Archive for the ‘news’ Category

G-20…again

While the IMF’s president, DSK, works through the legal system, I was reminded of this photo from the G-20 opening reception at Phipps:

Well that’s awkward.

Fire on Grant

I’m hearing reports that thre is a fire downtown.

A coworker walked by and said she thinks the Mellon building was being evacuated, and I just read on twitter that the fire is spreading and the county courthouse is being evacuated as well.

The Post-Gazette reports on it here, from their reporting it is just the county courthouse.

Conflicting reports, but I’ll keep looking to see what I can find.

Update: What I gather is the fire was limited to the county courthouse, and smoke travelled through the HVAC system mostly.  The building remains closed the rest of the day, and I’ve heard of no injuries.  Buses are no longer being detoured and service has been restored to Grant Street, but Port Authority warns of residual delays

From where I stand. Or, What I’ve been thinking about during my summer (not-so) vacation

Summer is very hectic with work for me, and this summer has been no different.  But for now, here’s a quick recap of some of the things that have been bouncing around inside my head:

Laura revealed herself to be Secret Agent L.  Her missions continue, not only through her, but also her Affiliated Agents.

The East Busway is under construction, which makes a wicked detour from Penn Station.  My bus now goes through the Strip, which is fun, although messes me up in the afternoon, but I’m certainly dealing.  You know, since I still have a bus.  That won’t be a problem come September when my neighborhood loses service (boo park-n-rides).  But then again, come January, when the Port Authority explodes and simultaneously vomits all over itself while shooting its one remaining foot, things will just be great!

Well that was an interesting sentence.  Check out coverage over at That’s Church, Pittsburgh Magazine (same author), and of course, the hilarious and full-of-spin (because they have to) FAQ from the Port Authority [PDF].

I’ll be covering more about the Port Authority once work settles down, hopefully there will be some sort of resolution by then, but we’ll see.  Will this be the end of PATransit Tuesdays?  Probably not, but it will certainly evolve if I’m not riding the bus anymore!

I’m super excited about the Winter Classic.  I’m sure I won’t be able to afford tickets, which I’m looking at as a plus, that way I don’t have to deal with the traffic nightmare that it will be.  But I’m super excited that it’s here in Pittsburgh.  Also, as if we needed any more reasons to love Talbot:

“(Teammate Evgeni) Malkin knew Ovechkin and introduced me to him and the first impression wasn’t great. I’m not really gonna say what happened but I’m like, ‘OK, this guy is a real douche.’”

It was announced that there will be a public viewing area, so it’s nice to see Mario’s TV back, hopefully it will be not on the North Shore to save some traffic headaches.  Overall, I’m very excited, but it would have been cool to see it played in Beaver Stadium (even bigger than Heinz) and between us and the Flyers.  Or at PNC Park, much more picturesque.

Side note since we’re talking about the winter classic.  These little heat waves this summer have been rough.  That is all.

Table games opened up at Rivers!  I don’t know how to play any of them!  I’d still like to know what you have to do to get a drink at the bar there.  I did enjoy myself last year (went for my birthday), but that’s only because they had Star Wars slots.  Still need to check out the buffet one of these days too.

I finally saw “She’s Out of Your League.”  It is a really fun movie, I highly recommend it.  I loved being able to pick out all the locations around town.  And the ones I couldn’t, my buddy who I was watching it with was able to.

The days I work downtown, I walk past the Mellon Arena.  This last week I noticed the words are up on the Consol Center (I’m usually dodging traffic at that point in my walk, so I concentrate on that feat).  It will certainly be sad to see the Igloo go, and I really do think that we can’t save it, not to say we shouldn’t try, I just think we’re going to lose it, but it’s been wonderful watching the Consol Center slowly take shape.

Well this has been a fun stream of consciousness.  I’m sprinting towards the end of this summer schedule, so I’ll be back writing more regularly very soon.  Until then, I’ll try to pop in as much as I can, have a great one!

PG+ updating, new site tomorrow

I’m a huge fan of PG+, for a multitude of reasons.  Let’s do this in list format:

  1. The Feed.  Awesome, constantly updated content not only from around the web, but also highlights features from PG+ that otherwise I wouldn’t know I couldn’t live without.
  2. Reader blogs.  I don’t write over there, but I try to comment as much as I can, and there are some great writers contributing.
  3. The Perks.  I haven’t used my card yet to get a discount anywhere, but to make up for it, I keep winning tickets to plays and movies.  Especially movies before they are released.  Pretty awesome.
  4. It’s a conversation, and I enjoy that.  The writing is a bit more casual, and the whole thing feels more like a blog.  Not to say local journalism is bad, but it’s nice to let the writers relax a bit, have fun with the readers and write about what they are passionate about.
  5. The sound off box, or whatever it’s called, is always a great read, mostly about the current sports headlines, but awesome nonetheless.
  6. The video channel.  Although truth be told, I keep trying to get them to do a password-protected RSS feed so I can just download the videos to iTunes or Zune.  Otherwise, I find that I don’t have the time to watch (I highly recommend Omnivore, and I am missing The Radical Middle).  This is probably my biggest gripe, but it’s not a huge one.
  7. It runs on Joomla! which is a CMS that I use and love.

