Amanda’s Ted talk. Happy to have been one of her piano crowd sources. She is the hat.
Amanda’s Ted talk. Happy to have been one of her piano crowd sources. She is the hat.
If you’re like me, you have this same problem every year at SXSW Interactive…finding which events to attend. There are already a million resources to finding the best parties, music events and where to you can get your picture taken with Hermione Way or Robert Scoble, but for hard core geeks like me, I want to know where the hackers are. I want to network with API evangelists, roll up my sleeves and code!
This year I’ve decided to compile a list of API/hacking/meetup/coding/pitch competitions and generally the more geeky things to do during SXSW Interactive and post them here. I’ll continue to edit this list as I get more event info from the community, so if you know of an event and want it listed, just shoot me an email to johnny at diggz.org or tweet at me @johnnydiggz and I’ll be sure to add you to the list.
Need MOAR HACKATHONS????? Check out these excellent sites for links to additional events outside of SXSW:
On the coattails of CERN’s success with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), comes the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project, with the goal to build four of the world’s most powerful lasers.
“Additionally, the lasers could be combined to generate a super laser that would shoot into space, similar to the combined laser effect of the Death Star in the Star Wars trilogy, though the goal is to study particles in space, not annihilate planets.”
I’m glad you guys cleared that up. I feel so much better now. Really.
It’s the same old story: Boy meets girl. Boy wants to get in girl’s pants. Girl says “let’s just be friends”. Boy says “sure” and then spends anywhere from a week to the rest of his life pining for girl, feigning excitement when she dates other guys, providing a safe shoulder to cry on whenever she has a bad breakup, all the while silently hoping that she’ll one day come the obvious realization: HE’S THE ONE.
It’s a story that’s been retold countless times in novels, television and film. I have many female friends. In fact, of my closest friends, females outnumber male friends by 2:1. But do I secretly want to bone them all? According to new research, the answer is a resounding yes.
According to report called “Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship” released last month in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships”, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire took 88 heterosexual cross-sex friends and interviewed them privately. Each pair of friends “were told their responses would remain anonymous and confidential, and agreed orally with the researcher, in front of each other, to refrain from discussing the questionnaire at any point, even after completing the study.” Each participant was then asked a series of questions relating to the level of sexual attraction to their friend, and their perception of their friend’s sexual attraction in reverse.
The conclusion doesn’t look good for us guys. Not only did more men report sexual attraction to their female friends than the female participants, but men also consistently over estimated their female counterpart’s reciprocal attraction to them.
This proposal carries two assumptions: first, cross-sex friendships of the kind we typically see in society are a historically recent phenomenon; and second, men and women possess evolved mating strategies. Under the logic of these two assumptions, men’s and women’s mating strategies are triggered when men and women interact with members of the opposite sex who, over evolutionary history, would have been potential mates. Thus, mating strategies may influence people’s involvement in cross-sex friendships to begin with as well as unintentionally color people’s feelings toward members of the opposite sex with whom their conscious intent is platonic.
You can read the report in its entirety here, or save yourself some time and just watch the movie version:
“It wasn’t easy being the lover of such an intellectual powerhouse. Sometimes I’d come in from a sock-hop or cross-country meet and she’d have that look in her eyes, that look that said she was about to give me a two-hour lecture on the power-grabbers and then throw me down on the couch and rape me until it became consensual.”
Today I spent a couple of intimate hours with my State of Florida absentee ballot. As I haven’t spent much time in the state in the past couple of months, don’t read any Florida newspapers or watch local television advertisements (or see any of those lovely yard signs), Diggz had to do some serious diggzing.
I tried my best to find non-partisan candidate data by doing some old-fashioned Googling and came up with a few links I found helpful in helping me decide who and what to vote for. I thought perhaps I’d share for my fellow Floridians to help you decide as well:
http://orangecandidates.com/ - Site sponsored by the Florida League of Women Voters that has candidate-submitted bios and amendment summaries for Orange and Seminole counties. Some of the candidates didn’t respond and therefore are blank.
http://collinscenter.org/2012flamendments/home-2/ - The Collins Center “was established in 1988 to seek out creative, nonpartisan solutions to Florida’s toughest issues.” This site has summaries of the various state constitutional amendments.
