March 1st, 2011 in E-Learning, News, Wireless Technology

The future of libraries

In a world where online shopping and eco-friendly alternatives are increasingly popular, the e-book reader seems to be a sustainable option for book collectors to cut down on shelf space. But what about the original eco-friendly option – the public library?

The future seems to be in e-book loans, but these are a hot topic for publishers. Regular books wear and tear, inevitably needing replacement, which ensures authors and publishers get their dues. But what is an appropriate cap-off for the number of loans before e-books need replacement?

According to Library Journal, Harper Collins has set the limit at 26 times. Some think 26 is too low a number and an unfair cost to libraries. Whatever the case, publishers and libraries need to address e-book lending.

Read more:  This Library E-Book Will Self-Destruct After 26 Check Outs

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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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February 4th, 2011 in Event, News

A tech-friendly Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLV is proving to be one of the most tech-friendly in recent memory.

The Wisconsin Technology Council and Pittsburgh Technology Council have placed a lighthearted wager on the event, each offering tech products related to its state technologies.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology council, is wagering “Jam City Rollergirls, a video game produced for Nintendo Wii users by Green Bay’s Frozen Codebase; a gallon of “green gasoline” produced by Virent Energy Systems of Madison; a case of Leinenkugel’s beer; and a selection of cheeses.”

The Dallas Cowboys’ stadium is prepared for the event with a 5,000-square-foot data center and “500 HP servers tucked away in a massive server room 22 feet below land level still almost 30 feet above field level.”

Technological perks for fans attending include extra signal power from “every major carrier, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and Metro PCS,” along with free Wi-Fi to to ensure every bragging or booing Facebook status or tweet is posted.

Fans can also bring their IPad to take advantage of the NFL’s official Super Bowl app, featuring virtual 3-D navigation of Cowboys Stadium.

Read more: Wisconsin, Pittsburgh have tech-friendly Super Bowl wager
Cowboys Stadium Techs Up for Super Bowl Close-Up

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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:

Connecticut
Florida
Illinois
Kansas
Kentucky
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New York
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Texas
Vermont
Washington

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 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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May 28th, 2010 in News

Farewell Wired Wisconsin-a Note from Emily Lenard

Dear Wired Wisconsin Coalition Members, Partners and Friends,

I have accepted a new position and will be leaving my post as Associate Director for Wired Wisconsin, effective immediately. Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of the people who make Wisconsin great. Building the coalition to more than 2,000 members and over 30 organizational partners that share an interest in technology issues, will long be an achievement I look back at fondly. My sincere thanks to everyone I’ve met and worked with towards achieving Wired Wisconsin’s mission along the way!

I leave knowing that Thad Nation, Executive Director will get all the support he needs from Jason Rae, who will be taking my place as Wired Wisconsin’s Associate Director. Jason graduated from Marquette University in May 2009, and grew up in Northwest Wisconsin. His interest in fostering an environment that supports high-tech job creation and industry development for greater economic growth in Wisconsin will serve him well in this new position.
Jason can be reached at 414.344.1733 or [email protected]

Although professionally my journey with Wired Wisconsin has ended, my personal interest in coalition issues like broadband deployment in rural areas, 21st century e-learning, and using social media as a tool for collaboration, education, and outreach will be with me always. Please don’t be a stranger!

Sincerely,

Emily

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May 13th, 2010 in News

Technology a Tattletale for Teen Drivers

Being handed car keys for the first time is sure an exhilarating feeling—freedom! Parents, on the other hand, are often filled with worry for their young, inexperienced kids behind the wheel.

New technology being researched by the University of Minnesota is hoping to alleviate some of the anxiety felt by parents of newly licensed teenagers.

The Teen Driver Support System, which sits atop a vehicle’s dashboard, will hopefully encourage drivers to:

  • Buckle their seatbelts
  • Have legal number of passengers
  • Drive the speed limit

And the consequence for failing to follow the rules? An instant text message to Mom and Dad or even preventing the vehicle from being put into gear.

Cheers to technology that hopefully leads to safer kids and better sleep for parents!

For more information about the Teen Driver Support System, see http://www.humanfirst.umn.edu/

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May 7th, 2010 in Broadband, News, Wireless Technology

Milwaukee Woman Gets Technology Lifeline Cut in Rural WI

A previous blog discusses the Connecting Southwest Wisconsin Conference–the first regional broadband conference aimed at providing rural Wisconsin communities the tools they need to address the lack of broadband or high-speed internet access.

