I N S I D E
Labs Use Free Internet
RB Fixit Service
Ask the Mayor
"We’re one of the most wired cities in the world, but there’s still much we can do to bring the benefits of this technology revolution to all segments of our city."
-Mayor Greg Nickels
PSACT has a new VISTA, Lane Campbell. Lane began his VISTA term of service with a late-August swearing-in as a member of Fremont Public Association's MLK VISTA Corps. (FPA is the administrative focal for more than 100 VISTA volunteers serving throughout the Seattle Metro region). Now attached to Puget Sound Alliance for Community Technology (PSACT), Lane shares office space at 157 Roy with Executive Director Sandra Mears. So far, he has helped Sandra pull together a strategic plan, created a member database, revived and updated PSACT's Web site, and taken up the on-going task of researching local Community Tech Centers and updating the city's TechMap, a web-based listing of Community Tech resources. He's also participated in MLK VISTA service projects off-site, including a day of service at Marra Farm, and joining the One Night Count of the region's homeless.
A 26-year Boeing veteran, laid off in 2002, Lane was drawn to VISTA service (with a "nudge" from editor Cass Magnuski) because he wanted to do something genuinely useful, and because wife Marilyn wanted his carcass out of the house. Lane is a retired Boeing industrial/manufacturing engineer with experience as a magazine editor, draftsman and motorcycle buff.
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Rainier Beach Community Technology Center has been fixing computers for residents of South Seattle for a fairly reasonable price: $20/ software tuneups / $10/ hardware problems. Diagnosis is free. They have successfully fixed a total of 13 computers so far since January. The computers are being fixed by Interns from South Seattle Community College and lead by Young Pham.
During Summer they had a digital photography class for teens lead by D'Juan Brown and Martha Tonkin. The teenagers got a chance to learn new technology and visit the beautiful places in Seattle. Their work printed and is available for purchase at Rainier Beach Community Center for only $5. Need more information? Contact Young Pham, (206) 722-1390.
Don't miss Ask the Mayor on the Seattle Channel. It's a Q&A show featuring host C.R. Douglas and callers in local issues discussion with Mayor Greg Nickels. Next taping is December 8. Email your questions in advance to email@example.com.
Nancy Pearl, author of best-seller "Book Lust", creator of the internationally recognized program, "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book", and model for a "Librarian Action Figure", has now added television host of "Book Lust with Nancy Pearl" to her repertoire. In addition, Nancy is a longtime freelance contributor to Booklist magazine and until recently, Nancy served as the director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. As you may have guessed the program's name is taken from her acclaimed 2003 release "Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason". Book Lust with Nancy Pearl will premiere on the first Friday of every month at 8:00 p.m. Check scheduling at seattlechannel.org.
Through PSACT, the ITT Technical Institute has provided technical assessments to Centro Latino, Miller Advisory Council, Literacy Source, YMCA of Seattle, and High Point Job Connection Tech Center, Rainier Project Compute, Ethiopian Community Mutual Association, Horn of Africa Services, King County Law Library, South Park Community Center, and the Easter Seals project, which has multiple sites. Group leaders were Joel Chadd, Kelly Thurman, and Marcus Jacobson.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Brainstorm, please email us, and we'll add you to our email notification list, or subtract you per your request. If you have ideas for future stories, please let us know and we'll try to accommodate them. We encourage you to visit the City of Seattle's Community Tech pages, seattle.gov/tech.
CITY OF SEATTLE
Greg Nickels, Mayor
director, office of
D.H. CASS MAGNUSKI
Survey respondents report a high level of technology access at home. Of all the home technology items queried in the survey, respondents were most likely to report having a home computer (83%), followed by home Internet access (76%). Overall, 83% of respondents use the Internet somewhere. Nearly all (91%) of those with home computers also have home Internet access. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said they currently use computers or the Internet, and nearly all of these (92%) say they have a home computer. In addition to the current computer users, another eight percent said they have used either a computer or the Internet in the past. Nearly all current computer users (97%) use email, as do another 42% of former users – 86% of Seattlites overall. Even 31% of the respondents who said they haven’t used a computer want to access City services online or believe that email is an effective way to communicate with elected officials or about issues.
