Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page
According to the Chaska Herald, downtown could get a bit wet this spring:
“A wet fall and heavy winter snow indicate a potential for flooding in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota,” stated a press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
That could include the potential closure of the Highway 41 bridge just south of downtown Chaska. According to the National Weather Service’s spring flood outlook, there is a 72 percent chance that the Minnesota River will encroach on Highway 41, and a 95 percent chance it will inundate Highway 101 in Shakopee.
The river crossing last closed due to flooding in April 2001. Back then, the Minnesota River rose to its third highest level of the century, peaking at 14.27 feet above flood stage, and leaving the roadway out of commission for nearly a month.
Using National Weather Service data for Jordan (the nearest measuring station) there is currently a 90 percent chance that the river will reach 6.4 feet above flood stage, requiring closure of the Chaska’s three flood gates.
Chaska city officials are confident that the levees will be able handle this year’s potential high water. “The city is in excellent shape since we did the flood control project,” said City Engineer Bill Monk.
However, at 6.4 feet above flood stage, the water is well on its way to reaching the Athletic Park grandstand.
We’re still new to downtown, so we’ve never experienced the Minnesota River at flood stage. We heard when the bridge is closed that downtown gets eerily quiet.
We have what you call a “wet basement,” with no sump pump, so I’ve built shelves in my basement to ensure things aren’t on the floor. Hopefully that will be enough.
I don’t really want to go fishing off my front porch.
Chaska was one of the first U.S. cities to offer city-wide wi-fi, and the articles goes in-depth on the history and technical upgrades that got the network where it is today.
When we moved to town 17 months ago, we were willing and eager to try out the service. Unfortunately, as my comments in the paper indicate, our experience with Chaska.net was it was too slow and not accommodating for a net-savvy household (3 computers, DirecTV, Wii, iPhone — all requiring Web access – often at the same time). We live across the street from a tower and used an external antenna, but if you want to download movies and music, upload pictures or Skype with a friend, you’re not going to want DSL’s kid brother for service.
Beyond speed, you 1) can’t use routers to share the net with devices like DVR and video gaming systems, and 2) can’t use a router to have more than one compute online at once. These are total deal breakers.
Okay, so why does it suck so badly? I thought the article’s history lede summed it up nicely:
Rewind to 2004 – that was before Twitter, back when Facebook was a fledgling operation that few had heard of, and when saying you connected to the Internet using dial-up didn’t get you laughed out of the room.
Okay, so we’re at 2010 and cable internet is adequate for a digital native’s needs. Rather than upgrade all the wi-fi antenna towers, let’s think out six years from now. My idea? Take all that fiber aroudn town and hard wire the fiber direct to every home. Depending on the infrastructure, it could be as fast as 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream and carry hundreds of HD TV channels to every home…like Verizon’s FiOS (full disclosure: I used to do PR for Verizon FiOS, and they are still a client of my employer).
You can’t get FiOS in Minnesota, but I’d love to see civic leaders exhibit the thought leadership that made Chaska a municipal case study for city-wide wi-fi and build the next generation of online infrastructure to handle the bandwidth of technologies and social applications of the future we’ve never considered.
Meanwhile, I want to give major kudos to the Herald for building and maintaining a Facebook community where it leads discussions and adds value that leads to reporting like this story. A comment I left in December was repurposed — with my permission — for the story. Great stuff.
Huffington Post, Good Morning America, National Geographic, Urlesque and more pick up @groundhogphilIn In the News, Me Being Stupid on February 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm
With a dramatic increase in followers, more than 1300 retweets and some major news pick-up, I’m pretty thrilled with the response to me posting sarcastic tweets on behalf of a groundhog this year.
Here’s some of the media coverage:
Huffington Post wrote about my beloved @GroundhogPhil yesterday afternoon, Punxsutawney Phil: Groundhog Day STAR Shines On Social Networks:
There is also plenty of Twitter activity. Some unofficial Punxsutawney Phil Twitter accounts can be entertaining, such as @GroundhogPhil, who tweeted just moments ago, “You try forecasting underground while asleep, chump,” in response to this tweet: “Prognosticating PunxsutawneyPhil has only been correct 39% since 1887.”
GOOD MORNING AMERICA
And this morning, Good Morning America retweeted the tweet we were all waiting for (to its 1.7 million followers):
Eek! A horrifying shadow! I’m going back to bed. Guess that’s 6 more weeks of winter, chumps!
National Geographic Daily wrote Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow–And Long WinterThis year “immortal” Punxsutawney Phil—supposedly born no later than the 19th century—broadcast his Groundhog Day prediction in some decidedly 21st-century ways…
People interested in Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction also had the option of receiving his forecast by text message or through Twitter.
Urlesque wrote Meet the Internet’s Social Network-Savvy Groundhogs:
When Minneapolis blogger Greg Swan noticed that Pennsylvania’s most famous rodent doesn’t broadcast his prediction on Twitter, he set up the GroundhogPhil account to help the little guy out. Greg’s since learned that despite a cushy life, Phil is a bit of a curmudgeon:
“Lots of folks think Phil is a cuddly, happy woodland creature, but in actuality, he’s a grumpy, sarcastic little woodchuck who doesn’t appreciate humans pestering him out of his warm burrow. As @groundhogphil’s tweets indicate, life isn’t all grasshoppers and grubs up on Gobbler’s Knob. And that Al Roker better stop talking smack, or he’s going to find himself a Groundhog Day’s surprise.”
PHOENIX NEW TIMES
The Phoenix New Times wrote Punxsutawney Phil “Tweets” About Seeing His Shadow; For Phoenix That’s Probably a Good Thing:
Normally we would rely on morning shows like Good Morning America to broadcast Phil’s findings but this year the groundhog took his message mainstream — he “tweets.”
“Eek! A horrifying shadow! I’m going back to bed,” Punxsutawney Phil “writes” on his Twitter page. “Guess that’s 6 more weeks of winter, chumps!”
Joke’s on you, Phil, you’re only a “chump” if you don’t live in Phoenix.
What a fun run, but I’ll admit I’m glad it’s over. Here’s hoping my alarm clock doesn’t play “I Got You Babe” tomorrow, and we do this day over.
NOTE: If you represent Punxsutawney Phil and/or Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, I will gladly turn over the Twitter account to you. I’m just having some fun, so please shoot me a note.