dotNYC-broken-logo.jpg Jackson Heights, New York, June 13, 2011 - At least one ICANN-accredited registrar, United Domains, is offering what it calls “Free nTLD pre-registration” with .nyc domain names included in the offer. So if you go to that offer page and indicate a desired .nyc domain name - news.nyc, sports.nyc, weather.nyc, etc. - you’ll be able to reserve that name within the United Domain’s database, and when .nyc names become available through a completed ICANN application process, the considerable resources of United will assist you in acquiring the entered name. Several thousand names have already been “reserved.” United estimates the availability of “some” top-level domains by October 2012.

While United Domains pre-registration service is free and non-binding, the North American Regional At Large Organization, part of the ICANN governance ecology, is concerned that “the offer of such a service could create artificial demand…” Today it posted a comment for review on its wiki expressing concerns with the process. We concur with those concerns and today added our two cents on that ICANN site as follows:

In the instance of New York City, I can imagine pre-registrations becoming a matter of civic disruption. For example, imagine small businesses predicating their business plans on the availability of .nyc domain names as implied in these pre-registration offers. I start gearing up to offer weather.nyc. And my sister-in-law hears of this new opportunity and “reserves” crochet.nyc. And Andy at Pizza Boy hears us jabbering and says he has a new chain of local pizza shops planned and this would fit in perfectly with his city-wide delivery plan. And on and on into the thousands.

Next the city starts to take a serious look at the social, economic, cultural, and civic impact of .nyc and realizes that such a review will take some time. With cities acting in glacial time rather than Internet time, this could lead to many thousands of disappointed “pre-registrants.”

Now imagine a candidate for mayor, let’s say Anthony Weiner - an advanced Internet user - sees this disgruntled group of pre-registrants as a political resource that can become a plank in his campaign, “Elect me mayor and on the first day in office I’ll sign off on .nyc - NO DELAY!”

With the ICANN having offered zero, zip, nada, guidance for cities looking into this once-in-an-Internet opportunity, I can see this as the winning proposition. “There’s no evidence to show that city TLDs are other than revenue generating.” “Our small businesses need it NOW.” “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” “Other cities are going to get a jump on us.” Etc.

More thoughtful candidates will be left to argue for the benefits of infrastructure. ~ Mayor Weiner.

Thomas Lowenhaupt, Founding Director

Connecting.nyc Inc.

Having presented the broad advantages that can arise from a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD for over 10 years, we are all too aware of the difficulty of selling .nyc as the city’s new digital infrastructure. (See our 159 wiki chapters.) And with ICANN preparing to approve the Application Guidebook for new TLDs at its Singapore meeting on June 20, immediate action is required.

Unless the city or ICANN act quickly to create a period of reflection and a planning process for .nyc (find our recommendations here), this one opportunity to weave this wonder of modernity to strengthen our 400 year old city will be lost. Our opportunity to create an intuitive city with a sustainable .nyc TLD will be lost. And what could be a force for thought, deliberation and uniting, and for establishing New York as a trustworthy center for digital commerce, as imagined in Queens Community Board 3’s April 2001 Internet Empowerment Resolution, will become a shattered dream.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Hyper-Public-conference-logo.0.jpgJackson Heights, New York, May 25, 2011 - On June 10 we’ll be participating in a most important conference: Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World. For a glimmer into the corporate world’s concerns about the issues to be addressed, read this email  responding to an inquiry by Google’s founder Larry Page:

“I cannot stress enough how important Google’s wifi location database is to our Android and mobile product strategy,” Google location service product manager Steve Lee wrote. “We absolutely do care about this … because we need wifi data collection in order to maintain and improve our wifi location service.”

Or imagine - as Google and Apple and Microsoft and Verizon and AT&T and VISA and Master Card are doing - what it will be like as we are identified in public spaces, with our mobile buzzing and beeping us about nearby marketing “deals.” And beyond marketing, there are a multitude of civic and livability issues necessitating our corralling this new technology, as hinted at in the event’s official description:

Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity. (See conference details here.)

One can fantasize about rejecting the new tech, but to do so will have consequence equivalent to rejecting credit cards or EZPass. (See Opt-Out Google.) But the reality is that our primary communication device is moving into our pockets, and if we don’t get involved with that object’s design, we’ll be little more than an audience.

There’s no indication the conference will be streamed, but if you’ve got questions or suggestions, post them below or email our director. In the days after the conference we’ll conduct a long overdue update of our wiki’s privacy and security and community and trust pages. Stay connected.

