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Jan. 1, 2010 11:00 am

Biggest tech community stories we covered in 2009

Happy New Year, folks. It’s been an exciting year for us. Though we’ll be celebrating our first birthday in February, we’ve had a chance to take part in Philadelphia’s vibrant technology community for 10 months. We’ve seen the amazing things that this community offered in 2009. Coming up on our 500th published story about this […]

Happy New Year, folks.

It’s been an exciting year for us. Though we’ll be celebrating our first birthday in February, we’ve had a chance to take part in Philadelphia’s vibrant technology community for 10 months. We’ve seen the amazing things that this community offered in 2009. Coming up on our 500th published story about this community, we’re proud to be a part of it. And we’re ecstatic to see what lie ahead.

No, Technically Philly has not started its own Mummer troupe. We do, however, want to ring in the new year by taking a look back at our top stories of 2009. Our month-by-month perspective, after the jump.

FEBRUARY

An official welcome to Technically Philly
Hey, a little self-indulgence never hurt a year-end evaluation, right? We launched this here news site in February with every intention of thoughtfully covering the disparate pockets of the technology community in Philadelphia. We had 2,250 views in our first month. In December? We grew that figure to over 18,000. And proud of it.

Chew on Philly’s tech proposals in bailout package
One of our first public service news posts, we took a look at some of the local technology-related projects proposed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors before President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

MARCH

Friday Q&A: RedLasso CEO McGowan and President O�Kane
Days after RedLasso announced a major partnership with Fox Television Studios that would bring the popular video capture and sharing service back online after it shutdown for months, we checked in with executive members of the startup at their Center City-based offices. It was one of the first in a series of more than 30 Q&A’s with local technology leaders and innovators that we compiled in 2009.

Indy Hall to expand, add educational element
A “town meeting” at Philly’s well-known coworking facility Independents Hall questioned what was in store for the 40 members of freelance digs. Population in the space was at its max, waiting lists were full and members agreed that a new, larger space would be ideal. It was planned, too, that the old space would be preserved as an educational and events space. In April, plans to move were seen through. IndyHall relocated to a 4,400-square-foot space on Third St. in Old City. Though the organization was forced to abandon its former space, membership is growing and it celebrated its second anniversary in September.

APRIL

Mashable suddenly realizes Philly is only an hour away
The event, which took place in May, was preceded by a handful of off-the-record conversations with members of the community who noted uncertainty about the New York City-founded blog hosting an event in Philadelphia territory. It was an experience that characterized where the younger portion of the scene here saw itself.

BREAKING: City Council unanimously approves cell phone driving ban
As if anyone needed an example that technology stories — even on the local level — affect broad demographics, here it was. Every cell phone user who ever drove a car suddenly had to rethink what he might do if a call came through during a trip on 95. It speaks to the breadth Philly tech stories can reach.

MAY

Google CEO Eric Schmidt weighs in on Philly’s tech future
You must have thought we were joking when we nudged you about what you would ask Google CEO Eric Schmidt if you saw him riding the El during his visit to Philadelphia in May. Though we couldn’t tell you at the time, it was our way of getting your input for a planned media event with the famed executive. The following day, Technically Philly put Schmidt on the spot about the potential for Philly to become a technology hub.

“To have a tech renaissance, you need universities, which you have here. You need good engineering programs like [Penn and Drexel]. You need a vibrant youth culture and a diverse culture. I think you have all of that criteria here,” he told us.

Philadelphia Inquirer will launch a paid content model for Web:
We broke news in May that the Inquirer would launch a paid content model before the end of the year, when we caught wind of the detail in an online-only package celebrating the paper’s 150th anniversary. Tierney made an official announcement about the decision on Fox29 a few days later. Philebrity’s Joey Sweeney pointed out that the announcement was likely to test the waters, and we’ve yet to see the outlet deploy a paywall. Sources have told us it’s not coming and this was just some posturing from Tierney.

South Philly’s Stoya adult film it girl on DOS, social media and leaving Philadelphia
One of our most popular posts – yes, sex does sell – explored local porn celebrity Stoya’s technological upbringings, her geek ties, and her use of social media to push sales. Oh, and the gal told us she was planning on leaving Philly. Tsk tsk!

City launches Web site to track stimulus spending
For a city government known for its antiquated Web presence, Technically Philly was as excited as any to see Philadelphia launch a site to track stimulus spending. It’s a wealth of information about bailout funds in the region.

IgnitePhilly packs Johnny Brendas – again
Popular event series IgnitePhilly filled Fishtown’s Johnny Brendas to capacity for the third time since it began in 2008, and we dished out awards to some of the best spots of the night. Sandwich blog Unbreaded took top honors while Two Guys On Beer received accolades for the funniest presentation of the night, and Viddler’s Rob Sandie was awarded” with pride, not prize” for the best sales pitch.

