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Providence Geeks – February 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10th 5:30-8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street
Free Admission
RSVP at Facebook

geeks-roundFor our first Geek Dinner of 2016, we’ve got a doozy.

Since its founding in 2012, North Kingstown-based Focal Upright has been shaking up the office furniture industry with its super innovative, funky, and — most importantly — ergonomic designs. In fact, just last week, Focal was recognized with a GOOD DESIGN Award — the most prestigious award of its kind.

On Wednesday Co-Founders Martin Keen — yes, the inventor and founder of KEEN footwear — and Mary Hall Keen will tell the Focal Upright story, demo their brilliant line, and — best of all — unveil for the first time ever an exciting new product!

In addition, there will be a variety of Focal Upright products for you to test drive!

See you there!

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Providence Geeks – June 17, 2015

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

geeks-roundWe’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
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
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

geeks-roundSince 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 – September 17, 2014

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
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
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

geeks-roundIt 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 – May 21, 2014

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

geeks-roundThe May Geek Dinner hits Wednesday the 21st, and will feature one of the Providence startup scene’s best kept secrets: Utilidata.

Having recently raised $20M from some world’s sharpest energy investors, Utilidata is ramping up its quest to drive electric energy efficiency through info tech.

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Providence Geeks – April 16, 2014

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 – March 19, 2014

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

Coming off of a huge February Geek Dinner featuring Teespring, we’re upping the ante in March with another Providence breakout success.

g-form_logo-200From their headquarters in the Jewelry District, G-Form has been shaking up one industry after another with their Reactive Protection TechnologyTM — a proprietary composite, that on impact, instantly absorbs over 90% of the energy. The result is state-of-the-art protection in a lightweight, flexible form.

G-Form first went after the smartphone and tablet case market. You may remember the YouTube video (4 million+ views and counting!) of them dropping a iPad from low orbit — unscathed.

skate-product-page-02From there, G-Form has successfully expanded into skateboarding, biking and soccer. Best of all, it feels like they’re just getting started…

At the March Geek Dinner, Co-founder and Executive Chairman Danny Warshay will tell the G-Form story, demo its technology and products, and give a sneak peek at what markets they’ll be conquering next.

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Providence Geeks – February 19, 2013

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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2014 State of the City Address

Mayor Angel Taveras delivered his final State of the City Address last night at City Hall:


angel-twitter

Image from Angel Taveras Twitter feed


Working and Investing in Providence

Mayor Angel Taveras – 2014 State of the City Address
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(as prepared for delivery)

Mr. President, honorable members of the Providence City Council, distinguished guests, and fellow residents of our great Capital City –

In April, I had the pleasure to be present for the Omni Group’s purchase of the C.J. Fox factory. Anyone who drives on Route 95 South through our city knows the Omni Group has been hard at work renovating the complex at the entrance to historic Federal Hill.

The Omni Group is a homegrown company, headquartered in Providence. Like most businesses, they went through some tough times beginning in 2008. Financing their project became a major challenge when Wall Street imploded and the economy went into a tailspin.

But the Omni Group made it through the hard times, and now they are moving forward and investing $5 million to convert the old factory complex into office space. Bill DiStefano, Omni’s President and CEO, told me they decided to expand their business again because they believe Providence is heading in the right direction.

I tell you this story because it speaks to the overall state of our city. The state of our city is improving.

We’ve been through the hard times of the Great Recession. But we never lost hope. And we never stopped believing that better days were ahead. We are working hard and making investments that will propel Providence into a future of greater economic strength and prosperity.

I want to talk to you tonight about all we’ve done to move Providence forward in the past year. And then I want to talk to you about what we will do in the coming months.

Continue Reading →

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News & Notes

boston-public-market

Image from Boston Public Market Facebook page

The Boston Globe: Boston public food market set for construction

Executives with the nonprofit organization behind the market said some vendors will begin selling products in an outdoor plaza along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway this spring. Meanwhile, construction will proceed next door on a facility scheduled to open in early 2015.

Once completed, the indoor market will host about 40 vendors selling a wide array of local products, including fish, cheese, meats, produce, flowers, and specialty items. It is designed to function like a daily farmer’s market. But vendors will also offer prepared foods and dry goods such as books, candles, and cooking utensils.

A draft layout also includes space for a demonstration kitchen, where chefs could host cooking classes, as well as a 3,000-square-foot restaurant facing the greenway. Executives with the market are beginning to look for restaurateurs interested in the space.


The Boston Globe: Governor Patrick’s down payments on a transit legacy

Governor Deval Patrick isn’t hopping the Red Line to get to work, but that hasn’t stopped the comparisons to Michael Dukakis.

The Duke famously took the Green Line when he was governor, and Patrick’s latest transportation plan, released last week, revealed an infusion of money into rail and transit that represents the biggest commitment since the Dukakis days.

Over five years, Patrick proposes to devote more than 40 percent, or about $6.6 billion, of his transportation capital plan to the MBTA, rail, and other forms of mass transit.

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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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News & Notes

Bixi

Montreal’s bike share system, Bixi. Photo (cc) arcsi

CBC: Bixi to continue despite financial problems

A member of Montreal’s city executive committee says he cannot guarantee the municipal administration will put more money into Bixi if it requires financial assistance.

The bike-sharing program has struggled to make ends meet since it first hit Montreal streets in 2008.

Jean-François Lisée, the provincial minister responsible for Montreal, said Bixi was a valuable service and deserved to be helped out. He said the Quebec government is working on a $5-million bridge loan for the program.

See also: The Atlantic Cities: In Paris, Thefts and Vandalism Could Force Bike-Share to Shrink


The Walking Bostonian: Car-free housing in Boston is natural

I feel strange explaining the concept of a market to someone as old as Tom Keane. The idea that residents could rent or purchase a parking space in a nearby garage should not be that difficult to grasp, and it’s not much different from the many other transactions which take place between residents and local businesses. For example, most apartment buildings are not constructed with grocery store requirements. However, most people seem to understand that when a resident wants a bottle of milk, they can walk down to a nearby store and buy one. We do not need to build “minimum grocery store requirements” into the zoning code because those products are handled perfectly well by normally operating markets. And parking spaces are no different. They are just one type of land use, among many, that can be purchased or leased on the real estate market.

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News & Notes

Walking in the ditch

Photo (cc) Transportation for America

Greater Greater Washington: When we lost the War on Pedestrians

Every new bike lane, speed camera, or change in parking requirements becomes an attack in what organizations like AAA decry as a “War on Cars.” But in the 1920s, there was a different war over our streets. And pedestrians lost.


Cincinnati Business Courier: City tosses out residential parking requirements

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory (D) has approved an amendment to the city’s zoning code that eliminates parking requirements for many residential developments and substantially reduces them for others.

Under the new regulations, any residential development with 20 or fewer housing units would not have to provide any parking, while those with more than 20 units would have to provide 0.75 spaces per housing unit above 20. That means a development with 32 housing units would need to provide nine parking spaces.

“The goal of the ordinance is to encourage development in the urban core by permitting developers to determine their own parking needs for downtown developments,” explained Simpson, who is vice chair of council’s Livable Communities Committee. “I firmly believe that the market will work to meet parking demands better than government minimum parking requirements.”

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