Recently in On the News Category

I was happy to see this article show up on CNET today. It talks about some new projects OneEconomy is deploying using Meraki's mesh technology:

"With other wireless gear you needed a technician to set up and maintain the network," he said. "But Meraki access points just plug in and work. And the online dashboard allows Web-based monitoring that's simple to use," [says David McConnell, senior vice president of access service at OneEconomy].

The reduced equipment and maintenance costs mean that OneEconomy can serve more low-income families. OneEconomy can also pass on the savings to the individuals it serves, reducing the cost of its broadband service by about 75 percent. This means that instead of charging $20 or $30 for Internet service, the group is able to charge low-income residents only $5 or $7 per month for service.

I also liked this part at the bottom:

While Meraki's mission is not necessarily to bring broadband to low-income people, the inexpensive and easy to use nature of its products make it an ideal partner for organizations, such as OneEconomy, that are trying to bridge the digital divide. And as the new presidential administration takes office and plans for universal broadband access take shape, Meraki could find itself being used in even more communities to provide low-cost broadband access.
Woop woop! We're ready when you are, Mr. President.
...when this is what you see when you log in to Mint.

Movers & ShakersCall your brokers. Immobile and limp funds FTW!


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Senator Barack Obama Accepts the Democratic Nomination at Invesco Field Obey Obama A mosaic of people YES WE CAN! Barack Obama Poster, New York Obama in Birmingham Button Obama cookie That One Lincoln/Obama NOPE CAN OBAMA WIN AND BE THE NEXT US PRESIDENT? That One Home Sweet Home | Hope Sweet Hope Top 250 words spoken at 1st Obama-McCain presidential candidate debate Vote McCain crazy about Obama's butt?

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Today's the day. Hope for change.
My favorite contract on Intrade right now is "Sarah Palin to be withdrawn as Republican VP nominee/candidate before 2008 presidential election". Not in a mean-spirited way, but I think the data trends are fascinating. Here's a graph of the lifetime of the contract:
Palin Contract You can see where the price dropped because of her well-received convention speech, and how the price has steadily doubled as her gaucheries were uncovered by Katie Couric. So it's no surprise I'm going to be glued to this site during tomorrow's debate to see how the market reacts her performance.

The following graph should update over time as new data becomes available. You can reload this page to see new numbers, or visit Intrade's site for more info. And let me know if you decide to buy some shares!
Price for Sarah Palin to be withdrawn as Republican VP nominee/candidate at

Not Just Me

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Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo:

It seems like McCain's decision to parachute into the bailout negotiations has finally brought about consensus.
It lacks the creativity of "Alan Greenspantern", but I'm partial.
Is it me, or does this strike you as an odd juxtaposition?

NYT: Day of ChaosMaybe they're laughing at McCain's promise to swoop in and fix everything, like a modern day Frankenstein hybrid of Alan Greenspan and Superman. Or perhaps more appropriately, Green Lantern. Alan Greenspantern, to the rescue!
Great article from Tom Friedman today:

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology -- fossil fuels -- rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology -- renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution -- on the eve of PCs and the Internet -- is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. "Typewriters, baby, typewriters."

NYT columnists aren't allowed to endorse presidential candidates, but Friedman comes closer than I've ever seen before. And although I think swing voters care more about the ability to bring change than a candidate's unflinching nerves, this column raises a good point: what use is the willingness to fearlessly exert power if there's no power to exert?
Unfortunate news in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

BART is becoming so popular during peak commute hours that agency officials are looking at charging patrons more to ride trains, park in its lots and use certain stations when demand is highest.

The idea is to spread use of the system more evenly throughout the day.

Only so many people can fit onto the trains, flow through the stations or find space at station parking lots, said Kenya Wheeler, BART senior planner. And while BART can currently accommodate all the passengers traveling through its system, heavy use during peak hours is pushing the system near its limits.

Timely public transit helps those who can't afford or are otherwise unable to drive, but for the moment let's focus on San Francisco's desire to reduce car use inside the city. It's my understanding that most public transportation systems run frequently, even when dramatically under-capacity, in the hopes that availability will encourage adoption. Running empty busses is a burden on taxpayers, but reducing their numbers to the point where they're nominally full would make the system unusably infrequent. You're left with a loss-leader until ridership increases to consume your minimum running capacity, at which point you scale the system to meet demand, both in terms of speed and possible destinations. And this makes you happy because public transit gets better without increasing the tax burden.

