Uber compromises with Portland and stops service for three months

The unthinkable has occurred: Uber has compromised with a local government, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Uber has agreed to suspend its operations for three months in Portland, Oregon, as the company works with local regulators to reach a legal solution. This comes weeks after Portland’s city government sued the ridesharing company for violating local taxi ordinances. Sound the bells because an Uber-government alliance is a miracle and an angel just got its wings. Or something.

Portland sues Uber, sends cease-and-desist letter

Last week, Uber launched illegally in Portland and on Monday, Portland fought back. The city is suing the company for its expand-first-apologize-later approach. Portland regulators are asking the court to rule that Uber is subject to the city’s taxi regulations. The city also sent Uber a cease-and-desist letter, because it wants Uber to stop operating until it is complying with “safety, health and consumer protection rules.” Regulatory battles are nothing new for Uber, which is currently facing backlash in India after a passenger was raped by an Uber driver.

Freelancers Union to expand health insurance offerings

Thanks to $340 million in no or low-cost loans authorized by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Freelancers Union is expanding its health insurance offerings for independent workers, offering a new low-cost option to those in New York, New Jersey and Oregon.

The next big thing for data centers: DC power

Although we live in an AC-dominated world, DC seems poised for a comeback, particularly in data centers. Facebook adopted a DC architecture in its Prineville, Ore., data center. SAP spent $128,000 retrofitting a datacenter at its offices in Palo Alto, Calif., to rely on DC power.

Oregon: An undercover cleantech player

Is Oregon the next promised land for clean technology? The Beaver State has, in recent years, has been trying to position itself as a major player with regards to support for green energy, electric vehicle development and more.

How a Snapshot of a Green Data Center Can Be Misleading

Facebook’s unveiling of its energy-efficient data center in Oregon is being widely hailed as ground-breaking. But to me, Facebook’s touting of one specific efficiency metric shows just how a single snapshot of an energy-efficient data center can sometimes be misleading.

Clean Energy Figures Big in Proposed Oregon Legislation

If Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has his way, the Beaver State could adopt a stack of policies next year to provide funding for renewable energy projects and transportation infrastructure, promote green building and energy efficiency, and authorize participation in the Western Climate Initiative, a regional cap-and-trade program. Kulongoski submitted more than 30 bills for consideration in the 2009 legislative session last week, and many of them reflect his pledge to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and make Oregon a hub for clean technology.

When it comes to attracting green startups, significant proposals include a new fund for small clean energy projects and a feed-in tariff for solar energy projects (already powering up across the state at a brisk pace) modeled after Germany’s incentive program. While the Renewable Energy Fund would have to vie for resources in a state budget that has come up $1 billion short of pre-recession projections, Kulongoski has proposed boosting it with tax-deductible donations from Oregon citizens.

BoinxTV Now Shipping

A few weeks ago I wrote about the beta of BoinxTV and provided a brief overview of the product. As a quick refresher, BoinxTV is a videocasting (video podcasting) tool designed for small production teams. It has a very flexible interface and enables you to quickly record, package and broadcast your video production. I would argue it is a great tool for those who do not have access to the resources of a major broadcasting network.
As of today, the product is shipping in two versions: a sponsored edition (SE) for $199, which inserts a five second ad into your production video or an ad-free edition for $499.
The final release also provides the ability to customize layers using the Quartz composer in OS X 10.5. And, if you need some assistance in creating a layer, Boinx is now offering services to help you do this. Just note that there is a fee for Boinx to do this — $999 per layer. Depending upon your needs, this might seem expensive or inexpensive.
You can learn more about BoinxTV 1.0 here. There is a five-day demo available as well. For all the functionality this product provides in a fairly easy-to-use interface, the value is there for your production needs.