Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Real Secret to Finding A Job - Seminar Opportunity

On Friday, March 19th, the South Regional Library is hosting a free program titled The Real Secret to Finding a Job, presented by Rick Gillis. The program starts at 9:30 am and concludes at 4:30 pm with a scheduled lunch break. This should be an excellent opportunity if you are seeking a job.

Mr. Gillis has been involved in the business of employment since 1977 when he was instrumental in introducing the first local employment website to the greater Houston Market. Since that time Mr. Gillis has aggressively studied the practice of job seeking from the perspective of both the employer and employee. Visit his website www.rickgillis.com for additional information.

The first 10 people to register will receive a copy of the presenter’s book "The Real Secret to Finding a Job? Make Me Money or Save Me Money!" In addition, a grand prize drawing will be held at the end of the program for one-on-one counseling for a period of time not to exceed 60 days with Mr. Rick Gillis.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please either call the library (281) 364 4294 and select option 2 or visit the 2nd floor reference desk and reserve a seat. The library is located at 2101 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380 across from Market Street in The Woodlands.

Should we or shouldn't we be a test bed for technology?

Here is our chance to be on the cutting edge. Or not? Google wants to test a concept. Google is looking for a community where they can deploy special fiber optics and switches as an infrastructure to a super wide-band internet. Varying providers would subscribe to this infrastructure, offering competitive services. A gigabit bandwidth (touted to be 100 times faster than any available current service here) is now technically feasible. With the right home or business computer and peripherals, one could leverage this technology for no telling what kind of application! A simple application could be the downloading of a full length movie in five minutes. Another might be to exchange digital medical scans of the human body. Google has issued a formal RFI (Request for Information) to communities, which in turn would respond with a Tender Response. The survey language is not exactly correct, so please understand the process before you respond with your view and understand that the Township would not issue an RFI, they would issue a Tender Response to declare the reasons and applicability for our community to Google Inc. The Woodlands Township has issued an online survey to determine if we should submit the response.

Added update - 3/16/02010
Some additional information that might help to understand the Google proposal:
There are many comments being made in Twitter right now about broadband service. The activity is like an alert to everyone on the internet, a wildfire informing people about the FCC National Broadband Policy. I have read some of this and noted a few interesting pieces of information. While Google is seeking a 1-gigabit solution, the FCC is seeking a super wideband solution only for institutions. The FCC vision is to have 100,000,000 homes running at 100 mbs by about 2015 or 2020. Today 35% of households in the USA are without broadband service. I ran some tests on my own computer and will share. I also will give you a link to some interesting and useful information. I subscribe to a low end AT&T broadband service. My computer communicates at about 2.9 mbps for downloads using the standard ping test of  Speedtest.net to Austin. Click here to see Speedtest data and run their test on your computer.     

A good article on the subject can be found at Gizmodo. Click here to view that article. It is generally thought that the Google test will not fully realize a 1-gigabit and may actually fall far short of that, but it still should be faster than what the top end is by current providers. Computers may not be able to move data fast enough in the infrastructure, and there will likely be latencies at various places in the network.

Added update 06/02/10:
Would you like to know the vote that got us into the submission? First I have to say that the driving force behind it appears to have come from the Indian part of the community.  These are often the people brought here to do IT work for companies specializing in IT. Many are here on special work visas. So what, you ask?  Well, think about it. They cannot vote to elect our government, but they could influence the spending of great sums of money. Why is that? you ask.  Because only 8% of our registered voters vote! Now let's take a look at the numbers for us being a test bed. We had 1000 illegitimate votes in the Google participation questionaire. That is, there was one or more persons who at least tried to stuff the ballot box. Fortunately, this was known because of security checks within the database. Removing those and only those wrongful votes, we had 137 residents participate. 100 of those voted "yes", saying let's participate in this project. I can't tell you how many were registered voters, but my guess is much fewer than the 100 voting "yes". Fortunately, I do not believe Google will want to put us into their plan. 100 interested persons in a 90,000 resident community doesn't sound like a good investment. What continues to bother me is the decision of the township to continue even under this total uninterested community.  It echos a bit like an empty chamber - the May 8th elections, doesn't it?


I do not like the idea of again disturbing the earth on our roadways and working out right of ways for another vendor as a test of technology. Our response would be due March 28th. Although some businesses may have a real application, current available services should suffice for some time to come. For example, we can have telephony via internet now. We can have normal files loaded and uploaded quickly by high speed internet providers now. We can listen to music. We can watch movies. The normal resident has plenty of services from multiple providers now. Let's let some other community experiment with new technology and we can see how it pans out over the next five or so years. My experiences in information technology says never to take up a solution for an unknown problem or application. For one, the first deployments are often quick to be antiquated by following releases. I can't say what might go wrong, and I doubt anyone else can either.

