What I Mean Open Source

04/26/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi, Cleveland, Economic Development, Geekism

Couple days ago, I ranted about the lack of open source requirements in the Cleveland Wifi RFP. I tried to explain to CTO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart in a conference call when she first presented to Cleveland Digital Vision. I don't think I did a good job, considering the end result. It is even more complicated when I also speak of Open Source Hardware.

Fortunately, Make Magazine's blog has a good post that explains and gives examples. Below I chop up much of their effort to give an outline.

There are a few definitions, some come from "open source software" which is usually considered software's - "source code under a license (or arrangement such as the public domain) that permits users to study, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form"

So how does this translate to hardware?

Electronic hardware can be divided up into layers, each of which has different document types and licensing concerns.

  • Hardware (Mechanical) diagrams
    Dimensions for enclosures, mechanical subsystems, etc. For 2d models, preferred document type is vector graphics file, with dimension prints, DXF or AI, etc.
  • Schematics & Circuit diagrams
    Symbolic diagrams of electronic circuitry, includes parts list (sometimes inclusively). Often paired with matching layout diagram. Preferred document type is any sort of image (PDF, BMP, GIF, PNG, etc)
  • Parts list
    What parts are used, where to get them, part numbers, etc.
  • Layout diagrams
    Diagrams of the physical layout of electronic circuitry including the placement of parts, the PCB copper prints and a drill file. This is often paired with a schematic. Preferred distribution is Gerber RS274x and Excellon (for drills).
  • Core/Firmware
    The source code for that runs on a microcontroller/microprocessor chip. In some cases, the code may be the design of the chip hardware itself (in VHDL). Preferred distribution: text file with source code in it, as well as compiled 'binary' for the chip.
  • Software/API
    The source code that communicates or is used with the electronics from a computer.

    Each level can be open sourced, but the exact nature of what it means to open it varies. In practice, not every layer is fully open. Often only a subset of the layers are released, documented or open source.

Click on to the actual post for the examples, sample projects and a good argument for open source that is applicable to both software and hardware.

City Wide Cleveland Wifi RFP Out

04/24/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: WiFi, Cleveland, Political, Economic Development

One of the perk of being on the Cleveland Digital Vision Board is that I get at the moment notice of things like when the Cleveland Citywide Wifi RFP comes out. I got the heads up and it was released last Friday. I spent Saturday nite reviewing it and sent these comments to significant people in the sector, here and in my network nationally.

Skim the 200 page RFP here to get some context of what I wrote. I didn't edit for the blog and I apologize for not posting it sooner.

I don't want to appear cynical, but.....

my copy of the RFP has a number of bad typos such as the table of contents
had every paragraph and subparagraph listed to be on page 3 yet the table
itself was 4 pages long. electriCity vs electricity What message is that
putting out?

Also I don't see any language about open source. There is the mention of
open "architecture" and specifically 802.11b/g, but nothing about open
source software or hardware. Industry standards is NOT open source standard.
The part "No client software that is specific to the Network Operator or
Service Provider (s) shall be required on PCs, laptops, or other mobile
devices in order to use the Network" doen't really cut it either.

This seems to be crafted to be to the big guys with large marketing
departments, requirements for economic impact reports that would probably
be farmed out to CSU or Case, and basically setting up or interfacing with a
lot of the Cities internal computer systems to get to work orders, report
submissions, etc. That could be a major job in of itself.

The computer equipment provider seems to be designed to add to intel
increased sales.

Why was so much written about the city's assets of optical fiber when it is
NOT available for this project? It is probably the biggest advantage the
city has in actually getting this done and it can't be used! But then the
winner can use HIS fiber to backhaul, if he/she wants.

Technically: "In Addition, the Network's signal level should be at or
above -65 dBm as measured with a ) dBi antenna.]"
It is important to know what kind of gain the reciever antenna is as well as
the measured bandwidth of the rf power (spectrum analyzer) meter. The meter
must be NIST traceably calibrated to maintain an equal playing field. Might
also have been better to explicitely state compliance to FCC part 15.

The "WiFi certified" label is passe.

The proposed network provides support for
And finally what the hell is a "walled garden"? "drinking fountain

And just so that I don't appear snarky, here is what I like about this RFP:

Network is available for Fair and Equal Access.
Network is Open to Multiple Service .
The network has No Blocking of Content or Ports for Non-City Services.

