A big crowd for Baltimore #TechBreakfast @ETC in Canton

This morning is the Baltimore Tech Breakfast at the Emerging Technology Center in Canton – Baltimore, MD.

We have a packed house for the Show and Tell.

Original

The morning kicks off with a fellow Ski Instructor and developer, Shea Frederick, talking about:

Baltimore Open Data

Using the Socrata Open Data API  – http://data.baltimorecity.gov. A couple of hundred datasets are available.

Examples of data sets:
– Employee Salaries
– Parking Citations
– Liquor Licenses
– Crime Reports
– Property Taxes

Files and Documents:
– Building Footprints
– Neighborhood Outlines
– Flood planes
– Street Centerlines
– Vacant Properties

The data api allows simple searches:

XML and JSON data is returned.

Get an API Key by registering. This allows access to complex searches.

The update frequency of the data depends on the datasets. 

The City is receptive to suggestions for new data sets to add.
Shea closed out the session with a demo of SpotAgent.com and BaltimoreVacants (on http://baltimorevacants.appspot.com)

XML Fat – Content Management System

Matt Sax  – Info AT XMLFAT {dot} com

A web-based XML-based Content Management System.

Target cost is less than $100/year.

– Data can be kept where you want it.
– Reformat to XML and re-format to present it.

uses. csv, xml or json as data sources.

No custom API needed for development.

Shared Code Repository. Developers of code and modules can be released as needed.

Very simple and powerful interface. The example of a calendar module uses a simple javascript variable to display a calendar. The system can reference widgets available on the Internet. 

The CMS system can be extended via an API. 

The target audience is web developers that understand javascript.

Primary engine is in C, originally in Perl. The CMS can run standalone as well as web-based.

Vertically integrated hardware and software company focused on “New Space” which includes companies like Virgin Galactic. 
Hardware and software solutions.

They are developing a high performance Space Suit for use in Space Diving.

General Discussion Portion of the event – How are you promoting your business

ParkingPanda.com – the “AirBnB of parking”

LocalUP –EatBMore.com

– Flyers 
– SEO
– Press – is free and creates recognition. 
– Marketing people follow Press/Journalists on Twitter. Re-tweet them. 

Gus Sentementes gets a shout out as a great local tech journalist. 

Write a great pitch document for journalists to use. 

Tech Cocktail is a great contact.. 

Keep up with writing your own blog. Have a great story. Put your story narrative in your press release. Put a human face on this instead of trying to appear as a big corporate entity.

Pay-Per-Click on Google Still works. Facebook can work if the target audience fits. There is a lot happening on Facebook which can lead to your adds getting lost.
Don’t forget face to face marketing but get out of the tech bubble.
If you go to trade shows you need to go big to get noticed. Whatever you do it needs to be sustainable.
Make sure you have great content so that people find it interesting if they arrive at your site.
Content..Content…Content.

The One Resolution You Need To Make In 2012 | Fast Company

As the New Year approaches, many of us are thinking about our resolutions. What will we vow to do this coming year to be better–both at what we do for a living, and as members of the human race?

There???s only one resolution you need to make and keep. Do this one thing and you???ll be good to go for the year: Do what you say you are going to do, otherwise known as accountability. This one resolution can have any number of permutations: 

  • If you say you are going to call, call.
  • Promise to send someone information? Send it.
  • Finish a job when you promised–or earlier–with quality work.
  • Let people know as soon as you can when you are running late for a meeting or won???t make it at all. 
  • And, my personal favorite, make good on the promise “Let???s get together sometime.” Make a note on your calendar in the near future to set something up. Or don???t say it at all.

Every goal begins with your own accountability, whether it is business success, losing weight, developing your personal brand–whatever your goals may be this coming year. 

Start now. This very second. You???ll be ahead of most of the world, long before their hangovers have worn off on January 1, 2012. 

Happy New Year!

Dayna Steele is a marketing strategist, success speaker and the author of the forthcoming book 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day! Follow her on Twitter @daynasteele. Her resolution in 2012 is to break 100 on the front nine.

[Image: Flickr user C.M.]

I will endeavor to follow up in 2012…..

Seven Reasons to be Thankful for Health Reform this Holiday Season | The Health Care Blog

dennis byron says:

This post is inaccurate and/or misleading as it relates to Medicare so I would be careful with other ???facts??? cited. The editorial says:

???If you are 65 or older ??? (and eligible for Medicare) ??? seniors who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans (that???s Part C or the managed care part of Medicare) may have seen their premiums reduced this year. Some may even have access to ZERO premium health plans. Seniors also now receive free preventive treatments and a rebate of $500 if their drug coverage hits the ???donut hole??? in 2011.???

