Monthly Archives: September 2006

JavaScript & Klingon

Almost certainly old news to most. But I would be sad if even one person missed it… “White & Nerdy”:

Go Al!


Save the Date–Wednesday Oct. 11th 5:30pm-9pm+ @ Brown!

The next Geek Dinner will mark a first as we’ll be convening up on College Hill at Brown’s Center for Information Technology (CIT). It’s shaping up to be an awesome event–details to come. And no, we’re not abandoning AS220 as our unofficial clubhouse.

Check out the Providence Geeks "Help Wanted" board

Whether you’re looking for a new gig or new geek talent, be sure to check out Providence Geeks’ Help Wanted” board. There are a bunch of interesting positions posted. And you can easily keep track of new postings by subscribing to the “Help Wanted” RSS feed.

If you’re an employer, post your info-tech related positions there for free–all you need to do is register.

Pandora Town Hall meeting in Providence!

 Assets Resources 2006 09 Player

Pandora is a music discovery engine that builds its suggestions on data from the Music Genome Project. Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder of Pandora will be at the Columbus Theater in Providence on Wednesday, October 4th at 7 pm for an informal town-hall meeting.

Among the questions we hope to tackle:
-How is technology changing the nature of radio?
-How important are community and peers when it comes to discovering music online? What’s the best way to foster community?
-Can services like Pandora help create a larger middle class of artists who aren’t superstars, but have enough of an audience to support themselves through their music? Do music lovers want more music discovery?

Continue reading

Some Tips on Submitting Conference Proposals

Here’s some general advice on submitting proposals to tech conferences (this isn’t specific to O’Reilly conferences, it’s just some things I’ve picked up after speaking at a few conferences myself):

  • Check out the previous year’s conference to get some ideas of the talks that got accepted. But you also need to look through the CFP and understand what they conference organizers are looking for because it might be different than last year (for example, this year’s ETech is looking for magic that “makes complex things simple or makes the impossible possible”).
  • In general, avoid product pitches because in most cases you’ll be talking to geeks like yourself. Even the people who are there to learn about new companies will be basing their judgments on your tech chops.
  • And if you do get a paper accepted, you can usually expect to get free admission to the conference. Airfare and lodging is up to you. The only exception is with conferences that have tutorial tracks. If you’re doing a half-day tutorial, you might get a small honorarium and/or some travel allowance. But this varies among conferences and conference organizers.

And if you’ve written up a proposal that you want some feedback on, ask a fellow Providence Geek to take a look! (And check out this forum thread for upcoming conferences that might be of interest to Providence Geeks).

Axon Labs at Providence Geeks

Axon Labs at Providence Geeks

We’re trying something different this month–liveblogging the presentation (photos to be added soon).

CTO Benjamin Rubin and engineer Paolo DePetrillo of Axon Labs are showing off their sleep technology at the September 13 Providence Geek Dinner.

  • Axon Labs is a B to C company (brain to consumer)
  • Formed company while Brown University undergrads


  • Intelligent alarm clock that monitors brain waves to wake you at the optimal time
  • Headband+Base station (communicate wirelessly)


  • Sensors (comfy sensors)
  • EEG
  • ARM7 microcontroller
  • Fast Fourier Transforms
  • Neural Network
  • Analog Electronics (A/D)
  • Wireless (2.4Ghz, but not Wi-Fi–rolled their own)

Open Source tools used to build it:

  • GSchem/PCB (schematic capture/layout)
  • Python+scipy/numpy/matplotlib
  • pyrex: python to c codeA
  • FANN Fast Artificial Neural Network (trains and evaluates neural networks)

They showed off a prototype of the wireless headband. There was a black box (the wireless base station) connected to their laptop and the computer showed the brain waves. Updated: Axon Labs invites interested people to reserve one of the first 1,000 SleepSmart units.

Axon Labs to Present at Tonight's Geek Dinner–Wed. 13th 5:30pm-9pm+

At tonight’s Geek Dinner, local startup Axon Labs will be giving us a rare sneak peak at their next generation alarm clock technology. This is the first time Axon will be showing one of their functioning alpha headband units outside of the company.

Two Axon employees (and Providence Geeks), CTO Benjamin Rubin and engineer Paolo DePetrillo, will be presenting Axon’s cutting edge work building a consumer electronics product that uses EEG to wake a user feeling more refreshed. They will show sleep data collected using their lightweight, comfortable headband, and show real-time brain waves during a live demo of the system.

Get details and RSVP for tonight’s Geek Dinner