Technology

Chapel Hill News wants our advice

The Chapel Hill News is getting a makeover. (Fortunately this one is not "extreme" and "free.") They are asking for readers' input into the new look.

We'd like your feedback on our new design of The Chapel Hill News. We're launching a new version of Your Original Hometown Newspaper and we'd like to give you a sneak peek at our new design. Take a look at the three samples by clicking here and let us know! E-mail us here with your comments.

So far, I think it's pretty, but I don't get what's better about it...

"Extreme"-ly dubious makeover

I'm having trouble getting excited about the fact that Chapel Hill won an "extreme web makeover" from a company in Kansas called Civic Plus. Just because it's free doesn't make it a good deal. Would you take a free makeover from Tammy Faye?

Based on their own website and on their portfolio, I don't really think Civic Plus has much to brag about in the design area. What's worse, this "prize" locks the town into a proprietary hosting and content management system. Will we be able to export this information in the future when we inevitably want to change change platforms?

I think a better long-term solution will be to host and manage the site with local expertise. There are only dozens of companies in the city limits (not to mention the Triangle area) that would be willing and able to do this work. So will we be able to move from Kansas to Chapel Hill gracefully, inexpensively, and on our own volition?

What are your questions about Mobile Media?

Here in southern Orange County we have a lot to be proud about when it comes to community resources. For example we have a fantastic bus system, public meeting places, community art, and municipal wireless Internet access a.k.a. wifi. The great thing about wifi is the massive diversity of its uses. Not only can you send email or surf the World Wide Web you can also learn from the experiences of millions of people. Our increased connectedness to one another electronically augments our individual power. When we "speak" with each other with software tools - like Orange Politics - we share energy with each other. This energy empowers us to be become better at many things. So in thanks and respect for all that I've learned from you all I'd like to give some back.

The future of public wireless

Recently the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been working on rolling out what could be the largest public wireless network in the USA. That momentum was interrupted when Pennsylvania house bill 30, a.k.a. the "Verizon Bill," was introduced to the Pennsylvania legislature in Harrisburg.

Simply, Verizon doesn't want competition from the Wireless Philadelphia Initiative on providing wireless internet access. The key part of Verizon's argument is that the City of Philadelphia would be charging the citizens to construct the wireless network, pay for its long term maintenance, and supposedly for access to the wireless network itself. Verizon claims it would not charge citizens for the CREATION of a wireless network. But it is clear they would have to charge for ACCESS to the network once this future private network was constructed.

Wireless Carrboro

Terri brought up the question of what is currently happening with the town of Carrboro's wireless initiative. At this point, town hall and Weaver Street are the only wired areas. Of course, Nextel's experiment on regionwide broadband wireless access may make all of this moot. But anyone have thoughts on Carrboro's program and what the next steps are/should be?

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