Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.
Featured Tag: Wireless
Thursday, June 21, 2007
RFI: How much to create learning environment online?
Hematography Plus is an instructional CD-ROM, "a visual resource and comprehensive reference in morphologic hematology." It's all about blood.
It was released by the University of Minnesota in 2000 and has since sold over 3,500 copies. It's a solid learning tool and was purchased by hospitals, clinics, schools, and the military.
The last copy of Hematography Plus shipped this year.
There is interest in recreating Hematography Plus on the Web. Karen Lofsness, the driving force behind the original, would like to get some kind of idea of what that would cost.
If you're interested in taking a look at Hema, send me an email (pfhyper, at the gmail domain) and I'll send along a password and site where you can download the compressed CD master for evaluation. Then send along some idea of a ballpark dollar amount of a web implementation.
This is very preliminary. No funds are yet in place. We are not yet interested in how you would do it or how you would want to change it for the Web at the moment. We would just like a ballpark figure as to what you think it would cost.
Karen would probably want to repurpose the cell artwork. It's a custom 8-bit palette (I think).
Can it be done for $15,000? $20,000? A sum of $100,000 would probably be way beyond a potential budget.
Windows 95 or later with assistance from our FAQ.
Mac version requires classic mode.
More info on the project here.
The original Hematography I CD-ROM was released in 1996 by a major publishing company and it was costly (maybe $500+). So was Hematography II which included a little exam and the ability to save the student's score to disk. Teachers loved it. Also pricey.
Hematography Plus, the final CD-ROM, had more features than the other two but Karen reduced the price to $99 so students could afford it.
It's programmed in Lingo, the language of Macromedia Director. It's an older version of Director. There is no plan to keep it in Director but I guess no plan not to either. I see it more as a pure web play or web + Flash.
I programmed it and I also have been on retainer to provide technical support. I estimate less than ten calls a year even as OS's were changing. We officially support it on Windows 95, 98, and NT but it's still running on everything through XP (sometimes with system adjustments) and there's a report that someone is using it on Vista. On Macs, it works fine through OS 9. (Intel Macs ended Hema's compatibility.)
Drop me a line if you're interested.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Little Shop of Horrors: Three performances left!
Mary and I caught Ten Thousand Things Little Shop of Horrors tonight and it was way beyond our expectations which were already very high. A wonderfully dark musical that really offers no hope for the fate of mankind but does it in a really entertaining way.
This is a musical with some good doowop ditties and Peter Vitale (drums and keyboard) and Jennifer Rubin (bass) created a layer of music that grooved beautifully. Yeah. Two people. White Stripes has nothing on them.
If you haven't seen a 10,000 Things show, this is a wonderful introduction to their work. This group can hold its own against any of the major venues in town and for our tastes, surpasses them all.
Three shows left on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Reserve tickets here.
Read my last 10000 post here.
Chicago Unwired: Transforming through digital excellence
Michael Maranda and the rest of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance (CDAA) are celebrating the release of the report from the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Closing the Digital Divide. It's titled The City that Networks: Transforming Society and Economy Through Digital Excellence. You can get the Chicago report here (link on the right).
Reading it is in-progress here but already I've found a term that I want to appropriate here in Minneapolis: digital climate:
a state of awareness in which virtually everyone—people, businesses, service providers, government, community organizations and others—fully understands and embraces the potential of technology in everything they do.(This will be the second term appropriated by Minneapolis. The first was civic garden to replace walled garden in relation to portal entry pages on our muni Wi-Fi system.)
After the celebration is over, watch for report analysis at Michael's blog.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Unwired in Philadelphia Part 2
Miriam Hill at the Philadelphia Daily News has a good piece on the trials and tribulations large municipal wireless deployments. Of course her focus is Philadelphia but it's really an overview as to what is going on in this space nationally. She provides a good description of how a wireless mesh network works and why it might be difficult to keep up and running and providing ubiquitous access.
Philadelphia is a whole lot bigger than Minneapolis both in population—1.4M compared to some 300,000—and area—135 square miles compared to 60 square miles. The stakes are definitely higher. How Earthlink fares with it's Philadelphia network will set a tone for large deployments around the country and world.
I want to commend Ms. Hill for her article and entreat our local press (Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, TC Daily Planet) to start providing this type of coverage. More than anything, we need more information about what is happening locally and nationally. We want US Internet Wireless (USIW) (our muni wireless network builder) to prosper and give us another choice for broadband Internet services in Minneapolis. But we also need to be weighing the problems with a large deployment and nurturing a conversation on how we can make this work together.
Lafayette saves big when fighting Big Boys
David Isenberg reports on Lafayette, Louisiana's Fiber to the Home Project that was opposed by Cox Cable and AT&T for three years. Lafayette won in the end by way of the Louisiana Supreme Court. The delay in deployment saves the city $6.1 million (less $1.1 million in legal fees) because of advances in technology. Plus Cox delayed a rate increase fearing bad PR which saved Lafayette citizens $3.1 million.
