Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.
Featured Tag: Wireless
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Pink Tentacle: A Blog in Japan
Pink Tentacle, mentioned in my last post about writing on water, is a techno-nature-near-future blog from Japan. Here are some of the post titles:
- Cookies made from giant jellyfish
- AIST develops dexterous hand for working class droids
- "Unmanned hotels" to lose front desk staff
- Baby albino giant salamanders in Hiroshima
- Walking Partner Robot helps old ladies cross the street
- How to catch a skyfish [skyfish are invisible creatures that are flying all around us]
Water on Water Printing
When I read "printing on the surface of water" at Phil Windley's Technometria blog, I thought of ink on the surface or some sort of film and that sounded cool. But it's really water on water with special wave generators creating pixels of water that combine to form lines and shapes. It can print the entire Roman alphabet and some simple Kanji forms. Check Pink Tentacle for details.
Smokin' Wi-Fi in New Mexico
Open Spectrum has a June news post about Dewayne Hendricks and his plan to bring gigabit wireless to Sandoval County in New Mexico. (See the original ISP Planet article here.)
Hendricks plans on using the National LambdaRail network as the backbone. This tidbit connects to the CAIDA COMMONS project, a "a cooperative national backbone to connect select community and municipal networks to each other, and to the global Internet." (Becca Vargo Daggett at bxlight posts about COMMONS here.)
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Slogging Through the Networks: How Scaling Way Up Results in Really Bad Customer Service
Strominator David Strom writes about how are networked world often makes customer service a distant afterthought. This is something we've all experienced.
The post name is Caught Between Computers and you may need to know this just in case a new post has floated to the top. His permalink link for the post doesn't seem to work so the closest I can get you there is strominator.com . This is a bit ironic as I see this as a customer service issue too.
(And another thing, David. I subscribe to your email and not the RSS. I had a devil of a time finding your blog as it's not listed in the email. What's up with that?)
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Uh Oh. Wimax Secrets Revealed
Openspectrum article on Wimax as licensed spectrum requiring a service provider (i.e. telco) for delivery. Sprint, Clearwire, and a company called Maravedis own most of the spectrum in the US. So is it buzz or FUD that Wimax is better than Wi-Fi?
Foil Disk Technology Will Play Songs Faster On Your iPod!
Robert X. Cringely is shamelessly promotes a new technology he is financially involved with. It's a new drive technology that will hold more data, operate at major savings, take up less space, are more reliable. And faster; the drives will be much faster. It is a holy grail of sorts but it sounds like he truly found it.
It's based on a metal foil technology that has been patented for years. The company is Antek Peripherals, Inc., run by Anil Nigam and Jim White (and Bob, for all I know).
One big thing here is it's CHEAPER and the other big thing is it's SMALLER so it can be used in things like iPods and digital cameras. And since it's more energy-efficient, battery life extends. That's a BIG thing too.
This has enormous implications on our computing life. Think Negroponte's One Laptop per Child project.
We will have to wait about a year.
Read the comments for some pushback. Looks like some moderated comments directly follow the article and there are another 160+ elsewhere.
New site design at I, Cringely. Very nice.
Bob originally presented his idea at the ACM conference and there is video here.
Follow the discussion at Techmeme.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Wireless Rates in Minneapolis Revisited
Regarding my recent post where I talked about the US Internet rates for Minneapolis, I found out today that the contract between the City of Minneapolis and US Internet has not been signed so the numbers could change.
At the MuniWireless conference today, I talked to someone from a local ISP and he said that the wholesale rates listed so far, do not sound great, especially if you need to buy a minimum of 2,500 accounts. My understanding is that Qwest, for wholesale DSL, does not have a minimum number you have to buy.
MuniWireless conference, Minneapolis, MN: Session with Sascha and Becca
Notes from the conference. Unedited! Typing as fast as I can.
Collaboration and Partnering Models
Not just public/private.
Looking at community systems.
Intel, consults with community.
