Dear Friends,

Autumn is officially here, and the leaves are changing colors with some extraordinary bright red maple leaves–especially at the higher elevations. The political season is in full swing here, too. There are three major and a few minor candidates in the VT Gubernatorial race, and they are having several debates all around the state. It is somewhat unique in our very small state that virtually every citizen will have an opportunity to meet each candidate in person, and the debates center around these local issues.

The biggest issues are the state of the economy (just like anywhere else), energy, health care and transportation. We are faced with a decision in Vermont about relicensing our sole nuclear generator. It is past its design life and the owners want it to be licensed for another 20 years. The impact on electrical rates could be significant as it currently supplies about 1/3 of the state’s power; however, concerns about safety and long-term energy independence are driving the debate. Fortunately, while the stands on relicensing vary, all of the politicians see the need to develop renewable energy sources.

Last month (in K&B #582), I mentioned that the town clerk in Warren, VT picked up a new 80GB iPod and Griffin iTalk (to replace the old ones) in order to record their town meetings. I got a call from her recently regarding the battery life of the new iPod–it only lasted about 2 hours out of the 4-hour meeting. I did some research and it turns out that all of the newer microphones for iPods are battery hogs, and that 1-3 hours is the maximum time for the iPod battery (even though it is good for 30-hour playback).

I had the town clerk verify that the battery lasted about that long for playback and started researching a new solution. At first, I thought, “No problem, I’ll just use a Griffin TuneJuice,” which is a battery that hooks up to the 30-pin connector. But they kindly pointed out that wouldn’t work since the microphone already uses the dock connector. So, the ultimate solution was to change to the Belkin TuneTalk which has a USB charging port on the bottom, and an APC USB battery pack to add extra juice. Now the town can record their 4-5 hour meetings on the iPod by placing it in the middle of the table.

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