I N S I D E
By now, you probably know that the TV programs that you get for free with an antenna will require a special converter box starting June 12. If you haven't gotten your box yet, you will need to request up to two free $40 coupons toward purchase of a box immediately to ensure that you will continue to get a TV signal. Please call 1-888-DTV-2009 or request one online here. If you need assistance in connecting your converter box, please call 1-800-504-5677.
TechREACH, a program of the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (PSCTLT) that delivers innovative technology experiences for under-represented youth, received a $7,500 Google Roots In Science Engineering (RISE) award. Funds from this award provide for the development of a two-week summer technology workshop where approximately 30 students from two King County middle schools will learn the basics of programming logic and robot assembly as they work with LEGO Mindstorms Robotics kits. The workshop is designed for middle school students, a critical time to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), because 12-14 year-olds are still open to the idea they can excel in these areas. Teachers will be trained to offer robotics curriculum, strategies to support under-represented students in STEM, and career and higher education resources to motivate students to pursue STEM fields.
This is the first year of the Google RISE awards and 30 organizations across the United States received funding. TechREACH equips teachers with proven curriculum and training to generate excitement about technology in middle school students. Through TechREACH, students from predominantly minority and low-income areas engage in engrossing, hands-on technology and science projects, fun creative challenges, and experiential field trips. For more information, go here.
Here are this month's bytes from this year's City of Seattle's residential survey on information technology:
The self-sufficiency calculator is an online budget tool to help you plan and understand your financial needs. According to their site, it can help you plan and develop career goals for a better paying job, decide if a job will pay enough to meet family needs, help determine if you might be eligible for public benefits to help with expenses like health care or child care. It also lets you test and compare different work or living options to see how they affect your bottom line. The calculator is a winner of the 2009 NPower Seattle Innovation Award.
"We are thrilled to be recognized for the calculator," according to Kris Stadelman, CEO of the Workforce Development Council. "We have made self-sufficiency our guiding principle, and this tool has made it possible."
The WDC first developed the calculator in 2001 for Seattle-King County. It is used throughout the WDC’s employment and training programs as a tool for financial planning and career decisions. It also provides a baseline to measure how effectively WDC programs help people progress towards self-sufficiency.
Adobe Training Classes for Nonprofits Serving Youth
Communities Connect Network
Federal Stimulus Money Work Session
Women in Technology Month: Born in 1815, Countess Ada Lovelace is widely recognized as the world's first computer programmer. One of many blogs from her March 24 birthday.
ElectroCity, is a new online computer game that lets players manage their own virtual towns and cities. Fun and teaches about energy, sustainability and environmental management.
Classroom 2.0 offers weekly live webinars and online resources.
Story of women's rights activists creating blogs, online petitions, and Facebook groups to promote their advocacy efforts on behalf of women's rights in Beirut, Lebanon.
Mobile applications: Google Android developer challenge top 50 mobile applications slideshow. [PDF]
The City of Seattle has won an award from the Public Technology Institute (PTI) for best web and e-government services for the youth online civic engagement project, PugetSoundOff.org. This award recognizes the unique opportunity we're providing for online youth expression and civic engagement and the partnership between the City, Metrocenter YMCA, University of Washington Center for Communications and Civic Engagement, One Economy and others. Puget SoundOff provides area teens with a community networking and online engagement site, together with on the ground training in media literacy, cause related journalism and content development. Seattle youth organizations, including teams at Youth Media Institute and Rainier Vista Neighborhood House and Horn of Africa Services, have led the use of the site in developing online groups and posting videos, blogs, photos and more. Thanks to the Mayors Youth Council and the City's Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board for their help developing the project. The site also features Flash-based curriculum on web 2.0 and civic engagement, as well as tips for online safety. Go here for more information on the PTI competition and here to see an array of blogs, video and images on what youth are "sounding off" about today. Puget SoundOff is currently running a contest calling on young people to design their own law. The contest runs through June.
Technology skills are crucial to finding jobs today. To improve access and develop workforce readiness skills, Microsoft has launched the Elevate America program. This national initiative will provide up to two million people over the next three years with the technology training needed to succeed in the 21st-century economy through information technology training.
This program is now available in Washington through the WorkSource system. Thirty thousand vouchers are available for free online IT training courses. You can request a voucher in person at these WorksSource sites, Renton, Redmond and at the Rainier, Auburn and North Seattle affiliates.
The courses range from computer basics to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Office Application Specialists (MCAS) training. There is also a technical track offering courses for Web/Windows Developers (MCPD, MCAD), Support Technicians (MCDST, MCITP), Database Administrators (MCITP, MCDBA), Systems Administrators (MCSA), Systems Engineers (MCSE), Enterprise Administrators (MCITP), Server Administrator (MCITP).
To determine which course or exam best fits your skill level, visit the Microsoft Elevate America website. A helpful visual is the Microsoft Learning Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Curriculum Roadmap.
What’s going on in your neighborhood? Where can you have, or listen in on, a discussion with your local council person on an issue you care about? Where’s the best place to eat in West Seattle? Or Columbia City? Blogs and wikis are the way many people are getting local information and also where they are passing on valuable insights on their experiences on an array of topics and interests. One great place to access neighborhood blogs and wikis is through the City of Seattle’s Community page. Also on this site, you can access blogs on arts, news, sports, and more.
