Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Linus Pauling Memorial Lectures

It’s that time again!
The Institute for Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (ISEPP) and sponsors are bringing a variety of influential and interesting scientists and philosophers to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for the Linus Pauling Memorial Lectures. The Pauling memorial lectures include a wide range of subjects. This year we’ll hear from:
– Dr. Richard Leaky: Rethinking Human Origins
– Dr. Terence Love: Holistic Design
– Dr. Daniel Levitin: Evolving Music and Mind
– Dr. Susan Haack: Beyond the Science Wars
– Dr. Brian Greene: Cosmology at the Frontier
– Dr. Stuart Kaufmann: Reinventing the Sacred

In the past the lectures have been absolutely fascinating, and it looks like this year will be no different; I highly recommend all of these lectures. General admission for all 6 lectures is $192, tickets are also available for individual lectures.

For more information, visit or call 503-232-2300.

Gym Goers Add to the Pearl "I’m More Important Than You" Rep

Both my husband and I both work downtown, so we carpool. Every afternoon I pick him up from his office over in the Pearl, a block or two down from the 24-Hour Fitness on Irving & 12th. And everyday there is at least one car – sometimes three or four – sitting in traffic on Irving, waiting to get into the tiny little parking garage owned by 24-Hour Fitness.

They aren’t waiting because of log-jam at the gate like you occasionally get at a SmartPark – they’re waiting because there aren’t any open spots. So they wait for someone to leave. Sitting in traffic. Blocking traffic. While they wait – no one can go eastbound on Irving. And everyday they sit and wait. Eventually you can get a gap in westbound traffic and go around them – but really? I’ve pulled up behind them and honked. Usually they don’t pay any attention, to full of themselves to notice anything around them – or if they do – they motion that they’re waiting to get in the garage.

I’m sorry, but when the garage is full – go somewhere else and park. And if you’re headed to the gym, shouldn’t having to walk an extra block or two not be that big of a deal anyhow?

It’s too bad, ’cause that’s just one more reason why the Pearl gets a bad rap.

MetroFi Dumping City Wi-Fi By End of June

Better enjoy that free Portland Wi-Fi while you can…the Oregonian and the Portland Business Journal are both reporting the network may soon be sold to the city or shutdown. Word is MetroFi has decided to walk from the deal and is offering to sell the network to the city for $894,000! The company said it will be yank its equipment at the end of June if the city or someone else doesn’t pick up the tab.

This really seems like a crap move by MetroFi, especially when you consider this word of news that the company will be selling its nine city networks across the country. This move casts doubt, I think, on the viability of metro-wide Wi-Fi. We still have all those Personal Telco network hubs out there, but if you aren’t near one and don’t have another way to access the Internet, you’ll probably soon be out of luck.

The Failed Microsoft/Yahoo Deal – the Portland Connection

So it turns out the Rose City had a hand in the progression and eventual failure of the Yahoo/Microsoft merger. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, among other sources, reports executives from the two companies met here on April 15th at a Portland law firm:

As a result, Microsoft executives were surprised when Mr. Ballmer on April 5 letter sent a letter to Yahoo directors threatening a hostile approach if they didn’t reach a friendly deal by April 26. That spurred Yahoo executives and an entourage of bankers and advisers from both sides to meet with Microsoft on April 15 at a Portland, Ore., law firm. A presentation from Yahoo included a slide that said Microsoft’s offer “significantly undervalues” Yahoo.

Late into the meeting Mr. Ballmer addressed the elephant in the room: “Where are we on price?” he asked Mr. Yang, according to two people who were present. Responding to Mr. Ballmer’s question, Mr. Yang repeated that the original offer of $31 a share “substantially” undervalued the Internet company. Mr. Ballmer again asked for a firm price, and Mr. Yang said he didn’t have a number.

They also reportedly met aboutsocial issues,” such as management and perhaps corporate cultures. I find it interesting the two giants chose to meet in Portland for this meeting. Apart from the law firm, Portland seems to be a good middle ground for the two of them to have traveled to. Wonder if they got a chance to enjoy Stumptown Coffee or Voodoo Doughnuts while here? Anybody know what that law firm is?

POST UPDATED 10:48 AM with more links and info.

TriMet’s verbose peoplemovers

This is slightly old news, for those of you who read the same Portland-centric transportation blogs that I do, but TriMet is giving the buses voices! You read that right – not only will the buses announce their eventual destinations to riders at the stop on an external speaker, but they’re equipping the buses to do the same for major stops inside the buses, much like the MAX and Streetcar do per stop already. The lines taking on the system (powered mostly by GPS) are few for now, but so far I’ve heard the announcements on the 20 and the 75 (per the major stops). As I took my first ride on the 75 yesterday, and as I was preoccupied by my cat being freaked out (it was her first bus ride, full stop, and to the vet, no less), the announcement for the Powell stop, so clearly stated, was incredibly helpful. I know that some drivers speak the stops into their wee microphones as they are approaching, but in my near-year of bus riding here, I’ve only been able to actually hear one of these drivers – and I have excellent hearing. Thanks, TriMet, for improving upon our awesome public transit system! They’re not always on time, but at least I now know where we’re going on the bus.