Roaming, if it can be implemented would be major cool. RTA bus rides with
video conferencing would be slick. But again this is big boy territory.

I'm not too happy about 10 year commitments in such a fast moving industry,
especially without specific mechanisms to enforce or switch providers
midstream. However, I do like that they are looking forward in expecting
100 times more bandwidth neccesity in ten years. It hope it will be enough.

Did I read right? "best-effort minimum for 1 Mbps SYMMETRIC data
transmission" Am I in America?

And then of course, I LOVE "The proposal describes how the network will
interact with existing WLAN users." ie us grassroot CWN implementers. Yay,
we have not been forgotten.

If you got opinions on the RFP or on my take, go ahead and comment.

Patron of the Arts

04/22/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Community, personal, humor, rant

Now that I've sold out my soul to regain my place in the Dilbert Cubical Dungeon, I now have something of a mythical condition.

I have some disposible income.

Whereas, in the former, former life I horded it to take care of suburban dreams and disaster hedging. Massed it up to accumulate practable toys of the over achiever. I was a good republican.

This time around I did what I advocated for years, but never indulged cuz I had not the resources. I bought art and I bought local art and I bought local art from a gallery and I bought local art from a local gallery and I bought local art from a local gallery cuz I just liked it and not cuz it was from a name or that I would be cool to buy it.

I bought this Peter Leon from out of the SB Smith collection that is being administered by Brandt Gallery.

peter leon urinals

And yes it is hanging in my bathroom cuz that is where I like it.

It Ain't that tough

04/09/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Cleveland, Business, Economic Development, Community

Bill Callahan had me thinking about smart meters and what's stopping First Energy and CPP from doing it. I realized that this is not that tough and a little research popped up this beauty from out of "Da City" hometown NYC.

power jouleMuch like some of the resistance I heard when I first proposed a cellular structure to link up routers in the early days of TWiFi (I wasn't aware of mesh technology yet) was the worry that the technology was still in development and we didn't have the skills (nor time) to advance and implement it. Later, I found that mesh technology tho new, WAS mature, implemented, and debugged in little college towns like Urbana and big cities like, yes, "Da City"-New York.

I suggest that the utility committee of the City Council give a call to Dr. Humphrey Wong of consumer power line and to Ambient Devices of Cambridge Mass. (hey isn't that near MIT?) for a trial run with CPP. CPP is small enough and should be flexible to easily get a trial together and be able to get good taste of what this is about. Hell, it OUR power company, our MUNICIPAL power company.

Wake up Cleveland. You can't exactly be called Luddite, but your technlogical ignorance and footdragging is costing us all money. How bout a test run?

WhooHoo! It's Banner time.

04/07/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

Taking nothing from MC Fat-Pants-Steal-From-Rick-James-Powder-Nose-Neither-Can-Keep-Millions-O-Bucks, but...

Will you be there?

Lit Cafe Poetry Fiure Brigade

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

No banner for this month, kiddies, but one of our featured poets, C. Allen Rearick, got one of his gorilla guerillas to put together a pretty cool looking flyer. A true poet will let nothing stop his poetry from getting heard! So come to the Literary Café this Thursday April 12 at 9:30pm to hear him and a personal poetic hero/teacher of mine, Katie Daley, read words that rock the world.

Since 1999, Katie Daley has been raising a ruckus of goose bumps and exclamations on the performance poetry circuit across the US and Canada. She is a seasoned veteran of four National Poetry Slams, and in 2004, she won third place in the World Competition of the Canadian Wordlympics in Ottawa. katiedaleyKatie's work has been published in various journals and anthologies, including Seneca Review, Puckerbrush Review, Pudding Magazine, Art Crimes, Take Back the Mic, and Freedom to Speak: National Poetry Slam 2002. She has produced Full Blast Alive: Voices from the Ruby Side, a CD of her show, as well as two chapbooks: Red Hot Mangoes and Voodoo Juice (2000) and Coyote at the Wheel (2003). In 2003, Katie received an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, and in 2004, she was the Summer Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She is also the recipient of a 2006 Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She also has a new book, Venus and the Hitchhikers (2007), featuring a tangy narrative about Venus and her right-hand man Pan, who are rowing around the world in a bright red boat in their efforts to spread some love salve on the 21st century's first bloom of greed, fear and loneliness.

callenrearickC. Allen Rearick was born in 1978. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio where he works as a secretary for a pest control company. His work has appeared in numerous journals, both online and print, including: Identity Theory, Dogmatika, Zygote In My Coffee, Opium Magazine, Mad Hatters’ Review, Posey, and a TON of others. His work has been in four anthologies (WHERE’S the list, Casey?) and he is on the short list for the inaugural issue of The Quirk. C. Allen has a chapbook due out in 2007.

