Friday, February 29, 2008
Exit Voices in Seven Days
Vermonters will decide these questions and more on Tuesday. And this year's Town Meeting Day promises to be an exciting one.
All the more reason to share your election day stories on the Exit Voices blog!
Exit Voices is a "Vermont blogging experiment" sponsored by the Burlington-area cable access channels — 15 (VCAM), 16 (RETN) and 17 (CCTV). It's moderated once again by Vermont blogger and filmmaker (and VCAM producer) Bill Simmon.
Here's how it works:
Exit Voices is a forum for Vermont voters to come together and discuss the issues and candidates on the ballot.
In the comments section of the Exit Voices posts, answer these two questions:
1. What motivates you to go to your town meeting or polling station and vote?
2. If you could add a comment on your Ballot for your elected officials to read, what would you say?
Alternately, tell us what you said at your Town Meeting, why you refused to vote, or what makes you crazy about our system of democracy.
I've participated in Exit Voices in the past. I love checking in to read other peoples' accounts of their polling places. In fact, I love it so much that I convinced our editors to run some of the comments in the paper.
Next Wednesday's edition of Seven Days will reprint some of the content from the Exit Voices blog.
I've got to start curating these comments by 2 p.m. on Tuesday — sadly we've gotta send the paper to print before the election results are in. So consider this my first plea to all of you Vermont bloggers to post early (and often!). Your words could wind up in Seven Days.
But here's a snazzy article in Business Week about Ben Kaufman.
It even mentions the Burlington Brainstorm, which was apparently not as successful as hoped.
Not all the news is good. Two weeks before TED, Kaufman held brainstorming sessions in Burlington. His plan was to introduce a crowd to Kluster, luring folks into his downtown lair with vouchers for free drinks at local bars. He had hoped that ideas would percolate on the brand-new system, including a project for the TED attendees. More than 100 thirsty and curious visitors made their way in, but their ideas for TED came up short.
I just logged in to check their progress. Looks like they've got a lot more ideas, anyway.
Anyone have more info? Man, that conference sounds cool.
UPDATE: Just looked at Vermont Tiger and found this post by Cairn Cross, about Robin Williams stopping by the table at TED to talk with the klusterers.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Who are the (rotten) people in your neighborhood?
And you thought the iBrattleboro lawsuit was juicy... Some enterprising team of people has created www.rottenneighbor.com, a site where you can tell the world about your rotten neighbors. There are actually a few local entries. I'm putting the comments here, but removing actual addresses.
Old guy that lives in this apt is a pain in the ass. 40-ish guy that complains about noise too much and looks anorexic, get a life ****-head!
The kids have no respect they won't listen and they have had the cops called on them many many times.
dog bits [sic],kids very loud, smoke smells from there, they leave there butts out side for me to pick up, kids have sex out side and smoke, father never home, lots of kids coming and going, land loard don't care, nasty condo to live next to.
Guy's a loser and a drunk.
These neighbors are also very nice they are polite and considerate and also has helped me jump my car many times Kudos to them.
Why build a site like this? Here's what the founders say:
What We Believe
- Real estate agents are not obligated to disclose problem neighbors, leaving clients in the dark
- Information on bad neighbors should be made freely and easily available to everyone
- The internet can offer unique, valuable guidance to home buyers and sellers
- The more rotten neighbors you contribute, the better the service for everyone.
You can comment on these opinions and report them abusive, but this site still seems risky. Can you really trust these anonymous tipsters to give good info? I like the Front Porch Forum model of neighborhood knowledge better, though, alas, you have to live in a neighborhood to see comments from neighborhood residents.
I must admit, I am tempted to log on and tell people about the drug dealing that goes on in my neighborhood.
I just told my co-workers about this site, and read the comments above out loud. They wondered how it will play in Vermont. Says Paula: "It's a good way to get your head blown off by your neighbor." Yup.
Thanks, Boing Boing.
Kluster is online. Not much there yet, but you can go check it out.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Check out this audio slideshow I produced this week, with help from Andrew Sawtell, one of our designers (who is also a photographer). It accompanies Pamela Polston's cover story about photographer Näkki Goranin and her photobooth obsession.
Näkki owns a stunning collection of discarded photobooth snapshots. She's got about 3000 images, a fraction of which made it into her book, American Photobooth, just released from W.W. Norton. Some of the others are on display through March at Pine Street Art Works.
If you like found art, you'll love this exhibit. We're lucky to have it here in Burlington, so go see it while you can. Here's a peek.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
VT Blogger on Homeless Marathon
Vermont blogophiles will guess that the headline refers to Morgan Brown of Norsehorse's Home Turf.
Morgan is an activist, a blogger and a fearless communicator. I've lost count of the number of times he's emailed to alert me to a new Vermont blog, or an important news story.
On Wednesday, Morgan will be taking part in the national Homeless Marathon:
WHAT IS THE HOMELESSNESS MARATHON?
It is a 14 hour radio broadcast featuring the voices and stories of homeless people from around the U.S. The Homelessness Marathon features live call-ins all night long via a national toll-free number. The Homelessness Marathon is available for free to all non-commercial stations.
Morgan sent me this message via Facebook:
WGDR 91.1 FM in Plainfield, VT will be airing the 11th annual homelessness marathon from 8PM to 1AM and I will be in the WDGR studio from 9PM to 1AM.
Listen in tomorrow night and support Morgan and this important event.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Journalism without ads?
Sorry for the blogging hiatus. I really should have taken a day off after returning from San Fran, just to get my ducks in a row, but I didn't. And now I'm paying for it.
Here's an interesting opinion piece about journalism from Edward Wasserman, a j-school prof at my alma mater, Washington and Lee University. Incidentally, I didn't actually study much journalism there — I was an English major.
Wasserman wonders, "Can journalism live without ads?" I wonder that, too.
Modern computing offers unparalleled capacities to track and calculate. Imagine a vast menu of news and commentary offered to you ad-free for pennies per item, the charges micro-billed, added up and presented like a utility bill at month's end. The money that journalism providers got would depend on their audience.
Plus, if you uploaded comment or video in response, to the degree it was downloaded by others you'd get credited for it -- compensated like any other provider.
Interesting. I looked into the micro-billing option a few years ago, when I was working for cartoonist Alison Bechdel. At the time, it seemed that there weren't any good ways to micro-bill. Has that changed?
I wish there were a way to either 1) allow people to pay a small fee if they choose or 2) make some things pay per view (like, pay a few cents per view), in exchange for dispensing with ads online.
I'm not sure how I feel about it all yet — as a media-lover or as a media company employee — but I'd like to know more about what's out there.
I should add that I'm not really sure that removing ads is a good idea — not just because they pay my salary, but also because I use them as a source of information. A different type of information, to be sure, but they're a source nonetheless.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Burlington Brainstorm: Friday Night
I'm a homebody, so I went early. I was there from 7:30-8:30 p.m., so if the party got going later on, I wasn't there to see it.
But I was able to test the system, and talk to Ben and some of his design team — including the curiously named Mat Poprocki. Yes, that's really his name. The first photo is Ben, the second one shows (from left to right) designers Mat Poprocki and David Hitchcock.
This was definitely worth an hour of my time, if only because the set-up was so swanky, and I got to play with something new. Although the "free drinks" were actually drink tickets redeemable at local bars. Too bad.
They're not launching kluster until February 18 — this was actually the first time the system was live and open to the public for testing. "Pre-beta-testing" they said. And it's true — a few things didn't work, and I found a typo, but what I saw was still pretty cool.
They asked that I not say too much about how the system works since they're not going public for a week or so, but I can tell you that it's an application that enables group collaboration around ideas. "Anything better served by asking a group," says Ben.
Ben, by the way, is 21. He dropped out of Champlain College and is working on this full-time. He's got 12 people working with him — they got funding to develop this from outfits like Vermont's own Fresh Tracks Capital. In other words, they're exactly the type of business that we saw at Vermont 3.0 a couple weeks ago.
They were asked to take kluster to the TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design), which I've never heard of — possibly because I'm not "one of the 1000 most remarkable people in the world." The gathering takes place at the end of the month. According the the schedule, speakers include Al Gore, Amy Tan, Dave Eggers, Samantha Powers and oceanographer Robert Ballard — the guy who discovered the Titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic.
The kluster crew will be there to use their collaboration tool to help these thinkers and doers share their collective wisdom. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with — if it takes off there and people actually use it. Good luck, guys!
You can still get a sneak preview tonight (Saturday) starting at 5 p.m. in the offices above Stone Soup and Bueno Y Sano on College Street in Burlington (the corner of College and S. Winooski Ave.).
Friday, February 08, 2008
Their publicist called me the other day to pitch it as something we should cover. From what I can tell, it's an application that allows people to bring their ideas to the community online, and then use the feedback they receive to refine the idea. The publicist says the idea is based on model Kaufman used at Mophie.
They're launching this thing at an upcoming Ted conference, but before they do, they're looking for ideas to test. So they're hosting a Burlington Brainstorm this weekend in their office on College Street, above Bueno Y Sano and Stone Soup. Starts Friday at 7 p.m. until whenever, and continues Saturday starting at 5 p.m. to whenever.
They promise music, whiteboards, wii and free drinks. I'm hoping to go for a bit one of those nights. Should be interesting.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
YouTube of the Day
A couple weeks ago, I posted a video about a German TV crew that interviewed Bolton cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Well now the German video is posted on YouTube, so here it is. And Don the Jonesville postmaster makes an appearance! Yay!