Portland Startup urban.systems Joins Land Rover Incubator

urban_systems_logo.pngPortland startup urban.systems has been selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of Jaguar Land Rover’s new tech incubator in Portland, OR. The partnership between one of the world’s foremost automobile companies, Jaguar Land Rover, combined with urban.systems’ expertise and experience in “smart cities,” analytics, communications, and information technology will provide a strong foundation for addressing one of the most pressing issues facing cities today: transportation.

Jaguar Land Rover’s new technology incubator first cohort kicks off this month, with the announcements of urban.systems, along with two other startups selected for the program, at the Consumer Telematics Show on Tuesday.

This new partnership between JLR and urban.systems will focus its efforts on low-cost, scalable infrastructure technologies that leverage open data, open-source technology, and community-based urban planning. Among urban.systems’s first projects is a family of products and services for the management of multi-passenger, Electric Vehicle fleets for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This project — a proof of concept for other emerging cities worldwide will supply affordable, sustainable and “connected” transportation for the movement of people around the city in a managed system. The system will improve efficiencies, decrease congestion and positively affect the lives of the passengers, drivers and owners.

“urban.systems’s focus on open interfaces, open data and open source makes them a great partner for Jaguar Land Rover,” said Matt Jones, Director of Future Technology and President of the GENIVI Alliance. “Their fleet management tools combined with low speed electric vehicles offers a new and innovative option for urban transportation.”

Led by Dr. Wilfred Pinfold, formerly of Intel, urban.systems has a diverse team of experienced executives, engineers and IT professionals that provide consulting, technology and outsourcing services to address the global challenges affecting cities and urban life. As cities explore new transit systems, roads and utilities or modernize their aging infrastructure, urban.systems and its partners will provide a range of civic engagement, financial, design, and software services that reduce cost, simplify design and financing, and build scalable operational governments.

urban.systems is committed to the open software platform to enable and encourage the “best and brightest’ to work together in bringing long-term solutions to the issues that cities are facing in transportation, energy, water, wellness and pollution. By working together, urban.systems believes that the quantity of problem solvers will deliver more ideas and more products, with each having the ability to be integrated into a comprehensive system. The goal of urban.systems is to bring these products and ideas together to work with local, state and federal governments to build better, safer and sustainable cities for now and in the future.

Review: Muvo Mini Bluetooth Speaker Makes Rock & Roll More Portable

Creative Mini Muvo

The Creative Mini Muvo delivers big sound in a small package.

A while back we had some fun reviewing the SoundBlaster Roar speaker from Creative Labs. For a portable Bluetooth speaker, it knocked our socks off with great sound quality and some pretty innovative features.

This time, Creative asked us to check out their new Muvo Mini, a waterproof speaker that they thought might come in handy for the rainy Springtime we have here in Portland, Oregon. And when we lucked upon a sunny day or two in early March, we took the Muvo out for a spin at our favorite patio.

For a compact speaker, the Muvo delivers surprising music volume and clarity, plenty loud for a group of 10 or so enjoying the great outdoors. While it does not have booming bass, no one seemed to mind as our mixtape from Guardians of the Galaxy had several party-goers singing along.

In what might be it’s most important feature, the Muvo is also very light-weight as compared to our Soundblaster Roar. This lack of heavy mass really helps as we now keep the thing charged and ready in our day pack. Selling at around $60 on Amazon, it also has a price tag that is pretty easy on the wallet.

While we have not how “waterproof” the Muvo is, I’m sure the Oregon rain will give us an opportunity really soon now. Even if it leaked, I’d say this is one fine speaker and a good value to boot.

Rich Brueckner Presents: Data and Goliath – Why Startups Own the Future of Big Data

In this video from the Adaptive Computing booth at SC14, Rich Brueckner from inside-Startups presents Data and Goliath — Why Startups Own the Future of Big Data.

Full Transcript:

It is kind of weird for me to hear that I am a special speaker. But being here – I want to thank Adaptive for having me in. I apologize for my voice but I’ve been smoking cuban cigars at night, that somebody gave me. And I really enjoy that.

So, here’s who I am. If you haven’t heard of insideHPC, it is a news portal for high performance computing. And I am the primary writer on this. I also have a site called, insideBIGDATA. The primary writer there is a man named Daniel Gutierrez. He is a data scientist. So I’ve been in HPC my whole career, writing about this stuff. He lives that world, and I’d like you to come check him out. Because this isn’t about plugging me. This was about startups. And Jill King from Adaptive – bless her heart – asked me to come talk.

But, I have a hobby blog called inside-Startups. It doesn’t make any money. But what I do have is, probably 50 pitches a week come to me from start-ups. They hire PR people to write about us, please. We don’t have any money for advertising. But I’m happy to oblige them, especially if I think their company has wheels, okay? And, so I focus mostly on the compute side of it., though I do get pitches from people who have invented new kinds of shoelaces and stuff. That’s interesting, I guess.

But at insideStartups, in the context of big data, there’s an important thing that’s going on that I wanted to talk to you guys about. The frontier – think of big data as this vast– the Wild West. And there’s no transcontinental railroad yet. Right? That means it’s undiscovered country. And there is no eminent domain. So if you think about. It’s 1848 and the big companies that ruled the East Coast, that did whatever – cotton-gins and such, etcetera right? They have no stake there. And today’s world, that would be the people that run big data kind of things, like: Oracle, SAP, SAS. Think of them like the East Coast in 1848. Okay? They see the West as something that’s interesting. But, no-one owns anything the other side of the Mississippi. Okay?