Read the article here.
via Baller Herbst mailing list
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Unwired in Philadelphia
Glenn Fleishman has a good post on the Philadelphia wireless effort. Philadelphia will be the first major city deployment and he (and others) think that the success or failure of that deployment could be a bellwether for other big city deployments.
One issue he points to is nodes. Originally, Tropos believed a city network could provide adequate service with twenty to twenty-five nodes per square mile. That number has since risen to 30+ and Novarum (a muni-scale independent testing service) puts the number even higher.
I don't know what the node density is in Minneapolis but I'll try to get that information. I do know that US Internet is increasing density in the pilot area and they told current pilot customers that the reason was "to accommodate the additional leaf coverage since installing the original
Read Glenn's post.
*from an email that US Internet sent to current customers.
Please ignore. Technorati claim in progress. Technorati Profile
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Unwired Community Summit
Back in May, I attended the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks and I was honored to be asked to represent Minneapolis's digital inclusion and community benefit efforts on one of the panels: Holistic Planning & Deployment of Wireless Networks.
Josh Breitbart at Civil Defense recorded several of the presentations including the one I participated on.
Here's the direct link to my presentation.
Make sure to check out Robin Chase's description of what's going on in Boston. (It starts 15m30s in.) Boston's plan is to have a nonprofit own the backbone and sell databits cheap to ISPs. They define an ISP as anyone: You, me, your mother. The goal is connectivity for $10/month.
US Internet in Minneapolis is also going to sell accounts to ISPs but there will be qualifications and minimum account buys in the area of 5,000 at a time. Not for the average geek to purchase.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Technology Day in Minneapolis featuring Wi-FI
Minneapolis Wireless Update
Minnesota Stories guy Chuck Olsen captured the Technology Day festivities on video. Included is information on the community portal system. This blogger will talk about that soon too.
Minneapolis Unwired: Only one can roam
Minneapolis Wireless Update
In my rush to the presses last night with details of USIW charges, I forgot to cover roaming accounts on the US Internet-Minneapolis Wi-Fi system. This is the ability to pick up your laptop and go nomadic since theoretically you should be able to connect to the system anywhere in the city limits where you can get a strong enough signal.
Monthly fees allow you a single roaming account. In two-laptop families (like mine), you would have to purchase a second account if you both want to sit in the back yard and surf the Web.
Now if you rent or purchase the USIW/Ruckus modem, you get an extra login somehow tied to the modem. Now Mary can be logged in the modem and I can roam or vice-versa.
You can rebroadcast the modem signal via a hub, switch, or an internal wireless radio (like an airport).
Minneapolis Unwired: The Nitty Gritty Details
[Update: I forgot to mention nomadic roaming accounts and logging in anywhere in the City where you can get a signal. You get one roaming account. More details here.]
Minneapolis Wireless Update
Technology Day, Minneapolis, and finally details of how much Wi-Fi is going to cost on the US Internet Wireless (USIW) network.
That's a quick view (click the image for enlargement). For the official prices, go to http://www.usiwireless.com/Promo03, "Click Here," agree to whatever they ask, and you will see the official offer.
You need the Ruckus device (USIW modem) to have a guarantee on the speeds. That will cost you $5/month rental or $80 to purchase. Joe Caldwell, US Internet CEO, says rental is better for the consumer as USIW will replace it if you break it. From conversations with USIW sales, I also know that firmware upgrades will also come from USIW if you rent. Rental looks like the best deal.
Uploads Throttled! My hope was for symmetrical upload/download but USIW has decided to hold all uploads at 1 Mbps. Ironic that our local vlog guy, Chuck Olsen, was recording tonight. Sorry Chuck. If you get high-speed USIW, your vid to the Net will still be in the slow lane.
If you can't get a decent signal with the Ruckus, USIW can try mounting an external directional antenna on your house or apartment building. Didn't catch the brand but I will guess Belair, same company that is making the main radios.
High Rises. After the network is in place, they are going to tackle the high rises. I think the first plan will be to turn a radio sideways which will "paint" the side of the building with a signal. Another possible plan is to use IP over electric in the building. (What's the bandwidth on that?)
Completion of the first segment (Phase 1) covering downtown, Cedar-Riverside, and part of Seward, is June 19.
That's all for now, folks. Post your questions and I'll try to answer plus the USIW folk read this blog so maybe they will chime in. What do you think of the rates?
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Community Benefits
Ed has a good summary of the community benefits included in the City's contract with US Internet. Also check my home page for links to various documents like the full contract and the original community benefit recommendations.
Happy Technology Day, Minneapolis! Everyone should wear one of those little hats with a propeller on top. The Wi-Fi Wireless Rollout is at 4 p.m. in the Doty Room at the DT library accessible by train, bike, bus or automobile. Bring your ideas about what equals community content.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The fall of the stupid network
AT&T is working with studios and record companies to create a network that can seek out pirated content. How it will be able distinguish between illegal and authorized or fair use scenarios is a mystery. Read the article.
As a special bonus link, read David Isen's Rise of the Stupid Network which he wrote in 1997 while employed by... AT&T.
