Telecommunications & ISPs

Why We Went Dark

Along with many sites on the Web, Absolute Michigan went dark on January 18th to protest a pair of truly awful bills that are on a fast-track for passage, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Neither of these new laws would stop piracy, which Absolute Michigan is opposed to. Both, however, would put control of online content in the hands of large entertainment corporations and the government, placing a giant burden on web media outlets like Wikipedia, WordPress, YouTube … and even little old Absolute Michigan.

With our Absolute Michigan, Michigan in Pictures and Leelanau.com websites all down yesterday, there was some time to think about the issue, and we’d like to share one thought: We live in a world very different from the early 1700s when Parliament enacted the Statute of Anne to address the concerns of English booksellers and printers (you can look it up … for now, on Wikipedia).

We are encouraged at every turn and by every consumer device to sing along to commercials, dance to the latest music and in general, swim in a sea of ever-present media. You can debate the pros and cons of doing that but it seems that expecting our candid videos, blogged observations or FacebookedTM thoughts won’t incorporate background music or samples, brand names is flat-out silly. We need intelligent and well thought out laws that recognize the modern world, and SOPA and PIPA definitely aren’t either of those things.

Click here to watch a short video or read more about this issue and please take a moment to contact your elected officials through the links we provide!

Rural Broadband Works … and could work for Michigan

On October 3rd an organization called “Broadband WORKS for Rural America” is bringing together hundreds of individuals and groups from around the country to Washington, DC in order send a message that rural America needs increased wireless broadband access in order to grow the economy and bring jobs to those who need it most. Absolute Michigan fully supports investment in rural broadband and an overall broadband strategy that can help put Michigan in a position to grow and attract 21st century businesses. Mr. Lesich is a Michigan small business owner who has penned this informative feature – definitely check out the links!

by Michael Lesich

The Red Scorpion Tower by jacalynsnana
The Red Scorpion Tower by jacalynsnana

Michigan is transitioning from its 20th Century industrial roots to a global, interconnected, knowledge- based economy. Decisions about the future of our state’s economic direction are being made in the boardrooms of private companies and the halls of our state capitol. The most important innovation of my lifetime, the Internet, relies increasingly on a solid broadband infrastructure (land-based and mobile), to carry exponentially increasing traffic. Robust and universal access to the Internet is vital to the companies and residents of Michigan and the United States. However, we are still a long way from that critical goal.

As an owner of a small IT company, I know firsthand the benefits that come from readily available broadband access. We embrace telecommuting, remote access, and online education. We have the ability to hire the best person for the job, regardless of their location. Today’s knowledge workers, and their employers, benefit from telecommuting arrangements that reduce traffic, increase productivity, and enhance the quality of the products and services they provide.

$1 Million Accelerate Michigan Contest!

Speed by IreJustin
Speed by IreJustin

Applications are now open for the 2011 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will award more than $1 million in cash winnings, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing and software to top entrepreneurial businesses and also includes a competition for college students with an idea for an innovative business.

To qualify for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, businesses must make a commitment to locate and grow in Michigan. These companies must also be at the commercial stage of business development, past proof of concept. It’s open to businesses who operate in technology-driven sectors including alternative energy, IT, advanced manufacturing, life science, medical devices and advanced transportation.

Accelerate Michigan on Facebook!Any undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled in at least two classes in a Michigan public or private university or college for the fall 2011 semester is eligible for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, and student teams may also submit.

Get your applications and much more information at www.acceleratemichigan.org and check them out on Facebook. Check out last year’s winners including $500,000 winner Armune BioScence.

Future Midwest Conference this week in Detroit

Painting A Picture Of Optimism by DetroitDerek Photography
Painting A Picture Of Optimism by DetroitDerek Photography

Later this week (April 27-29) the 3rd annual  Future Midwest Conference kicks off in Detroit. It’s the largest digital business conference in the Midwest and  seeks to accelerate business and cultural transformation by uniting community passions with emerging technologies. In 2011, they’ve selected Eastern Market in Detroit as the conference venue. In this interview, conference co-founder Adrian Pittman explains that:

FutureMidwest is a digital business conference that focuses on the impact of technology in five areas:

  • Integrated marketing: How to integrate digital platforms into a well-rounded marketing mix
  • User experience: How to create an engaging experience across a variety of digital media
  • Mobile: How it’s impacting information exchange and user access and how to utilize it
  • Business Intelligence/Analytics: How to define metrics that matter most and apply them
  • Regional growth: How the Midwest is participating in the information age

future midwest

The conference features 2 full days of presentations, panels and exhibitions about technology, social media and how all of this ties into creating a new future for the Midwest. The 2011 conference debuts  Funded by Night, one-day competition to fund tech startups where 25 companies will create to will compete to win a $100,000 convertible note from two local venture capital firms Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures.

