Chapel Hill Launches Wi-Fi Pilot Project

Chapel Hill WiFi MapThe Town email newsletter “Chapel Hill eNews’ just announced WiFi pilot will be at the following locations.

(1.) U.S. Post Office, 179 E. Franklin St.
(2.) Old Town Hall (IFC Shelter), 100 W. Rosemary St.
(3.) Town Parking Lot 5, 108 Church St.
(4.) Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St.
(5.) Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, 501 W. Franklin St.
(6.) 411 West Restaurant, 411 W. Franklin St.

Here is the whole announcement:

4. Chapel Hill Launches Wi-Fi Pilot Project

The Town of Chapel Hill this Friday will activate six Wi-Fi hotspots in the downtown area, giving the public free access to the internet along much of Franklin Street.

The provision of wireless internet service to citizens has ranked as a top priority goal for the Town Council. The launching of wireless hotspots in downtown is considered a pilot project and a step forward toward this goal. The hotspots, which show up on wireless devices as “TOWNofCH-WiFi,” are located at the following (see map at

(1.) U.S. Post Office, 179 E. Franklin St.
(2.) Old Town Hall (IFC Shelter), 100 W. Rosemary St.
(3.) Town Parking Lot 5, 108 Church St.
(4.) Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St.
(5.) Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, 501 W. Franklin St.
(6.) 411 West Restaurant, 411 W. Franklin St.

Bob Avery, information technology director, said users within 300 feet of a hotspot should be able to connect, although the ability to connect will depend on the capability of the user’s device and the amount of obstructions between the user and the antenna. For a street level user, trees, buses, trucks and buildings will all reduce the quality of the connection signal.

The Town will soon provide information to the public by website, media and signage to help promote the hotspots and explain how they may be used. More information will be provided at the homepage of

The hotspots have been installed using Clearwire modems. These are attached to standard Wi-Fi access points with high gain antenna to provide the signal for public use.

The Town will not provide direct user support but does hope to be able to respond to and resolve outages or other service problems as they occur. To report comments and problems, please contact the Town at

TOWNofCH-WiFi is Here!

I just used the new Town of Chapel Hill WiFi for the first time. I was having lunch on Franklin street and got my laptop out. This is what I found in front of the Post Office.

Channel: 6

Now we need more public seating in front of the Post Office. 🙂 More fun to come!

THANK YOU Town of Chapel Hill. An especially big thanks to Bob Avery and his IT staff.

Plaxo Online Identity Consolidator

Plaxo is releasing software behind its Pulse service. Basically, by using Microformats XFN info Pulse will aggregate your various online contacts. So if you have accounts at gmail, msn, yahoo, flickr, twitter, facebook, etc. you can consolidate it to understand how they connect with each other and create new connections. The cool part is the software for Building an Open Social Graph (what Pulse leverages) can be downloaded for your own use. (tech note: this software is python that crawls for the XFN rel=”me” attribute. NOT a whole website cms type software.)

More Truth to Power Sen. Edwards

via AlterNet:

Sen. Edwards campaigning in New Hampsire:

“Real change starts with being honest — the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It’s rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it’s rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They’ll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are — not for the country, but for themselves.”

“[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it’s perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don’t stand a chance.”

It’s a structural argument, and Edwards didn’t pull punches in calling out his fellow Democrats, saying: “We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.” The rhetoric was a clear signal that Edwards is going to beat the drums of reform as a contrast to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

I heard part of this quote today on NPR. They did a really bad job describing the details and context of this statement. Both local NRR (WUNC) and national NPR introduced this statement like, ‘Oh now.. haha… here he goes again with his risky “rhetoric”.’ [sarcastic NPR misquote done for comedic outrage effect]

Feh! What he was really doing was speaking truth to power! Good for him!

My View on WiFi in Chapel Hill News

A short opinion piece I wrote appears on the front page of todays Chapel Hill News. Its called Wi-Fi for the People. Its about my recent efforts to bring public WiFi to Chapel Hill, the new WiFi pilot project slated to start September 1, and the Chapel Hill Wireless Tailgate Parties.

In the article I reference two Orange Politics posts I wrote. Chapel Hill WiFi Pilot needs different Hotspots and Where is the Wifi?. A big thank you to the Chapel Hill News and Mark Schultz for agreeing to publish My View. Its wonderful when our local paper helps citizens learn about important new resources in town. Even better when they help encourage us to help our town improve them.

Stay tuned for more info about the Chapel Hill Wireless Tailgate Parties…