If you are interested in participating, or in creating your own blog, check out the video above for Blogistics, a "how-to" on blogging. This was created by the University of Washington Center for Communications and Civic Engagement and is hosted on Puget Sound Off.
The new law, HB 1522, removes the restriction set by the state ecycle program, which required computer collectors to only use 'fully functional' computers for reuse. Collectors can now carry out minor repairs to any computer they receive. The change in the law benefits organizations like InterConnection, which refurbishes old computers and provides them to unemployed and low income people.
The passing of the law came at a crucial time. The need for computers among unemployed and low income persons has spiked dramatically over the last three months. Public Internet access sites at libraries are full as well as computer training centers at sites like Worksource. There has been a big uptick in the demand for computers but at the same time InterConnection is on the brink of running out of computers. Since collectors could not refurbish repairable computers prior to the passing of HB 1522, hundreds of potentially good computers were destroyed. Also, the Ecycle program has increased competition for used electronics. Many retail and thrift stores are collecting computers and then sending them to a recycler for shredding.
The passing of the law will ensure more computers get reused. Be sure to take computers to collectors, like InterConnection, that practice reuse. They need them!
Frayed Wire is a one-day "camp" on Saturday, July 11, for people at the intersection of art and technology. Cost is $50, but contact them about youth group participation. The day mixes workshops, including Intro to Electronics, and Working with Electronic Fabrics; presentations, including Ward Cunningham, famous for inventing the Wiki, and Trimpin, world reknown kinetic music sculptor; open lab space where you can experiment; and discussion sessions to help you find people who share your passion for creative uses of tech. Frayed Wire is a non-profit event, a collaboration between Dorkbot-Sea, 911 Media Arts Center, and Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Their goal is to inspire, educate, and build community to enrich resources for digital creatives and new media artists in the Pacific Northwest.
Frayed Wire is a one-day "camp" on Saturday, July 11, for people at the intersection of art and technology. Cost is $50, but contact them about youth group participation. The day mixes workshops, including Intro to Electronics, and Working with Electronic Fabrics; presentations, including Ward Cunningham, famous for inventing the Wiki, and Trimpin, world reknown kinetic music sculptor; open lab space where you can experiment; and discussion sessions to help you find people who share your passion for creative uses of tech.
Frayed Wire is a non-profit event, a collaboration between Dorkbot-Sea, 911 Media Arts Center, and Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Their goal is to inspire, educate, and build community to enrich resources for digital creatives and new media artists in the Pacific Northwest.
In the ever-changing realm of technology, it can be difficult to see and feel the impact of your work on the world around you. What if you could quickly and easily make a difference to your community in a tangible way?
Volunteers are needed for Digital Promise’s 4th Annual Technology Day of Caring on Friday, September 11. In conjunction with United Way of King County, the Technology Day of Caring gives technical volunteers the opportunity to help local community technology centers with specific single-day projects. Projects are pre-defined and selected to maximize volunteers’ one-day gift of time and talent. Digital Promise will provide a dedicated staff member to be your liaison for the day and will express their appreciation by providing snacks and lunch. Last year, more than 35 volunteers gathered at Kawabe Memorial House, a Section 236 low income housing community, to get their "marching orders" for the day. The volunteers provided technical assistance and support to 11 pre-selected community technology centers serving low income communities in the City of Seattle. Projects included hardware assessments, software installation, reconfiguring networks, and troubleshooting connectivity issues.
Please contact Sandra Mears, project coordinator, to volunteer and/or to discuss having your community technology center participate.
ftc debuts site for scam prevention
We've all noticed the huge rise in scams trying to take advantage of people's fears and problems caused by the economic crisis. Now the Federal Trade Commission has set up a new web site to help people avoid being victims of these types of scams. The new site is called Money Matters and is meant to help educate the public so they will know when they are being scammed.
According to a representative from the FTC, "For the most part, fraud preys on consumers not knowing what is going on and not understanding what is happening. So, if we can get the consumer educated, it is much harder for the bad guys to convince the consumer to fork over their money." The new site includes tips and things to watch out for with all the latest scams that are being seen out there, including marketing phone calls like the ones City users have been plagued by in recent weeks. Use Google or another search engine to locate this site and add it to your bookmarks or favorites. Also, spread the word to your friends and family, especially those who might be vulnerable to these scams.
how to find good tech help
Finding tech help sometimes can be difficult when you’re looking for someone who can explain things in a non-technical way. Think about your needs: Do you need a software or hardware expert? Do you need help with a project or ongoing support? When purchasing items, try to find out how much free support you can get with that item. Some hardware providers offer free onsite or remote support if something breaks.
Volunteer vs. contract support: A person might just be available to volunteer on a project or short term item; the right person may become a long time volunteer. Any volunteer may leave without warning so be sure they document everything they do and give it to you, including passwords and how things are set up. A contractor or an agreement support person has clearer accountability, may have back-up and may be more trained; still make sure they document all they do and leave a copy onsite. A contracted person is normally the best way to go. Work out ahead of time when or what they may do and put it into any agreements. You can do this with volunteers too.
When all else fails, Google it (or use another search engine). I find it easy to find most things online when I need help figuring out how to do something. Think of the most specific or different ways of searching for an item, such as "how to build a wireless network" vs. "wireless network" or "WIFI." Be aware of the site or poster's credibility before you use their advice. Check other sites to compare solutions.
Agree or disagree with me? Drop me a note: Derrick Hall.
4Culture Facilities Grant
Microsoft Product Donations
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