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Chicago Tribune User Generated Content Pioneer Terrence Elijah Armour Passes Away








(Chicago Tribune photo of Terry Armour shaking Sam Zell’s hand by Charles Osgood / December 20, 2007)

The Chicago Tribune has communicated that Terry Armour has passed away. This is both sad and shocking as Terry Armour was so relatively young and full of life in every thing that he did. You can see how much he was loved by his coworkers and the public so clearly in the stories readers have told.

Chicago Blackhawks beat writer Chris Kuc discusses Terry’s universal appeal:

People knew him by sight, and if they didn’t, they instantly recognized him as soon as they heard his distinctive voice. And Terry enjoyed that. He relished being recognized and loved talking with people, whether he knew them or was meeting them for the first time. Sitting with Terry in the Stadium Club during a Sox rain delay would bring a steady stream of admirers by the table, ranging from celebrities to fans to concession-stand workers. It prompted me to once ask him, “Is there anyone you don’t know?” He said, “I don’t think so.”

These tributes are emotional and show his personality. But they miss his most under appreciated quality – encouraging interaction with people, listening to their thoughts and creating stories from these interactions. He lived user generated content long before the term was fashionable. My favorite experience with Terry was in 2003. I had breakfast with a friend and his column that day asked for people to send in thoughts on their favorite horror flick of all time. I jokingly said to my friend “Cubs NLCS Series 2003” (the year of Steve Bartman). My friend said, “You should email that answer in to Terry”. What you see below is the email thread (read it from the bottom up) where he eventually joked that I was trying to take his job!

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 16:54:21 -0500 [10/20/2003 05:54:21 PM EST]
From: “Armour, Terry” <>
To: Me
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick
Headers: Show All Headers

jeez, what are you trying to do, take my job? funny stuff. i’ve got to get
the sequel stuff in there, too.

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:52 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick

Finally, you already know that there is a sequel in the making…FOR
SURE…you just have no idea when or where it will appear on your screen…

OK, that’s it, I’m done with that, it’s taken it’s full course.

Quoting “Armour, Terry”:

boom shakalaka, thanks d……..

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:42 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick

“Why create fiction when reality is far more frightening?”

(just so you have my reasoning down) 🙂

Quoting “Armour, Terry”:

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…..dude, this rocks. you
made it. you will be in on sunday. christ, that’s pretty effing funny.

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:36 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: Favorite horror flick

Cubs NLCS Series 2003

The article which he eventually printed that I can’t seem to find online (maybe the Tribune can help out) but I remember it saying “Let it go, Dave. Let it go.” as a mocking reference to the Cubs and Steve Bartman. That friend who asked me to email Terry still says “Let it go, Dave. Let it go.” to me about things all the time! It’s my most personal interaction with Terry, but it’s where I noticed how he turned to others to create user generated content. I noticed this pattern of user contributions in so many of his future articles. So my friend, I thank you for your contributions and let you go onto that great newspaper in the sky…

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San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission Increases Nightly and Weekend Service in 2008

I’m planning an upcoming trip to San Francisco and I was startled by the massive difference in both service level and tone between BART and the CTA. As you likely know, the CTA here in Chicago is threatening major service cuts and fare increases($1.75 to $2.25 with transit card):

Due to insufficient state funding, the CTA will be forced to raise fares and eliminate service on January 20, 2008.

The CTA will eliminate 81 of its 154 bus routes; lay off more than 2,400 employees; and raise fares to record levels. In addition, with more than 700 fewer buses operating due to the bus route eliminations, the CTA will close three of its eight garages. Service on the remaining routes will be provided by other locations.

The CTA is fighting for funding to avoid these cuts. Contact your state legislators and tell them how important mass transit is to you. Go to (UPDATE -site is  offline 7/2009) for more information.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission (BART) is scheduling a 33% increase in service while increasing fares a nominal amount (about 5%):

“Just as everyone is winding down with their holiday gift giving, we’re going to deliver our customers a goody bag of great service,” BART Board President Lynette Sweet said. “We hope our plans for richer service will put a big smile on the faces of all our 360,000 weekday riders.”

Starting January 1, 2008, BART riders will see enhanced service including:

  • More trains, more often after 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday & all the time Sunday
  • Double the trains to most stations on the San Francisco International Airport (SFO)/Millbrae extension
  • Faster commutes times and direct service from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco
  • Earlier start time for train service to SFO

The new schedule change will mean more frequent service after 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all the time on Sunday. During this time period trains will run every 15 minutes instead of every 20 minutes.

