Monday, November 28, 2011

Portsmouth Public Media Storytellers Open House a Success Story

The Board of Directors of Portsmouth Public Media pose for posterity at the end of the PPMTV Storytellers Open House on Sunday, November 20, 2011.  

Aided (or hindered?) by temperatures that soared into the upper 60s, we had a terrific turnout. Upward of 150 people visited, toured the South Meetinghouse facility, and fired their imaginations. What would they do with air time on local TV?  The possibilities are dizzying, and they wrote dozens of ideas on the board: A cooking show for bachelors...  High school sports... A reality show about band-geeks... A Portsmouth based variety show featuring local musicians... Restaurant reviews... Wine tastings...  So many great ideas!  

Dozens of membership applications went home with the highly intrigued-- and many wrote checks to sign up on the spot.

Talented volunteers with experience in video production came forward to offer their expertise. 

City officials and a veritable who's who of locals came to see the old Children's Museum, meet the PPMTV founders, and see how they could get involved. 

In short, it was a rousing success! 

Board member Dan Freund filed this report for his Monday Morning Show on

So, what's next? As they say in TV land, "Stay tuned..."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Introducing PPMTV

I'm pleased to be helping get the word out about Portsmouth Public Media (PPMTV).  What is it?  Since it's a video medium, I'll let PPMTV Board President Dave Underhill explain:

Your chance to see PPMTV up close and personal is coming up this Sunday afternoon at the long-awaited Open House.  Here's the deets:


When: Sunday, November 20, 2PM-5PM

Where: PPMTV's new studio facility at 280 Marcy Street, Portsmouth, at the South Meetinghouse, former home of the Children's Museum.

Who: Meet your South End neighbors, community leaders, PPMTV founders, board members, and volunteers (yours truly included).

Why: Because you've got an unique story to tell and voice to be heard... Because you're curious about the inner workings of how television gets made... Because you represent a business, group, or non-profit that needs to get the word out... Or because the Patriots play on Monday night so you're looking for something interesting to do. Whatever your motivation, we'll be glad to see you! 

Cost: Free. (But bring your checkbook, because you'll want to sign up for a membership!)

Parking: We have permission to park at Strawbery Banke's visitors' center lot, or just walk from one of the downtown lots.

See you there!  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Portsmouth Rallies to Save RiverRun Bookstore

The story of Portsmouth these days isn't being sold at RiverRun Bookstore.  It is RiverRun Bookstore.  This is a "The Shop Around the Corner"/"You've Got Mail" story that hopes to have an "It's a Wonderful Life" ending.

Bookseller, community activist, and protagonist Tom Holbrook set the scene in a mournful e-mail missive to his mailing list:
After a lot of hard thinking, I've decided not to renew the lease at 20 Congress St., which ends on December 31st.  When we moved into this space five years ago business was booming, the economy was good, and the Kindle didn't exist yet.

Fast forward to 2011 and we simply cannot afford the most expensive real estate in the most expensive city in New Hampshire.  The world of books is a beautiful one, but a shrinking one.  We just can't stay here.
The hue and cry was instant.  It was a front-page news story here, and the plight of the David indie bookstore against the Goliath Amazon-et-al was picked up by the likes of Salon and the L.A. Times.  But its our fabulous local rag, The Wire, who in this blogger's opinion best captured the story.   

People came out of the woodwork and wanted to know what they could do to help save the store.  Holbrook called a meeting--and 150 people crammed into the store. 

This certainly was an unexpected plot twist.  A shop owner openly admitting he got in over his head and asking for help?  A store accepting cash donations?  People willingly giving a store money without exchange for goods?  What store holds a special community meeting to solicit investors?  Who ever heard of such a thing?  As a public relations case study, this is definitely one for the books. 

Fact is, Holbrook might've taken on too much debt, but he has done everything right to date when it comes to public relations. All this tiny store has done is lead Portsmouth's highly successful Buy Local campaign, bring hundreds of big-name authors to our little town, discover a Pulitzer Prize winner, and basically make itself indispensable to the local community. 

Moreover, RiverRun leverages his customer base with Constant Contact and makes excellent use of social media.  Check out the Twitter feed with its own hash tag: #saveRRbooks. 

(Photo credit: New Hampshire Gazette.)
The goodwill Holbrook's built up over the years has come back to help him in a big way.  Now people are donating used books for them to sell, and investors are lining up, checkbooks in hand.  He blogged a recap of the public meeting, and there's plenty of cause for optimism. 

