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Providence Geeks – June 17, 2015

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, June 17th, 5:30 – 8pm
180 George Street, Providence, RI 02906

Note: Because we’re at Brown this month, things will be a little different. There won’t be any dinner to be bought, but there will be free soft drinks and snacks, plus a cash bar.

RSVP at Facebook

We’ve got a particularly awesome Providence Geeks this month.

Brown University’s Center for Computing and Visualization and its CS Department have generously invited us to come experience their brand new, one-of-a-kind virtual reality environment. They call it YURT — Yurt Ultimate Reality Theater — and it’s amazing. (For those of you that having been following Brown’s VR efforts, please note that YURT is an entirely separate project from the University’s older CAVE environment.)

geeks

YURT isn’t just a set you strap onto your head. No, it’s room-sized, 100 million-pixel stereo display that completely surrounds you. With head and body-tracking, this immersive environment fully engages your visual senses for exploration and discovery in areas as diverse as planetary geology, mathematics, visual art, digital literature, and biology.

YURT Principal Investigator David Laidlaw and Project Manager Tom Sgouros will give an overview of YURT, and lead demos of this incredible system.


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Providence Geeks – April 15, 2015

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, April 15th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

From Providence Geeks:


Spring is finally here! Let’s celebrate its arrival with a terrific presenter.

batchbookSince its founding in 2006, Providence-based Batchbook has helped thousands of small businesses track their contacts, win deals, and grow their businesses. Along the way, Batchbook has played a key role in pioneering “social CRM,” and founding the popular trade association, the Small Business Web.

At the April Geek Dinner on Wednesday the 15th, Batchbook Founder & CEO Pamela O’Hara and Founding Member & VP of Strategy Keri Calhoun, will give an overview of Batchbook today. She’ll also share some of the hard-won wisdom they’ve gained running a popular B2B SaaS service for almost a decade, and give a sneak peek at where Batchbook is headed next.

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MacRumors: ‘Citymapper’ and ‘Transit App’ Offer In-Depth Looks at Transit Experiences on Apple Watch

transit-app-apple-watch

The RIPTA on your wrist!

As a few popular iPhone apps begin rolling out updates for their built-in Apple Watch apps ahead of the April 24 launch, a pair of transit-focused services have posted on Medium to share detailed looks into exactly what kind of experience users can expect from Citymapper and Transit App on the Apple Watch next month.

The Transit App provides schedule based bus information for RIPTA and also MBTA commuter rail, subways, and buses. So, I can tell it to give me a route from my current location in Providence to a location in Boston, and it will give me all the information I need. It also generally tells me what buses are near my current location and when they leave and where they go.

It is like living in the future.

Image from Transit App via Medium.com

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Providence Geeks – January 21, 2015

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – 5:30–8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Since its founding in 2008, the community engineering and fabrication studio AS220 Labs has become a cornerstone of Providence’s innovation scene. Inside its walls, hundreds of makers and artists of all ages have learnt and expressed themselves with technologies ranging from 3d printing to folk electronics. And it’s about to get even better.

In 2015 AS220 Labs will double its successful Fab Academy class, a “distributed education” program in digital fabrication directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. In addition, its sister organization — AS220 Media Arts — will build out a highly complementary state-of-the-art media lab right across the hall.

On Wednesday the 21st, Director of AS220 Industries Shawn Wallace will give an update on all of the activity and art coming out of Labs, as well as a sneak peek at the goodness that the next few years have in store.


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Providence Geeks – December 10, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, December 10th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Providence Geeks:

achievery_logo-colorWe’ve got an awesome evening planned for the last Geek Dinner of 2014.

How do you know what people can really do? How can you prove your own skills even without a traditional diploma?

Over the past few years, digital credentials have emerged as a compelling solution to these questions. Digital credentials are evidence-backed, data-rich tokens of achievement that are transforming education and HR around the world.

Working alongside giants like Mozilla, Pearson Education, and the Gates Foundation, Providence-based Achievery has established itself as the most active company in defining and supporting the leading digital credential standard — Open Badges.

In addition to supporting the community effort, Achiopen-badges-logoevery has built its own robust web application and API for enabling organizations to create, award and track their own trusted digital credentials. Their users include Oxfam, Open edX and the Model United Nations.

On Wednesday the 10th, Co-Founders, CEO Damian Ewens and CTO Kerri Lemoie, will tell the Achievery story, demo their impressive platform, and give a sneak peek at where they are headed next.

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Providence Geeks – October 15, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, October 15th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

For the October Geek Dinner, we’ve got one word for you for: nanotech, baby!

nanosteel-logoActually — and better yet — it’s Nanosteel, a largely under-the-radar Providence-based startup that’s leading the charge to create a new generation of steel, based on nano-structures. The 30-person team has raised $50+ million to date — most recently from GM Ventures — to fuel their mission.

