Tag Archives: Tech

How I fell in and out of love with smartwatches

Note: I started writing this piece about smartwatches in July 2016. Many months have passed and this ‘once on the verge of release’ article was shelved. Why the wait? You’ll find out as you read further…

Apple Watch… so square!

Flashback to: Late Summer 2014. The first visually attractive smartwatch wooed my interest. The summer heat didn’t affect my impression of what a smartwatch could offer. Part of the Lenovo family, Motorola’s Moto 360 was the first circular AndroidWear watch released and the shape, for me, was the deal closer. Until then all smartwatches had a various rectangular or square shapes which seemed more suited toward manufacturing design. Motorola’s circular watch face set me on track with my first smartwatch.

The Moto 360 is a good looking watch. In many circumstances it looks like a traditional analog watch. Motorola did an excellent job in the visual look and feel of the watch.

In a world of squares, the Motorola 360 was a welcome, fresh face in the crowd.

When I received the Moto 360 and set it up, an epiphany raced through my brain – I had just purchased a second screen to my phone. I had heard of this description and it made sense, but once on it was clear. I just replaced a portion of my phone usage with the smartwatch. I no longer checked the time on my phone or managed/checked my fitness steps on it. I simply looked at my watch for this information.

Email, text messages, quick replies while doing something else are features you begin to rely on with a smartwatch. You can even control the watch without touch and only use voice. Easy. Simple. Elegant.

Since smartwatches are a second screen to your phone, you still need a phone nearby for it to work. Quick tip for smartwatch wearers: If leave your phone somewhere, turn off Bluetooth (which is how the Moto 360 initially connects to your phone) to preserve battery. When your phone’s battery is dead, the watch loses some functionality.  How much varies, based on how you use your smartwatch.

Somewhere out there, Flavor Flav is laughing…

Some apps can be installed directly on a smartwatch.  Other apps are simply an extension or controller to an app on your phone. Fitness apps are a good example of this, where minimal information is available on the watch, but you can start and stop your fitness tracking from the smartwatch.

With superb styling came a cost.

The 1st Generation Moto 360 is mute. It can not make a sound. Not a beep, peep, or click. It only alerts you by screen illumination or vibration. Why it didn’t chirp like a 30 year old digital was strange to me. It doesn’t need to play MP3s but an audible tone would’ve been nice.

Software updates came frequently adding features and improvements, including eventually WiFi, where the watch could sync with your phone wirelessly at further distances than Bluetooth. This was great but I was further irritated with the biggest problem every smartwatch has, and I’m sure you can guess it.

 

I’m not going to write a lot about battery life. However, if you think about it, battery life is what you would expect.  Small device + small battery = short usage time.
With the Moto 360 you can get 1-2 days of use. The Moto 360 will operate for 2 days if  you use it like a traditional watch with NO smartwatch perks. The Moto 360 will operate 1 day if you really use the smartwatch features.  Note: ‘A day’ isn’t 24 hours. It’s 10-14 hours. So two days is really two 10 hour sessions. Once the session is over, you will need to charge the watch.

Thermal image of my Moto 360

 

 

After a year and a half, in January of 2016, my Moto 360 began to fail. The battery wouldn’t last 8 hours. It sporadically shut off. It generally began to be useless. After a few months and a lot of frustration I began to notice that the watch would not charge past 70 percent.

 

 

 

Interestingly, I figured out that the watch shut off when it got too warm. This could happen during charging or other operation.

Finally…  I was done.  The smartwatch experiment was over and for me it was a failure.

 

 

 

Here is what I learned…

I really wanted a watch.
I’ve always liked watches but had stopped wearing one. I preferred a watch that looked like a traditional watch and not a smartwatch. Ironically, as of February 2017 there are several Androidwear smartwatches which are just that – truly analog watches with smart innards. This is compelling.

I wanted to avoid pulling my phone out of my pocket.
When you begin to notice that about a quarter of time you spend looking at your watch you are checking time. Notifications or not, using an app as a second screen is just an easier way to interact with your connected data.

I wanted to track my steps and sleep in a wearable, preferably a watch.
When I got my smartwatch, it was the height of the Fitbit count-all-your-steps trend.  I didn’t want to wear two watch-like devices, so my smartwatch needed to do both.

I wanted a watch to last at least 3 days without a charge.
What is it going to take to get smartwatch makers to simply limit features to provide longer battery life?  I love the animation and screen capabilities but it’s at a hefty battery cost. I’d like to see smartwatches with E-Ink screens like you see on the plain white Kindle and Nook devices. These screens are DRAMATICALLY lower in battery consumption.

I wanted a watch I could keep for 3 years without loss of functionality.
Let’s look at what you have 3 years later in the release of a Moto 360 smartwatch; The AndroidWear operating system has been updated to version 2.0. Yay! But… first generation Moto 360’s will not be updated to AndroidWear 2.0. Booo!

This alone is a real reason to put a pause on smartwatches. Simply put, smartwatches should NOT need be released or purchased as frequently as smartphones. $300 a watch every 2 years. $500 a phone every 2 years. This is not sustainable. Maybe it’s time for $600 smartphone and watch combos?

Lastly, it is an old family tradition to pass down a time piece from father or grandfather to son or grandson. Most likely no one will ever pass on a dead smart… watch.

Top 5 Things You Should Be Doing To Be More Secure Online

Below, our Business and Tech writer – let’s call him Allen – shares valuable tips on cybersecurity; keeping you and your family’s online life secure, multi-factor authentication, encryption, and password managers. We highly suggest you read this post thoroughly and share these valuable tips with your friends and family. In today’s world, one can never be too prepared.

 

123456  123456789  qwerty  12345678  111111  1234567890  1234567  password  123123  987654321  qwertyuiop  mynoob  123321  666666  18atcskd2w  7777777  1q2w3e4r  654321  555555  3rjs1la7qe  google  1q2w3e4r5t  123qwe  zxcvbnm  1q2w3e

If you see your password in this list… you’re done.

