Why Community Wifi in NYC

04/22/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi, Community, Social Networks

Dana Speigel, the Founder and Exec Dir of NYCWireless posted about a balanced article in the New York Press about the nationwide phenomenae of comunnity wireless networks. (See what happens if you have more than one newspaper in town!)

Just replace NYCwireless with TWifi and we get the local opinion as well.

Organizations like NYCwireless can afford to give away their creations—often enhanced versions of other groups’ work across the country—because they’ve entirely bypassed the hefty research and development investment costs of the major telecommunications companies. “It’s not this black box, über-technology that requires zillions of dollars to do,” said Sascha Meinrath, project director of the Champaign-Urbana [Illinois] Community Wireless Network, whose software was developed by part-time volunteers sitting around drinking coffee and testing ideas.

Yup that's a quote from Sascha who in Urbana. Good research by the post.

Spiegel said communal networks brought people together. Discussing the recent New York Times feature, “Hey neighbor, stop piggy-backing on my wireless,” Spiegel said, “That’s completely wrong. It should be, ‘Hey neighbor, it’s great to finally meet you.’”

I am fond of saying that TWifi isn't as much about connecting to the internet as to connecting the community.

Groups like NYCwireless see wireless broadband as bridging socio-economic divides as well as bringing smaller communities together. While Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum has openly dismissed Internet access as a priority for low-income communities, NYCwireless secretary Laura Forlano describes a home broadband connection as helping users to find jobs and retail bargains. “Everyone knows public libraries are crowded and can only offer limited time online,” she said. “If you’re a single mother, you may only be able to go online at midnight.”

This is like one of my favorite stories about a kid kicked out of the closing library on Jefferson and crying cuz he doen't have his homework done yet, while his "friend" is teasing him because his daddy has DSL and a computer at home and can get the work finished. Unequal education (via grades cuz that's all that is looked at here) based purely on economic factors.

Dana corrects the article:One of the corrections that needs to be made about the cost of building a wireless apartment building is that it should cost around $5,000 to light up the entire building, not just a single apartment. This price is based on a few assumptions about the size and construction of a building, but is well in line with some of the projects on which we’ve worked.

Since Dana is talking about apartments in "Da City" that are 6-16 stories tall, I'd guestimate the Cleveland price is much lower and of course we have the much vaunted low cost of living.

Dana, Laura, and of course Sascha are only three of the people I met, hung out with, and shared wifi stories with at the Summit.

You should be impressed. I am.

"trying to run a new civilization in old ways."

Wow, is that a quote from some insightful modern civic entreprenuer that hits our present system on the head? Well, he was certainly insightful and an entrepreenuer. I was in Edison's Pub in Tremont when I came across this at John Ettorre blog.(workingwithwords.blogspot.com)

Stealing the entire post minus the picture from John, you'll see why it hit me the way it did, when it did:

You see, getting down to the bottom of things, this is a pretty raw, crude civilization of ours--pretty wasteful, pretty cruel, which often comes to the same thing, doesn't it? And in a lot of respects we Americans are the rawest and crudest of all. Our production, our factory laws, our charities, our relations between capital and labor, our distribution--all wrong, out of gear. We've stumbled along for awhile, trying to run a new civilization in old ways. But we've got to start to make this world over.

--Thomas Edison, 1912

True 94 years ago, true now from one of Ohio's own. It made the taste of my RR at the pub taste a little more special.

What are you doing to make this world over?

Restoring Checks and Balances

04/19/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Blogging, Political, Social Networks

So much in the NEOBlogsphere is around the MSM control of information, the lack of transparency in our public policy decisions, the apparent merging of political party "pragmatism" accompanied by empty partisan rhetoric, ineffectiveness of the built-in checks and balances the founding fathers designed.

Is it any wonder Joe and Joan Blow on the street has a resigned and cynical attitude about the latest PD report of the hierarchy's machinations? So why do bloggers get such bum-raps from the MSM, and yet they attempt to coop that mode of communication. Jon Husband has an idea.

...the people in power in Washington must HATE the Internets so very much.

With it's hyperlinks, searchability and the hordes of engaged and capable people who are not enjoying seeing their society turned into a playground for corrupt fanatical totalitarian minds, the Internet is a main element providing the possibility to fight back against the manipulation of lying, concealment and character assassination.

What was that definition of *wirearchy* again ? ... something about a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority ... knowledge, credibility and trust were in there somewhere, and I remember the word "interconnected" as well ...

I think you can replace Washington with 1801 Superior Ave, 601 Lakeside Avenue, 1100 Terminal Tower, SBC/AT&T, or Columbus.

Corporate Blogging Fear

04/18/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Blogging, Business, Social Networks

Thanks to Ton for reintroducing Jon Husband's Wirearchy blog to me. I don't know when or why Jon got dropped from my blogroll/bloglist, especially when he has this kind of stuff.

Jon has this to say in response to a thread on corporate legal liabilities with employee leaks and public grousing:

As a thought experiment, replace the word “blogging” with “email” or “conference presentation” or “teleconference” or “sales presentation”. Or “barroom conversation” for that matter. Quick, quick, you wanna be safe, you better lock all your employees up and never let ’em say anything to anyone! The point is that qualitatively, blogging requires no new policies and introduces no new risks. If your employees are going to say stupid things in public, you’ve got a management problem and a policy problem, not a blogging problem.