Will this story have a happy ending?  Or will this be another sad chapter in this era of big business squashing the little guy?  We'll just have to wait and see... We can't skip to the end of this book.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"Digital Ports" Embodies Original e-Coast Mission

I was pleased to attend this event last week at the new Music Hall Loft.  Note: It's on street-level in the old Stuart Shaines space. Disappointingly, there is no loft. But it is a neat space, and the bartender (Scott, not hard for me to remember his name) is top-notch.

If you watch Dan's video above, you'll see my off-the-cuff answer to the question of why I showed up for the event.  My longer answer ended up on the cutting room floor, but it went something like this: "This is the sort of thing we had in mind when we created the eCoast 12 years ago."  There were comments all night about how much talent is here in the Greater Portsmouth area, but how few people really realize it.  That's what the Seacoast --> eCoast initiative was all about: A bunch of coders and creatives taking a second to prairie-dog out of their cubicles and see all the other cool work that's going on all around them. Maybe they'll cross-pollinate and partner to win a big client. Maybe they'll find a new job, or just meet a new friend. It's all good when these people get together. 

I liked how there were 3 levels of web design represented on Thursday:

1.  Leah Creates.  Leah produces appealing entry-level web presences for artists and other low-budget clients with a healthy dose of funk and whimsy.

2.  VitalDesign, which although they serve smaller and larger clients, occupies the middle ground of web development in the area.  They also offer a one-stop shop for SEO, PR, blogging, and other web-marketing-related initiatives. 

3.  Raka Creative represented the high-end, brand-centric development that has its roots in eyeon interactive/Wunderkind.

Interesting takeaways include Duncan's pronouncement that "Steve Jobs put the kibosh on Flash,"  Leah's confirmation that WordPress has in fact become the de facto standard web template for small business (and that it's a lot better than Geocities!), and that this group of professional techies is taking decidedly New England Yankee approach to Google+.  One mentioned that the demo for Google-plus is currently something like "90% males 25-35 yrs old," so draw your own conclusions there.

The format of the evening was basically the booze and schmooze, followed by short Powerpointy samples of recent work from each company, followed by a short Q&A, followed by more booze and schmooze.  Can't argue with the genius of more booze, but I did find myself wanting more substantive discussion of the current state of web design, especially vis-a-vis the local area. Early indications are that there will be more Digital Ports events, so I expect the format may be tweaked going forward. I'll certainly be there!

Friday, August 05, 2011

My Kid Rocks, Retro-Style

I am contractually obligated to post this, onaccounta the facts that it's:

1. Local (Took place at New Heights in Portsmouth)

2. Techno-geeky (Making 8-bit music with old Game Boys? Are you kidding me?)

3. It's got my kid in it! (Her tune is great! Yes, I spent years feeding her Tangerine Dream.)

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yet Another Reason Portsmouth Rules

An OUTDOOR summer movie festival at Prescott Park?  Yep!

BTW, saw A Midsummer Night's Dream last weekend and it was excellent.

Have NOT seen the Wizard of Oz production yet, but by all reports, it's outstanding, so try to catch that, too. 

The Ahts at Prescott Pahk, just another reason Portsmouth rules. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cruisin'... on a summer day...

Summer in Portsmouth means a lot of things, from the ceremonial opening of the decks (Poco's grande margaritas are the best on the planet) to tall ship visits (although this past one was a dud by all reports I've heard) to cruising on the MV Thomas Laighton for a variety of themed "booze cruises."  Pull up the Isle of Shoals Steamship Company schedule here and you'll see that there are plenty of opportunities for boozin' and cruisin' -- we call it the "Tipsy Thomas" for a couple reasons.  ;-) 

We've already done cruise so far this year: A fun night was had by all with Granite State sensation The Super Secret Project last month.

The next one is later this month: The NH Tweet-Up's CruiseUp.  This will be the 2nd annual.  I missed last year's as I was on the Cape that weekend, but I heard it was a great time and a great networking opportunity.   

Then in July will be the much-anticipated return of the eCruise.  They took a year off last summer to concentrate on TechWorld conference and trade show, but now eCruise is back! 

The eCoast board committee, on which I serve in an advisory ex-officio type manner, released the notice to the press yesterday, which our local daily dutifully reprinted. More details on the EventBrite page (link below). 

Here's my recap of the last eCruise in July 2009.  (Scandalous pictures from the infamous after-party have been omitted to protect the innocent.)  

So mark your calendars and reserve your spot on the boat! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to The Campbell Scoop!

Today marks the 7th anniversary of my first blog post here on The Campbell Scoop!

This makes this blog a particularly long-lived one, to be sure, but it could've been even older; I was advising clients to start blogs for a year before I had started mine!

Interestingly, while the Internet evolves at breakneck pace, blogs themselves haven't changed all that much in the 7 years I've been blogging.  The advent of Facebook and Twitter (which is officially referred to as a "microblogging site") have usurped some of its thunder as an instant updater of your "status" and your current thinking, but blogs remain popular, powerful, and unchanged in format.  In fact, nowadays Facebook and Twitter often drive the blog, much like a headline drives a news story.  One thing that has changed?  Nobody refers to them as "web-blogs" anymore.  

Blogs remain a great way for people to share their personal thoughts and interests on any and all topics, and businesses continue to use blogs as a supplement to, or even a replacement for, their web sites.  Blogs allow businesses to get personal about what they do, publish and distribute news (like a press release), and they help boost your search engine optimization, too.

If you're interested in starting your own blog for your business, let us know and we'll be glad to help you get started.  There are many questions you'll need to answer, and often what's right for one blog might not be ideal for another.  For example:
  • Where should I host my blog?
  • What should the URL be? 
  • Should I use Blogger, WordPress, or something else?
  • How often should I post?
  • What sort of tone should I use, friendly or business-like?  
  • How long or short should a blog post be?
  • And the biggie:  What should I write about?!
Remember, blogging is easy -- that's part of its charm.  But blogging well?  That's hard.

Monday, May 23, 2011

eCoast is on the Map - Literally!

Check out this great illustration in yesterday's Sunday's Boston Globe!

It appeared on the front page of the Business section... sorry Money & Careers section... along with this great article by the legendary Scott Kirsner. (Thanks Scott!) Big props to illustrator Leo Acadia... It's a fabulous illustration! 

I tweeted it back to the columnist (this is reverse chronological, of course):
Buzz on a Budget
Scott Kirsner
Buzz on a Budget
It's an interesting exchange, IMO, because SK assumes the goal is to establish a nationally recognized brand. While that would surely be nice, my goal for eCoast all along has been to simply make sure we have local and regional mindshare.  If a local firm is hiring out for a new web site, I sure as hell hope they know there is plenty of talent right here in their backyards; there is simply no need to go to Boston, New York, or San Francisco to get top quality results. And in tandem with that, if UNH grads are looking for jobs in high-tech, I sure hope they know they can stay here to get them; they shouldn've have to commute an hour every day, which adds to fossil fuel dependence, pollution, tax income lost to Massachusetts, and all the negative effects of "brain-drain."

Ineterestingly, the article doesn't mention Portsmouth or eCoast by name anywhere.  So if you have a Google News Alert or news clipping service searching for key words, like I do, you wouldn't have seen this. So yes, there's still something to be said for picking up and perusing the ol' dead tree and getting your fingers a little dirty with good ol' fashioned ink.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Portsmouth High School Sets National Record! 76 Wins in a Row!

If you know me, you know I love baseball. A lot.

And if you know me, you know I love Portsmouth. A lot.

And I love news that brings positive attention to our fair city. A lot.

So this story has got me particularly jazzed: With it's 76th win in a row, Portsmouth High School baseball has set the record for longest high school baseball winning streak in the nation! 

Personal anecdote:
My nephew Geoff plays for Oyster River, and he alerted me to the streak with a Facebook invitation to an event "Beat Portsmouth and End Their Streak." Uh-oh. A quandry. I'm a Portsmouth guy. My stepson is a Portsmouth Clipper -- played a little JV last year. So do I root for Portsmouth or for my nephew?  Luckily,  the game was moved up from its original time and was well underway by the time I got out of work and got over to PHS.  By then, PHS was up 8-0 on Oyster River, and Geoff was already out of the game.  Phew!

PHS won that game, then went on the road.  I started following them on Facebook, so I could get up-to-the-minute scoring updates.

The media attention has been impressive.  Here's a sampling:

The PHS Streak got some play in ESPN Boston blog right along, with Roger Brown reporting:

WMUR-TV showed up for the record-setting game at Pembroke: Portsmouth Baseball Sets The Record - Video - WMUR New Hampshire

USA Today did a nice piece on it -- and not just running an AP story, either!

Boston Globe, too, as you'd hope.

