The original home of the blog known as 802 Online

Monday, February 28, 2005

Lunch with Atrios

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies posted my write-up of Duncan Black's talk to the AAN East luncheon. They killed my title, though — "Some Blogger Addresses AAN East Luncheon." If I were an editor, I probably would've killed it, too. Still waiting to see if they post my editorial track summary.

Update: Here's the Editorial Track Summary.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Support your local news

Forgot to link to this story I wrote last week about local news coverage in Burlington. I focused mainly on Channel 17 Town Meeting Television, but I added a sidebar on , a new grassroots journalism site. It's just like It's written entirely by citizen reporters. Like, um, maybe you.

Today's page features a review of Nicco's Cucina in Williston, and includes a critique of the newly named "Big Joe Burrell" boathouse. FYI, if you want to be a freelance writer, writing for iBurlington is a good way to start.

Friday, February 25, 2005

VT blogger (and pals) win Koufax

Burlington resident Jerome Armstrong and his fellows at won the 2004 Koufax Award for best group blog. Congrats, Jerome! I met Jerome last fall when I interviewed him for this pre-election story on blogs. Haven't talked to him in awhile. I hope he's still in town.

Update: Vermonter N. Todd Pritsky of Dohiyi Mir was a Koufax finalist for Best Commentator and Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. He didn't win, but he somehow attracted the attention of the LA Times. And he's writing for the newly launched on-line magazine Blue and Red .

Why should libraries offer internet access, anyway?

I came across this in a Feb. 21 post on Jessamyn West's blog. West appeared in that library story I wrote. This doesn't have much to do with Williston's new wi-fi, but she makes an interesting point that I somehow overlooked. I would have linked to her post, by the way, but her permalinks thingy isn't working for me. So here's an excerpt.

From Jessamyn West's
As of mid-2003 17% of Vermont households had broadband. I'm sure that number has shot up, but how high? I've been reading through the Vermont Telecommunications Plan from the end of 2004, and it's fascinating stuff. 66% of Vermonters surveyed in late 2003, early 2004 had Internet access at home. Of them, roughly 25% use cable or DSL with the rest on dial-up, WebTV or other workarounds.. So... a little quick math... and we've got about 15% of Vermonters who have cable Internet or DSL. I'm sure this number has also increased, but how high? That's about 100,000 people more or less. Want to know why it isn't higher? Check out these two graphs I pulled from the report, paraphrased "Why I haven't used the Internet recently" and "Why we're not getting faster Internet at work" What does a library, or a librarian do about this?

Bottom line: nearly half of all Vermonters who are not online do not have access to computers. And not surprisingly, another 20% of those abstainers say they're not online because they just plain don't like computers.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Williston Gets Free Wi-fi

Susan Glickman at DAML
Originally uploaded by cresmer.
It's official — Willison's Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is a new hotspot. Here's librarian Susan Glickman showing off the library's announcement blog via the new wireless internet connection. Glickman appears in a story I wrote a couple weeks ago about VT library computing resources. FYI — the Starbucks a mile down the road still doesn't have wi-fi. And if they did, you can bet it wouldn't be free.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

VT blogger in LA Times

Check out NTodd and co. on a 251 Club excursion. Only I don't think this piece mentions his blog. I think that's how this reporter found him, though.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Live from Cambodia

Dorset, Vermont-based landmine advocacy group Clear Path International is hosting a group of New Jersey middle schoolers on a trip to Cambodia. They set up a blog to chronicle the trip, which I guess they're still on. Find it here.

From an entry on February 20:

Mark goes up the Mekong, landmine victims become survivors, Dr. Greenwald tries on a dress, Emily learns about engine repair, and Ella visits a landmine survivor's business. Click the "more" button to view...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

the blog formerly known as Amaryllis

It's official — this site will henceforth be known as "802 Online." S'long, Amaryllis. I changed it this morning while sitting on the floor of my hotel room (didn't want to wake up my roommate by working at the desk.) The new name more accurately reflects the focus of the blog, which will become sharper over the next few months as it becomes a Seven Days-sponsored venture (yep, that's where we're headed). I'll also be changing the address eventually, so that I'm hosted by Seven Days, and will likely be switching to Word Press or Typepad. That's still to be determined. And at long last I'll add a blogroll.

