Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006
MinneDemo (on Ice) Scheduled for Dec. 11
MinneDemo on Ice has been scheduled for Dec. 11 at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis. The demo schedule is already filled but you can sign up to participate at the site.

Acadia is a great venue with an area for networking (drinking and talking) and a separate room with a stage for the demos. (One problem at MinneDemo September was the room got too noisy sometimes.)

There will be appetizers and some free drinks. (Acadia has an awesome beer list.) Please check out the sponsors at the MinneDemo site.

NPR Wants You! (If you're a blogger)
NPR has posted a job opening for a blogger. Read the Mixed Signal post here.

I'm updating my resume so I'm thinking of applying. I need to find out if I have to relocate. With my coverage of municipal wireless issues in Minneapolis plus recently busting the Technorati 500,000, I feel I have an excellent chance. My salary requirements aren't greedy but I won't relocate and they will need to budget a top-of-the line Macbook Pro for me at least every two years.

I found the initial post for this at Paul DeBettignies's (pronounced de-Bettingz) MN Headhunter blog. Paul is dedicated to helping area non-profits with their technology needs. I found Paul's blog via Luke Francl's Central Standard Tech. tags:

Russian Posters Saved to Flickr
Poster for Russian clown Anton Pilosyan
Poster for Russian clown Anton Pilosyan
Originally uploaded at Flickr by bpx.
Ben Perry has posted 1,469 images of Russian posters spanning the years 1917 to 1991. Here's the link. Mixed Signals (where I found this) has a short commentary including a quote from Ben.

The posters cover propaganda, movies, plays, and I'm guessing more like the one I chose which is a circus poster for the clown Anton Pilosyan. Looks like most are identified in some way in the comments.

I really had a hard time choosing a favorite so I grabbed Anton in honor of my three grandkids. tags:

Steve Wozniak on Colbert
Being a former Mac evangelist, I would be remiss if I didn't point you all to Steve Colbert interviewing Steve Wozniak. Wozniak created Apple along with Steve Jobs. (Hey, I still swear by the Mac OS and use it both at work and play; I just quit drinking the koolaid.)

It's great stuff. Colbert calls Wozniak and Jobs the "Adam and Eve" of personal computing and Steve wonders which one he is. (Colbert tells him to podcast it.)

Woz is on a book tour for iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. tags:

Sgt. Bilko for Saturday Morning
My buddy Roy sent this along. It's a clip from an old Phil Silvers/Sgt.Bilko show, originally broadcast in 1956. The Army is court-martialing a monkey and Bilko must defend him. (There's no mention as to how long the monkey was held without due process or whether he was tortured.)

For some interesting commentary on the episode and the show plus the video, go here. If you're strapped for time, you can just jump to the video at youtube. tags:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Central Standard Tech Bundles the Blogs
Luke Francl, who blogs here, has built us an aggregator site, called Central Standard Tech, for local tech blogs. I stopped by earlier this month and didn't see an RSS feed but there it was tonight. He aggregates and feeds posts from a list of about thirty blogs. Plus he's got a user group list and a calendar of meetings. There is a short list of meetings on the main page and the calendar itself resides at Google.

This is free, open to the public, and a great addition to the local tech/development/open sourcey community.

Thanks, Luke. I'll buy you a beer at the next Minnedemo.

Here's the link. tags:

Digerati (Emerging) at Weisman
Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota has this night, once a month, the first Monday, 5:30 to 7:30, called Emerging Digerati. Here's the link to next Monday's event which features Carlos Abler (A Case Study in Digital Culture), Garrick Van Buren (FeedSeeder, an RSS aggregator), and Matt Thompson (Star Tribune

It looks veeeery interesting plus, if you show up at 5:30, they'll give you some pizza.

Oh. It's free. tags:

Madeleine Peyroux Here in October
Madeleine Peyroux is coming to the State Theater (Minneapolis) Oct. 13 (Friday!). Tickets cost us $50 after Ticketron adds on all the fees (and I'm printing my own tickets from a pdf to boot - how do they get away with this?).

