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Friday, January 26, 2007

Freyne's in the hospital

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2007 at 7:10 AM

In case you hadn't heard, Seven Days political columnist Peter Freyne is in the hospital. He was recently diagnosed with cancer. You can read Peter's own account of this turn of events on his blog. Talk about transperancy...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hall Monitor hangs up his hat

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2007 at 9:35 AM

Darren Allen is  no longer roaming the halls of the legislature on behalf of the Vermont Press Bureau. Here's the latest post on the Hall Monitor blog:

A note from the editors...

January 23, 2007
                                                                        You may have noticed Darren Allen's absence from the Halls over the last couple of days, and we want to explain.

Allen,who started this blog two legislative sessions ago as this paper'sfirst venture into the blogosphere, has decided to leave his post aschief of the Vermont Press Bureau to become the communications directorfor the Agency of Natural Resources.

He will start his new job-- where he will be responsible for letting the public (and us) in onwhat the more than 600 people in ANR are doing -- on Feb. 5.

Whilewe don't know the future of the Hall Monitor -- or who will roam thehalls and let you all in on the gossip, intrigue and insider tidbits --we do know that you can continue to expect the best political reportingin the state from the Vermont Press Bureau's Louis Porter.

We wish Darren well as he jumps over to the other side.

Stay tuned.


Odum at Green Mountain Daily has started a discussion about Allen's departure. I started to comment on it this morning, but I need more time to organize my thoughts. I'm definitely sad to see Darren go. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Small World

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2007 at 9:41 AM

Many of you will remember how, a few weeks ago, my little family was featured in a StoryCorps segment that aired on NPR's Morning Edition. I bring it up again because it's a good example of the way the internet has dramatically changed the way we interact with information.

If that interview had aired on the radio ten years ago, we would have had our minute of fame and been done with it. It would have disappeared from the airwaves the instant it aired, and it wouldn't have been archived in any meaningful, accessible way. We would have hoped and assumed that somewhere, for that brief moment, our story sparked a conversation or two about non-traditional families. But it would have been like throwing a stone into a pond in the dark — you know it causes ripples in the water, but you can't see them.

Things are different now. Because the segment is archived online, it's like we can keep throwing the stone into the water over and over again. And we can see the ripples. We can measure the height of the ripples. We can even measure their velocity and know how far they travel. It's crazy, how much we can find out about those ripples. Frankly, I find this increased capacity for knowledge both thrilling and disturbing.

Ever since that interview aired, I've been looking for references to it online, and have found some interesting ones. There are the obvious references, from public radio websites that have archived the interview, and on blog posts by people I know, like Eva, Alison, Odum  and Bill. Not surprisingly, a lesbian blogger at Windows Media (which owns the New York Blade, Washington Blade and the Southern Voice in Atlanta) picked it up. She also referenced it at her personal blog, where I left a comment, which she responded to (another small world-ism — I discovered, reading her blogroll, that she knows VT librarian-blogger Jessamyn).

But there are a multitude of other online references as well. For example, someone posted a transcript of the interview to a message board at askmen.com. A guy from London commented on it: "What the hell?" he writes. "Reading that feels like stepping through some twisted Looking Glass." Huh. And check this out — a weird Google translation of a Japanese blog post about our interview (here's the original, in Japanese).

I also found a transcript posted at a blog called Whosedaugher? (yes, misspelled in that way), which appears to be a site created by a disgruntled donor-conceived child woman who opposes the whole donor dynamic.

What does it mean, that all this information exists out there, and that I can find it so quickly? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's changing me and my worldview in some fundamental way. I'm just not quite sure how yet.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Social Networking Sites

Posted By on Mon, Jan 15, 2007 at 1:59 PM

As part of my new job, I've spent a few hours browsing social networking/news sites like Digg, del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia. I've registered myself and I've started to participate some, but as a new user, I find it somewhat daunting. Each one has its own rules and norms. I'm not sure I can belong to so many communities. I feel like each time I register myself, another small piece of my soul splinters off, never to be heard from again.

Maybe I'm being overly dramatic.

Anybody got any other suggestions? Sites you use that I'm missing? Besides MySpace, Flickr and YouTube, that is.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Job Change

Posted By on Thu, Jan 11, 2007 at 1:38 PM

Well, it's official. This week I started my new job here at Seven Days — I'm the paper's first online editor.

I just called 7D a "paper," but in fact all newspapers are now morphing into multimedia enterprises that repurpose their content for a variety of platforms.

I have to talk like that now that I'm an editor.

We're still working out how this change will affect my writing, though it's already clear that I'll be writing significantly less than I have been for the last few years. Enjoy my cover story this week — it'll be my last for awhile.

