Wifi Cafes Societal Impact

04/29/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Check out this this self-comment from Jeff Hess, where he describes the dynamic at his favorite coffeeshop about Senate bill 51 and their definition on women.

This morning as I was getting my caffeine fix at the Phoenix Coffee House, I was joined by one of my friends, a master’s student in social work. We began talking about S 51 and she stopped me after reading the definition of “woman” to place a call to Sen. Voinovich’s Washington office.

Shortly thereafter, we were joined by a second master’s student, this one in not-for-profits management. The first student proceeded to tell the second about S 51 and a lively discussion ensued. The two became so animated in their discussion that a third woman, this one a nurse practitioner and midwife left her table to join in.

One of the wonders of the Internet and free wireless technology is that not only did the three engage in a far-ranging exploration of S 51, but they were able to read the full text of the bill and see who the sponsors were. This is not something that print or broadcast media afford us.

Jeff hits it on the head. Look at the impact and community that develops because of easy web access in a public place. Real and important discussions on issues that affect all of us, not just if Brittany is really pregnant or whether George Lucas should finish the final Star Wars trilogy. Who can say that this doesn't create a positive impact on our society.

This is why we need more places like Phoenix Coffee on Lee road.

The Attraction

04/25/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Though I struggle to diminish the effect of attachment in my life, I still find that I have many that is so overwhelming. Fortunately, most of those concern my Buddhist practice. The foremost example this past week was hanging out with another group of visiting monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery in India.


Here I am with Jinpa Rinpoche, a very kind and wise man. Jinpa Rinpoche was born with two other twin brothers. After three days of deep spiritual investigation, the three brothers were all recognized as important reincarnations. Each was given the title of `Tulku,' meaning reincarnated High Lama.Tulku Lobsang Jinpa was the reincarnation of Lama Tripa of Zingche Monastery.

The attraction, I think, comes from what I posted about certain people carrying their space of perfection around with them. I wanted to be a part of that. I can only hope that eventually I can do the same and help others like these monks.

Springtime in Cleveland

04/23/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Man, Cleveland is so cool that even winter wants to stay!springsnow
At least that's the way I prefer to think of it!

Allied Media Conference

04/07/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Link: http://www.alliedmediaconference.com

I got this announcement throught the Community Wireless Network listserv. It shows the close relationship between free flow of information and the need for channels for that flow has been recognized by the edgy folks involved in independent media and the free wifi movement.

Allied Media Conference
Bowling Green, Ohio
June 17-19

The AMC is the largest gathering of grassroots media makers from all across the country. The conference features hands-on workshops, group discussions, film screenings, artist presentations, a large exhibition
hall to share our work, and a whole day for educators to learn how to use independent media in the classroom. It will be a great chance for community wireless activists to interact with people working on magazines, radio stations, Indymedia centers, and more. The conference is also a lot of fun. Check out the website for more information and to propose session topics.

With this conference right in our own hometown (sort of), I hope that many of our indy media folks will show up. I mean CoolCleveland, Angle, Urban Dialect, the Indy Film, bloggers, podcasters (Jawbone!), self publishers, etc. You know who you are.

I'm not sure if I will go yet. Depends on my schedule and of course finances. Maybe if some of us share?

Still I think this will be a useful conference and a chance to connect up with others in the country that have the same struggles we have.


04/07/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Allen Ginsburg's translation of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist prayer:

Nature empty,
Everything's pure,
Naturally pure.
That's what I am.

Greater Access for Everyone

04/06/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

In San Diego, SoCalFreeNet is making things happen and getting some attention. They started much like we did withTremont Wireless Neighborhood. From their local newpaper (no link?!),North Park News, April 2005 by writer, Jennifer McEntee.

Nonprofit introducing neighborhoods to easy wireless Internet service


Porter is among residents taking advantage of a new grassroots program intended to provide free wireless networks to the greater public. Implemented by the nonprofit SoCalFreeNet.org, the idea is to make the
Internet a resource for everyone, regardless of income.

"What they do is so good for the community," says Porter, who had a wireless network node implemented at his house. "It's so neat that the whole neighborhood can be a part of this."

The genesis

The program was started by volunteers from the San Diego Wireless Users Group, who wanted to put their skills to practical use.

Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, is a wireless networking technology that allows multiple computers to share a single Internet connection over short distances. The reach of an antenna depends on signal impediments, from trees and buildings to weather.

The first SoCalFreeNet wireless network node was set up in Little Italy. It gained enough attention to attract the interest of Bart Ziegler, landlord of the pink apartment complex at 21st and Broadway in Golden Hill. He asked the users group if his building would be a suitable site for the next node.

Drew MacCullough, a resident of the Pink Palace, heard that the SoCalFreeNet volunteers would be in the building setting up the Wi-Fi network. MacCullough, who had a computer but no Internet connection, was intrigued. He got to know the volunteers as they set up his computer and those of his neighbors. Before he knew it, he was acting as a liaison between the free net group and his neighbors, both in his building and in the surrounding community.

"For me personally, it was a really great balance between a technical challenge, the real sort of geek part of it, which is a lot of fun, and it's a really great chance to help people," says MacCullough. "It does sound kind of corny, but it is about bridging the digital divide." Not so corny to me- Steve

MacCullough says the idea is to make the Internet universally ubiquitous. "This particular area is a pretty mixed socioeconomic area at this point. It used to be predominantly affordable housing, low-income, but it's come up quite a bit," he says. "If you look at an area like Normal Heights, or North Park, or City Heights. Any one of those areas may have well-off tenants, but down the street, not everyone in the area is.

