­making-things-talk.JPGNew York, June 30, 2009 - ­Th­e New York City Council is considering a legislative proposal, Intro. 991, that would improve public access to “raw data” held in city databases. Yesterday, in testimony before its Technology in Government Committee, headed by Council Member Gale Brewer, Connecting.nyc Inc. urged the use of the .nyc TLD in facilitating access and management of city databases.

In essence, we urged that the city think of a database as a thing, similar to a bench, a tree, a light post, or fire hydrant. And that a .nyc domain name be assigned to each database. The great thing about giving a domain name to each database (or other “thing”) is that you can then have a conversation about that database.

For example, think about the police department’s crimes database, and let’s take Mayor Bloomberg’s lead and call it “­crimes.data.nyc.” By giving it an intuitive name - http:/ /www.crimes.data.nyc - ­you facilitate the work of ­programmers, but you also create a market place for that database. So at the crimes.data.nyc­­ URL you would find: ­

  • a detailed description of the data,
  • a link to download the raw data,
  • an ongoing conversation of how it “might” be used if only this or that was changed or added,
  • comments and possibly a discussion by people who object to it containing too much information,
  • a suggestion that a particular field should require privacy access­,
  • notations and links to the different apps where the data has been used, and

  • ­a civic advocate / entrepreneur match program for locating people with similar interests and a desire to jointly develop apps based on the crimes.data.nyc ­data set.

Learn more about this and see our council testimony.  (Commons Photo courtesy of equinoxefr.)­

Learn more about the Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­

­­­neighborhood.JPGJackson Hts., June 15, 2009 - The discussion on the development of New York City’s dotNeighborhoods will continue on June 24, 6-8 PM at the Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 E. 11 Street. The following items are on the agenda:

  • Guest Speaker (to be confirmed)
  • Business Models - How neighborhood.nyc sites get started and maintained.
  • The Oversight / Institutional Structure – Leadi­ng prospects for the trustee role.
  • Technology - Blogs, wikis, networking…
  • Inclusion – Ways to engage those involved with face-2-face and extant neighborhood blogs, with this overlay.

See our dotNeighborhoods wiki page for the report from this and our previous meetings.­

That’s Wednesday, June 24, 6-8 PM @ 232 East 11th­ Street. We have 20 seats so please RSVP to tom@connectingnyc.org. (Commons Photo courtesy of sporkwrapper.)­

Learn more about the Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­


NTIA-logo.JPGJackson Hts., NY, June 10, 2009 - Earlier this week Connecting.nyc Inc. filed comments with the NTIA on the role of cities within the ICANN governance structure. We recommended opening two governance channels to facilitate cities’ participation in ICANN processes:

  • Technical Participation - Through membership on the extant Registry Constituency enabling city registry operators to participate in the technical management of the DNS.
  • Representative Participation - Through access to a new channel enabling “representation of cities within the ICANN’s executive decision level.”

See our On the Participation of Cities in the ICANN Processes wiki page for our NTIA comment and related information.

Learn more about the Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed June 9th, 2009 under City-TLDs, NTIA, Education, Governance

­­­wales-long-town-name.JPGAs a “nation of immigrants” the story about the ancestor who came to this country and changed his name is a familiar one. It wasn’t that people lost pride in their personal histories, cultures, or languages. Or that something magical happened as they passed through an American port. Many didn’t have a choice, as Anglicization was the standard practice at Ellis Island.­

These days we have become spoiled as it sometimes seems the entire world speaks English - at least on the Internet. Our tongues never get the exercise a foreign language provides. Complicated sound combinations stick in our throats. Those with difficult names have the choice to either anglicize or have their names butchered. ­To some there’s even a prestige in being like actors and authors who commonly change their names. The idea is to fit it and not be judged. I’ve never met anyone who changed his or her name and was bitter.

In the world of the Internet, names are an issue but for different reasons. A good .com is very prestigious but nowadays expensive. And names are getting longer and longer with many .com URLs the length of a sentence. Sometimes they may be easy to remember, but typing them is difficult and error prone. Those selling the sometimes shorter .org URLs want everyone to think of them as creating a better, warmer place - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLg4o5no1pM

But get ready New York for short, descriptive, and memorable .nyc domain names that say “Hey, I’m from New York City!” The current estimate is that they’ll arrive in late 2010 or early 2011.

­(Commons photo of  sign with long town name courtesy of diluvienne.) 

Link to Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki pages.

Filed June 2nd, 2009 under Hannah Kopelman, City-TLDs, Domain Names

accountability.JPGJackson Hts., New York, June 1, 2009 - I attended the 59th Sidney Hillman Foundation awards ceremony honoring journalists, writers, and public figures whose work fosters social and economic justice last Wednesday. It was a most exhilarating evening, with the recipients having made significant contributions to our awareness of the world around us.

Reflecting the times, Bruce Raynor, president of the Hillman Foundation and the evening’s moderator, at one point bemoaned the seeming demise of our nation’s daily newspapers and asked “How will those communities exist without the ongoing contributions of those fine journalists?”

Living with about 100,000 other residents in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City, where we’ve never known the luxury of a daily newspaper (nor a TV or radio station) focused on our problems and the opportunities before us, I can provide at least a partial answer to Mr. Raynor:

  • All too often they’ll have to wait for a disaster to occur before anyone pays attention to a local problem.
  • Local communication will be very slow and incomplete, with word of mouth assuming a more important role.
  • Community memory will be short, incomplete, and inaccurate.
  • Election processes will be ineffective as they’ll have few mechanisms for reporting on activities, issues, and assessing accountability. 
  • Faith in government and the governance processes will diminish as will the quality of life.

With the rise of the Net and the broad demise of the traditional newspaper industry, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a printed daily in Jackson Heights or in any of our city’s other neighborhoods. Perhaps there’s the germ of a new media in our  dotNeighborhoods and Issue-Communities efforts that might enable useful citizen reporting and accountability mechanisms. But for the moment, sans a new business model, the ability of either to conjure up quality journalism remains elusive.

However, Mr. Raynor did perhaps provide one part of the answer when he announced the Sidneys “a new monthly award for an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism from a newspaper, magazine, web site, or any broadcast outlet. The award citation will come with $500 and a bottle of union-made wine.”

We’ll be scheduling another meeting on dotNeighborhoods later this month where this issue will be on the agenda. (Commons photo courtesy johncarney.) 

Link to Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki pages.