Is all reading important?

I love to read. Thanks to my Mother I’ve been around books most of my life. So to this day I love being engrossed in a real paper book or periodical that I can hold in my hands.

Today’s New York Times has a article called Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?. Ironically I found it on my iPhone. There’s a new New York Times iPhone app that helps me browse and discover. So I read the entire article on my iPhone. Something I’m only now getting used too. Further weirdness is that I have a hardbound paper book next to me waiting to be read. I woke up this morning determined to stay away from my laptop for a few hours. But the call to create and share online was stronger. I’ll get to the book I promise.

The short version of my feelings about online reading vs paper reading is this: ITS ALL GOOD. That would be modern parlance for, ‘Both online and traditional reading of books is a good idea’. I grew up with both. I love both. But I’ll admit that its getting harder and harder for me to read some books all the way through. My difficulty in finishing certain reading, online or offline, is determined by writing style. Not the medium with which the knowledge reaches my brain. If the author’s words don’t grab me and force me like an obsession to continue turning pages often times I can’t. This isn’t a hard and fast rule though. I slog thorough all kinds of stuff.

Authors who’s books I wasn’t able to put down: William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, J.K. Rowling, and the graphic novels of Allan Moore. There is a thread there. They’re all fiction writers.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to read biography and non-fiction political books. Philosophy often engages me. Yes I’m a geek and I read computer manuals and how-to books. But less so as time goes on. Much of that info is at my finger tips via web browser. Should I blame the Internet? Sure. But I just don’t find it a bad thing. Its an evolution of our minds.

So excuse me I gota find a book on how to use Quickbooks business software.

Local governments withhold public access TV funds

Local governments withhold public access TV funds. Get the story from this Independent Weekly blog post by Fiona Morgan called Legislature to consider future of public TV channels.

Both Chapel Hill and Orange County received money for Chapel Hill channel 8, on which The People’s Channel broadcasts.

Yet neither government has passed that money on to The People’s Channel. The law says local governments must spend the supplemental money on PEG channels, but it doesn’t specify which channels.

Chapel Hill spokesperson Catherine Lazorko says the town manager and town council have yet to decide how to distribute PEG funding. Chapel Hill operates its own government channel, 18, which broadcasts public meetings.

Orange County, which certified a total of three PEG channels, decided to spend all $29,400 of its supplemental PEG funding on its own government channel, 265, which broadcasts county commissioners meetings. The annual budget for Channel 265 is approximately $40,000.

There is also some discussion going on about it on Orange Politics. You’ll find my passionate comments there. Here is one.

I am very disappointed in the position Town of Chapel Hill Staff and Orange County Staff have taken in this situation. As Fiona’s article pointed out the law governing the funds distributed by the state is up to interpretation. But for the County Assistant Manager and Manager to hide behind a legal opinion that they support to retain funds purposely earmarked by the State for a local non-profit is disgusting!

I wish this were a case of unemotional bean counting in a disconnected bureaucracy. But it just doesn’t seem so. I look forward to more information coming to light on the attitude our public servants have had when dealing with our fellow citizens. If they treated other nonprofits with more loud public voices this way I think Council, Commissioners, and citizens would be publicly outraged.

Please consider donating to The Peoples’ Channel, taking a course to learn how to shoot and edit your own video at TPC, and asking your local representatives WHY our Staff members act this way.

To get a bit more background on the situation here is a PDF that describes PEG (Public Access Television) Funding.

Civic engagement and technology: CMS

Yesterday I attended the Civic Engagement and Technology Workshop held by the Triangle Community Foundation at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. I really enjoyed the discussion led by Rob Stuart and all kinds of local nonprofits. I’m excited to see what different groups do with what they learned about network centric advocacy and the web.

I got a chance to speak in a session that was sorta like speed geeking. [Speed geeking is a participation process used to quickly view a number of presentations within a fixed period of time.]

I talked to people about Content Management Systems. I defined them this way. A Content Management System is a type of web based application that can simplify the creation of powerful websites used by large numbers of contributors.

My primary goal was to answer questions and give practical advice that could be used right away. I lumped several different kinds of dynamic web application types under the CMS umbrella. Such as Portals (CMS), Blogs, Wikis, E-learning, and Forums. Here are the specific examples we talked about:

Drupal – full featured CMS
WordPress – blog software that can do so much more
MediaWiki– the software that powers Wikipedia
Vanilla – Great easy to use forum software

I told folks about the differences between this software and their similarities. I work with clients to discover what is right for them no matter the platform but I personally recommend Open Source software when ever I can.

Here are the links I shared to help folks learn more about CMS. – compare cms – Free wordpress blog hosting – Demo all kinds of free CMS

One of my main messages was just to jump in feet first and do it! You can set up a blog in under five minutes. Experiment and test out web software like a blog. It’ll help you learn about how this kind of software works. Learning by doing is the best!