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Providence Geek Dinner Returns Wednesday March 8th February 24, 2006

Posted by Jack in Geek Dinners.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006, 5:30pm – 7pm (and then adjourning to the Taqueria Pacifica)
115 Empire Street, Providence, RI

Back by popular demand, the next Providence Geek Dinner is on, so spread the word and join us! For those of you who didn’t attend the first dinner, here’s an overview:

  • It’s totally casual. Wear whatever, bring whoever, arrive and skadattle whenever…
  • Topics of conversation will vary as they will at any gathering of geeks, but many of us will be talking about AJAX, Mashups, Startups, and Web Services.
  • Food and beverages are for sale at the adjoining Taqueria Pacifica and bar.
  • There is WiFi so bring your connected device of choice.
  • We have AS220’s performance space from 5:30pm to approximately 7pm. After that the geekery moves to the adjoining Taqueria Pacifica.

Please RSVP using the comments on this blog entry so we can give the good folks at AS220 an estimated headcount. And while you’re at it, please consider subscribing to our RSS feed and/or joining our mailing list (to do so send an email to Jack Templin at jtemplin at Gmail with your name and affiliation).

We look forward to seeing you!

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that one thing we hope to do at this next dinner is plan more for future Providence Geek events, so bring your ideas, e.g. Providence BarCamp, Hack Fest, Geek Rodeo (okay, gettin’ carried away…).


The Mobile Office Space February 22, 2006

Posted by Brian Jepson in wireless.

Over at Om Malik’s Blog, Jackson West writes about The New Office Space: “Forget Palo Alto garages — San Francisco coffee shops are where to get your startup off the ground.”, and lists some favorite wireless hangouts that also happen to be independent coffee shops. I’m a big fan of getting out of the office to work in cafes, and I can be found sometimes at Java Madness, Bagelz in Kingston, and the South Kingstown Brewed Awakenings, all of who offer free Wi-Fi. I haven’t found my perfect haunt in downcity Providence, although I do like the Starbucks in the Biltmore, especially since it has free Wi-Fi coming from some unknown place.

In the spirit of Jackson’s post, here are some more details on my mobile office spaces. This is completely biased toward south county, so please add your own in the comments (and when you’re done, head over to one of the hotspot finders and add them if they aren’t already there):

Brewed Awakenings

This resides in the controversial South County Commons (there was a lot of public opposition to this development), and will soon have a Japanese restaurant next door. They have decent coffee, sandwiches, and plenty of sweets. But it’s surrounded by the sprawling shopping center, and lacks the old town or oceanside aesthetic that you find in the other places. Still, I find it the best place for meetings, and it’s spacious and has excellent atmosphere.

Java Madness

Java Madness is usually my favorite. They are directly on Salt Pond Marina, and have an awesome deck and recently expanded their indoor seating. Their hours change with the season, so they close early during the colder months. It can get a little crowded at times, especially when there is live music.


Bagelz is some kind of chain, but the operators seem to have a lot of freedom to personalize their operation. Out of all the coffeehouses, I like Bagelz’ coffee the best (last time I checked, their Kenya AA was coming from Majik), but Java Madness wins by being right on the water.

True Brew Cafe

I’ve only been here a couple of times, but these folks reside in the Sawmill building on Robinson Street and are also right on the bike path. My only gripe is that because they are close to Main Street, a known T-Mobile dead zone, my cellular signal is weak to nonexistent.

What Skills Do We Need? February 14, 2006

Posted by Brian Jepson in Uncategorized.

One of the things I heard come up a couple of times at the Geek Dinner was that folks are having trouble finding senior level/hotshot programmers here in Rhode Island. Back in the days (early 1990s to about 2000) when I was programming for a living, I found the exact opposite: I had to go to New York and Northern Virginia to find the kind of work I wanted. But I loved Rhode Island enough that I was willing to take the train or fly (out on Sunday, back home on Friday) to where the work was.

Is the problem that the people with the skills simply aren’t connecting with the people who have the jobs? Or is it that there aren’t enough people out there who have the skills needed? Perhaps it’s some combination?

I’d be interested in hearing from people on both sides of this: are you looking for hotshot programmers? What skills are must-haves? Are you a hotshot programmer who loves Rhode Island, but you’re flying or taking the train to where the jobs are? What’s keeping people with the skills from hooking up with the people with the needs?

New Providence/RI Info-Tech Thread at UrbanPlanet.org February 12, 2006

Posted by Jack in UrbanPlanet.

The popular urban-issue-discussion-site UrbanPlanet.org hosts boards for hundreds of cities throughout the world. One of the most active boards _by far_ is Providence & Rhode Island’s. And now that board has a new thread dedicated to discussing the city and state’s info-tech infrastructure and services. Join the discussion!

Inaugural Geek Dinner a HUGE Success February 9, 2006

Posted by Jack in Geek Dinners.

With only a few days notice, 25+ Providence geeks of all stripes — including software and hardware engineers, CS professors, entrepreneurs, writers, designers, executives, consultants, VCs, and CS students — converged yesterday evening on the newly transformed AS220 in Downcity Providence for a fun few hours of burrito-and-beer-fueled geekery. New contacts were made, old colleagues were reunited, trends were discussed, collaborations were initiated, and initial plans were made for future events (there’s even talk of the possibility of a Providence Bar Camp complete with programming sprints).

As Shriram said, we seem to “have tapped a vein.” Providence clearly has a lot of pent-up demand among its growing info-tech community for more opportunities to socialize, network, and collaborate. This is just the need that Providence Geeks is looking to fill.

Thanks to ALL of you that attended last night and made the event such a resounding success. Also, huge thanks to Shawn Wallace and everyone at AS220 for making us feel so welcome and comfortable.

The tentative plan is to have a Geek Dinner every month at AS220, so please subscribe to our RSS feed to keep updated. Also, if you missed the contact sheet last night, and would like to be on the Providence Geeks e-mailing list, please send your name and email address to Jack Templin. His username is jtemplin on Google’s gmail.com service.
P.S. Next time we will be sure to take photos and post to Flickr!

Inaugural Geek Dinner this Wednesday!! February 4, 2006

Posted by Jack in Geek Dinners.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006, 5:30pm
115 Empire Street, Providence, RI

AS220, fresh from welcoming the Taqueria Pacifica to its cafe, has generously given us the run of the performance space to geek out like there’s no tomorrow. We’re not sure if there’s Wi-Fi yet, since the cafe and performance space are works-in-progress, but there will definitely be food and beverages, which you can buy from the Taqueria on the other side of the door.

Topics of conversation will vary as they will at any gathering of geeks, but many of us will be talking about AJAX, Mashups, Startups, and Web Services.

Please RSVP using the comments on this blog entry here at ProvidenceGeeks.wordpress.com so we can give the nice folks at Taqueria Pacifica a headcount. We look forward to seeing you!