Florida Dept of State Division of Elections Amendment Search – Exact wording of all 12 2012 proposed Florida State Constitution Amendments
http://orlandopolitics.net/ - Personal blog of Frank Torres with interviews of “I-4 Corridor” races, and commentary.
Election 2012: Orlando Sentinel Video Interviews - Buried in this site are short 3-5 minute interviews with some of the lessor known candidates. For example, this video interviews all three candidates for Circuit Court Judges in District 9 Group 7. You may have to do some digging to find these.
Florida Absentee Voter Guide - All you need to know about your rights and rules about absentee voting in Florida.
That’s it! Now go vote!
I’ve been in the computer telephony game for a while. I launched my first startup in this space, InterGalactic Research, in 1995. We had a product called iPost, one of the world’s first Internet-based unified messaging platforms. iPost combined a Google Voice-like phone interface, a Gmail-like web interface, plus everything that eFax does and you could even send notifications via SMS to your favorite mobile devices. Pure messaging bliss.
People loved it. Carriers, infrastructure providers, telephony card makers, text-to-speech providers, everyone loved iPost. We secured investors in short order, we announced a partnership with Ericsson, licensed it to Motorola, won Info Magazine top 100 awards, cover of Home Office Computing magazine, we’d made it big.
But we were also frustrated. We realized how insanely difficult it was to make computers talk to telephones. Back then they called our industry ‘Computer Telephony Integration’ (CTI). We thought, hey, if a few kids in a garage Central Florida could be this disruptive to the entire communications space, why not move out to Silicon Valley and do it even further?
So we did.
In 1999 we launched Voxeo. Instead of building a specific CTI application (like iPost), we wanted to build a platform that let any developer build any telephone application. We created a super-simple, XML-based telephony language (here’s a document about CallXML from 2001 that describes it), raised initial funding from a very high-profile group of Angel investors, (including now-Google-Chairman, Eric Schmidt) and later did a high-profile VC round with Mayfield and Crosspoint. We invested most of that money in R&D and building a broad developer community. Soon thousands of developers were signing up every month.
Now the Voxeo and Tropo community boasts over 250,000 developers. Voxeo is employee-owned, global, profitable and can call half of the Fortune 100 our most important customers. I’m not saying this to brag (well, maybe a little), but I prefaced all of this by saying, “I’ve been in the computer telephony game for a while.” Back in 1999, I was Voxeo’s Vice President of Community Development, now they call me a Chief Evangelist.
I’m telling you all of this because, by the title of this post, you’re probably wondering why I say “Twilio looks better from afar”. I’ve watched Twilio closely for over two years, since shortly after they launched. I’ve talked with current and former Twiliots (Twilions? Twilioers?), venture capitalists, telephony geeks, coders and Silicon Valley “insiders”. And I’ve come to a few certain conclusions.
Twilio is certainly a Silicon Valley darling, but like some darlings, they look much better from afar. Here are biggest three reasons why:
This one is easy to explain. Twilio launched in 2009 with $1 million in seed money. Every subsequent round of funding they’ve raised always happens in Q4 (November or December):
Series A: 12/09 $3.7 million
Series B: 11/10 $12 million
Series C: 12/11 $17 million
For you math geeks out there, that’s a total of $33.7 million. It might also give us a good reflection of Twilio’s actual annual burn rate. My guess is that we’re going to hear some kind of announcement in the next month or two.
Basically it comes down to this: Twilio is going to have to convince investors to put in more money (my guess is they’re asking for somewhere in the range of $30-$50 million. Heck, it could be some insanely skewed SV numbers like $150 million, who knows?) Historically, investors who put money in a Series D round can already see the exit. It’s typically known as the “bridge” round and it only happens if existing investors are 100% gung-ho about an IPO or acquisition. Given the tech-IPO climate in the last year with giants like Facebook falling flat, that seems unlikely scenario.
