Sunday, March 30, 2008

Media making milestone day

Happened to notice that today I reached 1900 posts here, 470 posts at Franklin Matters, and 140 posts at quiet poet.

Lots of zeros!

I think if you spend a few minutes on these pages, you find something worthy. If not, please let me know what you'd like to see more of. We'll start the conversation and see if it can be done.

Earth Hour - revisited; Revs win

Thank you to all the visitors coming here for Earth Hour!

I hope you found something else of interest while you were visiting and will return again someday.

We were out at the New England Revolution soccer game vs. the Houston Dynamo so for the most part, the lights really were out at our house during the hour (as well as some before and after).

The Revs played really well to win 3-0. Three different players scored, two in the first half (Ralston, Christman) and one in extra time to close out the game (Nyassi). While we were concerned coming into the season having lost four key players from last year, the new folks have stepped right in. One game does not make the season, but the signs were very promising last night. Defense, always a strong point, stayed tight and sharp. Offense, which has been spotty, was dynamic and challenging from all angles, not just the predictable crosses from the wings. This team seems to have more depth. They will need it to make it through the season.

I am very hopeful this will be a very good season!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour - 3/29/08 8:00 PM

did you see the Google home page today? They turned the lights out!

Google users in the United States will notice today that we "turned the lights out" on the homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Given our company's commitment to environmental awareness and energy efficiency, we strongly support the Earth Hour campaign, and have darkened our homepage today to help spread awareness of what we hope will be a highly successful global event.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Override Central starts a tally

If you were following the trials and tribulations in Franklin last year as the budget season progressed and Franklin passed its first operational override on May 22, you can fasten your seat belt for some sort of ride this time around as well.

The school budget is facing a shortfall of $3.2M to provide "level service". If forced to stay short, then the high performing district that Franklin is will likely start a decline. 45 teachers would be cut to meet the shortfall. In the School Committee meeting on Tuesday 3/25/08, there was at least one mention that the focus Franklin has placed on school size has driven its success in the MCAS scores.

Hence, an increase school class size (cutting 45 teachers) will decrease the MCAS scores.

Exactly what will happen to the overall budget still remains to be determined.

To follow the story of the Franklin budget this year, subscribe to Franklin Matters.

The Boston Globe's Override Central is getting active again. Subscribe there for what is happening to other communities around the commonwealth.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Scholarship money is there if you look for it

With money tight, no time is better than now to go looking to see if you can find some scholarship money for college. My good buddy from PodCamp Boston, Christopher Penn has the tips on how to do so:

Why let a little thing like money get in the way of your future!

where is the next PodCamp?

Funny you should ask.
Check out the listing of upcoming podcamps.
Is there one in your area?

Upcoming PodCamps:

Visit the PodCamp site frequently for updates to this listing (only good as of 3/25/08)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Twitter Stats

Yes, someone has a free service that counts and graphs your twitter activity.

Thanks to Nancy White who found it via Beth Kanter for the pointer.

My stats reflect my limited usage. I can only access Twitter before and after work during the normal week and on the weekends from my personal system. The company firewall restricts the access (and for some good reasons) (not that I agree with all of them :-) ).

Civic duty day

I was summoned for jury duty today. I was released early so I returned home to work from there catching up on some research I needed to do for a current project. It would have been interesting to have been called into a jury though, maybe next time.

I had gone to the courthouse prepared for waiting. A good book, some writing material, my camera and open eyes/ears. The camera didn't get past the security at the door so much for that idea, media maker!

The book did come in handy while waiting for the time we did. One of the judges came in to our jury pool room to thank us all a couple of times before sending us away for the day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heating Oil Prices

HeatingOilPrices_80324, originally uploaded by shersteve.

I think the chart says it all. Today's delivery put us at the all time record for our period here in Franklin, MA.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Billy Collins - Happy Birthday!

Yes, lucky for me Patti Digh posted that today is the important day for Billy to mark his birthday.

It is appropriate that I "found" a sherku for Billy today. He had something to do with the creation of sherku.

sherku: For Billy on his Birthday

Stepping from the title
to the first lines is like
stepping into a canoe

Another in a series of "found" poems. Billy Collins, in this case, may not have realized he was writing a sherku at the time.

Berkman@10 - Lisa Stone collection

My collected posts from Lisa Stone's talk as part of the Berkman@10 series.

