Monday, September 29, 2008

…and on his farm he had some CHEN, Ee i ee i o

Before last week, when I heard the phrases “topping off” and “transplanting” the first two things that came to mind were beer and surgery – hopefully never uttered in the same sentence. I certainly didn’t think about brussel sprouts and spinach plants, but for better or worse, I do now.

With the help of Boston Cares, an organization that works with private companies to engage employees in community service, CHEN teamed up with Waltham Fields Community Farm to volunteer our services.

Set in our very own work-community – unbeknownst to us corporate dwellers – Waltham Community Farms Outreach promotes local agriculture through growing and distribution practices that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable.

Swapping laptops and pumps for pruning sheers and gardening gloves, we forged ahead into unfamiliar territory. Thanks to our patient and kind farmhand, Jonathan, who put up with our endless questions/comments, including our favorite quote of the day, “You mean we just take the tops off the brussel sprouts and throw them on the floor?!,” we learned the reasons behind the tasks we were assigned to complete as well as how fruitful our efforts would be to the families receiving the food.

Note: In case you’re curious, brussel sprouts need to be topped off so they will grow width wise allowing the nutrients provided by the sun to be evenly distributed, and the spinach plants we “transplanted” will now grow into full size plants (hopefully).

All in all it was a successful day and I know I speak for everyone who participated when I say that we’d happily volunteer again… once the weather warms up a bit!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tech @ the Movies - September 25th

If you enjoy that daily guilty read from the Globe, the Names column, you know that movies in Mass. have become big business, what with all the tax incentives we've thrown the way of Tinsel Town. I don't profess to know whether the ROI is worth all those tax breaks, but it sure creates a fun energy and buzz around town that was missing before.

So it looks like it could be fun to check out "Tech @ the Movies," a session offered by Mass TLC this coming Thursday the 25th.

Scott Kirsner, who is moderating, has long penned (or should I say keyed?) the CinemaTech blog, focused on digital cinema and other technologies that are changing movie-making. He's got a new book coming out, Inventing the Movies, which presents the technological history of Hollywood. The book highlights the development of Technicolor by Mass. entrepreneurs, as well as Avid's Oscar-winning contributions. It looks like a fun lineup:

  • Jeff Kleiser, CEO, Synthespian Studios; Visual Effects Artist on "Fantastic Four," "X-Men: The Last Stand," and "Tron"
  • Jim Flynn, Founder, CEO, EZTakes and iArthouse
  • Katherine Hays, CEO, GenArts
  • Patrick McLean, Director of Product Marketing, Avid Technology
  • Dave Waller, Founder, Brickyard VFX
You can register here at EventBrite.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

WebInno19 - September 15 – Give Back, Get Back

It’s that time of the year again. Time for the Web Innovators Group to light up Cambridge with local innovation. Same Dark Knight time (doors open 6:30 p.m., presos start at 7:00 p.m.) and same Dark Knight location (Royal Sonesta, Cambridge).

As always there will be a great lineup of main and side dishes. The main dishes (5 minute demos) look to be an interesting group that I’m going to categorize as Give Back/Get Back:

  • Givvy - a complete solution to enable people to plan, research and execute their charitable giving -- Give to charity, Get piece of mind
  • Brring - a free ad supported ringback service that allows you to personalize your ringback tone for friends -- Give entertainment and gift ideas, Get $$$
  • Pixily - a secure online service that makes all your paper and digital documents available – and fully searchable -- from anywhere. Give back to the environment, Get back time, space and $$$
Following these presentations is the always fun "side dish" demonstrator that give a 30-second overview of their product or service to the audience. During the networking portion of the evening, they're camped out at tables around the periphery of the room.

For a rundown of the side dishes, visit David Beisel's blog post here. Understanding that it’s not a “breaking news” environment, I still plan to Twitter from the event. If you’re interested, follow me here.

See you there.

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