NPR interviewed her two years ago and also put three of her songs online. Dance Me to the End of Love is my absolute favorite. It's a really beautiful love song on one level but it also gets a bit dark on another level. It's by Leonard Cohen.

You can see a video of Careless Love at her site.

Oh, and I grabbed some pictures last year when she appeared at Pantages.

Minneapolis: The Public Library Quandry
Editorial at the Star Tribune by Bruce Benidt called Closing the Doors to Opportunity talks about our libraries as "one of the taproots of democracy and civilized society" and the important role they play in our culture. It's a good read.

He says

This is where the simplistic "no new taxes" brand of political opportunism has taken us. When those cynical politicians who don't have the guts or vision to appeal to anything but our greed say "no new taxes," they won't admit what the consequences are.

and I have to quibble here, just a little bit, because Bruce, we elected these people. They didn't sneak into office when we weren't looking.

Then there's this, from the Minneapolis Issues list. I'll keep it anonymous except to say it's a Minneapolis citizen.

For folks who have not been to any of these meetings, I have to say they have been pretty heart-breaking.  There are two folks that probably will stick with me the most.  One is the Somali woman who spoke in broken English about how important libraries are to immigrants. She talked about how English is the key to moving ahead in America and the libraries hold the key to learning English.  The other woman is the mother of a three year old who tries to go to the library every week.  Her daughter loves the library and loves the librarians.  Her daughter put her doll in the stroller and announced to her mother that they were going to the library.  She pushes the stroller into the kitchen and loudly announces, "Sorry, it's closed!"  That one was pretty tough to hear.

The City Council will be having a hearing on the library budget on Wednesday - Oct. 25, 2006 at 11:00 AM in the Council Chamber, Room 317 City Hall.  If you want to have your voice heard, the time is now.  The best thing to do is simply to write a letter.  Three real letters from three real people telling their story constitutes a crisis in an elected official's office.  It may seem a small act on your end but it has real power.

She's right. Please write the letters. Email is a second choice. I would send one to the mayor also.

And fill out the survey, linked from here.

Is a demonstration in order? Could we get a few hundred (thousand?) people to go to the 10/25 meeting? We could all drop in the Mayor's office on the way. I would show up.

This is a crisis. tags:

Monday, September 25, 2006
Minneapolis Libraries Want Your Opinion
This was posted to the Minneapolis Issues Forum :

The Minneapolis Public Library Board will hold its final public community meeting regarding the development of the 2007 - 2009 budget on Monday, September 25.  The venue will be Northeast Community Library located at 2200 Central Ave. NE  (Metro bus route 10 on Central Ave; route 32 on Lowry Ave, 3 blocks north).  In an attempt to accomodate work / family schedules, the meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. and will run until at least 9:00 p.m.

(The link may require a log-in but it's free and if you live in Minneapolis, you should be reading this forum. There's ones for St. Paul and Roseville too. Hell, they've even expanded their franchise to the UK! The forums cover local issues.)

The meeting is tonight. Please attend if you can and haven't yet given your thoughts. If you cannot attend, this page links to a survey where you can leave your input.

The libraries in Minneapolis are in a terrible state. I am embarrassed for our City that we, the residents, cannot figure out a way to keep all the libraries open at least six days a week. As I walk around my neighborhood, I see clearly the growth of the immigrant community -- especially from Africa right now -- and I know that the library is one of the most important resources that we can offer them.

I won't go into the roots of what happened to the MPL (Minneapolis Public Libraries) budget except to say that it had to do with the Minnesota State budget problems precipitated by politicians who don't think we should pay more taxes.

At the opening of the new and beautiful central library in downtown Minneapolis, I was able to ask Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak about the library problem. His response was that we have to choose between libraries and police and fire personnel. No. I don't want to make that choice. Because I believe that an informed citizenry -- which is what libraries will give us -- will reduce city budgets. For one thing, new residents to the City, no matter from where they hail, will use the Library to help in learning how to get basic things done with the City's bureaucracy. (Has anyone even looked at how the libraries reduce load on City offices by providing the same information? That would make for an excellent research study.) tags:

Life Gets in the Way of Posting
No posts for over a week. I've been busy with 'stuff' including a visit from a dear friend who lives in Santa Fe.