“That’s a 33% increase in service,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. “We’re extremely excited to be able to offer the same frequency of service at night that our customers currently enjoy during the day. This will be a boon for drivers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with nighttime and weekend traffic jams. We have plenty of parking during this time, giving people a greater incentive to avoid the traffic tie ups, save the environment, jump on BART and enjoy a hassle-free ride.”

Starting January 1, the popular Pittsburg/Bay Point (Yellow) line will begin serving SFO at all times while the Richmond (Red) line will go directly into Millbrae Station starting January 2 (January 1, BART will run on a Sunday schedule). This means that commuters going from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco will see a six-minute (16%) drop in their travel time.

Which region is truly more green? Which region is more focused on quality of life? It’s amazing how two similar web sites in terms of function can send such massively different messages, isn’t it?

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Tmobile Coverage Map Presently Inaccurate in Chicago

I presently can not get a good signal at my residence, yet Tmobile is showing an inaccurate map my area saying the coverage is the best they have. Well let me tell you, I’ve missed calls where the phone has not rung at all in the past few weeks – that is not excellent coverage or 5 bar signal strength.

I’d like to see this problem fixed by Tmobile preferably (or the map updated) no later than December 28, 2007.

The address is near Chicago, IL 60657 (Roscoe and Sheffield)

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Some Outstanding Blog Posts…

Andrew Shotland has a nice post on Google Trends Works for SEO…I think hot trends might even be better in certain cases 🙂 , it’s certainly a thought provoking post that caught my attention and worth some experimentation – it might even prove successful at your next tea party!

Rich Skrenta is doing some interesting blogging lately. Be sure to check out his post Pagerank Wrecked the Web.

Bill Slawski, published an extensive Google patent from 2003, entitled Google Patent on Anchor Text and Different Crawling Rates.

Michael Gray wants Matt Cutts to talk.

And finally Shoemoney wants to know why Yahoo! is asking him to check credit card numbers for validity

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Snowy Chicago Blogger Brunch

Several Chicago area bloggers, including Joi Podgorny, Liz Strauss and Jean Russell joined out of town visitor Tara Hunt for some breakfast grub at Over Easy where the delightful server Gwen brought us quite tasteful helpings quite flavorful food!

Though I’ve exchanged many emails with Tara before, I had never met her in person. After the meal we chatted and did some shopping. It was really nice talk to Tara as our conversation was focused and introspective – the kind of conversation that makes both people better for it, it was fun. Great fun with everyone chatting about things they are working on and things they want to achieve in 2008 and beyond.

Thanks to everyone who came out on a snowy Chicago morning (and those who didn’t) for some blogger bonding! May many future trackbacks take place…

Tara and Joi are fans of the site Ma.gnolia, is anyone else out there a big fan? I might have to try it out.

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Medio Systems Expands Mobile Search Marketing to Europe

I received this form Medio Systems late last night:

Medio Systems, Inc., the leading provider of mobile search and advertising solutions, today announced the availability of its performance-based Medio MobileNow™ Ad Network to advertisers and mobile publishers in the UK and beyond. A component of Medio’s complete mobile search ecosystem, the ad network maximises the latent potential of the mobile phone by targeting mobile consumers with relevant, pay-per-click ads. With the incorporation of search-based advertising in 2008, Medio MobileNow will create additional revenue streams for mobile operators, publishers and other off-deck mobile properties while offering advertisers even more targeting precision through highly relevant ad messages based on consumers’ search queries.

The Medio MobileNow Ad network has been live in the United States since its launch in March this year. The expanded network has already begun to serve ads for advertisers in the UK , Germany , France , Spain , Australia and South Africa , achieving conversion rates of up to 15% with access to over 100 million page impressions per month across an international network of publishers.

Notice that last reference, it talks about potential. This Business Week article questions the growth rates of the mobile advertising industry not reaching projections, likely due to carrier friction rather than the lack of actual potential. This is why my recent endeavors have focused on local, traditional Internet and other spaces, it appears the will to bring in the needed financial services backgrounds to take mobile search and advertising to the next level just isn’t there right now. Not because they don’t need it to go to the next level, but more likely that they can’t afford the eventual differentiation luxury under current burn rates.

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Scoble Leaves Podtech for ????

Techcrunch is reporting that Robert Scoble is leaving Podtech in mid-January. This is something that was kind of obvious for a while with his seperate branding of the Scoble show.

Interesting to see where he will go next. Based on his Facebook update today, I’m going to have some fun and assert it might be a new gig at Saturn, instead of Fast Company. 😉

Good luck to you Robert!