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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April 22nd, 2011 in Consumers, Wireless Technology

Wisconsin’s going wireless

The number of wireless-only households has increased 10 percent in two years, according to a federal report. The report says that about 25 percent of Wisconsin adults live in a wireless-only household. This is up from 15 percent two years ago.

This study was done by the National Center for Health Statistics. The report covers the 12-month period from July 2009 to June 2010.

While the number of cell-phone only homes in Wisconsin is average compared to the rest of the nation, the increase shows that Wisconsin remains competitive when it comes to wireless technology. Milwaukee is a state leader in wireless dependence: 31 percent of households are cellphone-only, compared to 24 percent in the rest of Wisconsin.

Here’s the rundown for the state according to the Associated Press story:

  • 17 percent of adults live in a house that uses only a landline.
  • 25 percent live in homes that rely about equally on landlines and cellphones.
  • Nearly everyone else has access to both kinds of phones: 21 percent prefer landlines and 10 percent favor cellphones.
  • One percent has no phone service.

More and more people are going wireless and we need to make sure the infrastructure and regulations in place reflect that.

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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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December 2nd, 2010 in Wireless Technology, green technology

A greener laptop

The average laptop lasts about two years and, according to a group of students from Stanford University and Finland’s Aalto University, takes about “45 minutes and 120 steps” to disassemble for recycling once its short life is over.

With that in mind, the seven graduate students designed the Bloom laptop which can be easily disassembled into recyclable parts in just 30 seconds. The materials such as plastic, metal and glass are easy for consumers to recycle, and the simple disassembly helps separate materials that need specialized recycling, like LCD screens and circuit boards.

Besides the simplified process of recycling, the design also makes it easier for consumers to replace parts, prolonging the life of the laptop.

The laptop was designed as part of a challenge by corporate sponsor Autodesk. Ten teams in the Stanford engineering design class were asked to create a completely recyclable consumer-electronics product.

Smart laptop manufacturers should keep an eye on designs that prolong a laptop’s life and make it easier for consumers to protect the environment.

Read more information on the Bloom laptop.

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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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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.

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February 20th, 2009 in Broadband, Consumers, Jobs and Economy, Wireless Technology

Grass Greener on Our Side of the Fence

Hearing more and more voices join the debate about stimulus dollars bringing broadband internet into rural areas, it is important that Wired Wisconsin offers our perspective as well. $7.2 billion dollars of the stimulus package has been allocated for broadband deployment. There are countless people still unable to access a service many of us see as a necessity to everyday life. Most of us do not even think twice about checking our email once a day-ok, countless times a day-or getting the answer to our questions with a few clicks of the mouse. Or maybe you Connected have a whole routine when you first logon in the morning. Mine is checking the weather (a must in Wisconsin), scanning the latest headlines, and checking my various social networking sites (who befriended me today?). The point is that for the majority of us being able to access all the wonders of the internet is a no-brainer, something we expect just as we expect the lights to come on with a flip of the switch. That’s right, I am comparing having electricity to having internet access.

This debate has essentially two sides: First, there are the people who feel that using stimulus dollars to fund the “cyber bridge to nowhere,” is not worth it economically.

The other side of the debate argues that everyone deserves access to broadband service. Just as government dollars were used to bring electricity to households decades ago, these dollars should now bring broadband to our rural neighbors. As it says in Wired Wisconsin’s mission statement “Wired Wisconsin is a non-profit coalition of concerned individuals, businesses and organizations who are working to put our state on the cutting edge of technology.” Notice this says state not just metropolitan areas and their surrounding suburbs. Rather, one of Wired Wisconsin’s top priorities is to bring broadband services to all areas of the state as means to increase the free flow of information. For Wired Wisconsin, we remember and respect our economy’s agricultural roots and will continuously advocate on behalf of all Wisconsinites for policies that encourage competition between broadband providers to offer better services, much less service at all.

What about you-what are your thoughts on denying funds for broadband access to rural areas? Do you have a friend or family member who isn’t connected? Share your story on why this is important to you.

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February 13th, 2009 in Consumers, Event, News, Wireless Technology

MobileFuture Event Flyer

Join the Discussion about Wisconsin’s Role in Wireless Technology Thursday, February 26, 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin . Check out the MobileFuture Event Flyer:

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