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Exciting DEMO stuff

I’ve just been sitting at DEMO the last 24 hours, soaking up the demos and basically geeking out.  This is the first time I’ve been to the show, and it’s pretty amazing the stuff I’ve seen.  Here are some of my favorites.

MooBella kicked of the show.  It’s by far the most popular stand in the exhibit area as well.  They’ve built a “make your own custom ice cream machine”.  Literally, you pick the ingredients out using a touch screen, and then it mixes them and flash freezes them into a tasty ice cream desert for you.  It’s Linux based, distributed, and capable of remotely sending sales stats back to the head office.  The premise — any business can serve fresh made ice cream. 

Blurb – make your own beautiful books.  Wow!  You can ublish a hardcover coffee table book, complete with dust jacket, for about 30 dollars. It can slurp up blogs, or you can type into the layout.  And they have an online bookstore so you can sell your book once you’ve finished it.  Great presentation.  Great energy. 

Bones in Motion uses the GPS on your phone to track physical activity — running, cycling, or walking. It can show you your history on the phone, or send it to a PC. You can mash it up with a Google Map. Publish to a blog.  Compare with friends.  And they just announced that Sprint has licensed them and you can subscribe for $9.99 a month.  It’s a great example of a location based service that isn’t just another way to find the nearest restaurant.

Streetdeck showed a platform codeveloped with Intel for in-car computing. It’s a hardware based system capable of interfacing with literally everything in the car. It also had a very innovative gestural based, touch screen interface.  Want to navigate? Reach over to the screen and trace out a big letter N on the touch screen, and it brings up the navigator.   Their product was very cool.  Their demo, though, wasn’t.  Unfortunately the first 3 minutes were used up on a description of the market opportunity, rather than just showing the product.

Digismart is a cell phone add-on that lets ou project an 11 by 17 image from your telephone at a 3′ distance. It’s a tiny projector that you can plug into your cell phone, PDA, GPS, MP4, etc. Cool concept with huge potential, but unfortunately the image was dim, and a little grainy. Imagine that the demo would have been better if there had been less light in the room.

Accomplice Software showed web based to do list management.  It works with Outlook, and other tools that you might normally use.  Incorporates ideas like having stuff on “Your plate”, and allows you to shuffle the deck easily.  It’s also team based.  On and offline mode, with synchronization to Windows mobile, blackberry etc.  I guess the real question is “would you use it?”.  I’d like to try it, personally, but I have a feeling that todo list management is very very personal.

Grassroots Software demoed Freepath.  This is a presentation tool that integrates video, audio, word, PDF etc. with powerpoint.  You have your own screen, and the audience has another, so you can change the presentation on the fly without them knowing.  If you’re familiar with the video world, it seems a bit like non-linear editing for presentations.  It’s shipping in a couple of weeks.  $149 in a couple of weeks.  I thought Freepath rocked!

Tiny Pictures demoed Radar, a tool to share photos from your camera phone.  It includes tools to allow you to create channels for your photos that others can subscribe to.  My thought: Flickr for your phone.

UGobe Life Forms demoed Pleo, a robotic dinosaur with dynamic lifelike behaviours, built on their lifeform operating system.  It was cute.  If they can pull it off, it my be a Christmas hit.

Zingee showed peer sharing technology to share files and folders with a friend, a group, the world.  Easy to use, but because it runs on your local PC, vulnerable to network outages.  Mick and his partner experienced this live on stage. 

Garagepand showed GPal, a tool for automatically constructing playlists from the music on your iPOD.  It can go a step further too, and predict music you might also like.  Just like Predixis

Gravee is a search engine / and advertising model.  It’s kind of like Google with tags, and a reputation system plus a better business model. You claim your site, for instance, and get paid when people access it via a Gravee search.  I’ll be signing up. 

Polyvision debuted Thunder, the virtual flipchart solution.  They’ve combined one of those PC interfaced whiteboards that were all the rage a few years ago with a multiprojector system and software to allow you to create a wall of electronic flipcharts.  Visually it’s stunning. 

VSee is another video conferencing product. Web based, with great quality, and  free accounts. Their demo was hilarious, as CTO Milton Chen showed off the power of quality video to convey emotions.  His two cohorts made all kinds of faces at the screen which had the crowd in stitches.  Unlike just about every video conferencing solution I’ve tried, I could see myself actually using this one. 

Plum lets you collect and share all your “stuff”. It’s cool. Think remix and mash-up central. Even RSS feeds are live collections.  And the demo between husband and wife team of Hans Peter Brondmo and Margaret Olson was a hoot as he put together a collection of birthday items for her 40th, including a nose job.

Riya was by far the most compelling demo I saw.  It sucks in your collection of photos, and then you train it to recognize the people you take pictures of.   It can search faces, text, and other stuff quickly and efficiently.  It found a picture of CEO Munjal Shah’s son hanging on a wall in another picture.  It also identified Jeff Clavier’s photo based on a nametag he was wearing in the photo.  Public beta in 2 weeks.

Krugle is the Google of programming code. The founders contend that much of today’s programming is about finding and assembling code, rather than developing it from scratch.  Krugle can find source, identify the licensing terms, and help you browse it easily to find out if it’s applicable to your project.  I can see real utility in this. 

IPSwap is building what I think of as the Ebay of the programming market.  Need some code?  Find someone to build it.  Have some code? Find someone to buy it.  It even includes a model to allow the purchaser and seller to continue to do business together by selling that code to others with a royalty model.  It’s the long tail applied to software development.   

Persystent has built technology that goes way beyond Windows rollback. We watched as they systematically deleted core Windows files, wrote all over the registry, and introduced a virus into the system that disabled Microsoft Office.  Then they rebooted the PC.  It was all restored. Their value prop?  Even when the PC is “unbootable” they can restore it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • margaret olson February 8, 2006, 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the mention of plum! On stage at DEMO were my co-founder Hans Peter Brondmo and his wife Julie Hanna Farris. I was in the audience biting my nails.

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