Silicon Beach: Refresh Miami, November Edition

Categories: Silicon Beach
refresh_miami_nov.jpg
Rafael Montilla
Geeks in a tropical setting.
Held November 18 at the Mutiny Hotel in Coconut Grove, Refresh Miami was tame but very tropical.  The location just about upstaged last month's meeting at the Mayfair Hotel, what with the Mutiny being a grand dame of the 1980s, notorious for drug activity and crazy parties when Coconut Grove was still something of a wild animal.

The infamous property got a makeover in recent years and has come a long way. It was the perfect setting for this month's meeting, which even featured a lovely, smiling hostess giving out nametags in the lobby. Five-dollar drink specials, as well as passed hors d'oeuvres poolside among a lush canopy of trees, made yours truly wonder if Crockett and Tubbs weren't going to stagger in wearing pastel linen suits.

Instead, two local geek stars did all the shop talk. Matt Heitzenroder (@roder), a Grove resident and cofounder of Appush.com, began the meetup with a presentation about Agile, a development methodology for products. Put in simple terms, Agile is a computer-based process that software developers or any business that's developing a product can use to organize their stuff and get shit done in a streamlined, highly efficient way. Heitzenroder also talked about his Miami startup Appush, which is focused for now on making it easier for iPhone app developers to integrate push notifications into their own applications. Unlike text messages, which sit in a message bin, push notifications burst through applications. This isn't easy to code, according to Heitzenroder.

Next was John Carcutt (@johncarcutt), SEO wizard at MediaWhiz, another South Florida technology company. Carcutt specializes in search engine optimization, which is all the gobbledygook geeks do behind the scenes to make it easy for us to find things on the interwebs. Carcutt talked about "query deserves freshness" and "pulse rank" -- both terms referring to prioritizing newest content in online searches. Google News and Google Blog Search index items by most recently published, which is just one example of how we receive instant information.

And we have a lot to do with that too. Think about it: If something newsworthy happens, we all post about it from our phones or computers within seconds and then search engine requests start coming in. The lag time between posting and finding is currently about 15 minutes, according to Carcutt.

The perfect Miami November weather was gorgeous and inspired a few geeks to schlep over to Barracuda's for beers and socializing. One person happened to be a good-looking lady, a newcomer to the fold, whose presence seemed to discombobulate some of the men. Maybe the next presentation should be How to Act Normal Around Leggy Female 101.

This year's holiday-season Refresh meeting takes place December 18. Visit Refreshmiami.org for more information.

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