Technology

Change is comin'

What's everyone up to?

I've been thinking a lot about blog/community software, specifically a new one for OP. Here are some that I know, please suggest other sites or platforms that you like.

http://www.soapblox.net
http://scoop.kuro5hin.org
http://drupal.org / http://civicspacelabs.org / http://bryght.org
http://ning.com
http://mu.wordpress.org or http://lyceum.ibiblio.org
or just updating and souping up our current platform: http://wordpress.org

Migrating this site to another platform isn't anything I have time to work on in the next month or so, but we might was well start talking about it.

Support local media, call NC House members today

As you may know, last session the State Legislature passed a law which allows cable and phone companies to avoid many of the public service requirements that have existed for over 30 years. Those requirements mainly have to do with channel space and support for Community Media Centers, like Chapel Hill's own The Peoples Channel, and Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Access channels. The bill has turned out to be a very serious blow to local governments and nonprofits like us. Many of us concerned with the legislation worked together to produce a new piece of legislation that would remedy two major problems with the bill: funding for Community Media Center and PEG channels, and deployment of broadband to rural and economically distressed communities.

The bill, S-1068 moved along quickly in the Senate and is now on the House side, but there is a fear that they won't take it on before the session ends or at all. I haven't given a call to action thus far because we thought this bill would have no problems and I know you all have busy lives. However, we need to make calls by tomorrow (Wednesday).

Where is the WiFi?

At a recent council meeting the Chapel Hill IT Director presented information about a WiFi pilot project. One council member asked How will citizens know where it is? How will we know when its up? The Mayor asked the IT Director to work with the Town Information Officer. A good first step. I subscribe to the Chapel Hill eNews. (A email list.) I wonder what percentage of Chapel Hillians do?

For this pilot project to work not only do the WiFi hot spots need to be where people will be but the Town needs to tell people where they are. A press release will help but it won't be enough to encourage full participation.

Here are a few ideas for getting the word out. I hope that if the Town is really interested in the success of this pilot that they'll consider these options. What ideas do you have? Please leave them in the comments.

Celebrate localism !

As you intelligent readers know, free and fair media is essential to a funtioning democracy, and self-expression is essential to a healthy society. We are fortunate to have The People's Channel here in Chapel Hill who have been doing a great job with minimal resources to keep the airwaves open to residents for whatever we might need to say and do.

That's why I am thrilled to support their upcoming event "A Celebration of Localism" which will highlight the importance of "keeping it local" and also raise badly needed funds for The People's Channel. TPC's Director Chad Johnston has been a strong voice for independent and locally-produced media both here and at the state and national level. We're lucky to have a resources like him in our community.

I think it's great that the event being done with the support (and hosting!) of the Preservation Society. They are also about localism, but in a different way than many of us think of it. I hope to see you there!

Chapel Hill WiFi Pilot needs different Hotspots

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.

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