Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buffalo OpenCoffee - 7/13/2010

We had a good OpenCoffee meetup today. Discussion highlights (things that I remembered) include:

  • Shift of game development from giant $60 games requiring lots of time to play, to cheap mobile games that can be played in leisure.
  • This lead us into talking about Siftables (http://sifteo.com) as a new form of table top computer gaming
  • Discussions on co-working space. Discussed people currently trying to put things together. Jeff Ross was wondering how InfoTech Niagara can help. How we can leverage the 40+% of unused space in Erie County. We would need someone to actually run a co-working facility - currently no volunteers.
  • LISC of Buffalo is currently looking to get a co-working space in Buffalo and they are probably the farthest along (that we know of) with planning.
  • Short discussion on freelancing websites such as http://pick.im
  • General discussions on how InfoTech Niagara can help the tech community. Suggestions were made that they need to get the local tech community and companies to do a better job at engaging students at UB, Canisius, Buffalo State, etc. Need to teach them the skills they'll need to graduate and how to be better entrepreneurs. Let them know that they don't need to work at a bank, and can work at local tech companies or start their own. ITN can also help by finding sponsors for grassroots events - let events/groups happen organically, but help when needed.
  • ITN needs to focus more on the developers, designers (people doing the actual work), in addition to their usual target of IT Managers.
  • Discussion of creating a single site with information on all the local technology user groups (Perl Mongers, WNYLUG, Graphic Designer groups, Ruby User Group, Drupal Users Group, PHP Meetups, Hackerspace Events, etc).
  • Weekend collaborative events/competitions should take place. An example being to create a product or game over a 48 hour period and launch it, or gain further funding/award prizes.
  • GiveCamp was discussed as a weekend idea. We also discussed companies donating resources during work week hours as well.
  • More OpenData discussions on datasets to go after. Fending shared a discussion he had with a Canadian opengov person. Discussed ways to have OpenData that is user created/crowdsourced through physical devices, etc.
  • Fending and I will be at the next iPhone developers meetup at Hackerspaces to discuss our WNY OpenData initiative.
  • Fending made some comments about Drupal being cool and how he will be holding the next meeting at the Rochester co-working facility.
Here are a few links to some things that were discussed:

LISC of Buffalo (planning co-working space in down town on Chippewa)

Siftables (Table top gaming console)

Early stage, mini startup funding. We should have something like this in Buffalo:

Here's an example of weekend startup competition:

How to Be Silicon Valley, by Paul Graham


  1. You're right, I did say Drupal was cool. So is Perl. We are jointly awesome.

    I'm also curious to see if GiveCamp an get legs so many months after my last attempt at instantiating it. It's a really, really good idea that just needs the right team, some of whom have access to businesses (who have dev resources) and nonprofits (who have real needs), working together to produce things that make this region a better place. Oh, and we'll likely drink copious amounts of coffee and beer.

    Incidentally, did you know that Drupal is awesome? ;)

  2. Also, on Open Data:

    I talk to @alexsirota (Toronto, Ontario, CAN) yesterday, outlining what we're trying to do around here; he had great feedback about the place of opensource in "the conversation" with government. Incidentally, I'm officially on the watch for govt employees. If any of them cross my path, I'm putting them in a canvas bag and collecting enough to have a WNY Open Data working group meetup.