Member Spotlight: Solar Casters

Steve Ihnen is founder of Solar Casters.  Solar Casters is the weather forecaster for the solar industry.  Steve’s company focuses on providing daily solar forecasts to utility companies.  Solar Caster’s clients are worldwide where there are solar installations ranging from 45 kW to 350 mW.  Steve’s weather forecasting software model takes into account 25 years of satellite data to make it’s predictions.  

Solar Casters provides site assessments, technical and economic feasibility studies, as well as operational forecasting to companies looking to implement large scale solar projects.  When Steve was intially touring our space, I was really excited to have him in here as I thought that our appreciation for alternate sources of energy and technology was a good match.  I’ve been pretty interested in solar energy, specifically photovoltaic systems for the thinkspace building.  At the end of 2008 I had a site assessment done for the thinkspace building, if I implement the solution, our building could possibly generate 42kW.

Some of the things that he appreciates about us is our centralized Redmond location, free parking, location to the transit center, and the green touches (LEED certification) aspects about our space like the no-VOC paints, low-VOC carpet adhesives, but he thinks we’re gone a bit crazy with our wine cork recycling!  Steve also worked from home for a number of years and he enjoys the social interaction and community of our space.  He told me that he was drawn to the green touches and technology minded businesses inside our space when he was comparing us to places like Regus Carillon Point.

Robert Scoble tours thinkspace

The Scobleizer came into thinkspace today and interviewed me as I gave him a tour of the space.  Robert tweeted us as the “coworking / office space mashup”.  Robert also had time to interview green tech startup Newline Software, who is pioneering eco-digital preservation software.  We stopped by to see Bart McCormick with Shazam, but unfortunately Bart wasn’t in the office.  Robert now has a comp virtual office at thinkspace when he comes up to Seattle, we even made him a door plaque when he’s in town.

The next time he comes up here I hope to have Sysgain’s taggle service integration complete and he’ll be able to negotiate for real office space through an iPhone.  I’m also hoping that we get a random “Tweet-up” inside here when he comes back into town.  The Eastside tech community could use a few more events around here!

Member Spotlight: Sysgain

member spotlight - sysgain

Mike Brophy and Sarah Brophy are with Sysgain, a company that has offices in Redmond, Washington DC, and Las Vegas.  Sysgain develops software for the iPhone, provides staffing services, consulting services, and process management.  Mike and Sarah are the driving force behind the Sales, Strategy, and Marketing for Sysgain. Sysgain places engineers, project managers, designers, marketing experts, and instructional designers.

Sysgain is also a Microsoft Preferred Vendor (MSVP) and provides consulting services to Microsoft.   thinkspace is just a few miles away from Microsoft’s campus and is a good base camp for the Microsoft Vendor community.  I remember when I first met Mike, he told me that there just isn’t enough room on campus for Microsoft Vendors and it was either hang out at a coffee shop or head home.

Sysgain also builds business critical applications.  Sysgain develops websites, web apps, mobile apps, and iPhone applications.  One of Sysgain’s strengths is coming up with creative solutions to solve business problems.  With many years of business experience, they see the vision where the other rank developers don’t.

Sysgain’s latest iPhone application is called “taggle“.  In October 2008, the Consumer Electronics Association named the innovative taggle service as one of 15 finalists in its 2008 i-Stage competition.  You will definitely be hearing more about “taggle” on this blog once the service is in beta.  I definitely feel that the taggle service is definitely going to make negotiating for products much more fun.

Sarah on thinkspace: “Since we came into the building we noticed a great sense of community and fellowship.  We really enjoy working with the people here and it’s great to be a part of it”.

Apple iPhone is MIA from standardized phone charger list

The GSM trade association announced that it has come to terms with the world’s leading handset manufacturers to come up with a standard for charging cell phones!

The initial group of companies include AT&T Inc., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile and Vodafone PLC.  There’s only one company that is obviously missing from that list and it’s Apple.  At least their iPhone charger works interchangeably with their iPod. Perhaps they think by the time this standard comes to fruition in 2012, no one else will be using anything other than an iPhone, thus making them the standard.

The WSJ pointed out that every 20 months about 48-51 million cell phone chargers become obsolete.  I hope that purchasing a charger will become an option and not bundled with a cell phone so that way the cost of purchasing a new phone will be less.

A “free” dashboard to track your business carbon footprint


According to the Seattle Times, Microsoft has announced that they are providing a free add-on to their ERP software (Microsoft Dynamics AX) that allows companies to track their carbon footprint.  Basically, if you’re a company that can’t afford to hire an environmental consultant to help you come up with a plan on how to track your carbon footprint you can use this tool instead.  Something doesn’t seem right – doesn’t purchasing and running an ERP system cost more than hiring an environmental engineer to help you identify key performance indicators to track?

The ERP dashboard tracks four different indicators:

  • Direct energy consumption
  • Indirect energy consumption
  • Total direct and indirect green house emissions
  • Other relevant green house emissions
I searched around and found a link to the demo of the dashboard, you can click this link to MicrosoftDynamicsWorld.com and see it for yourself.  For the last year, I’ve been tracking the thinkspace building utility bills and comparing them to the previous three years operating statements.  The primary reason I’ve been doing this is to quantify the difference between being LEED certified and before we became LEED certified.  I’m still trying to wrap my hands around all the other different metrics to capture like indirect energy consumption.  Anyone out there got some suggestions?

Member Spotlight: Newline Software

Kory Gill and Marius Nita (Newline Software), have been generating a buzz in the tech world as the media gets a peek at what these two Microsoft Veterans are up to.  Eric Engleman, with the Puget Sound Business Journal interviewed Kory and Marius on January 26th.  Here’s a link to that article.  They were also picked up by the PSBJ’s Tech Flash website.  I had a conversation with Kory and Marius about the comments posted by the TechFlash readers and we all agreed that the comments were quite amusing.  It’s pretty exciting to see this kind of innovation going on inside our building.

Blogger Meetup Tweetup – Hanging out with bloggers

I’m at the Blogger Meetup.   Having fun hanging out with other local Eastside bloggers.  There are a bunch of people here that found the event through upcoming.yahoo.com, Twitter, local Redmond Chamber and Sammamish Chamber.  Steve Broback is talking about things like “what is a blog” and “driving the right traffic” to your blog.

If you’re interested in hanging out tonight, we’re here from 6-8pm.  Come on by right now!