dotnyc-logo-3-11-07.jpgJackson Hts., New York, August 22, 2011 - We preach and practice open and transparent. From our earliest days in 2005 the vast majority of our activities have been accessible on our wiki and blog. Today 66 people have editing rights on our wiki. Edit access is easy to come by: click the Join CoActivate button on the top right, and upon responding to an email, you’ll have edit capabilities. (We originally didn’t have email verification, but spammers drove us to lower our openness a notch.) The reversible nature of the wiki technology facilitates openness as real damage from errors or mischief is near impossible. (Please don’t take this as a challenge to  prove me wrong.)

The wiki has become huge over those years with our newest page, iCity, our 184th. Some are quite short, perhaps a 1/2 page of text, with the largest requiring 25 single spaced typed pages.

Following all this can be challenging. The blog notifies about big changes - we’ve made 197 posts - but if you want to follow the nitty-gritty about recently created and updated pages, click the green Contents tab up top for a list of all the pages. The “Last Modified” tab will show what’s been changed in time order. (It’s a bit klutzy and we’re hoping for a one click “Recent Changes” button from our most gracious host, CoActivate.) And to see the page changes, click the History button on top right.

So what’s new? Here are the 11 most recently edited pages: one is a new page, and the others have a mix of minor to major changes:

We’ve listed 11 instead of the typical 10 to draw your attention to our Governance Ecology pages. We’re going to be making some major changes to them over the next few weeks and we’d like more people to join us. They’ll provide the basis for our recommendations for governance of the TLD - perhaps the most critical issue. We’re going to include the latest wrinkles from ICANN on qualifications for a city-TLD as well as a look at the expected “consensus” demonstration criteria expected of IANA.

The .nyc TLD’s future is up to you. Join our resident led endeavor, and contribute your ideas to this most important civic enterprise.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

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Jackson Hts., New York, June 30, 2011 - I split my out-of-office advocacy efforts for .nyc between civic and tech events. Generally I receive a positive reception at civic oriented meetings and a “why bother” at tech events. Last night it was an East Village Tech meetup at d.b.a., a beer garden at 41 1st Avenue. It was a loud space with about 10 picnic style tables with our group of perhaps 25 occupying three of them.

I went to test the salience of the “secrecy story” as a recruitment tool: that is, that inadequate transparency on .nyc’s development precludes sufficient public engagement and endangers the resource’s optimization. Or more viscerally, will residents become enraged upon learning that the .nyc TLD is being divvied up behind closed doors at City Hall?

The first fellow I spoke with was student working for a firm that had just made a bundle selling Tweet Deck, a Twitter add-on. His listened attentively but as I answered a question from another 20ish fellow next to me, moved to another table, either not having understood me or not interested. That second fellow worked for a tech advertising firm. He told me that he’d not entered a domain name in three years and doubted their value, (typical of those under 30). With the event being a geographic East Village tech meeting, I tried drawing upon his civic pride, “Wouldn’t you want to have a role in managing the EastVillage.nyc domain?” He responded with confidence that only corporations could guide the development of a successful digital product. I was about to mention our dotNeighborhood governance approach, the success of Wikipedia and open source when he asked the fellow across the table what he thought, presenting the secrecy aspect with cogency. That fellow responded that corporations are going to get what they want anyhow, so why bother to even try. My neighbor nodded his acquiescence, and so went the evening. 

On a more positive note, I conversed with someone frustrated with the banking system who wanted to create a collaborative financial guidance tool, perhaps a wiki. I thought this was a great idea and agreed to make a connection with the Wikimedia folks. And finally, d.b.a. had a great Brooklyn East India Pale Ale which made the evening a joy. (Ice Cream photo courtesy of Free Photo.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

old-bicycle.jpgJackson Heights, New York, April 30, 2011 - We’re encouraging all neighborhood lovers to participate in our Mapping the Hood biking event on Saturday, May 21, 8 AM to 1 PM. See details.

