Mattie Mountain N Scale Model Railroad

My son Mattie received an boxed set N scale train for Christmas. After setting it up on his train table in place of his wooden Thomas the Train set, he quickly mastered the 4 switches – and wanted more. So we are expanding by 2X, and taking over the sunroom!

He has selected many of his favorite places in Boulder and the foothills to model including CPK and Noodles, and  he wants a turntable.

Here is where we started, minus the Thomas the Train track …

Thomas the Train Table

Future posts will track our progress.

iBeacons Fueling Startup Creation and Innovation

A wave of Startups have been founded in response to Apple’s June 2013 announcement of iBeacons. Why such intense interest in this new technology?

GPS revolutionized outdoor navigation and, along with other Global Navigation Satellite Systems, is now critical infrastructure for the economy. But its reach has not extended reliably indoors. Until recently, there were no accurate, cost-effective solutions for indoor navigation that also showed the potential for widespread deployment and standardization.

Enter iBeacons. While not the end-all solution for precise (centimeters, millimeters) indoor navigation, iBeacons are good enough (meters, decimeters) for a wide range of consumer and commercial uses.

Estimote iBeacon app example
Estimote iBeacon (on wall) and example retail app

iBeacons are small transmitters based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and provide BLE receivers (e.g. smartphones, tablets) proximity detection and approximate (transmitter to receiver) distance based on received signal strength. Based on proximity detection and distance, mobile apps can then initiate an unlimited array of possible notifications and actions to provide location-aware, context-aware information and services.

Because BLE was introduced into some Apple devices as early as 2012 and is now included in most (or all?), there are more than 200,000,000 potential iBeacons transmitters and receivers already in use. Companies are rapidly introducing dedicated iBeacons transmitters with a variety of features and form factors. And equivalent BLE-based technology is available for Android phones as well.

Millions of Consumers + Indoor Navigation → Entrepreneurs recognize an Opportunity when they see it.

Apple’s announcement therefore spawned a large number of new Startups making iBeacons a central part of their business. Venture Capital has quickly followed to grow these new businesses.

I’ve started a list of these Startups, including Venture Capital funding received where available, and included it on my iBeacons Resources page. Updates are welcome.

A Different Perspective …

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

This photo provides a different perspective on one of the world’s most famous rock formations – the backside of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. This viewpoint is found along Mist Trail.

This is one of my favorite personal photos for a desktop background.