Advance notice

Lisa Stone speaks (audio)

Lisa Stone Q&A (audio)

Lisa Stone is a gem (photo) (photo) (photo)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Life Lines Contest

Life Lines Contest: Win a Hand-Engraved Piece of Jewelry

We each carry lines of poetry with us. Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly. For National Poetry Month 2008, share the lines of poetry that are most vital to you, along with notes about the precise situation that summoned them to mind. All participants will be automatically entered to win a piece of jewelry by San Francisco designer Jeanine Payer. The winner will have the "life line" hand-engraved on a specially chosen piece. Entries can be emailed to until April 1, 2008.

On the web at:

Berkman: Study Alcove

Berkman: Study Alcove, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The alcove was empty.
It was a little after 5:00 PM.
Lisa Stone is due to speak at 6:00 PM in the West Lecture Hall just around the corner.

I settle onto the bench and begin reading one of my magazines. A gentleman comes along lookng about, not sure where he is or if he is finding what he wants. He asks if Lisa will be speaking here. I confirm yes, and that nothing is set up yet. As we talk I think I recognize him but am not positive. If it is who I think it is, why is he asking these questions? He goes into the room. I confirm later that it was who I thought it was: Doc Searles introduces Lisa.

A few minutes go by. A lady comes by, similarly looking for the Lisa's talk. We chat and confirm she is in the proper place. She sits and we continue talking finding much in common.

Other than being in the same place to hear the same person. She also blogs. She also knows Beth Kantor. She comes from a small town in Western MA. We talk about prop 2 1/2, building community, and discovering common ground. We exchange cards and go into the hall to get our seats for Lisa's talk.

The alcove and bench is not so empty after all.

Berkman@10: Lisa Stone

Lisa Stone delivering her prepared remarks.

The full text of her remarks are available on Lisa's blog.

The audio of her remarks and the Q&A that followed are also available here (remarks) and here (Q&A).

Steve Garfield video streamed her remarks and that piece is available here.

Updated: 4/5/08 here is the Berkman video of this presentation

Berkman@10: Doc Searles

Doc Searles introduces Lisa Stone as part of the Berkman@10 speaker series on Thursday 3/20/08.

Lisa Stone is a gem

How many speakers take time before they deliver their speech to walk through the audiance to introduce themselves to those gathered to hear them speak?

I can think of one; Lisa Stone.

She did navigate her way amongst the tables and chairs to get to some of the group. For those in the back, alas, she did not have enough time as some conversations along the way delayed her. But the attempt, the effort was priceless!

Thank you, Lisa. It was a real pleasure meeting you.

More on Lisa's talk as part of the Berkman@10 program can be found here (the Berkman announcement), here (a audio recording of her remarks) and here (the audio of the Q&A session that followed her remarks).

Berkman@10 - Lisa Stone Q&A

Berkman@10 - The Q&A session following Lisa Stone's prepared remarks on Thursday 3/20/08.

Time: 39 minutes, 33 seconds

MP3 File

Berkman@10 - Lisa Stone speaks

Doc Searles introduces Lisa Stone. Lisa takes about 20 minutes to deliver her prepared remarks in this section. Part 2 covers the approx 40 minutes of Q&A that followed.

Time: 22 minutes, 12 seconds

MP3 File

Thursday, March 20, 2008

21st Century Learner

Another video gem from Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By:


Circle of Friends - Antje Duvekot 3/29/08

Rising star Antje Duvekot appears at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in Franklin on Saturday, March 29th at 8PM. German born Antje has been taking the musical world by storm, winning the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Award and Boston Music Award as well as the John Lennon songwriting contest.

Three of her songs garnered critical acclaim when they were covered by the Celtic supergroup Solas. Her songs are uncompromisingly truthful yet also uplifting. Her lyrics encompass the joys and struggles, the trials and perseverance - and simultaneously the beauty - that characterize human existence.

Former Rolling Stone music editor Dave Marsh says of her debut album “Big Dream Boulevard”, "This is a brilliant, brilliant album. I have had this reaction once in the last 10 years and that was the first time I heard Patty Griffin.”

Local singer/songwriter Patti DeRosa will open the show. Her music is “fun, funky, and sizzling” and is delivered with a stage presence that draws the audience in and warms the heart.

“A gem that stands out in the vast sea of singer-songwriters...” Madalyn Sklar, GoGirls Music

The Circle of Friends Coffeehouse is a non-profit organization affiliated with Franklin's First Universalist Society. Concerts are presented in a smoke free and alcohol free environment at the Society's handicapped accessible Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St. in Franklin, and begin at 8:00 PM; doors open at 7:30 PM. Beverages and gourmet desserts will be available. Admission is $15. Please call (508)528-2541 or visit to purchase tickets or for more information. Tickets may now be purchased with a credit card using PayPal.

