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218 posts categorized "On the web"

January 22, 2014

It's hailing taxis in Roch.

Rochester's Yellow Cab rolled out a bunch on new Prius V hybrids Tuesday to much fanfare among local business leaders and Mayo Clinic.

YellowcabpicI trotted out to the first leg of Yellow Cab's Prius tour at Rochester Toyota. Fairly interesting. Here's a link to that article.

I had reported in June that Yellow Cab planned to switch over to hybrids. Back then, Med City Taxi was part of the transportation alliance that bought Yellow Cab. So two of Rochester's three cab companies were under the same corporate umbrella ... for a while.

Best Ride, the updated version of the transportation alliance that rolled out the new cars Tuesday, does not include Med City Taxi owner Tim and Tina Fliehr as before.

That means Rochester truly has three cab companies, Yellow Cab, Med City Taxi and Rochester Taxi, vying for the predicted DMC boom in bodies trying to get around this city.

The websites of the firms seem to put that growing competition on display.

• Yellow Cab -  yellowcabmedcity.com

• Med City Taxi - medcitytaxi.com

• Rochester Taxi - Rochester Taxi seems to only be on Facebook. It bills itself as the "people's taxi company."

Yellow Cab's use of Med City in its web address struck me as interesting and seemingly superfluous.

YellowcabwebsiteAnd then there's Yellow Cab's slogan on its website:

"Yellow Cab, your med-city taxi"

MedcitytaxiHhhmmmm.... sounds familiar. Heh.

As a side note to this little deal, I'd like to point out that my editor despise the use of the phrase Rochtaxi"Med City" to describe Rochester.

Using it in proper names is OK, but saying something like "The Med City is all aflutter with buzz about Mayo Clinic's DMC" is a no-no.

It was probably my overuse of the catchy phrase that caused it to fall out of favor. Sorry about that.

What do you think of Medropolis instead? Heh.

April 09, 2012

Kiger's Notebook reborn

Sorry for disappearing for so long, but I'm back now.

Photo 45As the PB changed its online approach, I took some time off from the blog to consider its future and what it should look like. It was sort of like a strategic planning retreat without the big pads of paper or markers.

Actually, there wasn't much strategy either. Heh.

I didn't really come up with any great insights other than I missed writing Kiger's Notebook. This blog launched back in March 2005. For seven years, I've been posting bits and pieces of news and semi-humorous quips on here.

I think I'd like to keep doing that.

So to any readers left out there, I pose the question - What would you like to read on this blog? What kind of info will make it worth your time.

The bottom line is that I'm back and this blog is back in the game.

July 26, 2011

IBM's weather forecasting system gets rained on

Here's some from an interesting piece by William Pentland (who looks a lot like Thomas Dolby) on Forbes.com's Clean Beta energy blog.

Deep+thunder Basically, using utility giant Con Edison as his example, the piece calls the effectiveness of IBM's super-duper weather forecasting program called Deep Thunder. (Whoever names stuff at IBM must have a fun job. Heh)

I point this out mainly because a 2010 case study by IBM says at that time, Deep Thunder was running on an IBM System P server at the IBM Data Center in Rochester.

I wonder how KTTC's Randy Brock would fare in a head-to-head weather forecast cage match? I bet he'd do better than those guys did on Jeopardy! against IBM's Watson.

Anyway, here some from Pentland's piece:

Deep Thunder couples high-resolution weather forecasts with business processes to enhance operational planning and facilitate efficient and effective decision making processes. Or, as IBM puts it: “It is not about weather but integrating forecasts into decision making to optimize business processes.”

In 2001, a prototype was pioneered to provide 24-hour forecasts for the New York City area at 1 kilometer resolution twice daily. More recently, IBM has extended the Deep Thunder platform for forecasting local weather conditions in Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Baltimore and Washington D.C. and other metropolitan areas.

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The big question for IBM is whether Deep Thunder delivers on its promise.  At least one high-profile customer, Consolidated Edison of New York, has concluded that it does not.

Here's what Con Ed said in 2008:

3650853-illustration-of-dark-cloud-icon-with-lightnings-underneath [Con Edison] has initiated a project with IBM to apply IBM’s Deep Thunder technology to the problem of forecasting weather-caused damage at a micro-geographic level. The goal . . . is to develop and integrate more precise weather forecasting capability into our emergency response management utilizing finer resolution forecasting models. The training of key operations and planning personnel commenced on June 1, 2008 and continues as the application is modified. The Deep Thunder forecasting model is being included as appropriate in operational decisions to continue to test against real time weather data for accuracy and refinement. We are now developing the specifications and implementation for specific customizations of the current Deep Thunder capability to enable the Company to evaluate “predicted” overhead system damage based on Deep Thunder enhanced weather forecasts.

Then this is a follow up report more than two years later:

“[i]nvestigation into integrating the Deep Thunder micro-weather modeling system with the STAR system determined that it is not feasible with the current software . . The [Deep Thunder] predictive model has proved to be no more accurate than the existing static matrix currently in use. The model’s usefulness is limited and no further modifications are anticipated.”

