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Monday, August 22, 2005

I lied — no new server yet!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 5:46 PM

I just read a comment from Shawn, who asks if the new server went up on Saturday as planned. The answer is that no, it did not. Sadly, Don tells me that Silicon Dairy will not be able to put in a compatible server anytime this week (?!?!?). As of right now, we have no ETA (estimated time of arrival) for our new server. This makes me very sad, especially since there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

So please, use the comments thread in this post to complain about how this makes all of Seven Days' web content irrelevant. That will only make me feel worse, but hey, at least we'll be able to see that people care.

VT Blogs: Guest Blogger

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 5:36 PM

Katy Pearce of Burlington (and of blogrel), is guest blogging this week at lifehacker. Here's how the site explains itself: "Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the downloads, web sites and shortcuts that actually save time.  Don't live to geek; geek to live." Cool.

Katy also tipped me off about the Burlington Telecom Beta Tester program. If you haven't signed up yet, and you're in the service area, you might want to think about it. I'd sign up, but I live in Constructionville. Er, I mean Winooski.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Real VT: a week in the life of a rural community tech mentor

Posted By on Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 11:28 AM

Just came across an interesting August 5 post from Jessamyn West, the former Rutland Free Library Outreach Librarian who is now working as an Americorps-funded community technology mentor in Randolph. Jessamyn writes librarian.net, but she also keeps a personal blog, and that's the one where she describes a typical week in the life of a rural tech teacher. Here's part of Wednesday's entry:

I went to a low income housing development in yet another townwhere I teach a regular every-other-week class to a group of mainlysingle mothers. This week we learned: how to filter mail in Yahoo mail,cutting and pasting between applications, what a cookie is, and how touse the Undo function. Everyone felt good by the end of it. The ladywho runs the Family Center where the three-computer lab is made us allscones.


Posted By on Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 10:33 AM

Brent Curtis writes an amusing article in today's Rutland Herald / Times Argus about an online dating site called farmersonly.com. Why create a dating site just for farmers? Says founder Jerry Miller, of Ohio: Out in the middle of farm country, everyone knows everybody. After a certain point, you run out of options.

According to Curtis, there are just three profiles on the site from Vermonters:

At least one of the three Vermont listings doesn't appear to be from afarmer. A 20-year-old Montpelier man describes himself on the site asan outdoorsman looking for a country girl to spend time with.

There'salso a U.S. Marine from St. Johnsbury who writes that he grew up on adairy farm and is looking for a country girl to start his own farmwith. The third is a 63-year-old man who raises llamas and growsorganic produce in St. Johnsbury.

I bet they'd get a lot more profiles if those folks in the NEK could get cheap broadband.

The best part of the story, though, is what this guy had to say:

Ed Pomainville, a retired farmer in Pittsford, said he has had greatsuccess with an organization called "Singles in Agriculture" since hedivorced his wife years ago.

"I just got back from a trip toPortland, Ore., where I spent a week with a woman I met through theorganization who is from Alaska," Pomainville said. "I think this newsite would be valuable. Farmers don't get out much. This should help.By the way, you can say I'm available."

Guess his trip didn't work out. Good job with this story, Brent.

Friday, August 19, 2005

New Server Saturday!

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2005 at 11:00 AM

Thanks, everybody, for your patience with the agonizingly slow Seven Days website. Don, my friend and favorite webmaster, has informed me that a new server is arriving on Saturday. That should speed things up a bit. Please let us know if you're still having issues with our issues.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hi from free wifi in Evanston, IL

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2005 at 10:32 AM

My gracious editors at Seven Days sent me to yet another conference this year — I already got to go to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Eastern Regional Conference in February, where I got to meet Duncan Black, aka Atrios. And 7D helped me go to this blogger meet-up in Chapel Hill, NC, which was fun.

This weekend, I'm at an AAN writing workshop at the  Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston. This marks the first time I've ever seen the inside of a journalism school, so it should be fun. Did I mention I have no educational background in journalism? It's true. I studied English in college and thought I wanted to be a poet.

