February 24, 2011

Blog: What happens when the camera goes off?

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About three-quarters of the way through Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, a rainbow test pattern replaced Gov. Martin O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot for those who were watching it broadcast on their computers.

“We’ll be back after station identification,” O’Malley said, seconds before the meeting disappeared from screens.

What happened?

After hearing about a Towson State University contract that would retrofit the campus’ lights to save about $1 million in energy costs a year, O’Malley began thinking about green projects on the state’s university campuses, and ways to get that information to the people of the state.

He mentioned a new idea: creating interactive online maps of university campuses with the buildings in different shades of green. The deeper the green, O’Malley said, the more renewable energy the building uses.

Alvin Collins, secretary of General Services, said that the department has a renewable energy map on its website. O’Malley asked if the map could be viewed on a projection screen at the meeting, something that could only be done if the live stream was temporarily disabled.

“I’m sure that our three viewers won’t mind,” O’Malley said.

There were actually 27 people watching the meeting at that point, according to O’Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec.

But an IT glitch kept them from seeing the end of the meeting, which was not recorded by the cameras.

Moments after the camera’s stopped broadcasting, O’Malley took the opportunity to pull out something that he hadn’t shown the public before: A new pair of glasses. The governor explained that after he won re-election in November, he caught up on several medical appointments, including an apparently overdue visit to the optometrist.

“This is my first pair of new glasses in  0 years,” he said. “I have not been driving in 11, so I’m not violating the MVA.”

After clicking through the map – which O’Malley said is informative and a step toward his vision – it was time to restart the broadcast. (And yes, O’Malley removed his new specs before the cameras were supposed to come back on.)

The meeting finished routinely. All of the agenda items under the University System of Maryland, the Department of Information Technology, and the Department of General Services were unanimously approved.

–Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com