Berkman@10: Lisa Stone, Co-Founder and CEO of BlogHer

Berkman@10: Lisa Stone, Co-Founder and CEO of BlogHer
"What Women Want: How Candidates and Companies Hurt and Help Themselves with Women Today"

Thursday, March 20, 6:00 PM
Austin West Classroom, Austin Hall
Harvard Law School
No RSVP required

What Women Want: How Candidates and Companies Hurt and Help Themselves with Women Today
So, Britney Spears, America Ferrera and a Soccer Mom walk into a bar...

In the coming decade, political candidates, consumer brands and new technologies will be made or broken by their ability to embrace the habits and demands of the most powerful consumers and voters in the world: Techno-savvy American women. This powerful demographic controls 83 percent of household spending as well as the majority of votes in the U.S. Today, thanks to the Internet and to the new social media tools embraced by female consumers, American women online represent stunning economic and political power -- and a rapidly morphing target.

In her talk on the ballooning habits of adult women online, Lisa Stone shares how U.S. presidential candidates and household brands have helped--and hurt--themselves by failing to understand what many women online increasingly demand. This insider's guide to how women are translating their words into action includes a discussion on the failures and triumphs of:,, Facebook, Starbucks, Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, and pending legislation on post-partum depression.

About Lisa

The originator of BlogHer, award-winning journalist and blogger Lisa Stone has launched successful blog networks and interactive programming for many national brands, including Hearst and Rodale magazines, E! Television/Online, HBO’s Sex and the City, Knight Ridder Digital, American Lawyer Media and Glam Media. While executive producer and Editor in Chief/VP, Programming for, Lisa launched an 18-channel network and helped grow it to a Top 30 site overseeing all original content programming and newsletters, including a team of 25 and an annual budget of $3 MM. Her team’s best-known work included Bachelors of Silicon Valley, The | Bloomberg Index, RU A 10? and Majority 2000, an election initiative with Good Housekeeping and Gallup. Lisa has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Oakland Tribune, Publisher’s Weekly and Frommer’s, among other publications. She is the first internet journalist awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University. Lisa’s personal blog, Surfette, began as an extension of her 2004 convention blog for the Los Angeles Times.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Never too old!

From Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By, I find this bit of wonderful inspiration!

These old folks call themselves the Young@Heart Chorus and the group (with different performers over the years) has been making all kinds of music together since 1982. Although they have performed around the world, they are poised now to become an overnight sensation - a documentary about them, Young@Heart will be released in theaters on 9 April. It won the audience award for Best International Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was a hit at last week’s SXSW conference in Austin.


PS - the group is based in Northhampton, MA. For those in New England, you could catch them live sometime.

Dark Tide - Book Review

I had published my short form book review of Dark Tide previously.

My long form of Dark Tide was published Tuesday as part of the month long Love Affair with Books on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog.

You have my permission, indeed encouragement to click on over, read it and participate in the conversation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evolutionary blogging - follow the process

From a quotation found in the IWDaily newsletter:
"Mach-S, the speed at which stress can't keep up, is simply forward motion. But it has to be self- propelled. Note that people in cars are still stressed." -- Jef Mallett
I found Jef on wikipedia

and found his comic, Frazz

to which I subscribed

and then crafted a sherku

Thought to speech technology

A new thought-to-speech technology promises to give voice to the voiceless, to silence cell phone yellers, and to provide a discreet way to query search engines while in public.

At the Texas Instruments Developer Conference in Dallas last week, Michael Callahan, CEO and co-founder of Ambient Corp. of Champaign, Ill., (not to be confused with Ambient Corporation of Newton, Mass.), demonstrated Audeo, a way to convert the deliberate nerve impulses that precede vocalization into digital information that can be turned into synthesized speech.

"What we came up with was essentially a technology that captures neurological information from the brain, and translates it into speech," said Callahan in a video of the presentation.

The technology can't read minds. "It's a step above thinking but a step below speaking," Callahan explained. It requires, in other words, a deliberate effort to think about speaking words. But it can be used to provide those who have lost the ability to speak with a substitute form of vocal communication.


Read the full article in InformationWeek here

Think of the possibilities!

Jewel - Stronger Woman

There is a new Jewel video for her single "Stronger Woman"

I remember seeing her at South Station last year up close and singing well.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Google has a bus routing patent

Focusing on one patent on transportation routing, he told a gathering at last week's AIIM conference in Boston that he sees not only a business opportunity for Google in transportation routing, but also the tip of a proverbial iceberg in the way the search engine colossus approaches much of its business.

