Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.
Featured Tag: Wireless
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Status and a report at W2i
Has USI Wireless (USIW), builders of the Minneapolis Wi-Fi mesh network, officially finished Phase 1 (the downtown area and near downtown and where I happen to live). Local media hasn't reported and the two official mailing lists--one from City of Minneapolis and one from USIW--have been silent.
Today, via Google Alerts, I found a current report of sorts dates July 25. It's by James Farstad, the City's wireless consultant. It's remarkably frank and gives some insight into the building out process and some of the problems USIW is facing.
Here's a copy of the phase map with the current schedule.
- Although it doesn't say that Phase 1 is done, it says Phase 2 has started.
- The network does cover 12 miles and it worked on a T-Mobile Wi-Fi device.
- Electrification is a big problem. Crushed conduit is a big problem as it has to be replaced. There are also permits to consider.
- Phase 2 should go faster because of the standard street grid but there is some road construction and missing poles to hang the nodes.
- Phase 3 is parks and lakes and potential headaches. Farstad: "I've asked the team to locate solar powered artificial pine trees that we can plant." Wow.
- Customer experience is important (sign-up, sales, support, etc.). Farstad: "Some early test interactions indicate there is work to do here and it has become an important focal point this week." Statements of poor customer service have been reported at the community wireless meetings.
And USIW, it's still not too late to implement some of my community wireless related recommendations. (They got a bit of airplay via MuniWireless.)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Is MySpace safe now, Grandpa?
With the 29,000 sex offenders banished from MySpace, is it safe now? Well yes, just don't let the kids outside and avoid family gatherings.
Stephanie Booth at Climb to the Stars has a really good post that we should all read and then we can ignore the main-stream-media yowling inspired by US state attorney generals. (Thanks to danah boyd for pointing me there and read her stuff too.)
This issue intertwines with both net neutrality and digital inclusion. You can bet the fear of sex offenders will serve the purposes of the telco-cable incumbents who can then offer to protect us if we let them control the Net so they can ensure family-friendly content. And the internet-sex-fear mantra permeating the popular media space will strengthen parent's resolve to keep that Internet stuff out of the house cause it's too dangerous.
Yes, the Web poses danger to kids and they need to be responsible. But the research shows that they're at more risk off the Net than on.
I peed behind a tree in a park once. In some states that's enough to get me sex offender status. Will MySpace ask me to leave now?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Twittering Senator Durbin
Twittering Senator Durbin's conversation at the OpenLeft blog. (But the real thing is more interesting.)
Senator Durbin live blogs broadband policy
Tonight and the rest of the week, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin will be engaging in conversations at the OpenLeft blog about US broadband policy starting at 6 p.m. CST (that's tonight's time check the schedule for other nights). Check here for details and instructions on getting an account.
Here's a summary of each night's discussions:
Day 1, Tuesday July 24, will feature a live-blog with the Senator
where we'll be looking to lay out the big picture: how should we
think about broadband policy? How should we be looking at it
differently? What should the key principles for a national broadband
strategy be? It's a big-picture night and an opportunity for folks to
say what they're concerned about, as well as how they think the
Internet (and broadband overall) should operate in the future.
Day 2, Wednesday July 25, will focus on net neutrality and other 'how
the Web works' issues, but indeed, net neutrality will take center
stage. Organizers are hoping we find new frames, new insights, and
new directions for this debate.
Day 3, Thursday, July 26, is going to be about municipal
infrastructure with an emphasis on the use of the public airwaves to
provide broadband. We'll talk iPhone politics, spectrum auctions, and
discuss models for municipal broadband and their implications.
Day 4, Friday, July 27, is going to be more about practicalities in
regards to the provision of infrastructure itself: public/private
partnerships, projects like UTOPIA and Fiber for the Future, Connect
Kentucky, and USF/USDA reform.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Do you know where your Princess Phone is?
David Weinberger has written a lovely essay about liberating the Internet. (This is not a net neutrality piece although he does mention that.)
Main point: Let's not watch the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the rest of the incumbent gang upgrade our Internet to Cable TV 2.0 (with some slight variations).
Call your congressperson today and convince them "...that our economy, democracy and culture are too important to leave in the hands of companies that have demonstrated their willingness to lie to continue in their position of power. The Internet belongs to us as surely as the airwaves do."
Couple of quotes to whet your appetite...
