September 2012

Touchstones: Rainier Beach

Interurban Rail StopTouchstones: A Walking Tour of Rainier Beach is a neighborhood project that reveals the history, heritage and people of one of Seattle’s most unique neighborhoods. The inaugural tour will take place during the Rainier Beach Art Walk on Saturday, September 15. Participants should gather at 11:00 a.m. at the Neighborcare Lobby at 9245 Rainier Avenue South for this free, docent led tour.

Rainier Beach is frequently lauded as one of the nation’s most diverse places. By selecting a wide range of locations for the tour, the project organizers were able to highlight what makes the Rainier Beach Neighborhood unique. The 15 locations along the tour include many surprises like an empty parking lot, a Buddhist temple, an urban farm, a donut shop, and an historic rail station. It also includes places you’d expect to see on a neighborhood tour like parks, libraries, community centers, schools and the light rail station. Timely information about the activities hosted in these spaces is meant to encourage even more community participation.

Touchstones combines emerging technologies with the art of storytelling. At each Touchstones site, there is a sticker with a quick response bar code (QR code). During docent led tours, participants can borrow an iPod Touch and access free Wi-Fi to learn about each location. During self-guided tours, participants can use their own smart phones to snap a picture of the QR code, take a self portrait, and send their reflections about the tour to the project organizers. Pictures, videos and memories will be shared on the project website.

Touchstones was made possible through the leadership of neighborhood residents and Seattle organizations. Members of the Touchstones working group included the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Great City, Rainier Beach Moving Forward and SEED, with support from the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology. As part of the Technology Matching Fund, Feet First partnered up with the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition to work with the Citizen Journalists of SE Seattle FreedomNet, a group of high school aged youth that created videos about Touchstone locations. Local small business Penniless Projects and Alex Hayden Photography also supported the project.

For more information about the project, please contact Cheryl dos Remedios.

Comcast Digital Transition Alert

Do you have an older television and subscribe to Comcast’s Limited Basic cable service? Comcast will be making a change that may impact your ability to view certain channels.

The change will result from Comcast making a final switch to having all digital signals, which means converting all remaining analog channels to digital format. After the change, older (non-digital) televisions will no longer be able to view some cable channels (roughly channels 2-30, 72-79, and 95-99) without having a Digital Transport Adapter.

For customers with televisions needing a digital adapter, Comcast will provide up to three (3) digital adaptors at no additional monthly cost. To get the equipment, you need to contact them now or call (877) 634-4434.

For Seattle area cable customers, this digital transition is expected to happen in early 2013. Comcast will alert customers before the change occurs however, using the following methods.

  • Each customer will receive a letter between 45-60 days prior to their neighborhood moving to all-digital.
  • A second letter will be sent 30 days prior to the transition.
  • Customers will receive a phone call 15 days prior to the switch.

For more detailed information on this digital transition, visit Comcast’s overview of the effort, or contact the City’s Office of Cable Communications at (206) 684-8498.

Six Hundred Voices

Six hundred students will be heard a little better this year, thanks to new software and training provided through the Adobe Youth Voices program. Adobe is greatly expanding their program in Seattle and across the world in areas where Adobe has a corporate presence. Twenty Seattle area schools, community centers and non-profits were selected to receive new project based curriculum, training and a stipend for instructors, software, mentoring, and student materials. Each site will reach at least 30 students during the school year. Reel Grrls is managing the program for Adobe here, and the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology helped them to select participating sites, in part to leverage the City Community Technology program grantees. Reel Grrls recently hosted an exciting kickoff training for instructors at the new SIFF space at Seattle Center. Look for some great videos and visual arts pieces coming from students this year. Their works will be posted on the international AYV site and show during the Seattle International Film Festival. See a full list of the sites and more at TechTalk.seattle.gov.

WAVE/Broadstripe Internet Only? Check Your Account

If you are a Wave (formerly Broadstripe) Internet-only customer, read on. This may apply to you.

Under Broadstripe’s service packages, customers who wanted Internet-only service were automatically coded to receive limited basic cable television service as well, at no additional cost. However, under Wave’s account structure, an Internet-only service option is available and it is not packaged with limited basic cable television service.

During the account transition from Broadstripe to Wave, this difference has resulted in some Broadstripe customers – who only use the Internet service – now also being charged for limited basic cable television service or a “Seattle TV Station Fee.”

If you fall into this category and do not want or use the basic cable television service packaged into your original Broadstripe account, contact Wave customer service at (800) 829-2225 and be sure your account is updated to reflect the Internet-only service. It could save you money!

Register To Vote Online

Not registered to vote? You can do it online. If you live in King County, go here to register or update your registration. Facebook also offers an easy way to register to vote. In the Facebook search engine, search for Register to Vote, and follow the instructions.

Applications or updates must be postmarked or submitted no later than the Monday four weeks before Election Day. (RCW 29A.08.140)

If you are not currently registered in Washington state, you can register in person at the King County Elections Office or the King County Voter Registration Annex until the Monday one week before Election Day. (RCW 29A.08.140)

If you are registered to vote but miss the deadline to update your address, you can still vote. Contact the King County Elections Office to obtain a ballot.

Passwords: How to Remember Them

In today’s world, our passwords have gotten more complex requiring special characters, being long to very long. These changes all help our data to stay safe and secure. The problem? Remembering what goes where. I find myself often trying to use systems’ “forgot password option” to retrieve or create a new password because I don’t remember if the web site has some sort of password policy that changes once every ten minutes or what the password was.

Here are some tips to remembering your password:

Have a strong password in mind for places where you are not the administrator and their password systems don’t change. You will need to know their password policy before you use this password or simply start off with this password and if you’re prompted to change, then do one of the next items.

Have a strong password in mind for places where you are not the administrator and their password systems do change. In this, to remember your password use the same thing but change the beginning or end with a number/letter sequence such as “H@ppy0901.” Take the word “happy” and make the first letter capitalized, with the vowels being a special character. then at the end, put in the current month and first day of the month. This covers most strong password needs. You have a capital letter, special character, and numbers and when the password changes it will be a number within the last three months, making it easier to remember.

If you have a password need and you are the administrator, you can follow one of the two above options but make sure your password format is different for systems in which you have admin rights.

Every now and then you will have a system that requires a different style of password requirements, such as it does not support special characters. My suggestion is to use a program like Last Pass to help with remembering your passwords.

Agree or disagree with me? Drop me a note: Derrick Hall.

Tech Soup

Here is a link to tools and techniques to help organizations prevent and combat common security threats such as malware, phishing scams, privacy breaches, and more, from our friends at Tech Soup. You will find articles, forum threads, news items, and vendor-specific advice for securing your computers and protecting your organization.

By following basic security guidelines, your organization will save time and money by ensuring that resources are spent not on recovering your hard drive or deleting spam, but on your constituents and your mission.

For more security tips, check out the techtalk blog.

TurboVote

TurboVote As part of Google’s Politics and Elections portal, people can use the TurboVote platform to begin the process of registering to vote, vote by mail and also sign-up for reminders to vote by SMS or email. From the Knight Foundation blog.