Houston's Tech Scene Is Worth the Trip

Earlier today I hit The Coffee Groundz, a Houston coffee shop that’s a hit with the city’s tech community, to meet with a few startups and check out what Houston has to offer in the way of geek atmosphere. While it’s no San Francisco, where I could walk into almost any bar and find members of the latest technology startup, the place has its share of smart and savvy entrepreneurs building technology for big companies or playing off the engineering talent working in the city’s energy or health care sectors.

For example, I chatted with a guy about what it would take for utilities to adopt mobile broadband from cellular carriers for smart grid deployments. Basically, utilities want to see prices for getting broadband service on a meter drop to cents rather than dollars. In exchange, utilities could provide traffic delivered at odd times of the day when a network isn’t congested, keeping the pipes full.

I also met with Plura Processing, which is taking the idea of CPU harvesting and building a web-crawling platform on top of the resulting grid. The platform is called 80legs, and Shion Deysarkar, the chief strategy officer, likens it to a distributed cloud. We chatted about what it means to host a distributed network as residential bandwidth becomes more constrained. I was impressed they were even thinking about it.

All in all, I enjoyed talking technology, entrepreneurship and generally stepping away from the computer to inteface with our readers. Thanks, guys for making my afternoon, and thanks to Marc Nathan at the Houston Technology Center for helping make it come together.