Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Michael Jackson Wants 50-Foot Robot Of Him To Zap Vegas Police (Partly Kidding)

Yep. Only partly kidding. But the part about the 50-foot Michael Jackson Robot is true. The laser beam part of the story is true to. But let's face it, what's a robot going to do with laser beams?

Where are those beams going to aim?


Don't you think Michael Jackson's taste for authority is a little poor these days? What better way to keep the cops away from him than to have his giant robot zap a squad car or two?

Think about it.

My main question is will the robot have Michael's Black skin, or his bleached White skin?


This is a special notice. Please pass it on to anyone in NYC.

Hello All,

This is just a quick reminder. Hope to see you there!


Sponsored by the Office of Council Member Gale A. Brewer (CD 6 – Manhattan), the Office of the Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Community College and the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will hold its first public hearing on Friday, March 30, from 10 am to Noon, in the Gould Memorial Library Auditorium, Bronx Community College, University Avenue at W. 181st Street.

For detailed directions via subway and by car and a full list of Committee members (along with their bios), go to the unofficial website of the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee:


Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and Bronx Community College President Carolyn Williams will all make opening remarks. The Committee will then hear testimony from members of the general public, including concerned citizens and senior citizens from Bronx senior centers. After the official testimony period, anyone from the audience is invited -- and encouraged -- to speak.

The next public hearing is tentatively scheduled for mid-May in downtown Brooklyn.

If you cannot make it to the hearing on March 30, we still want to hear from you! You can comment about the issue of broadband in New York City by going to the Advisory Committee's blog (see above). Comments will then be posted on the Committee's blog for public consumption. Or you can mail any questions or comments to Colleen Pagter, Policy Analyst for the Committee on Technology in Government, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

Forwarding and posting information about the March 30th event and the Broadband Advisory Committee is strongly encouraged!


Our friend, Craig Newmark, was nice enough to post something about the Bronx hearing on his own blog:


Informationweek did a quick story on Friday's hearing last week.

New Yorkers Want To Stay On Right Side Of Digital Divide



From Bob Atkinson of Columbia's CITI ...

Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) & New York Telecommunications Reliability Advisory Council (NYTRAC) Present:
Telecommunications Reliability in the Information Capital of the World
May 17, 2007
Columbia University, New York

New York City depends on its telecommunications infrastructure. High quality, high speed and highly reliable telecommunications services are the lifeblood of the financial services, media, advertising and software industries. The City's government has become information-centric, using telecommunications to deliver critical municipal services to citizens. Thousands of New Yorkers work for web-based businesses, delivering services to clients around the world, and thousands more telecommute regularly.

Is New York's telecommunications infrastructure up to the challenge - is it reliable enough to support an information-dependent economy and society? Could it be more reliable? Are users willing to pay for an ultra-reliable infrastructure? Could network operators provide such a network, and what would it cost? What can (and should) government do to help? These questions are not just relevant to New York. As the United States becomes increasingly dependent on reliable telecommunications, the experience and lessons learned in New York will be applicable across the country.

CITI and NYTRAC are organizing a full-day conference at Columbia University to examine these and other questions. Expert representatives of major users, suppliers of telecom services and all levels of government will ask and answer the critical questions surrounding telecommunications reliability in New York.

Additional details will be posted on the CITI and NYTRAC websites, or for more information, please contact John Heywood , CITI's Assistant Director, by email or at 212-854-4222.


Wi-Fi Hotspot Survey

Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to fill out the WiFi Hotspot Survey that is being conducted by Laura Forlano, a graduate student in Communications at Columbia University. With your help, Laura has received nearly 500 responses and has decided to extend the survey until the end of April. In addition, groups around the world in cities including Montreal, Budapest and Berlin have expressed interest in running the survey in their communities. If you have not yet responded to the survey, you can take it at: The survey takes about ten minutes to complete. Participants will be entered into a drawing for an iPod or a $300 donation to a charity of your choice. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Laura Forlano at


About the New York City Council's Committee on Technology in Government

The primary goals of the Committee on Technology in Government are: (1) to expand digital equality by increasing access to broadband in underserved communities in New York City (2) to increase the strategic use of technology in government, thereby increasing efficiency in government and enhancing the quality of public services and (3) to promote the openness and transparency of government by making sure that public information is accessible to every New York City resident. Through its ability to hold oversight hearings over City agencies and to introduce and hear legislation, the Committee on Technology in Government works to achieve its goals in partnership with the private, public and nonprofit sectors. More information about the Committee and the Chair of the Committee, Council Member Gale A. Brewer, can be found at the following link:


All Committee briefing papers from the current session (beginning in January 2004) are also available through this link. If you know of people who would be interested in the Committee on Technology in Government's activities, please feel free to forward this e-mail to them. If you know of anyone who would like to receive these e-mails, just have them e-mail me. I will put them on the list. Finally, feel free to post this information on any listserve you may belong to or on any website you are affiliated with. If you do not want to receive these e-mails anymore, please e-mail me, and I will take you off the list immediately.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our hearings!

Bruce Lai

Bruce Lai
Chief of Staff
Office of Council Member Gale A. Brewer
New York City Council
250 Broadway, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10007
City Hall: 212.788.6975
Cell: 347.563.1295
District Office: 212.873.0282
Fax: 212.513.7717

Kathy Sierra Death Threats | Outlaw Anonymous Bloggers And YouTube's Fells7

Kathy Sierra's a well-known blogger who was to appear at San Diego's ETech conference, but as she reports , she's not. Instead she's...

" home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I've been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that's not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs... blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you've probably heard of. People like respected Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Chris Locke (aka Rageboy)."

Whom ever has written the death threats and for what reason, are both unknown. I observe that this kind of activity, where people get online and behind the cover of the Internet express there most hostile beliefs and desires, should be outlawed. It should be a Federal offense to either use someone elses name or hide your real identity online.

When I was a newspaper columnist, we had a rule that letters to the editor that could not be identified did not get published. When I started blogging I was taken aback at the racist hate that's written and more often than not by a person who doens't give their real name, but something like "fells7" (who's on YouTube and who makes no videos of his own, but takes time to spread hate text on YouTube like at the Chris Rock Video from SNL , and has NOTHING but Nazi-sympathy videos on his channel!! The police should watch this person.)

I took up a rule that I was not going to permit anonymous responses to SBS' blogs or video responses. It was just too much to take.

Now, if someone uses a name can I trust that it's actually their real name? No. I can't. But my experience is that 90 percent of the time the person does uses the same name they present in their own blogs. Now, if we can just take care of the other 10 percent, life would be grand.

But for now, life is not grand for Kathy Sierra. She writes:

I do not want to be part of a culture--the Blogosphere--where this is considered acceptable. Where the price for being a blogger is kevlar-coated skin and daughters who are tough enough to not have their "widdy biddy sensibilities offended" when they see their own mother Photoshopped into nothing more than an objectified sexual orifice, possibly suffocated as part of some sexual fetish. (And of course all coming on the heels of more explicit threats)

I do not want to be part of a culture where this is done not by some random person, but by some of the most respected people in the tech blogging world. People linked to by A-listers like Doc Searls, a co-author of Chris Locke. I do not want to be part of a culture of such hypocrisy where Jeneane Sessum can be a prominent member of blogher, a speaker at industry conferences, an outspoken advocate for women's rights, and at the same time celebrate and encourage a site like meankids -- where objectification of women is taken to a level that makes plain old porn seem quaintly sweet.

(Of course, Frank and Jeneane are among the people who make outraged posts about the lack of female speakers at tech conferences. If THIS is what a woman has to put up with for having visibility in the tech world...)

Most of all, I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn't make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat... it's the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It's the threat that makes you question whether that "anonymous" person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

It's the threat that causes fear.

It's the threat that leads you to a psychiatrist and tranquilizers just so you can sleep without repeating the endless loop of your death by:

* throat slitting
* hanging
* suffocation
and don't forget the sexual part...

I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

I am afraid to leave my yard.

I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

To all of you were meant to be at my tutorial today at ETech, or my keynote tomorrow, you have my deepest apologies. If you want to do something about it--do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this "social commentary", "protected speech", or simply "criticism". I would never be for censoring speech--these people can say all the misogynistic, vile, tasteless things they like--but we must preserve that line where words and images become threats of violence. Freedom of speech--however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.

I deeply appreciate all the support y'all have given me here. It really sucks that so few can do so much damage.

I have no idea if I'll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.

I wish Kathy would not go into hiding. That's exactly what any anonymous blogger wants to have happen. Instead, they should go to jail.