Digital divide, reducing the span of an expanding chasm. It can only get worst.
Features of a good digital divide program
- broadband-like speeds, very important, faster speed is better
- low-cost subsidized hardware, how do you make that happen
- basic computer training, people have different learning levels
- user support, in-the-home
- self-supporting relationship with digital divide, you can't just throw 10,000 computers at the city and then move along, you need sustainability
- providing tech training and job training, train people in the community, community benefits from the model as a whole.
Government might be scared and make it difficult to work with them
Finding a nonprofit.
Creating vision in a community
get everyone on the same page
Different groups might have different visions
Diverse groups within a city
- government involvement, local government must get involved, you need assets that gov has to offer, hardest people to get onboard, focus on groups involved with economic dev, best people to start with, they want to make change and attract businesses and educate their citizens
- Public safety, different than local gov, they can have different goals, keep them as separate stakeholder
- The Press - you need them onboard. Work diligently with the press. Educate the press.
from the audience, lots of different business models, Boston has a bunch of different things going, get outside the public/private model, there are lots of others.
Marlina Gonzalez, Intermedia Arts, most important starting point, keep you ear to the ground to see what people need, immigrant communities know a lot about digi photography, skype, find out what applications are critical to the local community.
from the audience, let needs find the system
from the audience, importance of models is getting it off the ground.
Larry Hickson, put together group of about 40 experts in the community (somewhere), started 2.5 years ago, but hasn't got very far, because of all the roadblocs, how do we get started and who do we start with first
from the audience, get out there in any way you can, even flirt with illegal stuff
project work, intermedia arts, working with IBM, got desktops with open source, basic curriculum to teach, enables us to get going to make the connections with the community.
meshtec, texas, small resort community, free access across the resort area at no charge, city is paying for the network
Sascha - cuwin was a bunch of geeks in my living room but now City of Urbana has picked up the initiative.
Collaborations among different communities, guy in audience, county, cities, Peoria IL, 600 sq mile total.
Brett - stress governance and how you build it into the environment, you don't want gambling and porno advertising, block content that's not appropriate, understand community views, you have to walk a fine line and not have ACLU coming at you
Sascha - in Finland, government support is just assumed and Finland is kicking our ass in terms of broadband deployment.
from the audience, boston guy, we need universal service, incumbents are not wanting to do this.
from the audience, texas, can't find providers for small communities with low median income, gov must get involved with money.
from the audience, cities will put up millions for stadiums but nothing for broadband Internet
former mayor of St. Cloud FL, now works for MRI, seen it from both sides, St. Cloud paid for the network, it's free, city paid for the development, cities also don't want to fight the telcos,
MuniWireless Minneapolis 2006 Opening Notes
[Update: Esme Vos blogs her keynote here.]
We need to have fun today! Giggle, laugh, and generally enjoy yourself
Why a digital inclusion day? Everyone can be active and visible today if you can get on the Internet. Le Monde called it the community revolution. Everyone can read it. You put a video on youtube everyone can read it. If you have something to say, you can aggregate the information.
Up until recently, the web hasn't been collaborative. It was big media. Even today you have much faster download than upload speeds. You are just like NY Times if you have a blog so why should you have less upload speed. Why should they have a big byte and you have a little byte?
EU digital divide. There are 12 member states with regulation and harsh on incumbents, cheap bandwidth. Divide is rural vs. urban. Rural is dial-up. The young people who could generate economic growth for rural are leaving. Getting broadband there will help get them to stay.
Other divide is by age. Lots of older people even in cities don't have broadband because they don't think it's important. Today, older people are not as active as young people.
In US, Minneapolis, divide is income based. Can't afford the prices. But there is also an age issue, ethnicity issue. You have to break out of your US bias and think about these issues.
California, Loma Linda, will have fiber to the home. They will deliver 5, 10, 15 Mb for $30, $50, $100 per month. Rotterdam has symmetrical, 50Mb, 30 euros. Why is Loma Linda even bothering.
