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Seattle Channel has launched the Art Zone. The Art Zone is an innovative, first-in-the-nation TV project that creates programming that celebrates local arts and culture and encourages people to go out and take part in the region's rich cultural life in person. Tune in every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Also, don't forget to check out the new look of the Seattle Channel's web site.
Teen filmmakers from groups all over the Seattle area will showcase their work on March 16th at the Central Library from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Program includes students from ReelGirls, Native Lens, ArtWorks, Ballard High School, Chief Sealth High School, the Center School, and more! Refreshments courtesy of Starbucks. For more info, call (206) 386-4636.
More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends.
A social networking site is an online place where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. To read the full report go here.
Plan your spring and summer conferences now. Save the date for these great technology education and networking opportunities.
NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference
National Educational Computing Conference (NECC)
UW Summer Institute on Technology and Disability
Grassroots Radio Conference XII
HUD Neighborhood Networks Conference
Stay informed and join the Cyber Security Mailing List. The City of Seattle's Office of Information Security (OIS) has setup a new computer security mailing list. They will post a periodic newsletter with cyber security tips and strategies to keep you safe on your work and home computers. They will also send out notices of critical new threats and information on how to protect yourselves. Click here to sign up. For more info on the program, go here.
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.
Washington CASH client learns new technology skills.
The practice of micro-lending captured the spotlight last year when Muhammad Yunus, an industry pioneer, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Grameen Bank.
Seattle nonprofit Washington CASH continues this work locally by fostering economic self-sufficiency through self-employment for low-income people. They offer many services, including business development courses, micro-loans, business coaching, advanced business workshops, peer support, and one-on-one assistance.
Gaining technology skills is vitally important for small business entrepreneurs. In 2006, Washington CASH secured a Technology Matching Fund to expand their computer classes and one-on-one assistance to clients to help them develop and expand their small business operations. Classes offered include basic computer introduction and email, entering and sorting data using Microsoft Excel, creating invoices in Excel, bookkeeping with Microsoft Money, and basic development of a web page. In addition, a computer technician is available for one-on-one assistance in the client computer lab, three days each week, to answer specific questions.
Another way Washington CASH helps their clients is by establishing a business presence on the Internet. Seattle residents can shop locally using an online business directory of small business owners who started or expanded through the help of Washington CASH. Products and services include arts and crafts, home accents, beauty and health, business support, catering and food, children's' services, florists, home improvement, clothing, graphic design, jewelry, landscaping and more.
Entrepreneurs build confidence by learning essential technology skills. Candi Wilvang, a CASH client, noted, "It has been fantastic to be thrust into this environment where I am told that not only can my dreams become a reality but that they will." For more information on Washington CASH, visit washingtoncash.org or email Rigbe Fessahatsion.
Daily commuter, April Cook, checks to see
whether her 212 bus is late.
Lots of us use the bus as a part of our daily routine. Getting to work or doing some shopping are pretty easy once you figure out the system, but what happens when you have an appointment in an unfamiliar part of town? You could pull out your route map and bus schedules and try to figure it all out yourself. Fortunately, there are many easier ways to plan a trip.
The first tool when planning any trip is Metro's own web site. Metro's site has all the information you could want about the bus system: route schedules, maps, rider alerts, and a a great trip planner. You can go directly to the trip planner here. Give it a start and end address and a time you want to travel and it will give you up to three ways to get there.
If you're heading out the door and don't want to navigate Metro's web site, Spotbus gives a quick way to enter two addresses and get a route between them. It uses the Metro site to plan trips, so the routes are the same.
Metro's site gives great information, but it's light on the pretty pictures. If you prefer a more visual representation of your route, head to Google transit. With the same start and end address, Google Transit will plot your route on the familiar Google Maps interface. Unlike Metro, it will only give you one route. It also requires that you specify a city or a zip code. But if you want to see the routes the bus will take, it can't be beat.
Having a trip planned is great, but there's nothing more frustrating than getting to the bus stop and waiting fifteen minutes for a late bus. Mybus is a great way to make sure that never happens to you. At that web site, you give it a route number, click on the stop you're interested in, and it will show you how late or early the buses are running at that stop.
The best feature of Mybus is that you can easily get the same information from your cell phone. Every bus stop in Seattle has its own location ID, so you'll need to go to the web site to find the location ID before you go. You can then send an SMS to Mybus and it will reply with the estimated arrival time of the next bus. All the detailed instructions are here.
CISC Lab Coordinator, Karia Wong, works with volunteers.
The Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) has brand new digs at 611 S. Lane St. in the International District. Serving Chinese immigrants and their families, the computer lab in the new building offers a variety of training opportunities for youth, adults and seniors. Funded by a Communities Connect grant, the lab offers digital media classes for youth, as well as basic computer training with bilingual instruction. For more information on the International Community Technology Center at CISC, contact Karia Wong, or go here.
One Economy has teamed up with Complete Tax.com to construct a program that offers low-income families a free tool which assists them in claiming their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families.
If you make fewer than $40,000 dollars a year, you are eligible to file for the EITC, which can yield you a return of up to $4,600. Last year alone, more than seven million working families who were eligible did not claim their EITC; these families lost out on $12 billion of EITC money.
The program has eliminated the cost and complexity issues through simplification of the tax language, a free eligibility calculator, and free tax filing at their consumer web site.
Folks don't have to go to H&R Block or buy Turbo Taxes; they can file their own taxes from any computer that has Internet access. File from the comfort of your home, from the local library's computer lab, or from their own laptops at a local coffee shop, and it is all free. For more information, go here.
NPower Seattle has announced the release of its Tech-Savvy Communications toolkit. In it, you'll find an overview of how to develop an effective message for your nonprofit, plus a survey of communication tools, such as RSS feeds, blogs, and podcasts, that you can use to deliver that message. This Toolkit and companion workbook are available online here. To request a CD version of the toolkit, email Community Partnerships Manager Peg Giffels.
Deadline: April 9
Deadline: Ongoing through May 31
Check out these popular social networking sites.
These sites are designed to connect individuals and groups directly with others who share common interests and goals. Users can share photos, blog, post to message boards, sort through classified ads, and create and join groups where members can share announcements and engage in discussions.