Network neutrality decision underscores importance of community owned networks

In a decision announced a few hours ago, the DC Circuit of Appeals has largely ruled against the Open Internet, or network neutrality. These are rules established by the Federal Communications Commission to prevent massive ISPs like Comcast and AT&T from degrading or blocking access to certain sites on the Internet. Decision here [pdf]. Continue Reading

Minnesota Cyber Security Summit: We need to do more – it could be a new MN industry

Last week I attended the Cyber Security Summit in downtown Minneapolis. It’s a big event hosting lots of corporate and public security experts. I started to take full notes and realized that much of the detail was probably too much for most of the BoB readers (and me)!. So I decided to report back on highlights and broad swaths instead. Continue Reading

Ideas + Collaboration = Solutions at CityCampMN and Hackathon

If the mayhem in Our Nation’s Capitol does nothing else it does inspire one to face and possibly solve the problems right here at home – the little stuff that makes a difference in our daily lives, the sorts of challenges that people of good can and will work together to solve. Civic-minded activists who see the possibilities in technology should seize the chance to participate in these related projects set for Saturday-Sunday, November 9 and 10. Continue Reading

Digital divide: External resources needed to help teens with technology needs

Amidst shelves of books at Rondo Community Outreach Library in St. Paul, a group of patrons has its eyes fastened to glowing computer screens. It is a scene set in neutrals, with white tables and beige pillars, but the surroundings are not the focus. The snapping of keys and clicking of mice fills the open space as people work and play in this oasis of technology, absorbed in the pixels on their screens.Colorful elastics adorn the wrist of 15-year-old Donquala Patterson, who rests her hand next to a keyboard as she clicks calmly across her screen. A resident of the Rondo neighborhood, she doesn’t have a computer at home and uses one at the library once a week “to look for jobs.”Plenty of young people come in simply to use the public computers, but the library also offers other opportunities just for teens. Continue Reading

Minneapolis candidates 2013: Assessing their access agenda

Open Twin Cities ( is an assemblage of local hackers with a timely cause – to harness technology for the public good. The group involves geeks, hackers, public employees and activists willing to put their technological expertise – and political influence – on the line to make change happen. Their current initiative falls into the latter category and meets one of the group’s goals: to “lead a public discussion on open data and civic technology.” Continue Reading

Technology ‘time suck’: Putting down devices is hard, but some are trying to find balance

With a cell phone, you hold your life in your hand. Phone numbers, passwords, to-do lists and the picture from the time you posed with the cutest guy in school.But phones can also be a huge distraction. You’re sitting across from your friend having a heart-to-heart. Instead of looking into your eyes, she’s looking at her phone, laughing at the text her boyfriend sent.“Hello,” you say. “You getting this?”“I am, I am. Continue Reading