We need to tell politicians that this just doesn't work. Let them know we read this on the Internet.
Top down structure, we want bottom up for the Internet. Think more about how we enable everyone to do bottom up, not top down. We should think about that.
There is a tremendous range of different perspectives here. We posted a survey for ideas today. We will talk about survey results. We will gather more information here on what you're interested in. Then we lock-and-load on issues and have breakout sessions.
Best Practices and Creating Sustainable Initiatives are two that rose up. Also Funding Models.
Roles. Most of us want to participate in discussions. Networking is also high on the list.
What Else? Economic development and Digital inclusion. Hardware Bill of Rights -what should every person have. Educational initiatives. Best and worse practices. Citizen journalism. Community Benefits agreements. Local computer recycling/refurbishing centers.
What are we most passionate about? Some of these will become breakouts.
- Creative uses of software
- Closing the achievement gap
- Future vision of internet - what do we want 35 years from now.
- Economic development
- Cultural development
- Higher bandwidth. How high?
- Community engagement
- Building extensible systems, future proof
- Accessing the home
- Improve social justice
- Getting online today
- Technology literacy content
- Vendor somethhing or other
- Public vs. private
Sascha: remarkbly laptop-less group. We wanted this to be an unpanel day. Far more expertise out there than there is up here. Nominate someone to be the reporter. Then report when you return to the group. Say no to drones, keep it short. WE only have only 45 minutes.
Good mix of people.
Digital inclusion is relatively new but relatively old. We're networking people not place. We can contact anyone at any time. We want to build a more justice and equitable world. Create a more exciting cultural economy where everyone can be a media producer. We want to be part of creating a more democratic civilization. Around 2001 the scene became more vendor driven. Liberatory stuff got dropped in favor of business models. If you don't have massive buy-in you don't get a good system. We have a duty to revolt.
Defining digital inclusion. Things that impact the woefully inadequate broadband penetration. We are now #12 in the world. And we are leaving out the people that we have always left out. Not good.
Something emerging. The right to communicate as fundametal right. We need to hoist up that banner.
Becca Vargo Daggett
Sorry for the cold.
Do you want digital inclusion to be a growth industry in your community. Don't frame it solely in terms of DI. We have a hard time sustaining things that are targetted at those who don't have. We have a better record doing stuff that helps everyone.
Are we creating a system that just gives a faster low-end (1Mb). We need to work with local government.
Think of a park that is just there for everybody and how it is just there for everybody. Are we going to let the free market build something for people who can pay and then make digital inclusion networks.
Make this a tool to have fewer have-nots. We don't want to keep having subsidized aspects. We want it to keep money in our community.
Content vs. communication tool. We want to focus on content. Getting it to the Net.
This can strengthen the base of you community economy.
- business models
- economic and cultural development
- bandwidh and infrastructure
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Marketing Wireless in the Web 2.0 World
You're building an ubiquitous wireless network in a major city (Minneapolis). You have a pilot area (one-square mile) running and reasonably stable. You can't start building until March and it will be the end of 2007 before you finish deployment over 60 sq. miles.
What should you do in the meantime?
Here are ten ways to market your services and to create a positive buzz about Wi-Fi. (In no particular order.)
- Don't charge anything for now. In fact, give us free accounts for a year and we'll help you troubleshoot problems.
- Start blogging about the deployment. In fact, start blogging about your company. Be as transparent as you can. Make sure the CEO is blogging.
- Lend out your Ruckus Metroflex Wireless Access Gateway units. We'll pay a deposit and return it in good working condition or buy it if we like the Wi-Fi
- Help us optimize service and set up networks in our homes. You will learn as much as we do and foster good will.
- Hold events at Wi-Fi hotspots in the pilot area.
- Give away some of the Ruckus units at the events. (Winners must prove they live in the pilot area!)
- Give away some of the 3-6Mbps accounts.