Minneapolis Unwired: 2.0 style marketing
Early Wi-Fi adopters in the pilot area (Seward Neighborhood mainly) have not been well-served. Service has been very intermittent since around Mother's Day. At least one person I know has not been able to use Wi-Fi for at least a month. I believe users were warned of outages by US Internet but not that they would be without service for days or weeks.
To their credit, US Internet Wireless (USIW) is trying to rectify the situation and has refunded monthly fees.
Back in October, when USIW started selling accounts, I had some suggestions as to how a company might market Wi-Fi as they build out the network. Reading them over again, I realize I was trying to help them to transform sterile municipal wireless into something akin to community wireless.
I think the suggestions—listed below—are still viable and would result in more long-term profit than the current course USIW is following.
- Don't charge anything for now. In fact, give us free accounts for a year and we'll help you troubleshoot problems. [Plus, subscribers could keep their other Internet accounts until the network was official.]
- Start blogging about the deployment. In fact, start blogging about your company. Be as transparent as you can. Make sure the CEO is blogging. [Information about the deployment from both the City and USIW has been sparse at best.]
- 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.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
If you live in Minneapolis, Wi-Fi antennas will soon be marching across pole tops to your neighborhood. By the end of the year (current projection is November), we should be an unwired city.
There is a Community Technology Celebration in conjunction with the Downtown-Cedar-Riverside wireless rollout. This will be on Thursday, June 14, at the Downtown Central Library from 4 p.m. to 6:30.
One of the items under discussion will be creating neighborhood and community portals. I want to urge those of you already working with citizen media (bloggers, podcasters, vloggers) to come and discuss the potentials of actively participating in the larger conversation that we are already enjoying online. We need to begin the process of converting the municipal wireless system into a true community wireless system.
Historically Minneapolis has always had a strong community journalism system. In recent years, the number of community and neighborhood papers has shrunk. Many that remain are often published by a single group that can share staff and publishing costs to cover many neighborhoods. It's just too expensive for every neighborhood to try and afford a newspaper staff.
The Web has reduced publishing to almost zero once you have hardware and a connection to the Internet. The plan is for the community portal system to provide free tools for getting messages out via blogs, news feeds, audio, or video. This will be an integrated system and location specific with your community page displayed when you are in your neighborhood.
Of course hardware and connectivity costs are still an issue for many which is why Minneapolis has established a Digital Inclusion Fund Advisory Board with money contributed by US Internet as part of their agreement with the City. There is $200,000 in the fund now with another $300,000 coming when the network is finished. (I am a member of this Board.)
This Board will entertain proposals to provide Internet access and hardware to all. Potential solutions for the digital divide problem might include computer refurbishing programs, free accounts, or more funding for community technology centers. The Board will also look at training and education for new users and providing relevant multilingual content.
More meetings have been scheduled to coincide with the USIW construction schedule.
- Midtown and South; June 28, 5:30-7, Midtown Global Market
- Southwest, July 19 & August 19, 5:30-7, Lyndale-Farmstead Park
- North, September 13, 5:30-7, Shingle Creek Commons
- Northeast, Oct. 18, 5:30-7, Logan Park
- South & Southeast, November 1, 5:30-7, Nokomis Community Center
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Wi-Fi Antenna MIA
Please note the picture at the top of the page which is a Belair Wi-Fi antenna outside my window, part of the Minneapolis muni wireless. Those of you who follow the blog know that I once linked to the Internet via that antenna during the pilot project.
Well the antenna has disappeared. So has the one on the corner. My block is without antenna.
- There are upgrades going on so maybe they are coming back with a new and better antenna.
- No one on my block is subscribing so they moved the antennas to a block with subscribers.
- St. Paul (our twin city) is stealing the antennas to start their own municipal Wi-Fi deployment.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
See this play. Seriously.
Little Shop of Horrors as done by 10,000 Things.
Here's what The Rake says:
A few months back, it was asserted in the pages of this magazine that Ten Thousand Things has great taste in literature. We stand by that assessment -- even now, as the company readies a production of an American musical that to some would appear gauche. The Little Shop story line is about as absurd as it gets. (It is, after all, a spoof of a '60s B-movie.) But the cult musical boasts an irresistible bebop score as well as a lovable cast of characters. In the hands of Ten Thousand Things artistic director Michelle Hensley, these elements get stripped down to expose their underlying darkness. What's more, a fine group of local character actors inject nuance into what is normally a big-voiced Broadway-style production. Writer, actor, improviser and all-around funny-man Jim Lichtscheidl plays geeky Seymour. Kate Eifrig, fresh off her run as Janis Joplin in Love, Janis, plays Audrey. One of the Twin Towns' preeminent physical comics, Luverne Seifert, appears as the evil Orin Scrivello, DDS. Hensley has a surprise in store for the character of Audrey II, the blood-feeding plant; she isn't giving any specifics, but teases: "It'll be VERY different; it won't be the traditional Audrey" (i.e., no giant, molded-foam puppet growling "Feed me, Seymour.").
Here's what PF Hyper says .
Here's where you make a reservation.