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BusINess » Technology

Archives for the ‘Technology’ Category

Review: Chrome OS gives a peek at computing future

In this product image provided by Google Inc., the Cr-48 Chrome notebook is displayed. (AP Photo/Google Inc.)

In this product image provided by Google Inc., the Cr-48 Chrome notebook is displayed.
(AP Photo/Google Inc.)

What if nearly everything you usually keep on your computer—photos, documents, music and software—was stored online? Your machine would be speedier and perhaps less vital because you could simply use another machine to recoup your digital life should you lose your laptop.

This premise—somewhat scary, yet liberating—is behind Google Inc.’s upcoming Chrome OS, which will make notebook computers more like netbooks than most actual netbooks.
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Crown Point grad building Web-based empire

Jake Nickell, a Crown Point High School graduate and founder of Threadless, an online T-shirt company, was inspired to start the business after entering and winning an online T-shirt design contest. Threadless turned into a multimillion-dollar Web-based business and led to two retail stores in Chicago. It is celebrating 10 years in business. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Jake Nickell, a Crown Point High School graduate and founder of Threadless, an online T-shirt company, was inspired to start the business after entering and winning an online T-shirt design contest. Threadless turned into a multimillion-dollar Web-based business and led to two retail stores in Chicago. It is celebrating 10 years in business.
(Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

While a student at Crown Point High School, Jake Nickell provided technical support for an Internet provider in the city’s downtown square. Now the 30-year-old owns a Chicago-based company whose business model has been taught at Ivy League schools.

Threadless is a business that “was never intended to be a business,” Nickell said.

In 2000, Nickell was working as a full-time Web designer and was enrolled part time at the Illinois Institute of Art when he entered and won an online T-shirt design competition. Read the rest of this entry »


Bar-code billboard engages customers with interactive advertising

Leslie Robinson, owner of Mane Image, recently had a billboard installed on U.S. 30 in Hobart that uses a quick response code. Consumers can scan the 2-D image and be connected to a website, photo or video. The popularity of the 2-D technology is growing in the U.S. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Leslie Robinson, owner of Mane Image, recently had a billboard installed on U.S. 30 in Hobart that uses a quick response code. Consumers can scan the 2-D image and be connected to a website, photo or video. The popularity of the 2-D technology is growing in the U.S. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Around the time Calvin Klein stepped up its multimedia marketing game by replacing racy billboard ads of seminude models in Times Square with a king-sized pixelated bar code, Mane Image was getting ready to launch its own interactive advertising campaign using 2-D technology.

“The QR code billboard is our crown jewel,” Mane Image owner Leslie Robinson said. “I know I love technology, and this was just another way to get our information to the public. Not to mention that within an hour of the board going up, we had a phone call and a walk-in consultation. How cool is that?”
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Technology, new products revolutionizing cosmetic medicine

Cosmetic medicine is undergoing a revolution in the second decade of the 21st Century with new less-invasive technologies and products being used in addition to surgery, according to area physicians who specialize in cosmetic procedures.

“Not a day goes by that there doesn’t seem to be some new innovation in any one of the areas of cosmetic medicine, be it surgical, Botox, fillers, lasers and actual cosmetics themselves,” says Laura Hoffman, M.D., a Munster-based dermatology and cosmetic specialist affiliated with Medical Specialists.
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Epic transition in health care

Epic's sprawling, eco-friendly campus is located in Verona, Wisconsin. (Photograph courtesy of JJR architecture firm.)

Epic's sprawling, eco-friendly campus is located in Verona, Wisconsin.
(Photograph courtesy of JJR architecture firm.)

At a time when jobs are scarce, businesses are dying and not having enough money to pay the bills is a common theme, there’s one company that’s thriving. The Epic Healthcare system isn’t just thriving. It’s snowballing around the world, and taking every major health care organization—including all of the big hospitals near and in Northwest Indiana—with it.