- Meet with the community to educate them about the Internet and wireless. Talk to PTAs, senior centers, trade groups, and neighborhood groups. Engage the people with how cool the Internet is. Don't sell anything! In fact, answer questions honestly about the competition, and discuss the pros and cons of Wi-Fi.
- Start working on digital inclusion initiatives.
- Engage the open source and software development community in the Twin Cities. Attend Minnebar and Minnedemo and read the blogs.
- Give us cool lawn signs advertising our USI Wi-Fi connection.
- As you build out, give away some accounts in each neighborhood. Hold a street party with a raffle.
Things aren't working out quite as planned for USI Wireless, chosen Wi-Fi vendor for the City of Minneapolis. Deployment is delayed due to the slow contract approval process with the city, and the leaves falling off the trees. (They wanted to test and design while the leaves were still on the trees.)
USI sent out a letter this week to residents in Minneapolis who live in the one-square-mile pilot project area. (See the letter here.) They want to sell accounts to us, get a revenue stream going and make some money while they're waiting to build.
Whatever they make from this promotion, I don't think it will be worth as much as the intangible rewards to be gained by keeping access free for now and trying some of my Part 1 ideas.
Details of the Offer
They are offering to sell us accounts within the pilot area for a reduced rate -- $14.95 for basic service -- for a year. Two hundred fifty accounts are available; first come, first served. After the first year, subscribers would pay the standard rate of $19.95 per month.
They guarantee 1Mbps service (upload and download) (and up to 3Mbps) if you buy or lease a "wireless modem": $80 or $5 per month. I called USI and someone there said that this is the Ruckus Metroflex Wireless Access Gateway that they used at the south pilot project rollout. (I can't confirm that it's that particular model.) You connect to the Ruckus via ethernet. If you want internal wireless, you need to purchase an internal wireless access point and connect it to the Ruckus.
They also offer a 3 to 6Mbps level for $24.99.
The price includes the ISP charge, and the Ruckus unit adds Wi-Fi connectivity to any computer you own with no modification. Best price you could get from Qwest DSL (Choice Deluxe) is $26.99 per month for 1.5Mbps download, 896Kbps upload and that's a special. So it's definitely comparable.
I will be surprised if they can sell 250 accounts.
Friday, October 20, 2006
The BelAir Video Incident
BelAir Networks makes the antennas that US Internet will deploy in bringing municipal wireless to Minneapolis.
I've been very happy with the service I get on the pilot network so BelAir asked if I wanted to talk a bit about my happiness for the camera. I agreed.
Here's the video.
Full Disclosure Statement: I did not receive any renumeration in return for my happy words about the network.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
iPod Crash & Burn
Certain podcasts cause my 5G iPod video to crash and restart itself. The first time it happened, I erased the podcast and downloaded it again. No luck. I started getting worried that maybe something was wrong with the internal hard drive.
But it only happened once so I didn't worry too much. Then there were several occurrences with various podcasts. Too random to be some weirdness in the podcast format itself. And if you are wondering if it happened with any tunes, it probably would have but I generally listen to podcasts.
So off to Google where I found that others had the problem, generally after the iTunes 7 update.
I found two solutions at the MacRumors forums. One, do a Restore of the iPod software which will wipe out all of your tunes, podcasts, and whatever else you carry around.
Two, set the offending podcast to start a second late. You do this in the Get Info box for the file. It works. It really works. And it doesn't take too long to set it as the command remembers where you were on previous access.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Minneapolis Wireless: Rates Revealed Today!
The Minneapolis Ways & Means Committee met today and included a report on the wireless project, an "Update on Wi-Fi contract language" by BIS (Business Information Systems). I don't see the actual contract yet but they did file this memo which details both residential, commercial, and wholesale rates for the system.
As I'm sure you remember from the last chapter, US Internet (USI) was chosen as the vendor for our municipal wireless.
No surprises. The basic 1Mb (up and down) connection will cost $19.95 per month. The price includes US Internet (USI) as the service provider so there are no extra monthly fees. (Set-up fee column is blank on the memo.)
