Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Signs o' the Times

Drive down Woodbury Ave. these days and you'll get an eyeful of exactly what we're up against in these tough economic times: Sign after sign, being propped up by bored and cold people, advertising various going-out-of-business sales. For the record, they include:

Tweeter, Etc.
Whitehall Jewelers
Kline's Furniture

BTW, Circuit City is closing lots of stores, but none in NH, so the Woodbury Ave location is safe for its loyal shoppers (like me) for now.

OTOH, according to this CNN/CareerBuilder study, we are in 16th best place in the country if you're looking to get -- or hold onto -- your job. They report:
Jobless rates were higher in 338 of the 369 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed this July, which means 92 percent of cities have seen an increase in their unemployment rates. [...] Despite these startling figures, there are several cities with low unemployment rates and sizeable job growth.

16. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Unemployment rate: 3.3 percent

Last year: 3.1 percent

Job growth: 2.8 percent

Hmmm... I wonder how many of these sign-holders are/were already employed by these companies? Or are these are these new jobs being created?

"Wanted: Sign Holders. Work outdoors! Plenty of fresh air! Must be able to stand in one place for inordinately long periods of time. Waving experience a plus."

Monday, November 10, 2008

eCoast Wi-Fi Expansion Makes News

After being front-page news in the Portsmouth Herald, news of the $345k donation of wi-fi equipment from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) to our Portsmouth wi-fi network has proliferated.

NHPR reported on the radio that day. NH Business Review notes our expansion plans "In Brief" in the current issue.

Esme Vos at MuniWireless and Glenn Flieschman's WiFiNetworkingNews have both picked up the story. (Muni with prodding; WiFiNet without.)

Tom Long gave us a nod in the Sunday Globe North, making us Portsmouth's story of the week. And Mass High Tech covered it with a quote from yours truly; check it out here. (BTW, great to see Ef at the eBrew last week!)

Meanwhile, David Brooks reports here in the Nashua Telegraph about the effects of weather on municipal wireless, noting that our Portsmouth network used to shut down for the winter due to lack of use. For the record, that was only one of the reasons we shut it for the winter. Now, the access point is in a secure and heated indoor location (the kiosk, albeit cute, is unheated) and as such, we will be up for a second winter this year. I would note that although laptop-tappers and latte-sippers won't be out in Market Square in December -- indeed, all the outdoor seating will be put away for the season -- users will be able access the network from their Blackberries, iPod Touches, and other portable wi-fi devices. A cold and hungry shopper walking the sidewalks might well use the service to locate a restaurant, find lodging, look up a phone number, compare prices, etc. I believe we're only just beginning to see the implications of ubiquitous free public wi-fi. And yes, the signal pushes into Breaking New Grounds, making the window seats that much more desirable for your business meeting, so get there early and stake out your spot!