In the space between the last post on September 15 and now, I have: tags:

Friday, September 15, 2006
Open Source Stuff
I'm on this a bit late but Om Malik has a very nice post about the Vyatta open source router platform. The plan is to sell their own hardware but the software is free to download.

Within the article he links to a couple of other open source projects: Asterix open source PBX system, and the Open Source Wireless Mesh project.

Open source has a great potential to save money for the small business market. I would like to see municipal government projects for economic development start to consider helping businesses set up shop using open source software by providing consultants and maybe server space.

Minneapolis will soon have its own wireless mesh spanning the city. That will bring the Internet to the small business. Let's see how we can then bring them an open source solution for their computing needs. This would not only help the small business but it would stimulate growth in our own vibrant open source community.

For that matter, the City itself should be considering open source solutions to save money. As far as I know, Minneapolis is steeped in Microsoft licenses which I'm sure they pay dearly for. tags:

Wi-Fire Wi-Fi Adaptor
Wi-Fi Networking News has a report on Lehigh University's Wi-Fire "a high-gain, directional, external, USB powered-and-attached Wi-Fi adapter with Windows XP support." Cost is $150. Could be a good solution for metro Wi-Fi installations where you need to a boost because of distance from the antenna -- like the metro Wi-Fi we're getting here in Minneapolis. Range claim is 1,000 feet.

But, so far, it's for Windows XP only! What about us Mac users?

They offer us a tiny tidbit in their FAQ:

The Wi-Fire currently works only with Windows XP environments. While Mac support is one of our highest priorities, based on the overwhelming demand we're having for the PC version since the launch, hField cannot give a firm date for Mac support of the Wi-Fire

Sunday, September 10, 2006
Hand off the Internet to AT&T?
My Mumbo Jumbo post hooked a comment by HandsOff234 who works for Hands Off the Internet. You can read my response here.

Hands Off is no stranger to 'mumbo jumbo' dissemination (with a dash of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). It published a cartoon that tells us that net neutrality really means government control of the Internet and with that control, you and I are going to pay more to use the Internet so that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft can make billions. Hands Off is brought to you by AT&T. The last time I looked, AT&T was worth $117 BILLION.

There's a good article by Michael Grebb (here) at Wired that looks at both sides of the issue. Here's a quote:
The debate appears to have polarized into extreme positions. But a hard look at the current situation seems to show that both sides have a point, and the best long-range solution may well be a compromise. Giving the cable firms and telephone companies free rein to do exactly as they wish is almost certainly a mistake. But micromanaging their businesses by forcing them to treat everybody exactly the same would also be a blunder.
Yes. I agree. Thank you. Can we now gather everyone involved to the table and figure out the compromise we need to implement instead of calling each other names.

Read more about the Hands Off over here at Sourcewatch. And TechDirt has a post about Mike McCurry, a co-chair at Hands Off.

Bonus Link

If you're not a pfhyper regular, check back here for my network neutrality screed along with some reference links.

Friday, September 08, 2006
Minneapolis StarTribune announces Guthrie is major web site
Wow. The Strib is designating the Guthrie Theater as a major web site! I'm going to dispute metrics on this on this and may need to file with the Readers Rep. Pfhyper has lots of webs too.

Check the story out here before it disappears (behind the paywall). tags:

Thursday, September 07, 2006
Technorati Claim
Move along. I'm playing with a Technorati Profile claim.

Sun Hires the JRuby Guy
Charles Nutter, who presented the JRuby demo last night at MinneDemo, has been hired by Sun along with his co-developer, Thomas Enebo. He blogs about it here. (Mr. Enebo covers it here and Tim Bray, who helped with the hire on the Sun end, covers it here.)

Congratulations from a fellow Minnesotan. Sounds like a dream job to get paid for what you love doing already. tags:

I went to MinneDemo (Tuesday, Sep. 5). It's an extension of the May Minnebar event -- a geek fest. Held at Chiang Mai Thai in Calhoun Square. This was a free event that included free appetizers (at least I didn't pay for them). Four people demo'd their "product's".

