazon hardware, i.e. e-readers and tablets.

(Image via FastCompany)


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:24 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: *NEWS*, Apps, Gadgets
        

August 8, 2011

Baltimore-based Localist scores 8 university contracts

Localist.com, a Baltimore-based startup that's developed a social calendar platform, announced today that it had scored deals with eight universities which will use its platform for connecting students with events.

Here are the universities:

* DePaul University - Chicago, Ill.
* Emmanuel College - Boston, Mass.
* Georgetown University - Washington D.C.
* Towson University - Towson, Md.
* University of Delaware - Newark, Del.
* University of Rhode Island - Kingston, RI..
* Virginia Military Institute - Lexington, Va.
* Williams College - Williamstown, Mass.

In addition to these eight, BaltimoreCollegetown.com is also using Localist's platform. Eleven other universities are currently using the Localist platform.

This is more good news for Localist, whose founders used to operate it as a consumer-facing Website, but switched gears last year to sell it as a white-label product to universities and other organizations. They're now serving 105,000+ students.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, East Coast, Entrepreneurs & Risk Takers, Startups
        

The new "innovation community manager" at GBTC

HazlettGBTC.jpegGive a big hello (and "follow" on various social networks) to Andrew Hazlett, the Greater Baltimore Tech Council's new "innovation community manager."

Catch his blog here.

Back in June, I wrote about this new job created at the GBTC. It's great to see someone else who's going to be writing about the tech and entrepreneurial scene in Baltimore.

Andrew has a pretty diverse background, as he writes, in journalism, government, urban public policy and book publishing.

I'm looking forward to following the stuff he does. 


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:04 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: *NEWS*, Big Ideas, East Coast, Events (Baltimore area), Social Media
        
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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: baltimoresun.com/balttech
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