Who could blame the incumbent carriers? They came into this with a business model that served them well for decades. And changing their business model isn't like changing their minds. Their business model is a vast technical infrastructure that cost of billions of dollars to build. It's an organizational structure that brings a comfortable living to tens of thousands of people ... and outrageous livings to a handful of senior executives. It's a political structure staffed by hundreds of lobbyists who have become bosom buddies with People of Influence. The business model is embodied in skyscrapers financed by its own profits.
Our democracy flourishes when all ideas can get an equal hearing. The carriers would rather double dip, charging you to connect to the Net, and charging the popular sites for connecting to their users. The result: Big, rich sites will pay to work better than those offering ideas and services out of the mainstream. Big voices will pay to sound better than our voices.That last point about double dipping is the really insidious part of this business, at least in my opinion. Aunt Peggy up in Coleraine, Minnesota won't even know what's going on behind the curtain. The "Big, rich sites" will fill her screen really fast and the backwater sites (like mine) will be very slow in downloading. Where do you think she will spend her time, all other things being equal?
Susan Crawford blogs David's essay and adds some other links of note.
David Weinberger discusses his new book Everything is Miscellaneous with Phil Windley on Technometria.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Internet radio won't be here Monday
Update. Long live Internet radio.
In what could be seen as one of the first major shifts towards corporatizing the Internet, the Copyright Royalty Board will begin imposing onerous fees on Internet radio stations beginning Sunday.
Shaken Internet Radio Stations Face Specter of New Fees Sunday - washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Are we live yet?
Has US Internet USIW finished phase 1 of the network? This includes downtown, Cedar-Riverside area, and part of Seward Neighborhood.
Checking their ordering site, I'm told that I can't yet purchase service at 24th Ave. and Franklin. I assume that means they haven't finished yet. The current build-out schedule lists June but also says that all dates are subject to change.
The next community meeting will be at Lyndale-Farmstead Park, 3900 Bryant Ave. S., on Thursday, July 19, 5:30 p.m. to 7. A second meeting with same time schedule will be held there Aug. 15.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Kari tests Phase 1 Wi-Fi
Kari VanDerVeen at the Downtown Journal tests the network in the downtown area. Works well where it works, she says, but there are still holes (which USI Wireless acknowledges.
Seems she could keep a connection while riding in a car. I wonder how fast she was going.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Wireless Woes: MBP Unable to Connect to Actiontec
I have an almost brand new Apple Macintosh MacBook Pro (MBP) (15-inch). It's one rev back from the mercury-less model.
My home Wi-Fi connection is via Qwest DSL and an Actiontec GT701-wg DSL gateway. Qwest sold me the Actiontec and that they still support it. My MBP connected with no problem initially. In fact, it could pickup a signal from the gateway where no signals had been picked up before in my home.
Then I added Apple's last two updates: Security Update 2007-006 (from June 22) and the OS X 10.4.10. The MBP will no longer connect to the Actiontec. I can see the SSID but get an "Error in joining blah network..." message every time.
From googling the issue, I think it's a 10.4.10 problem.
I also have an older 12-inch Powerbook (aluminum) and it has not had any issues and has been able to connect to the Actiontec with no problem.
My MBP can still connect to some Wi-Fi networks including the one at the University of Minnesota and via the US Internet municipal Wi-Fi system in Minneapolis.
A. Brody has an excellent FAQ for troubleshooting Wi-Fi connection problems with current Macs. So if you're having problems like this, start there.
None of A Brody's solutions helped me. I called Apple and the support person said it's a problem with the gateway not the Mac and there were no known issues relating to the latest updates. I mentioned that there was a buzz in the Apple discussion area as well as on the Internet to which he responded that people will write anything they want and their discussion boards are user-to-user. Thanks, Apple.
Potential solution 1: I have been running my system without any encryption and some people have found that adding WPA encryption solves the problem (WPA is recommended over WEP). I'm going to try that next.
Potential solution 2: Wipe the drive and reinstall the system. Don't use the migration tool if you are migrating from an non-intell Mac because you could bring over incompatible settings. And don't update to 10.4.10. I really don't want to do this.
Today I called Qwest and talked to a DSL support guy named Steve. He said that he had a few calls last week on this issue and he was very appreciative of the testing and research I had done. He put me on hold and called Actiontec. (Actiontec charges $29.95 per incident if I call.) They said that yes, there is a problem with 802.11n Apple wireless cards. I don't know if they have linked anything specifically to the 10.4.10 update or not. They are working on it. They are hoping that Apple is working on it or will tell them more of what they are doing so they can make their Gateways compatible.
Thanks, Qwest. Apple could learn a bit about tech support from you.
I'll update with any resolutions or new information. If you know anything, please comment.