Toast.

Busted.

Most people want to keep things simple.

Well, this simple isn’t secure.  This list above are the 25 most commonly used passwords.  There is even bigger list here www.passwordrandom.com/most-popular-passwords.  It contains the 10,000 most commonly used passwords .

(ProAdvice: PLEASE DO NOT USE THE PASSWORD CHECKER ON THEIR SITE.  I don’t think you should type your password anywhere except where you should use it. Got it?  Good.. moving on..)

 

So now that your password has been shared with the world or maybe you know your kids, pets or cars name isn’t secure either… lets get you more secure.

photo credit: Visual Content Data Breach via photopin (license)

1.  USE A PASSPHRASE NOT a PASSWORD
You should use a 9 character passphrase with with special characters.  Like
FromNowOn!WillUse1B!gPassPhrase$.” Short or common passwords can be easily guessed or attacked sequentially.  For many of you, you are thinking there is a password lock out feature that keeps lowly hackers from trying all the password possibilities. In which you are right.

Most sites or apps block multiple attempts and either lock the account or offer an option to change the password after many failed attempts.  However, hackers rarely use this tactic.  Instead, they compromise the website or app and collect the encrypted passwords. With a little research the hacker determines how the passwords were encrypted. (In other words, they figure out the math required to generate the encrypted passwords) They then use hacking tools to brute force “crack” encrypt known words or passwords and compare them against the encrypted passwords which they collected.  This is where your common password falls over backward.

Considering that fundamentally computers fastest action is the comparison of 1’s and 0’s this is a amazingly fast job. In fact there are password cracking tool that use gaming video cards can crack passwords with 6 billion attempts per second.  using a passphrase makes this significantly more difficult to do in a short period of time.

By adding a few characters, numbers and special characters into an easily remembered passphrase you are making hacking your password significantly more difficult to crack.  By doing this cracking your password can go from cracked in minutes to months to years.

photo credit: barnimages.com Working with iPhone via photopin (license)

2. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD REGULARLY
If you have had the same password for years… you have increased the chance of an old hacker compromise from years ago, leaving you vulnerable today.  Change your password at least once a year.  If you want a gold star, change it twice a year.

3. DO NOT USE THE SAME PASSWORD EVERYWHERE
Imagine if everyone had the exact same house key. The key would be useless … right? Need I say more?

4. USE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Sounds fancy? You should like fancy. Multi-factor authentication adds another “factor” to your password. It is essentially having two or more passwords to login to your account/service. There are many ways to do this including using your smartphone, having a secure token or USB key or fingerprint.

With a second factor you are using your good password (see #1) with something only you have. Many of you may have enabled fingerprint on your phone. Bravo! You’ve done it for your phone! (Ask me why I don’t use my fingerprint).

Check out Yubico www.yubico.com for a Yubikey to insert into your computers usb port.

Try Duo https://guide.duo.com/third-party-accounts with its free app to add a second factor. GMail, Facebook, Outlook, Office 365, banks and many other sites support these.

5. USE A PASSWORD MANAGER
Ok, now you are worried you are going to forget your passphrase… NO PROBLEM.  There are apps for your phone and computer that allow you to store you passwords. In fact, some of them integrate with websites and you NEVER have to type or copy the password.  WIN w!n. These apps or websites store all your passwords behind one master password you set.. (See #1)
Check out LastPass www.lastpass.com  or  Dashlane www.dashlane.com. Extra credit: If you use Dashlane or LastPass you can use multi-factor tokens with them also.  Bonus! Dashlane and LastPass can fill in payment forms and store your credit card information too!

Be sure to store your master password for your password manager in a safe just in case you forget. If you use a multi-factor token setup alternate backup access. Check with your web service or bank to find out how.

Once you do this.. you are in complete control of accessing your account. Not even the people from the site in some cases can get into your login. You will be your own locksmith.

Take a deep breath… It’s easier than you think.

Otronicon: Interactive Tech Expo at Orlando Science Center

Igniting a passion for STEM through technology experiences!

From January 13 – 16, 2016, Otronicon will celebrate its 12th year as the premiere technology event that you can’t afford to miss!

At Otronicon, guests walk on the cutting edge through state-of-the-art gaming and simulation technologies, including military and medical simulators not typically available to the public.

During the four-day event:

• Interact with industry leaders and educators and learn about STEM careers
• Experience the future of games and design
• See the latest in medical and military technologies
• Check out workshops and presentations led by industry pros
• Look at art from a new and exciting angle with the fusion of art and technology
• And so much more!

Regardless of your background, whether you are in the tech industry or just have a passion for learning, Otronicon engages guests of all ages to imagine the possibilities of the ever-growing and diverse digital media industry.

Join us for Orlando’s favorite interactive technology expo!

Visit Otronicon.org to see what’s new and check out our list of exhibitors!

****************
SOCIAL MEDIA, OTRONICON APP AND LIVESTREAMING

Find Otronicon on social media at it’s Facebook page Otronicon and twitter.com/@otronicon, and use the hashtag #otronicon.

The Otronicon schedule will be available on the official Otronicon app for Android. Check the Google Play Store as the event draws closer to download the free app!

****************

COST, HOURS & MORE

Purchase your tickets before December 31 and save $5 per ticket!

Admission to Otronicon is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and students, and $13.95 for youth (ages 3-11). Science Center members can experience Otronicon for FREE!

Otronicon is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. A separate ticketed 21 and up event Science Night Live featuring Otronicon will be held on Saturday, January 14 from 8–11:30 p.m. Science Night Live can sell out so get your tickets now at www.osc.org/snl.

For more information, please call 407-514-2000 or visit otronicon.org.

Orlando iX Opening Night Party

Don’t Miss the Fun!

