Tag Archives: SuperNode

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 Planet: Wireless for NYC has Class

from Eric Griffith for Wi-Fi Planet:

Professor John McMullen and his Monroe College Computer Information Systems students have installed wireless Internet access in a Harlem coffee shop, a Brooklyn day care center, and in Bronx restaurants. McMullen teaches his students everything from Wi-Fi to WiMax to cellular connections and potential tech of the future, and then provides them with hands-on experience.

Even as big vendors like Nokia step in to sponsor park hotspots, a small college class continues to do its part in spreading Wi-Fi while giving students some marketable skills.

Unlike a lot of big cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia, New York City is taking a measured approach to installing Wi-Fi. Reports this week in Newsday and the New York Times re-confirmed plans to install public use wireless LANs limited to city parks. Ten parks will go live by the end of the summer including areas of Central Park installed and run for the NYC Parks Department by Wi- Fi Salon with the help of Nokia (as sponsor).

Certainly the future of installing wireless services, whether Wi- Fi, WiMax, or something we don’t even know about yet, seems bright. Those future deployments may happen courtesy of people who are today students in classes like Monroe College’s Wireless Technology course. Students who aren’t afraid of a little hard work.

John McMullen is a professor in the school’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) department; he teaches the wireless technology class in question. He decided that the theory required by the New York State Regents wasn’t enough. His upper-level class is actively working to install Wi-Fi hotspots. The goal is to put service into areas not well served with broadband right now. Recently his class helped put in access points in Madison Square Park, a coffee shop in Harlem, Subway restaurants in the Bronx, and even a daycare center in Brooklyn.

Most of these deployments are done working with the community group NYCWireless . Students aren’t just installing hardware wherever they think is appropriate. They also have to sell the venue owners on whether it’s worthwhile.

“Student’s cold call and have to explain things,” says McMullen. “If it’s a restaurant or coffee shop, they’d spell out how the point would be to lure customers in. Immediate concern for many is how you get them out. You can have a policy for restricted access for half and hour, say. The point is, students must convince them of the benefit.”

His students helped NYCWireless and Solar One (the city’s first “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center” with goal of inspiring environmentally friendly citizens) with the deployment of a solar- powered hotspot in Stuyvesant Cove Park on the East River. It opened for use in March this year.

McMullen says the work they do “going out and selling and getting your hands dirty” prepares students for graduate school, but maybe even more so for real-world work. He says the installation at Coogan’s Restaurant near NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center was typical, in that they had to go from the basement, drill holes, come up through a column with Ethernet wire, mount the router in a very high spot, etc. “It’s something they often don’t get to do in college.”

Even if putting in wireless routers is fun, it’s not everything, as the course theory does cover the gamut from Wi-Fi to WiMax to cellular connections and potential tech of the future. The class is interspersed with expert speakers, such as a PhD. researcher from Columbia University who happens to be a NYCWireless board member that can tell students about the culturally different ways wireless is used between the United States and Japan, for instance. Other speakers might cover using open source firmware on routers.

“Hopefully it’ll cause students to push on,” says McMullen, who’s obviously concerned about the future employability of his students in a tight job market. “They need a skill they can market, but they must constantly look at what’s next, what will change. Everything is standards. As we go to 802.11, 80.15, 802.16, it’s all spelled out. But they need something they can sell today.”

McMullen says after so many months and years of the city not having a wireless plan, that NYCWireless is “they only game in town that works,” but that may soon change if Wi-Fi Salon gets its act together. It has had a contract with the city since late 2004 to deploy park hotspots but only delivered on one, in Battery Park. The NYTimes says 18 locations in 10 city parks will be lit up by August. Parks will include Battery, Central, Riverside (plus Union and Washington Squares) in Manhattan, and others in the Queens and the Bronx. Eight alone will be in Central Park it’s not a full park coverage network. The city is no longer looking to make money off any of these ventures as it did at first.

Private companies like Telkonet think they can deliver commercial service at least in Manhattan via building-based hotzones.

June Meeting: Parks 2006 Roundup (Wed 6/28)

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006 at 7:15pm

568 Broadway at Prince St, NE corner
Suite 404
New York, NY 10012
(lobby sign-in required)


NYCwireless Parks 2006 — a round-up of our various projects in process and completed, including:

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Stuyvesant Cove Park
  • Madison Square Park
  • Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

Also updates on SuperNode, FON, lots more…

Board Meeting Summaries (January – March)

Partnerships and Events
In January, Laura Forlano submitted a proposal to advise Open Planet, an organization that seeks to empower communities to create the next generation of broadband content and services.

On three Saturdays in January, Dana Spiegel, Rob Kelley and Laura Forlano each respectively presented to a class of students at Monroe College in the Bronx.

On February 11, Dana Spiegel was on the “Spectrum Spectacular: Community Wireless and Smashing Your Way into the Thrill Ride of the Century” panel at the Grassroots Media Conference. He and Laura Forlano met with Dharma Dailey and Hannah Sassaman from Prometheus Radio Project about potential future collaboration while participating in a cantenna-building workshop.

In February, Laura Forlano and Dana Spiegel completed a detailed online survey and provided additional background information for a case study on NYCwireless as part of the World Bank infoDev’s Local Open Access Networks project.

In February, Dana Spiegel and Laura Forlano met with representatives from Edinburgh’s community wireless organization.

On February 28, Laura Forlano presented at Wireless Day at Temple University in Philadelphia. Other panelists included: Derek Pew (Interim CEO, Wireless Philadelphia), Munir Mandviwalla (Executive Director, Irwin L. Gross E-Business Institute, Fox School of Business), Nathan Solomon (Principal and Co-Founder, GameFlood) and Steve Bull (CEO, Cutlass).

From March 31-April 2, Dana Spiegel and Laura Forlano will present at the Second Community Wireless Summit in St. Charles, MO.

NYCwireless has spoken with representatives from Fon, WBAI and Prometheus Radio Project.

New Projects
On March 4, in partnership with Solar One, New York City’s first solar powered “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center”, Rob Kelley and Dana Spiegel conducted a site survey and installed a solar-powered wireless access point in Stuyvesant Cove Park with a team of volunteers from Monroe College.

NYCwireless continues to be in discussion on plans for five new potential park projects with local businesses and community organizations.

Technology Development
NYCwireless is actively marketing its SuperNode (a.k.a. WiFiDog) access points among members, local businesses and community organizations with assistance from volunteers from Monroe College. Members are encouraged to upgrade their access points to SuperNode (contact help@nycwireless.net).

In February, Dana Spiegel and Laura Forlano briefed California Senator Dean Florez on municipal wireless policy and projects.

Wireless Networking for the Developing World, a collaborative book to which Dana Spiegel contributed following the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructure (www.wsfii.org).

NYCwireless has added a wiki-page on Uses for Municipal Wireless Networks. We welcome ideas and brainstorming for all those who are interested.