Orange Networking is a real 501c3

Last night I opened an envelope from the IRS. In it was Orange Networking’s acceptance letter giving the organization official tax exempt status. Orange Networking is now a real 501(c)(3) organization! YEAH!

Orange Networking (ON) is a non-profit organization working to foster equal access to the Internet so that all people may benefit from the use of digital communication tools. ON shall provide support to people who live or work in Orange County, North Carolina in the use of open, safe, and accessible computer networks.

Donate to Help OP Grow

Please donate to the Orange Politics fundraising drive to help pay for site improvements. Read more here.

Our last update was 3 years ago, and OP is seriously needing better identity management and improved community tools. I think drupal will be a good solution for us, and I hope to work with the good folks at Advantage Labs to make OP more useful and (and more stable) than ever.

The work will involve importing all of our posts and comments from WordPress to drupal, configuring our a new drupal system, and getting us set up on a new server. I will probably be able to create a new drupal “theme” to match what OP looks like myself, so we should not have to pay for that. I expect this work to cost at least $1,000 (not including monthly hosting fees), so I am setting that as our target.

Using drupal will allow us to have individual blogs for each registered and verified user of OP. That means no more hoping Ruby will approve your guest post and not knowing when it will be published. On the new site, you can post whatever you like, within some limits, and the community will vote on which entries go to the front page, similar to the way BlueNC.com and DailyKos.com are managed.

Please chip in, and ask your friends to support this effort so that OrangePolitics can be an even better progressive community resource!

Social Software and Multimedia Consultant for Hire

I am now available for hire to consult on the creation, care, and feeding of online communities. Plus I can create audio and video for the web. To get an idea of my professional experience you can check out my resume here and my portfolio here.

I’ve been contributing to and creating blogs for many years. I’ve also active on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, del.icio.us, and Ning. I am very interested in how people can use these online tools to connect with each other. I can show you how to use social software and how to build your own.

My experience with social networks extends to physical events too. I’ve helped organize several blogging events and was the lead organizer of PodcasterCon. An unconference about many aspects of Podasting and Video blogging. It was a 300 person one day event at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Its success is due to the people who participated but also the fact we organized ourselves. This was done using social networking tools like blogs, wikis, and podcasts.

I have been shooting and editing video and film since 1989. During the early ’90s I began preparing video for the web. Much of this work is very similar in style to what is now all the rage on YouTube. You can find examples of my video on my portfolio.

In 1997 I earned a certificate in AVID Media Composer. Its the non-linear editing software and hardware used to edit feature films. This experience taught me a lot about telling stories with film and video. I have professional audio and video equipment ready to be put to work for high end web productions.

Plus I produced a podcast show called Audio Activism. This helped me hone my skills in recording and editing audio. Check out my audio archive over at audioactivism.org/audio. Great video depends on clear audio to communicate successfully.

I’m interested in working for non-profits, businesses, and progressive political campaigns. I can help you make your own media and demonstrate how it will strengthen your mission and benefit your organization financially. But most important is communicating with customers, members, and constituents. Please contact me and I’ll help you accomplish your goals.

N&O article about Anton and NC Science Blogging Conference

Dan Barkin of the News and Observer has a good article called Bloggers Talk Science. It tells a short but good story about the marvelous Mister Sugar and shares the details of the NC Science Blogging Conference. It also tells the world about all the cool stuff we’ve done with our blogger meet-up group Blogtogether. Like the triangle blogging conference and PodcasterCon.

But my favorite part of this article is the praise of Anton Zuiker. Both him and Bora Zivkovic are doing and amazing job on the NCSBC.

The Web has evolved into a tribal Internet of passionate bloggers like Zuiker, and he has become a sort-of local brand. He’s a quiet visionary. He’s a low-key doer. He’s a let’s-get-together-and-see-where-this-goes guy. It’s the Zuikers of this new, interwoven world who may play a significant role in determining how far Web 2.0 goes from being a sociable network to a social force.

MuniWireless.com analyst on Chapel Hill's free Wi-Fi

The Independent Weekly has a great article by Fiona Morgan called Carol Ellison: MuniWireless.com analyst on Chapel Hill’s free Wi-Fi. Its a short interview discussing Chapel Hill’s involvement with public wifi. Here is the most important part to me.

Carol Ellison –

I would be very surprised if Chapel Hill encountered any of the problems those larger cities have because they’re using a different model altogether. Chapel Hill is deploying one hotspot and then another. They’re not saying this is going to be citywide. They’re taking a very measured approach, as opposed to diving in and promising service to everyone. Secondly, the town is going to own the network, whereas in San Francisco and in Chicago, the private provider would have owned the network. San Francisco was working out the provisions of a contract with EarthLink at the time that EarthLink announced massive layoffs and the fact that it was retreating from the market, and Chicago was negotiating with EarthLink as well as AT&T. So both cities were really at the mercy of what the private provider was going to do. I’m impressed by what Chapel Hill’s doing because they’re really in control of their own fate. If for whatever reason things don’t work out with Clearwire, they could find another provider and it’s still their network.

This is important because it counters many other articles in the media that have been arguing the other side of this. That municipal Wifi is somehow a bad idea because these huge projects failed in Chicago and San Francisco. They failed because a big company called Earthlink is having serious business problems. These kind of problems are EXACTLY why we need public ownership of major resources like broadband. Which WiFi is but one.

I applaud the Town of Chapel Hill for being careful in their investigation of implementing WiFi. We can learn from the mistakes of others. Isn’t that what wise Towns should do?

200kbps is NOT modern Broadband

The Daily Tar Heel has a new article about broadband in Orange County. Its called Initiative looks to expand high-speed internet access. Here is a small bit of it:

About 90 percent of Orange County can access high-speed Internet, according to a report released Friday by the e-NC Authority.

The report reviewed an annual study that began in 2002 to track the availability of high-speed Internet access across North Carolina.

“We look at high-speed access based on the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of 200 kilobytes or higher per second,” said Cary Edgar, communications director for e-NC.

e-NC works with Internet service providers to determine what percentage of households in a given area has the ability to subscribe to a high-speed Internet connection.

Here is how I responded in there comments:

When considering these numbers I think its important to know how e-NC defines broadband. New studies put the United States lower on broadband adoption because more modern studies defined “broadband” as higher than services provided to most subscribers in Orange County. Also methods of measurement where flawed in old studies. Such as determining that broadband was available in an area because one company had a T1 line while the rest of the community had nothing.

From e-nc’s website
“According to the Federal Communications Commission, high-speed Internet access is considered to include connection speeds of 200 kilobits-per-second (kb/s) and higher.”

200 kbps is an old number than needs to be updated. It is no longer an accurate measure of what Orange County residents need. Its also important to consider that broadband services in our area are asynchronous. Meaning download speeds are faster than upload speeds. Plus the actual usable speeds of our cable modems are not constant. They fluctuate based on the traffic on them and the bandwidth shaping that is done by service providers routers.

I recommend a report called the Broadband Reality Check for more information about the actual state of broadband in the US. http://www.freepress.net/docs/broadband_report.pdf

I will write something later to elaborate further and provide links to more info. There is also the Broadband Reality Check II. http://www.freepress.net/docs/bbrc2-final.pdf