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Phil Shapiro's DDN Blog
bogus new york times article

the new york times botched it on this article covering the digital divide.

although they include a quote from andy carvin, the whole tenor of the article is off. they're asking the wrong question. they don't get it at all.

the question they should be asking is: "what more can we do now, rather than later?"

 
April 4th, 2006 @ 9:17AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


on compliance
while it's important that all standards be compliant, it's equally important that all community members be noncompliant.

 
April 3rd, 2006 @ 12:27AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


how public libraries have touched my life
In 1988 I had recently finished law school and was looking for a new career outside of law. One way to find a career is to go to the library and browse thru some magazines. So I visited the neighborhood library and picked up a copy of the May, 1988, issue of Ms magazine.

In that issue I read about a woman named Antonio (Toni) Stone who had helped set up a community technology center in East Harlem, New York. The article described how community members were helping each other learn about computers, furthering each others' educational goals. This article struck a chord in me. I had recently taught myself computer programming on my Apple II computer and had fond memories of the volunteering I had done several years earlier at the East Harlem Tutorial Program.

Reading the article, I said to myself, "Now, that's a fine idea. I think I'd like to do that for the rest of my life."

Two months later I visited the Harlem Community Computing Center (named "Playing To Win") and saw first hand the magic that was going on there. Set up in the basement of an apartment building, there was no air conditioning in that room with 25 computers. But there was many enthusiastic community members spontaneously showing and explaining things to each other.

A woman named Denise Copper made me very welcome and took me on a tour of the place, carefully explaining how and why things had been set up as they had been. She made me feel as if I had something important to contribute.

Two years later I started my own educational software company and donated copies of educational software I designed to the Harlem Community Computer Center. Imagine my happy surprise when 3 months later I received a written review of the software -- written by youth using the center. They were practicing their writing skills doing real-world writing tasks. That software review is one of the most cherished letters I ever received in my life. It indicated to me that something very meaningful was going on at that community technology center (ctc).

A few years later I was hired to work as the Washington DC Regional Coordinator for Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet), a newly formed network of community technology centers around the country. At the time I was hired, the number of organizations belonging to CTCNet was 40. Today CTCNet counts over 1000 member organizations and is one of the largest nonprofits in the United States working to bridge the digital divide.

After working for CTCNet, I found a job in the Arlington Public Schools, in Arlington, Virginia. I was working at 2 elementary schools training teachers how to use computers and video in their classroom. These two schools were on opposite sides of the socio-economic spectrum. I decided to take donated computers to 3rd grade students at the one school, so they could practice typing skills at home. Soon after I started that project, the Washington Post published an article about the project. (http://www.writersforliteracy.org/themanwhogives2.pdf)

When I left the job in Arlington Public Schools, I told the director of educational technology in that school sytem - "I see myself working as a teacher at public library in the next few years. The role of libraries is expanding in our society. I'm going to be teaching youth and adults in a public library setting sometime soon."

So a few months ago I was hired by the Takoma Park Maryland Library as an Instructional Assistant, helping community members use their new 20 station Linux computer center. I help youth do their homework on computers, I help adults set up their own blogs, I help seniors feel more comfortable using computers and I interact with the hugely talented volunteers who come to share their talents in this computer center.

And do you know I do in my break? I walk over to the magazine rack and page thru the magazines. And I think how lucky I was to be able to both receive and give back to public libraries. Public libraries gave me my career -- and now I'm giving it back to them.
 
February 22nd, 2006 @ 8:04AM | 2 Comments | Post a Comment


article - "for web editors, Nvu is the ticket"
this article does a great job of explaining why the free, open source web page building software named Nvu is so useful.

it would be great for lou dolimar (or anyone else) to create a free screencast showing how to use Nvu using Wink, an excellent free screencasting program.

in 2005, Wink was chosen to receive a Noble Piece Prize.

version 2 of Wink, due out in a few months (or sooner), will include audio narration capabilities.



 
February 20th, 2006 @ 10:52AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


thanking toni stone
thanks, toni.

 
January 25th, 2006 @ 12:09AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


digg.com is rising
digg.com will be overtaking the popularity of slashdot sometime soon.

digg's advantage? community editing of news. community. editing.

digg might rise to be in the top 100 most visited web sites. can you digg it?




 
January 6th, 2006 @ 1:13AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


jahshaka open source video editing software
JAHSHAKA is the worlds first OpenSource Realtime Editing and Effects System. Jahshaka takes advantage of the power of OpenGL and OpenML to give its users exceptional levels of performance. We currently support Linux, OsX, Irix and Windows, and Solaris is on the way. Jahshaka is licenced to the public under the GNU GPL agreement.
 
January 5th, 2006 @ 6:12AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


Google Pack software
Google should offer something like a "Google Pack" software that people could download and use on their computer.
 
