[imc-st.louis] neighborhood wifi conference
jisnut at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 10 11:36:40 PST 2006
I saw this and I was very interested in going. I had a few other geek friends who might be too. We at least might want to arrange a carpool to St. Charles.
I think a Cherokee WiFi zone would be super cool too! I have a 3 story house on Oregon just off of Cherokee (only a few blocks from CAMP--not exactly line-of-sight ...trees are in the way) and I would gladly host a repeater and can-tenna on my roof! ;)
PS. Yeah Ben, I think this would make a good feature story. Can we just copy and past the Blurb about it below?
green <green at commonsound.org> wrote:
There's a community wireless (internet) conference coming to St Louis, put on
by the IMC in Champaign Urbana. One workshop is put on by Prometheus (community
radio in philly) is about making cantennas-- using objects like coffee cans and
copper wire to share wireless internet access on a neighborhood or larger
level. CAMP might want to attend, perhaps IMC/Confluence can get in free
and do media coverage...
...and make some cantennas for sharing wifi on Cherokee St!
I'd like to go, does anyone else?
COMMUNITY WIRELESS SUMMIT!
As you might know, the Second National Summit for Community Wireless
Networks is taking place in St. Charles, March 31-April 2
[cuwireless.net]. Not only will it be packed with hundreds of folks
with incredible knowledge and passion for community wireless, from
techies to organizers to geeks and media makers, it's also
co-organized by our old friend Sascha Meinrath, who helped jump start
the St. Louis IMC so many years ago.
And you should be there, too! As well as anyone with even remote
interest in the future of community media, regardless of your
knowledge of community wifi, technical or otherwise. This is your
chance to learn about it and to build it!
Exciting events include crafting cantennas (to pick up and transmit
wireless signals) with the lovely folks from Prometheus Radio Project
(www.prometheusradio.org). The awesome Prometheans will also be
presenting about community wireless in preparation for the Wireless
Roadshow tour they're mapping out this spring. A not-to-be-missed
occasion! Plus, Philly's newly-own Josh Brietbart, of Media Tank, who
has made traveling media appearances in the CAMP backyard in the past,
will be hosting a panel: Community Organizing for Wireless Geeks. He
will also be talking about the amazing work Prometheus has done in
bringing Low Power FM radio to all sorts of communities all around the
globe, and how this translates into wireless networks.
Which leads us to - why is this community wireless thing so exciting?
Well, for one, the internet is one of the most innovative and
up-to-date ways to give and receive information. But you already know
that. Yet one of the biggest problems community media folks have
struggled with is access.
Building cantennas is one way to share wireless with your neighbors,
creating a community-wide effort to draw down the high prices we pay
for media access each month. And as cities (such as Philly) are
jumping on the city-wide wifi bandwagon, it's hard to miss that
they're using taxpayer-funded infrastructures to do so (for instance,
Earthlink is using municipal structures, light poles, to mount
wireless nodes. Yet they're charging us for access). This municipal
wifi boom could also mean more opportunities for non-profits and
individuals to get affordable computer equipment for little to no
cost, if people are organized around it.
The flipside of the access problem is who is controlling our
information. As content manufacturers and providers consolidate,
access to information has the very real possibility of shrinking and
becoming more hierarchical and less egalitarian, the opposite of
what's so great about the internet now. Not to mention the myriad
privacy issues we citizens face. Between the corporate stranglehold on
media and our current administrations approach to data mining and
information access, the current internet environment is ripe for both
privacy invasion and censorship. As an example, Earthlink is also
looking to create a municipal wifi zone in San Francisco, in
partnership with Google
only would internet access then be ad-driven, but given the ways in
which g-mail culls your personal messages for information, who knows
what other information they would gather from users.
One of the larger goals to gain from this conference, which could be
incredibly exciting for St. Louis, is creating a community-wide wifi
network that bypasses big-time content providers such as SBC, Verizon
and the like. That's what grew out of Case Western in Cleveland
(http://www.wifinetnews.com/archives/002124.html), and could be a
distinct alternative for communities to take back control of media
access. It would be awesome to have in St. Louis!
SIGN ME UP!
I'm sure you have many questions about this process, the first being,
where do I sign up? Along with the Prometheus folks, there will be
many people way more knowledgeable than me on hand to talk about these
issues in depth, and what we can do about them. I am excited about
this conference and about involvement on the part of folks in St.
Louis, to become a model for community wifi and the possibilities it
holds. The community section will be focused on skill sharing for
people of all technical levels, so don't be afraid if you don't even
know what a cantenna is. And it will also hopefully function as a
bridge between people with techie skills and community organizers to
get this happening in your city.
The benefit is that community wifi services everyone, and once it's
set up it works for you and doesn't require a huge commitment. I am
also looking for more people who would be interested in coming to the
conference or organizing a community network. This includes everyone
from political organizations to arts groups to local businesses to
your next-door neighbor.
If you wanna go: It's $65 for the weekend (food included!), but no one
is turned away for lack of funds. Plus, if local media covers the
event, I'm sure they could swing some free entry.
If you know someone or a group of folks who want to go or is
interested in working on this who is not you: tell me! tell me!
ok, write or call me. I will be in St. Louis March 30-April 6, so look
fkipp at tsnpub.com
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