What's really neat about it is that it puts NH, and Northeast, baseball in the spotlight.  So much attention is focused on Florida, Texas, and California high school ball--as it should be, because they can play pretty much year round. Here in Portsmouth, we've got precious little ball-playing weather... And this Spring has been one of the worst yet, so this bit of sunshine is most welcome indeed.  Congrats kids!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Foursquare Day

Happy Foursquare Day

Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini has made it official.... but...

What exactly is Foursqaure Day, you ask?  It's a worldwide celebration of a silly smart-phone app.  I mean, errr, it's a location-based social media phenomenon!

When is Foursquare Day?  It's April 16, of course.  4/16.  4 squared.  Get it?  How can you forget? If only birthdays and anniversaries were as easy!

In my bylined piece for Mass High Tech last fall, I touted the fact that Portsmouth was the #1 city in the world (yes you read that correctly) in Foursquare Day participation in 2010.  For your edification, here's a great breakdown of how it all happened from my friends at Vital Design, and an article from the local paper for good measure. 

OK, so why do I care?  Because Foursquare poses an interesting opportunity for small business owners -- those with real storefronts, mind you -- to draw foot traffic by providing an incentive for your customers to stop in. Foursquare says so right here, to wit:
Whether you’re a national chain, a mom-and-pop shop, or anywhere in between, you can attract new customers or reward your most loyal ones by offering foursquare Specials – mobile coupons, prizes or discounts – which are presented to users when they check in at or near your venue.  
Read on here.

After initial skepticism, we're buying it. 

It's a good Buzzonabudget technique because a.) it's free and b.) set up is easy.  All you have to do is decide what kind of discount or incentive to offer.  As for c.) The Buzz, it comes from, believe it or not, virtual badges that your customers collect, and their personal egos.  You see, the customer with the most "check-ins" at a particular venue is dubbed "The Mayor," and again, believe it or not, the competition can be fierce for this high honor!

Will it build buzz for your business?  Only one way to find out!  You don't have to wait for Foursquare Day 2012... Give it a try now!  We're here to help if you have any questions about getting started.  Look at the list of businesses that participated last year and see what they did.  Then let us know how you made out... Maybe we'll even make your business a case study and feature it here on this blog.  ;-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are We Running Out of Interwebs?

It may seem unthinkable, but when you do stop to think about it, it's an undeniable fact: There is a finite number of IP addresses.  What's more, those IPs are running out fast. In fact, ICANN, which oversees Internet domains, has already issued its last block of IPv4 addresses.

The solution?  IPv6.  Sounds like a new Subaru model, I know.

The issue was recently brought to my attention by Dynamic Internet (the Buzzonabudget hosting and data center of choice), who released this news earlier this month: 
New Hampshire data center finalizes IPv6 deployment

SALEM, NH - New Hampshire web hosting firm Dynamic Internet announced that it has completed initial IPv6 rollout and is now assigning IPv6 address space to its clients upon request.
Read on here:
Appears to be a geeky, arcane technical upgrade that matters only to geeky, arcane technical people, right? But it's a big deal. Such a big deal that the likes of Facebook, Yahoo, and Google are going to test it out, all together, at the same time, June 8, 2011. You may not even notice World IPv6 Day (although I bet Google will do something creative with their logo for it) but it'll be an important day in the future development of the Internet.

For further reading, I recommend this article: (The Internet is Running Out of Space) from the San Francisco Chronicle on March 22.

If you're one of those geeky, arcane technical people I mentioned above, check out this black-and-white plain-text wiki.  You'll love it.

Me, I just "liked" the IPv6 Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breaking News: N.H. firm JitterJam sold for $6M - Mass High Tech Business News

N.H. firm JitterJam sold for $6M - Mass High Tech Business News

Curious to see how this affects the company going forward. We were impressed with them when we met them at TechWorld last fall.

Here's the full press release, FYI.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Representing @ SXSW

I wasn't at SXSW this year (who am I kidding, I've never been and probably never will, I'm not that cool!) but I still kept up with the goings on via the tweeterers and tweetists who were there on the scene.  I follow Pee-Wee Herman @peeweeherman, Eliza Dushku @elizadushku, Duran Duran's Simon le Bon @SimonJCLeBON, as well as even bigger stars like NH's local legends Christine Major @CMajor and Walter Elly @walterelly. If you're into the local social media scene, you already know these two.  If you don't, then you're not into the local social media scene.  Anyway, I particularly enjoyed Ms. Major's cmajor video production report from the ground there in Austin, where she got the goers to describe South by Southwest in one word! As you'll see, some were better at it than others, and she's pretty lenient on the one-word rule. 