Let’s face it, the face of Twilio is vastly different than it was 18 months ago. Danielle Morrill, Jon Sheehan, Stevie Graham and John Britton, all the most visible people who did the heaving lifting in Twilio’s early days are gone and have been quietly replaced with “telco industry insiders” like new Marketer-In-Chief, Lynda Smith of Nuance and Genesys and Euro-Marketing-Director James Parton of Telefonica. I don’t know about you, but when I see almost all of a company’s most public-facing developer evangelists leave within a year, it smacks of a core strategy change, one of replacing established mojo with a briefcase-wielding enterprise sales team with commission quotas.
Twilio has already experienced rapid growth. I’d say it’s probably not difficult for smart engineers to see the writing on the wall and they would rather take their chances at a new startup with exponential growth possibilities rather than one obviously at the ‘winding down’ phase of startups.
Last week someone called me to comment on a TechCrunch article “announcing” “Twilio’s biggest partnership yet.” This “announcement” caused quite a stir in the Twittersphere. I keep putting “announcement” in quotes, because in reality there was no “announcement”. As communications industry analyst Dave Michels pointed out on his blog, Talkingpointz.com, to this date, no one at AT&T or Twilio can confirm any sort of partnership.
Another sign of desperation? Re-releasing old news. For instance, today Twilio just did a press release “renewed alliance with Microsoft“. What’s particularly meh about this announcement is that they already made the same exact announcement in May.
These are exactly the kind of things startups do when are trying to attract investment: leverage advertisement buying power to get fluff pieces written about them and re-hash old announcements to create fake buzz. No doubt, Twilio certainly knows how to churn the Silicon Valley hype machine, but when you start to peek behind the red curtain even a little bit, it starts to look full of fluff.
Even Twilio’s own biggest fanboy, Super Angel Dave McClure, agrees, “Last time I checked, you can’t even provision a phone on Twilio or AT&T’s service (or at least they are not allowing it). I am still waiting for the real disruption to begin.”
Well, Dave, we’re all waiting.
So this post has been in draft mode for over a year as I keep changing my mind about the top 10 and the correct order. However, now I can actually say that this is the definitive list of the top 10 hacker movies of all time. It is definitive because I have decreed it such and can only be changed by a court order or by command of Wil Wheaton. With no further ado, I present: The Top 10 Hacker Movies of all time!
What better way to start off a top ten list than with Keanu Reeves and Dolph Lundgren? Reeves plays the title character, a data courier that has a hard drive in his head overflowing with data that the bad guys want…badly. Look out for Ice-T and Henry Rollins.
Two words: Angelina Jolie. Three more words: Hot hacker chick. One last word: Naked.
Take everything I said about Hackers and just replace the words Angeline Jolie with Halle Berry. Interesting tidbits about this film: 1) It got quickly yanked from the theaters after the 9/11 attacks due to a scene involving an exploding building. 2) Production company Warner Brothers reportedly asked 2600 Magazine (‘The Hacker Quarterly’) for permission to use the magazine in the film, while at the same time suing the same publication for linking to DVD deciphering programs. Bonus: Awesome soundtrack.
The THIRD movie from 1995 on this list! Sandra Bullock (not naked) plays a software programmer who gets sucked into a web of computer espionage. Look out for SNL alumni Dennis Miller and lots of really fake computer graphics.
No self respecting list about hacker movies would leave off Tron. I grouped in Tron Legacy because, well…even though Tron Legacy sucked, it was cool to see The Dude without his wrinkles. Apparently Tron is returning to us in the form of a Television Series.
I’m just gonna say it…. I love this movie, and it’s probably the one that you’ve most likely never heard of because it came out around the same time as the Matrix. Written & directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Naked Lunch), and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as a virtual reality game programmer. One of those thrillers that you never really know if you’re in the game or not….or ARE you????
The codebreaker of all codebreaker movies with Dan Aykroyd and Robert Redford. This one has a couple of sly references to Cap’n Crunch, (aka John Draper) who very famously discovered that one could make free phone calls by enlisting the use of a plastic whistle that one could only acquire in boxes of Cap’n Crunch Cereal.
