Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

Featured Tag: Wireless

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
Aggregating the Political Space
What we need out here in the Blog/Pod/RSS frontier is a political aggregator to grab up all the blogs and podcasts that candidates and current pols have and will have going by the end of the year. The default interface would allow choosing Left or Right or Mix (random?) but the consumer could customize completely along with adding tags like 'wingnut' if she or he so chooses.


Maybe with all the dormant venture capital out there, someone will want to fund me to do this. I think I could get it going for under a million but let's just round it up.

Other features

We need reviews of the content by the consumers.

Let me know what you think. tags:

Barack Obama Groks the Internet
There have, I believe, been many gifted orators in the history of the United States. Unfortunately, in this current time there is a drought. President Bush, bless his soul, doesn't even qualify as an orator. He's good at poking fun at people in a casual sense but when it comes time to speak and to inspire, you may as well enlist Gumby.

But there is a voice in this wilderness and it belongs to Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois.

Lucky for us, the guy understands Internet potential. In the fall of 2005, Senator Obama started podcasting. Frequency of the podcasts vary but generally, you can expect two a month.

The man can talk good. He is intelligent. He is entertaining. He is Democrat and liberal too. He will be a presidential candidate before 2020. I would vote for him in 2008.

Check out his Town Talk at Loyola University on April 20. He gives his opinion on a number of issues including the War in Iraq, immigration, energy policy, and student loans.

To subscribe to his podcasts, use this link or browse the site here. tags:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Minneapolis Wireless Scene (from my window)
I heard it through the grapevine: It seems we have wireless antennas on the poles on my street. I also see a new wireless access point available on my Mac's wireless menu. It's called 'USI Wireless'. It requires a password. (Right after the antennas were installed, there was an access point called 'test' and that disappeared when the USI one appeared.)

Googling 'USI Wireless' turns up this blurb for Universal Scientific Industrial Co., LTD in Taiwan. They make wireless equipment. USI could also stand for US Internet, one of the vendor finalists (along with Earthlink) in Minneapolis.

The City says the pilot wireless test will start around July 1. I didn't think my street was part of the pilot (it's not if you check the map). Get the pilot maps here (south) and here (north). (PDF files, you need Acrobat.)

I checked the City's Wireless Minneapolis site and there are no updates on wireless deployment, or the pilot projects or even the event scheduled for July 8 to demonstrate Wireless. My information comes from the Communications department ( see my previous blog post).

Monday, June 19, 2006
Wireless Progress in Minneapolis: CBAs and Pilot Projects
We have been meeting and discussing benefits to be negotiated when the City of Minneapolis sits down with the vendors to hammer out the contract to provide Wi-FI services. This will be the Community Benefits Agreement. (CBA) Philadelphia has done something similar with Earthlink.

Creating the CBA recommendation has been a long and arduous task that begin back in February. Our group - we ended up calling ourselves The Digital Inclusion Coalition - is comprised of city residents, with a heavy dose of people who work at nonprofits involved with technology training and access (check out the list in the main document). Our focus was to provide better access to the Internet for underserved populations. We want to use this CBA to help bridge the Digital Divide.

Our final product is here: the final recommendations, an executive summary, and the Powerpoint slides (all in PDF format).

Last Friday, representatives of our group presented to the Digital Inclusion Task Force. (I blogged about the Task Force previously.) From reports, it was a success.

We continue meeting this Tuesday to plan a strategy for contacting the City Council with our report.

Pilot Project Update

Sara Dietrich, Assistant Communications Director for Minneapolis, sent along information about the status of the pilot projects.

Construction is complete for the two pilot projects, but they are just now doing some initial testing.  My understanding is that the pilots will not technically "go live" until around July 1.  Also, there are still discussions about whether/how folks in the pilot areas will be able to sign on to them.  We will send information to the Wireless subscribers list (and send out a news release and do lots of other promotion) when those details are worked out.

