Philly Tech Week 2014 Signature Event

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Philly Tech Week’s Signature Event was held at the Comcast Center on Friday, April 11th. It was part cocktail party, part local tech expo, and part demo party. It was a great event to network and served as a great capper for another successful year of Philly Tech Week. Food was provided by DiBruno Brothers and Shake Shack. Local beer (and open bar) was provided by Yards.

Philly Tech Week 2014 Signature Event »

5 Things to Do in Philly This Week: Philly Tech Week Picks, Cinedelphia Film Festival Debuts, and More



Looking for something else? Visit our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a good rundown of local goings-on through June.

VIDEO, GIFs: World’s Largest Tetris in Philadelphia

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The first thing I saw after arriving at the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway was a man in a Tetris costume being interviewed by a camera crew. The second thing I saw were a bunch of teenagers singing the Game Boy Tetris theme a capella. I didn’t know this was going to be such a big deal, but it was Tetris. On a skyscraper.

Yes, people played Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre as the kickoff to Philly Tech Week, and it was pretty darn cool.

I went to see Pong played on the Cira Centre last year, and it had nowhere near the crowd this year’s did. Last year I remember freezing with a few other people, hoping the rain would hold off, watching a few rounds of uninspiring Pong play. But Tetris! What a great game. I can’t see any type of tiling without mentally positioning them into Tetris-shaped blocks; you just don’t do this with Pong. And so there were hundreds and hundreds of people eating from food trucks at The Oval and watching people play Tetris — as well as other games, including a giant, light-up version of Connect 4.

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Tetris on the Cira Centre Tomorrow Night

Cira Centre PongTo kick off this year’s Philly Tech Week, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have partnered to bring another mega-size video game, Tetris, to the exterior of the iconic Cira Centre next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. It’s too late to enter the lottery for a chance to actually play, but everyone will be able to watch as the game takes over both sides of the angular tower tomorrow evening.

During Tech Week last year, lucky players stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art got to play Pong on the north side of the building. That game got into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Largest Architectural Video Game Display”: it utilized 460 already installed LEDs over 59,800 square feet of the tower’s north side. This year’s game is set to top that: players will use both the north and south sides of the building to play simultaneously—against each other or cooperatively—with one set of players stationed at Eakins Oval outside the Art Museum, and the other at Drexel.

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Response: Women Aren’t at Philly Tech Week for You To Look At

Tracey Welson-Rossman of TechGirlz

Tracey Welson-Rossman of TechGirlz

“That Tech Girl Talk session? Seems pretty hot,” wrote Gene Marks in his article “The 56 Things You’ll Likely Overhear at Philly Tech Week” on this website.  While the author was clearly attempting to satirize the event, this part missed the mark.

With that one line he brought to light what is wrong with so many technology events and conferences around the world.  First, the statement is clearly from a man’s point-of-view, as if they are the only people attending Tech Week events. Worse, it marginalizes the involvement of women, not only with Philly Tech Week but also within the technology community, by reducing it to a visual spectacle.

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Interview: How Philly Tech Week Became an Institution

Christopher Wink isn’t yet on Philly Mag’s list of the city’s most powerful people (check out the newest issue!) but give it time. He’s a young man in a hurry, a co-founder of the Technically Philly website that has grown into a franchise covering the tech scenes in several East Coast cities. That venture gave birth to Philly Tech Week — the fourth edition of which starts today — and which is expected to draw 25,000 people to game-playing, hack-a-thons, seminars on starting up your own tech company, and much more. (And oh, yeah: People will be playing Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre.)

“It does inspire a sense of place,” he said. “It does create a community identity … It’s a vehicle to make a better community, not just a bigger party every year. Although parties are good.”

Wink talked this week about Philly’s place in the tech scene, how the town distinguishes itself, and how to encourage Philadelphia startups beyond the tech sector.

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