St. Paul-Based App Data Room Offers Global Marketing Muscle

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Caterpillar used to have many ways to consummate a sale — too many, it turned out.  The Peoria, Ill., company is best known for its hulking construction machines, like tractors and backhoes. But it actually has 10 distinct business units hawking hundreds of products with thousands of variations.

The problem? Sales staffers heading out to woo clients did not have a single, consistent system for making pitches, distributing promotional materials and gathering market intel about prospective buyers.  App Data Room, a privately held St. Paul technology startup, got Caterpillar and many of its franchisees around the world to streamline their sales operations.”

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Mayo, Target among those developing Apple Watch apps

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Someday soon, when workers at Minneapolis advertising agency Space150 leave their key fobs at home, they will have another way to gain office access: the Apple Watch on their wrists.  Apple’s much-publicized smartwatch, due for release later this month, will become a kind of key for unlocking the doors with a screen tap or a wrist flick. (Intoning “Open Sesame” will be optional.)

Space150, like thousands of other companies in Minnesota and around the world, are hard at work on apps for the Apple Watch in the belief that the shiny wrist device will become the next hot mobile-software platform.”

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JAMF’s Bushel thinks small for Apple device management

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Aaron Hormann used to set up his company’s employee iPhones and iPads one by one — a laborious and time-squandering process. Technologies exist for automating a multi-device setup but are typically tailored for larger organizations, such as corporations, government agencies and school districts.

Eagan-based Herregan Distributors, where Hormann works in marketing and does tech management on the side, is not remotely in that league. It has dozens of employees, not hundreds or thousands. But now Hormann has streamlined the set-up of his worker iOS devices just like the big boys, and he has a local company called JAMF Software to thank.”

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Twin Cities developer creates ‘shortwave radio’ app for world news

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By Julio Ojeda Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Smartphone users have no shortage of radio-style apps that will stream news-and-information programming to them over the Internet.  But app developers are always in search of niches within well-populated app categories, and Twin Cities resident Steven Clift thinks he’s found one.

He’s released an app called 1 Radio News that provides news-related audio from around the world for English speakers who are eager to keep up on the latest global happenings.”

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St. Paul library on forefront of digital learning and entertainment

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“St. Paul Public Library cardholders can now be active and engaged without stepping inside a library branch for years, or ever — and library officials are fine with that.  In recent years, the library has rolled out an expanding number of digital services available to its users on the Internet.

Patrons can borrow e-books through OverDrive and Cloud Library, download audio content via Freegal and OneClickDigital, read digital magazines using Zinio, take programming classes via Treehouse, learn a new language by using Transparent Language Online, practice for student and professional tests via Learning Express Library, and more — all for free and from home or work.

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Minnesota firm using 3-D printing to customize cremation urns

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Urns for storing ashes of the deceased, intended to look classy, sometimes can be tacky — even creepy. One company hawks 3D-printed busts of the dearly departed, or famous people like Barack Obama.  Then there is Foreverence, an Eden Prairie startup that is attempting to aim a bit higher.

Foreverence is offering custom 3D-printed urns shaped like objects that were important to the deceased — a sportscar, say, or a guitar — and made out of a ceramic material that is intended to look and feel more appealing than the more-common 3D-printed plastic.”

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Google names Golden Valley the state’s ‘eCITY’

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“Google has designated Golden Valley as Minnesota’s 2014 “eCITY” as part of its latest annual survey of U.S. cities that have “the strongest online business communities” along with robust online city services.

“In 1912, the railroad connected Golden Valley to the rest of the country,” Google writes on the 2014 eCITY site. “Now, homeowners connect to an online portal with info and advice on everything from zoning and building permits to home security.”

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U.S. Internet has plans for a broader Twin Cities broadband

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

“St. Paul is an Internet-access backwater compared with some other Minnesota cities, where fiber-optic connections to residences and businesses are capable of delivering blazingly fast data downloads.

No broadband provider in the saintly city currently offers general availability of such cutting-edge fiber-based Internet service. But by 2020, at least two providers say they will.

U.S. Internet, which provides Minneapolis with WiFi and fiber-to-the-home service, said it has expansion plans that are set to start next summer and are almost certain to eventually include St. Paul.”

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CenturyLink rolling out gigabit service to Twin Cities

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“CenturyLink intends to overtake top residential-broadband provider Comcast with a new fiber-optic service it said will provide the Twin Cities’ fastest-ever home-Internet speed of 1 gigabit per second.

The service would smoke cable company Comcast’s home Internet speeds, which top out at about 100 megabits per second in the Twin Cities.”

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Minnesota-wide broadband goal unlikely to be met by 2015

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By Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

John Socha once yearned to work from his Spring Grove home, but was crippled by out-of-date technology – notably his excruciatingly pokey rural Minnesota dial-up Internet access.  So Socha, a creator of digital-audio content for radio, had to journey nine miles to a Caledonia office for an Internet connection fast enough to let him upload his sound files.

Today, those pesky commutes are a distant memory. Socha is now on the Internet fast lane via a fiber-optic connection from local telecom cooperative Spring Grove Communications, with upload and download speeds roughly comparable to those offered by Comcast in the Twin Cities.”

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