new technology survey results:
more savvy, still divided
New research on how Seattle residents use technology shows that we have grown significantly in our use of information technology and city electronic services. The greatest growth in use of computers has been by low-income residents. However, there remains a significant digital divide in access and use by senior citizens, especially elderly women, and African Americans, low-income and low educated residents. The survey is a follow-up to the City of Seattle Community Technology Program’s 2000 Information Technology Indicators project. There is a treasure trove of information here for anyone working to provide residents with technology skills, educators, economic and community developers, businesses or online service providers. The survey looks at access and literacy, barriers and patterns of use, safety concerns, business use, neighborhood involvement and preferences for accessing government services. This year’s survey also examined use and community needs for cable television. These results are being used to help guide the city’s position in cable system refranchising with Comcast. The results are also informing the city’s community technology program, Seattle Channel and web services.
Here are a few tidbits from the survey. A longer summary and the full report is available at seattle.gov/tech/indicators.
The one-thousand household random telephone survey found that 83% of Seattle residents have computers at home, up from 76% in 2000. There wasn’t a big jump in users overall, but there was in computers at home. Roughly eighty-three percent of residents use the Internet. The percentage of broadband Internet subscribers has tripled since 2000 (from 18% to 55% of Internet households). The greatest gains in home computer and Internet access were in the lowest income households – but access and literacy are not yet equal across all of Seattle’s communities. Of the dimensions of the digital divide examined here, the age divide seems the most consistent, pervasive and unchanging.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Seattleites subscribe to cable TV. Cost of cable service is an issue for subscribers and non-subscribers alike (37% say they don’t subscribe because of the cost). About half of the respondents have watched SCAN, Seattle’s public access channel, and about 80% think it is important or very important for individuals and organizations to have the opportunity to create and show their own television programs.
There has been a large increase since 2000 in the percent of residents selling goods or services from home and more people are looking online for information about local businesses. Respondents with more education or more income, men, and people younger than 65 are more likely to look online for information about local businesses. For those younger than 36, the income differential disappears. African American respondents with less education are especially less likely to use the Internet for local business information.
Not surprisingly, younger respondents seem to lead the way in adopting new technologies and expressing interest in technology coming to the market that is not yet widely available, indicating that Seattleites are likely to continue to demand access to cutting edge technology into the future.
labs enjoy free cable internet
Recently, the City of Seattle passed the 500 mark in the number of community access computers across the city enjoying free high speed cable Internet service. Community access programs have been wired with broadband since 1997 when TCI, now Comcast, launched service at the Delridge Community Center. The free installation, cable modems and ongoing service has literally brought the world to Seattle and opened the door of opportunity and learning to thousands of residents of all colors, young and old. At Westwood Heights, the cable Internet provided by the City of Seattle changed the lab in a big way. "This place was dead without the Internet," coordinator Jacque Cook said. "Dialup was not an option. Without the cable connection, we had only about 10 people a month." Free broadband at seven senior centers provides seniors with easy access to health information.
Thirty public and subsidized housing communities across the city are teaching job and survival skills. Young people are doing their school work using connections provided at five alternative and two public schools as well as numerous other after-school sites. Eleven ethnic community centers and immigrant and refugee organizations provide family email lifelines and use broadband speed to teach both English and native languages. "The free Internet lets people read newspaper online in their own language.
"It makes our lives a lot easier for filling out employment form and INS immigration forms," according to Minh Duc Nguyen at Helping Link.
The broadband service really provides a helping hand to community organizations and those in need. It allows small organizations high quality services they may not otherwise have and frees up other funds for direct service. Adult education, family support, communication for the disabled, homeless access to email, online arts resources are just a few of the uses at the other 25 human service organizations, nine community centers and seven neighborhood service centers enabled with cable broadband.
