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Michigan Daily columnist urges students to explore region

It's too easy for students at the University of Michigan to get trapped in the Ann Arbor bubble. Michigan Daily Columnist Alexander Hermann wants them to burst it and explore everything Metro Detroit has to offer, ranging from enjoying Middle Eastern food in Dearborn to tracking down award-winning breweries in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Excerpt:

“Fortunately, the city of Dearborn, with the highest concentrated Arab American community in the United Sates, is just forty minutes east of Ann Arbor. The crucial stop is Shatila Bakery on Warren Avenue that serves Middle Eastern pastries, cakes, coffee and even its own brand of ice cream. From there, you can simply just Yelp your way to Lebanese food better than anything served in Ann Arbor. That strategy paid off for my last time in Dearborn, as I enjoyed Al-Ameer restaurant leftovers, just a couple blocks from Shatila, for days after eating there for the first time over break.”

Read the rest of it here.

Ann Arbor app developer makes Forbes' "30 Under 30"

Jesse Vollmar is the co-founder and CEO of Ann Arbor-based FarmLogs, software that helps farmers with risk management by monitoring crops, weather and business variables. Its product is used in every state of the U.S. and over 120 countries worldwide. He's one of Forbes entrepreneurs to watch.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Vollmar grew up on his family's fifth-generation farm in Michigan and started a successful IT consulting business with classmate Brad Koch while still in high school. "
 
Check it out here.
 

Ann Arbor invention one to watch at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show

Think Google Glass is tearing at the fabric of society wait til you get ahold of The Glyph, which is being developed by Michigan startup Avegant Corp. If they figure out a way to integrate it with XBox and Playstation all kids need is an IV drip and a chamber pot and they need never leave the couch again.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“It’s screen-less technology,” he told MarketWatch in a private demo. “The image is projected directly to your retina. We are able to mimic your natural vision.”
 
The device is geared toward common everyday mobile uses, from watching videos, browsing the Web to holding videoconferences. It is meant to work with a range of devices from laptops to iPhones to tablets.
 
Unlike Google Glass, which is based on glance-able technology aimed at providing information to the user quickly or for short-term viewing, the Glyph is for longer-term, more engaged media consumption."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Travel & Food Writer says you MUST eat in Ann Arbor

Zingermans, artisanal beer, downtown and football all make the list of reasons to vsisit A2. And Vellum gets singled out as "the epitome of where Ann Arbor's dining scene is headed."
 
Excerpt:
 
"Perhaps it's the fact that Michigan is one of the country's most agriculturally diverse states. Regardless, in the last five years this city has come into its own culinarily. Some even say, after Chicago, it's the dining capitol of the midwest."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Downtown Ann Arbor loft induces house envy

If you're going to live in downtwon Ann Arbor and you've got the bucks, you might as well live in taste and style, eh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"The structure is a 1920s office building in downtown Ann Arbor that has served as a livery stable, a title firm and a bank. As proof it still has three vaults. One vault is a wine cellar now, one’s a half-bath, and one holds the office’s computer network. Laura and Bill Schlecte added a third floor to the original two, then converted this all to a live-work building.
 
The whole building is for sale at $1,899,000. It can also be split — $499,000 for the commercial office and $1.4 million for the loft."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Aunt Agatha Mystery Bookstore wins mysterious Raven Award

It's a mystery to the owners of Aunt Agatha's Mystery Book Store how they won the 2014 Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Word arrived a few days ago that Aunt Agatha’s had claimed the honor, given each year for accomplishments not related to writing.
 
Chances are it was for nurturing authors like Steve Hamilton, the University of Michigan grad whose bleak and brilliant Michigan-based novels are the store’s top sellers."
 
Read the rest here.
 

How to engineer a safer street

With all the recent rancor and politics surrounding pedestrian safety ordinances, here's an interesting break down of what makes a street safer for everyone involved.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the past decade or so, New York has seen a considerable decline in traffic fatalities (30 percent since 2001) and an even more dramatic decrease in the risk of serious injury among cyclists (72 percent since 2000). At the heart of these public safety achievements is better street design. City streets are far from perfect, but as officials have reduced space for cars, they've improved mobility for everyone."
 
Read the rest here.
 

The case for a tangle-less earbuds

Path to human happiness: (1) Feed the world's hungry. (2) Heal the world's sick. (3) Invent iPhone earbuds that don't tangle.
Apparently an Ann Arbor-based firm is on its way to solving one-third of the planet's woes.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Ann Arbor-based TurtleCell LLC didn't win the grand prize of $500,000 at last month's Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition at Orchestra Hall, but it won the popular vote of those in attendance as having the best pitch, winning the People's Choice Award of $10,000.
 
