Toast’s Wooden Skins for 2016 Macbook Pro

I have been a fan of custom, wooden skins for laptops for a number of years now. So when my favorite vendor from Brooklyn went belly up recently, I was left out in the cold.

Toast Cover for 15 inch 2016 Macbook Pro with Touchbar

Like many Apple enthusiasts, I had been waiting to upgrade my Macbook for a number of years. Why they waited so long I think comes down to having too many managers in house with million-dollar bank accounts. Innovation for their laptop and desktop computers has just about come to a standstill while they count their iPhone money.

In late 2016, my prayers were answered. First, Apple finally announced the new 2016 Macbook Pro laptops with a snazzy new color called Space Gray. It held the promise of better video-crunching performance and a much larger SSD storage capacity. I bought the most-loaded machine they had in stock and proceeded to edit 750 Gbytes of trade show footage that was overwhelming my old machine.

So yes, I paid the inflated price and fired up my new Mac Donglebook Pro Courage Edition. It is a great little machine, and I recommend buying this dongle to replace all of the missing ports that Apple decided to rob us of.

As I said, I like to customize my Macs, but I didn’t like the options out there. Then Toast offered to send me a sample. I was thrilled!

About a week later I got the big envelope in the mail with my new Toast covers for MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar. These things weren’t even on the market at the time, but now you can order them now for $59 for the top cover and an addition $30 for the bottom cover.

Installation was easy with the Toast product and they obviously know what they are doing using 3M brand adhesives. It took only about five minutes to apply my new covers and the resulting look, feel, and fit is really impressive. The woodgrain is very rich and I really love the way my laptop looks.

If you’re like me, today’s high end Macbooks cost more than my first two or three cars combined. Mechanically, they are works of art. With a little customization from Toast, you can make them your own.

One thing I do miss is the Apple logo on my laptop. I’m talking to an artist friend about burning a brand onto the the thing. I’ll keep you posted.


Video: 10gen Delivers Agility with Open Source MongoDB

In this video, 10gens’s Jared Rosoff and Max Schireson discuss how the MongoDB database software delivers agility and scalability for the enterprise. MongoDB is a scalable, high-performance, open source, document-oriented database. Founded by former DoubleClick Founder and CTO Dwight Merriman and former DoubleClick engineer and ShopWiki Founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz, 10gen offers production support, training, and consulting for the open source database. Recorded at the OSCON 2011 conference in Portland.

10gen was founded by former DoubleClick Founder and CTO Dwight Merriman and former DoubleClick engineer and ShopWiki Founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz. Dwight and Eliot began development on MongoDB in 2007, drawing upon their experiences building large scale, high availability, robust systems. 10gen is backed by leading venture capital firms who invested in established leaders like Oracle, Cisco and Apple as well as rapidly growing internet companies like Zynga and Twitter.

Video: ExtraHop Startup Evolves Application Performance Management (APM)

In this video, Jesse Rothstein from ExtraHop Networks presents: The Evolution of Application Performance Management (APM).

ExtraHop Networks provides agentless, network-based application performance management (APM) solutions to ensure that business-critical transactions do not fail. With the ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system, IT teams gain unmatched real-time visibility for mapping and measuring, proactive early warning, and accelerated troubleshooting. Enterprises across a wide range of industry verticals depend on the ExtraHop system to protect their brand, increase revenue, and improve customer satisfaction.”

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Slidecast: Avere’s Global Namespace Brings SSD Speed to NAS

In this slidecast, Avere President & CEO Ron Bianchini explains how the company’s newly announced Global Namespace (GNS) capability will allow organizations to tame NAS sprawl resulting from enormous growth in unstructured data.

With Avere’s GNS, storage administrators can easily create and manage logical groupings of file-based resources regardless of physical location, presenting clients running NFS or CIFS with simplified and transparent access to data with a single mount point. Moreover, when data is moved from one storage server to another within the network, client access is automatically rerouted with no disruption or downtime. GNS is available immediately as part of the 2.0 release of the Avere operating system.”

For HPC and Cloud users, Avere brings the notion of locality and low-latency to NAS through clustered, hierarchical SSD storage. In my view, it’s a scalable approach that’s well worth a look.

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Portland Startup Joins Land Rover Incubator

urban_systems_logo.pngPortland startup has been selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of Jaguar Land Rover’s new tech incubator in Portland, OR. The partnership between one of the world’s foremost automobile companies, Jaguar Land Rover, combined with’ expertise and experience in “smart cities,” analytics, communications, and information technology will provide a strong foundation for addressing one of the most pressing issues facing cities today: transportation.

Jaguar Land Rover’s new technology incubator first cohort kicks off this month, with the announcements of, along with two other startups selected for the program, at the Consumer Telematics Show on Tuesday.

This new partnership between JLR and will focus its efforts on low-cost, scalable infrastructure technologies that leverage open data, open-source technology, and community-based urban planning. Among’s first projects is a family of products and services for the management of multi-passenger, Electric Vehicle fleets for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This project — a proof of concept for other emerging cities worldwide will supply affordable, sustainable and “connected” transportation for the movement of people around the city in a managed system. The system will improve efficiencies, decrease congestion and positively affect the lives of the passengers, drivers and owners.

“’s focus on open interfaces, open data and open source makes them a great partner for Jaguar Land Rover,” said Matt Jones, Director of Future Technology and President of the GENIVI Alliance. “Their fleet management tools combined with low speed electric vehicles offers a new and innovative option for urban transportation.”

Led by Dr. Wilfred Pinfold, formerly of Intel, has a diverse team of experienced executives, engineers and IT professionals that provide consulting, technology and outsourcing services to address the global challenges affecting cities and urban life. As cities explore new transit systems, roads and utilities or modernize their aging infrastructure, and its partners will provide a range of civic engagement, financial, design, and software services that reduce cost, simplify design and financing, and build scalable operational governments. is committed to the open software platform to enable and encourage the “best and brightest’ to work together in bringing long-term solutions to the issues that cities are facing in transportation, energy, water, wellness and pollution. By working together, believes that the quantity of problem solvers will deliver more ideas and more products, with each having the ability to be integrated into a comprehensive system. The goal of is to bring these products and ideas together to work with local, state and federal governments to build better, safer and sustainable cities for now and in the future.

Slidecast: Strategic Blue is Your Broker for the Cloud

In this slidecast, James Mitchell, Founder & CEO of Strategic Blue discusses how his company acts as a Cloud Services Brokerage, providing financial intermediation services to corporate customers using Infrastructure as a Service (“IaaS”).

Strategic Blue takes over the client billing process from cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and CloudSigma, without interfering with the client’s technical access to the cloud. Strategic Blue is able to offer access to cloud computing infrastructure as a service on payment terms tailored for each client, at prices that will never exceed those available directly from the cloud provider. Discounted pricing can be offered where a client can commit to a minimum amount of usage over a period of time. Strategic Blue is able to provide a single invoice for access to multiple cloud providers, and is able to work with clients’ purchase order procedures.

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Video: PriceAdvice – The Blue Book for Everything Else

In this slidecast, Ira Williams from PriceAdvice provides an overview of the company and describes how they help consumers value items for resale.

We want consumers to know they’re getting the best and most up-to-date prices for any used item they want to buy,” said Ira Williams, president of iTaggit. “Our goal is to become the most accurate valuation tool available for the purchase of used items on sites such as eBay, Amazon and craigslist. PriceAdvice was created in an effort to remove the guess-work many consumers face when buying a used item online and to make the process as easy as possible.”

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