I took pictures.

I think I was the only camera so I christened myself official photographer. I made sure to at least get a photo of all the presenters. (Just in case there was another photographer lurking out there, check the minnedemo tag at Flickr.)


Thanks to Dan Grigsby and Luke Francl for organizing this and to Ben Edwards for creating a logo and to Chiang Mai Thai for hosting and to all the attendants. This was an impressive event and really showcased some of the excellent work we are producing in this area.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Mumbo Jumbo
Cable trade organization says net neurtrality is mumbo jumbo. Check out the ad.

So so lame.

via Harold Feld.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Minneapolis Wireless: Advances and Leaves
Glenn Fleishman reports on the $2.2m advance (loan? subsidy?) to US Internet plus some haiku poetry explaining why this contract has to be signed soon. (It's the leaves, you see.)

Wi-Fi Networking News: Minneapolis May Gain $1m in Deal

Monday, September 04, 2006
Senator Dayton Comes Out in Support of Network Neutrality
On August 30, Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton came out in support of Network Neutrality. At the press conference, Becca Vargo Daggett, Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Project at the Institute for Local Self Reliance, presented the Senator with 13,000 signatures supporting neutrality.

Technology Evangelist Ed Kohler recorded the event.

pfhyper's thoughts
The big danger about an unneutral network is that the deals to move some content faster than other content may all be done and accomplished behind the curtain. The average Jane or Joe Web surfer won't know that the fast-loading travel site they are using to make airline reservations paid to get their content pumped faster than the little start-up operation way over there which can't afford to pay the premiums demanded by the major broadband players. This is an incredibly important concept to understand because from some vantage points, this unneutral network will look the same as the (mostly) neutral one we have today. Jane or Joe won't really see that there is a fast lane for big players and then the other lanes where access to a site will be painfully slow even if you have a broadband connection.

This scenario will significantly alter (for the worst) innovation. Start-up companies won't be able to afford the fast access lane. Today, they don't have to. The Web is essentially neutral and my blog will load as fast as Robert Iger's (if he had one).

For a visual explanation of the concepts I'm attempting to explain check out (former) Rocketboomer Amanda Congdon's take on the issue.

On the other hand, there needs to be a way to optimize networks for certain services as long as there is competition among purveyors of the service and I'm not locked in to choosing only one. This would be difficult to enforce as in many markets, there just is no competition for broadband service. Here in Minneapolis, you can choose Qwest or Comcast. Next year, we'll have US Internet and its Wi-Fi service.

Really, we're seeking a truly competitive marketplace and that will ensure network neutrality. Over-regulating to get to neutrality could muck things up.

I hope we can work this one out. The Internet needs lots of room to expand and the only way to get all that room is to keep it neutral.

Bonus Links
The Jon Stewart/Ted Stevens video about the "Internet as a pipe" that can get clogged by an enormous amount of material. Incredibly funny. (Here's the original Stevens speech at Public Knowledge against neutrality.)

Free Press take on Senate bill S.2917. This is the best summary I've found.

Thomas search, Library of Congress info on the bill.


Peter, Rock

Peter and Rock
Originally uploaded by pfhyper.
Our garden plan calls for a boulder so we drove out to Gertens, Inc. and bought this 1.3 ton rock. It's called Mesaba Red and it's from the Iron Range area of northern Minnesota, where pfhyper grew up (along with other luminaries like Robert Zimmerman).

I made a mini photo documentary out of the process. You can access the photo set here (or click the photo). tags:

Sunday, September 03, 2006
Minneapolis Wireless: Map of USI Antennas in South Minneapolis
I finally got around to mapping the antenna locations for the US Internet Wi-Fi Pilot Project in south Minneapolis. Don't ask me how.

The City's map of the south pilot project, available here in PDF format, is way off. I wouldn't really take the time to download it. Plus, my map shows where the antennas are.

Although the pilot is over, US Internet (USI) has been chosen as the vendor and could choose to leave their antennas operational with free Wi-Fi access.

Access the map here.

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