Hurricane Sandy: Philadelphia Links

October 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Well, I have long admired Research Buzz, and since I am compulsively following Hurricane Sandy and I need something to do as I ride out the storm…

Inspired by this monstorm, and by the NYC resources over at ResearchBuzz, (oohhh, and I see she has a nice Twitter List, too), I have decided to compile some resources here for the Philadelphia area, since Sandy seems to be packing a punch headed right at us.

First of all:

Anyone needing shelter from Sandy can send the text message SHELTER followed by the zip code to 4FEMA (43362).

PECO Emergency number: 1-800-841-4141


Weather Sites:

Local News:


Weather Geekery:

I’m posting this before I have compiled everything. Our Internet service is going in and out, so I will post updates as I can. Meanwhile, I hope this is helpful as we all ride out the storm.


Web v. Paper: On Serendipity

May 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I attended the Women in the Forefront luncheon hosted by the Chicago Network, an organization that advocates for women in business leadership in Chicago. The keynote speaker was Ann S. Moore, the Chairman and CEO of Time, Inc.

Moore shared many wise points and witticisms in her speech, like the connection between a weak economy and searches for tuna casserole on the Internet, the importance of dinner time with family, and advised us all to get a compass in place of the clock. She lifted her glass to economic recovery, more women leaders, less tuna casserole, and more sunshine and serendipity.

She also shared her fear about the precarious state of America’s newspapers.  She reminded us that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is Freedom of the Press, and that democracy is possible only when citizens have access to information. While the Internet is a wonderful source of information, she warned that too much unfiltered information is overwhelming.

She criticized the trend of citizen journalism, saying that the sacrifices and risks that professional journalists make is undervalued. They go to war-torn countries and put themselves in danger to provide regular citizens with a complete story, while, Moore argues, most citizen journalists plagiarize their work. This is a rather harsh generalization, and while I do think that citizen journalism has a place, I couldn’t agree more that we need to protect the profession of journalism and ensure that it continues to be a viable career choice. We need to support the brave men and women on the front lines of getting first-hand accounts of world events.

About serendipity, Moore worries about the younger generations will not have the experience of reading the newspaper and stumbling randomly across stories and information. She asked us “how do you look for something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?”

This made me think of young people I have worked with in recent years who refused to read the hard copy version of their reading assignments. They complained that that got ink on their fingers! I would always counsel them that they will miss important details that they didn’t know they were looking for. Moore describes reading a hard copy newspaper as a serendipitous process, which I think very apt.

I’m always eager to learn about new technology. While I identify as an early adopter, I would qualify that by saying that I am also conservative about it. I will only actively adopt technology if I think it is a useful tool and will seamlessly fit into my already incredibly full information consumption routine.

Technology is convenient, and I admit, like those young researchers, I have become lazy in how I rely on technology to push information to me. Serendipity to me these days is reading my Twitter and RSS feeds, or listening to my podcasts. I lament that I am no longer in the habit of reading a morning news paper. I think I might go old-school, and be a minority on the bus in the morning, reading my paper with ink-stained fingers.

Crisis and Opportunity: Making Media Connections Conference

June 12, 2009 § Leave a comment


I had a fantastic day volunteering at the Making Media Connections conference.  Chicago is the epicenter of civically engaged journalists, techies, and media activists. The world of journalism is experiencing tectonic shifts, being impacted by the recession and trends in technology and social media, and the presentations at the conference was all about how this professional community is responding to those shifts. It is truly at a crisis moment. I have heard that the Japanese word for crisis also means opportunity, which in this case is a very apt translation.

One of the exciting things that came out of this conference was the intersection of different professional worlds coming together that had never had the occasion to do so before. Particularly, I am excited about the non-profit and media community coming together. It makes sense that in this time of crisis and opportunity the worlds of philanthropy, advocacy, and media would connect. Out of this intersection, a creative response is growing in terms of the creation of new tools and innovative ways to use them to create social change.

There is no doubt that social media tools have the potential of being co-opted by corporate conglomerates, and to a certain degree we can only expect that to happen. The panel on media policy that I attended emphasized that we still need to focus on accessibility issues for existing and established technologies (public TV, radio, and print media), and make sure that the public maintains the ability to produce their own content and keep access to a variety of information resources.

However, there was so much optimism about the potential to use social media tools to do good and not evil, it is easy to believe that out of this convergence of activists, community organizers, policy wonks, non-profit leaders, journalists, bloggers, and many others that something really exciting and good is being born. People were able to share their challenges and successes, building collaborative solutions to complex problems.