As for Mr. Elly, he'll be leading a Social Media Club on Location Based Services on Thursday.  Our Social Media Maven Melanie will be there... maybe he'll tell some SXSW stories, too?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Men's Journal Tells Readers What We Already Know

Just picked up a copy of the dead-tree edition of the Men's Journal. I had seen a link on Facebook a few days ago, and Rachel Forrest covered it in the Herald, but sometimes you've just gotta have the real thing, and this is one of those times. Especially when the publication doesn't put current content on the web; luckily for you, I scanned it as you can see here. Portsmouth is now routinely named one of the best places in the country to live for a variety of reasons, but typically a national publication will have trouble with the details.  Here, though, MJ does a pretty good job. More than this though, I was most flabbergasted pleased to see eCoast and eBrew get mentions! This is now, in year 12 of the brand's existence, one of the biggest press hits we've gotten yet! They say we exist to link start-ups to angel investors, and sure, that's one goal of many... I think the editors probably got faked out by the eCoast Angels investor group and thought there was a direct correlation.  Certainly by focusing on the beer, they nailed us dead to rights.  :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dover Eats Fat Tuesday

Everybody knows me as sort of a Mr. Portsmouth. I live here, I work here, I volunteer here. It's rare to see me out and about anyplace else. But on Tuesday, I got a call from my pal David Flood. "Join me for the Fat Tuesday Pub Crawl in Dover tonight," he said. "My treat." "Ummm... Okie dokie," I said.

Because I work until 8PM on Tuesdays, I met up with him late. I missed him by seconds at the Central Wave, which was already stop number 4, I believe, on the crawl. So, I proceeded to catch him up at The Orchard Street Chop Shop. I'm supposed to have a ticket or some kind of wrist band or something, apparently, but "I'm with the camera guy," I told the doorman. He nodded in the direction of the stairs.

I met up with Dave and he was still working the room and directing his assistant Matt to shoot b-roll. Soon, however, he was casually interviewing Koz, the head chef, next to me at the bar. You see, Mr. Flood produces hyperlocal web TV news segments. All the video is online at He calls it "NH's first live and on demand online TV channel." Under this umbrella, he runs multiple programs on a wide variety of subjects, from health and beauty, to home and garden, to food and drink, to local events of interest.

On this Fat Tuesday, he was enjoying himself to be sure, but he was also working. I was a mere observer, and what I observed was that he has an eye for the shot, and an easy rapport with the clientele, the management, and even the entertainment. As the wing-man for this man-about-town, it was clear I was in good hands for the evening.

By the time we hit Fury's Publick House, formerly known as Biddy Mulligans, formerly known as (hmmm... can't remember), everybody was well lubricated for the band, which featured local guitar legend Tim Theriault. If you haven't seen him before, he rocks. A lot.

David Flood of interviews a reveler at Fury's

Fury's drew a tough assignment as the last stop on the pub crawl, but Emma and the crew behind the bar took good care of us, despite the decibels and the droves of drinkers.

Summing up, to borrow from Dos Equis... I don't always party in Dover, but when I do, I prefer to party with David, the city's most interesting man!

Go ahead and watch the video now... Enjoy!

(Note the visual evidence of my attendance at 9:05 into the reel; my green and white plaid Celtics hat makes a brief appearance along the bottom of the screen!)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Super Bowl Ads in Review: Top 5 of 2011

Once again, we're shown that marketeers and the general public have, shall we say, slightly different takes on the Super Bowl commercials.  USAToday's AdMeter* put BudLight's lame dog-sitting party spot at #1.  Go watch it if you want to.  Dogs walk upright and serve beers... Whatevs. Tied at #1 was the cute but predictable spot for Doritos with the pug and a glass patio door.  Neither ranked well with the experts.

Conversely, the big winner last night has to be Volkswagen.  Not only did it score right behind the two dog spots in USAToday, it was the first SB ad I saw leaked on the Facebook, which tells you it was going viral even before it aired... a great sign.  And after it aired during the game, the twitterverse went wild with positive remarks.  And it scored very well with the experts.  

While the buzz the Super Bowl ads create is on a slightly bigger budget than my clients can typically reach, here's my top five. 

#5  E*Trade Baby.  Sorry, I'm not even close to sick of this concept.  They're just funny.   

#4  Verizon iPhone 

#3  NFL: "American Family" Grey Group

#2  Chrysler: "Born of Fire"  Wieden & Kennedy/Universal McCann

BTW, this work of art is rated at #44 on USAToday's AdMeter.  Unbelievable.   Obviously that's because there were no monkeys, dogs, or people getting hit in the face and/or crotch. 

