Windows 7 vs Windows 8

With Windows XP coming to an end, you may be wondering operating system is best. Both Windows 7 and 8 will be supported by Microsoft until after 2020, but both operating systems’ user interfaces are  different from each other and from Windows XP.

Windows 7: Having installed this operating system in a computer lab, I have found that it’s easier to administrate, as most of the functions are not hidden.  The layout closely resembles that of Windows XP and it is best for network of computers like a computer lab.

Windows 8: This OS has a tile format like cell phones.  This is helpful if you want to use a touch screen monitor.  Using a touch screen monitor is best use if your plan us to have just a KIOSK type computer lab where users click on web pages or graphics and where there will be no true data entry such as typing.

I would recommend  Windows 7 for your lab, even though it is the older of the two systems.  Most users will be comfortable with the layout and it would be easier for you to manage, even if the user has used other products like Linux or MAC.

In either case, when you choose an operating system for your lab or network, you should choose the “professional” or better version of the operating system.  The home version, which comes with most computers, have limited network networking functionality.  If you plan to have a server in your network, then you must have the professional version.

Save the dates: making video game art and public iFEST games expo

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The Academy for Interactive Entertainment, located in the Armory at Seattle Center, has a couple of great opportunities to learn more about game art, game company careers and new games being developed in our area. There are two free interactive events there March 22, and a large event on May 3.

Saturday, March 22, is Interactive Experience Day. Tom Steinke, Owner of DigitalDNA Games, will speak about his career in creating video game art and there will be hands-on activities from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.  See more.

Saturday, May 3, is iFEST, a free festival for the public to try-out new independent games and an opportunity for local indie game makers to show off their games.  It’s free, but you should pre-register.  See more and register.

Learn to code at Code.org

Code.org is a Seattle-based  non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and under-represented students of color. Recently, on Code.org’s one year anniversary, two milestones were reached: one billion lines of code were written by students, and a drag-and-drop Flappy Bird tutorial was released.

The learn code tutorial is fun and easy, and a great way to introduce someone you know to coding.

Code.org has a number of free, online tutorials for all ages. See learn.code.org to find out more.

Priorities for the Citizens Telecommunications & Technology Advisory Board


Robert Feldstein, the Director of the City’s new Office of Policy and Innovation, and Legislative Assistant Vinh Tang from Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s office attended the February Citizens Telecommunications & Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) meeting. Both shared their priorities for the year, which CTTAB will use to develop their 2014 work plan.

Watch the video here.

Share your input on the Comcast franchise renewal

Seattle’s cable franchise with Comcast expires on January 1, 2016. To prepare for renewing this franchise, the City is starting a community needs assessment process. This assessment will help determine the future needs and interests a new cable TV franchise might be able to meet. Why is this important? Cable franchises typically last ten years, meaning a new one for Comcast will likely last until 2026.

What are some examples of cable-related needs met by the current franchise?

  • Television channels for public access and educational programming.
  • Low-income cable discounts.
  • Funding for arts programming.
  • Funding for youth civic and digital engagement.
  • Technical grants for computers and equipment.
  • Free broadband connections to qualified nonprofit organizations.

Community participation is key

Having a broad range of community input for the renewal process will support City efforts to protect the rights and interests of Seattle residents and cable subscribers during franchise negotiations. You can help by participating in several ways:

Community meetings and telephone survey work is expected to begin later this spring (April-May 2014). A meeting schedule will be posted on the Office of Cable Communications (OCC) Renewal webpage at the end of March. The OCC website is also a great place to learn more about Seattle’s Cable Customer Bill of Rights. Check it out online, or call the Office of Cable Communications at 206-684-8498.

Lake City computer lab expands its reach

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Participant at the Lake City Computer Lab

The North Seattle Family Center, a program of  Children’s Home Society of Washington, successfully completed a yearlong Technology Matching Fund grant to expand the computer lab at Seattle Housing Authority’s Lake City Court Apartments. The $18,000 in project funds helped 228 low-income and vulnerable residents in North Seattle gain technology access and skills.

Serving a greater diversity  

The project added adaptive equipment to the computer lab, which increased access for individuals with disabilities. Staff also configured the computers to support language capabilities for 35 different languages, including those most commonly found in North Seattle. Participants acquired English language skills through the use of software and internet-based education resources, improving their communication skills in the workplace, the home and in the community. In addition, many  participants received employment readiness training, providing them with technology skills relevant to today’s workplace and increasing their employment opportunities. They also added youth services and open lab time.

Collaboration was key to strong programs

According to Program Manager Ann Fuller, “Collaborating with partnering programs has been key to our lab.” Over the course of the project they worked with Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Public Library, the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens, the Literacy Council of Seattle, the City of Seattle’s Health Access program, Techno-Formation Vocational Services (an organization focused on Somali women, youth, and elders), and the University of Washington. Bringing youth and adults together led to development of projects connected with activities in the lab, including working with the North District Council to add a basketball pick-up court and developing a pea patch plot for families using the lab.

Success providing access to services and building community connections   

The project’s greatest success was in providing computer and internet access to people who cannot afford or don’t know how to use these services. “So many things are based on computer knowledge and internet access, that children and families are being left behind and missing out on opportunities in business, schools and healthcare,” said Fuller. “We work with people who do not know those services are available, or don’t have the skills to use them.”

Another key outcome was building trust with members of the community. The staff at the lab helped build a trusting relationship by teaching computer use step-by-step and troubleshooting problems. Staff often referred individuals to the center’s family advocacy services for more assistance. Providing Seattle Housing Authority youth with a safe, fun, educational place to be has been another very positive outcome. Youth now come for assistance with not only homework, but also when other challenges face them at home and at school.

For more information on the project contact Ann Fuller at annf@chs-wa.org, or call North Seattle Family Center at 206-364-7930.

Critical vulnerability in Apple iOS and OS X

The City of Seattle’s Office of Information Security is recommending Apple users immediately update their iPhones and iPads to versions 7.0.6 or 6.1.6, preferably using a non-public network, after Apple announced a major vulnerability allowing hackers to intercept and alter communications.

Apple has not released any patches yet for OS X, so Mac users should avoid using public networks, a step that can thwart many criminal eavesdroppers.

To patch your iOS device(s):

  • Run “Software Update“ from your device’s “settings” menu – OR –
  • Connect your device to your personal computer, open iTunes, select the device you just connected, and click the “Check for update” button.

Read more on our TechTalk blog: here.