It’s 2011 and you know whose garage hasn’t been cleaned out, yet, after all these years. We won’t mention any names, but long-time readers know about this local “disaster.” (They have even seen photos.) Why are we starting out the New Year with such bad news? Wait! It ends up as “good” news to report. Guess what we found in  a stack of papers from 1995?

A  flyer announcing the first Computer Technology Fair for Petaluma Teachers, K-6, has been recovered. It was sponsored by the “Petaluma Tech Corps.” (now known as PetalumaNet), and its purpose was to take elementary classroom teachers on a ninety-minute “journey of discovery” through the ICT World (Information and Communication Technology). Although that event was over 15 years ago, and the Internet was just getting off the ground, most Petaluma classrooms did not have computers; nor were the teachers computer literate.

A preliminary announcement stated, “This workshop will enable you to take a brief introductory tours of several tools and computer applications that represent teaching techniques of the future …. that are already here … in our schools, today. This particular  in-service day workshop was a three-stage production. One stage provided demonstrations on how to use CD ROM discs, desktop publishing, and e-mail. Another session demonstrated how a classroom teacher at Grant School had incorporated computer technology in his day-to-day instructional activities. The third workshop session was devoted to telecommunications and featured local Petaluman, Leo Laporte, of KSFO fame who demonstrated how to access the World Wide Web and various online resources available to both teachers and students.

How many readers caught the recent article in the Press Democrat, written by New York Times reporter Jon Kalish, that featured Leo Laporte? (December 27, 2010, page B4, of the New York Times). It is titled, “Talking tech and building an empire from podcasts.”  During these past 15 years, Leo has gone from hosting his tech-focused TV programs to creating TWiT LLC, a podcast network. “Currently, TWiT.tv hosts nineteen podcasts and several live streaming shows covering various topics including the Internet, computer security, Microsoft, Apple, food and current technology news.” This U.S.-based journalist’s radio, TV, and Internet shows now reaches a world-wide audience. (BTW, TWiT  means “This Week in Tech.”) For more information about Leo Laporte and his TWiT Netcast Network, just click on http://twit.tv

Happy New Year and welcome to 2011 with more thoughts and reflections about “Our River Town – its Past, Present, and Future.”