Binge Listening, Sacramento Startups, and the 7-Year Technology Pause

The monthly roundup of links to most of the articles I've been working at Xconomy on since my last update:

-- My big project this month was a two-part, 10,000-word series on innovation in the Sacramento-Davis corridor. We published Part 1, about efforts to make Sacramento more entrepreneur-friendly, on May 14. Part 2, which focused in UC Davis and efforts to make more room in the city of Davis for university-spawned startups, came out the next day. Our founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief Bob Buderi also wrote a nice intro to the series.

-- In my most recent column, I observed that there seems to be a form of punctuated equilibrium at work in computing, with the really big jumps happening every 14 years or so. Given that it's been seven years since the last major advance (the iPhone), we may be for a few more years of relative stasis before the Next Big Thing.

-- I caught up with Bill Banta, the founder of a Stanford-born video startup formerly called Stealth HD. The company recently changed its name to Centr Camera and launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise $900,000 to manufacture a 360-degree video camera that fits over your thumb like a donut. With 12 days to go in the crowdfunding campaign, they've made it about halfway to the goal.

-- My April 25 column was about Artkick, a Silicon Valley startup that's become the latest company to try turning TV screens into digital art canvases.

-- I went to the Microsoft Research Silicon Valley TechFair and came back with reports on five intriguing MSR projects, including work that my old friend Curtis Wong is doing to explore better ways to explore data in 3D, as well as improvements to Cortana and a way to light up every surface in a home with data.

-- I'm a huge consumer of podcasts; mostly I listen when I'm out running. My May 9 column was a guide to the 14 podcasts that are so good it's worth binge-listening to them, including my absolute favorite, 99% Invisible.

-- Dusting off some of my aerodynamics knowledge from my years at NASA Ames (1998-99), I wrote about a startup at hardware accelerator Lemnos Labs that wants to rewrite the math of lift and drag by putting moving belts on the outside of aircraft wings.

-- I've also been busy helping to put the final touches on the program for the Xconomy Napa Summit, our third annual executive-level retreat on jobs, technology, and growth. It will take place on June 2 and 3 in Oakville and Yountville, in the heart of wine country, and the speakers are great this year -- we've even got Guy Kawasaki joining us to give the opening keynote talk. If you'd like to request in invitation, please write to

-- Separately from my Xconomy work, I've set up a new personal website to take the place of Travels with Rhody, which I shut down last year. The new site is at I invite you to check it out!

Thanks, take care, and see you in a few weeks.