Saturday, June 30, 2007

Google Gadget Ventures

Google just announced their entry into venture funding with Google Gadget Ventures.

They will provide grants of $5,000 to those who’ve built gadgets they’d like to see developed further, then $100,000 in seed investment to those developers who’d like to build a business around the Google gadgets platform. The FAQs include more detail.

Bloggers discussing this program include Matt Cutts. John Claburn's article in Information Week also provides links to related articles and white papers.

John Blyberg has an old, but nicely detailed, description of some Google gadgets he designed for library use. Niall Kennedy discussed Gadgets as an AdSense Unit last month.

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Web 2.0 Sirens?

The recent Web 2.0 Forum elicited several interesting articles from Michael Gorman, past president of the American Library Association, on the Britannica Blog, beginning with the Sleep of Reason, and continuing with Siren Song of the Internet, Part 1 and Part 2. Naturally, there were responses.

UPDATE: Mark Oehlert at Learning as Art has an interesting perspective on this, and links to the continuing debate between Weinberger and Keen.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

An iPhone Note

Since it is Friday, here's an iPhone note.

Early reviews of the iPhone are summarized on Mobile Tech Today.
Of course, last January the Mac Geeks had already posted the next generation versions. (Yes, a joke)


Supernova Followup

From Mitch Ratcliffe at ZD Net News, a review of the debate between David Weinberger (Author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and the new Everything is Miscellaneous) and Andrew Keen (Author of Cult of the Amateur).
The subject: Disorder - Feature or Bug?

Chris Heuer posted notes on the debate real time at the Social Media Club.

Radcliffe also reported on the presentation on complex systems by Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

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Powerset Searching

According to Dan Farber from ZD Net, Powerset, the natural language search mashup platform, should launch in September. He quotes Steve Newcomb, Powerset co-founder and COO: "We're after after a pretty big goal–replacing the core of the search engine.”
Powerset is using natural language technology from Xerox Parc and focusing its efforts on the indexing. It’s building a search destination site and a platform that leverages the wisdom of the crowds for development. Snippet from ZDNet.
One can follow their progress on their company blog, and on the founders' blogs: Barney Pell, Steve Newcomb, and Lorenzo Thione. I especially like the Query of the Week examples.

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Web Analytics for Nonprofits

Beth Kanter has just put together a great primer on web analytics for nonprofits. Additional information is available at her Wiki space.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Events, In-world and in SL

Beth Kanter's reflections on Mixed Reality Events provides insight into last year's TechSoup NetSquared Conference, which took place in San Francisco and Second Life. Last October, she described the MacArthur Foundation's multi-site Digital Learning Briefing.

Also active in SL, and developing mixed reality events in the business sector, PA Consulting is profiled in a recent Financial Times article.

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Edutopia's Daring Dozen 2007

Edutopia announced the innovative Daring Dozen educators recently.
They are:
Richard G. Baraniuk, Edward Burns, Nìnive Clements Calegari, Mary Keller, Mark Leon, Claudette Morton, Luma Mufleh, John W. Rogers Jr., Arthur Rolnick, Derrell Simpson, David Sobel, Laurie M. Tisch.

Edutopia is one of the initiatives created by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which publishes the stories of innovative teaching and learning through a variety of media -- a magazine, e-newsletters, DVDs, books, and the Edutopia web site.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Confetti for Visitors

The Download Squad points to CrazyEgg's Confetti View that lets one get a better idea of how visitors use a site. These same folks produced the Heatmap that shows the concentration of clicks on a web page.


Digital Art Competition

The Piemonte Share Festival announced the second edition of the Share Prize 2008 for digital art. The competition jury will award a prize of €2,500 to the work (published or unpublished) which best represents experimentation between arts and new technologies. Nominations open between June 15 and September 30; finalists will be selected by November 2007.

The contest is open to any Italian and foreign artist using digital technology as a language of creative expression, in all its shapes and formats and in combination with analogical technologies and/or any other material (i.e. computer animation / visual effects, digital music, interactive art, net art, software art, live cinema/vj, audiovisual performance, etc.).

The winner will be announced in March 2008 during the award ceremony at Share Festival.

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Advice for Entrepreneurs

Marc Andreessen has just published the fourth of his of his Guides to Startups. (First, second, third installments.)

From Adventures in Capitalism comes this advice, originally from Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist:
"There will be times when you feel invincible. There will be times when you feel doomed. You're wrong in both cases."

Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride. If you treat each step forward as a triumph, and each step backwards as a tragedy, you'll find yourself emotionally exhausted and, likely, making bad decisions. Keep your eye on the big picture, and don't let the highs and lows get away from you.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ubiquitous Computing and Appliances

John Seely Brown, formerly of Xerox PARC, is now an author, consultant and visiting scholar at the University of Southern California. His new article at receiver #18 is on ubiquitous computing entering the "home zone", the era of connectivity as a matter of course, and how crucial it is to keep things simple in order to cope with the wealth of information engulfing us.

