Portland Web Innovators Meeting Tonight

I know it’s late notice, but this should a fun one. Adam has put together a great event, with Dietrich Ayala, a Portland-based Mozilla developer, giving a preview of Firefox 3. Thanks to ISITE for hosting too!

When it comes to web innovations, Firefox definitely fits the bill. I remember first discovering Firebird (as it was known before the name change) a few years back along with the Edit CSS plugin, and was amazed that I could edit CSS on the fly and see the changes live. Its been my browser of choice ever since. I didn’t even bother with Safari when I recently bought an iMac, took it out of the dock on the first day in fact. It’s only used for compatibility testing. The main reason I use Firefox? For the plugins. No other browser can compete with the sheer volume of useful plugins. This speaks to a compelling reason for offering an API as well, if you can get developers building cool stuff on your platform, the users will follow, and I do believe Firefox will take over IE.

I’ll be interested in the discussion around offline apps as well, one of the most mentioned features of Firefox 3. What, with the recent buzz around Adobe’s Apollo launch and then DHH’s remarks.

Come out if you can, here’s the details:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Where
ISITE Design
115 NW First Avenue, Suite 500
Portland, Oregon 97209

Description
Dietrich Ayala will talk about his work with the Mozilla Corporation and what’s coming in Firefox 3.

http://www.pdxwi.com/events/4

It’s true, Oregonians can’t drive

Not really a web thing, but this is engineering/usability/design related.

There’s this crazy idea floating around that Oregonians don’t know how to drive. You hear it mentioned every once in a while, usually by someone from the busy roads of California. I admit I have seen my fair share of people going 65 in the left lane on I-5, driving along in ignorant bliss, as the lineup behind them is preparing to run them off the road. But, usually this is an occasional annoyance.

However, I’m starting to come to the conclusion that we Oregonians do indeed do not how to drive. Every day when I drive home from work, I prepare myself for the psychological torment of the Scholls Ferry merge. I work in Beaverton and live in Sherwood, so the quickest route there is to take Scholls Ferry to Roy Rogers (no, not named after THAT Roy Rogers). Scholls Ferry is bad enough with its stoplights every two car lengths, but then we hit the merge. The great traffic engineers of the city of Beaverton designed this splendid system of roads that will go along in two lanes and then merge into 1 lane about 3 feet after a stoplight. Walker Road (by Nike campus) has a lot of these as well. No, it’s not really 3 feet, but that’s pretty much how they’re treated since only the hooligans or the newbies cut ahead of the backup in the left lane by driving up the right line and merging in after the light as everyone in the left lane tries their hardest to not let them merge, cursing them vehemently.

scholls.jpg

But, are they really hooligans? Or, are they the smart ones, and the other 99% of the drivers in the left lane are the idiots. When I first encountered these things, I always patiently waited my turn and fumed at those who tried to beat the system. But, now, I’ve realized that I can cut a good 5 minutes or so off of my commute by driving up the right lane and save my sanity. It’s at the risk of inciting road-rage, I know.

The way I see it, these layouts are designed to prevent just the backup they cause by letting more cars through the lights, and letting them merge. There’s also some purpose to allow cars that are turning right before the merge to bypass the congestion, but I think the bigger issue is reducing congestion by letting more cars through. So, due to the societal norm of waiting your turn, the system backfires and the congestion remains, serving very little improvement over a single lane system.

Not a very usable design, huh? How should this be fixed so people feel free to use the right lane? Or am I cheating and need to get back in line?

New features on OregonStartups.com

The OregonStartups site is beginning to come into the modern age. Up until now, the biggest value of the site is their weekly email newsletter, which includes the most extensive local business event calendar that I’ve come across. They now publish the calendar to Google Calendar which can be subscribed to, making it super easy to know what’s going on around town.

There are also a couple of blogs now (main and news), which for me anyway, is a much easier way to get information these days.

Both new features are welcome additions to the site and turns it into a must have resource for local entrepreneurs.

More Portland sites

I’ve got such a backlog of half-written posts, who knows when they’ll ever get completed. Does every blogger have long list of partially completed stuff? Here’s a quick link list though.

This week has seen a relative slew of new locally produced social sites to launch or that I noticed.

Gone Raw
PDX Web Innovators Ray and Kandace from Needmore Designs launched their newest creation at the Wednesday meeting, which unfortunately I skipped this month, so I didn’t get to see it there. Looks like a nice entry into the social food space and seems like a great site to help people get started and maintain when they go raw. Gone Raw follows Cuppin’ which launched earlier this summer.

Art Face Off
Social networking company for artists, curators and art lovers. (via)

12 Step Space
Recovery oriented social networking. (via)

New Portland Web 2.0 startup

It’s rare that I get to use the Portland and Web 2.0 categories on this blog, so this is big news. The newest Portland Web 2.0 startup, stikkit, will be publicly unveiling at the Web 2.0 conference (via evhead). Looks like a lot of familiar names behind this project, so it should be interesting. Good luck guys.

See previous discussion of the Portland web startup scene here and here.

Portland version of Bare Naked App

Zack Jenks, a portland web developer, is chronicling his experience building a web business. Much like the Carsons’ Bare Naked App, Zach shares his status and frustrations as the site comes together. Being in a similar situation, I always appreciate getting a window into another devrepreneur’s mind, so this should be interesting to keep an eye on.

We’ll have to get Zack out ot the PDX Web Innovators next month.

PDX Web Innovators tonight

I wish I’d gotten to this sooner, but better late than never. Tonight is the night for the September PDX Web Innovators meeting. Check out the details at Upcoming.org. Would you look at that, we have a TOPIC!! Thanks to Adam for suggesting it. So, all you Portland web people come on out if you can and give your $.02 or just meet some fellow web geeks.

To keep up to date with the group, use our ultra-modern web 2.0 discussion software over at Google Groups:
http://groups.google.com/group/pdxwebInnovators

Here are some related API resources if you feel like studying up:

List of Seattle startups

Here’s a list of Seattle internet startups ranked by Alexa traffic (via Mike Davidson). Wow, that’s a long freakin’ list! P-town has a long way to go, and this is a great example for my point at the nPost event last week about how Portland’s a great city, but we just don’t see the same level of startup activity right now.

Also interesting to note that the UserPlane (company acquired by AOL last week) fouders are from Oregon. Glad to see the local connection.