Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
(What follows is a very long, comprehensive post filled to the brim with everything I’ve learned about going solar. Our installation is now feeding green energy into the grid, I obsess about cloudy days, and I’m looking forward to our new investment paying us back in both money, and in knowing we’re contributing a great deal towards a green future.)
The flurry of activity in and around my homestead during two days in the week of October 7th was very disturbing to my poor dogs, but exciting for us. After a journey of more than five years in researching and planning (more on that in a bit) the contractors we hired, NuWatt Energy Inc, were on our roof installing our 4.16kWh solar electric system. A system that, it is estimated, will be providing around 80% of our current electricity usage.
Why did it take us so long, and how did we finally decide on the path we did? The answer to that, I’m hoping, will give other people a shortcut to the knowledge we got the hard way, and give you several paths to solar for your own home or business if you think you’ve got the roof for it. (more…)
When one door closes, another one opens. To the embarrassment of riches that is the Lowell blogosphere (it’s turning into a thing here!) we welcome to our blogroll newcomers at Learning Lowell.
With several posts already examining the local election - musings from grow-ins trying to learn the ropes (amazing, to see brand new residents get so deep into local politics so quickly!) - it promises to be a great new addition to the conversation. (And yes, we’re sorry, we’re probably guilty of “assum[ing they] already know the decades of history these people have.” And yes, “for a town with such a history of new groups moving in, sometimes it isn’t the most accessible.” I agree - though, of course, putting all the long history of context in every politics post is really difficult. I’m always available by email, comment, or coffee to answer any question you guys might have on any post we do here!
So, put them on your list of blogs on your regular reading list!
Dick’s been on a roll lately, his latest is to take on the “email controversy.” The one being literally drummed up out of nothingness by Rodney Elliot.
Go read Dick’s very detailed and thorough post. It’s pretty awesome.
I’m not only writing this blog post to point out this piece you want to read, but also, because I’m going to call Rodney Elliot what he is:
The term is: unhinged.
Get out the vote, people. Seriously.
I hate to say this, I really do, but I am
pretty underwhelmed utterly disgusted with the city’s new website. On several levels, unfortunately.
Let’s begin with the aesthetics. The site looks 10 years out of date, design-wise. I know that a municipal website doesn’t have to be all Web 3.0 with tons of bells and whistles and hipster giant fonts and illustrated icons, but at least keep up with the times visually. The Pollard Memorial Library comes to mind, their new site looks excellent. In addition, I’ve checked the new city website on my smartphone and it has zero elements of responsive design. Responsive web design is when your site changes its look and layout and interface, at least a little bit, to accommodate different screen sizes and devices. This can be achieved at a pretty primitive level with the use of relative widths rather than fixed (a percentage of the screen instead of specific pixels) and the way you lay out your columns in a page, etc. There are also far more advanced ways to effect responsive design (up to and including eliminating unnecessary content or simplifying the navigation). (more…)
I missed this a few days ago.
When do you know a politico has the maturity of a five year old and zero sense of humor about themselves? When they go on social media tempter tantrums of course!
Former Senator and professional political office shopper Scott Brown went on what Jessica Van Sack over at the Herald described as a Twitter blocking bender, again raising some serious doubts about his temperament. Hashtag #blockedbyscotto was born.
It all started once again with Brown posting something odd on Twitter.Maybe
— Scott P. Brown (@ScottBrownMA) August 26, 2013
Which prompted Ben Jacobs a reporter for the Daily Beast to reply:I just met you and this is crazy. Here’s my number. So call me “@ScottBrownMA: Maybe”
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) August 26, 2013
Brown then blocked Jacobs from his public campaign account.
But Brown didn’t stop there, he then started a blocking spree that included Adam Reilly and David Bernstein amongst many others. Seems that anyone who responded to Brown’s Maybe tweet got blocked.
The people getting blocked are mostly reporters in Massachusetts. You can check out the #blockedbyscotto fun yourself (including my late-to-the-game comment about the flap). When you’re blocked, you can’t even “follow” that person on Twitter any more.
So you can either assume he’s done running for anything, or at least anything in MA, and doesn’t care about burning his bridges and acting like a child, or else, some child really did get a hold of his Twitter account. Either way, a real class move. *shakes head*
By the way, this is the guy Councilor Rita Mercier thought was a better choice for Senator. Let’s not forget that!
You’ve done it again…testing new web designs seems to be something the parent company of the Lowell Sun can’t seem to get right.
Go to the Lowell Sun right now, and you get this weird ad for the lead-in (God do I HATE preloaded “click to skip” ads):
Then you get…the Denver Post! Well, not really, just the title. The title links to denverpost.com and the weather link is for Denver as well.
Again, as a web designer, who has had to go live on web redesigns for clients all the time, this is just, well, sad. How much money did they spend on this? It’s seriously amateur. Can things go wrong in a website redesign release? Sure. But the sheer number of goofups with this media group is more than just a simple hiccup, it’s like they don’t give a crap. They still haven’t touched the blogs.lowellsun.com home page, which in Firefox (a very common browser) is so messed up you can’t even read it.
Unacceptable. But par for the course. If Denver cares so little for their web collateral that they fail to do the most basic cross browser, pre-live testing, it stands to reason this is also why they seem to care so little for good content (at least from certain of its reporters and editors…there are a few good eggs left over there, poor things).
