I N S I D E
Washington CASH Annual Business Showcase
CTC Peer Networking
NTEN Webinar Training
Technology Essentials for Nonprofit Managers
Comparing Open Source CMSs: Joomla, Drupal, and Plone
Telling More Compelling Stories
The United Way of King County is looking for volunteers to assist low-income working families with their tax returns and help them get their earned income tax credits. Volunteers will be trained. Last year, the campaign was run very successfully at the Rainier Beach and Yesler Community Center computer labs and at the Seattle Public Library.
The King County EITC Campaign provided free tax preparation services at 13 sites throughout King County from January to April 2006. Volunteers prepared 8,163 tax returns, generating over $9.8 million in refunds including $3.2 million in Earned Income Tax Credits while at the same time saving tax customers more than $610,000 in tax preparation fees. See more info on their EITC page, here.
Moodle is a free, open source option for teachers to create their own online environments. It can be set up to enable students to register, take courses and quizzes, and print course materials to take home for study. See moodle.org.
The University of Montana Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities has published a fact sheet about use of the Internet by people with disabilities. They have surveyed a range of research and report that people with disabilities have only half the rate of Internet access of people without a disability. Despite regular increases over time, people with disabilities have not caught up, and still face a significant digital divide. See their report, Disability and the Digital Divide: Comparing Surveys with Disability Data, here.
In 2005, the MAVIN Foundation, the nation's largest mixed race organization, sponsored the Generation MIX National Awareness Tour to raise awareness of America's multiracial baby boom. Chasing Daybreak follows the five Generation MIX crew members as they travel 10,000 miles across the country in a 26-foot R.V. and spark discussions on race, mixed race and diversity. As the crew meets with hundreds of people from U.S. Senator Barack Obama to Bubba the tow truck driver, they share their hopes, fears and aspirations for the future of race in America.
You can view Chasing Daybreak online on the Seattle Channel, here.
Parents, students, teachers: Speak up! Now in its fourth year, NetDay Speak Up's national online survey is an opportunity for students, teachers and parents to participate in the national dialog about science, math, technology, and 21st century workforce skills.
Learn more about NetDay Speak Up and how schools and districts can register to participate, here. Speak Up 2006 surveys will be open through the month of November.
For the first time, the national research project will include a survey especially designed to collect feedback from parents about their views and ideas. Speak Up 2006 major themes address Opportunities and impact of technology on learning; communications; self expression and social networking; global awareness and international collaborations; science; math; national competitiveness and workforce development; and Schools of the future.
More information can be found on the NetDay Speak Up website.
Brad Will, a documentary filmmaker and independent media reporter, was recently shot and killed in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Brad was one of many local and travelling IndyMedia journalists around the world working to promote local voices and activism. Many of them band together to run and publish on the IndyMedia Center, begun in Seattle in 1999 for the purpose of providing grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests.
English For All
Interconnection volunteers learn hardware skills and earn free computers to boot.
There is no reason why anyone in King County who needs a computer should be without one, according to Charles Brennick, founder and director of InterConnection.
In the next five years nearly 250 million computers will be tossed aside in the United States. In Washington State, thousands of computers are recycled every month. "With a few tweaks and some basic upgrades these computers could be given a second life and donated to people in need," said Brennick.
That’s what the InterConnection Computer Reuse and Learning Center is all about. Established in 2004, the center receives hundreds of used computers from local businesses and people every month. Computers are either properly recycled or refurbished, depending on their age and specifications. Refurbished computers are provided to volunteers, nonprofits and schools, both locally and abroad.
The Center offers a free 25-hour computer hardware skills program that teaches people how to fix computers and identify computer components. Anyone who completes the program is entitled to a free computer. No computer skills are required to participate.
Paul Barnes, for example, learned about the program from the Low Income Housing Institute. He volunteered because he wanted to learn about computer hardware and he needed a computer. After a two-hour orientation, Paul was ready to start. He spent the first ten hours disassembling computers and learning about components. He then moved to the computer build area, where he learned how to erase hard drives, install memory, and carry out diagnostic tests that helped him determine how to fix non-working computers.
After Paul completed the program, he received his computer. Paul found his computer especially useful because he has a hearing problem and it is difficult for him to speak on the phone. By using email Paul can communicate with friends and look for a job.
Paul’s story is similar to those of the other volunteers at the center. Many volunteers come from low income housing programs and homeless centers. Donated computers allow people to get online to search for jobs, improve their computer skills, take online courses, and gain information. Low income people who don’t have time to volunteer have the option of purchasing a complete computer at a discounted price, $110.
In 2005, InterConnection received funds from the City of Seattle’s Technology Fund to provide 100 computers to clients of Fremont Public Association and Family Works. Both organizations support low income people.
