The chair that’s reserving your snowy parking spot in Fishtown

I’m no serious driver, but I’m fascinated by car culture in all its forms.

Like the severity with which parking is taken in many urban neighborhoods in even transited cities, Philadelphia certainly included. My own new neighborhood of Fishtown has all the makings of a fight to be had: long-time residents, a conflicting gentrifying population, limited parking, middle class to working class and, recently, a historic snowfall.

Where even the mayor seems to support saving street parking if you’ve cleaned out a spot and the requisite question comes of what that all means, I’m slowly developing my own opinion.

I’ve been in neighborhoods where people reserve parking year round — around a quickly expanding Temple University community with serious town-gown issues — and so these topics seem to vary. But mostly, I figure you ought to have a majority of these requisites to toss a chair of bucket to block off street parking.

  1. Snow storm or some other limited or relatively rare happenstance that dramatically limits parking
  2. You dug out the spot
  3. It’s in front of your house
  4. It’s on your block
  5. You’re elderly or infirm
  6. You have children younger than five
  7. You’re grocery shopping, moving or something else involved lugging or carrying from your car to your house
  8. It’s for fewer than 12 hours
  9. Only one per household
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News forms of the future

pumpkin_pieWe may lose someday newspapers in their traditional form, but we’re seeing a flourishing of alternatives fill those lost pieces of pie.

Some are more skeptical of how quickly we’ll be able to bring back the creation of that news, but through variation, experimentation and loyalty, it my well be done.

I very much see a future of journalism handled by an endless collection of small niche, targeted news sites, big investigative work done by nonprofits and foundation-funded, independents, in addition to a  handful of big news organizations finding their own niche — the NPR network and modified newspaper businesses like the New York Times owning international, the Wall Street Journal owning business (though they’re competing), USA Today and the Washington Post focusing on the national.

Below, I offer a hastily put together, rough breakdown of that.

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Number of Views:9155

My favorite standard Microsoft fonts

These are fonts that graphic designers would appreciate, below are ones that they wouldn't.

Design and development types take fonts very seriously. They even make documentaries about them.

By almost no one’s standards am I either. Still, I love a good fight over typeface. Why I’d really never fit the mold as a serious graphic designer, though, is because I’m not one to giggle at the standard set of Microsoft fonts. Indeed, there are a handful I actually quite like.

At the risk of facing the wrath of design quarters, below I share some of my favorite fonts that you probably have on every standard PC word processor, design application and font kit around.

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Number of Views:54774

How to set up a freelancing sole proprietorship

Suppose you’re freelancing, and you want to do things real legal like — with the tax season on your mind.

If only for ease on your taxes, it’s my limited experience and what others have contended that you ought to set up your own business.

It doesn’t come with any liability or branding protection, but a simple sole proprietorship can do you just fine — it has for me for more than a year. As is sometimes the motivation for content here, I was asked enough times by others about what that means and one makes it happen.

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Number of Views:20708

What I learned from working with the Frankford High School journalism club

I spent portions of a couple school years while at college helping get a newspaper underway at the Franklin Learning Center, a strong, diverse magnet school in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia.

So, I was excited to take some time away from my freelancing work once a week to work with the journalism club at Frankford High School. It was a short walk, and I could just fill in the time lost at night.

I was suddenly the professional journalist half of a Prime Movers program that formerly had me as the student journalist.

I made it a half dozen Thursday after-school meetings, enough to meet the core group of seven or so students and help them launch a WordPress blog for their content, but some rather large, fairly unexpected changes have happened.

I bought a house in a neighborhood that made the trip a 15-minute El ride (and added some responsibility) and, as a larger conflict, I then accepted a full-time job.

So, now I’m reaching out to a host of colleagues to fill as many of the coming weeks with insightful professional journalists (if you’re in Philly and are interested, contact me). Still, though I’ve worked with high school journalism clubs before and only worked with the Pioneer Times of FHS for a couple months, I certainly learned a thing or too — in addition to, I hope, teaching some of those kids something.