PG+ v2.0

At least, it used to run on Joomla!  We’ll find out tomorrow when the new version is unveiled:

PG Plus is offline for a few hours while we migrate it over to the NEW PG Plus v2.0 site. New design, new mobile features and well just a better platform for us to roll a bunch of new stuff out over the coming weeks. but first… we have to migrate (why do I suddenly feel like a lemming!?) See you on the other side – New site will be up by the morning. Thanks, PGinteractive

I was always a little smug in my head, knowing that the Post Gazette used the same CMS that I did, so I’m kind of sad to see them migrate, but hey, the mobile features I’m sure will make up for it.

I really could go on and on about PG+, I know they did a free day where anyone could log in and see what it was, but the server got overloaded really quickly.  If you haven’t checked it out, give it a shot, sign up for one month to see if you like it.  You won’t be disappointed.

How you can help

I graduated from Saint Vincent College (more on that later this month), and every year, we sent a group of students, professors and administrators down to Haiti to volunteer.  During the year we fundraised, and generally, I feel, learned more than the average person about the poorest country on the planet.

If you haven’t heard, the island nation was rocked by a 7.0 earthquake (I haven’t heard anything about the Dominican Republic, so I’m guessing they were not affected, which I find confusing, but I’m not a seismologist), centered very close to its capital city.  Reports are streaming in, The Daily Dish has some excellent coverage here (from that post, leading to twitter, youtube and blog posts).

And locally, Virginia (I still want to type PittGirl) over at That’s Church has a plea from friends and native Pittsburgher’s who run the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince:

“i want to make sûre évryoné ùnderstands we cant stay in haiti and thé kids will not live if théy stay. Riots will start within two days.”

Virginia continues:

This is my plea to you to work any connections you have to help get Jamie and Ali McMutrie out of Haiti along with the children that already have adoption papers set for adoptions in U.S. homes.

I’m looking at you, local and state politicians with Washington connections.  I’m looking at you, rich people with private planes.  Please don’t look away from me.

Otherwise, these children will not survive.

I am not rich, I don’t know anyone who is, but maybe someone who has those connections will see this post.  We have to try.  The power of the interconnectedness of the web rarely fails me, don’t fail us now!

In the meantime, want to give?  All you have to do is pick up your cellphone:

  • Text the word “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Foundation, the leading contributor to rebuilding Haiti founded by Wyclef Jean.
  • Text the word “Haiti” to 25383 to donate $5 to the International Rescue Committee
  • Text the word “Haiti” to 85944 to donate $5 to the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International
  • Text the word “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross.

Also, screw you Pat Robertson.  You give humanity a bad name.

Hating on the Internet

I was just called a scumbag on PG+!

Seriously though, I’m really enjoying PG+, and if you haven’t checked it out, try it out for a month to see if you like it or not.  I’ll have more of a review up in a couple days when I can spend some more time with it, but sadly, just like everywhere else on the Internet, it seems impossible to hide from trolls and others who like to hate, but hate using their brains.

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

Love,
The folks at MBHQ

Newspapers are dying…

Bloggers and media types have been talking for a while now about how to save the newspaper industry.  The Post Gazette will launch PG+ at midnight tonight, a members-only area, which appears to be more focused on interaction with PG writers, as well as a social networking spin.

Here we go again

Ok, everybody, all at once, get ready to cheer for this one:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today that Allegheny County must reassess its property values.

And by cheer, I mean quietly sob yourself to sleep.

The Post-Gazette reports this story, and while I was not a homeowner during the last reassessment, I seem to remember the lawsuits, the protests, the never-ending news stories (which I realize I’m not helping with) and the seemingly endless process.  Aren’t we all excited!

Re: A city mourns

The Fraternal Order of Police has set up a fund where memorial contributions can be sent.  Click here for details.

All city and county meetings have been cancelled/rescheduled for this week, and offices will close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and will remain closed through the end of the week (offices were scheduled to be closed for Good Friday).

A viewing open to the public will begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the City County Building and as many as 1,000 police agencies from across the country and Canada are expected to be in attendance.

Violence continues:

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