A guy spills some champagne on his brand new PC, causing it to become sentient. Edgar the PC then falls in love with the guy’s girlfriend. Antics ensue.
You saw this one coming. Keanu’s second appearance on this list, The Matrix is clearly unparalleled in this genre. We’re just going to pretend that the sequels never happened. Let that simmer in your coppertop brain. Woah.
This is the movie that made me want to learn how computers worked. It’s your typical boy-starts-global-thermonuclear-war love story with tic-tac-toe.
John Hughes written and directed comedy about two geeks (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who use their computer to make a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) that has magical powers. Bill Paxton at his best.
Ok, so technically not a straight-up movie about hackers, but there are some pretty geeky moments in this comedy about a group of teenage geniuses developing the world’s most powerful laser.
Yet another movie from that hallmark year, 1995, Strange Days is about an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. Put on a squid-like device on your head and you can re-live someone else’s experiences. With a very hot Juliette Lewis and a very badass Angela Bassett.
I have yet to see the American version, but the original was pretty badass. Girl hacker, rides motorcycles, body art. Me likey.
Gates asks, “How could we discover whether we live inside a Matrix? One answer might be ‘Try to detect the presence of codes in the laws that describe physics.’” And this is precisely what he has done. Specifically, within the equations of supersymmetry he has found, quite unexpectedly, what are called “doubly-even self-dual linear binary error-correcting block codes.” That’s a long-winded label for codes that are commonly used to remove errors in computer transmissions, for example to correct errors in a sequence of bits representing text that has been sent across a wire.
Brogramming. It’s one of those Internet memes, like Dudegineering or Fratcoding, an over-the-top mashup of machismo and geek chic. The very tongue-in-cheek Brogramming page on Facebook has garnered over 22,000 “likes”. At last fall’s Twilio Developer Conference, Twilio’s self-proclaimed “punk rocker”, Rob Spectre, did an entire 15-minute standup routine presentation as “Chad, world-bashing brogrammer and bro extraordinaire”.
Last week the Brogramming meme hit the main stream media in a Businessweek article by Douglas MacMillan called “Rise of the Brogrammer“:
At some startups the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it’s given rise to a new “title”: brogrammer. A portmanteau of the frathouse moniker “bro” and “programmer”
MacMillan also notes in the same article:
There’s also an audience that feels left out of the joke. Women made up 21 percent of all programmers in 2010, down from 24 percent in 2000. Anything that encourages the perception of tech as being male-dominated is likely to contribute to this decline, says Sara Chipps, founder of Girl Develop It, a series of software development workshops. “This brogramming thing would definitely turn off a lot of women from working” at startups, says Chipps.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting: Two days ago Gregory Gomer at BostInno.com wrote about a hackathon called the Boston API Jam, sponsored by some big names in the tech community that promised women serving beer as a “Great Perk”:
Later THE SAME DAY, a surprisingly similar public tweet flamewar erupted between Shanley Kane and Geekli.st founders Christian Sanz and Reuben Katz. Kane tweeted that she was offended by a video (which has since been removed). Kane tweeted:
@csanz @rekatz why the ads with a woman in her underwear dancing around to dupstep?
Again, Storify to the rescue (ironically Reuben Katz used to be their CTO), as collected by Charles Arthur in a post he called “Oh Hai Sexism“. If you read through the post, you’ll see my name in there because I happen to follow Shanley, Christian and Reuben on Twitter and I was fairly shocked as I watched the two Geekli.st founders deflect and attack as deftly as Rush Limbaugh, implying that Shanley was somehow only offended because she didn’t get a hired by Geekli.st. When they brought her employer into the mix I just felt sad for them. They just kept digging a deeper and deeper hole, and went as far as to create a fake twitter handle to propose the question of “double standards” (that was extra specially tight work, guys).
The Geekli.st guys have since published an apology. And I see they’ve started frantically giving High-Fives to all of their female members. I guess that’s one way to combat sexism in tech.