It’s downtown’s biggest celebration of the biggest tech event in the southeast.Celebrate your city and its growing reputation as a technology hub at the opening party of the Orlando Interactive Experience! Feel the energy and music courtesy of Red Bull. And score some free swag to wear at the festival.

TECHnically speaking, it’ll be the best party ever.

Thank you IZEA, for presenting this fun night!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS
GIFN, by Purple Rock Scissors
First Friday: OrlandoiX Edition, by MacBeth Photography (RSVP!)
Play FIFA, ladder golf, beer pong and corn hole, with Orlando City Soccer Club
Gaming gear raffles and giveaways from Rated Gamer Gear – check this site out for details
Get hyped with Orlando Magic‘s Blue Crew
Wildly Different will hold Minute To Win It Challenges for prizes!
Lots of additional giveaways via in-person and social media contests!
Join with #OrlandoiX15!

WHEN
Friday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.

WHERE
Wall Street Plaza
Downtown Orlando

COST
Free and open to public (over 21 to attend)

RSVP HERE

Florida Simulation Summit

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the National Center for Simulation will host the Florida Simulation Summit to highlight the state’s multi-billion dollar simulation industry and help identify opportunities for businesses to commercialize simulation.  Simulation is a key enabler in a multitude of industries beyond defense, including entertainment, education, healthcare, energy, transportation and manufacturing. Learn from the simulation experts at Walt Disney World®, University of Central Florida, Space Florida and many others about how simulation enhances companies’ operations, safety and bottom line.

The event will be held at the Orange County Convention Center on September 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event cost is $25 in advance or $50 at the door. For registration and directions, visit the National Center for Simulation’s website at www.simulationinformation.com.   

WHAT: Speakers include:

  • Michael Tschanz, Director of Technology and Analysis, Walt Disney World®
  • Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty, PE, Professor and Chair at University of Central Florida – Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation
  • Dr. Robert Amyot, President of CAE Healthcare
  • Dale Ketcham, Chief of Strategic Alliances at Space Florida

WHERE: Orange County Convention Center

South Concourse, Room 320

  9899 International Drive

  Orlando, FL 32819

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MORE
INFO:   (407) 384-6111 or email ncs@simulationinformation.com

Canvs’ 1 Year Anniversary Celebration

Come party at Canvs’ 1st anniversary celebration with local business and tech leaders! The event will feature remarks from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer as well as tech company spotlights and showcases. Appetizers and drinks provided.

  DATE: August 27, 2015
  TIME: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  LOCATION: Church Street Exchange + Canvs
  TICKETS: $40/Person*
REGISTRATION: 
See Below  
QUESTIONS? 
Email kayla@doporlando.com

  *A portion of the proceeds will support the FireSpring seed fund,    which provides funds to promising tech startups that can use them to   build their business.

Orlando – Please Don’t Redefine Us

Lately I’ve been reading numerous articles by extremely passionate Orlando-area citizens, who declare their love for the City Beautiful. They write about the thriving literary community, the bursting tech industry, the outstanding colleges and universities, and even the highly touted food and art scene.

And in nearly every article, each well-meaning writer relates angry disgust that media outlets from across the nation are just now discovering that Orlando isn’t a “cultural wasteland” after all. And as a by-product of that anger, every writer then wants to redefine who we are or wants to describe Orlando as having a rebirth. (As if all our greatness had disappeared until just recently!)

Perhaps this common theme of needing to redefine what Orlando is comes from the fact that most of these writers start their articles by explaining they moved to Central Florida “several years ago” for school or work or to retire. And like many, they didn’t expect to fall in love with the City and were thrilled to see how much it had to offer in the aforementioned literary, arts, food, tech et al. (How ironic they now take exception to the fact that outsiders don’t also know this.) These writers say, “You don’t know the real Orlando. We’re not just Disney.”

While I certainly appreciate these eager citizens wanting to tout how wonderful our area is, I find myself bristling at the term “redefining” because feels like we weren’t good enough before these people arrived in Central Florida and decided to give us a new definition.

You see, I was born and raised here, just like my mother was, and just like my grandmother was back in the 1800s. There are a number of us here, actually, native Central Floridians that have always known what Orlando is and don’t need new arrivals to suddenly tell us what we are and what we have.

We’ve Always Had a Literary Scene

Yes, even before Jack Kerouac.

Back in 1926 Rollins College began the Animated Magazine. Since paper and printing supplies were still in somewhat short supply due to the fairly recent first World War, then-college President Hamilton Holt decided that the articles should be read aloud on stage instead of printed. This turned into an annual event that used to draw thousands. In the crowd sat dignitaries from around the world, including Secretaries of State and even former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Animated Magazine - Rollins College

Animated Magazine – Rollins College

The Animated Magazine lives on today, under the tutelage of editors like U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and has helped bring about the annual Winter with the Writers, which is where I got to see Maya Angelou when she visited back in 2007.

With the Orlando Public Library opening in 1923, and the Zora Neale Hurston Festival operating for nearly 30 years now, this is just further evidence the literary scene is not having a rebirth but has quietly been here all along.

We’ve Always Had an Art Scene

One of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious art festivals happens right here at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The Orlando Museum of Art was established in 1924, the Maitland Art Center in 1937, and we’ve had the Crealde School of Art and Jamali for over 40 years now. Add in the Polasek Museum and the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass at the Morse Museum, and we’re doing just fine.

Albin Polasek

Albin Polasek

Famed actor Buddy Epsen’s father started the Central Florida Ballet Company in 1945. “I dared not start a ballet company here in Orlando because the idea seemed hopeless,” Epsen was quoted as saying. “Now there are several companies throughout Florida.” Epsen’s company was later taken over by Edith Royal, whose “Ballet Royal” supplied generations of dancers to the great stages of the world.

And even earlier, Ruth Pounds started a dance school in 1935, which taught both my mother and then me how to dance, sit, curtsy, and all the etiquette required of a cultured young adult.

