Wi-Fi Thank You

No Comments

From Dana Spiegel, Executive Director of NYCwireless, a New York City based non-profit organization that advocates for and enables the growth of public wireless networks.

Wi-Fi Thank You

Wi-Fi Thank You is a place where you can send a thank you message to anyone who provides a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
We believe in free wireless and appreciate the people who provide it!

This is a great idea on how to augment wireless network to provide more user interaction.

Dana also wrote an interesting post Free American Broadband about the state of broadband connections in the US compared to other countries.

Related Posts:

Ubicomp 2005 video: Yellow chairs (video of public interaction with an open WiFi hotspot)
Spanish company, Fon, wants to let wireless internet users share their connection

San Francisco, jell-o style

1 Comment

San Francisco in Jell-O is a project from Liz Hickok, a artist and designer from the Bay Area

San Francisco - Alamo Square - Jell-O by Liz Hickok
San Francisco – Alamo Square

See also San Francisco City hall, Bay Bridge, Telegraph Hill, The City.


Spanish company, Fon, wants to let wireless internet users share their connection



Fon, wireless community service

As I was looking at how network providers regulate the sharing of the Internet access they provide to their subscribers, I came across the initiative from Fon.
Fon is planning on being first a Spanish Internet Service Provider (ISP) that will make it possible for subscribers to share ADSL service through wireless connection (WiFi).


Basically, suscribers could choose between 2 models:

  • Resellers: in this case, subscribers could resell up to 50% of their connection capacity. Fon will manage the access to other suscribers and give the user a cut of the fees it gets from that particular wireless access point. (Identified in the business model as Bill for Bill Gates I guess!)
  • Community members: subscribers will then give up up to 50% of their connection capacity for free to others members of the service. In exchange, they will be able to roam on any of the other access points made accessible by other Fon members. (Identified in the business model as Linus for Linus Torvalds I guess!)
Fon Wireless Community Ads

Requirements and availablilty

As of now, the service will require suscribers to own a compatible router, the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router
The service is not operational yet. It is supposed to open around Nov 15th of this year but the Fon community sign-up page is already available.

More details are available on the Martin Varsavsky’s blog

See also this other way of sharing your connection:
Ubicomp 2005 video: Yellow chairs

Interruption and Multitask oriented life

No Comments

Sunday’s story in the New York Times Meet the Life Hackers talks about interruption in the workplace and how information technology tools are now fighting for our attention.

Information is no longer a scarce resource – attention is. David Rose, a Cambridge, Mass.-based expert on computer interfaces, likes to point out that 20 years ago, an office worker had only two types of communication technology: a phone, which required an instant answer, and postal mail, which took days. “Now we have dozens of possibilities between those poles,” Rose says. How fast are you supposed to reply to an e-mail message? Or an instant message? Computer-based interruptions fall into a sort of Heisenbergian uncertainty trap: it is difficult to know whether an e-mail message is worth interrupting your work for unless you open and read it – at which point you have, of course, interrupted yourself. Our software tools were essentially designed to compete with one another for our attention, like needy toddlers.

It talks particularly of the issues surroundings notification systems and ambient displays, that I have planned to include in my design.
It features research from Victor M. Gonzalez and Gloria Mark who presented their work at ECSCW in Paris. Mary Czerwinski, a Microsoft researcher, also worked on the subject to help the NASA with managing interruptions on astronauts conducting experiment.

She also collaborated with the HIP group at Microsoft Research that presented on Thursday at Oregon State Univ for a colloquim I had to attend for my Human Computer Interaction class. While their presentation was aimed at helping programmers with learning how to deal with large amounts of code and come to speed quickly on office practice, it could as well been re-used in other environments like general information workers.

The music you may like, recommended by ….YOU

No Comments

The music you may like, recommended by ….YOU

Local start up is also a multi-national enterprise

By Riad Lemhachheche

OSU alumni Matthew McLoughlin, left, Rick Hangartner and Jim Shur show off the MyStrands program they have helped develop into an international franchise with more than 40 employees.

MusicStrands, a local company, is planning to change the way people discover and share music.

Music enthusiasts may search numerous venues for novelty: specialized magazines, MTV, the radio, concerts or even friends. There isn’t an easy way to discover new cool songs without some effort.

MusicStrands is trying to change that. MusicStrands’ free software, MyStrands, recommends songs based on what you are currently listening to.

Connected to Apple’s iTunes (and soon other players), the application looks at your listening behavior and searches in its 5-million-song database for recommendations.

“When you listen to radio, watch TV, or read a magazine, you are discovering the music others are telling you to discover. What MusicStrands wants is for people to have greater control of the music they discover,” said Gabriel Aldamiz-echevarria, vice president of marketing and communications at MusicStrands.

Several other companies are trying to provide innovative music recommendation services. Amazon.com, for example, provides its customers with recommendations based on their previous purchases. LastFm collects your playlists and provides you with recommendations based on your profile.

What sets MusicStrands apart from the competition is the fact that “MyStrands is the only system that recommends based on what you play, that provides with instant recommendations,” Aldamiz-echevarria said.

“The songs you are playing now represents your context,” said Matthew McLaughlin, a 2005 OSU graduate and vice president of product innovation for the company. In fact, MusicStrands offers two types of recommendations. MyStrands offers instant recommendations based on your current mood and the latest songs you played, while the Web site gives you recommendations on your complete profile.

What if your tastes do not fit mainstream standards? MusicStrands places a lot of emphasis on independent music. The MusicStrands Indy program enables artists to get profiled for free in the system by including information on their music and letting them add links to hear their songs.

“It is not based on advertising, it is based on how they play,” McLaughlin said.


Older Entries