Mike Kuniavsky of Orange Cone has a piece on the Evolution of Appliances in the same issue. A good time to note Bruce Sterling's 2004 neologism, Spime.

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FOO 2007

FOO Camp 2007 just wrapped up, so there are photos and such at Laughing Squid, Flickr, and Matt Cutts.

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Mapping Bloggers and Information

Business Week's view of the Blog Belt Cities, from their article on the The Children of the Web arising out of the emerging global community.

OutsideIn has a map of Brooklyn blogs, with time lapse icons comparing blogs and mainstream media stories, as well as a other maps for San Francisco.
The Malaysia blogger map was created by Cheeaunblog.

The WorldKit project, Techkwondo, is a GPS-enabled experience mapping application. And here are GreatMaps, the Map Room and Free Geography Tools, for developing your own maps.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Purposeful Fellows of Virginia

59 Americans over 60 have been named Purpose PrizeTM Fellows, leaders in a new age of social innovation. All are inventing new ways to solve society's toughest challenges.

Two Virginians are on the list, Dennis Bakke of Imagine Schools in Arlington, and Adele Douglass of Certified Humane in Herndon. Douglass is also a finalist for the $100,000 Prize for 2007.

Last year, three Virginians were similarly honored: Martha Rollins of Boaz and Ruth, Marguerite Kondracke of America's Promise, and Dene Peterson of Elder Spirit.

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Supernova Conference

According to WebWare, last week's Supernova Conference in San Francisco included a hoax startup presentation by ZapMeals, in a Spot-the-Fake challenge.

This conference has a rich online presence in the form of a Conversation Hub multiple authors blogging directly from the event, and a Community Connection that utilizes a Wink group for ongoing communication.

Conference speakers included Irving Wladawsky-Berger. The conference was produced in partnership with the The Wharton School.

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Patents and Tech Workers in Virginia

Dr. Christine Chmura writes for the Richmond TimesDispatch that
The American Electronics Association says Virginia had the highest concentration of tech workers in the country in 2005. However, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranked Virginia 26th in the number of U.S. patents issued to companies or individuals per 1,000 workers.

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Valleywag has a sharp piece on "spokesblogging": a web writer, often financially strapped, who lends his or her name to a corporate marketing effort, a commercial transaction often disguised by some jargon, such as conversational marketing.

The example under derision is Cisco's new tagline, "the human network"
...the original article on the "human network" on Wikipedia, together with a convenient link back to an advertorial page hosted by Federated Media. On that page, quotes from Phil Torrone of Make Magazine, Matt Haughey of Metafilter, David Pescovitz of Boing Boing -- and Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, of course. All explaining what the "human network" -- the Cisco slogan -- meant to them. They were just making conversation. Sure.

BowBlog makes the point that

[The well-known bloggers] are not journalists and only barely publishers – they’re over-excited participants in a business and media revolution and they really do have a defense: ignorance.

They just didn't know there was anything wrong with carrying those two innocent words. Their publisher, though, is different. Federated Media is a sophisticated business, an interesting, web-native publishing network – a business advancing a promising model in an uncertain medium. They should have known better.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007


Registration for the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium, COVITS 2007, will open in July. The 2007 theme of “Proceeding in Partnership” focuses on incorporating innovation to drive up performance in government operations.

Three research and development topics on are the agenda:
  • The role of IT in lowering energy consumption
  • The value of modeling and simulation to manage project risk
  • Surfacing tomorrow's microelectronics devices that will transform education and transportation

Speakers this year include Jay McGonigle, Chairman of Corporate Executive Board Co., Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Chairman and Founder of Sycamore Networks Inc. and donor of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, and Michael Bradshaw, Head of Federal Enterprise for Google, Inc. and former Governor Mark R. Warner.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

A Different Kind of Podcast

SorryGottaGo is a great set of short podcasts of just the right sounds with which to excuse yourself from the phone.

Apart from simple doorbells, other phones ringing, and babies crying, several recordings are perfect for telemarketers, such as the Math Department, the 6th Sense Detective Agency. And for opinion pollsters, here are My Answers.

Thanks to Anthony Cerminaro for the pointer to this site.

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Social Entrepreneurs' Film Festival

Guy Kawasaki points to the new FRONTLINE/World Series videos. These stories about social entrepreneurs will be shown on Monday at the Heroes from a Small Planet film festival in San Francisco.

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Virtual Stuff at Stanford

Today's Virtual Goods Summit at Stanford University is focused on the emerging market opportunity for virtual goods and economies. Produced by Charles River Ventures, Susan Wu's article introducing the event on TechCrunch elicited a long string of comments in support of, and critical of, emerging business models for virtual goods.