Mapping the Hood was conceived as a healthful and fun mapping initiative to define and empower New York City’s neighborhoods. To participate, Bikers will activate the My Tracks app on their Android phones, slip the phone in their backpack, circumnavigate their neighborhood (perhaps adding some ID pins of landmarks), them email the My Tracks file to us. (Some other phone and GPS map files are acceptable, see the wiki for details.)

The maps will initially be displayed on NYCwiki.org, our dotNeighborhoods development site. Later, with the activation of the .nyc TLD, they will be used in support of the city’s neighborhoods in sites such as Astoria.nyc, BrooklynHeights.nyc, Chelsea.nyc, Douglaston.nyc, Egbertville, Flatbush.nyc, GreenwichVillage.nyc, HighBridge.nyc…

Bikers are to email their map files to maps@connectingnyc.org and to tweet their accomplishment to @MappingTheHood. You might also invite others and comment on your desired ‘hood on the the Mapping the Hood Facebook page.

For the latest news and details, see our Mapping the Hood wiki page.

Mapping the Hood is part of Transportation Alternatives’ 2011 Bikemonth. See our announcement there as well as other great riding opportunities.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

Filed April 29th, 2011 under Neighborhoods, games, GIS, Civics, Volunteers

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

­toilet-with-phone-and-bird.JPGNew York, February 22­, 2010 - We submitted a somewhat indelicate proposal to the Minds in the Gutter competition on February 15, 2010. The competition was predicated on the following statement:

“Every time it rains in New York City, our combined sewer system gobbles up stormwater running off all hard surfaces - roadways, sidewalks, rooftops and parking lots - into the same network of pipes that carry our sewage. This system quickly reaches capacity, and the stormwater and sewage overflow into local waterways on the order of 27 billion gallons per year. This limits how New Yorkers can safely access the waterfront, and impairs our estuary ecosystem.”

While the competition was looking for solutions to the sewerage overflow problem from the field of civil engineering (e.g., enabling rain water to seep into the gutter and become groundwater), we saw an opportunity to point out how computer engineering could address the problem. Our solution combined a careful Internet of Things development of the toilets.nyc domain name with civic crowdsourcing. With our test project focused on cleaning Flushing Bay, we entitled our proposal The Flushing Community, see it here.

Being non-compliant with a strict reading of the guidelines, we’re hoping for an “outsider” or “best effort” award from S.W.I.M. judges. (Commons images courtesy of Patti Lowenhaupt and S.W.I.M.)

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

idealist-org.0.JPGNew York, January 27, 2010 - One of the better public interest websites is in deep trouble Idealist.org. If you’re not familiar with it take a look now.

Idealist has always been a great place for those looking for help with civic and community issues, for jobs, events, and a lot more. We regularly post notices of our meeting there. Idealist receives most of its income from these job notices and got hit hard by the recession. Today I received a note from Ami Dar, its founder, which said:

“Very briefly, here’s what happened. Over the past ten years, most of our funding has come from the small fees we charge organizations for posting their jobs on Idealist. By September 2008, after years of steady growth, these little drops were covering 70% of our budget.

Then, in October of that year, the financial crisis exploded, many organizations understandably froze their hiring, and from one week to the next our earned income was cut almost in half, leaving us with a hole of more than $100,000 each month.”

If you can help please go to http://www.idealist.org/donate and do so.

Tom Lowenhaupt

Filed January 27th, 2010 under Volunteers

1993-2009.0.JPGNew York, August 28, 2009 - New York City’s voters approved a city charter amendment in 1988 that required publishing a Public Data Directory detailing the city’s “computerized information.”

In 1993 the first, and so far only, edition of the Public Data Directory was published with details of 300 or so databases. In recent weeks we’ve been working with the NYC Open Government Coalition to help make a digital version of the paper Directory available. The thinking is that many of the databases still exist and that this will be a starting point for a more robust detailing of current city databases.