We have bigger fish to fry in The Woodlands. If we have time to partner with technology companies for such endeavors, we probably need to trim budgets. I see no valid reason for this community to be on the leading edge of technology. I do not believe it would have any financial impact whether we do this now or later (if it pans out). Perhaps institutions will find good uses for such technology, but in my opinion, it will be a long time before residents need it.

Added 03/20/2010

Very significant to the township survey is the lack of information. We are asked for our opinion when we are not given sufficient detail to have an opinion. Do we want to participate in this when we don't know what is to be required of us?  For example, how much digging can we expect in our yards? Are we going to have a repeater in our yards? How well tested is this technology? If we are going to participate, do we lose our current service? What if the service is not reliable? Are we committing to the service now or will we get a chance in the future to request it and not have the consequences of having it installed in the neighborhood (killing trees, etc)? What exactly are the risks? My questions are only a start for the questions to be answered by the provider that should be asked and be published before asking residents such questions. Asking us if we want to participate is ridiculous without this information.  Sugarland wants to participate, but they don't know either. I would like responsible leaders here communicating to responsible residents, all thinking about the quality of life for the whole. 

I said "no" to the survey because of the lack of information that would make me comfortable to participate. My assessment it that this is a high risk venture like any field test.  

Township Survey Link

What do you think?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring 2010 Woodlands Flea Market Garage Sale

Twice every year, people are looking forward to our large Flea Market (garage sale) - Spring and Fall. This year, there was a problem with contracting the parking garage, so it will be later than usual.  The process will be similar this Spring but later than planned. It is now scheduled for April 17th and will again be conducted in Town Center, starting early in the morning. Vendors, residents and shoppers alike will be notified officially soon.

Update March 09, 2010
Tickets for vendors will go on sale Saturday, March 20, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., at the Panther Creek Village Center.  Prices remain the same at $50 for residents of The Woodlands, $75 for non-residents and $100 for commercial vendors.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Elected Officials honored by Economic Development Partnership

The South Montgomery County Woodlands Economic Development Partnership (EDP) held its 12th annual Elected Officials Reception at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center on February 16th. For the past 12 years, the EDP has taken great pride in expressing their appreciation to elected officials at the local, county, state and federal levels. “We are excited to have an opportunity to personally thank our elected officials for their dedication to making our area prosper. Our officials are pro-business and work towards making a strong economic environment for our area by encouraging job growth for our local businesses,” said Gil Staley, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership.  Photograph left to right are 
Representative Rob Eissler, Texas House of Representatives, Marsha Williams, Senator Tommy Williams’ Office, Congressman Kevin Brady, United States House of Representatives, Dr. Ed Robb, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, and Bruce Tough, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors.
This year the EDP Platinum Level Sponsors, Petroleum Wholesale, The Woodlands Development Company, The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center, and The Woodlands Township thanked the elected officials for their assistance and support in helping make local businesses and organizations successful.

Several elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels were in attendance at the reception.

Special thanks go to the sponsors of this event, who made hosting this reception possible.

The Economic Development Partnership generally promotes the economic development of South Montgomery County through supporting existing businesses and the recruitment of new businesses that can bring job opportunities and capital investment to the area.

The EDP is a public and private partnership with 42 funding partners active in the organization. For further information on the EDP and information about the local business community, visit www.edpartnership.net or call 281 363-8130.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Photography Clubs

With the advent of digital photography, there has been an explosion of photography clubs. Why? Photography has never been easier for many people, but has been made somewhat more complicated by all the technology. Changes over the past decade has spawned renewed interest in photography. It is simply amazing what can be done with a camera  now which has a "focused" photographer behind it. There are many levels of competence from the beginner who wants to just push a button and see or share an image, to the serious photographer who is ever reaching for excellence and perfection, creating something new, or exploring and leveraging technology for hobby or business. Anyone of any skill level is welcome in either group.   

Here in The Woodlands, we have two photography clubs.

(1) The Woodlands Photography Club 
Meetings: Second Monday of every month from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.
Location : South Montgomery County Community Center
2235 Lake Robbins Road
The Woodlands, Tx
Website:  www.woodlandsphoto.org
Venue: general photography, workshops, outings, presentations, photo sharing, social

(2) The Woodlands United Methodist Church Camera Club 
Meetings: First Monday of every month from 7:15 to 8:45 PM.
Location: United Methodist Church on Lake Woodlands near HEB Foods
2200 Lake Woodlands Drive
The Woodlands, Tx
Website:  twumc.org/cameraclub
Venue: God's creation through photography, special focus on nature but often generalized content, SIGs, photo sharing, workshops, presentations, social, photography outings