The New New

Haven’t written on sooz.com in forever! Forever! Some new changes in the world of Sooz. I’ve headed back to the land of freelance after a brief stint working office Jobs in 2006 and 2007. Most recently I had an eight-month adventure as the interactive media director at BostonNOW. The first freelance job of 2008 is a marketing project. I’ll have more to say about that soon. And I am going to revive my event planning world starting with Free Agent Boston, a networking+events project I ran 1999-2004 for people working solo and in small teams around Boston.

But first up … bronchitis.

The Move to Allston

Michael and I moved to Allston yesterday. We were sensible and hired movers so overall, it went very smoothly. We’re now inhabitants of what seems to be referred to as Lower Allston. I’ve wanted to live in Boston (maybe just a year) ever since I moved here from Nebraska eleven years ago. It’ll be nice to be able to walk home from concerts at the Paradise and other nearby spots including Great Scott and O’Briens. I’m hoping proximity to these spots will restart my podcasting adventure, too. And more frequent updates on ye olde event calendar.

Game Night at True Grounds in Boston Metro Article

Game Night in the Boston Metro newspaper

The monthly game night that John Brigham and I organize at True Grounds was written up in a Boston Metro article on August 24 titled “Hottest Coffee Shops.” For some reason the article highlights the Star Wars game that someone brought to the July game night. Just for the record, there are a lot of other games to play at game night: Scrabble, Boggle, Apples to Apples, Uno, etcetera. We have a few games on hand and people bring their own favorites, too. The article mentioned that True Grounds doesn’t have a website. They’ve got one and are working on a new design.

The game night schedule is the fourth Tuesday of every month, 7:00 – 9:30 PM at True Grounds, 717 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville. It’s all ages, free admission and complimentary snacks during the first half hour. The tables can accomodate 2-4 players. True Grounds full menu of food and drinks is also available throughout the evening. They normally close at 7PM (the article incorrectly notes closing time as 8PM) but stay open late for game night.

To view Boston Metro’s archive of the article, go to their website at metropoint.com and select the August 26, 2005 Boston edition. The article is on page 10.

Flexible Office Space at Cambridge Innovation Center

I moved into new office space recently at Cambridge Innovation Center. They’re in Cambridge at One Broadway in Kendall Square. I first checked them out last year and was impressed with their setup. On a month-to-month basis (no long-term lease) you can rent cubicles and offices that include a suite of services and amenities including business services (office furniture, receptionist/concierge on main floor, parking in the building, mail/package handling, cleaning, conference rooms) and technology services (telephone and voice mail, dedicated fax line, fax machines, copy machines, printers). Each of their three floors has a kitchen area that is stocked with snacks and beverages, too.

Most of their tenants seem to be small companies and startups. And just for the record, I receive no perk or million dollar payment for writing about them. I’m just a happy customer.

Flickr Photos and RSS

If you want to receive an alert via RSS when I add new photos to my flickr account, please add my flickr RSS feed to your reader. I’ve turned off the photo splicer on my Feedburner feed until they add an option for a daily flickr update. I’m taking too many photos to bother you with an RSS update each and every time I take a photo unless you really want those alerts. If that’s the case, subscribe to my RSS feed at flickr.

New Layout

I was poking around a bunch of WordPress themes last night and re-stumbled into Chyetanya Kunte’splain vanilla” theme. I bookmarked it several weeks ago but never had a chance to do anything with it until a late night tinkering session last night. I’m also using Dan Benjamin’s image rotator script as described at A List Apart back in August of last year. If you refresh any of the pages you’ll see a different image towards the top. That is if you view my site directly beyond your newsreader.

Sleep. Work. Apartment Search. NYC Visitors. That’s the theme of the day. Hopefully in that order. I’m behind on a lot of work and hope to catch up on a bunch of things this weekend.

Boston Globe Article Corrections

Update June 27, 2005: Pete Caputa wrote a related blog entry titled “Bloggers vs Journalists: Agendas.”

A couple weeks ago Pete Caputa introduced me to a reporter who was working on a “getting paid to blog” story for the Boston Globe. Thanks, Pete! (That’s sincere despite my rant throughout the rest of this entry.)

Unfortunately the tidbits about me in the story weren’t accurate. Maybe they were honest mistakes. I’m not sure but I wish I would have had a chance to go over the information with the reporter.

For other bloggers, the compensation can be a windfall. Somerville resident Susan Kaup received $2,100 this winter for writing a dozen times about Marqui — a Portland, Ore., marketing software company — and linking to its website on her blog, www.sooz.com. Though Marqui disclosed it was paying bloggers, Kaup did not always mention the compensation on her site.

First: It was $2400. $800 times three months = $2400. Windfall?

And second, I did always mention the compensation on my website. I had this icon on my website throughout the program and several weeks afterwards. It said “I get paid to talk about Marqui.” The reason it’s not on my site anymore is because the program is over. At no point during our brief conversation did the reporter ask me if I disclosed my arrangement. She did ask if I ever wrote negative things about Marqui and I said I didn’t think so but searching for “Marqui” on my site would be an easy way to find out. As it turns out, I was critical at least once. I usually included a tidbit about the program in each entry. In hindsight, I think I should have placed that button inside every entry. But her indication that I did not always mention the compensation is misleading.

At least we have our blogs to set the record straight.

While expressing frustration about this to a friend who is excellent at being the voice of reason in curious times, he passed on this humorous link that somehow I had never seen before. For the record, I don’t think all reporters are bad or anything. Robert Weisman was awesome when he wrote the Sunday Boston Globe article about Meetup.com that included the Wi-Fi Meetup that I organize. He spent at least an hour with us in person at the Meetup and exchanged emails with me.