Get the most from your limited data connection

When you’re on a limited data internet connection, make sure every megabyte  really counts.  Some providers will charge you for going over,  while others will slow your internet down to an unusable rate.

Disable Plugins

Many websites include embedded Flash content, often for videos or advertisements. This Flash content can be fairly large in size. To prevent Flash content from loading, you can turn on the click-to-play plugin feature in your browser. When you access a page containing content that needs plugins – usually Flash or something else – you will see a placeholder. Click the placeholder and the content will download and play.

Disable Images

The image size on most websites today are a lot better than websites in the past but they still do take up a lot of bandwidth.   You should disable image usage from automatically loading.  Understand that some sites you may visit are image heavy, so this will cause the site your browsing to look strange.

Limiting browser updates

While it is recommended to always keep your browser up to date, you don’t want the browser to start updating when you need the data most for something else.  You should disable browser updates, but ensure that you perform the updates manually on a regular basis.

Limit general updates

To ensure that the computer does not download a new update when it’s not convenient to you, set Windows Update to prompt you to download updates and not download them automatically. (Open the Windows Update control panel and click Change Settings.)

Disable or Manual sync, Sky Drive, Google Drive, Drop Box, etc.

You should also look into your other data applications such as Sky Drive, Google Drive, Drop Box, etc.  Disable automatic syncing, but you will need to run syncing when you need that system.

Final thoughts

You can disable many other functions such as your antivirus, but some functions you want to keep active in spite of the data consumption needs.  You can leave the functions you disabled until you have a faster or more data available.  You should at least once every 30 days go to a public site such as the library to allow your system to get all the updates that you missed because everything was disabled.

Seeking Tech Advisory Board Members

Help guide Seattle’s digital future.

The City of Seattle is looking for volunteers to join the Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB). We welcome diversity. You do not need to be a techie to care about Seattle’s digital future. The 10-member board and its committees help guide city strategies and investments in information and communication technology.  We are currently looking to fill at least 3 positions. This a great experience and a chance to learn a lot about government, information and communication technology, new trends and new tech…and help make a difference. Learn more about the positions.

Applications are being accepted through December 4th, 2015.  Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume in either Word or PDF to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov.  Must live or work in the City of Seattle.  For questions or more information, email communitytechnology@seattle.gov or call Vicky Yuki at 206-233-7877.

City rolls out innovative privacy program

The City of Seattle is implementing its groundbreaking Privacy Initiative by distributing a toolkit to City departments on how to incorporate these principles into daily operations.

“Seattle is leading the nation to implement a comprehensive privacy program across all City departments,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Our privacy principles are designed to protect individual privacy while still providing government transparency.”

The Privacy Toolkit will provide guidelines for how each department will implement a privacy assessment. Departments will also identify a privacy champion who will work with a privacy manager at the Department of Information Technology.

“This is a game changer in how we operate and do business to ensure we uphold the highest standard for your privacy,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “We have come up with the right balance of transparency, accountability and flexibility.”

The privacy principles and the toolkit were created by an interdepartmental team comprised of more than 10 departments and an external Privacy Advisory Committee comprised of community members and privacy experts from private industry, law firms, privacy advocates and academia. The mayor’s budget for 2016 includes funding for a Chief Privacy Officer for the City who will be charged with implementing the principles.

“This is the first time any city in the country has taken steps to protect the public’s private information whenever possible,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This groundbreaking toolkit will help City employees think proactively about potential privacy implications with regards to any data or personal information we collect in the course of regular City business or when evaluating a new policy or program,”

In November 2014, the City launched its Privacy Initiative, led by the Seattle Police Department and Department of Information Technology. The initiative defined how the City collects, uses, and disposes of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy. For more information on the City’s Privacy Initiative, go here.

Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish its own privacy principles to protect personal information. City partners and vendors are instructed to follow the same guidelines.

More rights for Seattle’s cable customers

Spread the word! Cable customers in Seattle have additional rights under the City’s Cable Customer Bill of Rights (CCBOR). The Office of Cable Communications (OCC) has a new leaflet to help alert cable customers to their rights, and it is available in the following 13 languages:

  • Amharic
  • Cambodian
  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Oromo
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Tigrinya
  • Vietnamese

If you would like a batch of any of these foreign language leaflets to share with your community group, just contact the OCC at (206) 684-8498 or use our online request system at seattle.gov/cable request form.

Why is the CCBOR important? Because it sets standards for cable providers in the areas of:

  • Courtesy
  • Accessibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Services for Customers with Disabilities
  • Safety, Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Credits to Customers for poor service

A cable television discount is also available to seniors, residents with disabilities, and low income residents. Seattle residents who qualify for the City’s Utility Discount Program also qualify for a cable TV discount. Contact Seattle’s Office of Cable Communications for more information on the CCBOR, the cable discount program, or other cable issues at (206) 684-8498, or use the online request form at seattle.gov/cable request form.

Social Justice Hackathon November 6 at Seattle University

At least 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor and two-thirds of the legal needs of middle income Americans are not met. Seattle University’s Social Justice Hackathon will unite the legal and tech communities to create innovative solutions to American access to justice.  We’re looking for projects that seek to eliminate the gap between those who need civil legal services and those who provide legal resources. Participants include developers, designers, lawyers, law students, business developers, “idea people,” or anything in-between!  Teams can work on a project of their own interest or select from any number of problems suggested by our community partners. Ideas of all sorts are accepted, from Web and Mobile Apps to Wearables and Algorithms.

Read more and register here.

Neighborhood Matching Fund Small Sparks Fund

Neighborhood Matching Fund Small Sparks Fund: Provides funds of up to $1000 to support community members in becoming civically engaged. Projects must demonstrate a capacity to build a stronger and healthier community and:

  • Provide a public benefit and be free and open to the public;
  • Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the community;
  • Demonstrate a community match of volunteer labor, donated professional services or materials, and/or cash.

Due: Ongoing

Public Hearing – Comcast Cable Franchise Renewal

Are you interested in the renewal of Comcast’s Seattle cable franchise? Here are some ways you can participate in the public hearing process and provide comments on the proposed legislation to approve the franchise (Council Bill 118549):

  • Attend the public hearing on Thursday, November 12th at 2:00 pm (location: Seattle City Hall).
  • Watch the public hearing live at 2:00pm on The Seattle Channel (Channel 21) or via the Seattle Channel website: Seattle Channel live
  • Watch the recorded public hearing later on The Seattle Channel website: Seattle Channel Recent Event Videos
  • Email comments on the proposed franchise to Councilmember Bruce Harrell (harrell@seattle.gov) or all Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov.
  • Send comments to Councilmember Bruce Harrell, City of Seattle Legislative Department, PO Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025

Written comments on the proposed ordinance will be accepted until 5:00 pm on November 30, 2015.

Questions regarding the public hearing process should be directed to Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s office by calling (206) 684-8804.

For other information related to the Comcast cable franchise renewal, visit the Office of Cable Communications Franchise Renewal page or call them at (206) 684-8498.