This compares favorably to Qwest's latest special (Choice DSL Deluxe) where you can get 1.5Mb (for downoads only 896Kb for uploads) service for $26.99 bundled with MSN Premium as your ISP. (Can't find any pricing without MSN Premium.)
I pay $41 per month for Qwest's Choice DSL Deluxe because the deals are just for new people. So USI would provide me with significant savings. I am using the USI service now and the signal has been stable. However, I need to connect computers throughout my house and it's not clear in the pricing if there is a limit. And will the signal reach my basement office? Right now, my access node is right outside the window.
I ran speed tests this evening. USI Wi-Fi is about 985Kb up and down. My Qwest DSL signal is around 1,250Kb down and 800Kb up. (I'm disappointed in my USI speeds as not long ago, they were closer to 3Mb up and down. They must have throttled back the network.)
USI has two more service levels:
Premium 3-6Mb for $29.95
Dedicated 5-10Mb for $99.95 (monthly)
Commercial accounts are slightly more; 1Mb servie is $29.95 and Premium service $34.95. There are a couple more options too. See the memo. There's also a Government category with the basic 1Mb service going for $12.
Wholesale prices depend on how many you're buying with a $12.95 (monthly) charge for less than 7,500 accounts and a committment to maintain 2,500 accounts. At 7,500 accounts, you can get the 1Mb service for $10.
No information on whether they are building out the network yet. The pilot area is still live and free and you can see where the antennas on my little map.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Fruitful Movie Day
[Update: We ended up seeing Jesus Camp, a documentary about the envangelical-Christian movement in the Midwest. It focuses on a children's pastor and her summer camp. It's very well done and objective and very scary if you believe you in separation of church and state.]
Twin Cities runneth over in good films this weekend.
Lets see... Franken's God Spoke at Oak Street, Half Nelson at Parkway, Inconvenient Truth at Riverview, 49-Up and Jesus Camp at Lagoon, World Trade Center at the Roseville 4 (cheap tickets), Little Miss Sunshine at Lagoon (among others). All of these are at least worthy of your consideration and should have some substance. Of them, I saw only one -- Little Miss Sunshine -- and would give it a 3.8 out of 5 stars and definitely worth it if you like Alan Arkin who plays a cocaine-snorting, obscenity-spouting Grandpa.
Sorry, no time to dig up links for you.
I think Mary and I will end up at God Spoke but I may lobby for Half Nelson.
Don't fret about wasting this gorgeous day indoors as there will be plenty more like it. The last few days of dreary cold were an abberation as the earth is warming from the global perspective. (See Inconvenient Truth above.)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Hilarious ad for Toyota Vios.
MuniWireless Minneapolis06 Conference
Fast approaching is the MuniWireless Conference, the first (I think) in Minneapolis. Esme Vos (MuniWireless Blog) produces this (along with Gary Bolles and Microcast Communications). It will be held at the downtown Marriott.
The conference begins Sunday, Oct. 22 with Digital Inclusion Day which will cover "new ways to serve the underserved using public broadband networks." Monday, thru 4 p.m. is Workshop Day, then at 4 is the keynote by Esme Vos. Tuesday is the main conference and includes a panel with three local mayors participating: R.T. Rybak, City of Minneapolis; Chris Coleman, City of St. Paul; Jeff Jacobs, City of St. Louis Park, MN.
I may live blog this although there's no mention as to whether the Marriott has wireless. Kind of ironic if it doesn't.
10,000 Things Season Opener: The Merchant of Venice
Ten Thousand Things is a local theater company that performs at homeless shelters, senior centers, prisons and basically anywhere where you wouldn't expect a talented theater group to perform. Most of their shows are at non-theater venues and most of their shows are free.
They explain it better than I in their mission:
Ten Thousand Things brings lively, intelligent theater to people with little access to the wealth of the arts -- who in turn help us to reimagine theater.Minneapolis is blessed with an awesome theater community and many excellent companies. You can rank TTT right at the top. There is a rumor (which I believe) that actors have turned down higher-paying Guthrie work to be part of a TTT production.