The area has always had beautiful architecture thanks to those like Gamble Rogers, II, who helped create the beauty that attracted leading artists, business tycoons, and top politicians to settle in the area.

When President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the opening of the basement radio station at Rollins College (still one of the longest-running basement radios in the country), we made indie radio hip long before we made boy bands hip in the 1990s.

We’ve Always Had a Tech Scene

Lockheed Martin opened its doors in 1956. (My mother worked there afternoons in high school!) Shortly thereafter, the Kennedy Space Center was built nearby to oversee the Apollo missions. We watched those missions, and later those of the Space Shuttle, right from our backyards – and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

Thankfully this tech industry also had a need for engineers; thus UCF was founded in 1963 and has grown into one of the largest universities in the nation. Add in the innovations of Walt Disney in the 70s, and then Full Sail University in the 80s, and yep, we’ve always had a tech scene.

We’ve Always Had a Food Scene

Food trucks did not make the food hip in this city.

We’ve always had great food, ranging from Dixie Crossroads and La Cantina to Le Cordon Bleu and Gary’s Duck Inn. From the 94th Aero Squadron, which served incredible food since World War I, to Ronnie’s Diner which opened in 1956, Orlando always had talked-about food. The fact that the establishments serving that food is changing, doesn’t mean there weren’t great restaurants before the new ones arrived.

Ronnie's Diner

Ronnie’s Diner

With T.G. Lee Dairy and the many orange groves, we’ve always been farm-to-table. And when you add in Publix (founded in 1930), we were doing just fine long before this so-called rebirth.

We’re Growing, Not Rebirthing

Yes, it is an exciting time to be in Orlando. We are growing in many different, wonderful ways. Newcomers are bringing great assets, and companies are setting up roots and investing here. With strong leadership we will continue to flourish.

And while I admire the zeal these newcomers use to tell the rest of the world how great Orlando is, please don’t act like this is a new development in Orlando’s history. Don’t call it a rebirth or try to redefine it.

We are who we are, and always have been.

We don’t want to be New York, San Francisco, or even Austin. We want to be who and what we already are. We’re orange groves and Disney. We’re tech and and old-fashioned books. We’re art and great food.

But, we’re not the best thing since sliced bread… we were cool long before that hit the world back in 1930!

This guest post was written by Bess Auer, fourth generation Floridian and the first editor of the Central Florida Top 5. You can connect with her on Twitter at @Bess_Auer.

Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit Producer Takes You Behind the Scenes

Christoph Rahofer, Producer of Orlando’s new Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, “Man – Inventor – Genius” on International Drive took some time out of his busy Grand Opening schedule to talk with us about all things da Vinci!

About the inspiration of the daVinci exhibition itself Christoph says, “It had a lot to do with the daVinci Code. I purchased the book back in 2003 on my summer vacation, which happened to be in Italy. I ran into this very nice family who (had) already been building machines based on da Vinci’s codex for two generations. I thought that was a cool idea so we got together and figured out how to make an exhibition based on da Vinci’s inventions.

Where did it start? “We started off in my hometown in Vienna, Austria with this exhibit,” says Christoph. “That was way back in 2004, and it’s been traveling for ten years to some of the major cities in the world – three continents in fact!”

da vinci logo

So far, the exhibition is scheduled to stay here in Orlando through Summer 2015, after which EMS Entertainment will make a decision to extend its stay or continue on to another state or country. “I hope we can keep it longer here in Orlando. I think it’s also a very interesting, controversial fit to CSI: The Experience, which is right next door. That should be an interesting combination of the two,” he says tongue-in-cheek.

Because of the breadth of inventions and innovations in da Vinci’s repertoire, Christoph and his team came up with four unique classifications to break up the exhibition. “War Machines, Hydraulics, Mechanics and Flight is how we have clustered the different machines that we have on display. Here in the Orlando exhibit, there is about forty two to forty five different machines that you can see,” he says.

They’re built out in three dimensional ways so you can actually see how he meant them to be. We added, at a later stage actually as the original exhibition was just inventions, the other component of da Vinci to really show his genius on the artistic side. We added twenty three of his paintings in original size, re-created.

A large scale reproduction of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, measuring 9 x 5 meters (approximately 29 x 16 feet), is one of the largest art pieces in this exhibition. Here’s where Christoph lets us in on another secret – but you can’t tell anyone, okay? “What you can’t see – I’ll tell you this secret, don’t tell anyone – is you have to have a certain viewpoint,” he confides. “What we detected in doing all the research behind this is that da Vinci, in some kind of hidden formula, suggests a certain distance to the painting that you would have to assume in order to have the right point of view as well as a certain height. What we did here (in Orlando), we lowered the painting and put it on the ground floor in order to not elevate visitors (us!) to watch it from the right perspective.

Christoph went on to teach me something fascinating I had no idea of about Leonardo da Vinci. “We also added the music of da Vinci (to the exhibit). In his time, he was best known as a musician, interestingly. That’s what nobody knows, he was a folk musician! There are no translated scores to be found of his music so we had the University of Vienna Music Department re-create the Renaissance music based on what we know he must have been playing.

da vinci 2

Another cool thing Christoph taught us? da Vinci was a pacifist. ‘So, why did he design all those scary War Machines?’ Just like any other starving artist, they’ve got to eat too! Long before the days of intellectual property and copyright, the only payday Leonardo would see was from that which he successfully created. What his patrons of said machines may not have been aware of was… “da Vinci actually put in some failures into the war machines because, by nature, he was a pacifist. He didn’t like people to get into war but he took the orders, he wanted the money, so he invented some stuff for them but put in failures so they wouldn’t work.” Clever, right? But, again, don’t tell anyone. We’re sworn to secrecy… right Christoph?