Of all the occupations in the cosmos, Katie says she chose to be a poet because it's the one that makes her feel the most present and alive. It's her hope that the poems she writes make that feeling as contagious as possible. It does for me and should spark some of that creative energy that has made the Penpad-Padpen Spontaneous Poetry Open famous in this country or at least in this city (or in Tremont, anyway.) And we know that C. Allen likes to bellow poems from atop the bar spontaneously. This WILL be a show.

Come and listen, come and read, come and write, just come. (Take that anyway you want.) The Literary Cafe is at 1031 Literary Rd. in Cleveland's historic Tremont district.

Photos of Katie and C. Allen by Andy Timothy.

Laureate Stand-In

03/01/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

C. Allen Rearick gave me a last minute call last week to stand in for Lakewood Poet Laureate, Jack McGuane. Poor Jack's big beautiful heart was making new noises so he was getting a valve job and maybe a lube, if he remembered to bring the coupon. The buzz is that he is alright and I don't have to have any guilt for swiping his poetry reading gig.

We are scary trio, huh.

I was planning on going to Bela Dubby anyway to hear C. Allen and Toledo poet-pal, John Dorsey (both are booked for the Lit). Thanks to C. Allen for praising my performance, but I'm no Jack McGuane.

A-List Hotspot is POETRY!

02/28/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

Who woulda thunk it? The Lit got recognized by Cleveland Magazine as top hotspot in the region due, in part, for our 2nd Thurs. Poetry Nite.

Great going, Andy and Linda! Thanks to Nick and all the great, shall I say ....FANTABULOUS poets that have come as featured readers, and of course everybody who comes down for

vodka and verse
Pabst and poesy
Rolling Rock and rhyme

and lays it out for the open mike and/or Penpad Spontaneity.
Who woulda thunk it?

Poetry as a Cleveland Top To-Do

so much for the browns and tribe, huh.

Yum Yum Gimmee Some

02/27/07 | by steveg [mail] | Categories: Poetry

This is where you can eat your young, but we will not approve. Thursday, March 8 at 9 or 9:30pm, two fantabulous wordsmiths will keep watch while the rest of us feverishly steal each others lines in the LAST chance to contribute to this year's PENPAD-PADPEN SPONTANEOUS POETREY CHAPBOOK. The last chance, the twelveth chance, for sum the only chance to participate at the Literary Cafe in Hysterectomal Tremont neighborhood.

For stimulation and inspiration, Bree the fantabulous and John (Fantabulous) Donoghue of the Centrum Smoked Ubiquity (CSU) shall lead us to the promised land of poetry, prose, verse, and mayhem that the Literary Cafe Poetry Night is known for.

John Donoghue is a native of New York City, he holds a BS and MS in electrical engineering from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. in engineering from Case Institute of Technology. He received his MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. John is the author of the poetry collections A Small Asymmetry (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2005) and Precipice (Four Way Books, 2000), and his poems have appeared in Agni, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Lancet, Prairie Schooner, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals. He is on the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Cleveland State University, but still teaches his art at the Poets and Writer League in Cleveland Hghts on occasion.

Mighty Bree is a poet, singer, bartender, bookseller & wife in Cleveland. She publishes books under the imprint Green Panda Press, which produces anthologies and chapbooks of art and poetry. she is a Sinatra fan, loves Simone & sings Billie Holiday. u'll find her work in various small magazines and online at places like deepcleveland , the city poetry , and agent of chaos. she wld like to see more and more of poetry in Cleve.

So if you're hungry, bring some takeout, but don't take someone "out" and com'on down to the Lit at 1031 Literary Avenue to see what the hubbub is abub, Bud.

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