Performing at homeless shelters, prisons and other low-income centers, using the region's finest actors, this bare bones, high quality theater company invigorates ancient tales, classic stories and contemporary plays through its search for raw, open interactions between actors and audiences.
Mary and I discovered them in 2001 when they performed The Most Happy Fella by Frank Loesser, a musical that we'd never heard of but sounded interesting. Plus they were getting excellent reviews.
Since then, we haven't missed a performance.
According to their history page, the company has been around since 1991. They started out in Los Angeles and it looks like they moved to the Twin Cities around 1995. (The production history only goes thru 2002 but TTT has performed regularly in all subsequent years with a full schedule this year.)
The Merchant of Venice runs from Oct. 19 until Nov. 19 with paid public performances the weekends of Nov. 3, 10, and 17. Tickets are $20. There are free public performances starting Oct. 23. The paid performances are showcases for the theater public, held at a comfortable location like the Open Book on Washington Ave. The free performances are at shelters and community centers. Check their schedule here.
Besides Merchant, TTT will perform Lorca's Blood Wedding in March and The Little Shop of Horrors by Harold Ashman, in May.
If you do go to a performance, let me know or tell them that pfhyper.com sent you when you reserve. And remember, they are supported by our funds so if you go and you like it, donate!
Research Videos at YouTube
Two YouTube videos about the near future of computing.
Sketch a mechanical device, test, refine. Very cool.
Sony: Spatially Continuous Workspace
You need more desktop space? Use your desk. Or the wall.
No idea as to authenticity or age of these videos. Posted by someone in South Korea. The MIT vid surfaced on the Technorati Top Internet Videos listing. (Check the URL of that vid listing. Technorati seems hotwired to Youtube for this.)
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Minnesota Online Governor Debate
Steven Clift's e-Democracy site is hosting the Minnesota Gubernatorial E-Debate.
Questions are posted and the candidates respond. All five candidates who will appear on the ballot are participating.
One of the questions is "Share a new idea on how your Administration will take advantage of broadband Internet or wireless communication to directly serve Minnesotans?" In Governor Pawlenty's response, he points to the "delivery of real-time, customized information, such as road conditions, employment statistics, criminal data or Medicaid prescriptions." Wow. This is open government stuff. I'm not voting for the man but none of the other candidates mention this.
Other quesion topics include transportation, health care, broadband (long answer format), and National Guard.
The site has a feed so you can read it from your aggregator.
Monday, October 09, 2006
N. Korea Graduates to Major World Threat
From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON, Monday, Oct. 9 Â North Korea said Sunday night that it had set off its first nuclear test, becoming the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to proclaim that it has joined the club of nuclear weapons states. [Link]I remember a Jay Leno joke that he told sometime around the Iraq invasion (and I paraphrase), "We have good news and bad news tonight. The good news is we found the weapons of mass destruction. The bad news is they're in North Korea."
There is a very small chance that it's not true. The US has not officially confirmed that the recorded seismic event was nuclear. Maybe they really did blow up 5,000 to 15,000 tons of TNT?
I grew up in the heart of the Cold War, under the threat of a nuclear nightmare that would end all life as we know it. Somehow you thought that no one would ever be mad enough to start WWIII. There could be no winners.
This threat is different. Kim Jong-il, Korea's leader, is, at least by some accounts, mad. And Mr. Kim, according to sources like the Washington Post, is selling weapons (likemissiless) to Syrian and Iran.
Memeorandum is a good place to start for a mix of mainstream media and blog coverage.
To see what sort ofdevastationn atomic bombs cause, check the Atomic Archive.
Bonus: Official US Geological Survey report on the seismic event.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Music for one apartment and six drummers over at Google Video.
Watch as a team of percussive burglars break into an apartment and proceed to find creative ways to get a beat.
These names are listed in the credits: Ola Simonsson y Johannes Stjärne Nilsson.
thanks Mixed Signals