On my way to the conference in Belmont from Milwaukee, I got a taste of what being unconnected is really like.

Because I was relying on my smartphone’s GPS application rather than my own common sense, I ended up in Reedsburg, which is at least 2 hours in the wrong direction. Yeah, yeah I know it’s pretty hilarious but as Katherine Mansfield once said, “It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.”

To make matters worse, I got a flat tire. And I didn’t have cell phone service. Pretty sweet, huh?

There I was on my way to a conference all about increasing access to high-speed broadband and I couldn’t even call AAA.

After flagging down some good Samaritans who not only put my spare tire on, but then directed me to the “honest mechanic” in the town seven miles away, I realized the irony of my situation. Even now, almost two weeks later, I shake my head and laugh.

Lessons learned: the need for better broadband access throughout Wisconsin is very real, and this Milwaukee city girl, who happens to be the Associate Director of a tech-issue nonprofit got to experience for herself what life unconnected is like.

What’s your story of life unconnected?

Join Wired Wisconsin as a coalition member today to help all of Wisconsin’s residents get better access to lifeline technologies like wireless and high-speed broadband. www.wiredwisconsin.org/join

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May 5th, 2010 in News

On the Road to Broadband: Connecting Southwest Wisconsin Conference

On April 22 in Belmont, WI, the goal of a newly formed coalition between Wired Wisconsin, BEST, Wisconsin Rural Partners, and Badgerland Financial (all Wired Wisconsin Strategic Partners) came to fruition. We, Connecting Wisconsin, held our first regional conference intended to arm attendees with a better understanding of the barriers to broadband deployment in rural areas.

The conference was incredible. Over 100 people joined this important conversation to improve access to affordable, dependable broadband for better education, healthcare, and economic development for their communities.

We at Wired Wisconsin are so proud to have been part of this effort since day one. Working to increase access to broadband is really the heart of our coalition and establishing public/private partnerships among communities, businesses, and telecommunications companies—large and small—is crucial in achieving this goal.

So where next? Does your community need some guidance on the twisty road to broadband? Let us know—collaboration is the key to success.

For more information on Connecting Wisconsin, see www.connectingwi.org

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April 14th, 2010 in News

Support for Telecom Rules Modernization Continues to Build

Over the last couple of months, we have spent a great deal of time rallying support for SB469/AB696. Passing this legislation is crucial to creating an environment in Wisconsin that puts the “welcome mat” out for new businesses to call our state home.

As the legislative session draws to a close, we are delighted that folks around the state–legislators, business owners, and tech industry leaders–are joining together with us in support of SB469/AB696: Telecom Rules Modernization.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Revamping regulation, April 12, 2010

Loosening the harness on companies such as AT&T is a sensible and overdue way to increase competition and encourage more investment in the state’s telecommunications infrastructure. We believe consumers will be well-protected by DATCP, which already handles hundreds of phone complaints a year. (Complaints to both DATCP and the PSC have been declining, by the way, which we take to be a sign that the relentless competition is having an effect: Customers know they have options – and so do companies providing the service.)

From the Milwaukee Business Journal, Telecom rules need overhaul, April 9, 2010

…Wisconsin has one major drawback — outdated telecommunications regulations, which could be seen by the Internet giant as a drawback to choosing any community in Wisconsin for the sought-after network. Google plans to choose cities to lay new fiber lines and provide Internet service that the company says would reach more than 1 gigabit per second, 100 times faster than standard Internet access.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Regulation to keep pace with new technology, April 3, 2010

Senate Bill 469 will apply the same set of rules to all of the landline companies providing service in Wisconsin’s telecommunications industry. Competitive landline, alternative landline providers and cable phone companies have been governed by a standard set of rules and regulations for years. SB 469 applies this set of more recent, streamlined and proven rules and regulations to all landline carriers equally.

SB 469 also ensures that all customers are protected evenly, regardless of which phone company they use. By eliminating redundancies and reinforcing existing Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection statutes and rules, this bill guarantees that DATCP will have the jurisdiction and authority to respond to the questions, needs and complaints of all telephone consumers in the state, not just those served by competitive providers.

The bottom line: technology evolves so quickly that legislation has a hard time keeping up. Passing SB469/AB696 is a big step forward for Wisconsin and our state’s ability to compete with other states that have already passed similar legislation.

Please continue to support Telecom Rules Modernization legislation SB469/AB696 for a 21st Century Wisconsin that welcomes new business and sets the stage for job creation in our great state.

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