What's Hot!

Seattle Tech Advisory Board selects new officers, committees

At the December meeting of the City of Seattle Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, the members elected Nourisha Wells as Board Chair and Joneil Custodio to be the Vice Chair for 2015. The Board and City staff thanked the 2014 Chair Ben Krokower and 1st Vice Chair Dana Lewis. Both will be continuing to work with committees in 2015. The Board also thanked retiring members Rob Dolin, Brian Hsi, Stacey Wedlake and Daniel Hoang for their valuable service to the residents of Seattle.  Read more about the new and current members here: seattle.gov/cttab

The Board members also selected committees they will serve on in 2015 and initial committee chairs:

e-Government: Nourisha Wells (chair), Joneil Custodio, Jose Vasquez
Digital Inclusion: Ben Krokower (Chair), Joneil Custodio, Jose Vasquez, Dana Lewis, and Sarah Trowbridge
Broadband & Cable: Sarah Trowbridge (Chair), Beryl Fernandes, past members Brian Hsi and Daniel Hoang
Privacy: Beryl Fernandes (Chair), Ben Krokower, and Nourisha Wells

Follow CTTAB and the exciting work they do here: cttab.seattle.gov/feed/


Get Online Jobs available in Chinese and Spanish

Get Online Jobs and the Internet is now available in Chinese and Spanish.  This is an expanded format that also includes how you can manage your online presence as you prepare and search for work.  If you are interested in receiving copies of these brochures, please contact Vicky Yuki at (206) 233-7877 or by email at vicky.yuki@seattle.gov.

You can also preview the content on our site at seattle.gov/getonline.

Video: Low cost broadband for $10 per month

Did you know that there are four providers in Seattle that offer $10 per month home Internet?  We  want to everyone who is qualified to take advantage of these discounted opportunities available in Seattle and have produced a public service announcement to let you know what your options are.  Watch this PSA to learn more.


The Seattle Public Library rolls out new computer resources for public workstations

The Seattle Public Library is expanding technology access and learning resources for Library patrons. All Library locations now offer upgraded workstations, full access to Microsoft Windows and relaxed permissions for patrons.

  • More applications – The Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere and more, is now available on all public workstations. Microsoft Office applications are still available as well.
  • Full access to Microsoft Windows – Library computers now look and act just like a “normal” Windows computer. Computer users have full access to built-in software applications, accessories and functions.
  • More permissions – Library patrons now have the ability to download and install applications during their computer-use session. All computers are restored to a default state after a session ends.

Learn more about the Library’s public computers at http://spl.org/computers. Library patrons can use their Library card to reserve a computer for up to 90 minutes a day at http://spl.org/reserveacomputer.

Not only does the Library offer great technology, but it also teaches people how to use it. The Library teaches computer classes, provides access through Microsoft IT Academy to hundreds of online courses and preparation for Microsoft Certification exams, and more:

  • The Safari Book Collection at http://spl.org/safari has thousands of free electronic books on a variety of technical topics for both beginners and experts. The Library has more than 100 titles for Adobe Photoshop at http://spl.org/photoshop.
  • Library workstations have access to Lynda.com technology instructional videos at http://spl.org/lynda, which includes full courses on software products as well as tutorials on specific topics like “Logo Design Techniques,” “Product Photography for Jewelry,” “Working with Camera RAW Files,” and “Creating Aircraft Profiles Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.”

For more information, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.

Get Online Jobs available in Spanish

Get Online Jobs & the Internet is now available in Spanish, with a Chinese language version available later this month.  An expanded version of its English counterpart, this brochure includes tips and resources for managing your online presence as you prepare for your online job search.  The brochure also includes information on low-cost Internet, affordable computers, and where you can get on the Internet for free.  If you are interested in handing these brochures out to your clients, please email Vicky Yuki at vicky.yuki@seattle.gov, or by phone at 206-233-7877.  Visit Seattle.gov/GetOnline for more information about our online education campaign.

