Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Providence as High-Tech Hub? Sure, why not?

Interesting article in today's Boston Globe by Carolyn Johnson about efforts by Providence, Rhode Island, to cast itself as a high-tech hub. eCoast gets a mention, although it's hard to tell if it's a positive or a negative. We'll call it neutral. Anyway, looks like they're serious... It's an official effort by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. They branded it RINexus (a little Matrixy but we'll allow it) and have launched a fairly impressive web site to support the effort. Here's their "About" verbiage.

RI Nexus is a public-private initiative of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to support and grow the state's info-tech and digital media sector. RI Nexus aims to help transform the sector's collection of organizations, individuals, and initiatives into a highly interconnected statewide industry cluster by:

  • Helping the sector's stakeholders to connect, communicate, and collaborate
  • Nurturing a culture that recognizes and celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Streamlining access to support resources relevant to entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Promoting Rhode Island's dynamic info-tech & digital media sector beyond our borders
If you look at the ingredients necessary to for this sort of thing to flourish, as UNH Prof. Ross Gittell has, you'd think they actually have a pretty good shot at developing an attractive technology-based economy down there. They've got the proximity to major cities, universities, and cultural/recreational attractions. Too bad their state-wide wi-fi initiative has fallen by the wayside.

No Fair Point, No More

Well, it looks like it's all over but the shouting. Despite well organized opposition, the Fair Point-Verizon deal is going through.

Ashley Smith does a tremendous job recapping the whole long sordid tale in a folksy Q & A article for the Nashua Telegraph : In case you haven't heard, it's official: Verizon is leaving the landline and DSL business in New Hampshire. Barring a successful appeal, the name FairPoint Communications will soon appear on your telephone bill. Read on...

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for the citizens and businesses of Northern New England remains to be seen. Wither FiOS? Is DSL going to be good enough? But at least we know the process worked. This deal was thoroughly vetted in all 3 states. And the unions made their voices heard loud and clear; in their opposition to the deal, the Communications Workers Union and the IBEW scored at least a moral victory.

No doubt this will be a major topic of conversation at the Regional Broadband Forums being hosted around the state by NH DRED. “These forums are of vital importance in determining where our opportunities, needs, challenges and obstacles lie in terms of telecommunications infrastructure,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Director Michael Vlacich.

For times and locations, visit DRED's newsroom.

I wish I could attend this Friday morning's session at Pease, but I have at least 2 meeting schedule conflicts. Hopefully someone will catch me up?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Portsmouth Wins National Recognition

Being a Portsmouth Rah-Rah Booster, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this: The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Portsmouth, New Hampshire, one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

National Trust said: Portsmouth, N.H.--This elegant seaport, the nation's third oldest city, is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country with its captivating blend of coastal beauty, historic buildings and lively downtown.

So, yah, like we didn't already know this? ;-)

(Photo by Melanie Burger.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Local Boy Makes Good, Part III

This just in from Portsmouth expatriate Dave Cummins, who left town to pursue fame and fortune in the Big Apple:

Hello all...

Indeed it is my first speaking role on All My Children. I will be featured playing a U.S. Marshall in a big scene with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) in two episodes airing on Monday, Feb 18th and Tuesday, Feb 19th. I will begin my scene toward the end of the show on the 18th and continue the scene with my speaking line(s) on the 19th. It airs on ABC TV at 1pm EST. If you happen to have a cable package with Soap Net then you can also catch it the same days at 8pm EST and again as the first two hours of a 5 hour weekly recap marathon on Saturday 2/23 from 2pm-6pm.

I also hope to have the scenes up on my website as soon as possible so…as always…feel free to visit the site and tell all your friends.

Thanks for all the support.

Be well, David

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Bowl Winners

Once again, the game was more competitive than the commercials. The Giants somehow stunned the Patriots while Budweiser was winning USAToday's AdMeter. But the big winner of SuperBowl Sunday was... The Internet. The New York Times sums it up nicely in this piece: "For Marketing, the Most Valuable Player Might Be YouTube."

"It is a far cry from just a few years ago, when the Super Bowl commercials disappeared after the game, along with the losing team. Now the strategy among sponsors is to maximize postgame exposure to help amortize the eye-popping cost of a Super Sunday spot — this time, an estimated $2.7 million for each 30 seconds of national air time."

The article notes that TiVo, long the bane of TV advertisers, helped some ads beat the game in ratings; the commercials got a higher audience than the game” in homes with the TiVo video recorder service.

YouTube, of course, was a prime destination for people wanting to catch what ads they missed on their beer and bathroom breaks. Check out the AdBlitz channel to compare view counts and ratings.

Even more interestingly, there was the TwitterBowl. I'm not a Twitterer, but this is the first time I've seen a really neat application of the technology. Kudos to Jeremiah Owyang on this fascinating experiment in social media.

BTW, here are my favorite commercials from this year:

5. The E*Trade Baby (both versions).
4. Audi's Godfather spoof. Clever concept, and man, what a car!
3. SoBe's Lizards were doing the Thriller dance so well, I wondered why Naomi Campbell was even on the screen at all.
2. Bridgestone's "Scream" and "Alice Cooper/Richard Simmons" (tie). Bridgestone? Really? Yep, really!
1. Coke, of course. Underdog and Stewie go at it, only to see Charlie Brown steal the show?! Brilliant.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Ads Still Super?

I tend to agree with this CBSNews article posted a few hours ago: "Super Bowl Ads Aren't What They Used To Be; You Just Can't Count On Being Entertained During The Commercial Breaks Anymore."

It's been a long, long, long time since Apple's Orwellian triumph in 1984.

(Trivia tidbit: Directed by Ridley Scott (of Blade Runner fame), who hasn't done a decent thing since.)

Longer still since 1979, when "Mean Joe" Greene showed his softer side and traded his jersey for a Coke.

The CBS article blames the Internet, where this year's GoDaddy ad will be because Fox has refused to run it. You can see that ad, and the rest of the Not-So-Super Bowl TV spots here on YouTube, and you can rate them! That's where I'll be after the Pats dispatch the Giants 38-20. (Yes, that's my prediction, on record here for all to see.) Enjoy the game, if not the commercials!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fluff Piece Throws eCoast a Bone

My Google News Alert just sent me a notice that the key words "Portsmouth" and "wi-fi" were in the news. I clicked over and found this fluff piece on about the pervasive impact of technology on the NH Seacoast. Aside from the dubious self-promotion of the Herald's parent company SMG, the article quotes my friends Ginny Griffith (Portsmouth Chamber) and Warren Daniel (NH SBDC), promotes the web site, mentions my downtown wi-fi project, and notes (finally, some recognition) that the eCoast has just celebrated our 9th anniversary. (See my post below about last month's eBrew and the eBrew Facebook page for pictures.) So, definitely a fluffy space-filler article, but all in all, I deem it bloggable.