Community activists of all persuasions need to be vigilant in participating in the process of developing media policy. The issues of net neutrality, low power FM radio, and public access TV should be in sharp focus for all of us.

These are indeed exciting times. Darkness certainly looms as people are being laid off and companies are going into bankruptcy. But hope and inspiration abound as people build their own companies, become consultants, or create innovative jobs in response to the shifting economy. I was thrilled to meet so many optimistic activists and learn about the incredible work they are all doing.

Making Media Connections: The New News

June 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

(#net2chi #mmc2009)

Last night NetSquared Chicago had a special Net Tuesday event to kick off the Making Media Connections conference hosted by Community Media Workshop. This should be a great event that addresses the incredible and fast-moving changes in the world of journalism. While this event has obvious appeal to people in the field of journalism and media communications, every citizen who is interested in journalism’s role deomcratic process will be interested in the contet of this event.

At the Net Tuesday kick-off, we had a preview of a new report that Community Media Workshop is unveiling: The New News: journalism we want and need. This thorough report compiles the results of a survey of news organizations in the Chicago area that are using social media and new technology tools to reach their audience. I believe this report is the first of it’s kind, and no doubt the list will continue to grow.

Tomorrow I will be liveblogging two panels at the conference. You can follow along here. Also follow the hash tag #mmc2009 on Twitter.

Following Proposition 8 Protests Today

November 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

While I haven’t been able to give as much time and attention to these protests as I would have liked, it is clear that the Internet has changed activism and grassroots organzing.

The nation-wide action was organized by grassroots movements in communities everywhere using Internet tools. I found the protest here through the Join the Impact website, which had resources and links to local websites, blogs, and Facebook pages. Word has been spread by Facebook, Twitter, and FriendFeed. I found many resources here in Chicago, including Chicago Against Prop 8, and the Great Lakes Against Prop 8 (GLAP8 – gotta work on that acronym).

Almost overnight I connected with old friends and made new ones, all of us in far flung locations acting in solidarity for marriage equality.

Today, I will be one of the featured livebloggers at the many rallies around the country.

All of the action and planning has inspired and reinvigorated me! I am eager to see the results of our efforts, and I will be sure to report on it here.

My Article in Searcher Magazine

November 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’m published! W00t!

I worked on an article about nonprofit technology over the summer, and it was just published in this month’s Searcher Magazine. Searcher is a great industry rag for database and information professionals. I devour every issue when it arrives.

The full article is only available in print or if you pay for it online. Your local library might have access to it through its electronic resources. The list of online resources that I cite is available here, if you want to check that out.

Thanks to everyone who helped out, particularly to: Marnie Webb from TechSoup, Larry Halff from Ma.gnolia, and the folks at Community Voice Mail who gave me the tour of their office on Second Life.

I’m really happy to promote all of the organiziations and the movement for social change on the Internet in my own small way.

Chicago New Media Summit

September 14, 2008 § Leave a comment

While I won’t be attending this event, I will most certainly be watching the ning site and following the Twitter feed, looking for content emerging from the happenings there. Being on the periphery of this burgeoning community, this looks to be an exciting event. The organizers want nothing less that to establish Chicago as the “New Media Capital,” which after moving here from the Bay Area almost one year ago seems like a logical possibility. Even coming from Silicon Valley where much of the new media technology was born and is still being developed, Chicago seems the likely place for the creative use of this new technology to really take off and take hold.

This is the heartland, after all, a hub representing a real cross-section of the United States and arguably the world. The diverse cultural representation that exists here is rich soil for creative seeds to be planted. Chicago has a populist tradition of intellectualism here, and people have the ability to dig down into the resourceful working class roots and history of this place to find inspiration of those who have created vibrant communities here before with whatever means they had available to them. Finally, the creativity that exists here makes for a community of artists, writers, activists, and musicians actively creating new works and looking for and finding inspiration in each other.

As a techneophyte and citizen blogger still kind of new to Chicago, I live on the periphery of this community, still feeling kind of on the outside looking in, I’m excited by the possibilities of what inspiration might come out of the Chicag New Media Summit.

Nota Bene

September 7, 2008 § Leave a comment

Regarding my earlier post about election coverage, I would be remiss not to again mention my brother-in-law’s blog, The RNC Is Coming To Town. He has been able to watch the activities from the vantage point of his downtown St. Paul condominium, as well as on the streets of St. Paul. His observations of the media’s coverage of events is enlightening. He’s another citizen journalist taking matters into his own hands.

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