It’s rare that a company can boast having $650 million in revenue, no debt and a customer base that includes 30 percent of the United States and 1 percent of the world. But the Verona, Wisconsin-based technology focused health care company does that—and more.
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Discounts offered in Facebook check-in ‘Deals’

If you use Facebook to “check in” to your favorite restaurants or shops, you can now expect to see rewards and discounts from companies looking to drum up business and lure in loyal customers.

Facebook is looking to bridge online advertising with people’s offline behavior as it announced a service called “Deals” on Wednesday. It’s an extension of Places, the check-in feature the company unveiled this year. Rising with the explosive growth of smart phones, services based on people’s location help them find coupons, earn quirky merit badges or simply share with friends where they are.

The number of people using such services is still small—just 5 percent of the U.S. Internet population, according to a May survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But it’s growing, and businesses ranging from small mom-and-pop stores to national chains are starting to take notice.
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Wi-Fi gives restaurants, coffee shops a jolt in business

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Each day after work, Dave Csuk stops at the Blackbird Cafe, checks his email, slides an iPod from a fabric case and listens to music for a few hours before heading home.

“If office is hell and home is heaven, this is purgatory,” he said. “It’s a perfect in-between.”

Mary Koselke bought the cafe in February 2009 and changed the name. Wireless Internet is central to her success, she said.

The small coffee shop in downtown Valparaiso, tucked neatly among other small businesses, is not unique in its use of wireless Internet to attract and retain customers. A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant across the street uses Wi-Fi to attract a different crowd.
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Michael Rakers

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Michael Rakers grew up in St. Louis and attended school at Purdue Calumet where he studied information technology. While in graduate school at Purdue Calumet, also studying technology, Rakers was awarded a graduate assistantship and became an instructor at the school.

Shortly thereafter, he says that he and a friend, Jason Bockenek, came up with the vision to begin their own company. They started Calumet Tech Services, where Rakers serves as acting CEO and Bockenek is CIO.

Rakers recalls, “I was working at Lincoln Elementary School District as a tech assistant and they won a grant and needed someone to install 250 machines and servers, so we decided to start our own company to help the school district fulfill their grant. We completed that project and from there word of mouth spread about our work and we moved on to other schools, churches, and not-for-profits.”

Calumet Tech Services’ slogan is “IT solutions at minimum cost,” and Rakers says this is because they want to help bring technology to those in need, to make a big impact on the lives of students throughout their endeavors. They recently completed work for Hoover-Schrum Memorial School District 157 located in Calumet City, Illinois.
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New text platform originates in Crown Point

Tarik El-Naggar, chief operating officer at Get Vext, holds a cell phone on in his Crown Point office. The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type. (Photograph by The Times.)

Tarik El-Naggar, chief operating officer at Get Vext, holds a cell phone on in his Crown Point office. The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type.
(Photograph by The Times.)

A new dial-in platform that allows users to send text messages while driving completely hands-free has its beginnings in Crown Point.

The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type.

The church has within itself a company—Maven Holdings—which helps businesses start up, said GetVEXT chief operating officer and Maven partner Tarik El-Naggar.
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Scott Dujmovich

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Building a corporate culture that expects excellence from everyone involved, that constructs networks of communication and that recognizes civic responsibility is Scott Dujmovich’s mission for Golden Technologies, a firm that provides design and marketing and custom solutions for medium and small businesses.

One of four partners who met while working at Bethlehem Steel in the 1990s, Dujmovich initiated a movement at the Valparaiso-based company that “has lead to growth and development of a healthy, stable corporate community,” says Nat Finn, Golden’s Internet marking specialist, who nominated the 37-year old for the 2010 Class of ‘20 Under 40.’ “His initiation inspired one common vision for Golden: ‘Excellence in connecting people, business and technology’.”

Two of the founding partners started a side business in 1996 to help solve companies’ problems using technology, says Dujmovich.

“Three of us worked together in the same department at Bethlehem. We started doing side jobs that feed our interest in technology and solutions,” he says.
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