To date, 540 people have volunteered at the Center and put in more than 16,427 hours. Volunteers have refurbished more than 4,000 computers. Some of these computers have gone to organizations such as World Vision and Microsoft Community Technology Learning Centers. More than 189,158 pounds of non-usable computers have been recycled by volunteers. The Center is located in a 6,700 square foot facility at the north end of Lake Union. InterConnection receives nearly 200 used computers each month through a partnership with the Northwest’s largest electronics recycler, Total Reclaim.
Computer donation hours are 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday; and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. No appointment necessary. Address: 2222 N. Pacific Street, Seattle, 98103. New volunteer orientation is every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. or Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Go here or email for info.
City of Seattle employees and family members carry signs touting WiFi hotspots in City.
The City of Seattle has recently completed a one-year evaluation of its pilot WiFi project. The Seattle WiFi service has been available in two downtown business districts, U District and Columbia City; city hall lobby and four downtown parks, Occidental, upper Freeway, Steinbrueck and Westlake Parks. The results are being presented at the business district chambers of commerce and will be used to help determine future City investments in WiFi. The pilot WiFi project goals are to:
The University of Washington, along with the U District and Rainier Chambers of Commerce, the Columbia City Business Association, Homesight and Atlantic Street Center have helped sponsor the service.
Since January, the system has served more than 12,000 users and had more than 70,000 log-ins. While we’ve been serving a lot of users, we’ve also learned that WiFi is not a perfect technology, resulting in interference and at times service interruptions. This summer, Ken LeBlond, a UW Evans School of Public Affairs student, helped conduct a survey of businesses and users. The survey found that about a quarter (23%) of those surveyed showed a positive impact of increased customers and revenue for business, although most thought there was either no change or they didn’t know. Revenue impact was greatest in the Columbia City area. Customers felt strongly that the service encouraged them to visit the neighborhood or park and businesses there. There was very strong support (over 90%) from both businesses and system users to continue the service. Even most of those with other WiFi at their businesses thought that the WiFi zone was valuable. More than half of the users thought that the WiFi had saved them driving, a valuable indicator for a city concerned with transportation congestion and climate change.
criminals are targeting...you!
It used to be that hackers broke into computers for fun or fame. Unfortunately those halcyon days are long gone. Today the criminals on the Internet are in it for only one thing: money, and lots of it.
Cybercrime is a well-funded and professional enterprise that employs thousands in many countries. The cybercrime economy robs U.S. businesses of $67.2 billion a year, according to an FBI projection. Consumer Reports says that over the past two years, U.S. consumers lost more than $8 billion to viruses, spyware and online fraud schemes. Your bank account, stock trading account, or online payment account (e.g., PayPal) are all at risk unless you take the appropriate steps to safeguard your personal and financial information.
The controls that the City of Seattle has implemented to protect its information assets have their place at home as well. The following tips will help you avoid becoming a statistic:
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Social Venture Partners
Out of School Time Grants
back up, back up, back up
One of the most common things that happens to most computer users is that we never back up our computers. We normally think about it five minutes after the computer has crashed! Most of us don’t back up because we believe it's going to be a long, hard process. That is not true in today’s world of Windows XP and portable technology. It could cost hundreds of dollars or hours of time to try and recover data off a computer that has failed.
Here’s back up made easy:
You can do most of this inside of 10 minutes per week. You can automate this process as well. First, decide what information is critical. If you have the program install disks you may not need to back up everything, just your data files (My Documents) and email. You can back up to a portable drive, disk or network drive.
One: Use back-up utility software on your system. For Windows, use the free back up system software. To run the Windows backup utility in Windows XP Pro, go to Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Backup. For Windows XP Home, you’ll have to install the utility off of the install disk, or you can find it here.
CD read-write/CD read (CDRW/CDR) disks are one of the better ways to back up and archive your data. CDRWs allow you to back up and erase and back up again, allowing you to re-use the same disk. You can use CDRs but will need to use a new one each time. The only limitation with CDRW/CDRs is that they store between 700MB and 800MB of data. DVDs (DVDRW or DVDR) are a great option and allow you to store 4GB to 8GB’s of data, although this assumes you have or must get a DVD writing drive.
Thumb or small portable drives allow you to go almost anywhere with your data. They usually use USB ports and allow you to store 1 – 4GBs of data on a reasonably priced thumb drive, costing from $15 to $50 on the low end. Portable drives allow you to restore your data at anytime with just plugging it in and running the restore process on the computer. There is no real downside to storing data to a thumb drive or portable drive except you want to make sure the data that you are storing will be smaller in size than the thumb drive's limitation.
There are also other external hard and tape drives available with more capacity. Most of these use USB or FireWire to connect to your computer and many come with backup software. There is also free back-up utility software available, such as SynchBack.
Storing your data to a remote drive on a web or other off-site network server protects you in case of fire or other damage or loss to your equipment on-site. Storing copies of your disks outside your home or organization would be another option.
At some point your computer will crash. If you have data you can’t live without, back up soon!
Other good sources on data back up are:
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.
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