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Comment Archives: stories: News + Opinion: Tech

Re: “The Rise and Fall of Springfield, Vermont's First 'Tech Hub'

Great article! I'm a gen Xer who spent summers in Springfield from the early 80's through the mid-90's. My parents grew up in Springfield and always lamented the loss of stability and prosperity that the machine tool industry provided. I didn't realize Springfield was such a prosperous town since most of the locals my age wanted to leave. Instead of working for large employers, most of the adults I met worked seasonal jobs or had their own small businesses. If climate change would lessen the severity of those snowy Winters, I would move back to that area.

Posted by flatlander73 on 08/06/2019 at 9:38 AM

Re: “The Rise and Fall of Springfield, Vermont's First 'Tech Hub'

This is a good, thought provoking article. It shows how Hartness developed businesses that became critical to the growth of Vermont and to some degree America. But also shows how companies can be throttled out of business by poor management.

Certainly J&L, Fellows and Bryant were at one time global leaders. During my first trip to Germany in 1989 I witnessed the prominence of Bryant products. The German company I worked for had a new 150,000 square foot building for grinding bearings. It housed only Bryant grinders. The reason: Bryant products were the best in the world.

While working at Bryant as a college coop in 1963 - 1968 many Asian groups were escorted through Bryant plant WITH many cameras hanging from their necks. I asked why cameras were permitted the answer: it was a priveledge and it's free advertising. How ridiculous! My German employer never knowingly allowed cameras in any of its 90+ global facilities to protect company developed technology and processes.

As a coop I programmed CNC machines to make Bryant grinder components. But somehow Bryant was unable to associate CNC with their product. I believe if Bryant and Fellows had started to integrate CNC into their equipment 50 years ago and better protected their intellectual property the brands might be viable today.

I lived in Springfield for 23 years. My dad worked at Fellows all of his career. I ultimately moved on to experience life outside of Vermont. I returned several times and unfortunately witnessed the changes in the town as the plants lost business.

Thanks for the article which made it to my computer in 2019.

Posted by Nezdave on 07/08/2019 at 10:20 AM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

As far as similarities to Silicon Valley go, at least Russ has the exploiting workers thing down:…

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by some of us are sometimes right on 04/30/2019 at 9:44 AM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

Great stuff, but 500+ people will park WHERE?

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by David Tepper on 04/10/2019 at 10:42 AM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

In the 40s and 50s, following World War 2, the US government began funding Stanford engineers to research weapons technology. Fred Terman, dean of engineering at Stanford, encouraged graduate students and professors to spin their research into start-ups that sold their products to defense contractors. The first initial public offering out of Silicon Valley was in 1956 for a company called Varian, which sold microwave tubes for military applications.

All of that DoD money gave birth to Fairchild, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and other companies that made the silicon chips that put Silicon Valley on the map. Today that technology powers every computing device you have.

And here in Burlington one trust fund surfer and a company that makes websites to sell cars makes people proclaim that we are at all like Silicon Valley?


Here are some current figures regarding Silicon Valley.

The San Francisco Bay Area has the largest concentration of high-tech companies in the United States, at 387,000 high-tech jobs.

In 2015, about 50% of total venture capital funding in the USA happened in the Silicon Valley and San Fransisco area. About 51 new tech companies are launched every month in the San Francisco Bay area.

The amount of Venture Capital money invested in the San Francisco area reached a record high of $27.5 billion in 2018, up from the previous high of $26.5 billion in 2015.

The entire Vermont state budget is $6 billion.

I think what Mr. Scully is dropping his money into is great, except for making Blodgett beach an exclusive, over-priced, walled-off enclave. But please stop the mind-numbing, over-the-top hyperbole comparing this area to Silicon Valley. Thank you.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kyle Creason on 04/09/2019 at 12:16 AM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

I wish people in Burlington would stop using Silicon Valley as short hand for any local tech development. There is no threat of it becoming Silicon Valley East as I have heard numerous people proclaim. It undermines credibility.

I used to work for the Stanford School of Engineering and the Stanford Historical Society shooting interviews with many of the key players that built "Silicon Valley." They were the most remarkable group of men and women, now mostly in their 70's, 80's and 90's.

There are (at least) 7 factors that underlie Silicon Valley's success that are not replicable in a place like Vermont or almost anywhere else in the world.

1. Multiple world class universities

2. Rich engineering tradition

3. Deep talent, especially technical, partly thanks to the universities, partly thanks to migration and immigration of many of the world's brightest and best educated people.

4. Cross fertilization between universities and tech talent, and a support system ("soft infrastructure") for entrepreneurs: universities, angel investors and VCs, lawyers (and the legal system), bankers, accountants, landlords, head hunters

5. Culture. Risk taking (as compared to risk-averse New England) and failure tolerance (as compared to China's culture of ostracizing those who fail).

but most important,

7. the US Department of Defense funding development of most of what is driving the technology that we use today. For example, Fairchild Semiconductor, considered the pioneer start-up of todays Silicon Valley, won its first business through military contracts, building chips that helped send American astronauts to the moon, and helped build missiles that armed the US in the Cold War.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kyle Creason on 04/09/2019 at 12:11 AM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

We wish Russ nothing but the best. I smell a Presevation Burlington award on the horizon if he keeps those buildings around. BBA looks out for business--that's their job. We try to look out for the wagers that make the wheels of society turn--that's our job. Welcome to America.