In the interim, the Digital Inclusions Task Force has set up to Pilot/Demonstration community events … July 8 at the
Phyllis Wheatley Center in North Minneapolis and July 14 at the Brian Coyle Community.  The city will be promoting those events as well.

Other PF Hyper posts on Minneapolis wireless.

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Blog Hacks
Steve Rubel's 'Ten Blogging Hacks'. Some interesting ideas here including getting bookmarks over to your blog automatically. That would give you a new blog post each day, whether you have time to write or not. You would have to have time to bookmark to, of course.

The best hack (INHO, InMyHumbleOpinion), is an email subscribe option for your blog via Feedblitz. This is something I've really wanted to implement as many (like most) of my friends (and my wife, for God's sake) don't regularly read my blog posts. But if I subscribe them to my email posting.... (I know. This could be construed as spam. But can you spam friends? Well, yes, if you send them those cheery 'pass this along to 200 people' notes with animated gifs of angels, yes that's definitely spamming your friends but subscribing your friends and wife to your blog, IMHO, is in a different philosophical realm altogether.)

Kimbro Staken at Labnotes (where I found the link to Rubel's hacks) has two more hacks. Google Analytics is definitely worth. There is a waiting list but it only took a couple of weeks before I was in.

And all the above got started via Tim Bray's Ongoing. tags:

Monday, June 12, 2006
Politics in the Age of Blogs
This past weekend saw a convention in Las Vegas called the YearlyKos. 'Kos' refers to the politically liberal blog Daily Kos, founded by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga. Among all the bloggers attending, you could find several Democratic presidential hopefuls (including retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who I liked last time around). Track stories and discussion at Memeorandum.

Sunday, June 11, 2006
YouTube Vid: A Kid Playing Pachabel's Canon on Electric Guitar
I stumbled upon this via StumbleUpon. tags:

Saturday, June 10, 2006
A universal audio/video transcoder + a StumbleUpon rave
I thought youse people out there would have an interest in this cool av open source transcoder. And - if you're a Firefox user - you should check out StumbleUpon, where I stumbled on the transcoder -


I'm having more fun with Stumble than a barrel of monkeys. Stumble is similar to social bookmarking but instead of a list of bookmarks, you randomly stumble around the Internet, page by page. You vote and/or tag pages. You can also stumble by topic. Plus share with friends and all that great social software stuff.

Monday, June 05, 2006
Internet Things and Municipal Wi-FI
MuniWireless has posted a nice article by Anthony Townsend of the Institute of the Future entitled Ad-Supported Municipal Wireless Networks and the Future of Cities: Three Issues Missing From the Current Debate .

The three key issues he mentions are:
These issues, he feels, could shape a whole generation of infrastructure and governance even if the technologies change in five to ten years. He states "If cities fail to think ahead, they may find it more challenging to leverage wireless infrastructure for digital inclusion, economic development and public safety in the future."

I'm very happy to say that two of these issues are receiving attention here in Minneapolis as we prepare to recommend community benefits to the vendor of our wireless deployment. I will post the final version of our CBA recommendations when we are done.

The missing issue here is 'Internet of Things.' I sent out a link to the article to members of our Digital Inclusion Roundtable (the folks drafting the CBA) and hope to discuss it more tomorrow evening when we meet to clean up the current draft.

Townsend thinks that this might be the most important of the three. It's about "browser-less objects that can benefit from being connected to the Internet." These are things without a log-in screen.  He mentions Yuri Gitman's MagicBike as an example. The bike was able to provide Wi-FI access in the immediate vicinity. Other examples might include lighting networks in buildings or even toys. Cities are the most likely places to experiment with the 'things' because they already have a complex ecosystem of things. This could grow some serious economic development and cities should be requesting some even minimal network resources from vendors to experiment in this space.

(Open Spectrum just posted about Zigbee which enables some of the 'Internet Things.'  Zigbee is free for noncommercial use.)

Vendor Update. We are down to two candidates: Earthlink and US Internet. Both are building pilot projects that are supposed to be ready in mid-June. We plan on signing a contract in the fall.

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