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Number of Views:19932

Teaching a social media teleconferencing course on basic blogging

As I wrote Tuesday, social media ain’t all bad.

Indeed, the over-heightened echo chamber of circular praise and obsessive coverage and conversation on those now familiar Web-based tools stem from their truly trans-formative power.

I’ve taken an interest in all of that. Enough so that, in addition to the conferences at which I’ve spoken, conversations I’ve had and now the full-time job I enjoy, from time to time I’ve been asked to walk others through the good of what social media can have.

A lot of times, the requests come from or are on behalf of small business owners who keep hearing that these damn Internet buzz companies are going to help them make more money. Often times, they don’t know how, don’t want to try or are too turned off by the schmaltz and self-styled gurus to even think it’s for them.

That’s good. I think that’s all lame, too. It’s an opportunity to speak like a real person and keep it all appropriately relative. Facebook and Twitter and blogging are not important, but they can be important for promoting something you love to do, which, in turn, is important.

So, I’m happy to announce that, next month I’ve been asked to lead a small teleconferencing course called ‘Basic Blogging for Business.’

Below, I share some of the details of this and a similar class I taught with the same group in the fall.

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Number of Views:5509

Appearance on 900AM WURD Carole’s Technology Corner

With Stephanie L. Lowe during a commercial break of Carole I Smith's Technology Corner show on 900AM WURD, Dec. 30, 2009

After the unfortunate passing of the show’s host earlier this month, I may have been on one of the last episodes of Carole’s Technology Corner, a trend radio program broadcast weekly on 900AM WURD in Philadelphia.

On Dec. 30, 2009, I took the 15 minute walk from my home in Fishtown to the Penn Treaty Park complex near the Delaware River and into the station’s third floor studio, as another show closed before 7 p.m.

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Number of Views:18136

Social media isn’t evil

Social media has this stigma.

In the past six years, those brand-name behemoths of an industry that didn’t exist at this decade’s beginning have reached every corner of the developed world. When something, when anything reaches that level of prevalence, there’s going to be some backlash.

So, yes, a medium devoted to regular updates and structured around Web-based interactions is derided for self-reflectiveness and impersonality. But, of course, there is value to be gained, too.

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Number of Views:11837

A new job: Media director for nonprofit Back on My Feet

Back on My Feet founder Anne Mahlum and members of the organization in 2007.

I’ve decided to step away from self-employment.

I’ve spent the last year of my life freelancing, by some accounts, at perhaps the worst time to do so in my life and arguably the worst time in the history of journalism.

After a meeting of the most influential media leaders in the region made clear no drastic foundational investment would be made into niche news anytime soon, I knew I needed to secure my finances — as a new homeowner, especially — and take a more cautioned approach toward building News Inkubator, Technically Philly and NEast Philly.

A funny thing happened not a week or two after I made this decision. A friend made me aware of a job opportunity I actually wanted.

On Mon. Jan. 18, I walked into a Locust Street building in Center City Philadelphia and began defining what a media director should do for homeless advocacy nonprofit Back on My Feet.

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Number of Views:13752

Fishtown Spirit: A neighborhood photographer wants more neighborhood support

A portrait of romance as captured by Keith Angelitis.

My first clip for the Fishtown Spirit ran in last Thursday’s issue, and my second ran yesterday.

Keith Angelitis just started a fire in the front room of his Frankford Avenue studio. He has a jacket on and a ball cap pulled over his ruffled brown hair. Big front windows welcome the sunlight that pours in and fills his 15-foot ceilings.

He is relaxing in a wooden chair, a prominent member of an otherwise sparsely furnished room, warmed by an old wood-burning stove. In the corner is an over-sized closet that Angelitis built during the beginning of his continuous renovation of 2452 Frankford Ave. Read more here.

Below the scoop on why I got involved with the Spirit.

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Number of Views:11557