Archive for Liz Swenton

Why Fly Without Wi-Fi

It’s no secret, we’re always connected.  Whether it be via BlackBerry, iPhone or 35,000 feet in the air.  Henry Harteveldt, principal airline analyst with Forrester, tells Boston Globe reporter Paul Makishima, “In today’s tough business climate, in-flight Wi-Fi is as essential as the beverage cart.” 

Virgin Airlines was the first to offer internet to its passengers.  AirTran, American and Delta are next on the list.  Southwest, which carries more passengers than any other U.S. airline, is also testing Wi-Fi on four of its planes. 

Makishima also reports , “For the most part, all the Wi-Fi services work the same.  Passengers pay a fee, generally about $8 to $13 depending on the length of the flight, and the service is provided by a contractor, the largest being Aircell LLC of Itasca, Ill, under its Gogo In-flight Internet brand.” 

Airlines are expecting these Wi-Fi services to be both popular and profitable and analysts are even predicting a cost savings, as airlines may be able to remove their in-flight entertainment services, ridding excess weight making the planes more fuel efficient.

I think airline Wi-Fi is a good idea, it entertains people for hours on end.  Personally, I only like flying JetBlue because of their DirecTV service, but now I have other options.  I just hope that with the generated profits, airlines will start to bring back the snack service!

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Sister Act

In attempt to get back into the habit of volunteering, I’m currently undergoing training at the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston to become a Big Sister.  Going strong since 1951, this organization pairs Bigs with girls (Littles) ages 7-15 from all backgrounds throughout greater Boston.  I chose this organization because women of any age should always have a positive, supportive mentor to guide them through the difficulties of life, especially those tough teenage years.

So far, the training has provided various free/low cost activity ideas in Boston, scenarios that may arise with your Little and a history of the organization and importance of community-based volunteering.  It’s also taught me that littles can wait almost up to two years for a Big! 

A recent article in the Medfield Press (a suburb of Boston), talks about a mother who enrolled her daughter in the Big Sister program about 18 months ago.  The Little was recently paired with a Big and has been a positive experience ever since.  The Little’s mother states, “It’s a great opportunity for a child to form a relationship with someone who is older and who can help them develop their communications skills and be their companion.”

I’m looking forward to being paired with my Little and introducing her to the many great things Boston has to offer!  It will be great to make a difference in a young girls’ life.

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Man, I Love College

So on Thursday, May 14th, students from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island will be taking over the March PR office.  What would they think if we started blaring Asher Roth’s song as they exited the elevator? 

A RWU public relations student got in touch with me to ask a few questions about PR for a term paper, such as where I saw the field going in the next few years, how do we help make society a better place and what does a typical day entail.  Off the back of the email Q&A, we set up an orientation to have the class get a tour of the office and shadow us for a few hours, giving them a hands-on experience in the world of PR.

As May approaches, college students are beginning to frantically look for jobs and make any connections possible.  It’ll be exciting to hear the hopes and fears of the RWU college students, possibly helping them head down the path of success for their future careers in PR.

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Green is the New Black

Green has always been my favorite color, but I do agree that it is the new black.  It’s chic, it’s cool, it’s now. 

I’d like to personally thank Lillian for keeping the March office on our toes when it comes to recycling.  I am the first to admit that I wasn’t the best recycler until I met her (insert awww’s).  But now I do my part and encourage others to do theirs.  Props to Lil. 

In addition to Lil’s tips on “Going Green,” I saw a post earlier this week on The Christian Science Monitor’s Bright Green Blog on how the Boston Marathon and other road races are going green.  Instead of driving to the starting line, the Boston Athletic Association transported the runners in diesel-fueled buses.  Poland Spring, sponsor of the Marathon, also supplied runners with the newly-designed water bottle, which uses 30% less plastic than the older version.  All cups of Gatorade handed out on the Marathon route were biodegradable and collected for recycling.  I’m glad Boston kickstarted this green campaign around one of the biggest outdoor events in the city.  Just think about the amounts of trash left behind on Heartbreak Hill and Boylston Street as runners throw their bottles and cups! 

It’s really the little things that count in helping to preserve our environment and keep the beautiful city of Boston clean and not looking like a pig pen! 

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In this photo, Kermit tries to convince Miss Piggy that it’s not easy being green.  She’s not havin’ it.

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How Does Your Gahhden Grow?

The home of the Celtics, Bruins and various concerts and events will be renamed to TD Garden this July.  But according to Jenn Abelson at the Boston Globe, “Once the Garden, always the Garden.  For now.”

In 1994, I attended my aunt’s Northeastern graduation at the Boston Garden and I think it’s had ten different names since then.  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not really. 

March PR’s office overlooks the TD Banknorth Garden.  Up until WBZ Conversation Nation this morning, I didn’t know what the TD stood for (Toronto-Dominion). 

Jenn’s article quotes Christopher Cakebread, a BU professor, “the name change will mean little to fans, who have been leaving out the Banknorth–and the TD, for that matter, for years.”  Cakebread also mentions that during it’s period of being named the Fleet Center, fans referred to it as the “Fleece Center” for its high ticket and food prices.

This rebranding will cost around $1 Million, which involves changing signs, logos on the floors/ice and details on business cards.  John Wentzell, President of the TD Banknorth Garden is aware that this is a complex process, but is grateful that the “Garden” will still appear in its new name.

It will always be the Garden to me, and most of us here in Boston.  (Check out this photo I found of the “old” Garden and the Spuds MacKenzie ad in the background!)

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Have you seen my baseball?

Guess what next Monday is?  The Hills season premiere!  Well, yes, but that’s not exactly what I am referring to…although I did hear yesterday that Heidi is pregnant, which was almost as scary as Lady Gaga’s Idol performance last night.  I guess it turned out to be an April Fools joke.  Phew! 

Monday, April 6th marks opening day for the Red Sox as they take on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at 2:05 pm.  According to various tweets with Chris Forsberg, sports editor at the Boston Globe, who attended spring training in Fort Myers, “they’ve got the arms to do well this season.” 

I’m excited for the start of baseball season, mainly because it means that summer is on its way!  My first game will be Saturday, April 18 (thanks Judy!) vs the Orioles.  Stay tuned for some Sox updates throughout the season, and maybe even a guest blog post from Forsberg himself! 

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No Worms For This Early Bird

So what exactly is it you do here?  Peter Gibbons updated company software for the 2000 switch at Initech, to protect computers from the “millenium bug.”  Looks like there may be another virus on the rise, as part of a very nasty 2009 April Fools joke. 

A recent CNN article talks of a potential bug to hit computers tomorrow, April 1, known as Conficker.c (or Downadup).  Conficker.c is a worm, a malicious program thought to have already infected between five and ten million computers.  The virus is believed to delete all files on the computer by using master-controlled zombie PCs. 

Don DeBoit, director of threat research for Computer Associates (CA), states, “Those infections haven’t spawned many symptoms, but on April 1, a master computer is scheduled to gain control of these zombie machines.”

Researchers are hoping that Conficker.c is just as baseless as the “millenium bug”, but to safeguard your computer, make sure that all Micosoft updates issued in March have been installed. 

Ellen Messmer of Network World indicates, “There’s certainly skepticism in some quarters that Conficker.c will be looking more like a bad April Fool’s Day joke,” but it’s better to be safe than sorry.  All Windows updates can be obtained through their website

Maybe try a less-malicious joke this year, steal a colleague’s red stapler or tie their shoe laces together.

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