Nanosteel’s products are significantly stronger than traditional steel. So for example, using Nanosteel, an automotive manufacturer can achieve the same strength with thinner gauges. This means less weight and ultimately, better fuel economy. Awesome, right? It gets even better though: due to Nanosteel’s hardness and wear-resistance, its powdered-form is proving to be an ideal material for additive manufacturing (think industrial-strength 3d printing).

Wednesday the 15th, Nanosteel CEO David Paratore will tell the Nanosteel story, demo their products, and give a sneak peek at where this ambitious startup is headed next.

See you there! You won’t want to miss this.


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Providence Geeks – September 17, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, September 17th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Welcome back, everyone! Hope you had an awesome August. Providence Geeks goes back to school next week with an excellent September presenter.

What percent of live events sell out? 50%? 20%? Nope… try 2%.

crowdsurfFounded in 2013 by two recent Brown grads, Providence-based Crowdsurf aims to remedy this situation using a combination of geographic and social audience info. Armed with these insights, Crowdsurf’s customers — event venues and promoters — have a much better sense of which acts to book, and how to most effectively promote them.

big-ticketAs the first stage of their rollout this summer, Crowdsurf launched Big Ticket, a mobile app that offers users the chance to reap major discounts on show tickets. The app — currently being piloted in RI, MA, CT and OR — has already enabled Crowdsurf to build one of the largest databases of audience info in the Northeast.

On Wednesday, Co-founders CEO Alex Oberg and CTO Evan Altman will tell the Crowdsurf story, demo their impressive platform, and give a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

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Providence Geeks – July 16, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, July 16th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

voltserverHey! Wednesday is the last Geek Dinner of the summer! (Like all self-respecting RI’ers, we take August off.)

Over the past couple of years, Providence Geeks has been fortunate to feature a number of awesome RI startups at the intersection of electric power and info tech.

On Wednesday, we’ll feature perhaps the most ambitious one yet: VoltServer. Using its patented Packet Energy Transfer (PET) technology, this East Greenwich-based startup has figured out how to no-less-than digitize electricity…

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Providence Geeks – June 18, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, June 18th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

copter

It was inevitable. On Wednesday the 18th, the Drones invade
Providence Geeks…

Providence-based startup Xact Maps specializes in high-fidelity aerial mapping solutions using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This is no child’s play — this is the hardcore stuff. Need to map a major bridge in detail? Survey a mountain? Collect data on an “unreachable” spot? Create a 3d copy of downtown for your new driving game? Xact Maps has your back.

Xact Maps’ solutions combine their own custom high-performance aircraft and proprietary software with an array of high-end sensor technology, including LIDAR, Photogrametry, Photo Mosaic, Multi Spectral imaging, and IR imaging. The results speak for themselves.

On the 18th, Xact Maps Founders Andy Trench and Kyla Coburn will tell the Xact Maps story, demo their technology (including a look at their new monster octocopter), and give a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

You won’t want to miss this — seriously, you won’t. See you there!

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Providence Geeks – April 16, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, April 16, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

edt-logoProvidence-based EdTrips is helping our nation’s teachers take their classes on better field trips. Their web-based platform empowers teachers to find better (curriculum-aligned) trips, collect permission forms & payments, and facilitate all trip-related communication.

On Wednesday the 16th, the Co-Founders, CEO Jakob Garrow and COO Laura Wallendal, will tell their startup’s story, demo their powerful service, and give us a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

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Providence Geeks – February 19, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, February 19, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

teespringFor the February Geek Dinner, we’ve got a doozy lined up for you.

Teespring was born in 2012 of an effort by two Brown students to save a local dive bar — Fish Co, formerly of Fox Point.

The bar didn’t make it, but Teespring has exploded (in the good way).

Today Teespring is the leading crowdfunding platform for custom apparel, with about 70 employees in Providence currently and another 20 in San Francisco. In December, Teespring raised $20 million from arguably the world’s hottest venture capital firm, Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz.

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Providence Geeks and Food Drive – December 11, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, December 11th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

modibotsJust in time for the Holidays, the December Geek Dinner will feature the ultimate stocking stuffer: Modibots.

Providence-based toy designer Wayne Losey’s resume reads like a who’s who of action figures: Stars Wars, GI Joe, Jurassic Park, Teenage Ninja Turtles, and on and on. But when he left Hasbro, he decided that rather than working on more “one-off” action figures, he wanted to create an action figure platform — a system of interlocking components that could be remixed and extended by anyone. Think action figures meets Lego meets 3d printing.

The result is Modibot, and it’s stunning.

At Wednesday’s Geek Dinner, Wayne will tell the Modibot story, talk about how his system blurs the line between analog and digital, and give us a sneak peek at where the Modibot army is headed next.