The point with any of these technologies is that they are tools, not replacements for social interaction. The problems come up when that gets confused.

UPDATE: Jon has commented and attributes the above quote to Tim Bray. My Bad.

Just Sip Coffee?

04/17/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Entrepreneurism, Community, Coffee

So why go to a coffeeshop? You can get exactly the kind of coffee you like at home. It is easy to get brewers of the type that you like whether it's Mr. Coffee, an ibrik, french press, or even espresso. So why a coffeeshop?

Former Clevelander and Samian artist architect Niko Angelis posted an interesting aspect found in cafes. In its entirety:

Drawing on 18th-century English coffeehouses and French salons, Miller recognizes, as Craveri, Bilski, and Braun do, that essayist Richard Steele noticed something important in regarding equality as the "life of conversation." Salons and coffeehouses usually broke down royal and other privileges. Meritocratic appreciation of wit and brilliance, wherever it might issue, replaced deference to power. That quality forms the heart of conversation's cultural importance.

To be sure, politeness, as Hume and others noted, fueled equality since it restrained aggression that might build to violence. Yet Miller takes an unfortunate leap when he suggests that "politeness signified a way of thinking as well as acting, a dislike of extremes in thought."

In fact, both coffeehouse and salon conversations, particularly in Enlightenment France, could be rude and shocking. They could certainly spark extreme animus to status quo notions of political, sexual, and religious propriety. As Miller notes, the German Friedrich Grimm observed that "nothing was excluded from the conversation" at a salon such as that of Mademoiselle de Lespinasse."

Yup. I like to hear authentic conversation even if it is about the Cavs or Indians. Even if people are making things up to make the others laugh. And there is the philosophical stuff, even if the speakers don't acknowledge it as such cuz they're just trying to figure out how to make life in their neighborhood meaningful. I even like the stuff that maybe is only found in the french salons.

Of course, there is the discussions of ideas for change and improvement... revolutionary at times, or evolutionary. New business, new product, new method, innovative, entrepreneural, or just plain debate rsulting in attitude shifts. It doesn't matter, I love it all.

Can't get that stuff in my kitchen no matter what coffee I have, so that is why I hang at cafes.

Oh Yeah, It's Easter

04/16/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: personal, humor, rant


Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Reaffirming the Connection

04/16/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Community, Social Networks

Ton expressed it very well, the same feeling I had when I went to the Second National Summit for Community Wireless Networks. He writes about seeing Jon Husband in Antwerp after two years, just like me and the CWN uber-geeks.

The first face to face meeting is about curiousity: wanting to see more of the person behind the on-line exchanges. But that first meeting usually, for me, is when I really start to feel a bond with somebody. Even if before that the on-line exchanges were minimal, meeting with people stay bright moments in my memory, even after years. So I start to feel a much closer personal connection with someone, though the on-line exchanges may carry on in much the same fashion.

Then when the second meeting occurs after some time, in this case two years, you wonder: will the other feel the same way about the connection we have as I do?

And English is his second language.

Walking Wifi

04/15/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi, Geekism

Via Maker Blog, I liked this backpack mobile mesh wifi set up.
mobile wifi

After Hurricane Katrina hit, BellSouth announced that it would take 3 months to restore phone lines. Volunteers using WiFi gear were able to connect churches and community centers within the first weeks and within three days of setting up an asterisk call server, routed 10,000 phone calls.

It's amazing what creative things happen when necessitie demands it. I've got all the equipment including the Pyramid SW lying around the apartment with the exception of the 12 v battery.

I think I may have found a new guerilla marketing technique for TWifi.

A View on Taxes

04/12/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Political, personal, humor, rant

From Colbert Nation (the only political blog I read thoroughly. Sorry Tim, Jeffs, Jill, MTB, etc.)

On taxes: "It's important to pay your taxes, but it's just as important to pay as little tax as possible. Think of it as putting big government on a diet. The treasury is your fat friend who wants to eat your ice cream cone--but it's your cone, you worked hard for it, and you'll be damned if tubby two-by-four is going to slobber all over it." An analogy after my own heart!

Yeah, I just got back from my accountant (probably the last time since I can't afford him anymore) I'm officially below the poverty dividing line and whatever I get back from Uncle Sam is going back to the exwife, per our separation agreement.

I may be poor but I'm happy!

Spring Breaks for Poetry

04/11/06 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

Sure I've been popping a round the country sating my appetites for various passions; wifi, coffee,.. but wait what else is missing?

Yes POETRY! It only took a conversation and a couple of emails and voila! I proudly announce poetry nite at the Literary Cafe will resume after what was a short hiatus.

This Thursday, April 13 at 9:00pm we shall have a May-December poetry reading with talented feature readers, Lakewood Poet Laureate Jack McGuane and outstanding wordster Aris Dyson. Which one is May and which one is December, you'll have to decide yourself.

Jack is well recognized in the local poetry scene and brings a wonderful perspective with wisdom and humor. Aris I heard reading at Notre Dame College and has a great sense of language and a presence at performing that fills the venue.

Don't miss this event and be sure to bring your own scribblings and tomes for the open mike at a place that is warm, inviting, encouraging, and FUN.

The Lit is at 1031 Literary Street in Historic Tremont. See you there.

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