Monday, April 17, 2006

I think it's very cool that our local daily is following our efforts toward an expanded downtown wi-fi network so closely. The P-Herald's Adam Leech filed this update on April 10th. In related news (from the same article), I'm pleased that the Portsmouth Economic Development Council has recommended that the City re-up its partnership with the Chamber. The $35,000 is a relative pittance and could easily be doubled, IMO, but at least this is city money I know is being well-spent.

Earlier in the month (April 2nd), an intro to wi-fi piece by the Other Adam (Dolge)... (Or is Leech the Other Adam?!) finally got inked. I get a mention and a quote, which is always cool. As a point of clarification, in my quote, I was referring specifically to a relatively new phenomenon, wherein so many home users are setting up wi-fi that neighbors are getting knocked off theirs by the interference. I found recently that my trusty old graphite AirPort was simply getting muscled out by the half-dozen other networks I'm privy to here at DSC&A World Headquarters. I finally gave up and went out and got a Belkin (on a great online-only deal from Circuit City) and that seemed to fix my up-again, down-again problems here. To be safe, I also changed the default channel from 11 to 7, and upped the power (minimizing the range) of my new router.

Also in this piece is a mention of the "bill passed in the N.H. House of Representatives would allow municipalities, where Internet connections are not available, to bond money for infrastructure related to the connection." Needless to say, I'm all in favor of such legislation; although it won't really help us here in Portsmouth, there still exists a serious Digital Divide in wide swaths of the Granite State.

Also, for the record, there is no business or organization called "eCoast Technology"; the writer meant to reference the eCoast Technology Roundtable, which I helped to establish in 1999.

And a final clarification, in the list of local hotspots, the Portsmouth Public Library was inadvertently left off. The library's connection has been up and running for well over a year now, thanks in no small part to Exeter-based Single Digits, a value-added/managed hotspot solution provider working on wi-fi in such exotic locales as Mount Washington, Nantucket, Bermuda, Dubai, and, of course, the most exotic of all, Portsmouth, NH.

In my next wi-fi related entry, I hope to give an update on progress we make in the EDC/wi-fi subcommitte meetings. (We're only at the information-gathering stage right now, which doesn't make particularly interesting blog reading!) More soon...

Friday, April 07, 2006

"A Night at the e-Brew"

I went into the eBrew last night (upstairs at the Press Room, first Thursday of every month) with my digital camera. The eBrew is basically a high-tech happy hour, for those not in the know. On my name tag, I wrote "Scott Campbell, Blogging the eBrew." I thought it would be fun to show a representative example of what an eBrew is like to the uninitiated, and give my readers a peak into some news and scoopage they might have missed if they didn't attend.

Christopher Smith, advertising sales rep for Mass High Tech, long-time eCoast cheerleader, and all-around great guy, was up again from the North Shore. The eBrew still attracts a handful of folks from this side of Boston, which we think is pretty neat.

There's Jeremy Clough (Hatchling) and Mark Samber (Meetinghouse). After co-inventing the eBrew with yours truly some 7 years ago, Mark's become a staple at the events once again, and we're awful glad to have him back. Jeremy and Hatching founder Marc Dole never miss the opportunity to quaff an ale and mingle with the Portsmouth Digerati. Hatchling may be the shining example of eCoast success these days, with potential deals pending that could make Hatchling the Pixar of the Northeast. (No kidding. Scott Kirsner just name-dropped them in this Boston Globe article.)

eCoast Grand Poohbah George McQuilken (eCoast Angels), professor Jeff Sohl (UNH-WSBE), and Bob Sheesley, whom I didn't get a chance to meet, were also in attendance. Word to the wise: That stool at the end of the bar, just before it turns the corner to the wall? That's George's seat. Don't sit there if you know what's good for you! Seriously, George is a tremendous guy with a keen sense for politics, travel, cars, and fine wine. (Yes, it's OK to have wine at the eBrew, although George prefers a cold pint in this setting.)

And here's Scott Zinkevicz of ZASoftware. Scott came to the eCoast by way of Virginia a couple years ago. Deeply experienced in the financial vertical, his enterprise-level solutions are geared toward not only banks, mutual funds, etc., but also have application to law firms, development shops, and other businesses with billable hours.

Bob Beliveau is another nice guy you'll meet at the eBrew each month. By day he's a member of the GeekSquad -- a Technology Specialist for BestBuy for Business. He's also got a bunch of irons in the fire; he'll be glad to tell you all about them.
His quote of the day, which he made me promise to post here, was... Ummm... Arrogance equals ignorance times... Oh hell, now I've forgotten it. Must be my ignorance showing. Or is it my arrogance for thinking I'd remember? ;-) Anyway, it was real deep, trust me! Maybe he'll comment this and set the record straight on his brilliant quote.

Lastly, here's Robert Dowling, standing with Bob. Bob lives in Portsmouth and works on the 128 Belt for Comverse ("the technology company, not the sneaker company"). He found our little shindig after digging around the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce web site. He's the prototypical example of the reason we did the eBrew in the first place. With an hour+ commute, he wanted to explore the local tech biz scene for options down the road and just hang out with peers a little closer to home. We talked about VOIP, whether or not GOOG is overvalued, the pros and cons of the local post-Cabletron companies, what's happening at Pease... I told him I could make an introduction that might benefit him... By now, he wanted to buy me a beer, but my babysittermeter had expired. Next month Bob!

And speaking of introductions, Ginny Griffith, our eCoast liaison from the Chamber, is the person to see if you're new to the eBrew. She knows everybody (yes, everybody) and will be happy to point you in the right direction. The eBrew is all about networking, after all. (Well, that, and the Bass Ales.)

I hope you've enjoyed this small sip of eBrew. Til next time!