I got the name Amaryllis from a line in a document called ART and Machine: The 95 Theses, written by my friend and mentor Marc Awodey. Marc is also the Seven Days art critic, and a truly fascinating, generous, and visionary guy. He ran the Rhombus Gallery — an all-volunteer arts space in Burlington — for several years.

Rhombus was, among many other things, the home of the now-hybernating Burlington Coffeehouse music series, and the birthplace of the Burlington Poetry Slam. It's also where my partner and I got civil unioned — Marc is also a JP, and he officiated. The gallery closed down a couple years ago after Billy Mauer bought the building at 186 College Street and fixed it up (and raised the rent).

Years ago, in my guerilla publishing days, I planned to launch a zine called Amaryllis. I had the first issue ready to take to Kinko's, but for some reason I can't recall, it never went to print. I thought it was a great title, though, so I slapped it on this haphazard blog. Now that things are becoming more official, I'm ready for a change.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Half-way through AAN East

Just attended a really cogent and informative talk by Village Voice reporter Jennifer Gonnerman, author of Life on The Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett. It's a finalist for the 2004 Non-fiction National Book Award. Next up: Atrios.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Pilgrim at the Mayflower

Pilgrim at the Mayflower
Originally uploaded by cresmer.
This is an unattractive but visually interesting photo of me sitting at the desk in my room at the august Mayflower Hotel in DC. Lots of colorful flags out front and glittery chandeliers in the lobby. I'm here to participate in the AAN East conference (that's Association of Alternative Newsweeklies).

Tonight at 7:30, Fiona Morgan and I will be hosting an informal conversation about alt. weeklies and technology. Fiona's a staff writer for the Independent Weekly in Durham. We ran into each other last weekend at the Triangle Bloggercon in NC and decided we should continue our bloggy conversation with some of our AAN peers.

The actual conference starts today at 2. I'm covering the editorial track for the AAN website, and will post links later to what promises to be truly scintillating and groundbreaking coverage. I also get to write about tomorrow's lunchtime event--Atrios (aka Duncan Black) will speak about...I'm not sure what, but probably something to do with blogs. Apparently today is his birthday. Happy day, Atrios.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

7D, CL

Bill Simmon of Candleblog has been kind enough to host this fascinating (to me, anyway) conversation about Seven Days and Craigslist on a post at his site. Bill and I have both commented, and Bill says Craig himself has weighed in. If you're interested in the future of Burlington's alt. weekly (and free alt. weeklies in general), ya might wanna tune in and add your 2 cents.

Monday, February 14, 2005

New Name?

Here's my first nugget of bloggercon wisdom: in my master plan, this blog eventually moves to the Seven Days site, or at least becomes my official Seven Days blog. Or rather, I will eventually have an official blog at Seven Days instead of this haphazaard unaffiliated site. But in order to make that happen, I need a new name. And I need a subhead, something that explains my bailiwick, which is...what? I'm not sure yet.

My sense is that I should be covering the local blog scene somehow, that my blog should serve as a portal to the Vermont blogosphere. But I don't want to be limited to that. I guess I'd like to provide a kind of gateway for Vermonters, a site where they could go to find out a) what's interesting in virtual Vermont and b) how well Vermont is progressing in its journey toward being a more wired state. And the blog would also reflect my own style and quirky interests. So what should I call it? I'm thinking I could incorporate my name somehow, like "cresmopolitan" or something. Suggestions?

Coming Home

Returned to snowy VT this afternoon. Bought a copy of Jay McInerny's Bright Lights, Big City for $4 at the used bookstore in the Raleigh airport (one of only 3 airport used bookstores in the country, apparently). Finished it while waiting for my luggage at the Burlington airport. Reminded me why I love Vermont. As if I needed a reminder — every time I fly home and see Camel's Hump, and Mt. Mansfield, and recognize Burlington, Rock Point, the Intervale, Winooski, and my neighborhood, I'm overwhelmed by a sense of belonging and connectedness and ownership. This aerial view is so comforting. I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

Update on the blogger conference is forthcoming. I need more time to digest and organize my thoughts. I'm working on my vision for what will work here in VT. As my Vermont librarian Jessamyn West says, Vermont is in "a technology shadow." Vermonters, she says, just don't have that "techno-lust" that seems to have caught on in bigger urban areas.