JUNE

School District of Philadelphia, among other e-waste polluting developing nations
After PBS Frontline broke that computers from the School District of Philadelphia had appeared in a Ghananian e-waste landfill, we followed up with several updates. We reported first that the school district had ordered a probe into its computer recycling program. Budding reporter Stephen Zook, who was at the time attending classes in the African nation, filed an in-depth update from Ghana, Technically Philly’s first global byline. Fox29 even followed up with the school district and interviewed Technically Philly reporter Christopher Wink about the situation.

Ten Philadelphia tech organizations that should have Wikipedia entries but don�t
Part of our irregular “Top Ten Tuesday” series, we listed a handful of tech organizations in Philly that were missing praise on the famous Wiki site, one of our popular posts of the year. Where’s the love for Avencia, University City Science Center, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jim MacMillian and others?

JULY

Friday Q&A: New Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce head Rob Wonderling
This Q&A verified that the trade organization and spokesman for the region’s business community had an inkling that technology was a chance at salvation.

Report: Philly had nation’s largest increase in VC investment in Q2
The development of a more robust and better recognized VC scene is a staple for the growth of a dozen local tech communities in the country. It’s the case in Philadelphia, too, so the signs of growth were always taken with a degree of interest.

AUGUST

TNT: The state of hyperlocal online news in Philadelphia
Technically Philly isn’t alone in Philadelphia’s universe of startup hyperlocal news sites, and we wanted the world to know it.

DreamIt Ventures Demo Day 2009: our awards
It’s no surprise to you, reader, that startups are a priority here at TP. They make up a sizable chunk of Philadelphia’s technology community, and thus, our coverage. DreamIt Ventures Demo Day took that intensity and put it into a day-long event. We handed out awards to those that stood out.

The birth of Philadelphia’s video game scene
Philadelphia has a video game development scene? You bet your thumbs it does. This report, filed by TP reporter Sean Blanda for CityPaper and co-published here, follows Videogame Growth Initiative’s push for state-backing for a stronger gaming industry in the city.

CoTweet: San Francisco scene has “distinct” advantage over Philadelphia
We were as proud as we were disappointed that Central Pennsylvania-based CoTweet, a Twitter front-end built with corporate accounts in mind, decided to move to Silicon Valley. We’d have been excited to welcome them to Philadelphia’s technology scene.

SEPTEMBER

City of Philadelphia requests $35 million in federal broadband stimulus application
It might have been the first time we knew that actual amount of broadband stimulus money that the City was requesting from the federal government, but it surely wasn’t the first time we covered the story. Since March, we filed 16 stories – more than 10,000 words – about Digital Philadelphia, City CTO Allan Frank’s vision for the city’s technology future, including a comprehensive multimedia report on the subject. Mid-December, the city announced plans to purchase the city-wide wireless network formally known as Wireless Philadelphia.

OCTOBER

IgnitePhilly 4 hosts Free Library and Mayoral Cabinet officials as VGI impresses
Ignite Philly wasn’t shy about hosting events in 2009. They hosted their fourth sold-out event in October, inviting prominent and interesting members of Philly’s tech and related communities to speak. We couldn’t help but wonder what was the next step for the presentation series.

Chris Bartlett of Gay History Wiki project
We got in-depth with Chris Bartlett, a presenter at Ignite Philly, and his Gay History Wiki project, a wiki-site developed to catalogue the history of more than 4,500 of Philly’s LGBQT community who have died from HIV/AIDS. Reporter Christopher Wink wrote a broader story about Bartlett as a cover story for Philadelphia City Paper and the New York Times later picked it up, too.

NOVEMBER

SEPTA to launch Google Transit bus routes this week, more redesign details
SEPTA made technological strides this year, announcing in November that it would include bus routes with its Google Transit data. Earlier in the year, the transit agency opened up its schedule data to third-party developers.

Startup Leaders hosts second annual Founder Factory to mixed reaction
Philly Startup Leaders held its second Founder Factory event, giving local entrepreneurs a chance to mingle with one another and to hear stories of success from some leaders in the community. No doubt a great resource for locals considering starting their own companies, some at the event questioned if the event was a successful follow-up.

BarCamp indicates that Philly is ready for next step, but will it happen?
BarCamp attendance exploded this year to more than 250, including audience members that traveled from Florida to participate. We noted that topics were more diverse and more specific, delving into important topics, like the future of Philly’s technology community. “Philadelphia tech scene is ready for its coming out party. It’s ready for other cities to view it as a destination and it’s ready to produce some quantifiable results in the language of companies and jobs,” we wrote.

DECEMBER

Comcast purchases majority stake in NBC Universal, awaiting regulatory approval
Some could argue that Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal might be Philly’s biggest technology story of the year. There’s no doubt that it has cemented Comcast as a global leader in telecommunications and content. We’ll be following along with our weekly Comcast roundups to see what’s next.

Ten Philadelphia Web sites then and now
The most entertaining site on the Web? Internet Archive. It powered this feature comparing today’s popular local online destinations, like Temple.edu, Philly.com and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation’s GoPhila.com with their 1999 counterparts.

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