Anyhow, here I am in Evanston, posting from a free wifi hotspot at this internet cafe. I was headed to one of the coffeeshops next door, when I noticed the gigantic FREE WIFI HOTSPOT sign in the window. So I'm here. This place is more sterile than a Starbucks, but it's free, and they do have a few comfy chairs. There are several desktop terminals you can pay to use, in addition to printers and CD burners and copiers. It's like a cross between Kinko's and Starbucks. I even got a cup of coffee.

Woman behind the counter says they've been here for 5-7 years. Which would explain why I didn't recognize them — I worked in Evanston 8 years ago.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

wi oh wi

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2005 at 7:45 AM

Just got an email asking if I'd seen the wi-fi coverage in the NYT recently. Yes, I saw that both Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof  have written about the merits of wi-fi. There's a nice little write-up on them both by Andrew Rasiej at The Huffington Post.

Here's this interesting bit from Kristof, that I think probably relates to VT:

...we need to envision broadband Internet access as just another utility, like electricity or water. Often the best way to provide that will be to blanket a region with Wi-Fi coverage to create wireless computer networks, rather than running D.S.L., cable or fiber-optic lines to every home. So if the first step was to get Americans wired, the next step is to make them wireless.

Wireless is particularly attractive in Vermont, where wiring rural homes is impractical. Hey, if the cowboy country in eastern Oregon that Kristof visits in his column can build a wifi network, then we should be able to get it here. I know I need to write about some of the rural wireless initiatives in VT. I'm told that Cloud Alliance is up and running, or about to be.

So where does Tim Nulty's vision for wired homes through Burlington Telecom fit into all of this?

And fyi, if you scroll down on the BT home page, you'll see a link to the Friday Coffeeblogging  podcast in which Nulty appears. The BT web guy asked Bill's permission to put it up there. An interesting example of the value of citizen journalism.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Bloggers Wanted at Rutland Herald/Times Argus

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2005 at 11:50 AM

This is neat. Just got an email from Ernesto Burden at the RH/TA about this new project, which is posted on the Rutland Herald and Times Argus websites. Each paper is creating a readers' blog that will include commentary from readers and from that paper's editors. They're looking for contributors "from a variety of social and political perspectives."

They're appealing to readers in ads on their websites:

Bloggersmust be good writers, and must be committed to civil discourse, evenwhen writing on controversial issues. This is not a paying gig and sobloggers must also be willing to post for the glory and thesatisfaction.

Interested? Contact ernesto.burden@rutlandherald.com 

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Real VT: August in Winooski

Posted By on Sat, Aug 6, 2005 at 7:53 AM

Sunflowers and a spider web. 6:30 a.m.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Airports at the airport - wifi fight

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2005 at 6:51 AM

I was so excited during a recent lay-over in Boston to find a free wifi connection at my Continental terminal. I didn't ask any questions, because I thought maybe it was a mistake that it was free. But no, appearently it's Continental's policy to offer free wifi from their frequent flier lounges.

And Logan Airport doesn't like it. According to this article from the Associated Press, the airport calls the net givewaway a threat to security and public safety. Uh huh. I guess it's just coincidence that the airport charges $7.95 a day for their wifi network.

The Massachusetts Port Authority (which runs the airport) has ordered the airline to remove the network; Continental has filed a claim with the FCC. It's the first case to deal with wifi at airports. The FCC says they're accepting public comments about it until August 29, after which time they'll make a ruling.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I want my free wifi. On the other hand, I don't think non-laptop-using passengers should have to subsidize me while I check my email. It would be great if this could bring down the airport's daily fee, which is a little too high to be competitive, in my opinion, though that's hardly a surprise when a simple, cold turkey sub costs — I'm not kidding — $8.

And airport wifi should be priced differently. Or maybe it is and they didn't mention it. When I'm in an airport, unless there's a delay, I'm seldom there for more than 2 hours. It would make more sense to charge an hourly or even a 30 minute rate. And make it cheaper. But maybe problems with micropayment software are making that unprofitable? Are they really trying to gouge me at $7.95?

Sadly, there are no wifi networks of any kind available at Burlington International.

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