May 3rd, 2011 in Government, Jobs and Economy, Wireless Technology

Hearing on Telecom Reform

This week, committees of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate will hold hearings on telecom reform in Wisconsin.

Hance Haney, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, published this blog post recently negating some of the myths and false assumptions of the bills that are before the committees. Haney wrote a report last year that showed the economic benefits that telecom reform will bring to Wisconsin.

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February 17th, 2011 in Government, News

Protect internet freedom to promote democracy

The internet brought freedom of speech to countries around the world, and has become a useful tool in political criticism, dissent and even revolt. While the internet’s role in politics and revolution is somewhat controversial, unrepressed access shouldn’t be.

The U.S. is developing a new policy to help protect internet freedom around the world and keep repressive governments from restricting dissenters.

“The United States continues to help people in oppressive Internet environments get around filters, stay one step ahead of the censors, the hackers and the thugs who beat them up or imprison them for what they say online,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, laying out the policy in a speech at George Washington University. “ (NYT)

The internet has been a useful tool of protest in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Iran, and as a means for governments to find and silence voices of dissent.

“The State Department plans to finance programs like circumvention services, which enable users to evade Internet firewalls, and training for human rights workers on how to secure their e-mail from surveillance or wipe incriminating data from cellphones if they are detained by the police. The department has also inaugurated Twitter feeds in Arabic and Persian, and soon will add others in Chinese, Russian and Hindi.” (NYT)

By protecting internet freedom, the U.S. can help the internet remain a democratic force.

Read more about the U.S. new policy on internet freedom: U.S. Policy to Address Internet Freedom

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January 21st, 2011 in Government, Jobs and Economy

Thad Nation on WisBusiness: The Show

Thad Nation, Wired Wisconsin Executive Director, recently appeared on WisBusiness: The Show to talk about the need for telecom modernization in Wisconsin. Check out his appearance.

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September 17th, 2010 in Government

Appleton sets an example with road sign inventory system

Technology has improved our daytime work management, and now it’s improving our nighttime road safety.

Appleton will soon adopt a revolutionary GIS-based road sign inventory system and data collection service that will track the deterioration of road sign retro-reflectivity. The system will help Appleton meet minimum sign “retro-reflectivity” standards set by the Federal Highway Administration in order to improve traffic safety.

Previously, retro-reflectivity was tracked and predicted on paper. The new system will compile maintenance work orders that workers can access on-site using mobile devices and tablets. These devices communicate with and update changes to the main database automatically.

The system works by calculating expected sign life using retro-reflectivity deterioration rates combined with sign sheeting color and type. Based on expected sign life, signs can be replaced as needed.

Michael Healander, GISi state and local government general manager, said Appleton’s web and mobile system will become a “repeatable framework a repeatable framework for other cities and counties,” according to the Government Technology article.

Read more about the system:

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July 21st, 2010 in Consumers, Government, News, Privacy

38 State Attorney Generals Investigate Google Street View – Where’s WI?

Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is leading attorney generals from 37 other states in an investigation of Google’s Street View software.

Blumenthanl says in a release, “Google’s responses continue to generate more questions than they answer. Our powerful multistate coalition — 38 states so far — is demanding that Google reveal whether it tested Street View software, which should have revealed that it was collecting payload data.”

The release does not disclose all 38 states participating because some state laws prevent disclosure of investigations. Blumenthal, however, says his office is seeking permission to disclose the other states. Those listed include:

New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island

The issue of consumer privacy is important to Wired Wisconsin, and we applaud those states that are working to ensure people’s privacy is protected. Why has Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen not signed on to participate in the investigation? Technology growth is key to developing Wisconsin’s economy and is also dependent on consumer’s trust that their private content is being protected.  Committing to this investigation would be a key step in sending the message to Wisconsin residents that their privacy is valued and protected.

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July 13th, 2010 in Government, Wireless Technology, green technology

Government – now in handy app form!

The U.S. government recently launched 17 new mobile apps for a variety of different services and agencies, from the FBI’s Most Wanted to FEMA Mobile.  With smartphones becoming increasingly popular and more information being absorbed on the go, it’s great news that the government is working with these platforms. Here are a few of our favorites:

Alternative Fuel Locator – This app makes life a little easier for people with flex-fuel vehicles. The locator uses Google technology to find the five biodiesel, electricity, E85 (etha­nol), hydrogen, natural gas, and propane fueling sites closest to the user. Plus it’s not just for smartphones! The Alternative Fuel Locator is available for any mobile-Internet ready device.