And this is an important point. Because, I have interviewed over 200 big data companies in the last three and a half years. Not a single one is using legacy technology, like Oracle, SAS, SAP. Because you know what? Most of them are funded with VC money or they’re in the process of getting funded. VCs don’t want to spend money on licenses for things like Oracle. They’d rather use an open source – something that you can own. Right? Write it from scratch. Don’t– use Oracle, write your own IP and leverage NoSQL, R, or whatever it is, right?

And, to me, the point of this talk is that the world is changing. There is money going to be made by the bucketful, and it isn’t going to go to Larry Ellison and his gang. It’s going to go to smart people like you who know how to leverage open-source. Because guess what, Beowulf and all this stuff that makes makes all this ecosystem work. And, you know, Don Becker and Thomas Sterling who invented this stuff. They made Beowulf happen. They didn’t make a dime off that, guys. They don’t care. It was enabling Science and Engineering. This is exactly what is going to happen in the big data space. And, I wouldn’t sell my Oracle stock because they know how to siphon money out of people. Yeah, I need to tell [them?]. I worked for them for two and a half days after they bought Sun Microsystems.

Anyhow, not to pick on Oracle. They’re a fine organization but, they don’t own the future. They are going to fade into the sunset. And companies like them. Open-source companies, startups. People that leverage tools like R. And look at what Adaptive computing is doing, hooks into things like Docker. Docker’s going to change this space with virtualization. Right? Virtualization will enable service delivery of HPC like you’ve never seen.

And it’s coming. It’s in its infancy. Right? VMware, and companies like that are bringing products to market that are supportable. But look into Docker. You guys experiment with great stuff. Bail. I mean, I’m sitting here. I’m hearing your stories all week. But, Docker is something. Look into it. Play with it. It is going to change the world. And it spells one thing to me. And that is opportunity. It is opportunity for you. To take your bright minds and your bright friends. Start a company. Get something. Play with that software. And go make a bucket-ton of money. And, change the world at the same time.

So, as I wrap this up, you guys. Yeah, I’m a big fan of Docker. I’ve interviewed those guys. And, all I see is like bells and whistles in my head are going, bing, bing, bing. This is the shh – I won’t use the s-word. Okay. But it is going to change the world. Virtualization, commercially through VMware will change the world, as well. And it probably be mix of things. Like, you know, when Red Hat, and OpenStack and all this other goodness that Adaptive does, very well, thank you very much.

That is the future. Look forward. Don’t look back. Thank you very much. [applause]

So, if I had to put this talk in a nutshell, Yes, I am very bullish on how Docker (containers) and virtualization are going to change the face of HPC. If you want to understand why, check out what my friends Christian Kniep and Josh Simons have been up to on those fronts.

Download the MP3 * Check out the insideHPC Guide to Virtualization, Cloud and HPC

Podcast: A Preview of the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14

bubbleIn this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team previews the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

Does your Startup have ties to High Performance Computing? SC14 will be in New Orleans this year, and we are holding our first meetup on Nov 17th in New Orleans. Please come, meet like minded people, listen to industry notables, and kick off StartupHPC as a support community.

Register now for the StartupHPC Meetup at SC14.

Download the MP3 * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed

Review: Sound Blaster Roar is One Great Bluetooth Speaker

g2We love our music over here at inside-Startups, so when we got a chance to review the new Sound Blaster Roar Bluetooth system, we jumped at the chance.

It’s all about the sound

If you don’t get much chance to read further, this is a great-sounding portable speaker that puts out incredible sound for the money. If you like to entertain on the patio, this thing will get your guest’s toes tapping without the blaring loudness you might remember from the Boom Box days.

I’m not an expert audiophile or anything like that, but I really enjoy listening to the Roar outdoors. The music is clean and crisp and it delivers a presence in the sound that we found lacking in similar offerings like the Jambox or the FoxL.

g13The secret here is Creative’s sound enhancement technology they call “Roar.” When you want to fill the room with your tunes, the Roar button makes it sound like the speakers are all around you instead of just coming from a single point.

What about the boom?

In our unscientific tests, the Roar speaker was not quite as loud as the Jambox, a device that can really blare out and wake up the neighbors. With that loudness though comes distortion, and our review team all preferred the sound of the Roar system over the Jambox.

Great features for a party

When we host a patio party, we often have guests that want to play their songs. This can be a real dilemma with the Jambox, as pairing and unpairing the Bluetooth connection can be a pain. In fact, some smart phones couldn’t connect to the Jambox no matter what we tried. Nothing brings the festivities to a crawl faster than a five minute lapse n the music.

With the Roar, two smartphones can pair to the speaker at the same time. You can pair off and play your music back and forth, song by song. This alone makes the speaker stand alone out there in the field.

g14If you have a couple of DJs at your party, the Roar also lets you record the whole music session in digital quality onto a microSD card. Very clever!

Quality and Construction

The Roar speaker has great quality fit and finish. This thing is heavy as it takes some mass to move that much air around. It comes with a fishnet case that includes a vibration-absorbing base, so it won’t vibrate off the table like my FoxL.

Summary

If you are looking for a great Bluetooth speaker, the Roar is the way to go. At $149, you can spend less or more, but you probably can’t find a better deal.