The preponderance of the technology for the conversion was developed by the Transparency Corps, a project of the Sunlight Foundation, and New York City’s civil society catalyst The Open Planning Project.

The multi-step conversion process first scanned the Directory’s 156 pages into digital images. Next, these now digitized “pages” were read by an OCR program (Optical Character Recognition) which converted the digital images into computer readable characters. We’re now on the third step which requires two human inputs: 1.) copy the OCR text and paste it into the appropriate data fields, and 2.) with OCR delivering only 99% accuracy (e.g., it doesn’t do well differentiating a g and a q), after pasting you’ve got to compare if it accurately represents what was in the printed Directory, making any necessary corrections. The correct interpretation is not always obvious so each page is served and interpreted several times with a Levenshtein algorithm deciding on the correct version. The Transparency Corps has added a modicum of pleasure by incorporating a game-like scoring feature.

Visit the site and help make some of the conversions, each takes about 5 minutes. With the small commitment of time, this is an excellent example of an appropriate wiki task. 25% of the tasks were completed as of September 7, 91% on November 1.

When you’re done, go to our Internet of Things page and help imagine ways we might collaborate to wring more benefits out of the city’s databases and other ‘things.’ 

Learn more about .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­

Filed August 28th, 2009 under Volunteers, COPIC, City Agency

­­­New York, January 24, 2009 - How will the arrival of the .nyc TLD change civic communication and the governance structure in New York City? Since 1975 our official “divisioning” has been steady: 1 city, 5 boroughs, 51 council districts, and 59 community districts. To date, the Net has not had an impact. Will it? If so, how and when?

With Connecting.nyc Inc.’s .nyc initiative having evolved from Queens Community Board 3’s 2001 Internet Empowerment Resolution, thinking about the TLD’s role and impact on civic affairs city-by-numbers.0.JPGhas been a constant. Over the past few months, as the probability of the TLDs arrival has grown larger, we’ve begun to focus on the .nyc TLD’s impact on this now 35 year old structure.

Neighborhood domain names have always been seen as valuable civic resources, enabling those amorphous entities to better provide local identify, communication, and broker the effective sharing of local responsibilities and opportunities. We recently created a Traditional Neighborhood Names page to discuss the possibilities and ways we might allocate names such as astoria.nyc, bushwick.nyc, and greenwich-village.nyc, and how we might assure their operation in the interest of local residents.

In early November we submitted an application to the Knight Foundation outlining an entirely new civic structure, something we called Issue-Communities. Using mapping software and social networking tools, Issue-Communities will empower city residents to create narrow communities of interest - “Issue-Communities” - reflecting their concerns. These Issue-Communities can address longstanding local communications deficits and serve as organizing force to focus local concerns.

Recently we began seeing overlaps and parallels in the Traditional Neighborhoods and Issue-Communities projects, and today created a wiki page for thinking through the development of such New Civic Governance Layers. Join us.

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

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June 5, 2008, New York - On Monday morning we’re going to reach out to the public, particularly to city employees, to suggest intuitive .nyc domain names we should reserve to help create a more livable city: names such as mayor.nyc and, dare we say, towed-vehicles.nyc. See the official notice about this and the many other Internet Week events.

Our supporters will be at major city office facilities inviting city employees to send good domain names our way. Everyone’s suggestions are welcomed.

When: June 09, 08:00 AM — 10:00 AM

Where: City Hall … Municipal Building … 250 Broadway

We need volunteers to help man these and possibly other sites - depending upon how many volunteers are available. Email tom@connectingnyc.org if you have a few minutes to spare and want to greet city worker with a smiling face saying, “Got ideas for good city domain names? Check it out. ” and hand them a small piece of paper. Volunteers will receive a free .nyc T-Shirt. (See the event organizing page here.)

Filed June 5th, 2008 under Domain Names, Civics, Volunteers
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