Much of the talk at this weekend's conference revolved around how the blogging community can influence the media. But how does an alternative weekly newspaper go about supporting a blogging community that doesn't quite see itself as a community yet? I have some ideas, and I'm working on implementing them. As always, I'm actively searching for input. I'll share my ideas soon...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

It's over!

The blogger conference is over. Sigh. I apologize for those of you who thought I'd be liveblogging (Alison). I stowed my laptop for most of the morning because I wanted to actually interact with these people I'd traveled 1000 miles to meet.

I'll post a full report later today. Online now using the Mozilla Firefox browser in the UNC student union. Hanging out with my h-less cousin Jon. Get it? H-less? Because if he had an H, he'd be John.

Firefox rocks.

I'm here

The conference is about to start. Lots of people, mostly white guys. I'm on-line at Murphey Hall. Somebody up front pushed a button a few minutes ago and the all the blinds on all the windows started to close, and two projector screens descended from the ceiling. Eerie. Everybody's got a laptop.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Travel Day

Leaving this afternoon for the Triangle Bloggers Conference in NC. Hoping my plane takes off ok. Yesterday's snow storm dumped a pile of what my dad calls "the white shit" on Vermont.

Woke up at 5:15 this morning to see that our roommate had left her car blocking our driveway, which we share with our neighbors. Bob from next door couldn't get out to go to work, and he was about to leave. So I pulled on my coat and hat and mittens and helped him dislodge the car. Then after he left, I was pulling the car back into the driveway (to avoid getting a ticket — the parking ban goes until 6 am) and it got stuck. So I woke Anne up and made her come outside to help me. We finally shoveled and pushed it out at 5:45. I went back to bed.

Hoping they don't have much snow in NC.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Local Color

Posting from Speeder & Earl's on Pine Street (free wi-fi!) Interviewing Brian Brown from in a few minutes for a pre-town meeting story I'm writing about media and democracy.

It's snowing, finally. We're supposed to get a foot or so. Hope it doesn't affect my travel plans.

While waiting for my double mocha, I excitedly told the two Speeders behind the counter that I'm going to North Carolina for a blogger conference this weekend. "A blotter conference?" asked the friendly, shaggy-haired baristo.

Um, no.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Favorite Library

Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol
Originally uploaded by cresmer.
Psst...the Lawrence Memorial Library has wi-fi. Pass it on!

Blogging Together — The Triangle Bloggercon

I grew up in East Detroit, but I have an army of relatives in North Carolina, and have spent at least part of every year of my life visiting Thomasville, Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem. NC has never felt exactly like home, but it's close. How exciting then, to find out that the area has spawned one of the most innovative and involved blogging communities in the country.

On Friday, I'll be flying to Raleigh, renting a car, and crashing at my cousin's place to attend the Triangle Bloggercon at UNC Chapel Hill. I managed to squeeze some money out of Seven Days to go. I'm hoping to meet Dan Gillmor, chat with John Robinson of the Greensboro News & Record , and finally find out how to create a blogroll (I still just don't get it.)

Mainly, though, I'm looking for ideas on how to expand the Seven Days web presence. How can an alternative weekly use the web to do what we do better? How can we use blogs to build community in Vermont? How can we link to and support local bloggers? And what should a real bloggercon look like? Regular readers of this blog will note that I tried to organize a Vermont event last fall that drew a mere 3 participants.

I'm also interested in brainstorming ways I can use on-line resources to help my boss and friend and favorite cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Alison draws "Dykes to Watch Out For," the comic strip for lesbian spearchuckers and the people who love them. I'd like to explore ways to syndicate her strip on-line.

And let's not forget about the Winooski Eagle — how can I, the editor and publisher of a small community newspaper that doesn't yet have a website, use blogs and affordable internet resources to do community building here in the low tech Onion City ?

If anyone has ideas, I'm listening.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Blogging From Bristol

Checking in via wi-fi from the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol. This place is a treasure. Gorgeous wood trim, fluted columns, high ceilings, elegant light fixtures, two state of the art PCs, and wi-fi, wonderful wi-fi. It's a revelation. And they have free coffee on Saturdays.

I'll be coming here again.
Pictures to follow when I get home and recharge my camera batteries.

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