That's why this doesn't make any sense to me. Is BART saying they can't scale to meet demand? A combination of high gas prices, road congestion, and concern over global warming and air quality has created the perfect storm of public transportation adoption. If the trains are too full then run more trains. If the ticket machines are overwhelmed then encourage TransLink cards. And if the parking lots are full then charge more for parking, but also run cheaper, more frequent busses to/from BART terminals.

Driving sucks and people are starting to get it. Don't fight it. Embrace it.
Meraki is in the news again, this time for its partnerships with local cafes to expand Free the Net coverage throughout the city:

For the past several months, Meraki has offered to send free wireless mesh routers to anyone who's within range of the mesh and willing to slap one of the devices in their window or on their roof.

Meraki pays for the connection to the Internet, and you pay for the paltry 3 watts of power that the router consumes. A small price to pay to help turn SF into a place where you can stroll around and freely access the Internet wherever you are, right?

Meraki's latest bid to expand the size of their mesh is a promotion aimed at the city's coffee houses, many of which now pay for Internet access to keep their latte drinkers online and, presumably, poised to order refills.

In exchange for putting a Meraki router into their premises, SF cafes get to dump their Internet access bill, quit worrying about maintaining their networks, and benefit from some free advertising in the little gray bar that appears atop Web pages served through the Meraki network.

My tests indicate nodes only take 2 watts, but otherwise the reporter has his facts straight. Ask your favorite caffeine-monger to complete this form to add Meraki to the menu. Every node added will strengthen the mesh and bring closer the goal of ubiquitous free WiFi for all San Franciscans.

They Have My Vote

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This just popped up on my news feed

George W. Bush Sewage Plant Initiative Makes It On the Ballot as Prop. R

Just as France presented the Statue of Liberty as its gift to the nation, the citizens of San Francisco may now bestow their own special gift to the country by renaming our award winning waste water treatment plant in honor of outgoing President George W Bush. We think this is a fitting memorial for a truly outstanding Commander-in-Chief.

They should have called it "Prop #2".
When I worked for Apple they gave every employee The Ideavirus by Seth Godin. I hope they accept his critiques about the recent iPhone 3G rollout. From the article:

Principle 1: Use the internet to form a queue. If you have a scarce product, you almost certainly know it's scarce in advance. Instead of taxing customers by wasting their time, reward the early shoppers by taking orders online. A month before sale date, for example, tell them it's coming. If you sell out before ship date, that's great, because next time people will be even quicker to order when they hear about what you've got. (And you can do this in the real world, too--postcards with numbers or even playing cards work just fine.)

A hot band that regularly sells out on the road, for example, could put a VIP serial number inside every CD or t-shirt they sell. Use that to pre-order your tix.
My roommate Mike had a similar idea, basically to enroll through iTunes and print an iPhone "boarding pass" at home. It would still solve the unlocker problem, plus you wouldn't have people who schlep themselves to the store only to find they can't buy the phone for whatever reason.
Just came across this article from The Wag detailing how Gavin Newsom brokered our stolen passwords back to safe hands. Two points need to be made here. First, how awesome is our mayor? And second, although I don't sympathize with the guy in jail, I love how he "forgot" an important component as a checksafe that Gavin delivered it as he requested. Sounds like something out of a Mission Impossible movie.

For more on Newsom check out this interview he did last week at Netroots Nation. I had no clue he was such a policy wonk. I'm only recently following him but he seems like a reasonable guy.
I didn't know tree-sitters got the G4 channel. From today's Daily Cal

A few hours after a message was posted on a community activism Web site, asking for a "ninja" to accept a "mission" to reinforce the dwindling tree-sitter population-someone accepted the challenge.

My favorite part of the article comes later:

Last week four of the seven remaining protesters descended from the grove, including the outspoken "Dumpster Muffin." Jeff brings the tree-sitter count back to four.

I thought I knew some crazy kids at Cal. Apparently I'm way out of my league.

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