What was the attraction? The company's product solves a problem everyone in the audience could immediately identify with: Getting rid of those darned tangled cords you wrestle with every time you pull your iPhone earbuds out of your pocket."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Krazy Jim's Blimpyburger hits the crowdfunding circuit

You'd have thought it was Ann Arbor's Pearl Harbor the way local media and greasy burger fans wailed and moaned and gnashed teeth over the closing of Blimpyburger (I mean, just how many articles did AnnArbor.com devote to ikts closing?). Well, here's a chance for all those cry-babies to put their money where their mouth is. Krazy Jim and company have set up a Indiegogo campaign to find a new home.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I’ve had the pleasure of dining at this proud hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It’s a very unique experience that requires some knowledge of how to order your food. If you don’t do it right you’re liable to get chastised, but it’s all part of the fun. Regardless, the burgers are amazing. It’s fast food heaven.
 
So, you could imagine the heartbreak caused when the restaurant was forced to close its doors in July of this year. The University bought the property for a new construction project, and unfortunately Blimpyburger didn’t own the land. They were displaced tenants."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Why some cities are better for entrepreneurship than others

How does social trust or capital foster entrepeneurship? This article makes a compelling argument for how the strength of local social networks and trust can help create an environment where business innovation and creation can grow,
 
Excerpt:
 
"This makes intuitive sense. Venturing out on your own is a risky proposition, and one that takes a huge amount of effort and ingenuity to build a business — even if it’s just you — from the bottom up. That’s why certain personalities are thought of as more “entrepreneurial” than others. But, as the authors note, there’s a snowballing effect as well, as more diverse and widespread social networks bring everyone, regardless of their own connectivity, into contact with far more people. These effects can spread beyond the very local level, and metros with more engaged citizens provide the right context for self-employed workers to make it.
 
Community is clearly key to creating an atmosphere where risk-taking is, in essence, less risky. But a couple of caveats, which the authors note themselves, should give us at least slight pause."
 
Read the rest here.
 

An Ann Arbor writer sings the praises of the USPS

Though Congress seems to love to malign the U.S. Postal Service, polls show that Americans are actually pretty with this public service. And  we at Concentrate absolutely love getting mail. Real mail. From actual people. How quaint, huh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"A couple weeks ago, many otherwise level-headed people got excited about Amazon’s absurd plan to deliver packages by drone. Once the hype subsided, though, the publicity stunt had the unusual effect of reminding people why the human postal carrier is so effective, trustworthy and safe. “Can you imagine how expensive delivery would be that way?” laughed Lucy, the counter attendant at my post office in Ann Arbor. “I’d like to see them try that. Some guy will build a huge net and steal all that stuff out of the sky. Then just watch how fast people come back to us.”
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Local musicians make "Buy Local" music video

It has a "(Ain't Gonna Play) Sun City" earnestness and just enough Ann Arbor people and places to become the "We Are The World" of locavore anthems. Or so the folks behind this Buy Local video hope!



Alternative transportation use growing in Michigan

Commuters in cities across the state (and nation) are opting for public transit over cars more and more. These trends were evident in Grand Rapids, Flint, and Detroit. As Ann Arbor continues its contentious debates about alternatiove transportation issues (bicycles, buses, rail and, ahem, pedestrians) it seems prudent that our leaders consider the current and expected trends when making policy. Just sayin'.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“This important study signals that the investment cities have been making in transit and non-motorized transportation are paying off. It is no accident that Grand Rapids has experienced a 44% increase in passenger miles traveled by transit in a half-decade, or that the percentage of work trips on bicycles places our city 12th in the country,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “Public investment drives public behavior by giving citizens choices. We must capitalize on the improvements so clearly identified in the report by dedicating financial resources at the federal and state levels to accelerate local investments in transit and non-motorized transportation.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

OSU blogger says Ann Arbor may be the better college town

Columbus-based blogger Matt Brown likes Ann Arbor. A lot. Or, at least, he really really likes our downtown... and our grub. Matt, we welcome defectors.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I realize I may lose my Ohio State Blogger License for saying this, but Ann Arbor really is a great college town, and for many definitions, maybe a better one than Columbus. The campus is located in a clean and newer area, and the city is in the perfect sweet spot for College Town size (around 113,000). It's big enough to boast a few attractions and institutions at least somewhat independent of the university (unlike say, a tiny college town in the middle of nowhere), but it isn't so large that the university risks getting swallowed up. It retains a somewhat "crunchy" vibe commonly associated with some of the best college towns, and is near a major US city. It would probably be a great place to go to school or live. You know, if Michigan wasn't there."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor-made app puts credit card data at your fingertips

With the idea that credit card charges tell you whole lot more than Yelp reviews, phone app Wisely (developed by Ann Arbor-based Glyph) gives users access to transaction data, allowing them to deep dive into the local economy. File under very cool.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the new app Wisely, you can search for things like restaurants, shops or bars, for example, and see search results based on transaction data, not social mechanisms like check-ins or user rankings and reviews.However, the app isn’t only focused on the “before” side of consumer spending – it also lets you store your loyalty and membership cards for easy access during your visits and helps you understand your spending behavior afterwards, similar to something like Mint. 
 
Like Mint and other mobile money management apps, Wisely lets you set a budget and then analyze your spending over time, examining the categories of your past purchases and even where they’re located on a map – the latter an easy way to spot a possible fraudulent transaction, Vichich claims."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 
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