Ignore the Indy this week

When I first read the front page story of the most recent triangle Independent Weekly I though about writing a letter to their editor. (Notice how I don’t link to them?) Then I thought about not blogging about it. Now I am telling my fellow blog friends to ignore it. Not to blog about it. But its hard… So instead of writing my own FULL point by point rebuttal I’ll just say this.

I love journalist. I am a news junkie. I read a paper in my hands. I am your fan Mr. Newspaper Man and Woman. I don’t want your job. I respect your opinion. I know how amazing your talents are. Your hard work impresses the hell out of me. Especially when you defend the First Amendment. So why do you keep writing attacking screeds of fear?

I am so tired of this blogger vs journalist bull shit.

Chapel Hill Startup Weekend

Last night I met Gwen Bell. She told me about an event she’s organizing called Startup Weekend. She was part of the group that first pulled it off it Denver. Now its coming to Chapel Hill on November 2-4.

http://chapelhill.startupweekend.com

Startup Weekend is an idea, an experiment, a chance gather the tech community and create a company over one jam packed weekend.

We held a session about this at the last RDUBar Camp. It sounds like super geek fun!

Update: Here is some more info from Gwen Bell describing just what Startup Weekend is.
Continue reading “Chapel Hill Startup Weekend”

Radiohead MP3s Tomorrow

I decided to pay £10 for the new Radiohead album IN RAINBOWS the other day. It was a pay what you want deal online. I just got an email saying that the files will be available for download tomorrow.

HERE IS SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE DOWNLOAD:

THE ALBUM WILL COME AS A 48.4MB ZIP FILE CONTAINING 10 X 160KBPS DRM FREE MP3s.

Before I purchased these files I was wondering what file format they would be in. The website said nothing about that to my recollection. Would have been nice to see them in a uncompressed format like Flac. How about releasing multi track recordings for remix under a Creative Commons licensee? Not to steal but to extend the commons of free information.

Take the next step Radiohead. Oh and thanks for this first step. Looking forward to the album.

Chapel Hill Launches Wi-Fi Pilot Project

Chapel Hill WiFi MapThe Town email newsletter “Chapel Hill eNews’ just announced WiFi pilot will be at the following locations.

(1.) U.S. Post Office, 179 E. Franklin St.
(2.) Old Town Hall (IFC Shelter), 100 W. Rosemary St.
(3.) Town Parking Lot 5, 108 Church St.
(4.) Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St.
(5.) Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, 501 W. Franklin St.
(6.) 411 West Restaurant, 411 W. Franklin St.

Here is the whole announcement:

4. Chapel Hill Launches Wi-Fi Pilot Project

The Town of Chapel Hill this Friday will activate six Wi-Fi hotspots in the downtown area, giving the public free access to the internet along much of Franklin Street.

The provision of wireless internet service to citizens has ranked as a top priority goal for the Town Council. The launching of wireless hotspots in downtown is considered a pilot project and a step forward toward this goal. The hotspots, which show up on wireless devices as “TOWNofCH-WiFi,” are located at the following (see map at www.townofchapelhill.org/DocumentView.asp?DID=1904):

(1.) U.S. Post Office, 179 E. Franklin St.
(2.) Old Town Hall (IFC Shelter), 100 W. Rosemary St.
(3.) Town Parking Lot 5, 108 Church St.
(4.) Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St.
(5.) Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, 501 W. Franklin St.
(6.) 411 West Restaurant, 411 W. Franklin St.

Bob Avery, information technology director, said users within 300 feet of a hotspot should be able to connect, although the ability to connect will depend on the capability of the user’s device and the amount of obstructions between the user and the antenna. For a street level user, trees, buses, trucks and buildings will all reduce the quality of the connection signal.

The Town will soon provide information to the public by website, media and signage to help promote the hotspots and explain how they may be used. More information will be provided at the homepage of http://www.townofchapelhill.org.

The hotspots have been installed using Clearwire modems. These are attached to standard Wi-Fi access points with high gain antenna to provide the signal for public use.

The Town will not provide direct user support but does hope to be able to respond to and resolve outages or other service problems as they occur. To report comments and problems, please contact the Town at wifi@townofchapelhill.org.

