Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Keep informed(?) with USIW mailing lists
USIW, Minneapolis wireless vendor, has mailing lists you can sign up for. One is for general information on deployment progress and rollouts. So far they have not provided much information. The scheduled deployment dates have been slowly changing over the summer with nary a word about it on their list.

The other list is to keep customers informed on upgrades, maintenance, outages, etc. It's intended only for USIW customers. They accepted my subscription request so I'll see if I get any emails. (I am not a customer.)

The USIW mailing list sign-up page.

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Minneapolis Unwired: Last community wireless meeting
Thursday (Nov. 1) is the last scheduled community wireless meeting. It will be held at Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Parkway from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

In terms of deployment, this is the last area on the map, with a scheduled completion in December. Then it's done! Except for tweaking the problem areas.

Why isn't the City broadcasting these meetings via the wireless update mailing list?

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Minneapolis Unwired: How's your connection?
Over at the E-Democracy Minneapolis Issues forum, city residents are discussing the quality of their connections to the new Minneapolis wireless network. Reviews are mixed. No one is raving about the service but some folks are reasonably happy.

If you're using it, I'd love to hear from you either in the comments or drop me a line at pfhyperATgmailDOTcom and we can keep it anonymous.

I think the best way to a successful wireless network is to share notes on the experience.

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Friday, October 26, 2007
BusinessWeek sees danger in corporate manipulation of the 'Net
Stephen H. Wildstrom at BusinessWeeK:

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a column arguing that innovation on the Internet would be best served if the government mostly kept its hands off. I've changed my mind. The behavior of the top telecommunications companies, especially Verizon Communications (VZ) and AT&T (T), has convinced me that more government involvement is needed to keep communications free of corporate interference.
Read the rest: Get Your Hands Off the Web

via the Baller Herbst List

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US Unwired: On the Media report
On the Media for Oct. 19 reports on municipal Wi-Fi with an interview of CNET writer Maggie Reardon. "Reports of municipal Wi-Fi's death have been exaggerated." She mentions the need for an anchor tenant. No mention of Minneapolis but her article at CNET does mention us and our bridge.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: NY Times Wi-Fi article lists Minneapolis wireless

Cities themselves may be muni Wi-Fi's savior - New York Times


2005 City municipal Wi-Fi rocks.

2006 City municipal Wi-Fi still rocks. Disputes over public vs. private ownership.

2007 Private ownership winning but now city municipal Wi-Fi itself is a bad idea. it. Business model is flawed and Wi-Max will kill it anyway.

Later this same year... NY Times says city municipal Wi-Fi rocks with the right business model (meaning the city itself needs to anchor)

I'm not sure that the Times realizes we have a subscriber network in addition to our "state-of-the-art" public safety network. It is nice for Minneapolis to finally be mentioned in a municipal Wi-Fi article. Sad to say but it's probably related to a catastrophic infrastructure failure (bridge collapse) even as we build out a new infrastructure (muni Wi-Fi).

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Saturday, October 20, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: MN Daily Report
Minnesota Daily has a report on Wi-Fi progress in Minneapolis.

What's going to happen around the University is unclear. They (the U) are in the process of building their own Wi-Fi network across the campuses. Sounds like USIW would like to work with them but my sources say no one is negotiating around this at the moment.

I've advocated establishing free and public Wi-Fi access across campus but security issues (and CALEA) make the U of M nervous. (Disclosure: I work for U of MN Extension.) We are a conservative bunch.

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Minneaplis Unwired: Report from the (SW) field
Kari VanDerVeen has a report on Minneapolis Wi-Fi in Southwest Minneapolis in the Southwest Journal. The report says it's almost there.

It also mentions that there "challenge areas" throughout the city that will require extra work before the Wi-Fi works. Some areas are less than a block and some are several acres.

And first mention of the Wi-Fi expo at City Hall on Nov. 16. I was wondering if they were going to publicize the event or not. You can find out how the city will utilize the network.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Community meetings 10/18 and 11/1
Upcoming Wireless Minneapolis informational/community meetings.

Oct. 19 at Logan Park, 690 13th Ave. NE.

Nov. 1 at Nokomis Park, 2401 E. Minnehaha Parkway.

Both go from 5:30 p.m. until 7.

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Minneapolis Unwired: Digital Inclusion Update
I am a community representative on the Digital Inclusion Fund Advisory Committee and if you drop by often you may have read this article when we were looking for proposals for our very first funding cycle.

I now have forty-five proposals to go through requesting far more than the $200,000 that's available for grants. I think there will be some interesting projects coming along in the next year to help low income and marginalized folk in Minneapolis get to the Internet. Not much more I can say until an official announcement some time before the end of the year.

I can announce our members though. I was shy about that previously as there was no listing available on the web until recently. I planned to check with my colleagues about listing names here after reading Josh Breitbart's post pointing out that we aren't identified anywhere. That has changed and the official list of reps is up at the Digital Access site. (Thanks, Josh. I have a feeling your blog post helped in getting this information out there.)

Read Josh's post. His ideas around horizontal collaboration vs. hub-and-spoke deserve serious discussion. He likes much of what he sees in Minneapolis compared to Philadelphia. But we are still in the development stage, now creating the reality of the shared vision. What is disheartening for me is the minuscule information about the Wi-Fi project itself and the walled/civic garden portals. (I am supposed to be on a committee that is planning the community portals and it hasn't met in months.) The deployment is a month or more behind schedule and I doubt if the network will be completed before 2008. I think delays are to be expected in new ventures like this but US Internet Wireless (USIW) and the City of Minneapolis have not been forthcoming in updating residents as to status. There is a city-sponsored mailing list but little flows through it and there has never been any type of status report even when new neighborhoods are added to the Wi-Fi mix.

USIW and Minneapolis need the community to rally round the Wi-Fi system. Frequent and honest communication is the best way to ensure that engagement.

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Let the lawsuits begin: Target gets nailed on accessibility of its website
A long-running case in California against Target is eligible for class action status, US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled last week. This specifically concerns the blind and sight-impaired and accessibility of Target's web site.

This could have huge implications for corporate sites. It's likely that many have been designed with very little thought towards accessibility. It also will impact my work life at the University of Minnesota where I know that many pieces of the U of MN's web presence are not accessible. There is an accessibility policy in place but no one monitors sites and there is really no central web department.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing folks won't be far behind in seeking accessible sites. If you podcast or have video with audio, you need a transcript.

As seems always the case with accessibility, the more accessible the site, the more usable for us all. In fact, transcripts provide fodder for search engines so your audio files can get indexed. Good accessibility for sight-impaired provides better keyboard access to a site and less mousing for us all.

Follow the story on Techmeme.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Minnedemo Thursday Eve
The third Minnedemo is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (6:30 for drinks and food) at O'Gara's Garage, 164 Snelling in St. Paul. RSVP at the new Minnedemo site (and see a map and other details like the free beer/soda part). So far, 278 registrants. Wow.

I won't be able to make it and I'm sad. It will be the first 'Minne' event that I've missed. I hope reports of the demos and photos (Ben? Margaret?) will be forthcoming.

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