Fuel – Not sure you’re ready for a flex-fuel vehicle yet? Check out the carbon footprint of your car or truck, or use it to calculate gas mileage, annual fuel costs and petroleum use. The results may just surprise you.

EPA Mobile – Another great app for the environmentally conscious. This app allows users to browse the EPA Newsroom, learn about your environment, check out the EPA’s blog Greenversations and contact the EPA.  Now the nation’s premier environmental resource is at your fingertips.

MedlinePlus Mobile – Feeling under the weather? Check out this app to browse health information, drug facts and explore other health topics. All in English or Spanish!

You can find out more about all the the new app available at’s app page.

What are your favorites? Are there any services you think the government missed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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July 6th, 2010 in Government, News, green technology

U.S. Invests $2 Billion in Solar Power

Green technology – good. Job creation – good. The two together – great!

In a significant step toward effectively utilizing green technologies for energy production, President Obama recently announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will invest nearly $2 billion in two solar energy companies – Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing.

Arizona-based Abengoa Solar will be the largest concentrating solar power in the world when it’s complete. It will produce enough energy to power nearly 70,000 homes! To put that into a green perspective – it means a reduction of 475,000 tons of CO2 annually.

On top of the environmental benefits, building these plants will mean new construction and permanent jobs for more than 5,000 Americans.

Watch the President’s full address on solar energy below:

You can also read more in this story from Mashable.

This investment is a huge leap forward for the U.S. in terms of both environment and economy and we’re happy to see this progress being made.

What are your thoughts on the projects?

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June 21st, 2010 in Broadband, Government

Voice Your Support for Broadband in WI

In an op-ed printed in today’s Milwaukee Small Business Times, our Executive Director Thad Nation discusses how important it is for Wisconsin that a recent request from Governor Doyle for broadband funding be approved.  The plan, which would add fiber optic connections at 467 schools in 70 districts and libraries in 380 communities, is a surefire way to foster economic development in the state and ensure Wisconsin remains on the cutting edge of technology.  Given the expected economic benefits of broadband deployment, there is no better use for the federal recovery dollars.

Please contact members of the Joint Finance Committee in support of this important funding.  We need your support to ensure Wisconsin continues to grow and doesn’t get left behind! You can find contact information for the committee here.

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June 9th, 2010 in Government

Should Your Congressman Be On Facebook?

Social media is already essential to the way we communicate with friends and family.  Businesses are beginning to find success using social media to build relationships with customers.  The next step – politics.

Political figures and groups are starting to realize the huge potential social media has to help them connect with constituents and concerned citizens, and engage about important issues.  A new article in Mashable discusses how some political figures are using social media and outlines how social media can benefit political campaigns, and even improve our political system.  To read the full story, click here.

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook encourage transparency, accountability and conversation – all positive things in government. It is great to see examples of these tools being used effectively and to the benefit of citizens.

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May 20th, 2010 in Consumers, Government

FCC Looking to Improve Technology Accessibility for All

Imagine the frustration you feel when the internet is down or you don’t have the right plugin to watch a video. Losing that immediate access to information can be a major hindrance in this hyper-connected time. People with disabilities often experience similar frustration with the barriers they face accessing technology. In an effort to help overcome these obstacles, The National Broadband Plan (NBP), a division of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is seeking comments to help launch their new Accessibility and Innovation Forum in July.

The Forum’s goal is to promote innovative solutions to broadband and other communications technology barriers by encouraging input with ongoing online efforts, workshops, field events, and facilitated dialogues.  Currently they’re seeking input on launching an online clearinghouse.  To provide feedback, or to find out more about their future initiatives, visit their blog.

Wired Wisconsin partner IndependenceFirst is another great resource for people with disabilities who want to find out more about improving their access to technology. The organization’s mission is to “effectively facilitate empowerment of individuals with disabilities.” As part of this mission they have developed an Assistive Technology Program.  They provide information about products and services about assistive technology and adaptive equipment that help people with disabilities find technology that works for them.

Ensuring that everyone has reliable and convenient access to technology is essential. Both the FCC and IndependenceFirst are doing great things to ensure technology is accessible to all demographics.

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