The lion's share of the cable broadband is being provided by Comcast to the City of Seattle through its cable franchise agreement, which runs until January 2006. Millenium Digital Media donates its CableSpeed service to five access sites plus Helping Link and the new International District Community Center, provided under franchise agreements. All these sites reach residents who may not be able to pay for high speed service at this time, but it introduces them to the time-saving benefits of broadband and spreads the word that broadband is the way to go. The City still has more free cable Internet connections available from Comcast for Seattle community organizations. Call 684-0600 to find out more or see www.seattle.gov/tech/freeinternet
stop spam today
TechSoup.Org and MailShell have teamed up again for the "Stop
Spam Today!" campaign!
Order free anti-spam software and learn how to fight spam during
the 2nd annual "Stop Spam Today!" campaign, taking place
until December 15th. This educational campaign for nonprofits is sponsored
by TechSoup and Mailshell. Each week, TechSoup.org is providing
information, resources, and conversations about fighting spam. On
one day only, December 15th, nonprofits can order Mailshell's
Anti-Spam Desktop software from TechSoup Stock -- for free. If
you're not already a registered TechSoup Stock customer, you
should pre-register and qualify your organization for free
software today. Pre-registration will start the qualification
process for your organization and ensure faster product delivery
after 12/15. To learn more and pre-register, visit
volunteer & save families $$
The Earned Income Tax Credit provides low-income working families with thousands in tax refunds. The United Way, ACORN and others are looking for volunteers to help with outreach and to help families prepare their returns, providing an alternative to commercial preparers that take a portion of their money away. You don't need to be an expert, and training is available. ECOM and the Rainier Beach Community Tech Center are teaming up to provide a site. For more info, see unitedway.org.
Families can also use icanefile.org. Community computer sites can find out more about how to encourage use of icanefile.
Technology Matching Fund 2005
Deadline: February 18
Application forms and guidelines for the 2005 round of the city’s Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund will be available after December 20. A workshop is being scheduled for January 19, location to be determined.
Washington Mutual Foundation
WAMU supports financial education programs for young people and adults to help them understand basic financial services and enhance their money management skills. The types of efforts that will be considered for funding include programs that benefit low-to-moderate income individuals; help individuals understand the basics of banking, credit, how to spend wisely, achieve homeownership and build assets; and
demonstrate innovation and creativity in the delivery of financial education products, services and materials.
Bank of America Foundation
Funding priorities for Washington include: K-12 education with an emphasis on financial literacy, teacher retention, arts education;
affordable housing and community development; and welfare to work job skill development.
Deadline: January 15
The Abelard Foundation, a member of the Common Counsel consortium of
foundations and donors, is committed to social change activities that
reflect the communities in which they are based; expand community
control over economic, social and environmental decisions affecting the
communities' well-being; and build a strong informed voice on public
Seattle Foundation Community Grants Information (in pdf format)
Deadline: January, April, July and October 1
Grants are awarded to organizations that work to improve the quality of life for King County residents.
The Seattle Foundation funds broadly. It supports both established and newly formed organizations including
those in the fields of human services, arts, culture and humanities, public/society benefit, health, education,
and environment and animals.
Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) presents:
Information Thought Leaders Program
and Holiday Party
December 13, 2004
6:00 p.m. Networking / Snacks
6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Program
Fairmont Olympic, 411 University St.
Special Guest: Wayne Hicks
National President BDPA
Or call (206) 853-9778
All are welcome!
Simple steps to securing your wireless network:
- Share only whats needed
Share only folders or devices that are needed. Make sure you give permissions to those who should need access to those devices.
- Enable WEP Encryption
With most store bought routers they come with WEP Encryption, by default it is turned off. When enabling it, make sure you use a non-obvious encryption key and change it often.
- Secure your access point
Make sure you set or change the password that is default for your access point. You should change this on a regular basis. Also unless you need remote access thru telnet or web browser, you should make sure these features are disabled by remote. Always setup your network through a cat 5 cable connected to your access point.
- Don't announce you're online to the world.
Turn off the ESSID announcement that you have an active wireless device. You should also set up access to your network by mac address unless it's for public access.
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