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Parkland Meetup Tech/Startup Series Launches First Event PDF Print E-mail
Written by bruce   
Friday, 08 February 2013 12:57

One of the great things about starting LocalTek a few years back was getting involved with regional and local government and community organizations and also with small businesses around the area. The more people I met the more I realized how much of a really bright and talented base of people we had in the Parkland area of Missouri (Farmington, Park Hills, Bonne Terre, Desloge, etc). But one major gap that was obvious was that there really was not any real networking going on between various people that had different technology skill sets. And there was no real way to connect people with ideas to those that could help incubate those ideas into new business ventures.

Since first recognizing this I have always kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to start a Meetup series that would focus on connecting bright technical minds with other bright technical minds as well as connect businesses in the area with the people that can help them with positions that needed filled without having to hire people from out of the region.

So, Feb 21st, from 6 to 8pm at Bauhaus Kaffee here in Farmington I will be launching the Parkland Meetup: Tech/Startup series. We have been fortunate to have several sponsors for the first event and have already exceeded our initial attendance goals to the point where we had to upgrade facilities to be able to handle more people.

The event will have 3 speakers, and 4 “expert” tables. We really are focused on creating an upbeat vibe and make this very much not “more of the same”. By that I mean not a bunch of bullet points on slides and more of the same conversations that people have heard at other events over and over again.

Before I keep on with more words, words, words, here are some links to access info about the event:

Website: ParklandMeetup.com

Facebook Page: Facebook.com/TechStartupMeetup (please “like” us)

Facebook Event: Event Details Here

This is my first time every organizing an event or doing any event promotion, to say the least its been an effort, especially to provide a completely free event that also provides a high level of value. But its exciting. I am very passionate about incubating tech in the community. VERY PASSIONATE about it.

I have lived in this area all of my life but have been fortunate to have worked at some amazing companies during the growth phases of the internet and next generation of communications networks. I had to travel frequently but I never had to move, why? Because I was able to use broadband and technology to access the things I needed. Not all jobs allow for this but many do.

By seeing what technology could enable, it allowed me to have new ideas, to see what was possible. The problem is locally our brightest minds do not always get to do that. One of the big reasons I pushed and supported Big River Broadband to be located in Farmington, MO was because I knew it would allow people that would typically not get to see what was possible to finally maybe have a different vision, to have a new idea, an idea that may blossom into a new company, maybe the next big thing.

My goal with the meetup group is to facilitate these connections, to facilitate the sharing of ideas and connect people with different technical skills together to help them complete the idea they have or spark a new idea.

Our first meetup will have the following speakers:

Bruce Marler (yep thats me) – I will be providing a quick 10 minute presentations of my vision for the group, the inception of the idea, and why it is important for the community.

Mit Landrum – Mit is the Mayor of Farmington and also a long time tech professional with a software company of his own.

Kevin Cantwell – President of Big River Broadband, Kevin is a big believer in connecting people and enabling rural areas to have access to the larger world. I have known Kevin and the team at Big River Telephone for years and they have always stayed consistent with this focus.

Other than speakers, by the way, no speaker will be speaking for more than 15 minutes, this event is not to talk at people, its to connect them, we will also have the concept of “expert” tables.

The expert tables will be there to provide access to people that have had real life experience using technology to better their business or in some cases to create a business. This will allow people to sit down and have a one on one or maybe group discussion with this person to ask questions on how and why they use technology.

The experts will be:

Tiffany Marler (my wife for full disclosure) – Online marketing as part of a holistic marketing approach

Bruce Marler (yes me again) – Using online/cloud based tools to make your business more efficient

Casey Hartley – KC Photography, Casey is a prime example of how to use social media to grow your business and will talk about how she has used Facebook specifically to make her photography business a success

Mike Howe- General Manager, Big River Broadband – Mike will be available to discuss broadband and telephony and how to more effectively use technologies such as VoIP, LTE, etc

Now, for the good stuff, FOOD, food will be provided for free thanks to our great sponsors. You can see our sponsors on the ParklandMeetup.com website. We will have free BBQ from Branding Iron BBQ and free snacks and coffee from Bauhaus Kaffee, the bar will be open as well, thats for purchase though.

We are already at around 50 people committed to being at the event and we are not done yet, look for more announcements between now and the event around other things we will be doing, and yes we are already planning the second event to happen in April.


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WebRTC Video Calling from 32 Thousand Feet PDF Print E-mail
Written by bruce   
Monday, 25 February 2013 13:16

WebRTC is here to stay. Yes I have been an early adopter of the buzz worthy tech, you can see more about my early thoughts on WebRTC here. But with the buzz seemingly accelerating daily (specifically while shows like Mobile World Congress are going on) it makes it even better when I can see technology in action and working, not just in other peoples demos, but in products that I am using myself and actually presenting to customers while traveling across the US for Thrupoint.