January 5th, 2006 @ 5:56AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


The Cost Savings of Open Source for Schools
From SpiderTools.com

"The Cost Savings of Open Source - OpenOffice 2 The Academic price for Microsoft Professional Office is $64.52 per user. We here at Noxon Schools have 185 computers in use which translates into $11,936.20 for Microsoft Office. The regular Professional Office is $158.84 without an Academic license. Over a 10 year period you will probably upgrade 3 times, at least in a school setting probably more often in a business. So if you upgrade 3 times and have 185 computers you are looking at approximately $50,000 for 10 years (considering that software prices go up). The cost of OpenOffice 2 is $0....yep, nothing. OpenOffice 2 Cost for 185 computers = 0 ($0 over 10 years) Microsoft Office Cost for 185 computers = $11,936.20 ($50,000 over 10 years)"

 
December 22nd, 2005 @ 1:47PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


intuition
"Intuition is the capacity of certain people to incorrectly assess a situation in a matter of seconds." - Friedrich Dürrenmatt
 
December 21st, 2005 @ 2:36PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


words of the wise (from harold pinter)

"I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist,
unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as
citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies
is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in
fact mandatory.

"If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision
we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us --- the
dignity of man."

- Harold Pinter, in "Art, Truth & Politics", Nobel Lecture, 7
December 2005.
 
December 17th, 2005 @ 9:19PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


the more we lean against each other
the stronger we become.

 
December 12th, 2005 @ 3:18AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


some words of wisdom

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” – Emma Goldman
 
November 29th, 2005 @ 3:38PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


a shift in control of communications
mass communications used to be owned and controlled by landowners.

increasingly, mass communications (and any other kind) will be owned and controlled by geekowners.

 
November 29th, 2005 @ 1:42PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


the value of simplicity
"Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means."
— Dr. Koichi Kawana
 
November 20th, 2005 @ 8:53AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


my take on the $100 laptop initiative


i think this laptop initiative is a step forward and will spawn much discussion on access issues here in the united states, as well as access issues abroad.

last week i read a good article in pc magazine about $500 laptops that are currently available here in the united states. each of these laptops has a battery, though.

how about if i wanted to buy a laptop without a battery -- that operates on AC current only? there is no company i know of building that kind of device. without a battery, the cost of the laptop would descend further.

here in the washington dc-area, public libraries that are providing wi-fi access have also brought AC current outlets to many tables in the library. there is a large need for an affordable laptop that doesn't have a battery.

more and more, companies are going to feel pressured to manufacture products that people want -- rather than products the companies want to sell. this $100 laptop initiative pushes things in the right direction. i know it's opened my eyes a lot.

- phil
 
November 20th, 2005 @ 8:10AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


i'm preparing to do my part
i'm preparing to do my part.

(listen to snippets of the song "swimming to the other side" in the itunes music store. pete seeger has called pat humphries a singer whose songs of freedom and liberation will be sung throughout the 22nd century.)


 
November 17th, 2005 @ 12:02AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


pioneering ctc facing financial shortfalls
Plugged In, a pioneering community technology center in East Palo Alto, California, is facing financial shortfalls. somebody who cares about the work they do needs to be stepping forward.
 
November 16th, 2005 @ 1:39PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


not a tragedy
"Not only is the advent of bookless or largely bookless libraries too lage and powerful a change to be held back, it also offers too many real advantages to be considered a tragedy." David A. Bell, "The Bookless Future," The New Republic, May 2 & 9, 2005.


 
November 9th, 2005 @ 1:58PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


thoughts on a life's accomplishments
"God was pleased to hold before my eyes the dazzling splendors of eternal hope. After that, doesn't it seem that nothing more could keep me bound to the earth?"

Louis Braille, asking for final communion about midday on January 6, 1852. He died from tuberculosis.
 
November 6th, 2005 @ 9:17PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


on the wings of flight
"there is no more delightful sensation than that of gliding through the air." octave chanute (open source aviation pioneer)

 
November 6th, 2005 @ 10:10AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


to understand
"To understand is to perceive patterns" - Isaiah Berlin (via stephen downes)
 
October 30th, 2005 @ 11:50PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


international education exchange

"International education exchange is the most significant current project designed to continue the process of humanizing mankind to the point, we would hope, that nations can learn to live in peace"
--J. William Fulbright
 
October 25th, 2005 @ 7:43PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


freedom toaster in south africa
a very good idea.
 
October 22nd, 2005 @ 4:08PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


article - why openoffice.org is your best choice
eweek gets it.
 
October 21st, 2005 @ 10:43AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


book - syndicating web sites with rss for dummies
the author of this book has written some other excellent books.
 
October 20th, 2005 @ 4:58PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


blessed be the collectors
blessed be the collectors, for that which is collected has value.
 
October 17th, 2005 @ 11:10PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


welcome to this month's black tuesday
It's that time of the month for systems administrators. Microsoft announced the security patches that it will make available on Tuesday -- also known as "Black Tuesday" to folks charged with keeping Windows PCs secure.

if you're not a big fan of black tuesday, you could try using gnu/linux.


