Technology

Steve Zind / VPR

As the drummer for the Burlington band Waylon Speed, Justin Crowther has been making music for years. Now he’s planning to make music it in a different way: He’ll press vinyl records.

An unusual problem with Vermont’s Emergency 911 network briefly prevented a number of calls from getting through this week.

For nearly an hour Thursday morning, some calls to Vermont’s E -911 system triggered a series of additional "phantom" calls that appeared to come from the same address and phone number as the original.

They were routed to call-takers who, finding no one at the other end of the line, initiated a procedure in which they try to reach someone at that number.

Jon Kalish / VPR File

A Burlington company that develops software and hardware for unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is the first company in Vermont to get a federal permit allowing the use of drones for commercial purposes.

Screen shot / Vermont Health Connect

Vermont Health Connect user accounts will be offline through the weekend to get systems up and running that the health care exchange has lacked since it launched in October 2013.

The weekend changes are expected to upgrade a “change of circumstance” function so that health plans are updated to reflect life changes – such as a new family member, new job or change in marital status – more quickly.

VPR/Steve Zind

The number of manufacturing jobs in Vermont has declined from historical highs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state has shed 17 percent of manufacturing jobs in the past decade.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

There’s a new kind of classroom springing up in some Vermont high schools. It’s called a maker lab, and usually features high-tech design and manufacturing tools.  

At St. Johnsbury Academy, the lab’s purpose is not to teach specific workforce skills but to foster creativity. It’s the brainchild of Assistant Principal Jeff Burroughs. He used to work at IBM.

ElisabethAardema / iStock

While Vermont's lawmakers are unlikely to get around to deciding whether to legalize marijuana this session, the University of Vermont is hoping to keep the conversation about cannabis going with an online Cannabis Speaker Series.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Power struggles between the legislative and executive branches aren’t anything new. But one brewing in Montpelier these days is unique: The administration’s decision to block Internet entertainment sites has spawned a battle between top lawmakers and executive-branch techies.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

About 14 percent of Americans cannot read. That’s according to a U.S. Department of Education Study in 2013. And while Vermont’s literacy rate is higher than the national average, plenty of children are falling behind.

But there is a remedial reading program that’s showing promise.

NASA / AP

The iconic Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit 25 years ago this week. Since 1990, it’s been capturing crystal clear images of stellar nurseries, planetary rings and much more. It has been responsible for some major astronomical breakthroughs and has helped shape our knowledge of the universe.

Champlain College is offering discounted online programs under a new partnership with the federal government, officials announced today.

The partnership opens up truEd, Champlain’s subscription-based online courses, to civilian federal employees and their dependents.

Sydney Smith-Heimbrock, the chief learning officer at the federal Office of Personnel Management, said the partnership is the second such agreement in a federal program launched last year to help close skills gaps within the federal workforce.

Steve Zind / VPR/file

FairPoint Communications is in the midst of a Public Service Board investigation into repair delays experienced by the company’s telephone customers. 

But Fairpoint officials say the fact they’re required to meet certain quality standards is inherently unfair, and they want state regulators to do away with the standards.

A&D Klumb Environmental / VTel

Vermont is the largest per-capita recipient of federal funds for broadband expansion, with much of the money going to the Springfield-based Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) to build a statewide wireless broadband network.

The build-out is aided by a state law that makes it possible to circumvent local zoning laws to erect telecommunications towers — and Calais is the latest community to confront the tension between local control and state’s desire to expand broadband service.

The Burlington Electric Department shut down its online payment system this week after a reddit user found that users’ passwords were stored on an internal database without adequate encryption.

In a release about the vulnerability, the department said there is no reason to believe the database was breached, and disconnecting the server was a precaution.

Greg Schoppe, a web developer for Burlington Bytes, said he was concerned after he used the “forgot password” function on Burlington Electric’s online payment site.

Emergent Media Center at Champlain College

Champlain College's trailblazing Game Studio -- which offered the nation's first four-year degree in making video games -- is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Since the program began, a lot has changed in the world of gaming. You're as likely to be playing Angry Birds on your phone as blasting away at aliens on your home console or PC. The community of people who play video games has become more diverse, not without some resistance. And a growing world of independent developers are experimenting with new ideas and forging their own paths.

Nina Keck / VPR

Technology is becoming increasingly important in education. But smaller enrollments, shrinking budgets and rural infrastructure have made incorporating technology more difficult for some schools than others.

In the final of our series on declining enrollment, we take a look at the role technology plays in the classroom and the challenges schools have in harnessing it.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Construction will begin in Newport on May 14 for a biotechnology research and manufacturing center that will be one of the first of its kind in the nation.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin joined AT&T executives on Thursday to call attention to progress in Vermont's efforts to expand cellular coverage in the state, but cell service has become something of a liability to Shumlin.

On his first day as governor, he launched a program he said would help him deliver on a promise.

Steve Zind / VPR

The Public Service Department is asking FairPoint Communications to provide more information in an effort to determine how many customers did not receive bill credits for telephone repair delays.

The department contends FairPoint failed to provide more than 10,000 customers with the credits for delays from July through December, 2014. The state wants to determine if many more are also due credits for service delays experienced prior to July 2014.  

Steve Zind / VPR

Since October, about 20 Vermont schools have been competing in a first-of-its-kind project that combines high tech 3D printing and old fashioned local history.

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