Colorado Tech Weekly #20: Please excuse my bad dancing

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

Half of this week’s stories are either about business funding or acquisitions, but I’m not getting ahead of myself. This IS a tech blog! These business stories are about local tech companies. As I found out during the  recession, it’s important to consider a company’s health when seeking employment. It’s not enough just to apply to work for companies that do cool things, you need to apply to companies that will stick around.

You’ll notice that I have no national news this week. This isn’t because nothing cool happened outside of Colorado. It’s because SO MANY things are happening here! This is the second time this has happened since starting this blog and I get all happy-dance excited when it happens. I also get all excited when I hit a milestone. 20 in a row! Please excuse my bad dancing.

Local News

  • JobZology and Colorado Job Base partner to provide one-stop shopping for job seekers [InnovatioNews]
  • Ad Tech Startup, Integrate, raises $7M from Foundry, cable companies [Xconomy]
  • Denver-based Shopventory raises $1M in seed round, launches new business inventory management platform [Xconomy]
  • Denver’s Convercent closes $10M Series B round led by SAP Ventures [Xconomy]
  • Datalogix expands Westminster HQ by 20,000 square feet to accommodate rapid growth [InnovatioNews]
  • Longmont-based UQM PowerPhase motor helps set two new Guinness World Records at California air show [InnovatioNews]
  • Denver-based NewsGator Acquires business productivity company Sitrion [BuiltinColorado]
  • Highlands Ranch-based Zen Planner beefs up with $10M investment [BuiltinColorado]
  • Union workers ratify CenturyLink contract [DBJ]
  • War of robots: Student teams vie for Colorado supremacy [Denver Post]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

I have a break in my courses at Regis until January. I am using that time to work on my own projects. During this break I am focusing on learning UX design and how to implement it with my website. You can find my updates on my website design project here.

Creating Content and Learning UX

The goal of designing my own website is to create a website for anyone interested in my professional achievements and goals that is simple to update, worth reading and easy to look at on any device in any browser. All updates to this project can be found on the main project page.

Focusing on content

As much as I want to jump into learning code and modifying my website, I need to keep in mind why I want people to visit my website. I want people to read about my professional goals and projects. In order for people to read about these things, there needs to be words (Crazy, I know). So I spent my first week focusing on the content of my site. I also spent some time focusing on my social media profiles such as LinkedIn because I know that if someone is looking to learn about me on this site, they will also probably check out those sites as well. My online presence isn’t just this site.

Jumping into UX design

With my basic content laid out it’s time to jump in to learning about UX (user experience) design. Even though my goal is to become a software developer, I think it’s important for me to learn UX because I want to create software that people actually want to use. I could come up with the best way to sort and categorize data, but if no one can figure out how to use it then there’s not much point in creating it. I want to learn UX design because I’ve always wondered how people decide where to put buttons and fields in apps.

I am going to spend 3 weeks drilling down on the basics of UX design using UXApprentice.com as a guide. I will also use tutorials from HackDesigns.org, free local seminars such as the “Design Research to Experience Roadmap” I went to on Thursday hosted by Slice of Lime at Galvanize, and a great list of links from helpful, local designer/developer Alex Hoffman (Follow him on Twitter, he’s a nice guy). After those 3 weeks I will attempt to make use of my newfound knowledge and use it to design this site.

Next week I’ll focus on the discovery step of the UX design process.

The 2 Essentials to a Successful Project: Purpose and Basic Skills

I am just about to embark on my first project to show off on my site, but before I do I need to remind myself of the two things I need to do to make sure my projects are successful.

Remember the purpose of the project

If you’ve been involved in planning any project, you’ve probably experienced “feature creep”. Feature creep is the ongoing expansion or addition of new features in a product or event. If left unchecked, you can find yourself stressing out over unnecessary features until your hair falls out, your purpose is lost and you give up on the project.

The Feature Creep (http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2001-02-05/)

Keep on track by remembering the purpose of the project. Write down the project’s mission statement or purpose and keep it in a place where it’s hard to miss. Staple it to your forehead, write it in permanent marker on your arm. Just keep it somewhere so that you can always be reminded to ask “Does what I’m doing contribute to the purpose of the project?

Basic skills are important

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, it’s important to know the basics. You can’t score a goal in hockey without being able to skate. You can’t write a cool new program if you don’t know the syntax of the language. It’s important to learn the basics of whatever it is you’re doing. They’re called the basics for a reason!

Always keep the basics in mind as well. Even if you’re comfortable with your skills and you’re trying to do something new and improved, the basics will help you. Keep the basic knowledge of your craft nearby.

These 2 things will improve your chances of completing a successful project… or at least that’s the idea. Good luck!

Colorado Tech Weekly #19: More news than you can shake a stick at

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

I thought by limiting myself to 10 news stories per week I was making it easier on myself. This week I had over 50 news stories to choose from for this post! That’s a lot of news! I need to think of a way to share more news. Maybe I’ll do a Reddit page or something like that.