 
October 7th, 2005 @ 10:17AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


verizon foundation resource center launches
the verizon foundation resource center has launched.

this reminds me of my first online experience with the verizon foundation, about 8 years ago (1997) verizon was offering free surplus office equipment to washington dc nonprofits. you could apply online right on their web site.

i applied online at 2 am, filling a web form explaining my organization's needs. less than 10 seconds after i submitted my request, i received an email announcing that regrettably my request for surplus office equipment was not accepted.

now that is a best practices policy worth noting: automated rejection of nonprofit grant requests.

i wonder if the verizon foundation has some of the same people running their web site, or whether they have brought in new blood.

 
October 7th, 2005 @ 3:00AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


the creative commons weekly newsletter is worth subscribing to
right here.
 
October 7th, 2005 @ 12:06AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


we are each other's case worker.
we are each others' case worker.
 
October 7th, 2005 @ 12:01AM | 2 Comments | Post a Comment


uncommon wisdom on the lap.org web site
uncommon wisdom can be found on the LAP web site.
 
October 7th, 2005 @ 12:01AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


internet sharing via linux
with philadelphia's wireless experiment moving ahead today, i became curious to track down info on how linux computers can engage in internet sharing. so fro $10/month, a family could have wireless high speed internet on several linux computers -- some of them even refurbished pentium II and pentium III computers.


here are some web resources covering internet sharing in linux.

resource 1

resource 2

for other resources, search google for: internet sharing linux
 
October 4th, 2005 @ 1:53PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


oh, really?
oh, really?
 
October 4th, 2005 @ 10:21AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


stan pokras in philadelphia is doing good things


Date: Weekly, Thursdays

Time: 6:00PM till 8:00PM

Place: Nonprofit Technology Resources
1524 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia PA 19130

Price: $25 per session (you choose how many sessions to attend)

To Register: Call 215-564-6686, or email pokras@ntronline.org

Now We've Done It!
A Different Workshop From Our "Bring A Computer, Ask A Question."

We are offering to teach YOU how to build a computer from the basic
components. You can bring parts from another store, buy parts from
us, or bring a pile of old computer junk you find in the trash.
We'll help you learn what the parts do, how they fit together and how
to install software. We'll discuss how to get the most out the
components you choose to include in your computer and how to care for
it once you have completed your construction.

You can buy computer parts from us, bring your own parts, or just
come out and watch other people put their computers together. You
don't even need a computer to join in on the action. You may bring
new components, accessories, or software to install which you have
purchased elsewhere or in our Computer Thrift Store. Our instructor
John Griggs and some of our volunteers will be there to help answer
your questions and guide you in working on your computer.

This will be an on-going program. Each session will be a
free-standing workshop for the people who attend. This is a hands-on
activity, we won't be lecturing. You can come once, twice, or as
many times as it takes to complete the construction of your computer.

VOLUNTEERS INTERESTED IN HELPING WITH THIS WORKSHOP SHOULD CONTACT:

--

* * *
Please note my new email address: pokras@NTRonline.org

Stanley R. Pokras, Executive Director Nonprofit Technology Resources (NTR)
Regional Coord, Community Technology Centers' Network (http://www.ctcnet.org/)
Chair, CTCNet of Delaware Valley, Regional Planning Committee
(http://www.ctcnet-philly.org/)

Nonprofit Technology Resources
1524 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia PA 19130
215-564-6686 (day) 215-564-6642 (fax)
267-968-0407 (cell)
Find our "Home Page" at http://www.NTRonline.org


-------------------------------------
[CTCNet Phl] is the email discussion group for CTCNet-Philly
, the Philadelphia regional chapter of the national
Community Technology Centers Network . To subscribe or view
an archive of past messages, visit the CTCNet Info Page
http://mailman.dca.net/mailman/listinfo/ctcnet
To send messages to the whole membership email to
CTCNet@delawarevalley.org
 
October 4th, 2005 @ 7:53AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


AMD's Personal Information Communicator (PIC)
looks like it offers a lot for the price. i'm in favor of information appliances. i sure hope maytag jumps into the fray.

hey, wait a second. how come firefox is not on this device? where is the quicktime player?
 
October 3rd, 2005 @ 1:16PM | 1 Comments | Post a Comment


ubuntu carves a niche in linux landscape
my smartest friends like ubuntu a lot.

here's an article about ubuntu.
 
October 3rd, 2005 @ 11:25AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


ubuntu carves a niche in linux landscape
my smartest friends like ubuntu a lot.

here's an article about ubuntu.
 
October 3rd, 2005 @ 11:25AM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


project reboot video
here's a video a friend and i made in 2002 that tells about project reboot, a project within the capital pc user group. some stories you can't tell very well in words.

project reboot is still doing well, having distributed over 4,500 computers over the years. it's now looking for a new facility.
 
September 30th, 2005 @ 4:28PM | 0 Comments | Post a Comment


toshiba sells new laptops that are almost unusable
toshiba sold a new laptop to a client of mine earlier this month. this laptop has 192 megs of RAM and windows xp. the laptop is almost unusable it's so slow.

my client had no idea that the reason this computer was unusable was because of its low memory. toshiba did not tell her anything about that. for shame.

very poor respect for customers.
 
September 30th, 2005 @ 10:15AM | 1 Comments | Post a Comment


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