Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Community Portal Picture
At the November 16 Wireless Expo at Minneapolis City Hall, the new portal pages were on display.

Minneapolis community portal detail

Click through for larger images at my Flickr page.

I think these will be free to access if you have Wi-Fi (of any type) and can get the signal. I don't know exactly what's behind the "doors" but I lobbied for as much useful internet as possible. The portal was originally known as a "walled garden" but has since become a "civic garden."

The civic garden concept was fleshed out by Chicago community activist Michael Maranda in this blog post. He defined the difference between a walled and civic garden as one of content access with a civic garden allowing access to all .gov and .edu sites. (In many areas, you would also need to add extensions like which is used here for city sites.) So far, our local portals are only going to display a subset of government and education sites. It would be nice to get a complete list. I'll do some digging and let you know.

I don't see a library link. I hope a link to the library and its catalog is included.

It would have been nice (and would still be nice) if they made these pages public and provide a public commenting system and get some discussion going as to what folks would like to see in the portals.

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Minneapolis Unwired: MTN & Portals go forth together
The City Council met on Monday to go over the Mayor's budget. They found other funds to support the wireless community portals. MTN's budget is safe. (MTN, update your Web site!) Thanks to everyone who promoted this conversation on the web and who talked to their Councilmembers or the Mayor.

Read my last post if you aren't familiar with the issue.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: MTN & the Portals
Mayor Rybak has proposed that $100,000 be moved from the Minneapolis Television Network's (MTN) budget and applied to the Minneapolis Wireless Community Portal Project. MTN helps Minneapolis residents produce television shows with local content.

You can certainly argue that the Internet and web can replace much of the usefulness of public access cable RSN (real soon now). But that "now" isn't here yet and it looks to me that MTN is still serving a community need. I talked to MTN staff and they told me of on-air Somali talk shows where the phone rings continuously, and of people sharing cable accounts and gathering together to watch public access (not something you generally do with a computer and Internet connection).

Please read what Aaron Landry has to say over here (and check the comments where I weigh in). For a longer and more chaotic discussion, check out the eDemocracy Minneapolis Issues Forum discussion. You can find a Powerpoint presentation at the Digital Access site which is a version of the one used at the recent wireless info community meetings. Local vid blogger citizen journalist Chuck Olsen made a video of one of the presentations at his (now retired!) Minnesota Stories site.

Catherine Settanni posts at the Mpls issues forum. She is under contract with the City of Minneapolis and working on the community portals. She states that city residents see a "critical need for local, community-based Internet content to be made available via the USI Wireless Minneapolis network." I have no reason to doubt that but I don't think residents were ever asked if they see that need as so important that we should dismantle the current system for producint local, community-based content: MTN and public access cable.

Stakeholders in this issue have not been brought to the table for an in-depth discussion of options and how to pay for them.

OK. I'm done. Read Aaron's post at least.

Bonus Links

MTN Needs Assessment from 2004 including surveys of who's watching.

(Garrick Van Buren predicts the future in this 2005 post.)

Statement by MTN director Pam Colby.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: StarTribune update
Not much new here if you've been following along. Two people feel recent service is better.

Higher-flying Wi-Fi at the StarTribune

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Minneapolis Unwired: Wireless Expo Nov. 16
Wow. Something must have changed at City Hall. I've received two Wireless Minneapolis Updates in as many weeks!

This one concerns the Wireless Expo on Nov. 16 in the City Hall Rotunda (350 5th St. S.). Various city applications will be showcased like wireless tech for emergency responders and the gunfire detection system. Also included is a digital inclusion exhibit where you can learn about the community portals.

For further info...

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Monday, November 05, 2007
Google moves in the mobile market
Endgadget has a good summary of Google's announcement today about their foray into the land of phones. This could be very big although it looks like we won't see much in the consumer space until 2008. Hmm. Apple is not in the Alliance although Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on their board.

Google's Android platform and the Open Handset Alliance: a quick round-up - Engadget

Bonus: Om Malik would like to see more meat.

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