"No one knows what these guys at Google are up to," said Arnold, who has written two books on Google, in an interview this week. "That's why their patents are so important."

Arnold, who takes an investigative approach to Google without help from the company, says the transportation routing patent is already embodied in Google's employee bus system in the Bay Area. Using Google's mapping technology, GPS location finding linked with Google employee cell phones, the buses and employees are connected efficiently in real time. Employees are informed wirelessly when their bus is approaching. Another iteration of the system appears to be in use at a Google facility in Korea, Arnold added.

While the system is useful now for the company, Arnold believes it can have wider use in larger transportation routing systems including highway systems and air traffic. The approach spelled out in the patent could have use anywhere routing is important, even in the spacing of cell phone towers, Arnold said.

Bold for my emphasis.

What if Franklin's new bus used this? The route runs along King St. I could use it to get to the train station if it was allowed to stop along the way. How many more people could use the bus this way?

Just imagine the possibilities!

Read the remainder of the article in InformationWeek here.

SOBCon 08 - Interview with Liz Strauss

Liz Strauss is interviewed by Jason Falls talking about SOBCon08 coming up May 2, 3, 4 in Chicago.

Watch this:

Now, will you meet me in Chicago?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to make a choice

I wrote a sherku about the school choice we have.

How do you pick just one from the four good candidates?

The School Committee is using a rubric. A set of predefined criteria by which each member can score each candidate. How well did each candidate make the grade in the areas of
  • interpersonal skills/leadership
  • professional knowledge of Accounting/Finance
  • budget development and management
  • business office administration
You can review the interview for each of the candidates, review their background, and then consider: how would you rate the candidates?

Which one stands out for you?

I'll share my choice and reasoning later this week.

Monday, March 10, 2008

April is National Poetry Month

Click on the image to find out the various programs being organized by the Academy of American Poets for the month of April.

100 Miles

My log book tells me that I completed 100 miles so far this year. Yes, 100 miles over 25 days running mostly 3 days per week. This works out to an average of exactly four miles per day although my past week was more like normal and reflects how the average really works out.

Tuesday evening - 3
Friday early morning - 2
Sunday morning - 7

I am still getting back into condition. Ideally as Daylight Savings will allow more time to run during the light at night, I'll build to go 3-6 on Tuesday with the tempo run. 3-5 on Thursday with some pace work on the track. Then close the week with 7-10 on a long run on Sunday.

Once a month, maybe a road race (5K mostly) to add some travel and spice to the run.

I like to say that my job pays the bills. Which allows me to run for my physical health and write for my mental health to keep the cycle going.

Do you exercise regularly?
What do you do for exercise?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

SOBCon08 has a location!

Hooray! Look what the folks at SOBCon08 just announced!

It is with great excitement that we announce the venue for SOBCon08 -Biz School for Bloggers:

The Summit Executive Center in Downtown Chicago!

That’s right, we’re going to be getting together right in the heart of the Windy City, at 205 N. Michigan Ave.

As you know, we’ve spend much time looking for just the right place to host this gathering, and The Summit fits the bill perfectly.

It didn’t take us long after meeting Summit “Ring Leader” Louise Silberman and touring the facility that we knew we’d found our new home - in fact they practically “had us at hello” with their core purpose statement: “To support education…inspiring professional and personal growth.”

Bingo! (check it out for yourselves on their excellent web site)

I will be there. Will you?

sherku: love affair

Books to read, books to share
March’s joyful learning
Is called a love affair

Originally posted at quiet poet, this sherku celebrates the wonderful book reviews and conversations being shared at the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Deja Brew, deja brewing

Friday was another beer brewing night at Deja Brew. Five kettles were in operation for our group to make the following:

Off Kilter Scotch: Full-bodied & malty, a Scottish style strong ale.

Downtown Brown: Similar to Smithwick’s Ale. Light in body, heavy in flavor

Llevar Porter: If you like Ravell , you’ll love this one. Vanilla accents

Red Rider Ale: Similar to Killian’s Red. A mild hop content, and smooth taste

Light Irish Stout: This recipe is lighter than the dry, intense stouts of Ireland.

We'll go back in three weeks to bottle and bring home the goods. If you are looking for something different to do with a group, consider brewing some beer. Fairly easy work, nice facilities, excellent guidance from Ray, Donna, Mike, Greg, et al. A good excuse to cook while sampling some of the varieties made by others.

How easy?
As Greg put so well: "beer is meant to be brewed with one hand. The other holds a mug."