The forum intends to address such issues as
  • How will virtual goods and virtual currencies impact social networking?
  • Are virtual goods the next big business model?
  • What does it take to successfully launch a virtual goods offering?
  • Are virtual goods poised to go mainstream?
  • What does it take to nurture and develop a successful virtual economy?
  • Why are users embracing virtual goods?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

CC HYPE in Richmond

The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce HYPE group has two networking meetings coming up: Will Turner, Founder of Dancing Elephants Achievement Group, will present "Network Like Your Life Depends on It (Hint: it does)" on June 27, and the group will gather at the Haunts of Richmond on July 26.

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UR Digges Fast Money

University of Richmond MBA candidate, Elizabeth Digges, earned the highest grade from Pete Najarian for going beyond the obvious in her trading advice on the Grade the Trade segment Friday night on CNBC's "Fast Money".
The scenario she would answer arrived about 2 p.m., giving her time to research it online. Appearing via webcam from the University of Richmond, the segment was taped around 6:15 and aired at 8. Snippets from InRich

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Why Investors invest

We've looked at numerous articles over the past months about how to present a business proposal to investors, and what investors are looking for in prospective company. (Examples drawn from O'Reilly Radar; from Infectious Greed, from EarlyStage VC.)

Brad Burnham, of Union Square Ventures, has a nice piece on what they were looking for in a personal financial services company, and why they chose Wasabe.
If you manage your expenses on a web based service you have the opportunity to contribute to community and to take advantage of its collective wisdom. Allowing your service provider to aggregate transaction data anonymously makes it possible for that provider to deliver a service that is better than desktop software in a number of important ways.

Here's an example of the aggregated information that Wasabe makes available from its member-owned data base; in this case, overdraft charges by different banks. Wheaties for your Wallet, the Wasabe blog, describes the same process from the entrepreneur's point of view.

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Prosper, Revisited

Prosper, the online people-to-people lending marketplace co-founded by E-Loan co-founder Chris Larsen, has raised $40 million from investors such as Omidyar Network and Meritech. The online auction platform allows people to list and bid on loans up to $25,000. Prosper handles all loan administration tasks, including loan repayment and collections, on behalf of the matched borrowers and lenders.

Since launching in 2006, Prosper's membership has grown to over 330,000 individuals, and about $70 million in loans.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Building Social Web Applications

Joshua Porter of Bokardo has a new short series on building social web applications. He notes a common pitfall:
...there is no way to design a perfect social web site that doesn’t need ongoing management. Yet, some social start-ups fail to recognize this and launch their app without a designated caretaker. The result is a slow failure…the worst kind of failure because it’s not immediately apparent that it’s happening.

He also points to the importance of archived how-to information, such as Evoca's knowledgebank.
People have the same problems over and over again and the community manager spends more and more time answering the same questions.

Mike Haughey, founder of Metafilter, has seven tips for running a successful online community on Fortuitous. They include
Moderation is a full-time job, and use metrics to spread out the work, such as the user flags used by Craigslist.
Give people more than a generic, often anonymous, comment form for real contributions and participation from others.

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Converging on Amateurs

Some interesting crosscurrents in journalism and publishing, displayed neatly in two recent articles. One from Demo highlights, which does on-demand print publishing, and has a nice little bookstore from which to sell these print books to other customers on the web. Their newest feature makes it easy to move Flickr content into print. Mark Bowden writes on Publishing2 about newspapers struggling to move beyond "filming a play" to collaborative work with citizen journalists and online multimedia presentations while their businesses can still support a staff to learn it.

This is a good time to revisit William Buckeley's 2006 WSJ article, "The Internet Allows Customers to Trim Wasteful Purchases"
When customers find a way to avoid buying the excess baggage, they change quickly.

UPDATE: The recent Tools of Change for Publishing conference is summarized here.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Virtual World Credentials

Robert Bloomfield asked an intriguing question on Terra Nova recently:

What would a virtual world need to be like to make such a resume snippet attractive to a major commercial bank?
  • Cornell University, 2010, Bachelor of Science, Computer Science
  • University of Michigan, 2012, Masters of Engineering, Software Architecture
  • World of Bizquest, 35th level commercial banker, with certificates of achievement in credit analysis (Gold), interest rate risk management (Gold), financial instruments (Silver), and fixed income investing (Platinum).