Start-Up City: Miami

With start-up culture and investment permeating Miami, The Atlantic presents Start-Up City: Miami, an annual gathering of ideas and inventors shaping the local—and global—start-up scene. Building on the energy of the previous two years, the event will feature the people and companies at the heart of Miami’s start-up revolution who also serve as models for the growing brand of entrepreneurship and innovation in cities around the world.

Joining us as speakers are the people behind such influential companies as Skype Translator, Lyft, Postmates, Slack and Coursera, who will share perspectives on innovations in communication tools, online education, the sharing economy and more.

Join The Atlantic and CityLab for our annual trip down the coast to Start-Up City: Miami, where we will highlight South Florida’s high-growth (and high-profit) innovation while exploring the emerging models of entrepreneurship taking root in cities around the U.S. As a beachside business gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, Miami is a cosmopolitan city with high ambitions in rocketing emerging markets. And those ambitions are charged by changes at home, where tech is transforming traditional industries and talent increasingly clusters in cities reinventing their brands. With Miami’s high-profile growth as our backdrop, we’ll ask: how can cities maximize their homegrown strengths and small business values, while attracting the outside resources to compete with their bigger peers?

Interactive sessions will match local speakers with urban leaders from the national stage for real-time idea sharing in areas like:

  • Finding the tools to scale
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Building creative communities
  • Negotiating investment opportunities

Now in its third year, Start-Up City: Miami has established itself as more than a daylong program. It is a much-anticipated convening that fosters new and unexpected partnerships within the startup community, offers entrepreneurs how-tos for new venture growth and provides an opportunity to step back and assess this growing and vibrant community.

New World Center
500 17th Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139

9:00 a.m. Guest Arrival and Registration

9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks

  • Margaret Low Smith, President, AtlanticLIVE
  • Matt Haggman, Program Director, Knight Foundation Miami

9:40 a.m. You Had Me at Hola : Unveiling Skype Translator

  • Vikram Dendi, Strategy Director & Technical Advisor, Microsoft Research
  • Interviewed by: Mary Louise Kelly, Contributing Editor, AtlanticLIVE

10:05 a.m. IDEAS OUT LOUD / How to Build a Better Business in Four Minutes a Day

  • Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the Sloan Leadership Center, MIT

10:30 a.m. Hiring Up to Beat the Big Guys

  • John Ciancutti, Chief Product Officer, Coursera
  • Interviewed bySteve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic

10:55 a.m. Introduction to Feeding Ideas; MIAMI SOUP: Microgrant Finalist No. 1

11:00 a.m. How We Learn Today: Miami in the Classroom

  • Juha Mikkola, Co-Founder, Wyncode
  • Kiesha Moodie, Miami Managing Director of Alumni and Community Impact, Teach For America
  • Tracy LaFlamme Ortega, Founder and CEO, PREPWORKS
  • Jamie Rosenberg, Founder and CEO, ClassWallet
  • Moderated by: Derek Thompson, Senior Editor, The Atlantic

11:33 a.m. As Cuba Thaws, Will Entrepreneurship
Heat Up?

  • Ric Herrero, Executive Director, #CubaNow
  • Natalia Martinez, Founder, The Awesome Foundation MIAMI / Regional Manager, EveryoneON
  • Moderated by: Mary Louise Kelly

11:58 a.m. Lunch

12:50 p.m. Remarks

  • Richard Florida, Editor at Large, CityLab

12:55 p.m. It Takes Two: Partner Up To Start Up

  • Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder, Square and LaunchCode
  • Interviewed byDerek Thompson

1:10 p.m. Recruiting the Dream Team

  • Leandro Finol, Executive Director of The Idea Center, Miami Dade College
  • Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, CEO, Radical Partners; Member, State Board of Education
  • Natalia Napoleon de Bens, Co-Founder, Lemon City Tea Co.
  • Jim McKelvey
  • Moderated byDerek Thompson

1:43 p.m. MIAMI SOUP: Microgrant Finalist No. 2

1:45 p.m. Delivering on Demand: How to Carve a Niche in a Competitive Market

  • Bastian Lehman, Co-Founder and CEO, Postmates
  • Interviewed bySteve Clemons

2:10 p.m. A Rocky Road: What’s Next for Lyft and Miami

  • Veronica Juarez, Director of Government Relations, Lyft
  • Interviewed byRichard Florida

2:30 p.m. Does Where You Work Change How You Work? A Tale of Three Cities

  • Pandwe Gibson, Executive Director, EcoTech Visions
  • Bill Jacobson, Co-Founder and CEO, Workbar
  • Tamara Wendt, Managing Director, The LAB Miami
  • Moderated byJason Saltzman, Founder and CEO, AlleyNYC

2:55 p.m. MIAMI SOUP: Microgrant Finalist No. 3

2:57 p.m. Changing Course: Mapping Entrepreneurship’s New Epicenters

  • Shaun Abrahamson, Co-Founder and CEO, Urban.Us
  • Nico Berardi, Managing Director, AGP Miami
  • Jon Gosier, Inventor and General Partner, Third Cohort Capital
  • Bedy Yang, Managing Partner for Brazil and Latin America, 500 Startups
  • Moderated byRichard Florida

3:30 p.m. Creating a Billion-Dollar Brand

  • Bill Macaitis, Chief Marketing Officer, Slack
  • Interviewed byDerek Thompson

3:55 p.m. How are New Restaurants like Start-Ups? The Craft of Entrepreneurship

  • Tom Colicchio, Chef and Owner, Crafted Hospitality
  • Interviewed byRichard Florida

4:25 p.m. Closing Remarks

4:27 p.m. Special Guests out of Overtown

4:35 p.m. Program Concludes

4:35 p.m. Reception

6:00 p.m. Event Concludes

Top 5 things we want to see at #CES2015

by @jenvargas

What’s that you say? What’s a “CES?” Does it need ointment? Is THIS post safe to view at work? For the benefit of our readers who are not familiar, I’ll explain…

Don’t worry, dear Top 5ers. CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show. It’s produced by the Consumer Electronics Association and it’s the big – no wait – HUGE international electronics event that happens every year in Las Vegas. CES is the place for what’s next in electronics. The industry reveals their newest, hottest most techiest gadgets, devices and items.  And you need to buy them all. RIGHT NOW. Or at least the businesses who participate hope you do, your family does and all of your friends.

