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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Algebars is closing

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Algebars, Burlington's high-tech second floor gaming lounge, is closing. After 2 1/2 years, owners Ross and Lauren Burrell have decided to call it quits. Ken Picard reports on it this week.

Some of their disappointed young clients are trying to keep them open. They've started a petition asking the city to fund Algebars as a kind of community center.

I can't find the petition online, but if you email me, I can send you the kid's email address. Or you could try contacting Algebars.

I'm bummed that they're closing. I've only been there a few times — mostly while reporting this story — but I've enjoyed looking up from Church Street in the dark to see the gleaming blue lights of Algebars. I guess if I want to play those fancy games, I've gotta go buy 'em myself now.

Eyewitness foliage reports

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Looking to do some leaf peeping this fall? The Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce has set up an Eyewitness Foliage Report site.

Peep, then post.

Or check it out before you go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vermont YouTubes of the Day

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Here are two videos taken on a road trip to Canada. Not sure if any of these guys are actually from Vermont, but in the first video, they're driving through Vermont.

Video #1: Where in the world is Jim Misenti? And why couldn't he join this leg of the road trip? We'll never know.

Bonus video #2: A short but appetizing video clip of poutine.

These videos remind me of Found Magazine.I often don't know where they're from, or who made them — I like thembecause they're little windows into peoples' lives. I talked to Foundfounder Davy Rothbart a couple weeks ago, and he said he likes "themystery" of found notes. "It’s just a fragment of a story, and it’s upto you to finish the rest of it," he says. "There’s some kind of magicin trying to fill in the blanks.”

These videos are like that, too, only it's usually a little easier to fill in the blanks. You get more clues.

Snarky Boy's new site?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 7:56 AM

I found this via a Google alert this morning. Not sure what it is.

The URL says "Vermont Daily Times." The page title says "Broadsides." The blog posts it features are from Snarky Boy. The byline says Michael Colby. Coming soon?

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed reader just noticed that the text on the site has changed since my post. Here's what you'll find there now, courtesy of "Snarky Boy" Michael Colby:

"Yep.It’s a new site. But right now it’s only a work in progress, withrandom text and artwork being moved around while we finalize the lookand feel of the new venture. Soon the blog portion of the site will belaunched and – in the coming weeks and months – it will expand into afull-fledged online publication. Buckle your seatbelts…"

Monday, September 24, 2007

No more cyberslacking for state employees!

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2007 at 11:17 AM

The Times Argus and Rutland Herald report this morning that the state is installing monitoring software to see what its 8000 workers are doing online:

The monitoring technology, already in place at the Agency ofTransportation and Department of Buildings and General Services, keepstabs on the workplace Web lives of state wage earners. Governmentofficials say the move not only ensures employee compliance withworkplace regulations, but also protects the state's computer networkagainst viruses spread by some of the Internet's more nefarious sites.

"There'sno specific timeline for statewide deployment," said Tom Murray,commissioner of the Department of Information and Innovation, a newagency that handles information technology for the state. "… Probablythere will come a point in the next year or two where we'll say, 'Yeah… let's take it statewide.'"

If the Department of I and I could get cell phone service statewide, that would be cool.

Incidentally, what's with the capitalization of "Web?" That seems weird to me.

Optimistic forecast for "online newspapers"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2007 at 11:09 AM

From the The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh:

Jewish Journal:New York magazine has a profile this week of Matt Drudge of the DrudgeReport, and they call him "America's Most Influential Journalist." Whathave bloggers like Drudge done to journalism, and how do you think itcompares to the muckrakers that you came of age with?

Seymour Hersh: There is an enormous change taking place in this country injournalism. And it is online. We are eventually -- and I hate to tellthis to The New York Times or the Washington Post -- we are going tohave online newspapers, and they are going to be spectacular. And theyare really going to cut into daily journalism.

I've been working for The New Yorker recently since '93. In thebeginning, not that long ago, when I had a big story you made a goodeffort to get the Associated Press and UPI and The New York Times towrite little stories about what you are writing about. Couldn't careless now. It doesn't matter, because I'll write a story, and The NewYorker will get hundreds of thousands, if not many more, of hits in thenext day. Once it's online, we just get flooded.