Plaxo Online Identity Consolidator

Plaxo is releasing software behind its Pulse service. Basically, by using Microformats XFN info Pulse will aggregate your various online contacts. So if you have accounts at gmail, msn, yahoo, flickr, twitter, facebook, etc. you can consolidate it to understand how they connect with each other and create new connections. The cool part is the software for Building an Open Social Graph (what Pulse leverages) can be downloaded for your own use. (tech note: this software is python that crawls for the XFN rel=”me” attribute. NOT a whole website cms type software.)

Chapel Hill WiFi Pilot needs different Hotspots

Tonight Tomorrow night the Chapel Hill Town Council will hear a staff proposal for a WiFi pilot project. This project has been a long time coming. One of the first reasons it was proposed in 2005 was to increase equal access to the Internet for all citizens. Former Council Member Edith Wiggins made it clear that if WiFi were to be offered to any part of the community it should include Pine Knolls and Northside. Here is a video of all five locations that will be proposed. None of them are in Northside or Pine Knolls, none will be available indoors, and three of them are in parking lots.
Continue reading “Chapel Hill WiFi Pilot needs different Hotspots”

More Indy coverage of HB1587

Fiona Morgan writes another great article about HB1587. She covers the important parts of the last vote in the NC House Public Utilities Committee meeting well. I know because I was there.

Here is one part I didn’t know about. From Anti muni-broadband bill moves forward

There are still many questions about the bill’s impact. According to legislative staff, it would not affect free Wi-Fi service, as it only applies to services provided for a fee. But it could affect public-private partnerships, or any service that “provides a financial benefit” to a local government.

I remind people that the foe we are dealing with does not have a history of honest deal making. Not to mention legislative staff are not law makers. Either way you look at it I WANT my local government to have the option of making money. Wouldn’t that be better for them to be self sustaining that have a big tax increase? Not to mention that giving away resources cost money. I am all for free WiFi for the people but we must have options to pay for that needed service. HB1587 would completely stop local governments from getting into the business of helping its citizens. For what ever reason.

The sad fact is many local governments in North Carolina are not as forward thinking as the City of Wilson. The technology involved in broadband is complicated. Council Members, Alderman, and Mayors are often times not technologist. We need more geeks out there to help enlighten our Representatives. Local, State, and National.

Stop NC HB 1587: Prevent Big Telecom from killing Muni WiFi

As I write this NC HB 1587 is before the Utilities Committee for consideration. Big Telecommunications companies want to prevent democratically elected bodies from bringing broadband Internet access to everyone.

Please ask your NC state Rep to vote No or ask their colleague to vote No!

Here is a Microsoft Excel document with a list of the Utilities Committee members. They are from the following counties: Randolph, Rowan, Rockingham, Nash, Hallifax, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Guilford, Iredell, Surrey, Yadkin, Davie, Iredell, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Pender Counties.

Here is what the NC League of Municipalities had to say about this bad bill:

Telecom companies want to restrict local government authority to provide communications services to citizens

Last session, the telecommunications companies pushed for and won statewide franchising of video services, claiming that the local franchising process hampered competition. That state franchising legislation imposed very little regulation and did not require companies to serve an entire community.

Now, the telecom companies are pushing HB 1587 ­ Local Government Fair Competition Act, which would place significant roadblocks and restrictions on any local government that wants to provide communications services ­ including cable, telephone, electronic voice, data, audio or video transmission and Internet access ­ to its citizens.

Access to high-speed broadband service is critical for the future economic development of our state as we attempt to replace our lost textile, tobacco, and furniture jobs. HB 1587 will effectively prevent local governments from bringing high-speed broadband to North Carolina communities, especially to rural and distressed urban areas. Through their opposition to build-out requirements, the industry has made it clear they have no intention of investing in such areas.

Municipalities are already subject to numerous public scrutiny and public accountability requirements for all infrastructure projects. These new Draconian requirements are simply designed to prevent deployment of local broadband networks, whether done alone or even in partnership with the private sector.

The League opposes HB 1587 because it seeks to undermine local authority to undertake enterprise activities ­ authority that has been upheld by the courts.

This bill was scheduled for discussion before the House Public Utilities Committee this week, but was not taken up. Please call your representatives and ask them to oppose this bill.

(cross posted from BlueNC)