user's blog

Council Rejects WiFi Committee Proposal

On June 26, the last meeting of the Chapel Hill Town Council before their summer break, Council member Laurin Easthom brought a resolution called Establishment of Special Committee to Consider Development of Wireless Communication Network. This was a revisit of an earlier petition presented to council on June 12.

Easthom explained why she thought the new committee was a good idea. But she sounded the whole time like it wasn't going t happen. Then she said someone had told her before the meeting that the council wouldn't support it. That the council had already decided against it before their meeting but hadn't even talked to her about it.

What followed was the first substantial public discussion by the Town Council concerning municipal wireless networks in Chapel Hill.

Town Forum on Municipal Networking

On Thursday May 18 the Chapel Hill Town Council will host a public forum on Municipal Wireless Networking. The event will be from 7 to 9PM and be held at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. All are invited to attend.

Find Wireless in Chapel Hill

This week I launched a new website called Chapel Hill Wireless. The sites first goal is to help people find public wireless hotspots. It uses a Google Map to plot markers where you can find wireless. I hacked together a bit of javascript using the Google Maps API to make it work. This site will cover the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina.

I've included wireless provided by municipalities and businesses. As long as the wireless is available to everyone for free or a nominal fee - like a cup of coffee or a sandwich. (I didn't include the wireless on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill because its not open to the general public.)

If you've used one of the hotspots on the map WRITE A REVIEW. Here's how:
1) Register on the Chapel Hill Wireless website
2) Login
3) Write a review in a blog post
4) Send me an email. Tell me you've written a post.

Community Municipal Networks: One Size Does Not Fit All

Equal access to the Internet and technical literacy is recognized by many to be a key to success in the Twenty-first century. We use these resources to obtain a good education, find a job, conduct business, be creative, obtain news, socialize, be civically involved, communicate globally, and more. This isn't to say that traditional methods of doing these things are useless or that the Internet is a magic elixir. It's just that technology can really help us.

There are many ways to provide equal access to the Internet. Each holds its advantages. The trouble is each method, by itself, can not serve everyone equally. We all have unique needs and use the Internet differently.

Here are some use examples:

Does OP help Local media?

During the past few days we've seen a lot of referrals to local media coverage in the form of links. Orange Politics also permanently links to most major local media. On the Internet links are the way "word of mouth" advertising (aka viral advertising) is driven. It's like karma. The more you give the more you get. The search engine Google recognizes linking and reciprocates with a high ranking in search results with certain keywords to sites that link often. But the fact is OP is non-commercial. OP doesn't receive money from advertising or linking. We link because we are interested in sharing stories. Our "profit" occurs when we have informed citizens.

We are fortunate that many local reporters and media professionals join in our discussions. They bring a level of detail and quality that comes with making a career of gathering news. Based on site stats we know that many more people read OP than comment on it. We know reporters use OP as a resource. It's confirmed when commercial news stories quote OP comments with and without attribution.



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