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Friday, June 30, 2006

Best Vermont Blog Daysie— Vote now!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2006 at 7:32 AM

The polls are open, and the competition is heating up! Who will win this year's Best Vermont Blog Daysie Award, the premier (and only) Vermont blogging prize? Diabologue? She's Right? Green Mountain Daily? Vermont Daily Briefing? Will it be last year's winner, Candleblog?

You choose! Here's a link to the rules. The survey monkey dies on MONDAY JULY 3 at 5pm, so  vote now!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Media Giraffe

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 2:51 PM

I am so sad I'm not at this conference on citizen media at UMASS Amherst. I'm going out of town on Sunday for a week's vacation, and had too much to do beforehand.

Looks like there are a few Vermonters there, like Lynn Gregory of UVM, Chris Grotke of iBrat, Rob Williams of ACME.

The Weekly Post: From Norsehorse's Home Turf

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 8:48 AM

This week I chose to spotlight Vermont's most vigilant and prolific blogger, Morgan Brown. Morgan is once again homeless. He occasionally writes about the difficulties of his transient lifestyle, as he did in this post, In Transit: Moving, Day 2:

It appears I will be able to sleep on a couch on an outside porchof a place in town. I have permission to do so, at least if the couchesare not already filled up with others by the time I make it over there.Late last Summer and much of the Autumn I slept on the same porch,until I moved indoors on October 22nd (2005).

While it is notalways easy for me to get enough of a good quality sleep in suchenvirons, relatively speaking, it is somewhat better than thealternative(s) -- of which there are not too many (i.e., good onesanyway).

If it comes down to it, my tent and camping gear isalways at the ready, stored with the rest of my stuff, just in case itis ever needed; although having to resort to camping out typicallyrequires a lot of energy and takes it
s toll on me.

I know Morgan and have read his writing because he has access to tools that allow him to publish and disseminate his work electronically. His blog is a great example of how the web can give voice to people who might otherwise be voiceless; how it can deepen our understanding of important but often invisible people and issues in our own communities.

You can read an excerpt of Morgan's post on the Letters to the Editor page in this week's Seven Days.

UPDATE: Morgan takes issue with my characterization of him as Vermont's most prolific and vigilant blogger. Hmm. In an email, he writes: "while I appreciate the honor, I am in no way Vermont's most 'prolific' blogger, I think that honor is best bestowed on the likes of NTodd as well as others. In fact labeling me with it might be taken as an insult to those who actually deserve it as well as their readers. In addition, I also do not think I am Vermont's "most
vigilant" blogger either."

Ok, maybe Morgan is not quantifiably the most prolific Vermont blogger. I said that because he maintains a bunch of different blogs. But I stand by the "most vigilant" label. Literally every time something interesting happens in the local blogosphere, Morgan writes to tell me about it, and often posts about it on his blog. And he finds all kind of Vermont sites I've never seen. He's got his finger on the digital pulse of what's online in 802. I call that vigilance.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Missile Silos!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 1:28 PM

I spent pretty much all of last week driving around in my car to various former nuclear missile launch sites in Vermont and New York. Here's the story in which I describe what I found. Don and I also put together this audio slideshow with the extra photos.

I love these audio slideshows! They're really fun to do. The narration on this one is pretty low-tech; I recorded it using the mic embedded in a laptop, while sitting on the loading dock in back of our office. I'm sure my production skills will improve over time, especially once I purchase some more appropriate recording equipment.

Bad News for Burlington Telecom

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 7:26 AM

Looks like the Burlington School District, their 2nd biggest client, is switching Internet providers. Vermont Telephone offered a better deal.

UPDATE: Richard Donnelly, BT's Sales & Marketing Manager, responds via email:

The Free Press article  gives the impression that Burlington Telecom “lost” a major customer when the School System changed its Internet supplier from BT to Vermont Telephone (VTel) .  Nothing could be further from the truth.
BT provides the high-speed fiber connections that “power” the school telecom and information system.  It also provides the voice telephone system.  It will continue to do both.
In addition to the above services, BT has, in the past, purchased Internet Bandwidth from VTel and resold it, at no profit, to the Schools.  However, VTel has decided to provide a special offer directly to schools around the state—and offer well below what it charges to normal residential and business customers (including BT).   This heavily discounted Internet Bandwidth will still be transported to the Schools over BT’s fiber network.
Since BT never made any money on the Internet Bandwidth which it simply passed through to the Schools, it loses nothing by the switch.  The Schools, however, gain a great deal.


