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By Jackie Zakrewsky

Hacker. Brainiac. Creative genius. Email savior.

These labels don’t faze software entrepreneur Dave Baggett ’92, founder of the Bethesda, Md.-based company Arcode – though they’re flying thick and fast in the flurry of reviews generated among tech bloggers about Arcode’s first product, Inky.

“So much for the slow organic growth path,” the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Humanities noted in a recent email.

That ubiquitous technology, which Baggett simply calls “mail,” happens to be his current entrepreneurial target. Through a simple download at inky.com, Baggett aims to offer the world a better email experience, with “smart” features such as a unified inbox that consolidates a user’s email accounts and sorts messages by relevance.

Baggett is the first to admit Arcode wasn’t ready to unleash Inky on the world.

“We’re hardly out of [initial] alpha [testing] at this point and are focused primarily on fixing bugs,” he wrote in late December in a post on the Hacker News website.

But Inky’s unexpected debut in the tech community has found Baggett fielding questions about a host of issues, ranging from security and privacy concerns to requests for mobile versions of Inky. The magna cum laude graduate with a double major in linguistics and computer science offers straight-up answers, no matter how much “geek argot,” or tech lingo, is thrown his way.

If you question whether Inky is “wrapped with Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF), with web page JavaScript calling native Python scripts,” Baggett has a simple answer that doesn’t give away the company store: “Yes, it embeds Python and uses CEF. But there’s a lot of other native code running there as well.”

For the past two decades, Baggett’s programming acumen and entrepreneurial spirit have served him well. As he wrote on Hacker News, “I'm a hacker who (long ago) co-wrote Crash Bandicoot (1&2) and co-founded ITA Software, which was sold to Google in 2010.”

That track record led to an extensive overview of Inky in the influential online media hub known as Tech Crunch and prompted one blogger to write, “I’ll try Inky just because of your credentials.”

Meanwhile, the hard work of getting Inky right continues. In an interview at Arcode last year, Baggett noted that making “this transition from the dumb mail client to a smart one entails solving a lot of hard [technical] problems”—to the extent that “larger companies with more resources will not easily clone what you do.”

He also recognized that getting the product right wasn’t the only hurdle he faced in creating Inky.

“The biggest challenge with consumers is you have no idea what they’re going to like,” he said. “It’s worth pointing out that you have to do everything right and then get somewhat lucky to have that happen.”

You can try Inky for free at http://inky.com

By Ashley David

The College of Arts and Humanities would like to congratulate University of Maryland English Professor Vessela Valiavitcharska on receiving a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

NEH is an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.  In November 2012, NEH distributed $17.5 million in grants to 246 humanities projects. Valiavitcharska was awarded a “Fellowship for University Teachers,” which provides $50,400 to college and university teachers pursuing advanced research. 

Valiavitcharska’s research project entitled, “The Relationship between Figurative Language and Argumentation in Medieval Greek (Byzantine) Rhetoric,” is a broader inquiry into the relationship between style and argumentation in Byzantine rhetorical prose.  She was drawn to this research because of attitudes of Byzantine rhetoricians, who appear to treat rhetorical argumentation not so much in terms of logic and reason, but in terms of style and language form.

When asked what impact she hopes to make with her research, Valiavitcharska says, “I hope to challenge the understanding that there is an absolute divide between argument and style in medieval rhetoric.”

For a complete list of the 2012-13 NEH grant recipients please click here

11/7/12

 

ALL events are FREE (ticketed) and open to the public.

Reserve tickets through the Clarice Smith Center online at www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu or by calling 301.405.ARTS.

 

David Alan Grier in conversation
Monday, November 12, 2012, 7 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall Clarice Smith Center

The multitalented comedian and film, television, and Broadway star discusses the creative process, comedy and improvisation, music and his life experiences with culture and race. Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time,” Grier was most recently nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for his performance in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess.”

Cosponsored by The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Eric Schlosser in conversation
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

Award-winning journalist, producer of the critically acclaimed documentary “FOOD, Inc.,” and best-selling author of “ Fast Food Nation” — selected by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 non-fiction books of all time — discusses the controversial and alarming state of public health, agriculture and the food industry in America.

Cosponsored by UMD Dining Services Green Dining Program

Chimamanda Adiche
Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient and award-winning Nigerian author of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” “Purple Hibiscus,” and “The Thing Round Your Neck,” which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa, speaks to the cross-generational significance of storytelling and its enduring impact on the cultural history of our lives.

Cosponsored by the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies and The Institute for International Programs

Cathy Davidson
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

Professor of English at Duke University, renowned scholar in Digital Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies, and prolific author of “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn,” explores how the modern digital age will globally shape the future innovation of learning.

Cosponsored by the ADVANCE Program

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