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Why Cities Matter, part 3

Here's the county-by-county map for this year, thanks to USA Today.



Blue is mostly cities; red is suburban and rural, as I've pointed out before. What's interesting is, as I understand it, Kerry victories in the blue towns were by a much narrower margin than Bush victories in the red regions.

Blue Cities, Red States part 2

Liveblogging this on election night: I told you so. CNN now explaining that the islands of blue in Ohio, in a sea of red, are the counties containing Cleveland and Dayton. Islands of blue in Florida are Miami. I'm just sayin'...if Kerry wins tonight (or tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow) it'll be the urban areas that do it.

Mobile HotSpots

I've been hearing a lot about WiMax, and thi article,Mobile 'hot spots' push limits from the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains how a Twin Cities tech entrepreneur has retrofitted an old TV-station truck to serve as a roving hot spot for Internet access. His technology firm has blanketed the metropolitan area with WiMax transmitters atop local skyscrapers.

"DeVaan's modified van performs a similar trick. Its mast communicates with any of the wireless-Internet transceivers Implex.net has put atop Twin Cities skyscrapers, including Wells Fargo Place in downtown St. Paul and several in downtown Minneapolis. Presto! The van is Net-connected. All DeVaan has to do is plug in his Webcam and point it... In addition to serving as a roving eye, the van can provide high-speed wireless Internet access within a 1,500- to 2,000-foot radius."

Going Mobile

An article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press features some interesting approaches to enhancing a city's WiFi infrastructure. (Via Slashdot)

"WazTempe, a Tempe, Ariz.-based wireless-Internet pro-vider that is turning the city into one big Wi-Fi hot spot, has come up with a clever way to plug gaps in its network: golf carts equipped as Wi-Fi repeaters. The Waz Mobile Units transmit in a roughly one-mile radius and can integrate with the rest of the city's wireless "mesh" infrastructure."

Open Sourcing CommunityViz?

Several colleagues have forwarded me this recent letter from CommunityViz, which suggests:

Sample 3-D image from CV
"The software will in the near future be made available at little or no cost. (This offering will include Scenario 360 v2.1 and later, and SiteBuilder 3D for CommunityViz.) We are in the process of exploring the logistics of this exciting new mode of distribution."

Accessibility Tools In Windows XP

I was interested to read inSetting sites on Section 508 about an accessibility tool built into Windows XP:

"There is a decent screen magnifier in Windows XP, which also includes a text-to-speech tool called Narrator. It is pretty limited and is only available in English, but it provides a useful tool in Notepad, Wordpad, Control Panel and Internet Explorer, as well as the Windows desktop and Windows setup."


You can launch Narrator easily by pressing the Windows logo key and the U key, which also lets you start and stop the tool.

Interactive Television is dead! Long live interactive television!

Remember when interactive television was dead? Time-Warner's Full Service Television experiment in Florida in the 1990s was a failure -- people hated it. Something about how the set-top boxes sucked, I think. So the concept went away, fading like CD-ROMs before the onslaught of the Internet.

At least, that seems to be what the New York Times remembers. Here's the part I'm talking about:
The Microsoft Home is more like a concept car, a design to dream about. Microsoft has imagined a dream house before: 10 years ago the company unveiled its first such demonstration home. At the time Microsoft's designers were intrigued by interactive television, a technology that never became the next big thing.

What is this "WiFi" of which you speak?

Okay, I get it. Cities are getting wireless data connectivity. Here's CNN.com on the subject. Salient bits:
One of only a handful of cities in the nation to try it, Chaska -- just southwest of Minneapolis -- plans to have most of the city's 15 square miles Wi-Fi operational by the end of October.

"We firmly believe that the Internet is going to be just as much a part of everybody's future as the telephone or electricity is and we want to make sure that everybody has equal access to it," says Bradley Mayer, Chaska's information systems manager. "We wanted to ensure there was some sort of broadband activity that could be affordable by our residents."

County Saves Money With Linux-Based E-Gov Solution

A financial program running on Linux is helping Stanislaw County, CA, save money [Modesto Bee].

"The Linux server now in use by the county helps manage its finances...employees who track the county's money log on to the server through a Web browser...Because there's only one program for the server instead of hundreds of copies for each computer at employees' workstations, the county also saves money on software licensing..."

One way the Internet can be used as a public input tool

The Internet can be a great way to supplement public meetings and get more people to participate in registering their opinions and preferences for planning alternatives. (Of course there are equity issues but that's a discussion for another piece.)



The image below is an example of a question asked on the online visual preference survey used by Midtown Columbus Georgia. Results from the survey, gathered both in public meetings and online, are being used as a foundation for guiding the future planning recommendations for Midtown Columbus.

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