It would be interesting to set aside a bit of space for co-op model business and artisanal production of material goods, something other than tech. Once somebody in on Winooski's blossoming remarked that, "people need something else to do other than gorge themselves and get drunk," and I'd say that applies here too in a different way.

Google Campus is open to visitors and it will make this place more dynamic to make it an open campus too, not an impenetrable fortress.

Here's to somebody risk-friendly enough to give this a shot!

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Alexander Clay Lavin on 04/02/2019 at 5:48 PM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

Interesting that, in this day and age, the entire design, with bar, restaurant, workout space, etc., offers no plan for any child-care areas, which could be a huge marketing feature -- not just daycare, but after-school facilities like playground, gym/dance/music area, library, craft or 'maker' space. So much for progress.

9 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Katharine Hikel, MD on 04/01/2019 at 5:41 PM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

An 8 to perhaps 9 figure pharma wealth trust funder who gives generously to the political players in the city can get things he wants done???? Will wonders never cease!! Sure. Burlington is the next Silicon Valley. Sounds great. We already have the real estate prices. I think as a dynamic community we can get them even higher!!! Will there be jobs for those who arent digital economy types or will the jobs just be for those who want to take yoga classes at the pavilion and enjoy the private beach club. Elites seem to take care of their own dont they? Stand up paddle boarding is stupid.anyways. Get a frickin canoe posers.

28 likes, 54 dislikes
Posted by critikboy on 03/27/2019 at 10:50 PM

Re: “Hello, Hula: Can Russ Scully Create a Lakeside Tech Scene?

Good luck to Mr Scully!

I can not imagine his venture becoming successful given demographic headwinds and structural problems with our City's economy, but I hope I am proven wrong!!!

27 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 03/27/2019 at 4:37 PM

Re: “On Open Data Day, Learning Humanitarian Mapping With Code for BTV

Thank you to everyone who participated! Keep up the good work!

Volunteers who chose to label their efforts as part of this event added 1,064 buildings to the Tanzanian mapping project. Around the world on that day, volunteers added 8,879 buildings to the project.

At the start of Open Data Day, less than 1% of the project's tasks were mapped. 5 days later, 23% of them are mapped, and 1% are validated. The total number of buildings mapped so far is 14,486.

This is the power of crowdsourcing. :)

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Christina Hamilton on 03/07/2019 at 7:33 AM

Re: “Charlie Morrow Creates Soundscapes That Mimic How We Hear

Very interesting.

Posted by The Great Morpheus on 02/12/2019 at 7:27 PM

Re: “Software Left Vermont Towns' Data Vulnerable for Years

What a tool. I'm pretty sure simpleroute now understands the software much more than their "preferred partner" dominion tech. Hell, I'm pretty sure they understand the software better than the developers themselves now. To be so petty and try to retaliate at simpleroute by trying to push business to dominiontech is shady as hell. I wonder if he's getting kickbacks?

4 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Charles Staal on 02/07/2019 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Software Left Vermont Towns' Data Vulnerable for Years

As an industry professional, I also would like to see the Attorney General launch an investigation. It doesn't take an elite hacker to find a vulnerability like this. Rather, NEMRC missed the very first steps of Cybersecurity 101, like not using a database from 2001. The program was dumping sensitive information into text files on the main shared folder for the towns. Even my grandmother can figure why that's a bad idea! Oh, and NEMRC was also sending all the sensitive data over the Internet, completely unencrypted, which was left out of this article.

The heinous, obvious nature of these bugs, coupled with the fact they've existed since 2006, all but GUARANTEES that data has been stolen, almost certainly multiple and many times. Add to this pile that fact that the offending party is completely unapologetic, smugly calling cybersecurity concerns "overblown" and hinting at the witch-hunt metaphor. TJ Donovan, please step in and stop the madness!!!!

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by btv123 on 02/07/2019 at 9:07 AM

Re: “Software Left Vermont Towns' Data Vulnerable for Years

Software solutions are getting more essential for business. Some are secure , some are not.
For construction project managers you may like to use this one:
That probably would save your time, resources and money.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Charles1905 on 02/07/2019 at 6:53 AM

Re: “Software Left Vermont Towns' Data Vulnerable for Years

Since "Ernie" was well aware of the security failures for years he probably should do jail time. At the very least, his company feet should be held to the fire by the AG's office. What good is VLCT in all this? Not much apparently!

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by E. Sutor on 02/06/2019 at 12:34 PM

Re: “Software Left Vermont Towns' Data Vulnerable for Years

"I AM A LONELY FOOBALL." What is that you may ask? It is an error message within the NEMRC system. What does it mean, you may ask? As a NEMRC user myself, I ask the same question.

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by wwvt16 on 02/05/2019 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Beta Technologies Races to Develop Electric Aviation

The Electric Wright Brothers, in our midst here in VT! That is unreal.

Posted by Peter Moore on 02/04/2019 at 6:56 PM

Re: “One Man's Mission to Rate Vermont Restaurants by Noise Level

I'm going to see if better living audiology takes insurance and go see them for the reasons Mr Davis has stated. This is a very great service

Posted by Gi Grape on 10/21/2018 at 8:38 PM

Re: “One Man's Mission to Rate Vermont Restaurants by Noise Level

I love the idea of collecting lists of quiet restaurants! I also suggest that restaurants not seat couples next to large parties.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by CitizenVT on 10/20/2018 at 8:18 PM

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