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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RSS feeds: why and how

RSS Wha?

RSS feeds are, simply put, a way for a website/page to update YOU about changes to the page, rather than you having to check to see if something new was posted. In fact, it can even send you the full article text, or just a short blurb to pique interest. This works extremely well for blogs and is useful for wikis and other pages. I use it for this blog,, (ya I know, but it is funny...) just to give you some examples. The underlying technology must be supported by the website (server) and you must have a client, typically an email reader or your web browser. Which you choose depends on your preferences. I use Apple Mail and choose to have my feeds come there because it is convenient to check email and check new updates at the same time. Alternatives include Firefox and Safari, etc. I'm sure Google Chrome supports and I guess Internet Explorer (avoid like the plague) does too. For those really curious, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. But that doesn't matter.

So as requested, a brief overview of how to get started setting up RSS feeds: For Safari, simply load the webpage you want (like this one). Then look in the text box where you type in the URL of the website you wanna go to; on the right side, you will see a little icon that says 'RSS'. Click it. For Firefox, you will see something similar, except you will see an icon that is orange, and has three arcs in it. Apparently thats the RSS icon.

Various things happen after you click, I cannot cover them all because I have no clue what combination of software you all use. Usually you will be asked to subscribe to an 'Atom' or 'RSS'. I think Atom is version 2 (newer) than standard RSS in that it can send you media files as well. I just click RSS (I like the Really Simple part). Your operating system (Mac OS X or Windows) will ask you what you want to use as your reader. I suggest your email reader, if you use one. If not, just use Firefox. I'm not sure about the details there. Many of you probably use gmail. In that case, you'll have to use For blogger blogs, it should automatically link up with this blog since it is owned by Google. This behaves like a news aggregator, and isn't as good as getting it directly sent to your email reader or browser. Whichever ever reader you choose, don't worry, it will not mix up with your emails (unless I guess you want it to?).

When stuck and confused - Google for the answer. Or ask here, I may be able to help out, but no guarantees.

Finally - a word to the blog owners - basic RSS feeds are included in all blogs apparently. But this will only send the actual article out to those subscribed/followers/contributors. It will not send a comment out to an article by default. You must enable this by going into the setup options somewhere. I googled it before, so google it and you'll find out how to enable that option. For low traffic sites like this one, every post and comment is probably valuable and not much of a burden to get notification (and the actual msg).

Choose Michigan!

Apparently, the State of Michigan is extending its "Pure Michigan" campaign (targeted at tourists) to a "Pure Michigan Living" campaig aimed at attracting people to live here. Indeed, there is a contest to tell the world why YOU choose to live in Michigan ( - I encourage you all to think, write, and submit. Apparently, the state wants 1,000 stories between now and Monday - I am guessing to post on the website. Every story will help...and please make it convincing! We want people to come to live in the Great Lakes State.

Maybe you can get ideas by looking at this site:

Michigan Radio collected stories last fall about why young people are staying or leaving.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Midtown revitalization

The News today had an interesting story about Midtown's revitalization.

Here is the link:

The main interesting things I learned:

  • "Midtown" is made up of six neighborhoods (including Cass Corridor, Brush Park, and WSU) and was only designated in 2000 - borded by I-75 in east and south, I-94 in north, and the Lodge in the west
  • In 2000, 17,000 people lived in Midtown - 3,200 new residents have moved in since
  • Half of new residents are university students living in new dorms
  • 1,500 housing units have been added since 2000
  • Employment base is 70,000 - anchored by DMC and WSU - non automotive
  • Area boasts Detroit's cultural jewels - the DIA, Wright Museum, CCS, and Detroit Science Center
  • Occupancy rate is 93% due to medical and university tenants
  • Much more foot traffic and stores than other parts of Detroit
  • Rent in some properties is as low as 50 cents per square foot

Overall, the article compares it favorably to Troy, which isn't bad at all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Year, New Hope

Thank God 2009 is over - that is one year Detroit could have done without. It almost closed with a bang, but thankfully, we did not have a Christmas-day catastrophe courtesy of Mr. Abdulmuttallab.

Anyways, some good news to start the new year.

The Auto Show is showing more life this year than last, and we have had some good Congressional participation. Hopefully, the government will "get it" now that it has some skin in the game. The feds are even pitching in with money ($223 m) to raze or fix 4,000 buildings in Michigan, which would be great ($223M-to-fix-up-or-raze-4-000-buildings) - 20% of the funds will go to Detroit.

Of course, our state legislature is still in gridlock, but hopefully new indications that the people of Michigan are willing to pay more in taxes ( will sway the government to some rational decisions. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society." Frankly, we really cannot cut too much more. Government can certainly become more efficient, but cutting good programs is not an acceptable answer.

Mayor Bing and a new City Council have been sworn in - they have a lot of work to do, but I think they have as good a chance of fixing our mess as any. Even more importantly in my view, Robert Bobb has been extended with Detroit Public Schools.

Let us hope and pray that 2010 is better for Detroit and Michigan than last year and that we finally begin the long awaited Renaissance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Motivate Michigan"

Just received this in my email:

Social Entrepreneurship, anyone? I'm not sure if this is applicable to anyone here though, since it seems to pay out in the form of a scholarship.


"Motivate Michigan" Project

The Motivate Michigan project is a competition open to all students enrolled in a higher education institution in the state of Michigan. The objective is to uncover a breakthrough idea that will improve the economy in Michigan.This unique initiative is funded by corporate sponsors and all money raised will be given back to students in the form of scholarships - the scholarship goal is $100,000. The Presidents Council is among the sponsors which include Comerica Bank, Meijer, and MEDC.

The Project has been endorsed by Governor Granholm, Ken Rogers (Executive Director at Automation Alley), Beth Chappell (President & CEO, Detroit Economic Club), and others. Motivate Michigan is being presented by CIBER Inc. which is an IT services and management consulting company located in Southfield, Michigan.

Students will be able to submit their ideas to improve the Michigan economy from January 4 until March 5 at The project is calling for students to create ideas on how to better Michigan's economy with innovative ideas and their entrepreneurial spirit. The top 10 ideas will then be posted online for the general public to vote for the best idea. The top five students will then expand their idea into a business plan and present it to a panel of judges that consists of members from our sponsors.

The winner of the competition will then have their idea undergo a feasibility test, and an implementation plan will be developed free of charge by CIBER Inc. The plan will then be presented to a leader in the state that would have ownership for the concept.