#1  Volkswagen Passat Mini-Vader

I also note that this is far and away the most popular of the YouTube, with 16 million views and counting.  What's fanny is that this ad completely obscured another VW ad that was nearly as good, the Black Betty Beetle.  VW FTW! 

*USA TODAY assembled 282 adult volunteers in Bakersfield, Calif., and McLean, Va., and electronically charted their second-by-second reactions to ads during the Super Bowl. Shugoll Research and Trotta Associates chose the volunteers, who used handheld meters to register how much they liked each ad. A computer continuously averaged the scores. Scores are the highest average for each ad.
 So that's my Top 5.  What's yours?  

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Facebook Hosts 1st Super Bowl Commercial Face-Off

Once again this year, I went looking for a Super Bowl commercial scorecard I could fill out as the game went on, and once again this year, I came up empty. Has anybody seen a good one? It can be a printable one or an online one. It looks like USA Today isn't doing their Ad Meter this year? Meanwhile, I'll try this one on Facebook... I mean, why not, that's where we'll all be commenting on the ads anyway, right?

Facebook Hosts 1st Super Bowl Commercial Face-Off

Thursday, February 03, 2011

On Buying a Verizon iPhone in the Middle of the Night

Well, that could've gone more smoothly.

First, I had logged in as an existing customer and was going through the web site process attempting to upgrade my phone on my line to the iPhone.   The iPhone never showed up in the list of available phones.  After 3AM, Apple showed up in the drop-down menu as a manufacturer, but it was grayed out.

I noticed with interest the Droid Star Wars R2-D2 phone, which was available for only $99 after all discounts.  I wished I didn't have my heart set on the iPhone, because that would be way cool! Which brings me to this, which my friend Jenn sent me on Facebook:

"But I want the iPhone."

Then, I logged in through the link Verizon gave me in my e-mail.  That got me right in, and I went through the screens, but at the screen where it asked for billing and shipping address, I hit a glitch.  Nothing I put in would allow me to continue.  It just kept giving me an error: "Billing and credit card addresses must match."  WTF?  I was stuck.

By then, then poor Melanie was awake due to my grumbling.  She called customer service at my behest, only to get the recording saying their agents weren't available at this ungodly hour, and they wouldn't have any information about the iPhone anyway, and to log into for more information.  Thanks.

Then she whipped out her iPad, logged in, and walked right through the order process while I struggled with the same process on my Macbook Air.  My theory is there was a glitch with Firefox at the address screens that didn't affect Safari.

Meanwhile, I couldn't figure out why the price didn't change anywhere in the process, because I was eligible for a New Every Two phone.  I know they discontinued the plan, but it still applies to existing customers and applies to the iPhone, as noted here in their FAQ:

Will existing customers be able to redeem their New Every Two credit?
Yes, existing customers will be able to take advantage of their New Every Two credit if eligible, and use it towards the purchase of iPhone 4 (may not be available at all agent locations).
Back to top

I sent Verizon an e-mail about both of these issues.  More news as it develops.  The important thing though is I HAVE A CONFIRMATION NUMBER!  :-)  Now let's see if I can get some ZZZZZ's.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Alarm is set for 2:55AM. Yep, only for the #VZWiphone

The process has been pretty smooth and quiet.  I signed up for the e-mail notifications while I was live-blogging from the local Verizon Wireless store.  Since then, I've received just a couple missives from Verizon Wireless.  One told me how to prep for the move (including instructions to sign up for an iTunes account, as if I didn't already have one) and one that told me that I could pre-order the phone starting at 3AM on Feb 3. 

3AM???  I had to laugh.  But they were serious.  The release date, the street date, to all the plebs and unwashed masses is Feb 10.  But my time is now.  VZ also sent me a reminder e-mail today, in case it might've slipped my mind. 

I've logged into our VZ account and reviewed the upgrade options available on my line.  (We have a family plan.)  I'm due a "New Every Two" phone.  In fact, truth be told, I've been eligible to upgrade my old LG flip phone since 10/11/09.  Why didn't I upgrade to another smart phone in the meantime?  Simple answer: I didn't want a smart phone--I wanted the iPhone.  And after many fits, starts, head-fakes, and rumors, the long-awaited Verizon iPhone is here.

Verizon has laid out the facts in their FAQ to prepare us for the occasion. 