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Community Review of Patents

The US Patent Office has just gone online, with Peer to Patent, a site developed in cooperation with the New York Law School project for community patent review. (Peer-to-Patent blog)
The goal behind the Peer to Patent Project, officially launched last Friday, is to allow anyone who's interested to weigh in on 250 pending patent applications belonging to one of the more difficult categories to decipher ... computer architecture, software and information security.
Involvement in the project comes with some perks: Instead of having to deal with the average four-year waiting period to get a patent application reviewed, the applications selected to participate can essentially butt ahead in line and get turned around in one year, according to the project's organizers. Current participants include GE, HP, Intel, IBM and Red Hat. Snippets from c|net news

An similar private sector effort launched last year, WikiPatents has almost 4 million patents in its database. WikiPatents was established in part by Kevin Hermansen of Salt Lake City, Utah to provide public patent clarity for the world. The top ten patents as of this month include hierarchical memory systems, cache memory, and dental tools for root canals. The descriptions of newly issued patents, such as this one for interpretation of visual information, include the claims, patent holder(s), and an opportunity for the public to assess market scale and value of the patent.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Scales of SL

From UK ZDnet comes this assessment of Second Life:
The media loves its darlings, and Second Life is very darling indeed. No surprise, coming as it does in the overlap between three of the hottest topics of the moment
  • video gaming, now bigger than Hollywood,
  • online communities, now bigger than countries, and
  • e-commerce, now bigger than a jumble sale.

Wagner James Au, of New World Notes has a different take on the Linden user stats for May, focusing on the countries of origin of active SL residents.
Au also comments that corporations are themselves a kind of avatar, a fictitious entity authorized by governments to conduct business as if they were a person.

According to 3PointD, Anshe Chung Studio (ACS) intends to launch a virtual inter-world financial market in June, no doubt to deal with the economy that is now bigger than a jumble sale.

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Dell Flickrs, Bloggers Advise

From TechDirt comes advice for Dell, and others, about letting the lawyers run the business. Because lawyers understand the law, and they understand how to use the law -- but they don't often think through the business consequences of using the law. Mathew Ingram points to the recent Dell and correspondence at Stupid Lawyer Tricks

The Flickr German user revolt over censorship is covered by the Wired blog Epicenter; and DoNoEvil of Netscape points to Flickr's parent company, Yahoo, as part of the problem.

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Maryland Cultural Data

The Maryland Cultural Data Project site was announced recently by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. Based on on the Cultural Data Project (CDP) in Pennsylvania which is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the MD group intends to provide benchmarking information about the sector and to individual organizations, and to improve cultural policy expertise by making data available to researchers.

Maryland cultural organizations are encouraged to participate in the project by completing the Data Profile online upon receiving their annual audit, financial review or have closed and balanced their books for the previous year.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Web of Belief

According to,
Some of the biggest names in web journalism—,, and—were among the finalists for the 2007 National Magazine Award in “Online General Excellence.” But when the American Society of Magazine Editors announced the winner on May 1, a lesser known spirituality-and faith-based site called walked away with the top prize. And in bestowing its 2007 National Magazine Award, the American Society of Magazine Editors lauded Beliefnet for “its ability to unite a diverse audience under one digital roof. Founder Steve Waldman left US News & World Report to start Beliefnet in 1998.

Originally Beliefnet had an ambitious business strategy mirroring the ethos of internet entrepreneurs of the 1990s, and about 60 employees. Along with news and commentary, visitors to could book a vacation or access an online dating service.

When the Internet bubble burst, Waldman declared bankruptcy. The five remaining employees worked at minimum wage, although they were given stock in the company which, according to a recent New York Times article, could now be valued at as much as $100 million. (According to a New York Times article, its revenue has surged by at least 50% in the last four years, reaching $12.6 million in 2006.)

With the support of venture capital, the site was reorganized and adopted a new business model based predominantly on online advertising. Beliefnet also augmented the social networking component with more than 100 hundred different topics and a roster of beliefs that range from Atheism to Zoroastrianism. Snippets from

The site includes the trademarked Belief-o-matic to find out the faith group to which your personality type belongs, as well as prayer requests and advertisements for Evan Almighty, filmed in Crozet last year.

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2007 Magazine Award Winners

The 2007 National Magazine Awards are an interesting snapshot of our times. The winners include:

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was recognized for General Excellence, beating out finalist The Virginia Quarterly Review.

Wired beat The Economist in their circulation class. Vanity Fair won both the Public Interest and Columns and Commentary categories. The Single Topic Issue winner was the American Express Departures Latin American issue (Not available online without subscription). In the Excellence in Reporting category, Esquire's report on the 2004 attack on the Russian school in Beslan beat out the IEEE Spectrum's report on restoring electricity to Iraq, Reengineering Iraq.

Finally, the Interactive Service category winner was Business Week's B-School Channel.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ernst and Young Entrepreneurs, 2007

Ernst and Young is beginning to announce the state and regional winners of the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year awards. National winners will be announced in November.

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VA Small Business of 2007

Nominations are open for the 2007 Virginia Small Business of the Year, sponsored by Virginia Business Magazine. Nominations are due by August 31.

