Three economic impact studies came out today, all from the Washington Economic Group (all reported on at Cup Scene Daily). They found that Nascar tracks continue to contribute significantly to national, state, and local economies. Martinsville Speedway (in Virginia) contributes $174 million in economic impact and 2,824 permanent jobs with two race weekends a year. Richmond International Raceway (Virginia) contributes $467 million in economic impact and 7,700 permanent jobs with two race weekends a year. Darlington Raceway (in South Carolina) contributes $54 million in economic impact and 874 jobs with one race weekend a year.
I know I’ve posted this video previously, but Twitter is exploding into mainstream. Several good friends of mine (and a former professor) have recently joined Twitter (within the past week). It is on all of the news shows, on Oprah, and all over the web. Everyday people are hearing about Twitter and they don’t know what it is. Even my parents asked me to explain Twitter. As such, I’m reposting this video from Common Craft, explaining Twitter in Plain English.
Is your government or business looking to save on technology? You might want to read this article from Ars Technica about France’s Gendarmerie Nationale, the country’s national police force. They’ve been moving to open source software recently and estimate that switching to Ubuntu (a Linux distribution) and OpenOffice (from Windows and Microsoft Office) has “reduced its annual IT budget by 70 percent without having to reduce its capabilities.” And my favorite quote:
‘Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users,’ said Lt. Col. Guimard. ‘Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.’
Granted, moving to Linux and open source won’t be quick or easy. The Gendarmerie Nationale won’t be migrated over completely until 2015 (see the article for details). But, they did the move the right way, starting small. They moved to Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice from Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Office.
They also have more motives than just money:
Support for open standards is a key part of the Gendarmerie’s emerging IT policy. Standards-based technologies give it more freedom to choose which vendors it adopts and also makes it easier for the Gendarmerie to interoperate with other government networks. It has found that open source software is better at handling open standards. Linux has also simplified remote maintenance tasks.
Let’s count the advantages they’ve witnessed with open source: money (70% of annual IT budget or 50 million euros since 2004) from licenses and maintenance, interoperability (open standards and open data formats), and ease of maintenance. Sounds good to me.
Tom Arah at PC Pro has a nice article explaining why you should no longer be using Dreamweaver (or FrontPage) to make websites, and should instead be using CMS software (like Drupal, Joomla!, or WordPress). “The future for creating web design is in the browser not in Dreamweaver.”
The idea of Inbox Zero (originally from Merlin Mann) has made the New York Times. The author talks about the system he uses to clear his inbox and keep it empty. I see this idea as becoming more and more important, as email becomes the ubiquitous communication tool. Another topic on my mind recently has been getting necessary responses to emails. It seems to me that since Blackberries and iPhones have become popular, people constantly check for new emergency emails, but they never go back and empty out their inbox of the emails they read on the road but didn’t take action. Is there an easy way to remedy this?
For those unaware of college football, Lou Holtz is a former coach at Notre Dame (where he led the team to a national championship) and South Carolina who now contributes (with his unique pronunciations) to ESPN. In this video, he talks with Sean Hannity on Fox News about international relations. Umm, why did they get Coach Holtz?