One question that is unanswered is what price I'll have to pay.  Verizon's said flat out on their site that I'm "eligible" for an upgrade on this line, and that VZ users can in fact apply "New Every Two credit" toward the iPhone.  I expect this to mean the $199 unit will cost me $99, but we shall see.  I know we'll add a $30 monthly charge for data.  I don't know if I'll spring for the $20 for the hotspot data feature. 

Meanwhile, the reviews are coming in from TechCrunch and Walter Mossberg and David Pogue and all the others who got advance copies.  Read 'em if you want, but they all say the same thing: It was worth the wait.

I would've liked to have the iPhone in my hands for the eBrew, but I should have it in hand for my birthday on Feb. 10.  (If, that is, I can wake up in time to be one of the first buyers.)  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

3S Artspace: We Need This Why?

It's inescapable.  It's ubiquitous.  It's ridiculous!  Everybody we know is telling to us vote, and not just vote once, but 3 (three!) times!  Each day!  Whatevs!  I mean...
...It's on TV:

...It's in the newspapers:
...It's on the Web:
...It's on Facebook:
...It's on Twitter:  @3SARTSPACE

If you're like me, you're getting harassed to vote on a daily basis.   

So I ask you: What, exactly, is the big deal?  What advantage or unique opportunity does this artspace create?  It's not like Portsmouth isn't already the arts and culture capital of the state.  We've got at least 3 live theaters, we've got art galleries, we've got more restaurants per square mile than anyplace in New England, we've got original local music in nearly every nightspot, we've got Strawbery Banke and history up the wazoo, we've got the Button Factory for artist space, the Music Hall to host larger events... and all this is just off the top of my head.  So why all the hoopla about this 3S Artspace project?  

I asked my old friend Evan Karatzas just that exact question via e-mail.  Evan is on the board of directors for 3S Artspace.  He was our creative director at Flywire back in the day, and now his Proximity Lab just took home some hardware from the MITX Awards as I blogged a couple weeks ago.  Here's what Evan had to say:
"The idea of an integrated creative space like this is so strong and so overdue for a city like Portsmouth with a reputation for valuing arts and culture. You know how important music is to me, so naturally the prospect of an intimate venue like this with a connected farm-to-table restaurant was compelling. But what really drew me in was idea that this gallery space would coexist with these other multi-sensory spaces. More specifically, I'm interested in the potential it provides to represent activity throughout 3S as a dynamic installation experience."
Interesting, I'll grant you.  (Ha! Pun intended!)  Next I asked Christopher Greiner (who, somehow, I don't know personally), who with John Gayle co-founded the project, the same question. 
"You're correct, Portsmouth is the "cultural capital" of the state -- with more cultural options (such as the ones you listed) for the consumer than any other city -- but ask any local musician, artist, actor, or culture-seeker, for that matter, and I'm certain that the vast majority of them would tell you that we have a long way to go before the market is saturated with cultural venues. [...]
I have a fairly long history of firsthand experience on both sides of the artistic fence - administrative and creative [Chris's experience includes The Music Hall, Art-Speak, City Cultural Commission, RPM Challenge, etc. --DSC] and I've spent a lot of time listening to both artists and consumers of art.  It's out of these conversations and my own observations over the last decade that the concept for 3S was born. From the business side, 3S takes direct aim at the gaps that exist here: we are creating a midsize (300 capacity) venue that sits between the capacities of the small theaters, bars, and The Music Hall; we are creating a large, non-commercial gallery space, which will not be driven by sales, where installation, site-specific, cutting edge and not-necessarily-salable work can be shown; and we are creating a restaurant (farm-to-table) that aims to be as creative as it is affordable."
To me, it seems to me that 3S could, as a multi-displinary artistic outlet, complement rather than compete with great artistic outlets Portsmouth already has, and even better, bring several of them together in one place and time.  It could leverage our reputation as a cultural center and take it to the proverbial "next level," if you will.  By offering food and drink, it offers a venue alternative for events that can suffer from the lack of both, especially those held near dinnertime.  The project would also make use of an empty (eye-sore) building and make a destination point out of the upper end of Islington Street, which itself is due for streetscape treatment that could revitalize the area and expand the "downtown." 

The potential uses for the space are wide open and Chris said he's "all ears" to suggestions.  Plus, it would be great PR for the city in general if we could pull this off. 