Also at next week’s Geek Dinner, we’ll have the annual Geeks for Good Food Drive. We will be collecting non-perishable food items and donations at the meeting, and donating them to the Rhode Island Food Bank. Learn more about the best items to donate.

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Providence Launches ‘Open Meetings Portal’

The City of Providence [on Wednesday] launched its Open Meetings Portal – a single, public access point for public meeting information.

The site fulfills a recommendation of a special commission established to find ways the City can use technology to engage residents, and is the result of several months of collaboration between the City Clerk, City Council, and the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

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Providence Geeks – November 13, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, November 13th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

This month’s Geek Dinner features an international story (3 continents and counting)!

locusplayEarly this year, two co-founders of Bangalore-based LocusPlay moved halfway around the world to participate in Betaspring’s Winter 2013 session. In those 3 short months, CEO Rahul Rajguru and CMO Chirag Bodar came to like Providence so much that they decided to stay on and relocate LocusPlay’s headquarters here.

It was a smart decision. Over the past half a year, the fast-growing startup both tripled its business and raised money from Providence and Boston angels.

LocusPlay provides a mobile and cloud based gaming platform that enables small and mid-size lottery operators to transform their traditional paper-based lotteries into modern digital/online lotteries. To date, LocusPlay has helped lotteries in the Carribean and Africa, with Asia soon to follow.

On Wednesday, Rahul and Chirag will tell the LocusPlay story, demo the impressive platform, and talk about where they’re headed next.

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Providence Geeks – September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25th, 5:30pm– 8:00pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

stem-LogoIn the spirit of back-to-school, the September Geek Dinner will feature local EdTech startup STEM2O.

Providence-based STEM2O builds simple but powerful, standards-aligned simulation authoring tools that help teachers re-kindle students’ interest in math and science. With STEM2O, teachers can easily build interactive simulations that demonstrate complex science and math concepts like figuring out how a pendulum would swing on Mars, or finding the liquid density required to make iron float.

On Wednesday Co-Founder & CEO Rushikesh Bandekar will tell the STEM2O story and give a sneak peek at their impressive simulation platform.

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Providence Geeks – July 17, 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 5:30pm– 8:00pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Join Providence Geeks Wednesday the 17th for the last Geek Dinner of the summer (like all other RI’ers, Providence Geeks take August off).

shuttercalShutterCal is creating waves in the family photo market. They’ve created THE place for photo-a-day projects, supplying inspiration and making this positive daily habit more accessible to everyone. The Providence-based startup provides its users — everyone from new parents to world travelers — with a beautiful interactive calendar and mobile tools for posting their favorite photo from each day. Shuttercal tops it off with their gorgeous print services — everything from postcards to gallery prints, but most prominently their unique ShoeBox and monthly print service.

On Wednesday, Co-Founder and CEO Scott Harris will tell the ShutterCal story, demonstrate their service, and give a sneak peek of where they’re headed next.

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Providence launches Open Data Portal

open-data-screen

The City of Providence today launched the state’s first municipal Open Data Portal.

The portal, a key recommendation of the 15-member Open Providence Commission enables the public to access and export municipal data sets.

At launch, the Portal is populated with 25 data sets including: salaries and pension payrolls, the CIty budget, roads projects (including the Road Bond), vacant property, PEMA emergency information, union contracts, tree inventory, zoning maps, flood maps, and property assessments. The City plans to populate the Portal with more data sets over time.

The Portal provides this data in searchable and exportable formats, allowing for mapping of data, creation of apps to read data, and merging of different data sets into tables and maps. The portal also allows users to embed data on their own webpages with that embedded data updating as the City adds to it.

By creating a free account with Socrata on the Open Data Portal, users can save visualizations they’ve created and also compare Providence data to other cities’ data in the Socrata system. The system allows the City to upload historical data and future forecasts for comparison as well.

The Portal was created after viewing similar programs in other cities including Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore. An RFP for the the portal was issued last November and awarded to Socrata. The Portal costs the City $30k per year to maintain.

Continue Reading →

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Providence Geeks – June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

sendgrid_labs-logoHappy Summer, All! We’ve got a killer June Geek Dinner lined up for you.

It’s well-known that Boulder Colorado-headquartered SendGrid is one of the most successful tech startups of the past decade. The email delivery service helps clients send over 7 billion emails per month.

So far though, few folks realize that SendGrid’s new R&D arm — SendGrid Labs — is based in Providence. Last year, when SendGrid recruited Native RI’er & technology veteran Mike Rowan to build and lead Labs, they told him could locate the team wherever he wanted. To the local tech scene’s delight, Mike choose our fair city.

At the June Geek Dinner, Mike is going to tell the SendGrid Labs story, demo one of its projects, and explain why he thinks Providence has only begun to tap its potential as a technology center.

See you there — you won’t want to miss this!

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