Next week Twitter will be flooded with tons talk and photos of gadget pr0n. (I’ll save you some spam bait and not type out the ‘other’ spelling of that last word.) The next, biggest, up-and-coming 4k television, smartphone, smart fridge, smart charger or drone copter will most likely debut to the world in Vegas. It’s the only thing Vegas isn’t keeping a secret!

What am I looking forward to most? In no particular order, here is a very small list of our gadget geek outs:

FORD’S SYNC 3

Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

Our longtime friends at Ford Motor Company are making your car even smarter than it was waaay back in 2014. Sync 3 is an entertainment and communications hub for your car. Ford let me borrow a car last year, a C-MAX hybrid, to drive to New Orleans when our award-winning short film TechSquad screened at the legendary Joy Theater. This was my first experience with (then Microsoft) SYNC technology, and it was great! You could play music, find a place to eat, get directions control the climate (and more), access your contacts and make calls all using your voice, USB and Bluetooth technology. iPhone or Android, connecting was easy. It even recognized my Google Glass. I can’t wait to try it out in person! (Building efficiency leaves via the SmartGauge is ADDICTING, and I mastered the BreakCoach!)

#throughglass: This is about as nerdy as it gets, folks!

The (IoT) Internet of Things Showcase

Check out the highlight reel from last year’s Internet of Things, then imagine that even BIGGER. This year’s Internet of Things Showcase will be the largest in the world! Products, services and technologies from over 900 exhibitors will be shown at CES 2015. “The ‘Internet of Things’ is the hottest topic in tech right now,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES and corporate business strategy, CEA. “It’s all about the opportunity to connect everyday items  like cars, home security systems and kitchen appliances to networked devices like PCs and smartphones for greater control and management of our everyday lives. We’re excited that the 2015 CES will bring together all of the companies and products that are making this a reality.” Think Back to the Future Part II. Jaws 19, Self-lacing Nikes, controlling your appliances by voice, using smart glasses in Augmented and Virtual Reality environments (think E.P.C.O.T or Carousel of Progress)… the future is NOW people! (Well, maybe not the Nikes or Jaws 19. Not yet. But! Where there’s a Spielberg, there’s a way!)

Smart Homes, Smart Body and… Smart Pets?!

2015 seems to be the year where everything in your home connects with you – literally. Smartphones, Smart TVs in 4K, devices inside your home, on your feet,  on your wrist, on your head, on your face, in the kitchen, at the hospital, to monitor your health – on yourself AND your pet. All this and more will explode on to the scene even more than it did in 2014.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and get a sneak peek of what’s to come!

Metro Orlando EDC Schwartz Tech Awards

New partners, categories and event format for this year’s tech and innovation awards from the Orlando EDC

Each year, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) honors companies and individuals for bright ideas, creative solutions, pioneering research and support for the tech community with an awards program. This year, the EDC is adding new partners, new categories and changing the format of the event.

The EDC is partnering with the Orlando Tech Association for the first time and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council for the awards program. Now in its 24th year, the event is named after the late William C. Schwartz, an avid community leader in Orlando, business pioneer and innovator within the field of optics and photonics.

This year’s award categories include:

  • Regional Innovator of the Year – (One from each jurisdiction – Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola Counties and the City of Orlando) – Recognizes companies for creating, developing and successfully implementing products, ideas and processes that positively impact our community.
  • Researcher of the Year – (Academic Researcher and Industry Researcher) – Recognizes individual researchers from academia and industry who are pioneering exploratory and cutting-edge research to enhance products, services or other applications in any field.
  • Diversity in Tech – Recognizes an individual who strives to promote understanding and appreciation of diversity in the region’s tech industry, either through service to women or minorities or who serves as a role model to others.
  • Tech Investor – Recognizes an individual who has financially supported the region’s tech industry. Nominees do not need to be local, but their investment must be.
  • Tech Community Champion – Recognizes an individual who does not directly work in the region’s tech industry but supports its efforts, entrepreneurship and expansion.

“The EDC has been proud to recognize technological innovation over the years with this awards program, but we wanted to ensure that the program kept up with needs and desires of our evolving tech community,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando EDC.

“Reaching out to the Orlando Tech Association to partner speaks volumes of the EDC’s growing engagement with the local tech scene,” said Orrett Davis, executive director of the Orlando Tech Association.

The call for entries and nominations are open from July 1 through August 1. The winners will be announced at an event held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Orchid Garden at Church Street Station in downtown Orlando to coincide with Orlando Tech Week.

Two additional awards will be given during the Sept. 30 celebration recognizing student entrepreneurs from top regional academic business competitions and an innovative company from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

For more information, visit orlandoedc.com/schwartz.

– See more at: http://www.orlandoedc.com/News/#sthash.z9l2VZUC.dpuf

Maker Faire Orlando returns to Orlando Science Center Sep 13-14

by filmMaker @jenvargas

Remember waaaay back in February when we told you Maker Faire Orlando was expanding to TWO days then shared the even bigger news about Maker Faire Orlando dropping the “mini?” Well, that weekend has finally arrived! Triangulate all coordinates to Orlando Science Center because Maker Faire Orlando lands next weekend, September 13-14th!

A jammed packed 2 day schedule features Maker exhibits, workshops, talks for both makers and educators, panel discussions, a new Nerdy Derby, Power Racing, Combat Robotics, a retro arcade and more!

(Register for the Nerdy Derby early, as it is sure to fill up!)