Any video with a space cow in it has to be good, and the 2010 conference video is no exception!

Michigan Broadband Internet Maps online through Connect Michigan

michigan broadband mapThanks Blogging for Michigan for the find.

Connect Michigan has announced that 95.41% of Michigan households have access to the minimum threshold for broadband at 768Kbps downstream. Just under 175 thousand Michigan households remain unserved other than by mobile wireless or satellite service. The image to the right shows the availability of fixed wireless, one of many options including cable, DSL, fiber & mobile service that you can explore through the Interactive Michigan Broadband Map. They plan to also offer data on internet & broadband adoption as well as computer ownership.

Connect Michigan’s news release states that the maps were created through a partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and the national nonprofit Connected Nation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires the Commerce Department to create a searchable national broadband map and make it publicly available by Feb. 17, 2011. In addition to offering a map of current connectivity:

Connected Nation’s GIS team will continuously refine the maps as more data is gathered – relying upon citizen feedback as part of the validation process. Residents, businesses, and any interested party with knowledge of the state broadband landscape are asked to go to Connect Michigan’s website to provide input that will be used to verify and ensure the highest level of accuracy for the broadband maps.

On Connectmi.org, those who do not currently have broadband access can add their name and address to a secure database of households that would like to subscribe if given the opportunity. The collected information supports the creation of the broadband inventory map that will assist in expanding broadband delivery to residents across the state.

There are also detailed county maps showing broadband inventory and the density of households unserved by a broadband provider along with a a statewide map displaying rural and non-rural areas eligible for stimulus funding, a great tool for applicants submitting for broadband stimulus grants and loans.

Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit

.cadillac buildings-detroit. by tEdGuY49
.cadillac buildings-detroit. by tEdGuY49 ®

Note: they have a special “no frills” registration for $100 – amazing deal!

Detroit will host the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 (CCS2) on October 12-15, 2008 at the Renaissance Center. CCS2 is an interdisciplinary conference on the economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of what makes great cities.

I could talk on and on about the eye-popping agenda they have created and amazing speakers who will attend – headlined by Dr. Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, John Howkins, author of The Creative Economy, and Charles Landry, author of The Creative City. I could muse about how all the attendees from all over the world might influence the conversation about the re-invention of Detroit and Michigan. I could say that if you can’t make it during the week, you might want to check out the Unconference on Sunday @ MOCAD.

However, I think it’ll be enough to ask you to watch the videos in our Creative Cities 2.0 playlist below (including a little Detroit easter egg) and tell you to register now! See you there!

Arresting Site for May 2008: Michigan Innovators


Hands at Work by detroitsky

Tim Pulice’s Pulice Report blog has announced the Arresting Site of the Month for May 2008. The inaugural selection is Michigan Innovators and Tim writes:

I first ran across this terrific online destination last summer, which dovetails perfectly with the spirit of this blog, wherein I look to spotlight Michiganders who display creative zeal. Bud Gibson is doing just that. Along with Diana Wong – who now is in an advisory role – Gibson founded the site in June of 2007, and has compiled an impressive archive of video interviews with business and community leaders across the state, including MicroMax’s Rachel McCormack, the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s Donald Harrison, Metro Parent’s Alyssa Martina, Blight Busters’ John George, and many others…

Read on and learn how to submit your favorite Michigan web site or blog.

Service Tax repeal appears certain


Capitol, Landing MI by Irina Vasiliu

Below you’ll find a news release from Governor Granholm regarding an agreement to add a 21.9% surcharge to the new Michigan Business Tax to replace the 6% Michigan Service Tax.

The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News have details on the agreement as well.

The Eleven Seconds to Midnight Gang rides again


Carousel by jnhkrawczyk

“We’ve got a shift starting in 36 hours that we’ve got to charge 6% more on … and I don’t know how to do it.”
-John Evans, president of Evans Distribution

Welcome to Michigan, where we somehow seem to be stuck in the Reality TV version of Groundhog Day: Your Government inAction. With just hours remaining before a confusing, unexplained and really random 6% Service Tax goes into effect, everyone who might have to pay the tax is watching the clock and wondering what Lansing will do. Read on for much more…

Absolute Michigan at TC Business Expo


Grand Traverse Resort by danperry.com

Hey there, if you happen to be in the Traverse City area tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov 6) Absolute Michigan will be in the “Tech City” area for the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce Business & Technology Expo from 9 – 5 at the Grand Traverse Resort.

We’re be giving away a $500 Absolute Michigan sponsorship, so drop by, say hello and enter to win!

(and if for some reason our posts tomorrow are late, you’ll know why!!)