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Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

Mittenfest V, RedLaser book scanner, WCBN transmitter upgrade and more

By Edward Vielmetti

Here are some links of interesting things happening around or otherwise related to the Ann Arbor area for Tuesday, Jan. 19. I wrote this with the help of a bowl of oatmeal, several cups of coffee, and a slice of key lime cheesecake from our cake blogger Erin Mann.

Mittenfest V is Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 in Ypsilanti. "All the other complicated details to come later." Mittenfest is organized by University of Michigan graduate and Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Brandon Zwagerman, who was in town scouting locations and making plans last weekend. This year's event was an unqualified success, says the Mittenfest weblog: "$12,000 was raised for 826michigan, thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of you who participated in Mittenfest IV! What an amazing community, coming together for such a vital and creative organization. The art, sweat, skill, and joy brought to the Elbow Room for four days straight is something we will all remember. "

Comet Coffee in the Nickels Arcade is donating 100 percent of its tips today, Tuesday, to Haiti relief, and the owner Jim Saborio is matching funds up to $1,000. Follow Comet Coffee on Twitter.

Photographer Myra Klarman has a set of pictures up from the Pioneer Theater Guild's FutureStars 2010 on her blog Relish. "FutureStars 2010 was an extraordinary event that so totally exceeded my already-high expectations, especially in terms of showmanship. And I’m sorry, but you had to be there — if you were lucky enough to get tickets, that is. Long gone are the days when the Pioneer Theatre Guild had to beg, borrow, and steal bodies to fill Schreiber Auditorium."

The Ann Arbor Schools Muse weblog celebrates its first anniversary online. She describes her start: "It took me months to choose a topic. I chose local schools because a) it seemed manageable; b) I already knew a lot about them; c) I'm passionate about education, and frequently frustrated by things that happen in the schools, so I thought I wouldn't run out of things to say; and d) It did not seem like anyone else was (consistently) blogging about the schools. And I was right, right, right, and right! I have been able to both indulge in my passion, and vent about my frustrations."

University of Michigan graduates Jeffrey Powers and Vikas Reddy left Ann Arbor for Boulder, Colorado's TechStars program to start up their company Occipital. They recently released an update to their iPhone application RedLaser, which allows you to scan in the bar code on a book and see at a glance how much it costs to buy online and which of your local libraries have it in stock. See a newscast on NBC 4 Columbus, WCMH-TV. Their weblog tells the story of how their fledgling company went cash-flow positive back in October 2009 by releasing the iPhone application, ClearCam, which started generating money when their seed funding ran out.

WCBN-FM, the University of Michigan student-run campus radio station, has received permission from the FCC to raise its transmitter power from its current puny 200 watts to a monster superpowerful 3000 watts, which should be enough for the terrestial signals to reach all the way to the edge of Washtenaw County and beyond. Now, they just need to convince the regents to increase their funding. Eleanor Dumouchel (publicity & promotions Director) and Bennett Stein (development director) are asking not for money but for testimonials. "Another request we have for THE GREATER WCBN COMMUNITY IS: PLEASE PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS CALL TO ARMS. An artist who has played a live set on your show? Cash in your favor chips and ask him/her to write a paragraph. A WCBN-loving friend who still owes you a beer? "DUDE, don't worry about the five bones, write me a quick paragraph about the station!" See the full plea at WCBN, and send your notes of effusive praise to or leave a voice mail at (734) 418-8420.

Edward Vielmetti never has an empty inbox, no matter how hard he tries. You can reach him by telephone at 734-330-2465, or leave a comment here.