Click HERE for Saturday’s Schedule

Click HERE for Sunday’s Schedule

 

Maker Faire Orlando 2014

 

Some of you may still be asking, “What or who is a ‘Maker,’ and why do they have a ‘faire?’ Is this a True Blood thing?”

Sorry, #Trubies. No vampires here, but the possibility of designing 3D printed fangs, building your own animatronic creature and watching dueling robots are absolutely possible. In fact, anything you can think of is possible at Maker Faire Orlando! And guess what? If you already make stuff, you are already a ‘Maker!’ Congratulations!!

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – and Orlando 2014 is produced as a partnership between The Maker Effect Foundation and the Orlando Science Center. The Faire part is a community-organized, family-friendly celebration featuring local do-it-yourself science, art, rockets, robots, crafts, technology, music, hands-on-activities, and more. It’s an event where people show what they are making and share what they are learning. Also? Makers LOVE to share what they know, so don’t be afraid to ask a Maker for info or how to do something.

Orange County’s New Technology: #SocialMedia Workgroup to Advance Citizen Engagement and Support #DigitalCommunity

Successful Digital Outreach Initiatives in Orange County, Florida

As advocates for the region’s burgeoning tech community, several online and social media influencers – who also played a significant role in amplifying the digital presence of Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ 2014 State of the County in June – will continue their role as innovators and collaborators in Orange County’s new Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

To expand the online conversation and facilitate a dialogue with a broader demographic, Mayor Jacobs invited online influencers to be Social Media Ambassadors during the Mayor’s 2014 State of the County in June. The Ambassadors, who have large followings on social media networks, engaged citizens by sharing messages on social media to increase public engagement and awareness regarding Orange County’s Year of Transformation.”  Google Glass was used to record and share live from the eyes of one of the Ambassadors, making the event the first State of the County address in Florida to feature Google Glass.

[Left to right] Nadia Vanderhoof, Carlos Carbonell, Ian Suarez, Josh Murdock, Necole Pynn, Laura Kern, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Bess Auer, David Glass, Jen Vargas and Ann Marie Varga gathered to discuss Orange County’s Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

[Left to right] Nadia Vanderhoof, Carlos Carbonell, Ian Suarez, Josh Murdock, Necole Pynn, Laura Kern, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Bess Auer, David Glass, Jen Vargas and Ann Marie Varga gathered to discuss Orange County’s Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

“Mayor Jacobs’ State of the County Social Media Ambassadors program definitely brought awareness to the region’s innovation that has propelled our community to the national stage as the new technology hub of the southeast,” said Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo Interaction Group andpresident ofOrlandoTech Inc.,a nonprofit organization supporting the Orlando technology community. “I look forward to Orange County’s new Technology and Social Media Workgroup which will further support our dynamic community.”

The Orange County Technology and Social Media Workgroup will operate as a think-tank to advance new technologies, social media and mobile applications supported and developed by Orange County Government. The workgroup will also collaborate on how to best enhance online public engagement and support the growing the technology and digital community in our region.

“It is really impressive the way Mayor Jacobs and Orange County has brought together individuals from different sides of social media and the technology spectrum to work together,” said Ian Suarez, graphic designer and social media coordinator for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. “It is important to increase public awareness on what the county is doing for our community in today’s tech savvy world. I am honored to be part of such a talented group of leaders in our community.”

Disney Accelerator Initiative Will Mentor 11 Technology-based Companies

The Walt Disney Company Announces Participants Startup Accelerator Program

(This is One more than than they promised to accept!)

Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is a fifteen-week immersive program which gives companies access to mentorship from top Disney executives, up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their companies as well as special access to resources from across The Walt Disney Company.  DisneyAccelerator

To kick off the program, participating companies will meet with various mentors including Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as other entertainment industry leaders, investors, and Techstars’ extensive network of technology mentors.  Selected companies will develop mentorship relationships based on expertise, interest and background.  Participating companies will meet with mentors regularly and work together to build and expand business plans, product launches, marketing campaigns, and formulate long-term strategies.  The program culminates with a Demo Day in October, where each team will present their company to industry leaders, Disney executives, and the entrepreneurial community.

The selected companies represent a diverse cross-section of technology-driven media and entertainment from many different geographies.  The 11 companies selected to participate in the Disney Accelerator program are:

  • Buzzstarter – Buzzstarter is the world’s first scalable programmatic content marketing platform.
  • ChoreMonster – ChoreMonster is a web and mobile platform that makes chores fun for kids and turns parents into superheroes.
  • Codarica – Codarica serves as children’s first interaction into the world of code with help from characters Cody Coder and Holly Hacker.
  • Cogo – Cogo provides video monetization solutions for content creators.
  • Jogg – Jogg simplifies the act of acquiring video from anyone. Users can gather, edit and share much more than just video from their own device.
  • Sphero – Sphero is the connected play company, which fuses digital and physical play by creating robots that you control with a smart device.
  • Sidelines – Sidelines fixes the problem of substandard online discussions and comments by sourcing smart, high-quality discussions from its curated team of over 400 experts, and distributing these discussions to publishers based on relevance.
  • SnowShoe – SnowShoe makes simple, magical pieces of plastic that interact with touch screens to create the perfect bridge between physical items and digital content.
  • Twigtale – Twigtale provides parents with personalized, high-quality, accessible expert advice for every major transition a child undergoes.
  • TYFFON – TYFFON is an entertainment app development company and creator of the ZombieBooth series with more than 25 million total downloads.
  • Ubooly – Ubooly is a learning toy that talks and listens to kids. Ubooly can be customized to know your child’s name, teach lessons, and much more.

“With Disney Accelerator we are now bringing the creativity and imagination of Disney to early stage startups in a way we have never done before,” said Kevin A. Mayer, executive vice president, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, The Walt Disney Company. “We are thrilled by the response we’ve received and the high caliber of applicants to the program and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with this excellent group of creative entrepreneurs and really making a difference with these start-up companies.”