WebRTC Video Calling

One of the great things about WebRTC is that its completely clientless if you are using Google Chrome or Firefox (nightly releases). This means you do not have to download another version of Java, or Skype, or Microsoft Lync, etc, etc. So today we thought we would show that WebRTC is actually ubiquitous and actually works from anywhere. Even at 32 thousand feet while heading to Palo Alto.

We used Thrupoint Fusion Web Gateway, Fusion Client SDK, and Fusion Media Broker to do this call using the production Google Chrome. Amazing using the VP8 codec currently supported in Google Chrome we had virtually no issues on the planes wifi for voice or audio (although I was quiet since I did not want to annoy passengers next to me).

Thrupoint also posted today they have Cisco Jabber working along side WebRTC for voice, video, instant messaging, and presence allowing for enterprises wanting to keep their legacy IP PBX in place to use the latest web technology to extend their applications outside their 4 walls.

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Big River Broadband Donates Laptops to Parkland Programmers PDF Print E-mail
Written by bruce   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:51



FARMINGTON, MISSOURI (November 14, 2013) – Big River Broadband donated 15 laptop computers Tuesday, Nov. 12, to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation to enhance technology skills among students ages 8-12 participating in Parkland Programmers.

This is the first gift to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation as part of its fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Parkland Programmers, a youth technology initiative which began earlier this fall as a way to provide extra-curricular computer programming training to youth in the area.

Parkland Programmers coordinator Tiffany Marler is excited about the opportunities this gift from Big River Broadband will provide.

“The gift of these dedicated computers for kids will help so much,” Tiffany Marler said. “Since our participants start at age 8, we know not all of them have their own personal device to bring to class, so this will help us ensure that each student has access to the tools they need to learn these important skills.”

“We always want to be able to provide the same opportunities and level of education no matter the financial circumstances at home, so having those laptops available for “check-out” will give every kid the opportunity to succeed,” Marler said.

Marler also said that having dedicated computers will cut down on the amount of tech support time by program administrators which will allow more time for letting students learn and create.

“The skills that are being provided by Parkland Programmers are helping our own young people right here at home to learn to think creatively, develop critical thinking skills, and work collaboratively,” said Kevin Cantwell, president of Big River Broadband. “These are essential skills for students to become productive employees and leaders in the 21st century.”

Cantwell said that technology is such a driver of innovation and is a necessity for jobs in all industries and that opening doors to these tools early in a child’s life, will undoubtedly help prepare them for success.

The 40 students who participated in the first session of Parkland Programmers used Scratch, a Web-based program designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Scratch provides a framework that allows students to design interactive stories, games, and animations, and share their creations with others in the Scratch online community.

Marler said that Scratch provides a strong programming framework that’s fun and exciting for children, which prepares them to learn more complex language as they develop their skills.

“You have to have the backbone of the process before learning an actual programming language like JavaScript, and this is a great way to introduce them in a way they excites them,” Marler said.

“Schools are working very hard to include science, math and technology in the classroom, but with rigorous state and federal standards, there’s only so much time,” said Doug McDermott, executive director of the Farmington Regional Community Foundation.

“This initiative is just one way as a community, we can create and develop our own strategies to support formal education and provide unique opportunities to students who are developing a passion for lifelong learning and technology,” McDermott said.

“The purpose of a community foundation like ours is to connect donors to opportunities to make a difference here in our own community. This special gift from Big River Broadband will have lasting effects on the future of our students and the opportunities to build a workforce that is ready for growth.”

The Farmington Regional Community Foundation, formerly the Chamber of Commerce Focus on Farmington Foundation, was created in 1994, for the purpose of soliciting, managing and distributing private funds and resources to further the development and welfare of the people of the region. Past projects facilitated by the foundation include creation of Farmington’s Bicentennial Park, improvements to the Farmington Public Library and Civic Center, a variety of memorials/legacy displays, and other community enhancements.

More information about Parkland Programmers and future learning sessions is available at parklandprogrammers.com. To support the program or to learn more about the Farmington Regional Community Foundation and the ways community foundations allow donors to create lasting legacy in their own communities, visit focusonfarmington.org.

Big River Broadband is a full-service telecommunications provider offering wireless internet, telephone and fiber based internet solutions to the residential, business and education markets in southern Missouri. Big River Broadband owns and operates a state-of-the-art 4G LTE network which ensures customers high speed connections with the absolute best technology and service available. More information can be found at www.bigriverbroadband.com.



If you are interested in donating or helping with the Parkland Meetup and Parkland Programmers to help drive tech growth in our rural go to ParklandMeetup.com or ParklandProgrammers.com or use my contact form here on the site.


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