Image courtesy nextreads.com

We've been thinking a lot about building businesses in small cities. So our ears perked up at a recent article from Business Insider contributor, Chris Wertz, who writes that tech entrepreneurs can leave New York City.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates
Image courtesy gatesfoundation.org

The big take away from Bill Gates’ discussion at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA was the idea that education will be less “place-based.”

According to MG Siegler's piece at TechCrunch.com, Gates said,” Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world.” 

You can sort of already do that on sites like TED or just by doing a topic search on Youtube. Gates says that kind of widespread knowledge will be better than any single university.

Some of us have been doing more reading on the Marcellus Shale than should be humanly possible to prepare for our upcoming series. And we invite you (you!) to weigh in with your innovation angle on the drilling controversy.

Some trail mix to get you going:

Ryan Morden / WRVO

Today we went out to the Fenner Wind Farm where one of the turbines came crashing to the ground back in late December.

Emma Jacobs / WSKG

In an old ice cream factory outside downtown Binghamton, two teams are at work restoring mid-century technology from the Southern Tier. Retirees from IBM and Singer-Link, which made flight simulators have begun restoring a 1940s era flight simulator and a quarter-ton computer from 1961 to full operation.

Why are these men using their retirement to fiddle with the machines they once worked on for a living?

"I'm retired and it keeps me off the street," says Jim Herz.

Photo of 1940s rural farm with electrical pole out front.
John Colliers / Library of Congress / Creative Commons license

We ran a quick bulletin last week on Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack's announcement of $40+ million in new stimulus money to bring more internet to New York State. That money actually goes to companies as grants and loans to build broadband infrastructure.

But this story really got us wondering, when did the Department of Agriculture (USDA) get mixed up in internet service?

We're the Innovation Trail, a collaboration between five public media outlets in upstate New York. We're looking at New York's "innovation economy" and reporting about the connections between investment and education, politics and people, technology and geography, as the state attempts to pull its economy up by its bootstraps. What does that actually mean? Our reporters are looking for - and finding - innovation everywhere. Here's what's coming down the pike.

This is an image of Galloo Island
Image courtesy www.presidentialretreats.com

Ahh, Galloo Island: a distant gem in the northeast corner of Lake Ontario.

Josh Fox lives in the Upper Delaware River Basin, on the border straddling Pennsylvania and New York State. In May 2008, he received a letter from a natural gas mining company. The company wanted to lease 19.5 acres of land from Fox -- and would pay him $100,000 to do so.

"[They say] 'We might not even drill,' " he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. " 'We don't even know if there's gas here. It's going to be a fire hydrant in the middle of a field -- very little impact to your land. You won't hardly know we're here.' "

Josh Fox lives in the Upper Delaware River Basin, on the border straddling Pennsylvania and New York State. In May 2008, he received a letter from a natural gas mining company. The company wanted to lease 19.5 acres of land from Fox -- and would pay him $100,000 to do so.

"[They say] 'We might not even drill,' " he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. " 'We don't even know if there's gas here. It's going to be a fire hydrant in the middle of a field -- very little impact to your land. You won't hardly know we're here.' "

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U.S. Photonics Hub Coming To Rochester

What does this mean for the economy of the Rochester region?