Turn Off Your TV (or the birds will do it for you)

It you are ever without power for an entire evening – I highly recommend a game of Spongebob Squarepants Monopoly. And margaritas. On the rocks of course – your blender doesn’t work, remember.

No – really.

So because we live in this neighborhood – a silly bird took down our power for more than 10 hours yesterday. It was off when I got home from work – my husband had just checked with PGE and they estimated 7pm for restoration so we decided to head out for dinner. Mexican food and margaritas sounded good, so we headed over to one of our favorite Mexican joints – El Dorado on NE Glisan just west of 82nd. It’s not a fancy place and I’m sure their food is to basic or Americanized for many Portlanders ‘authentic’ taste-buds – but their seafood dishes are stuffed full of fresh ingredients, simply spectacular and their margaritas are to-die-for! Gigantic, tasty, strong and cheap. And the staff is always super friendly. A perfect place to spend a powerless evening.

Once we got home, we discovered we still didn’t have power – so we figured we’d better look for flashlights and candles where there was still enough daylight to do so. Normally after dinner out like that we probably would have ended up watching TV or a movie, or on our computers… but instead we pulled a game out of the credenza… and set up a table full of candles, plastic pineapples and headed into Bikini Bottoms.

Our power didn’t come back on until after we’d gone to bed (well after the second estimate of 9pm) so not only was this a good test for us to be sure that we did have a supply of candles, flashlights with working batteries and a radio with batteries, but I believe I read somewhere that this is “turn off your TV week” – which is something I’m really bad at doing – so it was kind of nice actually that the dumb bird forced us to do so.

I highly recommend it.

Poll: Social Networking or Public Journalism?

(Note: you must be registered to vote. If you’re not sure about the terms, you may want to read the post before voting.)

The media landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade, with ownership concentrating in fewer corporate hands, and with declining newspaper circulation and ad revenue. Eric Alterman eulogizes the late, great big city daily in a recent New Yorker.

Our home-town daily struggles to maintain relevance with a proxy Web site, and tragi-comedically cautious style which has seen them sit on important stories (see Packwood and Goldschmidt) to protect their powerful friends, even as they pursue Pulitzers for fluffy human interest reporting.

Meanwhile, blogs have sprung up like weeds in the fertile soil once covered by paid journalists, with citizen journalists pouring forth millions of column inches daily, completely free of the stodgy old constraints of artificial objectivity. (more…)

Polaroid’s Swan Song

Earlier this month, Polaroid announced that it stopped making their instant cameras nearly two years ago and that production of the iconic film would cease by the end of the year. Two of their instant film production plants are closing, with more to come by the end of the year as the company moves farther into the digital arena.

I love my digital camera because it’s easy to carry and snap photos whenever, but I own a 35mm SLR that I still use. In the olden days when I was Washington, DC drone by day, band photographer at night, I used both.

Maybe I’m one of the few out there who still have a fondness for “real” film, but shooting on slides was something that helped me perfect my photography skills. Not to sound all “get off my damn lawn, you kids!” but learning to shoot on film and getting it right in one take because you know what you’re doing is more appealing to me than simply being able to hit delete, try again and using Photoshop to handle the rest.

That said, my next camera purchase will be a digital camera. However, I will always have a special place for all those fun Polaroids I’ve taken over the years.

If you still want to have the film, I suggest you act fast as the film is flying off shelves. I’m sure most is going to folks planning to sell it on Ebay, but I’d like to think there are others out there hoping to hold on to a bit of history.

HD Radio…am I missing out?

I’m far from being a Luddite, yet I don’t hop on every technology that comes along. For example, HD Radio. I’m more of an Internet radio supporter, so it would be hard to imagine buying a receiver just to listen to something I can already get for free. Though I am loving XM Radio’s offerings, I’m waiting to subscribe until the merger with Sirius either happens or dissolves.

I know 94.7 FM offers a second station only available via HD Radio and OPB has a station for its music offerings as well. Anyone out there have an HD receiver and can tell me if spending the cash for a receiver is really worth it?

Glitch in city’s email service?

According to the weekly City of Portland Notification Service I received today (oh, the irony), an email outage is affecting several city bureaus.

From a quick scan of the list, if you emailed any of our commissioners, the Mayor’s office, or the Management & Finance department after 1:30 pm yesterday, for example, your mail is in limbo somewhere.

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that if you emailed the Emergency Communications, Fire or Police bureaus – well, they have no such excuse to use. Ditto Transportation or that all-important Water Bureau.

Hmmm. In my office, work slows to a crawl (or stops entirely, in some cases) if we don’t have email. And on a Friday afternoon? It’d have given us the perfect excuse for a happy hour excursion that didn’t necessarily have to wait until 5 pm. So I’m wondering what Friday afternoon was like in the Emergency Management Bureau…the Auditor’s Office…or if Mayor Potter got to cut out a little early himself…!

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