I N S I D E
LIHI Laptop Lab
"I urge those with a strong background in technology and telecommunications with passion for keeping Seattle in the forefront of technology to consider this important work," said Mayor Nickels.
The 16-member board advises city officials on a range of issues, including cable television access and digital inclusion. The board is involved in cable franchising renewal and in the Community Technology Matching Fund. It has been actively involved in the city’s exploration of providing fiber to the premises.
Wikis are growing as a tool for organizations or collaborators to create and modify online content together. It’s what makes the Wikipedia so exciting as a user-driven encyclopedia. The state Communities Connect Network is hosting Wiki Wednesdays every other week at 9:00 a.m. Users join a phone conference while simultaneously working on the web site. It’s a chance to learn how to use Wikis effectively and also contribute to the Washington State network of community technology centers. Go here or email for more info.
According to a recent Forbes article, Seattle ranks as America's third most wired city. To determine the list Forbes looked at factors such as the rate of broadband adoption, the number of service provider options and the number of wi-fi hotspots per capita. Check out the full article here.
World Food Day is October 16th. See more, including a map of hunger, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, here.
The National Center for Education Statistics has issued a new report, “Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003.” The study shows that a technology divide still exists. Two of every three white students, 67 percent, use the Internet, but less than half of blacks and Hispanics do. Read the full report here.
Seattle WiFi, the free wireless Internet service, has passed 10,000 users this year and is well on its way to 11,000. The system is seeing about 1,200 new users per month. The free Wifi is available in the University District, Columbia City/Rainier Valley, and four downtown parks, Steinbrueck; Occidental; Westlake; and upper Freeway Park. Go here.
Come see new works by girls ages 14-18, produced through the Reel Grrls program and funded in part by the City of Seattle Technology Matching Fund. A screening is being held Wednesday, October 18, 7:00pm at the Central Cinema (1411 21st Avenue, Seattle) The new videos showcase the work of three local non-profits: Camp Blaze Fire-fighting Camp for Girls, Cedar River Clinics, and Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Other features will also be shown. See more info about this and their November Girl Directors program at reelgrrls.org.
The Seattle MyNeigborhood web site, available on the seattle.gov home page or here, has just added crime statistics to its site. When you’re on the site, click on the “statistics” tab at the top right. This new feature provides this year’s stats and trends in major crimes and individual crimes, including vehicle theft, property crimes, residential burglary, and violent crimes.
Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic heritage facts
Activities to help kids explore their Spanish heritage.
Virtual exhibit of Our Journeys Our Stories: portraits of latino achievement.
Digital Bridge Academy students maintain computers at the LIHI Meadowbrook Apts
The Low Income Housing Institute is going mobile with laptops and learning. That is, mobile in the sense of bringing a technology lab to people where they live.
Funded in 2005 through the Technology Matching Fund, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) provided a rotating mobile computing lab to residents of six affordable housing communities throughout the city. This project is part of LIHI’s Resident Technology Initiative (RTI) designed to help bridge the technology gap for their low income residents.
The Mobile Computing Project provided technology workshops to 60 adults living in low income housing units. Since the classes were offered in the buildings’ community rooms, they were more easily accessible and less intimidating than formal instruction would be in an outside setting. All the lessons were designed to empower residents, not only with technology skills, but with the capacity to access public and social services independently.
Participants were able to continue their studies even when the mobile lab wasn’t onsite. Classes were offered at sites equipped with mini-labs, two to four permanently placed computers with Internet access available for resident use. Those who completed training had the opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills, even if they didn’t own a computer. One student said, "I grew up in a generation that did not have computers and they have always scared me. But you have opened up a whole new world. I can find anything."
The labs were maintained through a partnership with the Digital Bridge Academy, which provides service learning opportunities for low-income, at-risk youth ages 16 to 21. The youths helped troubleshoot malfunctioning hardware at the LIHI labs, install and configure productivity software and resolve network connectivity issues.
Volunteers were another key component of the project. "The volunteers shared their skills, connected with residents and learned a great deal about themselves and the social constructs of the community," said RTI Project Manager Janel Fox. Most of them have invested in the project beyond the classroom, offering tutoring classes, donations of software and hardware, as well as informal consulting services.