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AO100 Nonimations Open

AlwaysOn is accepting online nominations for the annual AO100 Innvation Awards. Last year, two northern Virginia companies made the final cut: Mobile365 and Approva. 2007 winners will be announced at the Stanford Summit July 31 - August 2 at Stanford University.
AlwaysOn and KPMG have officially kicked off this year’s AO100 competition. We're looking for the top emerging companies that are creating new business opportunities in globaltech. This includes private companies that are demonstrating significant market traction and pursuing game-changing technology in the following sectors:
Consumer and Entertainment
Devices and Components
Mobile and Wireless
Network and Infrastructure
Services and Enablers

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Virtual World Hybrids

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch reports on emerging hybrids of real virtual worlds, pointing to GoogleEarth, Photosynth (Windows only) and to a new entry in the field, Everyscape, due to launch this fall. Here is Time Magazine's pick of the best GoogleEarth pictures. Arrington was interviewed recently by the podcasters at iinovate.

For a brief background, here's the HTML version of "Experience of a Hybrid Information Space between an Outdoor Field and an Immersive Virtual World", published in 2005 by T. Ogi (University of Tsukuba, Japan) and T. Fujise (Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.)

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Kundra as DC CTO

DC-based ExecutiveBiz has an interview with Vivek Kundra, in his new role as the CTO for Washington, DC. Kundra's top priotiry is advancing the Mayor’s agenda, simplifying government operations, and finding the innovative path. He anticipates that his office will going to play a significant role in transforming the DC Public Schools. He also notes that his father taught in the DC public schools for 16 years.

The Mayor's press release summarizes Kundra's role as IT Director for Arlington as well as his roles in emerging technology companies as a C level officer.

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Immigrant Entrepreneurs Update

Recent studies on immigrant entrepreneurs have been updated by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. They report that "... the educational backgrounds of immigrant entrepreneurs who were key founders of technology and engineering companies from 1995 to 2005 shows a strong correlation between educational attainment (particularly in science, technology, engineering and math) and entrepreneurship" and that "53 percent of the immigrant founders of U.S.-based technology and engineering companies completed their highest degrees in U.S. universities".
Demo has a brief summary and comparison to the earlier studies.

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Most Admired in Virginia

The following Virginia-based companies were identified by Fortune Magazine among the most admired companies nationally. (Links go to the magazine's company profiles and rankings)

Brink's, CarMax, Dominion Resources, LandAmerica Financial and Performance Food Group of the Richmond area

Gannett and General Dynamics of Northern Virginia

Norfolk Southern of Norfolk, and Smithfield Foods of Smithfield.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Digital Media Conference 07

The 4th annual Digital Media Conference will be held June 22 in Washington DC. The keynote speaker is Alex Welch of Photobucket; conference co-chairs are Ned Sherman, CEO & Publisher, Digital Media Wire, and Paul Sherman, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Tech Wire Publications.
Virtual worlds will be represented by Damon Taylor of The Electric Sheep Company.

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Rome Reborn, Virtually

c|net news has a new piece on a virtual historical world, the Rome Reborn 1.0 project at the University of Virginia Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities under the leadership of Dr. Bernard Frischer, who founded the UCLA CVR Lab. On June 11, Mayor Walter Veltroni of Rome unveiled a public viewing. Photo Copyright University of Virginia

The project began at the University of California, nearly 10 years ago, and has involved collaboration among UVA, the UCLA Experimental Technologies Center, the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Lab, and the Reverse Engineering Lab at the Politecnico de Milan.

The project shows almost the entire city of Rome within the 13-mile-long Aurelian Walls in 320 A.D., when Rome was the multicultural capital of the Western world.
According to the CVR site, the material will be available from the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University.

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ManyEyes Revisited

IBM's data visualization work with ManyEyes is reviewed in BusinessWeek.

To the IBM leaders of this project, Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda B. Viégas, the perspective "isn't just about creating pretty pictures, although the graphs are eye-catching. These are neat, visual condensations of information that prompt deep analysis." Snippet from the Business Week article.

Some other perspectives, from Stamen Design Studio, ReadWriteWeb, Useful Chemistry, and BGN's earlier pointers.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

VC Power Failures

According to a recent LA Times story, VCs in Silicon Valley are suffering from frequent power outages these days.
Always on the leading edge of technology, many firms use Internet-based telephone systems. That means that when the power goes out and Internet routers fail, so do the phone lines. Mobile phones don't provide much help — the rolling hills that help make the area such an attractive one for financiers also make it notoriously bad for cellphone reception.

Perhaps they should check in with MIT students and faculty, who just demonstrated a Wirelessly Powered Lightbulb. However, one commenter observed that this was a Great lab trick, but like home nuclear reactors, not too wise.

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Archives and Time Machines

Andrew Kantor has a current article on electronic archiving in the Roanoke Times, beginning You can still read the Declaration of Independence, even though it’s more than 225 years old — it’s on paper of proven quality. Ditto for thousands of other documents and records dating back centuries.

Although written in 2000, Gail Hodge's article, Best Practices for Digital Archiving" in D-Lib magazine is still useful. A more current source of information is the Byte and Switch piece on e-discovery. ISO has weighed in, with a history of their work in archiving standards available here and a reference for open access technical data here (pdf).

The American Institute of Physics archive policy is instructive. For entrepreneurs however, the Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal may be more useful. In this context, it's nice to know that Apple's Leopard Time Machine will be available.

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Patent Hoarding

According to Techdirt, there's a growing list of "investment firms drooling over the innovation-killing patent-hoarding lawsuit rewards", and they have already funded Geomas, which is suing Verizon for putting their yellow pages online.

This article, "Location-Based Search? Patented! Owner [Geomas] Plans To Sue Everyone", rather confirms the analysis of Professor Tim Wu, who said ... the real subject of American copyright is distributors ... who control the rights, bring the lawsuits, and take copyright as their industries’ “life-sustaining protection.”

In Virginia, RedOrbit reports that MercExchange is suing eBay over ... "Buy it now". This case is a rallying point for critics who argue the U.S. patent system is riddled with abuse from small businesses that sue established companies to enforce patents for ideas that have never been developed into products.

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Unified Theory of Free

From Techdirt's Mike Masnick comes the Grand Unified Theory on the Economics of Free. Since TechDirt's tagline is Instant Insight from a Community of Expert Bloggers, the Unified Theory must be true.

In a similar vein, Attention Trust has an interesting post that points back to Ester Dyson's evolving views on free web content, particularly attention and intention marketing.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rio Riches

According to RedHerring, Brazil is the new darling of high-tech and cleantech investors. Much of the $4.6 billion invested in Latin America last year went to Brazil. Draper Fisher Jurvetson recently announced a $40-million early-stage fund financed by Brazilian investors.
“We see it as a large economy with talented people, smart people, some world-class universities,” says Don Wood, DFJ’s managing director. “It’s been essentially starved of the venture capital ecosystem that fuels innovation.” Brazil’s economy, he notes, is slightly larger than Russia’s and on par with India’s. Snippet from RedHerring
The University of Richmond is prepared for this new focus on Brazil, as one of the few professional MBA programs in the country that requires an international consultancy project and a long history of partnerships in Brazil.

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WWDC07 - Innovation

From c|net news, comes the latest announcements from Apple about the iPhone and the Leopard Time Machine, which allows retrieval of documents as they existed on a specific earlier date.

For a neat summary of the newest iPhone features, see Webware. Beta copies of Leopard will be made available to attendees of the the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that wraps up on June 15.

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DARPA Updates

From c|net news, a story about the Pit Crews for DARPA's Urban Challenge coming up in November. Virginians Team Jefferson from Charlottesville, and Team Victor Tango from Blacksburg are both returning as experienced DARPA contestants.
The actual event location will be announced on August 10.

And FYI, the DARPA LOCO response date has been changed to January 2008.

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Simplifying Financial Planning

A new financial advising service from North Carolina, Simplifi, provides personal financial planning advice. The three founders and two financial advisors of Simplifi are represented online by an avatar-like virtual financial advisor, Sophie.

Personal financial planning information in the form of online courses or downloadable documents is also available from such organizations as the UC Irving online course, from Gatline Education's online course. the CCH Financial Planning Toolkit, and from Management Help, targeted for small businesses and nonprofits.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

European Young Entrepreneur Voting

BusinessWeek magazine invites votes for the European Young Entrepreneur (25 or under) whose startup business shows the most promise.

BGN uses StatCounter, founded by nominee Aodhan Cullen, to track web site and blog traffic. In April, Cullen was recognized by ICT as Young IT Person of the Year, recognizing outstanding achievements made by a recent entrant into the IT profession whose contribution to his organization has had a significant impact on its business, either in terms of IT development or implementation, or who has assisted in the start-up of a new company with excellent potential.
Cullen invites comments on the StatCounter blog.

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Enterprise South Launched

The Southern Growth Policy Board just launched Enterprise South, a new web site designed to encourage, support and document the efforts of the Southern states in building an enterprise economy and workforce. The site currently has some Virginia labor force educational attainment data, and descriptions of a few of the Virginia organizations involved in workforce development.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Batten Institute's Chic Thompson and Darden Graduate School of Business's Philippe Sommer just produced a podcast for With Good Reason, Virginia public radio. "So You Want to be an Entrepreneur" will be airing June 9 - 15.
Thompson and Sommer advise aspiring entrepreneurs to take a vacation now; they won’t have the time again for 3-5 years.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Change in the Air

Change This describes itself as a new form of media that uses existing tools (like PDFs, blogs and the web) to challenge the way ideas are created and spread. Since 2004, authors of their short manifestos include Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Tom Peters and Malcolm Gladwell.

Endeavor Knowledge Center provides a series of articles on high impact local/global entrepreneurship in the context of emerging markets and poverty.

On June 14, Guy Kawasaki will moderate a panel at the Silicon Valley Churchill Club entitled No Plan, No Capital, No Model ... No Problem: Companies that Defied what VCs Tell You. Panelists include the founders of FanPop [fan], PlentyofFish [dating], HotorNot [ranking], MayasMom [parenting], and CoreFino [accounting services].

