Megabus, a low fare bus service offering wifi, debut a couple of years ago between Boston and NYC. It was recently announced that they are now servicing between Providence and NYC with both free wifi and laptop chargers.
I found this PBN article somewhat shocking. It says that since 2006 Rhode Island's largest export has been waste and scrap. Yes everyone let me say that again. Rhode Islands largest export is waste and scrap. I am by no means an economic expert but to me there just seems something terrible wrong when waste and scrap is your biggest export. I would have guessed that our largest economic engine was tourism; which I guess is not really something you can export. There is probably a lot of economic theory and knowledge that I am lacking to fully understand this and to put it into perspective but this would be a very interesting discussion.
One thing I would add to such a discussion is the work of Ray Anderson CEO of Interface, an worldwide industrial carpeting company. Mr. Anderson about fifteen years ago came to the realization that his company which he personally founded was polluting the earth, was unsustaibile and that business are the biggest pollutes and the ones whith the most power to change that. He has since lead the company to reach the goal of being 100% sustainable. You can read about his effort in his book entitled "Confession of a Radical Industrialist". One thing he talks about his the company effort to reduce waste and how the saved signifigant money by doing so.
What ever your take on eviromental issues here is an example of reducing waste (and scrap) while increasing profits. So please help me to understand why waste and scrap is our top export?
Just a thought but I was interested in the idea of adding some sort of tweeter feed here to RI Nexus. This may seem ironic coming from someone who doesn't use Twitter (I can give reason why not in another conversation) but I do think of RI Nexus as a communications hub. As such it seems like a good extension to add.
If anyone has a spare second can you check to see if you can access the RI Secretary of State website? I've not been able to access it in some time. I've also tried a few different addresses
http://www.state.ri.us/ (from Google search "sec state ri")
http://www.sec.state.ri.us/ (from RI.govdirectory listing, from Google search "sec state ri")
I did call there offices last week and they said they would check with their IT department but still no success. Every time I m getting a network timeout response. Can anyone access this site or have they changed their address and not told anyone?
I'm seeing an error on the Recent Comments page, http://rinexus.com/comments.
The error ...
warning: htmlentities() [function.htmlentities]: Invalid multibyte sequence in argument in /var/www/vhosts/rinexus.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/rinexus_tidbits/rinexus_tidbits.module on line 834.
Of note I am viewing with Firefox 2.0.
Edward Tufte will be presenting his one day course entitled "Presenting Data and Information" in Providence on Sept. 22nd. Edward Tufte "writes, designs, and self-publishes his books on analytical design, which have received more than 40 awards for content and design. He is Professor Emeritus at Yale University, where he taught courses in statistical evidence, information design, and interface design." Those who attend his course will receive copies of each of his four books. Also for groups of 10 or more registering at one time (via phone) can receive a 25% discount.
I have not personally attend his course but know several people who have and have found it extremely informative. I do have three of his books and refer to them often.
By far the most important part EDC/38 Studios failure has been laid out in an article within this week's Providence Business News. The article, "Monitoring upgrades at EDC shelved", talks about the efforts of former EDC Director Keith Stokes to bring monitoring to the loans provided by the EDC. I had heard of this effort, I believe through a previous PBN article, and had the opprotunity during Governor Chaffee recent community business forums to speak personally to Mr. Stokes about this effort; that was of course before he resigned. From this article it seems these efforts were just getting off the ground at the time the EDC/38 Studios failure occured; so to me it is inclear whether they would have better prevented the 38 studios failure or not. But, again, this is the most important question how do we best montior and understand our investments.
This question also goes beyond the efforts of just the EDC's loan program but for all money going through this agency as it should be for all state agencies and state funds. One perfect example of this is the Community Service Grants which are designated by the State legislature and then distrubuted, but not monitored, by various state or quasi-state agencies like the EDC. A perfect example of the failure of the state, the state legislator and the EDC failing to monitor Community Service Grants funds was the Westerly- Pawcatuck Joint Development Task Force / Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce mix-up.
I think there is some logic within the Forbes article thinking. They state the key to this phoenix effect* is a "critical mass of developers". So if there is a signifigant number of game software developers, and I will add companies, then having a large one die the possibility of many smaller companies reborn out of the ashes is likely. The question is does Providence/RI have a critical mass of developers (and companies)?
Again I don't think so in terms of game developers or companies. There does appear to be a number of game companies in Boston. But for rebirth of a game industry here in Rhode Island I don't think we had critical mass. We do have a fair number of software companies and a strong tech community combined with various companies and industries that have strong ties with the tech community.
Speaking of Boston and the idea of concentration of like-minded businesses or industry sectors, it is sometimes posed as a challenge for Rhode Island to compete with large cities like Boston and New York. These large major metro areas often are the hub of specialized industries for which smaller rural and lesser populated areas try to compete with singular focus on one or two industry areas. Rhode Island does have some areas of specialized focus like ocean related industries and tourists based industries. But I think one of our strengths, which should be enhanced, is our broad focus. We will continue to focus in one those areas we concentrate on but we should also play out our brouad strengths. This translates to "How can we in the tech industry can support the wide range of industryies within Rhode Island?" and "What areas across broad range of technology do we have within Rhode Island?"
* The phoenix effect being, using Will's words, "the blowup of a large tech company could spawn a bunch of startups". And calling it a "phoenix effect" might not be the best description as the singular phoenix gives rise to another singular phoenix as compared to a tree dying in a forest fire and its seeds grow multiple new trees.
I think the direct collapse of 38 studios will have little to no effect on the tech industry. Now I am not a gamer so I am not aware what software game companies are in RI. The only one I know of is (was?) Cronk software (whose website/ company? is no longer active). So I don't really see this being a boost for RI. I do wish all the employees who worked for 38 studios find jobs but I don't see much of a software game industry here in RI. Maybe you or anyone else can correct me if I am wrong on this.
What I do see having an effect on the tech industry is the issues surrounding the EDC. There are various connections between the EDC and the tech community so this is where I expect to see the greatest impact, either positive or negative. One could delve into a deeper conversation about the possibilties there.
Edward Tufte will be back, this time in Boston, presenting his one-day course on "Presenting Data and Information". For those who don't know Tufte's work he is widely known for his expertice in information design and statistical evidence. You can get more information about his work and the course, which will be offered on three days Feb 28, Mar 1, 2, at his website, www.tufte.com.
Washington State is working on turning Interstate 5 into an electric car corridor. I still believe that RI, along with CT, MA, NY, NJ, DE, MD, DC (Boston-to-DC), would also make a great corridor. Electric charging stations could be added to the Interstate/Parkway gas stations in CT, NJ and the one on I-95 heading towards Boston.
One of the interesting examples in Ray Anderson's book "Confession of a Radical Industrialist" was their success in reducing waste by better aligning their carpets before going into the cutters. Interface makes primarily carpet squares for business buildings and thus does a fair amount of cutting their carpets to size. And by a fairly simple and low cost pre-alignment they reduced their waste. Sounds great for the environment right. Reduced waste.
Realize though what this also means. By reducing waste there is more material to sell as furnished goods. And what is more valuable, more funished goods to sell to customers or waste sold? Actually is it both, increased profits and reduced waste.
If I could set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG it would be to reduce our (Rhode Island's) industrial waste in half in three years while increasing profits.
Matt, thanks for checking. After a month of occasionally checking and trying to access their site with no luck it now works for me. Other than posting this question all I did was look at my about:config page without changing anything (I wanted to check Firefox's network timeout delay settings).
Oh well, sometimes just voicing a problem seems to resolve the issue. Thanks again Matt.