About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $45 billion in its Fiscal Year 2013.

About Techstars
Techstars is the #1 startup accelerator and mentorship-driven seed stage investment program in the world. Techstars delivers programs annually in top startup markets all over the world. Additionally, Techstars powers programs in collaboration with some of the best brands in the world. Companies have gone on to average more than $1.6M raised in outside capital after the completion of the program. To date, Techstars has funded more than 350 companies that are collectively valued in the billions of dollars.

Details from thewaltdisneycompany.com

Nationwide Google Glass Explorer Event, May 3rd at Kings Bowl Orlando!

https://plus.google.com/events/c4nevoe37sdsoitsl3i5vhb0f4s

 


Save the date, party people. Whether you own Google Glass or not, ALL ARE WELCOME to this unique, nationwide event!

What is Glass Welcomed + Glass Night Out? It’s a community driven initiative to reach out to folks from all walks of life and across the United States who are interested in Google Glass but were afraid to attend a formal meetup or talk or are still concerned about what Glass and other wearables mean for our future. Why all on the same day, you ask? To maximize or social media posts and shares of course!

All are welcome to this FREE (21 and up) event! Hold on to your White Russians, there will be surprises too… 

*Drink Alcohol (or other tasty beverages)!
*Bowl Lebowski style!
*Have a nosh!
*Be a pool shark!
*Bocce it up!
*Shuffleboard like a Rat Packer!
*Meet fellow explorers!
*Share your adventures!
*Share your misadventures!
*Meet developers!
*Share awkward “Can I try it” stories!
*Talk nerd, and people will actually understand you!
*Drink Alcohol/tasty beverages AND bowl!

NOTE: There’s plenty of free parking!

Kings Orlando is located at:
8255 South International Drive, Suite 120
Orlando, FL 32819
(Behind Ripley’s Believe It or Not! And Charley’s Steakhouse. Enter from I-Drive or Universal Boulevard.)

Also, at 11:30PM EST, we’ll do a glass raising to all the other #glassnightout events all over the United States using a Google+ Hangout!

Sign up for King’s newsletter and you’ll get a FREE appetizer!  http://kingsbowlamerica.com/orlando/

This will be the first of (hopefully) many #glasswelcomed and#glassnightout events in Central Florida!

Otronicon | Exclusive Interview with Orlando Science Center All About Otronicon

Otronicon, one of the biggest event of the year for the Orlando Science Center, opens this Friday.  The four-day ‘con’ event brings some of Central Florida’s biggest companies together with some of the latest technology for a celebration of interactive technology.

Central Florida Top 5 recently spoke with Mark Schaub, the Marketing Coordinator for Orlando Science Center, about Otronicon and all that goes into it.

CFLTop5- How would you describe Otronicon?

MS- Otronicon is a showcase of the newest and coolest technology, most of which is created right here in Orlando. Video games, robots, simulators and more encompass all four floors of the Science Center. Orlando is rising up the list of high tech cities in the U.S. and Otronicon highlights all the great work being done in our own backyard. Guests can go home inspired to pursue a technology career.

CFLTop5- What about it makes it so unique?

MS- Otronicon is unique in that you can’t knock on the door of Lockheed Martin and ask, ‘Can me and my kid jump in your flight simulators?’, or walk into EA SPORTS in Maitland and say, ‘Hey, what games are you working on and can you tell me how you make them?’ And Otronicon isn’t just a fun event full of hands-on interactive technology; it’s a rare opportunity to chat with the professionals who work on this stuff. At the end of the day, it might just inspire you to pursue a career in video game design, medicine or simulation.

CFLTop5- Many local businesses, such as Florida Hospital and Lockheed Martin, are involved in the event. Why does this event attract such high caliber local businesses? 

MS- Orlando Science Center’s mission is to inspire science learning for life, and it shows throughout this event. Partners like UCF, Florida Hospital for Children and Lockheed Martin recognize the importance of inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and doctors. The best way to do that is to show them how cool these jobs are and how they’re accessible, especially in Orlando. This is a great place to go to school and find a job when you graduate. Businesses that partner with the Science Center realize the significance that this event has and that by showing the public all this cool technology, it can spark an interest that can carry someone through the rest of their life.

CFLTop5- Could you explain some of the events at Otronicon that locals may not have heard as much about?

MS- There are many unique offerings that comprise Otronicon. For instance, we’ve got Artronica, a video game-inspired art exhibit. The Game Jam is new to Otronicon this year and features about 20 budding game designers being locked in the Science Center for 48 hours while they create a video game from scratch. Guests can peer in to Dr. Dare’s Lab where this will be taking place and watch the genius unfold. Also new this year is the FilmSlam, in which dozens of local filmmakers have submitted short films for us to watch and vote on for the Viewer’s Choice Award.

CFLTop5- This year a new exhibit, Zoom into Nano, is opening at Orlando Science Center just in time for Otronicon. What was some of the reasoning in opening it at the same time as Otronicon?

MS- Orlando Science Center sports three to four traveling exhibits a year, and it’s around Otronicon that we’re moving one out for another. Generally, we keep a buffer between the load-out of the previous exhibit and the load-in of the incoming exhibit during Otronicon. But to have this exhibit available to us now and for it to be all about nanotechnology, it was clear this is a great tie-in for the event. So for an added bonus, guests can experience this brand-new exhibit in addition to the awesomeness that is Otronicon.

149470_493035790947_320416_nOtronicon opens this Friday and runs through Monday.  Tickets are still available (Adults- $19 | Student- $17 | Ages 3-11- $13)

Check out this video of all the things we learned at last years event.

Related:

EA SPORTS Brings 3-D Game Technology to Orlando’s Otronicon 2014

http://centralfloridatop5.com/2014/01/14/ea-sports-brings-3-d-game-technology-to-orlandos-otronicon-2014/