Geeks and green anacondas in Boulder, Colorado

crowd.pngThe first Tuesday of every month, technologists from Boulder, CO and the surrounding area converge on a location disclosed only to meetup attendees for a showcase of new and emerging technologies. Robert Reich organizes the event and does a bang-up job of making the hour time well spent. Many things fit under the broad topic of "new technology," and perhaps the ongoing success of the New Technology meetup is due to its well-rounded program. (A standing-room only crowd of 250 attendees came this last Tuesday).

The December 2 event opened with a lightning round of announcements about local job opportunities, service offerings, and upcoming events. The folks who spoke ranged from venture capitalists to individuals looking for work to the state government seeking feedback on how to use technology to better engage the public. True to Boulder's reputation, the audience was refreshingly, well, green...

After 10 minutes of locals finding each other, we jumped into a presentation from the Big Green Company by David Mandell. David demonstrated how applying a sound business model and smart grassroots marketing to the clear goal of helping young kids solve some of the common problems they face can create something of value. I disagree, however, with his claim that the Big Green Rabbit is targeted at kids between 3-6: My wife and I can't stop playing The Green Anaconda Song:

After the rabbit ambled off the stage, we heard from Ari Newman of Filtrbox, a Boulder startup that lets you "filter the web" to better navigate the chaos and gain a concise picture of what news agencies and bloggers are saying about a particular topic. Along the theme of better tools for extracting specific information from the web, Kimbal Musk showed us One Riot , which combines Yahoo!'s open search technology with data-driven prioritization algorithms to "prioritize... information based on its current popularity with our community [which] makes OneRiot's search results relevant, fresh,
friendly, and pulsing with the real-time energy of the web." OneRiot has a creative means of gaining realtime data from college students everywhere, which fuels the prioritization algorithm: Vertical search at its best!

Finally, I was honored to give an overview of Yahoo!'s most recent open source project, BrowserPlus™. (You can view the full presentation below. Thanks Robert!) Given the creativity of our lively emerging community, I was able to present work contributed by developers from the community. This included desktop notifications on (via greasemonkey) by Udayakumar Rayala, and the µJuicer tool from Mattt Thompson (CMU hacker and former YDN intern) that allows developers to drag and drop vcards into the site get them reformatted into HTML, which can then be embedded within a site.

Overall, the Boulder New Technology Meetup was an awesome way to spend a Tuesday night. While the folks I met were extremely varied, I was impressed by how casual, friendly, and passionate the audience was. If you're ever in Boulder for the first Tuesday, drop by!

till the next,
Lloyd Hilaiel
BrowserPlus team