So, we have a vibrant, new way of communicating in America. We haven'tcome to terms with it. I don't think much of a lot of the stuff that isout there. But there are a lot of people doing very, very good stuff.

I think he's right.

And I think it bears repeating that for newspapers to succeed online, they need to have quality local content, not just rehashed wire stories. This MarketWatch column sums it up nicely. "There are too many bloated newspapers," writes John Dvorak.

The only papers or news organizations that can expect to survive willbe those with lots of original content available only at theirindividual sites. The operations that rely more on universallyavailable news feeds will be at the mercy of a fickle public — onethat doesn't care where they read a particular story, especially if itis the exact same story with the exact same headline.

I found both of these stories on Romenesko. Where else?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why are workers leaving the Burlington Free Press?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 8:55 AM

Kevin J. Kelley asks the question in today's Seven Days.

Feel free to discuss the story here, since we don't allow comments on our website yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New York Times drops TimesSelect

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2007 at 9:19 AM

Two years ago, the New York Times put its archives and some of its columnists behind a fee wall, and started charging users $49.95 a year to access the information. A few weeks ago, I linked to a rumor that the Times would be abandoning its TimesSelect service. Turns out the rumors were true.

The Times was generating $10 million a year in revenue from a quarter million subscribers, but they decided that aggregating eyeballs was more important, and ultimately, more profitable. From today's Times story:

What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started comingto the site from search engines and links on other sites instead ofcoming directly to NYTimes.com.These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the paywall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyaldirect users, were seen as opportunities for more page views andincreased advertising revenue.

Good news for users, especially bloggers and students who are looking for information but don't want to or can't afford to buy access to it. It's so frustrating to find exactly the info you need online, and then to find that you have to pay for it, and can't even link to it and share it.

And hey, I heard on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac that today is the 156th birthday of the NYT. Thanks for the reverse birthday present!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Writing and blogging panels

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 5:40 PM

I'm on two this week.

Tomorrow I'm on a panel called Writing in the 22nd Century, with UVM prof Tom Streeter, blogger Steve Benen, and my boss, Paula Routly. Jeff Rutenbeck, Dean of Creative Communications at Champmlain College, is moderating.

The panel is part of this weekend's Burlington Book Festival. It's Saturday from 1-2 p.m. in the Champlain College Alumni Auditorium. C'mon down and hear us talk about blogging and digital media and why the hell anyone needs a publisher these days.

On Monday, I'm on another panel, called "Can Blogging Save Civil Liberties?" This one is sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the ACLU. Steve Benen is on this one, too, along with our pal Bill Simmon of Candleblog, author (and Burlington school board member) Fred Lane, and Middlebury College writing prof Hector Vila. VT ACLU ED Allen Gilbert is moderating.

It's on Monday, September 17, at the Ilsley Public library in downtown Middlebury. Starts at 7 p.m.      

New Vermont Blogs

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 12:51 PM

New to me, anyway.

Here are a few of the recent additions to my Vermont blogroll:

Blentwell.com: "the people's dj." 

Blogging Vermont Style: by "independent thinker" Cid Sinclair of Barre.

Bosox Wally: A Red Sox fan site. I think this guy used to be the Bosox Blotter blogger.

Minor Heresies: About "politics, energy issues and human behavior."
The latest post? Incubi, succubae, alien kidnappers and out of body experiences.   

PupStyle: This couple recently moved to Vermont, so they're Vermont bloggers now. Check it out, a blog devoted to canine fashion and luxury. "While we can’t erase all the visually damaging dog fashion in theworld, we can do our best to elevate taste levels one collar at a time."

Rerun and Jungle Clown: A parenting blog by the mother of toddlers.

Vermonter.com: Lots of ads, some good local content. Their recent post on a weird grave in New Haven got Boing Boinged.

Got more Vermont blogs for me to add to my list? Post a link here or send an email to cathy (at) sevendaysvt.com.

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