Local News

  • Pivothead Wearable Imaging moves from New York to Colorado [InnovatioNews]
  • SolidFire, Ping Identity, VictorOps, Kapost and TapInfluence are a few of companies in the Boulder, Denver areas that raised large amounts of VC funding in Q3 [Xconomy]
  • DigitalGlobe changes plans, chooses Westminster over Broomfield for new HQ [InnovatioNews]
  • Boulder-based Evver teams up with ReverbNation to help indie bands get discovered [BuiltinColorado]
  • New Tech October Wrap Up features plans for expansion [BDNT]
  • Boulder-based Ubooly shows howw being cute, collaborative and agile changes business [DBJ]
  • Evolve Vacation Rental joins HomeAway referral network [DBJ]

National News

  • Google will live-stream the Chrome Development Summit November 20-21 [TheNextWeb]
  • Windows 8.1 released [TheNextWeb]
  • Canonical releases first ‘true’ version of Ubuntu Touch for smartphones with Ubuntu 13.10 [TheNextWeb]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

Colorado Tech Weekly #18: You can’t stop the future

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

The federal government is mostly shut down. Default is looming. Is this the end? Looking at the headlines from this week, the answer is a resounding “No!” The tech industry continues marching on. Does this have to do with the tech industry’s inherent independence? Sure the internet got its start from the federal government, but now it’s now run mostly by independent organizations and private companies. This independence is seen throughout the tech industry. Enough editorializing though.

Local News

  • Colorado Springs-based Exelis receives $121.8M, five-year Navy contract to deliver systems engineering services [InnovatioNews]
  • Boulder-based Rally Software’s IPO Set to Provide $1.3M for Colorado Nonprofits [Xconomy]
  • SolarWinds Breezes into Colorado, Acquires Confio Software for $103M [Xconomy]
  • New Search Engine Seeks to Help Colorado Companies Find Freelancers [Xconomy]
  • Durango-based Airborne Media Group finds opportunities in un-muting TV and silent displays with Audioair [InnovatioNews]
  • FORETHOUGHT.net Becomes Colorado’s Largest Independent Communications Provider [CTA]
  • Internet of Things Hackathon set for November 1-2 [BDNT]
  • Denver within top 10 for tech job growth [DBJ]

National News

  • New Amazon Appstore Incentive Program encourages developers to build for Amazon, will give consumers “Cash Back” on apps [TechCrunch]
  • Disney invents touchscreen that lets you feel textures [Washington Post]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

Colorado Tech Weekly #17: In the Middle of the Night

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

Every once in a while my full time job feels the need to remind me that I’m not doing what I love yet. That happened this week when I went back to my graveyard shift. I’ll be doing the same things I have been, but it will seem more mysterious because I’ll be doing them in the middle of the night. Everything seems a little more mysterious in the middle of the night.

Local News

  • Westminster-based Cloudpath Networks providing BYOD Wi-Fi access to IT professionals at Interop New York [InnovatioNews]
  • Denver-based Placeable releases Placeable Plot to visualize location data across multiple platforms [InnovatioNews]
  • Mile High Roundup: Local Tech Companies Raise Cash, Expand Overseas [Xconomy]
  • NoCo Mini Maker Faire hits home run as thousands throng to RMCIT on Oct. 5 [InnovatioNews]
  • BDNT September Update [BDNT]
  • Tesla opening Colorado’s first charging stations [DBJ]
  • Colorado small-business hiring picked up speed in September [DBJ]

National News

  • A Wild September for Wireless: Putting it in Context [Xconomy]
  • Amazon in the process of developing smartphones [TechCrunch]
  • Western Digital rolls out secure My Cloud drive [ComputerWorld]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

Colorado Tech Weekly #16: Better beautiful than perfect anyway

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

When attempting to juggle all of my roles it’s important to remember that juggling is hard. You can only juggle for so long before your arms get tired and you get out of sync. Things will get dropped, but there’s a good chance you can pick them up before too many people notice. Just smile and pretend it’s part of the act. It’s better to be beautiful than perfect.

Local News

  • Audio Video Expo announces agenda for end of October conference [CTA]
  • Costs for Colorado broadband project to connect schools, EAGLE-Net, continue to soar [TechKnowBytes]
  • AT&T Contributes $50,000 to Foothills United Way to help with flood relief [CTA]
  • Rivet readies for rebound with a new CEO [RMTech]
  • A little bit about the shape of work at RoundPegg [BuiltInColorado]
  • Elyse Kent converses about the culture at Convercent [BuiltinColorado]
  • Board chair, Eric Mitisek explains the reasoning behind the BuiltinColorado name change. Turns out it has nothing to do with this newsletter [BuiltinColorado]

National News

  • Twitter adds emergency alert capabilities for public safety accounts [TheVerge]
  • Microsoft may have a good idea and merge the Windows and the Windows Mobile App stores [ZDNet]
  • Steam to power gaming in your living room [SteamPowered]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

Colorado Tech Weekly #15: Things keep changing

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

There is that one moment after you go through something that was hectic or traumatic or that just took up all your attention. It’s that moment where you stop and look around and realize the world is still moving and things are still changing. It’s comforting and disconcerting at the same time.

