Community Wireless Networks as Situated Advocacy

Here is a publication,“Community Wireless Networks as Situated Advocacy”, that I co-authored with Dharma Dailey, which is related to the Architecture League of New York’s Situated Technologies project.  We welcome your thoughts and feedback!

BREAKOUT! Festival in Fall 2009

The Architectural League of New York has chosen BREAKOUT! Escape from the Office as one of the big exhibition pieces for their “Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City” in 2009.

NYCwireless is one of the key team members of BREAKOUT!, and Anthony Townsend (one of our co-founders) is chairing the exhibit. The rest of the board (including me!) will be heavily involved in making this exhibition a reality.

Over a two week period, BREAKOUT! will return creative work to the streets of New York. Using co-working as a model, and injecting lightweight versions of essential office infrastructure into urban public spaces, BREAKOUT! will explore new and productive niches for working outside of traditional office buildings. As the 21st century moves towards a knowledge-based economy, conventional office spaces are becoming obsolete; people no longer need to co-locate in order to access shared tools and resources. BREAKOUT! seeks to create a new architecture for the creative city by appropriating public spaces for collaborative knowledge work.

To find out more about why we are doing this, read the FAQ. For more background on the architectural and organizational design  concepts we’re playing with, check our our BREAKOUT! Prezi (thanks to the team at Kitchen Budapest for this awesome Powerpoint killer).

A whole bunch of stuff about our social collaboration tools is in the works and will be posted in a month or so.

We are looking for groups in cities around the world to host local BREAKOUT! festivals and meetups during September 2009. More details will be posted soon.

Key team members:

  • Anthony Townsend (Research Director, Technology Horizons Program, Institute for the Future)
  • Georgia Borden (Associate Director, DEGW)
  • Tony Bacigalupo (co-founder, CooperBricolage)
  • Sean Savage (co-founder, PariSoMa)
  • Dana Spiegel (Executive Director, NYCwireless)
  • Dennis Crowley (founder dodgeball.com)
  • Laura Forlano (Kauffman Fellow in Law, Information Society Project, Yale Law School)

BREAKOUT! is being presented as part of the exhibition, “Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City,” curated by Mark Shepard and organized the Architectural League of New York.  For more information about the exhibition and related projects, visit www.situatedtechnologies.net.

Wi-Fi Salon Shuts Down

As reported on Wi-Fi Net News, Wi-Fi Salon has shut down, and with it the currently operating NYC Parks Wi-Fi network (but NOT parks powered by NYCwireless):

The company operating Wi-Fi in some New York parks is closing down: Eagle-eyed correspondent Klaus Ernst noted that the Wi-Fi in the parks project has shut down. Wi-Fi Salon, the concessionaire for most of the major parks, posted a message about the current economic conditions, but the note is undated.

Wi-Fi Salon operated hotspots in a number of NYC parks, including Union Square and Central Park.

NYCwireless is still going strong, and any community members or organizations that are interested in setting up Wi-Fi in their parks or public spaces should contact us. NYCwireless is a non-profit, and has installed and currently operates dozens of free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout New York City, including Madison Square Park, Wagner Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jackson Square Park, and Stuyvesant Cove Park.

Update: Marshall has posted a response on his blog, where he talks about the difficulties in getting internet service installed from Verizon and Covad. He’s certainly right on this front (though we didn’t spent nearly the $250k he did to get our parks online).

Marshall also talks about Wi-Fi 1.0 gear in his network, and I have to wonder what he was using that wasn’t working for him. NYCwireless is on our 3rd generation of hardware, all of which is based on Soekris embedded PCs and Metrix Wi-Fi nodes, and the 3rd generation of hotspot operating systems (starting with our homegrown Pebble Linux and upgrading to Metrix’s Pyramid). We’ve had great success with our gear, and since we use open hardware and software, upgrades are inexpensive and incremental. We support hundreds of users per day on a number of hotspots. Perhaps Marshall’s operational costs could have come down quite a bit if opted to use our platform…