City of Seattle Community Technology E-Zine
|Vol. 9, No. 8||August, 2010|
Staff from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Department of Information Technology (DoIT) have worked together to bring more transparency to the Seattle Police Department. You can now find detailed crime mapping on My Neighborhood Map. This map shows all the Police and Fire responses to 9-1-1 calls within the City up to the last 48 hours, the initial view is the last 24 hours. Police response data shows all officers dispatched. To protect the security of a scene, the safety of officers and the public, and sensitive ongoing investigation, these events will populate the map only after the incident is considered safe to close out.
They have also made accessing police reports more convenient and easier for the public. Police reports that include homicide, robbery, burglary and aggravated assaults are redacted and available online. This is a significant accomplishment for the City of Seattle. We continue to lead the way in transparency and open government.
United Way’s Annual Day of Caring is just around the corner on September 24. If you’re looking for a way to volunteer and give back to your technology community, we have the answer for you. CTTAB and DoIT are working in conjunction with Digital Promise and United Way’s Day of Caring to improve technical capability at labs through technical assessment, maintenance and upgrades. This volunteer opportunity will also improve awareness of public computing centers and the benefits of Internet technology and resources for those who have little or no exposure to it. There will be opportunities to facilitate open houses at public computing centers in Seattle to Get Online and learn about services and facilities available. If you’re interested in volunteering with Get Online Day, please contact Vicky Yuki at or call (206) 233-7877.
spl survey results
Seattle Public Library recently released community survey results. Nearly 33,000 people completed the Seattle Public Library’s community survey - a number equal to five percent of the City's population. The survey contained 29 questions asking everything from frequency of use to how easy it was to find information or download online resources. A detailed summary of the survey results is now available here. Among the results, the survey found that 22 percent come to use a computer and 14 percent to use the wireless network. Respondents with higher incomes and education levels were less likely to use the wireless network and computers. 41 percent of teens aged 15 - 19 use the Library to study or do homework.
A British Internet speed study just released finds that the real broadband Internet speed that consumers get is approximately 45 percent of the advertised speed and has dropped from 58 percent. Cable modem service generally fared better. Regulators in the U.S. and overseas tend to rely on advertised rates to determine how fast consumer speeds are, so consumers usually only see and likely assume they will get the faster advertised speeds. Regulators rarely actually measure the advertised rates to see if they are the reality. A couple months ago, the FCC signed on with SamKnows, the same firm that did the U.K. study, to do similar research in the U.S. The FCC is seeking 10,000 volunteers to hook a free, specialized router up to their broadband connections.
Be Heard on state Internet needs on August 9, 3-4 p.m.
The state Broadband office is holding a series of meetings, following their summit, to get documentation for the state broadband plan on community needs for Internet services and broadband adoption and deployment programs. They want to hear from communities of color and community organizations about the type of broadband applications that are specific to your services and needs. Your input will help inform our data collection process by accurately reflecting the kinds of applications or services you provide with existing broadband speeds compared to what you could provide with increased speeds. They are doing this with a variety of sectors. The community sector meeting will be Tuesday, August 9, 3-4 p.m. and you can participate by phone or at the Washington State Department of Info Services Office (1110 Jefferson St. S.E) in Olympia. Contact Alisha Reitan or call (360) 902-2981 to RSVP and get the call-in number. Another meeting for additional communities of color input is scheduled for August 12
Code for America is now recruiting web professionals interested in giving a year of service in 2011 to build web 2.0 apps for city governments. Seattle’s project will be "Our Neighborhood." Application deadline is August 15 for Seattle. See more info, timeline, and apply on the Code for America site.
Don't miss Ask the Mayor on the Seattle Channel. It's a Q&A show featuring host C.R. Douglas and callers in local issues discussion with Mayor Mike McGinn. Next taping is August 11, 7:00 p.m. Email your questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
$300K awarded to 24 tech grantees
Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced August 2 that 24 organizations will receive $300,000 in Technology Matching Funds from the Department of Information Technology. The money will enable services for more than 15,000 residents throughout the city, building technology skills for employment, using ESL software to teach English to new residents, teaching social media and online civic engagement skills as well as how to find health information and access essential services online. The Technology Matching Fund awards will increase access for people with disabilities and also provide youth with positive alternatives to violence by teaching new media journalism skills and providing after-school homework help.
"These grants reflect our commitment to bridging the digital divide in Seattle. Further, the priorities formed through the Youth and Families Initiative guide our support for these programs," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "Our libraries and community computer labs have seen a huge increase in demand from the unemployed and families in need. These Technology Matching Fund projects will provide crucial support to families and help ensure neighbors have the same economic, participation and education opportunities as those of who already have access and use technology tools all day long," said McGinn.
"The Technology Matching Fund is a great resource the City provides to ensure that all of our residents are included and have the opportunity to access technology in order to advance their goals," according to Councilmember Bruce Harrell. "In the technology age, it is imperative that everyone has a seat at the table and the Technology Matching Fund opens the door for people."
The Citizen’s Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) recommended these digital inclusion projects to the Mayor. Grant recipients will match the City’s dollars with more than $506,825 in community contributions, including volunteer labor, professional services and donated equipment and software.