[NOTE: Circumstances precluded our attendance at the event.]

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

MIT.jpgCambridge, Massachusetts, April 8, 2011 - Thomas Lowenhaupt, Connecting.nyc Inc.’s founding director, presented a paper at the April 8, 2011 UrbanTech Conference at MIT. The conference was sponsored by the Department of Urban Studies as Planning (DUSP). The paper, City Top Level Domains as Urban Infrastructure, reviewed the ways a thoughtfully developed city-TLD can be instituted as digital infrastructure. See the presentation report.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

dotNYC-CB-3-Presentation-1-20-11-Tom-Lowenhaupt.jpgEast Elmhurst, New York, January 21, 2011 - Connecting.nyc Inc.’s director Tom Lowenhaupt last night provided a progress report to Queens Community Board 3 on its Internet Empowerment Resolution. He touched on highlights from the ten years since the Board adopted the Resolution on April 19, 2001: the early progress, the 9/11 down years, the formation of the not-for-profit he leads, ICANN’s adoption of a New TLD Policy that included cities, and city government’s partial acceptance of the board’s recommendation for .nyc’s operation as a public interest resource.

Mr. Lowenhaupt explained that his organization’s focus today is on gaining the city administration’s full support for treating the .nyc TLD as the city’s digital infrastructure, and for its development in the public interest. To highlight the benefits from this approach, his organization recently entered into a collaboration with Wikimedia-NY and the Internet Society-NY on a NYCwiki.org website that will highlight the possibilities by developing the neighborhoods name-set. “By demonstrating the benefits of this one name-set we expect the full utility of our approach will become apparent” he stated. 

The NYCwiki.org site’s goal is the creation of a neighborhood information resource through crowdsourcing, wherein residents contribute their memories and hopes for their neighborhoods to a Wikipedia-like site. Later, when the .nyc TLD becomes active, this information will be moved to its permanent website: Corona.nyc, EastElmhurst.nyc, and JacksonHeights.nyc. Calling it a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” he concluded the update stating that “together with communication, outreach, decision-making, and organization layers, these sites offer the promise of providing good local communications to our neighborhoods for the first time ever.” 

After the update Mr. Lowenhaupt introduced Richard Knipel, President of Wikimedia-NY, the local affiliate of the Wikimedia Foundation, the people that bring us Wikipedia. Richard invited experienced wiki editors to begin updating their local neighborhood sites now - see Corona, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights - and invited those desiring training to sign up for free NYCwiki.org page editing sessions to be held at the Langston Hughes Library beginning in February. To sign up for training sessions, email info@connectingnyc.org.

Pictured are Tom Lowenhaupt (standing left) and Richard Knipel, with Board Chair Grace Lawrence seated. (Photo by Eugene Atkins.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

JShift-Day-composit-b.jpgackson Hts., New York, January 17, 2011 - Recall February 2009 and the huge awareness campaign surrounding the transition from traditional analog TV to the new digital TV. Shift Day will celebrate the switch from the first generation .com Internet to the more local, organized, intuitive city-friendly .nyc Internet. 

In preparation for that transition process, New Yorkers will need to be informed about the utility of .nyc and the advantages that will arise from our working together to develop and protect our good name. 

With a thoughtfully introduced .nyc TLD, Shift Day will generate awareness, civic pride, and a willingness to cooperate for the common good. Help us plan it from our Shift Day wiki page. And while there, read the sidebar story from an 1889 Harper’s Weekly on squatting during the Oklahoma Gold Rush, pictured above.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

tern-the-bird.png New York, September 2, 2010 - As the school year opens in this part of the world, my thoughts turn to the returning students, and I dream of reaching those few who might collaborate on our work.

If time allowed, I’d trek up to Columbia University and see if I could recruit a student in the School of International and Public Affairs to look into the impact of city-TLDs on commerce and governance, starting with lessons from the Greek city-states and Hanseatic League. (There’s a PhD thesis in there.)

And I should really head over to Hunter College and see if I can get the Graduate School of Urban Affairs to do a follow-up on the great dotNeighborhoods report they did last year. Or get to NYU’s ITP for someone to imagine the role of a TLD in a location based world (or redo our web presence).