1. Everyone 65 or over ??? and some people under 65 ??? are ???eligible??? for Medicare. For almost everyone, Part A is free and Part B is $100 per month. The rare exceptions are:
??? for Part A if you did not work enough SSA hours, it is not free (but you are still eligible to buy it)
??? for Part B if you make over $85,000 a year your premiums go up

2. Many people on Parts B and D ??? not just some on Part C ??? saw their premiums decrease for 2012. And some saw them increase. ZERO-premium Part C plans have been around for years. None of the raises or decreases had any thing to do wth the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

3. There is no $500 rebate if your drug costs hit the donut hole in 2011 (or 2012). There are 50% discounts on expensive brandname drugs and much smaller discounts on generic drugs if you fall into the donut hole.

Too many people don’t understand the benefits that are already accruing to people as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Most people think change doesn’t come until 2014 but the removal of spending caps, access to pre-existing condition plans and the extension of coverage to kids up to age 26 have all made a difference for a growing number of people.

Do we need to Search for a new Twitter power client? Tweetdeck downgrade has come to Mac App Store

Earlier this year Twitter advised developers to stop building Twitter Clients. Since then Twitter entered in to a must-win battle with UberSocial for Tweetdeck and successfully acquired the premier professional Twitter client. I use it everyday on my Mac and iPhone. It is, or was a great twitter client.

In the past couple of weeks Twitter has released their new UI on the world and have also released a new Tweetdeck to the Mac App Store. The New Tweetdeck is a complete new product. It jettisons the AIR platform and implements a new UI where the only similarity with the old Tweetdeck seems to be the color scheme.

The new Mac Tweetdeck seems to require extra clicks to do anything. You can’t scroll across multiple columns one at a time. They scroll in screenfuls. Try to direct message someone and you get a text box saying “Message twitterhandle” When you start typing the text disappears and you enter a larger text box with no nlue as to who you are direct messaging. If you get distracted by a phone call and come back to Tweetdeck you have no clue who you are responding to.

IT also looks like you can no longer link Tweetdeck to your LinkedIn account.

Translation – Gone. 

Column filtering – Gone.

My advice is stick with the current AIR-based iteration of Tweetdeck. The new app makes a mockery of the Tweetdeck name. Twitter may not want people building new Twitter Clients but there is a significant “Professional” base of users that need more than a standard Twitter client and if Twitter is going to cripple Tweetdeck there is going to be a number of those pro users, myself included that will be looking for a cross-platform Professional Grade Twitter Client.

There are still Twitter clients out there like:
– Echofon

What is your favorite Twitter client that offers a similar multi-column format like Tweetdeck?

Obamacare to the Rescue | The Health Care Blog

By Spike Dolomite Ward

I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.

I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I???m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don???t spend it frivolously. We???re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids??? schools and church.

We???re good people, and we work hard. But we haven???t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.

To understand how such a thing could happen to a family like ours, I need to take you back nine years to when my husband got laid off from the entertainment company where he???d worked for 10 years. Until then, we had been insured through his work, with a first-rate plan. After he got laid off, we got to keep that health insurance for 18 months through COBRA, by paying $1,300 a month, which was a huge burden on an unemployed father and his family.

By the time the COBRA ran out, my husband had decided to go into business for himself, so we had to purchase our own insurance. That was fine for a while. Every year his business grew. But insurance premiums were steadily rising too. More than once, we switched carriers for a lower rate, only to have them raise rates significantly after a few months.

With the recession, both of our businesses took a huge hit ??? my husband???s income was cut in half, and the foundations that had supported my small nonprofit were going through their own tough times. We had to start using a home equity line of credit to pay for our health insurance premiums (which by that point cost as much as our monthly mortgage). When the bank capped our home equity line, we were forced to cash in my husband???s IRA. The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost.

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It is the middle class that create jobs through Customer Demand??? Trickledown economic ain’t working #OWS

There seem to be a number of stories bubbling up to refute the “Tax Cuts for the rich to create jobs” mantra we hear in congress every day. 

The logic seems undeniable. When the 99% benefit through more disposable income demand in the economy grows and this creates job opportunities and companies grow to meet the demand. Companies do not invest in jobs if there is no demand to be met. The growth of the last couple of decades has been fueled by the middle classes using their disposable income. In many cases they engineered disposable income by cashing out on their house values which now leaves us with the debt overhang and underwater mortgages.