"A lot of the refugees who are coming here have lived in places with no electricity and all of a sudden they’re expected to find jobs and need to use computers to find community resources," said Pwint Htun of the Coalition for Refugees from Burma. "We’ll be using this $15,000 from the Technology Matching Fund to buy and use laptops with Internet to go teach the community literacy training in languages that are accessible and understandable to these refugees."
"This matching fund represents for our neighborhood the elements that are going to tie the neighborhood together in a way it hasn’t been tied together before," said Gregory Davis of the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.
2010 Technology Matching Fund recipients are: Alliance of People with disAbilities; Cascade People’s Center; Central Area Senior Center; Coalition for Refugees from Burma; Denny Terrace Apartments (Seattle Housing Authority); The First Tee of Greater Seattle; Helping Link; Jack Straw Foundation; Jubilee Women’s Center; Knowledge as Power; Neighborhood House; New Horizons Ministries; Plymouth Housing Group; Provail; Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition; Reel Grrls; Technology Access Foundation; Tierra Madre Fund; The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle; Vietnamese Friendship Association; WAPI Community Services; Westwood Heights Technology Center (Seattle Housing Authority); YMCA of Greater Seattle Meredith Mathews East Madison Branch; and Youth in Focus. To read more about the 2010 recipients, go here.
Since the program began, the City has contributed more than $2,150,832 to 177 projects with community contributions totaling more than $4,469,825. The fund furthers the City’s commitment to education, inclusion, and race and social justice. For more information on the Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund, go here.teens against distracted driving
Puget SoundOff.org, the YMCA of Greater Seattle and Teens Against Distracted Driving have been working to stop Washington drivers from texting and talking while behind the wheel. The youth-led campaign spent the spring months establishing an online presence at teensagainstdistracteddriving.com and on social networks, collecting pledges from young drivers to not drive distracted and working on individual campaigns in their communities.
This month, a group of high school freshmen participating in a summer bridge program collected hundreds of pledges in the Central District community and created public service announcements using hand-held cameras. The PSAs will be distributed on TADD social networks. Check out a 'no distractions' rap from the group here.dshs community partnership initiative
Washington state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Community Services Division is looking for community partnerships to provide access or support to low income persons who want to apply for public assistance. This initiative helps low income people access money, medical, food and child care through online services. DSHS offers benefits the their basic food program, "Working Connections" child care, medical assistance programs, drug or alcohol treatment, cash benefits, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Workfirt, and general assistance unemployable.
If your organization is interersted in becoming a partner who will provide an access point and training/assistance, please email Kendrick Stewart for more information.learn to use the right tool
You've decided that you want to use an online tool for your neighborhood or community group. Or maybe you just want to start using social networking for the first time and you're overwhelmed. What now?
Seattle Communities Online is a one-stop resource for developing your group's online presence. On the site, you can find out what is already offered in your neighborhood through Neighborhoods on the Net; add your site to the list, or visit the Learn How To section to research which tools are the right fit for your group and find ideas for strengthening your capacity. You can visit the blog and FAQ sections for more advice or ideas. If you haven’t visited the Communities Online Portal lately, now is a great time to check it out for ideas on how you can begin connecting with your community.s.e.c.u.r.i.t.y
Here at the City of Seattle, spam continues to be a large part of the email traffic. On a recent week, when 838K messages were addressed to City addresses, a little over a third (34%) were actually delivered. A little lesss than half (47%) were blocked as SPAM, and almost 19% were quarantined for suspect attachments or content. The same week the City also protected against almost 11,000 viruses sent our way.
Speaking of viruses...fake anti-virus software (also known as scareware or rogue anti-virus) continues to be a big problem. Malicious hackers create programs that pretend to be legitimate anti-virus products, but are actually designed to frighten you into believing you have security problems with your computer (in the hope that you’ll pay up for a cure). Overnight our spam traps intercepted a wave of malicious emails claiming to be a free 30 day trial of McAfee VirusScan (which is a legitimate product, of course). Shared with us by Graham Cluley, Sophos.
For more security tips, don't forget to visit our Tech Talk blog.
If your organization is expanding and you want to keep all your network traffic to be as one so you can share resources such as files, emails, and any internal network activity, this will help you set up a simple WAN connection via Always On VPN. You will first need to have a static IP address for each of your locations.
You will need to have two VPN-ready routers that support VPN tunneling. The price range for these types of routers will cost about $150 each and up. You can build your own router with an old PC, two network cards, and a free software like Pfsense.
To configure your routers to talk to each other, you should follow the instructions for configuring that comes with the router but it should be as simple as:
Agree or disagree with me? Drop me a note: Derrick Hall.
LBJ, IRT, CRT, and 105 meanings for PSP. Green EScience: New packing material grows itself from inedible agricultural waste and mushroom roots. Its manufacture requires just one-eighth the energy and one-tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material.
The Acronym Finder has ads, but is a fun and useful resource.
Haiti is more than an earthquake site. Teaching for Change has a great set of materials to learn about Haiti’s poverty roots, outside influences, rich culture, and strong grassroots Haitian organizations. http://teachingforchange.org/publications/haiti/
How to start or find a Time Bank. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.
free internet hookups
Free cable broadband Internet service is available for organizations providing technology training to community members. The free service is offered within the Seattle city limits, based on the City's cable franchise agreements with Comcast and Broadstripe (Millennium). 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.archives
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