Friday, September 28, 2007
Vermont YouTube of the Day
Former Army Sergeant Drew Cameron, of Iraq Veterans Against the War, has a new project. He and his fellow art studio-mate Drew Matott collected uniforms from service members opposed to the war, and they made paper out of them. Then they used the paper to make anti-war art.
Here's the video, with a song, "Search and Avoid," by Ryan Harvey:
Drew was one of three vets I interviewed for the Peace Talks story last April.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Algebars is closing
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
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
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 them because they're little windows into peoples' lives. I talked to Found founder Davy Rothbart a couple weeks ago, and he said he likes "the mystery" of found notes. "It’s just a fragment of a story, and it’s up to you to finish the rest of it," he says. "There’s some kind of magic in 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?
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, with random text and artwork being moved around while we finalize the look and feel of the new venture. Soon the blog portion of the site will be launched and – in the coming weeks and months – it will expand into a full-fledged online publication. Buckle your seatbelts…"
Monday, September 24, 2007
No more cyberslacking for state employees!
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 of Transportation and Department of Buildings and General Services, keeps tabs on the workplace Web lives of state wage earners. Government officials say the move not only ensures employee compliance with workplace regulations, but also protects the state's computer network against viruses spread by some of the Internet's more nefarious sites.
"There's no specific timeline for statewide deployment," said Tom Murray, commissioner of the Department of Information and Innovation, a new agency that handles information technology for the state. "… Probably there 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"
From the The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh:
Jewish Journal: New York magazine has a profile this week of Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report, and they call him "America's Most Influential Journalist." What have bloggers like Drudge done to journalism, and how do you think it compares to the muckrakers that you came of age with?
Seymour Hersh: There is an enormous change taking place in this country in journalism. And it is online. We are eventually -- and I hate to tell this to The New York Times or the Washington Post -- we are going to have online newspapers, and they are going to be spectacular. And they are really going to cut into daily journalism.
I've been working for The New Yorker recently since '93. In the beginning, not that long ago, when I had a big story you made a good effort to get the Associated Press and UPI and The New York Times to write little stories about what you are writing about. Couldn't care less now. It doesn't matter, because I'll write a story, and The New Yorker will get hundreds of thousands, if not many more, of hits in the next day. Once it's online, we just get flooded.
So, we have a vibrant, new way of communicating in America. We haven't come to terms with it. I don't think much of a lot of the stuff that is out 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 will be those with lots of original content available only at their individual sites. The operations that rely more on universally available news feeds will be at the mercy of a fickle public — one that doesn't care where they read a particular story, especially if it is the exact same story with the exact same headline.
I found both of these stories on Romenesko. Where else?
Friday, September 21, 2007
Vermont Blog Roundup
Some items of interest from the Vermont blogosphere this week:
• I was on an ACLU panel in Middlebury earlier this week where we talked about how kids should be learning about internet research tools in school. Champlain College professor Elaine Young is teaching just that. Here's her latest blog post about teaching social media in the classroom.
• Speaking of the ACLU, Shay Totten writes about their cool new clock at Chelsea Green's The Flaming Grasshopper. Creepy.
• Tanner at Highgate has been printing daily excerpts from a found diary. If you've been following these excerpts, as I have, you know that Arthur has been courting Jennie. Well I just looked at Highgate, and there's an entry from Jennie that says, "I cleaned all through my house today. Arthur was here tonight. He took Hazel + Louis home from the hall. I've got him at last." Yay!
• Speaking of Arthur, ever heard of King Arthur Flour Lava Cakes? They look fantastic.
• I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Unringing the Bell is a first-rate, first-person parenting blog.
• This is the sort of date that I miss, having kids.
• What's so great about Vermont? Gophers.
• Why does the MacBook Pro camera give you a mirror image picture? I have always wondered. Tech blogger Dan York answers the question and provides a solution.
• Speaking of Dan, here's a reminder from him about what's really important in life.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Why are workers leaving the Burlington Free Press?
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
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 coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased 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!