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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Chicago Startup Scene

The Chicago startup scene is growing and there are some great organizations helping these companies grow. Here are a couple of my favorites

Tech Cocktail is a fairly new organization, like the others listed here. They have had 2 events and the third is scheduled for January 25, 2007. These events usually consist of networking, some demos, giveaways and free booze. I attended the first event and a wine company provided free samples. The companies that attend are all over the place (Feedburner, Coastr, Grubhub, Gaperblock etc...)

Chicago Beta is self proclaimed as "...for founders, entrepreneurs, developers, revolutionaries, designers, and other people who are currently involved in (or want to join) a web 2.0 start-ups." I would have to say this is true. At each meeting companies can give pitches and at the last meeting some tips were given. Networking is the main thing that goes on at their meetings.

Lastly is Chicago POV. This site produces some great video journalism focused around the Chicago business scene. I met Mark Scheffler one of the guys that runs the site. He is a former writer for Chicago Crains and Chicago Tribune Magazine. Great guy and was truly interested in reporting on the Chicago business community that does not always get attention.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Web 2.0 What is Possible

I ask my developer friends what is possible with the new Web 2.0 features out there. I have gotten some very good answers but coming from the visual generation the best answer was Script.aculo.us.

As the wiki explains "script.aculo.us is a JavaScript library built on the Prototype Javascript Framework. script.aculo.us provides dynamic visual effects and user interface elements via the Document Object Model."

Script.aculo.us' motto is "it is all about the user interface, baby!" They offer a java script library which is a great reference for for all things Web 2.0. My favorite part is the demo section. This section is great for visually seeing what types of features are possible. As I brainstorm for new features for a site these demos are perfect to see what is possible. Most of the demo's you have used but it is good to see them all in one place.

I highly recommend Script.aculo.us for anyone looking to add some Web 2.0 features to their site.


Google Organic Search New Feature

Google has integrated their maps into their organic search. The example I use is searching for Gino's East, a pizza joint in Chicago. Click on this link and checkout the 3rd or 4th organic result

Map of 1321 Golf Rd, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Then click the + sign and a Goolge Map expands showing the location. This is a great use of Google Maps as well as provides some functionality without leaving the page. It is simple. This has not been integrated for every restaurant but I believe the feature was just added.

A great site that preaches simple design is 37Signals which has great blog called Signal vs Noise


Thursday, December 14, 2006

T-Shirt Craze

This is the second edition of craze the first covered sneakers. Below I will breakdown some of the online t-shirts that are very popular in some cirlces.

I will start with a local Chicago company that is growing like gangbusters, Threadless. Threadless takes the community scene and applies it to T-shirts. You can submit your designs and vote on designs as well. They have tons of cool shirts and our always coming out with new ones. Here is a current one I like called Homework Evidence

Next up is ThreadPit. They are what people would call more sophomoric humor. The example below is one of the few without a sexual reference.

Imaginary Foundation
is my favorite. They sell other items but their shirts and prints are what I like. They use quotes that I find very interesting and I would descibe the shirts as a mix of trippy and Mony Python. Here is a sample


Worn By recreated shirts that were made famous from a picture a star was in. One example is Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys wore a shirt that said Venice on it. Other shirts involve Keith Richards, Muhamed Ali, The Grateful Dead and Sonny Liston.

Robata Brand is constantly sold out but their shirts have an artistic flair to them. Very cool but hard to find.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Sites to Kill Time At

Going off that last post I thought I would share some of the website I go to when I need or want to kill some time

Line Rider Create courses for a sled to travel through. This description does not do it justice. See the post below.

Sports Guy Bill Simmons is the hilarious writer of this page. He mixes pop culture with sports. One of my favorites is the article on the Karate Kid Trilogy.

Any video site is an obvious choice Google Video and Youtube are the big dogs.

And lastly is Zingfu this site allows you to upload photos and implant them in hilarious scenes. The process is real simple. For example see if you can find my bulldog



Time Killer

Warning if you go to this site you will waste atleast 20 minutes of your life.

Now that you have been warned Line Rider is the greatest work time killer. It is so simple yet so addicting. I sent it to my family and one actually spent over an hour on it.

To get a feel for what is possible check out these amazing Line Rider courses.

If you want to see more search Line Rider on Google Video, Youtube or any other video site.


iPhone Info

The supposed beans have been spilled about the new iPhone from Apple. Kevin Rose tells some of the specs on his show Diggnation. He doesn't say anything that wows you but you have to presume with Apple's name on it will be designed really well.

Other supposed rumors around the phone are that Apple does have a patent application submitted to the Patent Office for the phone and that they have trademarked the name iPhone. All of these rumors will be proved or disproved this winter at Macworld.


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