We have survived the flooding, now it’s time to help with the recovery. If you want to help out, go to www.helpcoloradonow.org.

Local News

  • Evergreen-based Wowza acquires Camfoo to improve cloud streaming [InnovatioNews]
  • Denver Startup Week panel talks Colorado Open Data [Xconomy]
  • Galvanize announces 2nd location in Boulder [Galvanize]
  • Secretary of State and Governor present Colorado Innovation Challenge [DBJ]
  • The flood and Boulder tech startups [DBJ]
  • Governor Hickenlooper charms tech crowd at Denver Startup Week [RMTech]

National News

  • Everyone wants a gold-colored phone? Apple releases new iPhone 5C and 5S [TheVerge]
  • iOS7 released Wednesday. Users immediately find bugs. By Wednesday night, iOS7 is no longer cool [AllThingsD]
  • Will there be a Steam Box next week? All signs point to maybe [TheVerge]
  • Obama Administration urges FCC to urge carriers to have the urge to unlock mobile devices. [WashingtonPost]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!

Why Every Student Should Go to a Tech Conference

Last week I got to spend the day at the Colorado Technology Association’s APEX Conference in Denver. Going as a student is the best way to visit a technology conference. It was full of professionals eager to share their knowledge and their projects and as a student who isn’t hirable yet, there is no pressure to impress! So what to do I do at a place full of people who do the job and work on the projects that I want to work on? I ask questions of course!

If I wanted to work for your company, what should I learn?

This was my favorite question of the day. Being able to ask straight-forward questions was the best thing about going to the conference. Since I didn’t feel the need to impress people with my knowledge I was able to ask any question that came to mind.

I started my day by grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting at a large table. I ended up sitting next to the CEO of Motocol, Patrick Bailey. Motocol is a Greenwood Villlage-based company that creates enterprise-level mobile software. When I asked Patrick my question I hit a nerve, a good nerve. Patrick is a HTML5 and JavaScript advocate and recommended these languages along with jquery and jquery mobile.

The most popular answer was to learn .NET. This was recommended by representatives with Swiftpage, Slalom and Neudesic. Pivotal Labs educated me about Ruby on Rails. It turns out that Ruby is a language and Rails is a framework. It has nothing to do with red trains. The representative at Ajubeo, a cloud services provider recommended become a DBA and if you want to work for Ping, learn Java.

It’s no longer enough to say “I want to be a developer.” It’s too broad of a statement. I need to figure out what kind of developer I want to be: Web? Enterprise? Mobile? All of the above? None of the above? It’s a fun question to consider.

It’s Nice to Feel Wanted

There seemed to be a theme among the seminars regardless of the subject: A demand for quality developers. No matter which session, whether it was the “Big Data and Analytics”, “Cloud Security” or “The State of the State” the subject of there being not enough developers kept coming up. I wanted to yell out “I’m learning as fast as I can!”

My hope is that other Computer Science students read this and start getting more involved in their tech community before they graduate. It’s a great way to let companies know you’re here working to become the candidate they want. It’s also a great way to find out what you want to learn and what you need to learn to get the job you want.

Good luck and see you at the next tech conference!

Colorado Tech Weekly #14: Awards (and rain), prizes (and rain) and fancy new things (and rain)

Colorado Tech Weekly Binary FlagColorado Tech Weekly brings you the top 10 information technology stories of the past week and the best upcoming local events every Monday morning!

Last week I got to go to the CTA APEX Conference in Denver. It was an amazing experience that every CS and CIS student should have and students should do it BEFORE graduating. I’ll write about that more in a separate blog post later this week.

My hopes and thoughts go to everyone affected by the massive flooding in my state. If you want to help out, go to www.helpcoloradonow.org.

Local News

  • Congrats to the APEX award winners including Cloud Elements, Connect First, iTriage, and the Colorado Office of Information Technology [CTA]
  • Rach.io takes top startup prize for APEX Challenge [InnovatioNews]
  • BDNT debuts their Freelancer Search Engine [BDNT]
  • Greenwood Village-based ViaWest gets tax incentives to continue expansion [DBJ]
  • Raytheon’s GPS III satellite control software developed in Aurora passes crucial test [DBJ]
  • Boulder-based TapInfluence raises $5M [DBJ]

National News

  • iPhone 5S is amazing, but no one is impressed [Xconomy]
  • Twitter goes public [DenverPost]
  • Opera unveils new iPad browser, Coast [TechCrunch]
  • Microsoft introduces their own personal assistance, Cortana [ZDNet]

Upcoming Events

Thank you for reading!

If you know of any other good news stories or sources about tech in Colorado, please let me know! Also if you attend any of the events listed, I would love to hear from you!