Rainy day notes

WCHL reports that education blogger David Warlick is conducting a "three-day workshop for teachers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System." This sounds like a much better reaction than some communities which have responded to the prospect of teenagers blogging with terror and tried in vain to stop it. David is a real blogger and hopefully will be able to impart some blog culture as well as technical training. I look forward to seeing some great new blogs blossom from this effort.

The N & O reports that recently-annexed Carrboro residents have a little more time to respond to the town's survey requesting input on collective priorities.

And also this has me skeptical:

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau will hold a public forum Thursday to discuss travel and tourism in Orange County and its towns and communities.

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.

Catch the NextBus

Chapel Hill is missing an excellent opportunity to deploy up to a hundred Internet hotspots along our transit corridors. Last week, the town signed a contract with NextBus, Inc. to provide, at a cost of $949,030, digital signs at 14 bus stops to inform riders of expected bus ETAs. NextBus, unlike competitors Motorola and Cityspace, uses last-gen cell technology over next-gen WiFi-MESH.

Instead of purchasing an open standards system utilizing WiFi/WiMAX wireless technology - technology allowing Chapel Hill to provide ubiquitous communication services to police, fire, public works and the general public from as many as 100 bus stops along the 26 bus transit routes - the town's transit department recently endorsed NextBus' proprietary cellphone-based bus-tracking system.

Specifically, NextBus is providing 14 digital signs, tracking of 83 vehicles and web-reporting on 26 routes for $949,030.

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.

Three cheers for Laurin Easthom!

I have been so incredibly upset since I heard about the Chapel Hill Town Council's swift decision to retire the Technology Advisory Board and the Horace Williams Citizens Committee last week, that I couldn't even write about it. I have been waiting to cool down, but the more I think and the more people I talk to about it, the madder I get.

So I will let Jason Baker do the talking for me (from his blog):

Last week, the Chapel Hill Town Council opted to end the service of both the Horace Williams citizens' committee and the technology committee.

Doing so was a mistake. With her sole dissenting vote, apparently only former citizens' committee member Laurin Easthom saw the value of the hard work and diversity of perspectives those folks would bring to the town in the years to come.

As a town, we're far behind where we ought to be in the technology realm, and disbanding our technology committee without a thoughtful replacement is only going to put us farther back.



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