"We don't know who we're helping out a lot of times. We're happy to put out the possibility."


While SoCalFreeNet didn't invent Wi-Fi access, its approach to making it more widely available has gained acclaim. The group regularly updates its installation progress on its Web site, www.socalfreenet.org, attracting hits and page links from as far away as the Republic of Estonia, which borders Russia.

Says MacCullough: "We like to say, 'We're big in Estonia.'"

The Baltics show they are ahead of the curve again, Valdis.

Lessons Learned

04/05/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Chris Corrigan just did a timely post (at least for me) where he points to Shawn Callahan's simple rules for community formation.

It is timely because this weekend, I put together a list of the lessons I learned while trying to create NEOBio as a community of practice. Though NEOBio is not defunct, it seems like it, at least as a "gathering of bioscience companies in Northeast Ohio" or so the tag states.

Simple rule 1: Participating in a community must be easy. Hold meetings on a regular basis...

Simple rule 2: Someone ‘who matters’ must care about what you are doing. In the early stages it might be quite unclear how your community’s activities delivers business value. Consequently, the ‘people that matter’ must initially believe in the concept of a community of practice. More importantly, the core team and then the other members must care about the topic...It requires discussions among members to discover the activities people would commit their precious discretionary time to. If you don’t find this, you don’t have a community in which case people will always be too busy...

Simple rule 3: Community activities must link to member needs. Remember I said the end result must link to a need. Some people need to be connected, others need public recognition, while some want greater access to power. Your discussions at the outset need to get a sense of the many needs your community should cater for.

Chris adds to this a principle that I totally violated.

A fourth principle I would add ... might be that once you have set the process in place, step back and participate as a member of the network instead of it's controlling hub. A community that is sustainable has no one in charge of it. There is a role for a forming organization, but if you don;t get out of the way fast enough, the community will stick to you, making it dependant upon you for its continued existence. And that is NOT a community.

My list follows this pretty well and boy did I blow Chris' addendum. If I only knew then what I know now...

Embracing Our Spinning Life

04/04/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

It is common for us to refer to our busy lives as "spinning out of control" or "running in around in circles" or "stuck on the hamster wheel." Well, Don Iannone in his very personal life-vision, took this metaphor and transformed it into a beautiful appreciative image.

I envision my life, during this day
as a balanced wheel
capable of moving in any direction
that I am called in.

Trust and Risk Taking

04/03/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Ton Zylstra attended the Creative Capital Conference in the Netherlands. He had this to say about one presenter that had Trust and Risk Taking as opposites.

To me they are very intimately linked, not opposites. The difference is in seeing Trust as an action or as an object/commodity. If I use the term trust as equal to predictability I use it as an object. Having a large amount of trust in someone then means that I know how she will behave in a certain situation. However if I use trust as an action, then trust is what I do when I am risking something. In the former trust and risk are opposites, in the latter trust is taking risks.

It seems he also has the concept George and Jack and I discussed a few weeks back of the differentiation between Being and Doing.

Leadership IS a spiritual practice

04/02/05 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi

Since returning from the retreat in February, I have been noticed and been pondering the wording of many of the prayers and chants that I regular see and do since becoming an "official" Buddhist. As a practitioner of the Mahayana tradition out of Tibet, we seek to help all beings, human and otherwise, to gain full enlightenment and bliss. The commitments to do so are worded as "May I lead all sentient beings to complete the path and gain enlightenment" or as "May I gain enlightenment and bring with me all beings without exception."

The HOW never really comes up at this point. The important thing is to have the will do do so. Kinda like being a spiritual entrepreneur, but the leadership aspect has become very real to me and has rejuvenated my energy. The strong differentiator between this leadership and what many in ClevO may consider leadership is that this leadership is without ego, without seeking reward, without necessarily being recognized. Jack Ricchuito calls it the "servant leader."

We all know people like this. They are the ones that seem to transform us when we see them, when we talk to them, when we are with them. And here is where I think the HOW becomes more evident.

In Tibetan Buddhism, visualization is a very strong part of practice. When we think of the various deities as manifestations of specific charactistics of enlightened beings, such as wisdom, compassion, or love, we piece together what is called their Pure Land or Mandala. This is their particular universe of perfection fully embodying the world that they wish to create out altruistic motivations, where it is fully safe from negative influences to do the work to bring this about. You may have heard of the Kalachakra mandalathe Dalai Lama did in Toronto last summer. This is the same.

I think the way these leaders do the leading is by creating and maintaining this space of perfection around them, their aura, what is sometimes called charisma but without the contaminated influence of self.

We can recognize the famous ones like HH the Dalai Lama, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jr, and of course Gehlek Rimposche. But there is also John Black of Black's Health World on Lorain Ave, a world champion powerlifter and ordained minister who married Maritza and I. There is Geshe Lama Lungtok of Ganden Shartse Monastery in India, who spoke no English but gave me teachings and was so humble.

And there is Pope John Paul II who when he became Pope, I was in highschool in a Catholic neighborhood and felt that difference even through the televised coverage of his ordination. Friends of mine went to the big youth rally for him and came back transformed.

He did it by "being" world peace and love. He had that aura. He carried his mandala with him and traveled the world to share it. So long, JP2.

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