Hi-tech ideas from people in Hawaii


POSTED: Monday, March 02, 2009

Every once in a while I like to write about new high-tech startup companies in Hawaii.

The first of these startups is iLovePhotos,the brain child of Lorenz Sell, a 28-year- old Wunderkind and co-founder of Blue Lava Technologies. Sell's application, which works on the Mac platform, allows anyone with a digital camera to easily view and share photos.

So what's the big deal? If you're like me, most digital shots rarely make it to the light of day. Rather, they reside forever on a hard drive or inside your camera's flash memory. According to Sell, this is not unusual. Americans take nearly 30 million digital photos each year but generally can't be bothered organizing them.

Thus, making order out of chaos was the genesis for iLovePhotos. The software takes away the photo clutter and categorizes your shots according to the images that populate the photos. It does this by using facial detection software. You can download it at http://www.ilovephotos.com.

Another company to keep any eye on is Ooi.

The three founders—Dan Leuck, his wife Mika, and software developer Pat Niemeyer—liken their product to “;Lego blocks”; for social networking.

Why is this important? Leuck believes there's a tremendous market out there for businesses that want to leverage their own social networks to promote their products and services. With the popularity of Facebook, MySpace, Linked-In and other similar sites, everybody seems to want their own social networking capabilities.

The problem is that building a solid social networking platform with the kind of technology that Facebook or MySpace uses takes an army of programmers and a lot of money. Ooi solves this by providing widgets such as forums, groups, wikis and photo sharing that can easily allow you to leverage your content into a social networking site without breaking the bank.

Dan says his technology is user friendly enough for a novice user to create a social network in about 10 minutes using a wizard. I've seen the Ooi platform in its beta form and it is impressive.

Ooi supports multiple languages and has excellent content management capabilities, so you don't have to pay a geek to do make changes in the text or photos.

You can learn more about this Ooi by following Dan's blog on http://www.TechHui.com, a terrific resource for the Hawaii tech industry.

One final note concerns a piece I did a few weeks ago that looked at a couple of external hard drives. I complained that the Western Digital My Book Home Edition didn't have an on/off power switch. Well, mea culpa—I was wrong.

A reader pointed out to me that there's a button on the back of the drive. A Western Digital spokesperson mentioned that this unit also has power-saving features that put the drive in a standby mode after 10 minutes of inactivity, and then revs back up when you're ready to use it again.

Another reader commented that only one storage unit for a family is not enough. I agree. Better to have some redundancy by backing up your data online with a company like Mozy.com or another service.


Cliff Miyake is Honolulu vice president and general manager of tw telecom. He can be reached at Cliff.Miyake@twtelecom.