City of Seattle Community Technology E-Zine
|Vol. 11, No. 5||May, 2012|
This week Bill announced that he is retiring from the City to become Deputy Director of the Center for Digital Government, with e.Republic of Sacramento, California. As Deputy Director, Bill is responsible for running the Digital Communities program, acting as Editor-At-Large for e.Republic’s publications and helping with overall content development and strategic direction for the Center for Digital Government.
Bill celebrates his 30th anniversary with the City this year. He started as a data processing systems analyst in 1982, and since 2003, has served as Chief Technology Officer. He advises on citywide IT strategies and policies and manages DoIT, which has more than 190 employees and a $49 million budget.
Under Bill’s leadership, Seattle’s website and municipal television station have several times been named the country’s best. In February, a study by the University of Chicago examined the use of a variety of website features and social media by local government in the 75 largest US cities. Their report shows that, while Seattle ranks about 24th in population, it is tied with New York City for number one in e-government and social networking use by municipal government.
“I am most proud of the rock-solid information technology systems and networks which employees of the Department of Information Technology provide to the 11,000 other employees of the City, and to Seattle’s citizens,” Bill said. “Our website and most other services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and almost never have problems or outages. The public safety radio network, our electronic mail system, data center, telephone and data networks all are available over 99 percent of the time, day in, day out. This is a tremendous credit to the intelligence, dedication and commitment of DoIT’s employees.” In 2008, Bill was named one of Government Technology’s “Top 25 Doers, Drivers, Dreamers” of Information Technology, and in 2009 he was named to Computerworld’s List of Top 100 CIOs. In 2009-2010, he was president of Metropolitan Information Exchange (MIX), an organization of sixty CIOs of major United States City and County governments.
Currently, Bill chairs the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) Operator Advisory Committee, the nationwide group of 20 cities, regions and states authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to build 4G public safety wireless broadband networks and is a member and workgroup chair of the FCC’s Public Safety Advisory Committee. He also chairs the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Broadband Committee.
It will be easy to keep up with Bill after he leaves DoIT. He’ll still live in West Seattle, and he’s an active blogger on digital communities and e-government issues and trends. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billschrier.what is
Seattle Community Media awarded its first Youth Grant Award to Austin Williams, a team member of the local program What’s Good 206?. The program, made for youth by youth, seeks to inspire, educate and entertain viewers on how the younger generation is making a positive impact in our society. Austin was honored with the award for spending many dedicated hours using Seattle’s public access television resources, provided through Seattle Community Media, to help produce the shows for broadcast. Congratulations to Austin and to all the youth involved with creating What’s Good 206?! You can check out a past episodes on the Seattle Community Media website.
Afraid you’ll run over on your cell or data plan? Consumers are now getting alerts thanks to a change in the voluntary Consumer Code for Wireless Service, sponsored by the industry trade group CTIA – The Wireless Association. Major U.S. wireless service providers have agreed to start sending, by October 2012, a series of free alerts to subscribers who have wireless plans that impose additional charges for exceeding limits on voice, data and text usage, and to those who will incur additional charges when using their wireless devices while travelling abroad. See a list of the providers at the FCC site.
Asian Worker's Journey for Justice Project Portraits, stories and milestones in 223 years of Asian Pacific American Labor History in the Puget Sound.
Ted-ED enables you to “Flip a Lesson,” turning a video into a customized lesson that can be assigned to students or shared more widely.archives
Back issues of Brainstorm including techtips and linkage are now available in our online archives. Previous TechTips and Linkage are also available. Click to revisit all previous issues.sub/unsub
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.
hands on tech for npo's
Stephen Eggers, Abby Nafziger and Elissa Thomas are Seattle’s Hands On Tech Vista crew, helping non-profits for a year with their tech needs. This includes offering some great free trainings Wednesday at noon (more below!). They’re being hosted by NPower Northwest. HandsOn Tech is a national program with 24 AmeriCorps*VISTA members in seven cities, sponsored by Google, the HandsOn Network, and the Points of Light Foundation. They’re providing technology trainings to nonprofits staff and community groups as part of a mission to increase the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector's use of technology and ultimately improve outcomes for low-income communities. Here’s an update from them on what they’ve been doing so far:
Best Practices Project Their NPower Northwest Best Practices project has developed a set of recommendations for the nonprofit sector to assist in the selection of technology tools to increase community impact. The project was divided into five key elements: people, process, infrastructure, data management, and online engagement.
Technology Assessments Project They’ve just kicked off a project providing free tech assessments and individualized training to a group of 15 selected nonprofits, using the NPower Northwest Best Practices Model.
Free Training Take advantage of their Free Brown Bag discussions nearly every week through mid-August on topics geared towards nonprofits, such as: Twitter 101, Google Analytics, Choosing a Database, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Intermediate Level, and Security and Privacy.
Check out the calendar if you want to attend.boost grants make an impact
Seattle’s Department of Information Technology Community Technology programs awarded 16 Online Boost grants to Seattle-based neighborhood groups, community interest groups and nonprofit organizations. Here are some projects from last year that made an impact through the use of social media and online tools designed specifically to engage their communities and encourage civic participation. The deadline for the 2012 Online Boost grants is fast approaching – May 15, 2012. Go here.
Maiwut South Sudanese Refugee Services was having a difficult time developing an online presence, which they believed would be invaluable for distributing community and human services information for new refuges from South Sudan. Their goal was to design and develop a website, establish a Facebook and Twitter presence, and create a mechanism for fundraising through their website. They created a website, and designed and distributed brochures in English and Sudanese to promote their site. Visit them here.