So, yes, given all the foregoing, I'm caving into the daily peer pressure and voting every day!  After all, it's just a few clicks, and the upside is $50,000 infusion from a high-fructose corn syrup purveyor to the local community.  If you agree, I encourage you to vote, as they say, early and often:

As of this writing, 3S is ranked #28 in its category, exactly half-way through the voting period.  Let's see if we can't push it to the top 10 before the end of the month!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jay Childs Honored by Catapult Seacoast

Hearty congratulations to Jay Childs on winning the 2010 J.T. O'Donnell Award from Catapult Seacoast. Thanks to Andrew Leibs for doing such a nice job telling Jay's story. Here's the link... Read all about it!
Jay does video production, interactive design, and consulting.  He's based in Portsmouth.  For more information about Jay's company JBC Communications, check out his web site.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jon Stewart Explains why the Verizon iPhone is a Big Deal

Some might not get why I'm so jazzed about the Verizon iPhone.  It's partly because I've been waiting so long for it.  I've held out and made do for the past couple years: 

Yes, that's the LG flip phone 5400 on the right.  I've had it about 3 years, or about 12 in technology years.  I'm ridiculed regularly at the eBrew and have been asked to turn in my Geek Card on more than one occasion.  You can laugh, but don't judge me.  ;-)  On the left is my iPod Touch, which I dearly love, but of course, makes no phone calls.  So I carry them both.  Annoying. And texting on the number pad? It ain't pretty, pardner. 
And frankly, I've held out so long it's become a bit of a White Whale (if not a White iPhone)... a personal test of my fortitude... could I suffer along with this flip phone while everybody and his mother (literally, my mom and dad both have them) gets iPhones before me?  We've got a great family plan with Verizon and switching providers would've caused us to take quite a hit in the checking account. 

But if you don't believe me that the VZ iPhone a big deal, would you believe Jon Stewart?  He is, of course, the most trusted newscaster on TV.  Being the genius he is, he makes the case more compellingly than I ever could. Enjoy:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Verizon iPhone Announcement
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Live from the Verizon Store in Portsmouth con't

Just tried and got the splash page we've all been waiting for!

A great place to watch the news as it leaks out is  This site is run locally in part by long-time Apple blogger David Hamilton of Durham.

I just "signed up" on the Verizon page.  Not sure what that does or what that actually, you know, means.

On the floor here at the Verizon store, there was one fellow who had the same idea I had... wander in around 11AM on 1-11-11 and attempt to the be first to pre-order the new iPhone.  A graphic artist from Amesbury, he's a new Mac guy, having converted his whole house to Apple over the past 2 years.  He was also very excited about AAPL stock, which he and I agreed would be splitting soon.  At this time, 50 minutes into the Verizon Era, the stock is at 341.

Several people have walked in and asked for the new iPhone.  Yep, they're right out back, let me just go fetch one for you!  ;-)  People unclear on the concept. 

Breaking news... Now it looks like the street release date is February 10.  My birthday.  Yep, I know what I want! 

Live from the Verizon Store in Portsmouth

It's official!

One enthusiastic employee has been refreshing every 5 seconds for the past 45 minutes or so.

Details are trickling in.   One thing that isn't trickling in are the phones themselves.  They're ready for delivery, but that date could be a few weeks out.  One source says Feb 3.

They're also wondering about training here, as that needs to happen before they can sell the phones on the floor.  "Funny," I said, "it's as if they assume none of you have ever seen an iPhone before."

The pricing will likely be the same iPhone $199 starting point and the same $30 unlimited data pricing.

More in a bit. 

Live from the Verizon Store


Friday, January 07, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday eBrew

Thanks to Chuck McMahon at the Portsmouth Herald for an excellent job pulling together this story on the eCoast and the eBrew ahead of our special event. No doubt it contributed to the outstanding turnout we got... I estimated way over 100 (more like 150) of the local technorati were at the Press Room last night to celebrate 12 years of eBrews.  The article is a great overview of who we are and why we get together every month.  Give it a read and then join us next month!  It's always the 1st Thursday, upstairs at the Press Room.  Your bartender's name is Sam... She's the best and will take good care of you.

BTW, there are a few pics on the eCoast Facebook page.  Here's one of me and my pal Isaac Brake.  I'm wearing the wi-fi detecto t-shirt Melanie got me for Christmas, courtesy of ThinkGeek.  It was a big hit and a great conversation starter.  Plus, I know at least one person bought the same shirt after seeing mine (right Mark?!)... I think I should get a commission. 

And yes, I got full bars.  SSID=PressRoomRocks.  ;-)

1-11-11 at 11AM

It's coming!

The Verizon iPhone, for which I've only been waiting for about 3 years, is widely rumored to be announced on Tuesday.  I'll be at the local Verizon store to check it out first hand and see if I can  pre-order.