I'm doing a lot of big picture thinking right now, so if anyone wants to offer suggestions, I'm all ears. I have a lot of ideas, experiments I want to try, things I've been wanting us to do for years that for whatever reason, we just haven't been able to do. Like embedding links in the text of our stories — I actually learned how to do that the other day, and have finally started embedding some links! Yay! An itty-bitty baby step, obviously, but exciting if you're me.

One of my new responsibilities is putting together an email newsletter that we're launching this week. You can sign up to receive it on the 7D website. I'm interested to hear what people think. I was skeptical of this idea at first, but I actually had a lot of fun putting together the first one. So sign up for it and leave your pithy comments here, please.

The Dead Governors are, well, dead.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 11, 2007 at 12:50 PM

The Capitol Bureau is now closed — yesterday the anonymous bloggers at Politics VT (all of them named after dead Vermont governors) made their final post.

The guvs announced their departure back in April of last year, and now that all the politicians are installed in their new elective offices, they've made good on their word. In their parting post, they urge Vermonters to start up their own blogs, to hold politicians accountable.

Check out the reaction to their departure in the comments thread of the last post. I think this exchange about sums up their two-year tenure. The authors, like the bloggers, are anonymous, so who knows if it's legit. Make of it what you will.

At     January 10, 2007 ,        Maggie_LLL12 said...

WhenI googled Vermont politics for a research paper, this was the firstthing that I got. I have been coming back ever since and I am trulyhopeful that someone returns to finish the work that you have allstarted. Maybe I will start something up? Who knows.

I am just glad that you all provided this forum for us. Well Done and Thank You.

At     January 10, 2007 ,        Anonymous said...      

Thisis my first, and most likely only blog post....ever. I was involved inVermont politics this cycle and thereby had firsthand knowledge of manyof the topics discussed on this blog.

While working, I made it apoint to check your blog every so often and have come up with 2possibilities for your blog. 1) You make stuff up. 2) You don't checkyour facts.

I know for a fact that much of the information andquotes you have posted were false. Either you guys made it up, or gotthe information from someone who fabricated it, and you didn't botherto verify it's authenticity. Either way, you are not journalists,despite what you might think.

Maggie, I hope to God that youdidn't use this site for your research paper. Only a moron of a teacherwould let someone cite a blog as a resource...unless of course you werewriting a paper about blogs that perpetuate false information.

At     January 10, 2007 ,        Maggie_lll12 said...             

Dear Anonymous,

I did not use this blog as a reference. I actually just used it as a starting point and which campaigns to pursue.

By the way, I got an B+.

So long, guvs!


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Scorpion on a plane!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 9, 2007 at 9:37 AM

For real.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Also tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2007 at 1:33 PM

Listen for Caleb Daniloff on Vermont Public Radio. I just got this email from him:

Dear Friends,

Just found out my next VPR commentary on my experience as a blogger is
slated to air this evening at 5:55 PM. Hope you enjoy it, apologies for the
short notice.

Best, Caleb

Vermont the E-state

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2007 at 10:17 AM

Lots of people talking about Governor Douglas' announcement last week of his vision of Vermont as the first "e-state." I haven't quite parsed what he means yet, and if you haven't either, and you live in the Burlington area, you might want to catch this on Channel 17:

Join us tonight (Monday 1/8) at 6pm for a LIVE CALL IN to discuss: Vermont: The First E-State

Governor Douglas announced plans last week to transform Vermont into the first “e-state." What does this mean exactly? Is this a plan to transform Vermont or simply subsidize private telecommunications companies? What is necessary for Vermont to build a robust platform for educational and economic success in the Internet Age? Can other nations inform our efforts? What are the real investments that must be made? What are the real challenges we face? And, why do we want to be an e-state anyway?

Steve Shepard, Telecom Consultant
Maureen Connolly, NorthLink Project
Ralph Montefusco, Communications Workers of America

The moderator will be Lauren-Glenn Davitian. The format will be interview with live calls. Repeat airtimes will be announced.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Another good book

Posted By on Sat, Jan 6, 2007 at 10:29 AM

I'm supposed to be writing, but instead I'm procrastinating. Just finished Hari Kunzru's novel Transmission and wanted to say a few good words about it here.

I've been scanning some reviews, and they're mixed, but honestly, I loved this book. Couldn't put it down, in fact. It's about a hapless and pitiable Indian hacker who unleashes a devastating computer virus on the world. Also includes entertaining subplots that satirize marketers, celebrities and hipsters. I found it timely (though it came out in 2004) and entertaining. And funny. Anybody else read it?

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