June 20, 2011

NYT Mag profiles next "Billion dollar author" in Austin, MN

New York Times Magazine published a cool profile of Amanda Hocking, a young author in Austin, Minn. who is is currently the 'It Girl" of the publishing world with what looks to be a very promising career ahead of her.

The piece, written by Strawberry Saroyan, shows Hocking as a down-to-earth woman living a quiet life in Spamtown, USA.

Through online self-publishing, Hocking is selling about 9,000 books a day.

That's a big jump from where she was in February when the Post-Bulletin's very own Matt Stolle profiled Hocking.

Here's some from Saroyan's profile of her:

Amanda Hocking, the star of self-publishing, was sitting in the front seat of her Ford Escape earlier this spring when she spotted a messenger delivering flowers to her home in Austin, Minn. She watched her best friend and roommate, Eric Goldman, get the door.

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Inside, Goldman had set the assortment of gerbera daisies and roses on the coffee table.

“Who are they from?” Hocking asked.

“St. Martin’s Press,” Goldman said. “That’s your new publisher.”

That morning, Hocking’s deal with St. Martin’s was announced: $2 million for her next four books, a series she’s calling “Watersong.”

She casually opened the card. “ ‘Thrilled to be your publisher,’ ” she read. “ ‘Thrilled to be working with you. Sincerely, people.’ ”

People?

Me2 “Well, ‘Sincerely, Matthew Shear and Rose Hilliard,’ ” she said before trailing off, referring to a head of St. Martin’s and the woman who would be her editor there.

If Hocking seems a bit blasé about signing her first deal with a traditional publisher, and a multimillion-dollar one at that, it’s hard to blame her. Since uploading her first book on her own last spring, she has become — along with the likes of Nora Roberts, James Patterson and Stieg Larsson — one of the best-selling e-authors on Amazon. In that time, she has grossed approximately $2 million. Her 10 novels include the paranormal-romance “Trylle,” a four-book vampire series that begins with “My Blood Approves” and “Hollowland,” which kicks off a zombie series whose second book will come out in the fall. Her character-driven books, which feature trolls, hobgoblins and fairy-tale elements and keep the pages turning, have generated an excitement not felt in the industry since Stephenie Meyer or perhaps even J.K. Rowling.

“She’s just a really good storyteller,” Hilliard says. “Whatever that thing is that makes you want to stay up late at night to read one more chapter — she has it.”

Hollywood feels the same way: the “Trylle”series was optioned by Media Rights Capital, which was involved with “The Adjustment Bureau,” among other films; the screenplays are being written by the woman who co-wrote “District 9.’

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415xaWKjghL._SS500_ And Hocking wants to reach as many people as possible among the 85 percent or so of the population who don’t have e-readers yet. “For me to be a billion-dollar author,” she would tell me later, “I need to have people buying my books at Wal-Mart.”

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Later in my visit, Hocking agreed to show me the house she was moving into a few weeks later; it was one of her few indulgences, she said. (Another is a model of a life-size Han Solo figure encased in carbonite that cost “about $7,000,” she admitted shyly.) We drove a few miles, then pulled into a spacious and tidy area in front of a ranch-style home. Compared with her current place, it was the Taj Mahal: well-kept grounds, total quiet, McMansions on either side

July 27, 2010

Hillary Clinton + Mayo Clinic book enroute to wedding

Here's the kind of detail that is now available thanks to the unescapable social media movement.

B00006KN6L.01.LZZZZZZZ-1 William Daroff, VP for public policy and director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America, tweeted about U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's airplane reading material while flying to her daughter's wedding.

Clinton was accompanied by her mother and a bevy of staff. She read WP, NYT, SkyMall, & the 'Mayo Clinic Women's Health Source.'

That tweet posted on Twitter Monday has since been re-tweeted and re-posted all over the place including Clinton's own website.

What a product placement promotion for Mayo Clinic.

I wonder if this is connected to Mayo Clinic's new Center for Social Media launched today by the experienced hands of Lee Aase.  Hhhhhmmm....

April 19, 2010

High hopes for IBM earnings today

Wall Street analysts have high hopes for IBM's earnings report coming out later today. Here's some from a MarketWatch article about the report:

130110ibmwalljan10jk It is expected to report earnings of $1.93 a share for the period ended in March, and $22.8 billion in revenue, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. That compares with earnings of $1.70 a share, and $21.7 billion in revenue for the same period last year.

Louis Miscioscia, an analyst with Collins Stewart LLC who covers IBM, said in a recent research note that the company should be benefiting from "a resurgence in corporate IT spending," which should only increase in the second half of this year.

Miscioscia estimates that IBM's global services business will grow 5.2% this year, while its software business should see 5% growth, and its hardware business should rise 6.4%. The analyst has a $160 price target for IBM shares.

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RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani told clients in a research note  that he expects IBM's gross margin to be 44.3% for the first quarter, a marked increase from the same period last year.

IBM reportedly cut roughly 1,500 jobs last month, though the Armonk, N.Y.-based company has not commented on the matter.