PS - and then there’s their horrid title writing…so biased. “Tewksbury Town Meeting snubs slots-parlor plan” - obviously a negative spin on the vote, the use of the word “snubs,” as if the slots had just graciously deigned to visit and Tewksbury turned its nose up at it and sent it packing, despite the slots’ beautiful clothes and respectful manner. Kad Barma had also noted this tendency here on another Sun piece, but I’ve been writing about their awful titles since the beginning of this blog. No joke. It just never gets better…
I can’t begin to stress just how disturbed I am right now.
Look, I’m a blogger, and a graphic designer. I’m no lawyer, and I’m certainly no better informed than most journalism majors finishing up their junior year as an undergrad. So when Christopher Scott, Enterprise Editor of the Lowell Sun, responds on Facebook to the copyright scandal with the following:
Good morning Jenn. Just want to set the record straight on this one. I’m 99.9 percent sure no one lifted the picture you’re referencing from your FB page. Rather, someone, might have been me, Googled a picture of the mayor and that one was selected.
So let me get this straight. Lifting the photo from Google sans permission is better than lifting this photo from Facebook sans permission? I don’t care where the photo was found via Google images (in this case, Jen says an article from Latitude News “regarding the connection the Mayor has created with the Cambodian community” used the photo with her permission). And then you go and list it in print as a Sun File Photo?
Are you kidding me? Does Scott not have a clue as to how copyright works as applied to the internet?
Bet you dollars to donuts, if I started lifting actual Sun File Photos from their website and putting them on my blog, they’d be after me faster than a canal minnow on tossed bread (and that’s fast, I’ve fed them, those suckers EAT).
Bad form, Lowell Sun, you got caught and called out, and your lame ass excuse just digs you deeper. Just admit it, you know crap all about what you’re doing over there, kids. The Museum truly is a museum - they can’t even catch up to two decades of the internet, for heaven’s sake.
Someone please clean house over there before they hurt themselves.
Update I: Apparently, this is not the first time the Lowell Sun has blatantly stolen photos from others. In fact, it appears to be pretty common. In regards to a recent post on the Lowell Sun Column blog, another commenter on Jen’s status caught them again:
Perhaps the “column” photo was “borrowed” from LHS Photography student Monita Khuth/ http://www.panoramio.com/photo/52773728
These students have produced some outstanding work. And if you keep an eye on them you’ll see their progress year after year.
Check the link…that photo of LHS has a copyright.
Uploaded on May 16, 2011
© All Rights Reserved
by LHS Photo
You can see where the Sun Column blog stole that photo, with apparently zero permission, zero attribution, here.
And from Dan Murphy, the Mayor’s brother:
Not the first time this has happened. The Sun stole a picture of Patrick and his wife off the “Google” when they found out he was getting married.
I’m sure there’s more, anyone wishing to jump in and find more violations feel free.
For those who watch Lowell City Council meetings, we’ve all experienced the moments where Councilor Rodney Elliot insists he knows better than the experts testifying in front of the Council. Like the time Elliot knew more about the traffic patterns on Father Morissette Blvd than any city traffic engineer.
So most people would agree we need another “expert” (in air quotes) in the Council like we need speed bumps on Tanner St. (Reference to the fact Tanner St has like a million potholes and bumps already and you can’t go faster than 20 mph or risk your wheels flying off.)
But we have another such “expert,” a challenger, running for City Council, and the evidence for his lack of judgement in an online discussion with real professionals was too clear and illustrative to not bring it to your attention. After all, this guy is vying for one of your votes, and you need to know the content of his character before you make your decision.
That “expert” is Council challenger Matt Vieira. (more…)
There’s professionalism, then there’s the Lowell Sun, which is on another plane of existence all together. The rules don’t apply to them, doncha know?
What rules would that be? Rules about stealing, of course!
On first glance, this photo looks like a great shot by a staff photographer.
If you are one of those individuals that complaints about your cable television programming and if you are one of those that wants more local access television, you have an opportunity to have your voice heard and make a difference.
The City of Lowell is currently holding public hearings to discuss the renewal of the City cable contract with Comcast. As some of you are aware, through a fee assessed on our monthly bill, funds are directed to the City of Lowell. The first hearing took place on March 13th.The second and last public hearing will be held this April 10th . All cable subscribers and interested parties are invited to attend the hearings and share comments or suggestions about cable service.
These funds are disbursed to the public, education and government (PEG) channels which are operated by the Lowell Communications Corporation (LTC) and Lowell Educational Television (LET) . LTC operates channels 8, 95 and 99. The first two are community programming and the last one is government. And LET operates Channel 22.
The City of Lowell also receives funds for its intranet as well as other technical operations. And I believe that Greater Lowell Technical High School also receives some funds from this contract.
As part of the information gathering the City of Lowell IT Department and LTC have partnered to survey of Lowell residents and gather information that will help in drafting an agreement which is responsive to the public’s needs and desires. The answers provided in this survey will also assist LTC and LET to better serve the City with its programming and outreach.
Here is the link to the survey
I just finished taking it and I did in 2 minutes.
Oh, and did I mention that everyone who takes this survey is eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card.
Update (by Jack):
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