Where is Deja Brew?

Deja Brew is located at
510B Boston Turnpike Road,
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

We're on Route 9 - across from Scrub-a-dub
Phone: 508-842-8991

Our hours of operation:
Wednesday - Thursday Noon to 8pm
Friday 3pm to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 5pm
*Sunday Noon to 5pm

*Closed Sundays Memorial Day to Labor Day

For prior postings on Deja Brew, follow this link

Friday, March 07, 2008

gravityland - a new online series

John Herman, one of Boston's Media Makers, is out with a new project. Episode one is here.

Click through to gravityland to view Episode 2 and then subscribe for each succeeding one.

Check out the blog for extra fun and behind the scenes info

Calcium and proper workouts

While Passionate Runner is in hibernation, I will keep running and writing, just not as many places as I previously did. So I was catching up with Runner's World and found Amby Burfoot's article on the latest research in the physical limitations for the marathon. It is not lactic acid but a break down in the calcium delivery channels.

You can read the details here.

What really caught my eye was his summary:
That still leaves us a proven path to faster marathons: Train long, recover appropriately, run some workouts at your goal pace. When you do this, your body naturally makes all the right biochemistry decisions and adjustments for you. It optimizes your utilization of lactic acid and calcium ions, and you can run longer and faster.
Train long (that is the distance day), recover appropriately (that could be interpreted as running every other day), and run some workouts at your goal pace. Gee, doesn't all that sound like the FIRST Plan?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

South Station - new sign boards arriving

The picture doesn't do this justice, too much shrink wrap still on the device.

No, it is not the obelisk from 2001 Space Odyssey.

It appears to be a new sign that will be positioned each track to announce the train that will depart from there. These shrink wrapped blocks appeared on several tracks this evening as I was leaving.

Someday we'll be able to get rid of the two hard to read TV monitors. Hurrah!

South Station - Great Sign

South Station - Great Sign, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, this sign is posted by the same group (MBTA) that has admitted to changing the schedule without notification.

No surprise here.

Of course, since it says "this week" and did really first appear this week (week beginning 3/3/08), let's see how long it really takes them.

Happy Birthday, Franklin

I almost missed the event but now I know how I can remember it in the coming years.

What does Dr Seuss and Franklin have in common?

Yes, the share the same birthday!

Theodore Geisel was born on March 2 and Franklin was incorporated on March 2.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Tennesse Never Cried - Matthew Ebel

As I mentioned, Matthew Ebel closed out the NewBCamp with a live performance of his work. Here is one of his songs as recorded by Christopher Penn. Matthew provides the intro to the song:


NewBCamp08 Summary

NewBCamp08 Summary, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Last Saturday.
Already a week ago!
My how time flies when you are having fun.

The inaugural NewBCamp was held at Johnson & Wales College down in Providence, RI. Put together with the inspiration and leadership from Sara Streeter it was a success. 70 foks from a variety of backgrounds came together to learn and discuss.

The top left photo shows the group during the opening session where Sara outlined the format and logistics for the day. The group then passed around a microphone to enable each person to provide a Twitter-like intro for themselves and what they hoped to get from the day.

The top right photo is from Chris Penn's session. As much of Chris that I have read, I had not previously seen his presentation. It was good to see finally. Chris did a good job of tying together some themes and technologies in a common sense manner. Yes, you could see some heads nodding in the room as he made his points. You could also see a lot of interaction. Cameras, laptops, and of course, laughter, that wonderful human aspect associated with good times!

The bottom left photo shows Matthew Ebel, self acclaimed piano rocker making a point. His session talked about audio quality. Start with some basic preparations and the quality of audio will be present in your podcast. He got to demonstrate some of his piano and vocal skills at the after party with a set of about 90 minutes of original music. A great way to end the day!

The bottom right photo shows Sara Streeter making a point in one unique session that was actually brought back due to popular demand. The session was speed mentoring. Kind of based upon the speed dating concept, you got to spend a few minutes with someone one-on-one. Instead of trying to figure out if you would be a good match on a date, you got to ask a question from someone who claimed expertise in that specific area; blogging, social media, podcasting, etc. I missed the first session but caught the second and was part of a discussion on how to use new media. The Q&A was enough to inspire me to start developing a session of my own for the next NewBCamp.

Yes, there will be another NewBCamp. Time remains TBD.

Keep your eyes and ears open for info (actually go to the site and set up your RSS Reader or join the group to obtain any notifications).

Of course, you can just pay attention to this feed and as I find out, I'll let you know.