Fremont Neighborhood Council’s goals were to build a new web presence for Fremont Neighborhood Council, establishing a unique domain name, migrating content from an outdated website and blog, integrating Facebook, adding community contact capability and online membership payments, and connecting our database to online updating. As a result FNC has an incredibly active blog, generating content on a regular basis that informs the Fremont community and encourages participation in local community and business events. Visit them here.
new apps contest launched
Seattle, King County and Washington State have just launched the Evergreen Apps Challenge, a challenge designed to encourage the development of applications using government data while stimulating economic development throughout our state. More than $75,000 in prize money will be awarded to top apps in seven different categories. The Challenge is a partnership between Seattle, King County, and Washington State, part of Startup Weekend GOV. If you have an idea for an application that would benefit the people who live in Washington State, share it at the Evergreen Apps ideascale site.
The contest was kicked off over the April 26-28 weekend, when some 120 developers, designers, entrepreneurs and mentors from the public and private sectors participated in the first-ever Startup Weekend Government. They worked for 54 hours nearly non-stop at City Hall to create apps that use open data from Seattle, King County and Washington State. Read a great account of it on the Mayor’s Blog here. Check out the awesome new apps started in the weekend.youth questionnaire on technology &
The City of Seattle, Metrocenter YCA and FUSE Labs Microsoft Research, are working together to get a better understanding of how people between the ages of 14 and 25 use technology for community or political activities with the goal of improving local community web sites such as Puget SoundOff.
This questionnaire is completely voluntary. Responses are confidential and used only for the purposes of the research project. The questionnaire takes about 20 minutes to complete and all survey respondents are entered into the Microsoft qweekpstakes and eligible to win software and games. The survey can be accessed herefcc digital literacy commentary
The City of Seattle and the Washington State Council on Digital Inclusion (CoDI) have submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on proposed changes in rules that would expand telephone support programs to include broadband deployment and adoption.
Comments support the FCC’s desire to use savings from the Lifeline Program/Universal Services Fund to support a digital literacy grant program and other services to improve digital literacy and broadband adoption among Americans who face barriers to access and use. The City and CoDI, which is coordinated as part of the Communities Connect Network Project, call for non-profits as well as schools and libraries to be eligible for the grants, for a range of residents in need to benefit, and for longer term planning and incentives for support. See more on our blog or read the FCC filing [PDF].seattle mini-maker faire
The mini Maker Faire, to be held June 2-3 at Seattle Center, is Seattle's version of a two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. The Maker Faire is a public gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkers, hobbyists, science clubs, students, authors and commercial exhibitors. It’s an exciting event for Makers and aspiring Makers of all ages and backgrounds. The inaugural Maker Faire was held in San Mateo, California, and in 2011 celebrated its sixth annual Bay Area event with some 100,000 people in attendance.
"Maker Faire offers the opportunity for us to see ourselves as more than consumers; we are productive; we are creative. Everyone is a maker and our world is what we make it. Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It's a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it."
broadstripe's new seattle tv station fee
Starting in April 2012, Seattle Broadstripe cable customers started seeing a new $3.05 charge on their monthly bill called "Seattle TV Station Fee." The charge is Broadstripe's method for recovering increased costs due to retransmission consent fees they are now paying to local television stations in order to carry their broadcast signals.
In the past, cable companies might have covered these costs with basic rate increases. However, many companies are now choosing to list the cost as a separate billing line item, to give customers visibility on the nature of the increased costs.
The issue of broadcasters charging retransmission consent fees is an area of growing dispute across the nation. Although it is broadcasters and cable providers who battle over the fees, it is the TV viewers who ultimately pay them. For more background on this issue of retransmission consent fees, see May 2011 article Retransmission consent fees: Broadcasters want more from everyone.text readability
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what are password managers?
So many things we do on the web require a password. We use one every time we want to conduct online banking, buy something online, even just to access another part of a website. How do we remember all those passwords? Our Information Security Office at the City’s Department of Information Technology educates the public to use unique passwords, think of phrases that will help us remember them, use symbols in addition to numbers and letters, etc. (Visit seattle.gov/tech for our Home Computer and Internet Security Brochure for more ways to create passwords), but remembering all those passwords is nearly impossible. This is where a password manager comes in handy.
There are three basic kinds of password managers: desktop password manager software, online password manager services, and password manager apps for smartphones like iPhone and Android phones. David Matthews, deputy information security officer for the City of Seattle, recommends two programs that he uses that are free and work really well.
Last Pass is a free web-based program that manages all your passwords, including those that allow you to access your WiFi connections. You install it on your computer and create a master password that you can use to access your other passwords from any computer. For a small fee of $1 per month, you can upgrade to the premium version, which has more features and eliminates ads and gives you access to managing your passwords via a mobile device.
Another free program Matthews recommends is UPM which is very good for Android-based mobile devices as well as Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux based computers.
For more security tips, check out the techtalk blog.
Seattle Communities Online Boost Grant Awards of up to $1000 in matching funds to help community groups gain skills and proficiency using online resources and tools. In coordination with the Seattle Communities Online initiative, we are seeking opportunities to enhance:
Application due date: May 15
Local Technology Planning Team Grants
Washington State has announced that it is seeking applications for Local Technology Planning Team Grants. Grants are for teams to work on data collection, deployment and monitoring, strategies and partnerships.
Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums