AutoDesk Project Dragonfly Lead Developer Interviewed

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My friend Shelly Mujtaba, lead developer of Project Dragonfly, was interviewed over the web. Dragofly is a free online 2D/3D home layout design Rich Internet Application created by AutoDesk. Check out the video series here:

Read a review of it I posted earlier this year here.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Awesome Cool Looking Slideshows with Animoto


I’ve known about Animoto since I first saw them at SXSW last year. I recall they had booth babes in short skirts and boots. Anywhoooo… I digress. These guys have an amazing product that is super easy to use. It’s a slideshow creator that generates a video slideshow of the photos of your choosing. You can upload your photos or import them from a variety of online sources.

Their slideshows are really cool. The number of awards they’ve won speaks volumes of the sleekness of their videos. Here’s one I made from one of my Flickr photosets.

What I like about Animoto as a company is that they have a REAL business model. You can create a free 30 second slideshow at low resolution. If you want a full length one in a higher resolution then you cough up some dough. Also, you can order a DVD of said slideshow for a fee. They have some other business models as well I’m sure.

This year while at SXSW, I got to meet Tom Clifton and Erik Bjornard from Animoto. They’re really cool guys so I thought I’d give them some link love and finally get around to blogging about their product.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Autodesk Launches Project Dragonfly, Web-based 2D/3D Home Floor Planning


My friends Shelly and David have been hard at work at Autodesk ever since their company was acquired and wanted to share their brainchild with me. Project Dragonfly is a free web based application available through the Autodesk labs site that allows you to create home floor plans complete with furnishing in top view 2D mode or 3D isometric view. I saw an earlier version a few months back, and it’s really quite impressive.

What’s amazing about this application is how intelligent the system is. Objects that belong on the wall automatically attach themselves to the closest wall. There is built-in collision detection so you don’t create furniture abominations. Objects that belong on the floor such as rugs automagically go underneath sofas.

For you tech geeks, you should know that this is all done in 3D and the performance of the application is amazing considering how many 3D objects there can be in the scene all with pretty high resolution textures.

Read more about it here.

Popularity: 12% [?]

First Product Show and Tell Meetup

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My friends Ziad and Rishi have started a new monthly meetup called Product Show and Tell. The goal of it is pretty simple – come to the meeting with a few cool products to talk about them. Nothing fancy. What made it interesting for me was the people who were there. These are some really talented people who have a great deal to share.

This meeting was held at Noble Tree Coffee shop on Clark and Fullerton. People who were there included:

Phil Tadros,,, and

Rishi Shah, fellow Tech Labs Alum

Ziad Hussain

Sean Corbett

Andy Angelos

and Ziad’s gf (I’m not even going to try to spell her name).

Everyone had cool stuff to show. I talked about the Eye-Fi Wireless SD card and my Mortal Kombat video game. Ziad showed off his retro Atari console release, some really cool headphones, and the blank vinyl doll that you can paint on (I forget the name). His theme was how these new products appeal to your nostalgia. Rishi talked about his invention called HapTap which is a keypad solely devoted to emoticons and lolspeak which he created years ago as well as this rubber pad that you put on the dashboard of your car to hold stuff like cellphones. Kim bought me one of those a while ago. Phil and Darren talked about their new startup called TextHog which lets you text message in your expenses to this online expense tracker. It’s very neat – what’s even neater is the fact that they cranked this out in less than a month and it’s already gotten over 300 registered users. Sean showed of his pomade (which is something my father used to use) – which is a very retro product. He likes it because one little 2.99 thing of that lasts him months as opposed to hair gel or whatever which doesn’t work as well and disappears much sooner.

Here are some photos from the event.

Popularity: 2% [?]

5 Easy Ways to Make TECH cocktail Chicago Better


Just went to the last TECH cocktail in Chicago. I’ve been to a couple before and although I have a good time and meet great people, my time there is not optimized. It’s insanely crowded nowadays. It’s become the “it” party for IT – no pun intended. I feel like I’m getting less and less out of it each time I go. I’m guessing it won’t be for long before I stop showing up all together and pick other events that are more conducive to meeting people and networking with the kind of people I want to meet.

Here’s 5 easy ways:

  • Kill the music. This isn’t a club. Well it is, but it’s not a club setting. If I wanted to scream over someone while trying to have an intelligent conversation w/ them I’d go to a club on a Saturday night. I don’t need it here.
  • End the free booze. I understand sponsors pay money and they want it spent, but what’s wrong with using it for other purposes – like making money. Here’s why I don’t like the free booze. It invites the unwanted element. I don’t mind paying for my drink. More than once I’ve met people there with no real interest in TECH cocktail – they don’t belong there – they are just there for the free booze. This also solves another issue.
  • Set a reasonable max capacity and stick to it. It’s so overcrowded now I feel like I’m in Mardi Gras. Use the eventbrite registration for what it’s for. If you “sell out” those who haven’t registered should not be let in. Squeezing and pushing my way through a sea of people is not a great experience. I’m too old for it. If you kill the free booze, I suspect attendance might drop anyways so this issue might be moot.
  • Spot light the demos. A big part of the reason why I go to TECH cocktail is to see the local startups and their demos. I would like to give these startups centerstage and have them do a show and tell at set times over a large projector w/ a microphone. This way we don’t have to be screaming at each other while they try to explain to me their exciting idea.
  • Give me a way to quickly identify the types of people. I believe people go to these events with a specific goal whether it’s to meet local entrepreneurs, recruit, or find jobs. I never really know who I am talking to and/or if I am wasting my time. What I’d really like is a color coded badge so I can identify myself as entrepreneur, recruiter, job hunter, vc, etc.
    • This is just my opinion of how to improve TECH cocktail. Every person is entitled to their opinion of how it should be run, but it seems to be that I am not alone in some of these sentiments and so I have documented them and proposed solutions.

      Popularity: 2% [?]

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