For more information on the LIHI’s Mobile Computing Project and Resident Technology Initiative, contact Janel Fox firstname.lastname@example.org
Annually, area volunteers and non-profits work with United Way to donate a full day to a worthy social cause on the "Day of Caring." This year on September 15, 17 volunteers from Microsoft and ITT Technical Institute’s Everett Campus teamed up with Digital Promise to visit computer learning centers in low income housing in Seattle and Eastside communities. The computer centers serve as gateways to the Internet and technology resources for underserved communities.
The volunteer effort accomplished a great deal. In addition to setting up three brand-new centers with 18 computers, the team performed maintenance and upgrades at four other centers. In all, 30 computers in seven centers were installed or upgraded during the day. The contribution wasn’t just in labor, however. The team brought in more than $5,000 in Microsoft software and equipment donated by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. "We were very pleased with both the commitment of the volunteers and the welcome that we received at the centers," said Dawn Wood, Digital Promise president and Microsoft employee.
The project was a valuable experience for the techies, too. "Microsoft encourages its staff to give back to the community," noted Microsoft’s Charles Cox, who led the assembly of the Microsoft and ITT Technical Institute team. "We were delighted to participate actively in this project," stated Shelly Lisoskie, dean of Everett’s ITT Technical Institute. "Our students are encouraged to share their talents in their communities and this was a perfect opportunity for that to happen."
For more information on this project, contact Dawn Wood email@example.com.
Washington Women's Foundation
City of Seattle smART Ventures
2007 Neighborhood and Community Arts (NAC) Program
Social Venture Partners K-12 Education Grant
The City of Seattle’s web site, seattle.gov, has been named the best city web portal in the country by the Center for Digital Government. This is an unprecedented second first-place win for Seattle, which also won top honors in 2000.
"Making City government and services more accessible to the public has been one of my priorities,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. "This prestigious award recognizes that we are using technology to keep government open 24 hours a day, seven days a week." Nickels recognized the web teams from departments throughout the City for the online innovation and design that led to this national award.
Among the recent additions to Seattle’s web site are My Neighborhood, which allows users to locate City services and facilities in their neighborhoods; Seattle OnHold, which supports an innovative program that brings the music of Seattle artists to the City’s telephone system; and the Language Portal, which inventories City services in 26 languages.
Best of Web is an annual awards program that recognizes the most innovative, user-friendly state and local government portals. This national awards program judges state, city and county web sites on their innovation, web-delivery of public services, efficiency, economy, and functionality for improved citizen access. Rounding out the top five city web sites are Tampa, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Las Vegas, Nevada; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Portland, Oregon.
Our government neighbor, King County, came in third in its category. They also won an award for their Native Plant Guide where you can create your own native plant landscape. Try it!
Resident and Organizations of Seattle's Central District, Beacon Hill, Downtown, Queen Anne or Capitol Hill neighborhoods are encouraged to register their opinions of the performance of Millennium Cable. For organizations, the city wants to know what services and support would help organizations provide technology and consumer education programs.
The City of Seattle will be negotiating a renewed cable franchise agreement with Millennium (or its successor) within the next 12 months, and your responses will help determine priorities for negotiations. The City can't promise that all of your needs and interests will be met, but your input is very important. The resident and organization surveys, as well as more information about the franchise renewal, are available on the City's Office of Cable Communication's Millennium cable page.
There are new online resources to help you help reduce climate change. Seattle has published a number of tips and resources on their climate site. These include electricity conservation. Unplug that charger when not in use. The site includes a pdf document with tips to post at home or at work. Get it here.
donate old computers
If you have an old computer, it should be recycled. Waste from computers is a huge and growing problem. Nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In 2001, only 11 percent of personal computers retired in the United States were recycled. Companies or individuals often offer to donate computers to non-profits or schools, as a tax write-off and to keep the computers in circulation. Computers should be re-used and re-cycled. However, if not done properly, this can create more burdens than benefits for the organizations. Computers are best donated to organizations that are set-up to recycle computers.
Jim Lynch, of Compumentor, has written an article with more detail. "Ten Tips for Donating a Computer" also has links to disk data erasing software. See the article on TechSoup. Also see the King County Take It Back Network.
Free cable broadband Internet service is available for organizations providing technology training to community members. The free service is offered in the Comcast service delivery area and within the Seattle city limits, based on the City’s cable franchise agreement. For more information and to download a short form to make application, go to our tech web. If you have questions, email Derrick Hall or call (206) 233-5061.
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.