Finally,the original social entrepreneur, Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, speaks on PBS; and Bill Gates speaks to Harvard graduates (from c|net news).

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

2007 VPTC-CVG Tech Awards

The Virginia Piedmont Technology Council-Charlottesville Venture Group announced the 2007 Tech Award winners last night at their Farmington Gala banquet.

The Rocket Award, sponsored by Environ of Charlottesville, went to ADI Engineering for their speed in moving from concept toward commercialization.

The Spotlight Award, sponsored by the University of Virginia, went to SNL Financial for actions spotlight the Virginia Piedmont as a world-class technology leader.

The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by CIT for a remarkable breakthrough or quantum advance, went to DiaKine Therapeutics.

The Navigator Award, sponsored by Barton Malow, went to Richard Crawford, founder of Virginia Active Angels Network (VAAN), for significant leadership in the local or regional high-tech community.

The Red Apple Award, sponsored by the University of Virginia, went to Paula White, Crozet Elementary School, for doing the most with resources available in exciting and preparing students for the possibilities in technology. Paula White will also receive the Keiter Stephens Tobey $2,500 Technology in Education Grant.

VPTC Chairman Gary Henry was honored with the Community Award, sponsored by NTELOS, for demonstrating commitment to improving the quality of life in Central Virginia through community involvement.

The new 2007 Chairman's Award went to VPTC Board members Dave Keller (NTELOS), Tracy Linkous (Diffusion Pharmaceuticals), and Michael Latsko (Explore Learning).

A Special Judges Award went to Red Apple Award finalist Larry G. Richards of UVA Engineering who has been bringing Engineering Kits into middle school science and math classes through the Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative.

UPDATE: Brian McNeill's Daily Progress article on the event.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Biomedical Engineering in Virginia

Virginia Business magazine just published an overview of biomedical engineering programs in Virginia:
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) started its undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering programs in 1984. The University of Virginia, which has had a graduate bioengineering program in place since 1967, began an undergraduate program in 2003. Virginia Tech recently teamed up with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., to establish the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES). And George Mason University is in the early stages of planning its undergraduate biomedical engineering program.

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VA Small Business

Nominations for the Virginia Small Business Success Story of the Year are due August 31, 2007. Next February, the four regional winners will be profiled in Virginia Business magazine.

Criteria include:
• Virginia based
• Less than 100 employees
• Privately held
• At least one owner active in the business
• In business at least five years
• Profitable

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Google and Apple

According to c|net news, Google was founded when the Stanford effort to license the intellectual property found no serious takers. Luis Mejia, of the Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing, mentioned this at the recent California Clean Tech Open. Stanford did keep an equity stake in Google, which they eventually sold for $336 million.

Apple Computer's story is similar, with Hewlett Packard giving up rights to the work of their temporary employee, Steve Wozniak. This week marks the 30th anniversary of the first Apple computer. For more history, see Wired, CNN's Grouchy Geek, eWeek, and an interview with the Woz.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Graduation Webcasts

According to CNN, many colleges and universities have followed the lead of the University of Massachusetts, which provided live coverage in 2002, and the University of Pennsylvania, which began web casting graduation ceremonies in 2003. A Google search for graduation, webcast turned up 350,000 results, some of which were high schools. Many universities have been providing podcasts or videos of various commencement and other speakers.

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Swivel Geo

Swivel Geography was just announced. The sample map shows vehicles per state.

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Threadless Interview

Guy Kawasaki's interview with Jeffrey Kalmikoff, who describes Threadlless as "an ongoing, online tee shirt design competition."

On asked whether the Threadless participation in forums and podcasting increase sales or are they just fun/cool things to do, Kalmikoff said
Participating in the forums, definitely helps to people understand that the owners and employees of the company really are part of the community and don’t sit up on high looking down onto our business. Most everyone who works for us was part of the Threadless community before they were employed, so it’s a pretty natural thing. The podcast—who knows—but it’s really fun!

BGN reviewed Threadless last November, as an early example of successful crowd-sourced manufacturing.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Predictions for Media?

The Economist profiles Simon and Schuster's Touchstone, which is using the new MediaPredict site to help select successful ventures. Media Predict hopes to do this using a virtual stockmarket for unpublished books, unsigned music acts and proposed television shows. Artists or agents post samples of such as a a book chapter or a television pilot. "Traders" use virtual cash buy shares in the material they feel has the greatest potential.
The idea is that as traders buy and sell shares in competing content, the cream will float to the top—where entertainment-industry bosses can skim it off. Snippet from The Economist

MediaPredict combines the wisdom of crowds, an online stock market of sorts, virtual money, a blog and social bookmarking. No doubt O'Reilly Radar will have something to say about this initiative.

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Internet and the Bots

Wired reports on the recent e-crime Operations Summit:

Frontline internet-crime fighters from security companies, law enforcement agencies, banks and e-commerce sites huddled at a secretive conference last week to confer on new tactics in the war on cybercrime. And while nearly everyone agreed the internet has become an infected and dangerous breeding ground for malware and scams, no one could quite agree on what do. ...botnets: the internet's zombie armies of compromised PCs that malefactors use to send spam, host fake websites for phishing attacks or bombard websites with spurious traffic in a distributed denial-of-service attack.

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Ludium II

The Indiana University Ludium II Conference promises to be interesting, as folks will be participating on behalf of one of the four regions described below in an event designed as a 19th century political convention.

Thalo: A society of hunters and woodsmen that value individual freedoms over all other things. They feel most at home arguing for policy that involves issues of individual rights, freedoms, or powers.

Sysland: A sturdy and industrious people, Syslanders are concerned most with the hard issues of science and design. They prefer talking about policy involving technology, engineering, and design.

Aroland: The merchants of Aroland have a motto, “Barges float on money, not water.” True to their motto, Arolanders will find it easier to float policy that concerns itself with business, industry, markets, profits, or the economy.

Palvi: Ever practical, the citizens of don’t want to hear about the wonders of tomorrow, they want to make the best out of what they have today. Palvi citizens want to hear statements that can be implemented immediately, involve no controversy, or are obviously feasible.

The sponsoring organization, the Synthetic Worlds initiative, is also building Arden, a virtual Shakespearean world.

A Ludium blurs the lines between work and play by embedding an academic conference within the context of a live-action game. The objective is to stoke intellectual enthusiasm (and hence productivity) using known game techniques. Snippet from SWI

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New SL Policy

Linden Lab recently announced a new policy regarding sex and violence in SL, summarized as "...broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life."

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Portugal University in SL

Gwyneth Llewelyn posted a long but fascinating summary of the recent real life workshop on education in SL sponsored by the University of Aviero in Portugal. Among the research results she noted were:
  • Don't replicate real life
  • Informality leads to better communication
  • Text-based environments level the ground for all students
  • SL classes are better than RL ones.
My favourite study was about some research on several classes done on SL, on all subjects, from marketing to making clothes. The conclusions were astonishing: classes are well prepared, students arrive before time, all classes are written down, materials are plentiful, the teacher keeps in touch with the students after the class has finished, students are motivated and help each other (when the teacher crashes suddenly) and so on.

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Litigation, Virtual Style

Roger Parloff has a new article on recent real world litigation arising from disputes within virtual worlds. He summarizes the recent ruling concerning SL property from the U.S. District Court of Philadelphia in which Judge Robreno wrote: “While the property and the world where it is found are ‘virtual, the dispute is real.” The plaintiff was an attorney expelled by Linden Lab for violating the SL Terms of Use. He also summarizes the ruling on the World of Warcraft suit in which a gamer sued a company engaged in employing gamers based in third world countries, which he claimed devalued the in-world currency and the gaming experience.

There are several SL efforts underway to establish in-world dispute resolution mechanisms for issues among residents. However, both of these cases involved the real world value of virtual assets, and the policies and practices of the owners of the virtual worlds.

Other perspectives on legal issues emerging from virtual worlds are available on the Terra Nova blogs and Communities 2.0. Related public policy issues will be addressed at the Ludium II conference at Indiana University in June.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

X Prize for High School

The X PRIZE Foundation announced the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation competition for high school teams. Deadline is September 7; winners will be announced at the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup event in October.

The award will be presented to the high school team that develops the most creative, new space concept to benefit the emerging personal spaceflight industry.

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Ernst and Young 2007 Finalists, DC Area

Finalists for the Ernst and Young 2007 Greater DC Area Entrepreneur of the Year include the following central Virginia finalists:

Sreven S. Baum, James E. Johnson, Barry M. Koski and Christopher J. Ziegler of Compass Energy Services, Inc. of Richmond
Matthew Jonathan Ernst, Amentra, Inc of Richmond
Sean Garvey, NovusCG of Manassas

Finalists from other Virginia locations:
Craig P. Abo of Carahsoft Technology Corp; Prashanth “PV” Boccasam of Approva; Mike Bruce of InScope Solutions, Inc; Richard L. Burtner of SkyBitz, Inc; Bernard H. Clineburg of Cardinal Bank; Christian Hunt of Care Rehab and Orthopaedic Products, Inc.; Shankar Iyer and Bala Sundar of SyApps; Philip O. Nolan of Stanley, Inc; Matthew O'Connell of GeoEye; Rahul Sharma of Celcite Management Solutions LLC; Lee Van Arsdale of Triple Canopy, Inc; and Stanislas Vilgrain of Cuisine Solutions.

Winners will be announced on June 21.

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Sales vs Downloads

Tim O'Reilly has just posted a case study looking at the relationship between (free) downloads and book sales of Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, and Jim Van Meggelen. The book was released for free download under a Creative Commons license.

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