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October 2008

October 28, 2008

Legislative Email Oops

Last week, hoping to drum up attendance at the Vermont 3.0 Creative/Tech Career Jam among policy makers, I emailed dozens upon dozens of Vermont senators and state legislators.

I know my emails reached some of these public servants — I heard from several of them, and saw some of them at the event (yay!).

But some of those emails, which I procured from the state's legislative directory, went astray. I got a bunch of bounce backs, and on Sunday morning, I received this curious missive:

Dear Cathy Resmer,

Will you please get your act together.  I have written e-mail, after e-mail, to all you political servants in Vermont or wherever you're from.  My name is William Jewett, not Willem, and I am not a Vermont lawmaker.  I live in Florida and am very happy here.  So please take me off all your e-mail addresses and get his correct e-mail address from Willem.

Thank you very much.
William G. JEWETT

Oops! Sorry, William.

And another complaint about these lawmaker emails — whenever I got a response from anyone, their reply always flagged my message as "PROBABLE SPAM." That was a bummer. My invitations were totally not spam.

Resorts Ban Employees from Riding Controversial Burton Boards

Burton_2 Another story on the Burton Snowboards controversy from Lauren Ober, in today's Burlington Free Press:

Smugglers’ Notch announced Saturday at its new employee orientation that resort employees would not be allowed to use two controversial new Burton snowboards when on duty.

The announcement followed last week’s protest at Burton by community members who want the company’s Love and Primo boards taken off the market. Smugglers’ crafted its revised employee policy in early October after objections to the two snowboard models were brought to light, the resort’s spokesperson Barbara Thomke said

...“This is something that’s not in sync with who we are and what we value at Smuggs,” Thomke said. “We certainly think Burton has an excellent product, but we take exception to these lines.”

Apparently, Vail, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado and California’s Heavenly Mountain Resort are also banning the boards for employee use on the clock. Sugarbush is, too.

Click here for the rest of the story.

And click here for more Burton controversy coverage on Blurt.

October 27, 2008

Vermont 3.0 Wrap-Up

250spaceman I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from Saturday's Tech Jam at Champlain College.

I was there from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. And I was sitting in front of an audiences (and, gasp! cameras) for six hours while moderating a series of panel discussions.

In other words, I didn't see much of the actual job expo, but I hear it went well.

Here's an initial round-up of reports on the day, in case you missed it:

I'll post more roundups on the Vermont 3.0 blog later in the week, and we'll be sending out a survey to participants, exhibitors and panelists to solicit more feedback.

In the meantime, please use the comments thread to share your thoughts.

It's All My Fault

Oh, man! I'm really, really sorry, guys.

Will the FCC Help Vermonters Access Broadband?

Here's the deal:

The FCC is deciding whether to open up so-called "TV white space" — the spaces between channels in the broadcast spectrum — for open, unlicensed use. They're issuing the decision on November 4, but the public comment period ends TODAY.

Technology companies such as Google and Microsoft support this action, as does Vermont's Telecommunications Authority, because rural communities might be able to use "white space" to get broadband.

Who opposes this move? The National Association of Broadcasters, among others. Stowe resident and telecom expert Tom Evslin summarizes the issue on his blog, Fractals of Change:

It's important to remember that, although this unused a spectrum is referred to as "TV white space", none of it has been paid for by any broadcaster or will be used for any broadcast purpose after the digital cutover this February. It is also extremely unlikely that any more over the air TV stations will pop up and want to occupy this space; and, even if that did, happen, the current proposal would make room for them since it requires that all equipment used in this space avoid broadcast signal – even if the broadcast signal shows up after the equipment is in use.

So why are the broadcasters so concerned? Well now, let's suppose that much of this spectrum was used to deliver low cost, high speed Internet access. Suppose that people used this Internet access to obtain their entertainment on the Internet rather than from said broadcasters. Now wouldn't that be a fine kettle of fish?

Here's a link to an online petition supporting the unlicensed use of white space.

Tom Evslin is married to Mary Evslin, chair of Vermont's Telecommunication Authority. They're interesting folks. Read more about them here.

October 24, 2008

Vermont International Film Fest Preview

Troublethewater Last summer someone sent me an email with a link to a New York Times piece about indie films people could check out if they were sick of blockbusters. He wanted to know why none of these movies had come to Burlington. Well, as it happens, several of them had played at Merrill's Roxy or the Palace 9 or the Savoy, just not for more than a week or so.

We're a small market, and theater owners (I'm assuming) can't afford to keep art films around for weeks in the hopes they'll find an audience eventually. I always know what movies are coming to town — because I write our showtimes — and you can too, if you check out our Clips page in the paper. (It's got blurbs and running times and everything!) But there's no at-a-glance equivalent online.