Or perhaps I could send a posting to London to have a student at the School of Economics check my fantasy of a trusted TLD making .nyc a preferred shopping space on the net. Or of the role of a city-TLD as a common pool resource

Locally, I really must get to the local schools and have them begin putting OpenStreetMap.org projects on their agenda, data that will fit nicely on NYCwiki.org

But it’s 95 degrees (35 Celsius) here in NYC and I’m closing shop for the day. A final note: we are very receptive to student proposals of an independent nature.  See ((Intern Opportunities)) for current openings. (CRESTED TERN courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

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CityofWaterDay.jpgGovernors Island, New York, July 24, 2010 - Connecting.nyc Inc. hosted a table at the City of Water Day Festival on Governors Island today. The event, organized by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, is “a day of entertainment, education, and adventure for all to celebrate the potential of our waterfront.”

Our decision to participate in City of Water Day was influenced by two “name” events. The first was reading a New York Times story about a woman complaining that the Bronx River and other city water bodies were either not identified accurately or at all on the new subway map.

The Times story brought to mind a comment that Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry of East Elmhurst made several years ago at a public hearing. A developer had requested the community board’s OK to remove a huge boulder that stood in the way of a proposed new hotel near LaGuardia Airport. Jeffrion, nearly three score at that point, noted that a stream passed the beloved boulder when he was a kid (Killy Pond they called it) into which he and his friends would jump.

These two water-name events led us to think about how city water bodies could be further identified and developed with good domain names, like BronxRiver.nyc. So we set up our table on a most glorious day and asked City of Water Day celebrants on Governors Island to provide names of  city water resources that we might reserve. See our City of Water Names wiki page for the responses we received and where you enter other water names. Of the many names offered, everyone’s favorite was Dead Horse Cove.

If we can think of a more engaging presentation we might again table next year. But it was a gem of an event and those manning the table agreed that more-fun less-work should be the rule for City of Water Day 2011. For example, did you ever think about riding on a fire boat while it shoots its water cannons? City of Water Day provides the opportunity to fulfill such youthful dreams. Look for me on the fire boat next summer.

Filed August 16th, 2010 under GIS, Domain Names, Sustainable Cities, Education

wikineighborhoods-logo-55.JPGNew York, June 19, 2010 - How do you make both historic and current neighborhood information available in New York City? How do you create that information? Who curates and maintains it? These are a few of the questions that will be answered by the WikiNeighborhoods project.

WikiNeighborhoods is a collaboration between Wikimedia New York City, The Internet Society of New York, and Connecting.nyc. It is an extension of our dotNeighborhoods initiative creating content for locally run websites for each of New York City’s neighborhoods. It will test the “wiki model”, as seen in Wikipedia/Wikimedia projects and a growing number of city wiki efforts.

WikiNeighborhoods will collaboratively document New York City’s neighborhoods and provide new avenues of civic cooperation and engagement for city residents. The project will initially develop  resources for 10 neighborhoods, 2 for each of the five boroughs. Project planning is taking place at Wikiversity with initial implementation using a .org domain, e.g., nyc-neighborhoods.org. Finally with .nyc’s activation, the dotNeighborhoods will move to their permanent sites - Astoria.nyc, BrooklynHeights.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, Harlem,nyc. Jackson Heights.nyc, etc.

Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning. It invites teachers, students, and researchers to join in creating open educational resources and collaborative learning communities. 

The Internet Society-NY is the local branch of the global Internet Society, an independent international nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy around the world.

Develop a dotNeighborhood using the wiki method.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page.

Hunter-College.JPGNew York, October 20, 2009 - When Corona.nyc, JacksonHeights.nyc, Melrose.nyc, ParkSlope.nyc,  SoHo.nyc, Tribeca.nyc and 300 other neighborhood names become available upon the activation of the .nyc TLD, how will traditional civic practices be affected? What impact will their activation have on existing digital communication channels? How can we develop policies that assure that these names are used to serve resident needs? What local content should be made available to each dotNeighborhood? What technology should deliver it? Who should publish them? What’s the agreement that assures accountability?

We began focusing on these and related questions on our dotNeighborhood pages earlier this year and have sponsored several public meetings to generate interest and thought on the possibilities.

To further the knowledge base on dotNeighborhoods, Connecting.nyc Inc. recently contracted with the Urban Development Workshop at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Under the able eye of Prof. Jill Simone Gross, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, a research team of Jennifer Dong, Barry Kogan, Matt Leiderman, and Melanie Reyes will detail the digital resources that currently exist within several identified neighborhoods and present the potential benefits that .nyc might offer. Entitled “A Case Study - Neighborhoods in a Digital Era” the report will be completed by year’s end.

Filed October 21st, 2009 under Partner, Neighborhoods, City-TLDs, GIS, Education, Civics, Governance

­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. ­­­

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