March 01, 2010

More on last call at Aquarius

Here's some from the extended, Director's Cut online version of my article on last call at Aquarius/McMurphy's. A trimmed back version is on the front page of the print edition.

There are more Elizabeth Nida photos from the night online with the longer version of the article.

Rochester's largest and most popular night spots ended a 30 year run this weekend not with a bang, but with a party.

Murphy's Sports Cafe and the Aquarius Club had their last calls Saturday as the two venues became part of the city's history. The site will re-open later in spring as a new bar.

02282010aquarius2 While the future begins today with remodeling, the weekend was all about the past. The mood felt like a family reunion with cameras flashing, lots of hugs and most conversations starting with, "Remember when…?"

"I've had a lot of good times here," said Matt Bjergum as he sat at the McMurphy's bar with friends.

For 15 years, he, along with crowds of other Rochester people, spent many St. Patrick's Days and New Year's Eves at McMurphy's as well as many nights watching sports.

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"It has been a good run," said Tom Murphy as he sat in his office on what he calculated as his 1,546th Saturday night - his last one - at McMurphy's/ Aquarius. "I have been very fortunate."

Murphy, who opened his first Rochester bar in 1975 when he was 23, built and opened Dooley's Lounge and Grill on the site at 12th Street and Marion Road Southeast with his partner Mick Kane in 1980.

In 1990, it was turned into McMurphy's. Aquarius Club, the dance club that could hold 700 people, opened up with its laser light shows and smoke machines.

For the last 14 years, Rosie, "the most relentless shot girl that you ever saw," sold drinks at Aquarius.

Called by her nickname Rosie in the club, Kim Palmby sold her last shots Aquarius became "the" place to be on Friday and came back Saturday for the send-off.

While the large club format is no longer as a popular as it was in the '80s and '90s, the club's fans were paying a cover charges of $15 and later $25 to get in, Palmby said the club was a special place where she formed many great friendships.

"Tom, Mick and Jack (Murphy) were the best to work for," she said.

As she looked at the metal detector that people passed through to enter the club, Palmby acknowledged that the scene had changed some in recent years.

While no major violence ever occurred inside Aquarius or McMurphy's, a reputation grew as incidents started happening in the large parking lot around the bars. Fights, an occasional stabbing and one shooting that happened after Aquarius closed for the night attracted the attention of the Rochester Police and local media.

"It is not a knock on the club. The staff has always worked well with us," said Chief Roger Peterson of the practice of having patrol and street officers monitoring closing time most Friday and two Saturday nights at Aquarius. "It is just the demographics. That many 21- to 25-year-olds in one place drinking and you'll have some problems."

August 31, 2009

Today's Biz Buzz - CVS and hot tech start-up

• As the expected October opening of the new Rochester Walgreens drug store draws closer, one wonders how the search by CVS for a possible location is going.

WalgreenLOGO Cvs logo CVS, Walgreens’ arch rival and the second largest drug store chain in the United States, has been shopping for a site in the Med City for quite a while.

So is the forecasted clash of the drug store titans on its way? Well, that fight is still not scheduled.

Mcsh_lpkb “I have nothing to report,” says Mike DeAngelis of CVS last week.

• On a very different part of the local business map, a hot, young tech company has plans to roll out a new product this week as sort of an appetizer to a main course that is expected to be served soon.

Don’t expect cheese and crackers, but it could involve Java.

August 03, 2009

HickoryTech pays $7M for telecom

Sounds like the rapidly growing communications player HickoryTech on Mankato just had another burst of growth spurt this morning.

It announced it is  paying $7 million, plus "routine working capital adjustments" (whatever that adds up to) for CP Telecom, a Twin Cities-based telecom company that focuses on facilities.

Here's a little from the press release that rolled into my e-mail in-box this morning:

“We are excited to complete the CP Telecom acquisition and grow our small to medium sized business (SMB) customer segment,” said John Finke, HickoryTech president and chief executive officer. “CP Telecom customers will continue to experience high quality services and support. We look forward to integrating the experienced CP Telecom team into our operations as we continue to expand our focus on the SMB customer segment.”

CP Telecom provides voice, data and Internet services in the Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn. areas. CP Telecom’s assets include: long-term rights to a fiber network encompassing Minneapolis and St. Paul, IP, mid-band Ethernet and voice soft switching technologies.

HickoryTech’s subsidiary, Enventis, operates in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth markets today. The Company plans to utilize the Enventis brand for its business services in these markets and will phase out the CP Telecom name in the future.


June 22, 2009

New Roch. biz - Turd Herders - digs in

When Josh Valentino was trying to round up a business plan, he smelled success in Rochester’s backyards. 

2232830492_a260ff78e9

And the name for this new Rochester-based, waste management operation is? Turd Herders.


Yes, he plans to clean up pet waste.


“I just wanted to work on my own and was looking for a low-cost, start-up,” he says. 


Turd Herders gives this one-man operation a chance to dig in and build from the ground up.


“I think Rochester is kind of an untapped market,” he said.


For social networkers who admire his intestinal fortitude, check out his Facebook page as well as his Twitter posts for the real poop.