Vermont's Media Online

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 7:11 AM

Well the Burlington Free Press has finally entered the Vermont blogosphere. Arts reporter Brent Hallenbeck is now posting to Brent's Notebook. It's embedded in the Freep's website, but when I click on comments, a Blogger-based comment window pops up. Huh. Guess I'll have to add him to my Vermont blogroll.

Too bad Casey's on vacation.

On a related note, the Rutland Herald and Times Argus are about to shut down their Reader Roundtable blogs. I'm not surprised. The RH/TA had initially contracted with several local bloggers to contribute posts, but most of them eventually stopped writing. The blogs have devolved into soapboxes for predictable political rants. They'll be disappearing from the sites on June 30.

Online editor Heather Aja sent me an email last week explaining the change. "We have noticed a drastic increase in participation in our forums at both the Herald and the Argus and feel as though the forums have taken the place of the blog," she writes.

"Over the next few months we will be exploring other options to enhance the sites," she continues. " We will be monitoring our traffic patterns and looking at reader feedback to see where new content and blogs will best fit the web sites."

I see from reading Aja's blog that she is also on vacation. If you've got feedback for her, send it to the email address on her site after July 4th.

Speaking of vacations, I'm out next week, too. Time to hang with my family in sunny South Carolina and play pass the baby.

UPDATE: Hey, I just saw that the Freep has also added vt.Buzz, a Vermont politics blog written by Sam Hemingway, Nancy Remsen, and Brent's wife Terri. Their first post says they'll be focusing on campaign '06.

Question — why are all the posts attributed to vt.Buzz? It looks like the writers will be signing their contributions at the bottom, but they will be posted by some other entity. The BN is set up that way, too. What's with the middleman? Also, why can't I find the politics blog from the homepage?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday Deadline Linkydumpy

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2006 at 1:49 PM

Who's saying what this week on Vermont-based blogs:

• Charity Tensel at She's Right cheers the Supremes for striking down our campaign finance law — and the flip side, from Green Mountain Daily.
• The Blogger BBQ is coming up soon. Here's the Hamburger Summit FAQ from Vermont Daily Briefing.
• Eva the Deabeat meditates on socially isolated Americans and YouTube.
• Open Heart Farm invites folks to stop by for a visit. (They took this fine photo on their farm).
• Jessamyn West reflects on breakup etiquette as it relates to social networking sites.
• How she-gamer Gravity wrecked her mom's car last weekend. Jeez, be careful out there!
• Ed C. speculates on why there aren't more women bloggers (though this list is full of them). 

the blogging life

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2006 at 8:32 AM

I haven't been posting much the last couple weeks. Got caught up with a convention, and new ideas, and then spent a week racing around the countryside looking for... you'll find out what tomorrow.

But while I've been posting less, my friend Alison Bechdel has been posting more. Houghton-Mifflin just published her graphic memoir Fun Home, which has gotten all these rave reviews. It's really great, though I admit to being biased.

Anyway, Alison's been blogging her book tour — in text, audio and video — as obsessively as she documented her childhood. Her blog has knocked down that wall that traditional media puts up between the artist/author and her fans. It's voyeuristic and strangely compelling, as good memoirs are. But it's in real time. There's little opportunity for reflection, for putting events in context.

It's interesting to see how a good memoirist uses a blog. It's not the most profound reading material out there, but it's entertaining. And it opens a little window into the back end of the publishing industry. I like it.

Of course, when I was her assistant, I had to beg her to post... but that's another story.

Hotspots for customers only

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2006 at 7:41 AM

Speeder and Earl's on Pine Street in Burlington, one of my favorite wi-fi-enabled cafes, has recently encrypted its network. The baristas keep the password, which changes daily. Only paying customers can now get access. So no more parking out front and checking your email.

I noticed this morning that Bill Simmon and friends at Candleblog are discussing the situation.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Weekly Post: From Diabologue

Posted By on Sat, Jun 24, 2006 at 10:17 AM

Can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday! Jeez, I've been busy. Can't wait to write about what I've been doing all week, but I'll let it sit until Wednesday.

In the meantime, you can peruse this post about the Satanic High Mass on 6/6/6 from Burlington resident Matt G. Paradise. Matt's a Magister of the Church of Satan, and the guy behind Radio Free Satan.

I thought this was a fitting choice, given the spirituality-themed issue of the paper. You can read a tiny excerpt on the Letters to the Editors page of this week's Seven Days.

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