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Highlights from Last Night's SVNewTech Meetup

Silicon Valley NewTech, the Bay Area's largest and oldest tech meetup group, gets together every month inside a conference room at DLA Piper in Palo Alto to eat pizza, drink some beers and listen to presentations from startups. At nearly 7,000 members strong, SVNewTech chooses four startups every month to showcase their product through a 15-minute demo and presentation, followed by a rapid-fire question and answer period from the audience. Joe Robinson, the organizer of Silicon Valley NewTech, will be bringing us the highlights from these meetups, reporting on some of the most promising ideas presented. Below are his notes from last night.

Optimizely

Most businesses and organizations have websites, but very few have any idea what's working and what's not. Optimizely wants to change all of that through their incredibly simple A/B testing platform. The service is easy enough for anyone to use, and coding is limited to copying & pasting one line of code to the page you want to test.

The Optimizely co-founders, Pete Kooman and Dan Siroker, are great examples of how persistence and experimentation are key ingredients to startup success. They worked together at Google as Product Managers, co-founded a previous company together called CarrotSticks, and are now applying their learnings to Optimizely.

Twitter Users to Be Granted First Look at J.J. Abrams' 'Super 8' at the Metreon

Fellow geeks, get ready to tweet. Paramount Pictures and Twitter announced today that sneak-preview screenings of J.J. Abrams' eagerly anticipated sci-fi fantasy Super 8 will take place all day Thursday at theaters across the country – including the AMC Metreon here in San Francisco – a day before the movie opens nationwide.

To promote the sneak previews, the companies have designated the hashtag #Super8Secret, which Paramount has also sponsored as a promoted trend, giving Twitter’s global users a direct link to buy tickets. Participating theaters will be treat those in attendance to a free popcorn (with a concession purchase) at each showing. Hosting movie sneak previews marks a first for Twitter.

Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink for Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

1. Wire at Public Works: A combination of fashion show, hair-modeling event, and rock concert, Wire will feature dresses constructed of recycled telephone wire, coordinating hair and makeup by Elevation Salon, a performance by the Australian band The Black Ryder, and of course, cheap booze. Tickets are $10 in advance, but the drink specials are cheap: $3 Staropramen beer and $5 Karlsson's Vodka cocktails. 7x7 is one of this party's sponsors, so come out and support us! Tickets are here. (Sunday, June 12, 7 pm-2 am, at Public Works SF, 161 Erie St., Mission.)

Scavenger Crawl 2011 in SOMA This Sunday: Get Ready to Drink & Raise Money for Charity

Running around the city solving riddles, searching for hidden clues and drinking beer dressed like a ninja is a heck of a way to spend a Sunday —especially for a good cause. The 2011 Scavenger Crawl is here to help you kick off the summer as a hybrid pub crawl/costume party/charity event that benefits Brush Fire Painting Workshops, an organization dedicated to healing kids through art.

You get three hours in one SF neighborhood (last year's was the Mission, this year's is SOMA) to solve all the clues, which are kept on the easier side so you actually have a chance to finish it within the time span and get some drinking in along the way at the various participating bars and pubs.

Comedian Loni Love And Her 180-Degree Career Change Come to Punchline

One of the great things about comedy is that there’s no one single conventional path to making a career of it. Advanced degrees, internships, corporate ladders, apprenticeships, none of them are prerequisites for getting up on a stage and trying to make people laugh. If only Johnny Tremain had known...

Loni Love’s journey to Hollywood — Hollyweird, she calls it — certainly has its own distinct trajectory. Before she realized her career in comedy, Love lived the unparallel life of an electrical engineer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in the subject, and worked for eight years at Xerox. Funny how things turn out. Very funny.

Take a Lap in a Pro Race Car at Infineon Raceway for a Good Cause

If you're hankering to joyride a racetrack, head to Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway this Saturday, where they're hosting an afternoon and evening of racing, wine and food to benefit the N.A.S.A non-profit Car Control Clinic for teen drivers. There are racing activities all day and you’ll even get to take a ride around the track with a professional driver.

Chekhov Lizardbrain at FURY Factory Theater Festival

Eleven full-length plays and twenty works-in-progress make up the FURY Factory theater festival, with the Obie-winning Chekhov Lizardbrain as a quirky literary highlight. 

Making its West Coast debut, Chekhov Lizardbrain is a meditation on the elusiveness of memory from Philadelphia’s acclaimed theater company Pig Iron. Named one of the top ten theater events in New York in 2008 by The New York Times, it's about a lonely botanist who attempts to rewrite his fractured past as he plies his plants with Chekhov. 

This Week in Food: Super Duper Opens in FiDi, Celebrity Chef Tour, Slow Taco Night, and More

Today, June 8

FiDi folks get another burger joint today. Super Duper opens its second location, and there should be an announcement for a free burger hour on their Twitter feed and Facebook page. 721 Market St. (at Grant) 

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