Viff_3 So I thought maybe I'd blog about some cool movies coming. Most of these are part of the Vermont International Film Festival, which, regrettably, coincides with our Vermont 3.0 conference on Saturday. But there are plenty of chances to catch them before and after you hear about all the exciting tech jobs VT has to offer...

The fest opened last night with Trouble the Water, which will start a regular run at the Palace 9 next week, and it's a doc worth seeing. Kim Rivers Roberts (pictured) is an aspiring hip-hop diva who turned amateur videographer right before Hurricane Katrina hit her Ninth Ward neighborhood. Only about 15 minutes of her three or so hours of footage are in the movie, but the whole thing is worth seeing. Roberts and her husband are larger-than-life personalities, compelling on their own. It's an up-close portrait of a neighborhood hit by disaster that you can't get from news footage.

Continue reading "Vermont International Film Fest Preview" »

Video Dispatch from Florida

Vermonter Sam Mayfield took her camera to Florida recently to document the '08 election for The UpTake, "an emergent citizen-fueled online video-news gathering organization focusing on providing alternative coverage of the 2008 political circus."

I just got the latest post from SamLand, her blog, in my inbox. It included this video, in which Sam is accosted by a McCain staffer while videotaping outside a campaign office. The UpTake has splashed the video all over the front page of its website, describing it as "what the McCain campaign may not want you to see."

Back in Vermont, Mayfield is a producer for the Center for Media and Democracy, which operates Burlington's cable Channel 17.

October 23, 2008

"Please Talk to Us"

P1010062 Just before they repaired to Red Rocks Park for cookies and cider, the protesters who lined Industrial Parkway, in front of Burton Snowboards, turned toward the company's headquarters and chanted, "Please talk to us, please talk to us."

No dice.

Not that the 100 or so people who turned up for this morning's rally and march, organized by critics of the company's Love and Primo board lines, were left talking to themselves.

At least a half dozen reporters and television crews were on hand to record the chants, speeches and anti-Burton posters  — "Love & Primo are Mountain Pollution", "This is Disrespect not Innovation" — as critics of the boards once again tried to engage a company that has all but ignored them.

As the protesters gathered at Red Rocks for the short swing around the corner to Burton, organizer Lezlee Sprenger took up a bullhorn and said the company's 238-word written response to the controversy, issued last night, was "sadly predictable."

"Burton needs women more than women need Burton," Sprenger said. "That's why we're calling for a mainstream boycott of Burton. The only language Burton understands is money."

Continue reading ""Please Talk to Us"" »

Vermont 3.0 Panel Previews

So, we've got 13 different panel discussions going on at Saturday's Vermont 3.0 Creative Technology Career Jam at Champlain College. I've been writing blog posts about them because I helped organize the panels, and am moderating several of them. Also because I think they're really interesting.

Here are four more of these panels at a glance:

So, You Wanna Build Websites... David Gibson, Frank Canovatchel and Gahlord Dewald address the website design and development biz. David owns Propeller Media Works, Frank teaches at Champlain College and Gahlord works for Union Street Media. All three of these guys represent important local web design entities. If you're interested in this field, you've probably thought about working at Propeller or Union Street. And you may have taken classes at Champlain. Their panel is at noon in the Hauke Center Conference Room.

So, You Wanna Solve Cyber Crimes... There aren't a ton of jobs in the digital forensics field in Vermont... yet. And the ones that exist aren't exactly high profile. The people doing these jobs don't always want everyone to know what they're doing — mainly because they're trying to stop identity theft and internet crimes against children — but our three speakers are fairly high profile guys. Gary Kessler of Champlain College is essentially the go-to resource for journalists who need quotes about online security and investigations. Sgt. Kris Carlson works on this beat for the Burlington Police Department. And Fred Lane is a ubiquitous author and expert witness, who occasionally turns up on network TV — i.e. Jon Stewert's "Daily Show." He's also a Burlington school board member. This one's at noon in the Alumni Auditorium.

Continue reading "Vermont 3.0 Panel Previews" »

Literary Solace for Sox Fans?

Unknown_2 On Monday night, I caught the end of Boston Red Sox season at Nectar's Bar and Lounge in downtown Burlington. Up until the ninth inning, waitresses passed out free wings in little paper containers. When the game ended, the wings vanished. A few disgruntled fans got up and sauntered into the main performance space for reggae night.

Why so grim, Sox fans, when there's a new novel out to keep you in a base-ballin' state of mind until spring training? Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery, by writer Mary-Ann Tirone Smith (she wrote the memoir Girls of Tender Age) and her Boston-based-blogger son Jere, tells the tale, among others, of what happens when nurses discover a baby -- whom they name, you guessed it, Ted Williams -- in Fenway Park.

In other baseball news: Three Vermont Lake Monsters were recently honored by Baseball America for their performance in the 2008 season.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

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