Inside/Out privacy show premieres

The city of Seattle has launched a new privacy initiative intended to show the public how the city collects and uses data. Can the city maintain the public trust while embracing new technologies to use data more effectively?

The Seattle Channel’s City Inside/Out Privacy show premiered on Friday, November 14.  It includes a four-person panel and several set up interviews, and Chief Technical Officer Michael Mattmiller, Council Members Harrell and O’Brien, and Robert Feldstein of the Mayor’s Office. See it here.

Watch public broadband forum with Chris Mitchell

The video of the talk by Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, presented in Seattle in October, is now available online. He discussed the realistic feasibility of a municipally-owned broadband network that delivers high-speed Internet access. This event was sponsored by the City of Seattle’s Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) and Brown Paper Tickets, with support from the Department of Information Technology. Watch the Community Broadband Forum here.

Seattle Channel wins national Excellence in Government Programming award

Seattle Channel was named the best municipal television station in the nation when it received the prestigious Excellence in Government Programming award from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) at the group’s annual meeting held in St. Paul, Minnesota in early October.

Additionally, the City-operated station won eight programming awards for its variety of public affairs, arts and community coverage.

NATOA honors excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by local government agencies. This year, NATOA received 720 entries submitted in 64 categories by local governments across the country.

This is Seattle Channel’s fifth NATOA win in eight years for programming excellence. Seattle Channel competed against other government-access TV stations with budgets over $1 million. The station was recognized with the top government-programming award in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

If you have a story idea for the Seattle Channel, contact Lori Patrick at 206-733-9764.

Here is a listing of Seattle Channel’s 2014 NATOA awards:

Excellence in Government Programming

First Place 
Interview/Talk Show: City Inside/Out – Human Trafficking

Election Coverage: City Inside/Out – Council Race: Bagshaw vs. Bellomio

Arts and Entertainment: Art Zone with Nancy Guppy – Casey Curran

Public Education: CityStream –  Alongthe Duwamish

Public Service Announcement: Seattle Channel Mobile App

Second Place
Arts and Entertainment: Art Zone with Nancy Guppy – Jade Solomon Curtis

Public Health: CityStream – Food Action Plan

Honorable Mention
Visual Arts: Art Zone with Nancy Guppy Calendar

CityStream: homeless tech owner teaches street skills for success

Seattle is a city known for its innovation. There are so many start-up businesses around town than you can keep track. But we all know that with every new enterprise, there is high risk and a need for real persistence just to survive. Where do you find that skill set? Well, as producer Jeff Gentes explains, it exists in one place here in Seattle–one place that you’d never think to look: CityStream: Homeless Tech Owner

Is your Comcast home Internet modem a public hotspot?

Over the years, Comcast has been developing an enhanced service feature for Internet customers called Xfinity WiFi.  This is a WiFi network comprised of three different types of “hotspots” that allow Internet customers (with Performance tier or above) to connect to Comcast Internet service, at no additional cost, even when away from home.

To create this network for customers, Comcast has deployed:

  • Outdoor Hotspots: WiFi hotspots in public locations across the country, ranging from shopping centers and commuter stations to parks, sporting venues, beaches and boardwalks.
  • Business Hotspots: Most Comcast Business Internet customers are eligible to receive a free Xfinity WiFi hotspot when they order service, allowing them to offer Internet access to their customers. Examples of businesses include restaurants, cafés and bakeries, retail establishments and office waiting rooms.
  • Neighborhood [or “Home”] Hotspots: Comcast has more recently begun providing residential customers with Arris Touchstone Telephony Wireless Gateway Modems with the ability to have a second “xfinitywifi” signal in their home which serves as a public access point. The Arris Wireless Gateways are an all-in-one device that combines a customer’s wireless router, cable modem and voice adapter.

The last type, Home Hotspots, began rolling out in the Seattle area earlier this year. They show up as “xfinitywifi” on your network list and allow Internet customers to log in to their Comcast account and use the hotspots.  For smartphone users, this means you could use your Comcast account as another source of free WiFi service, helping reduce your use of cellular data plan minutes.

While many customers will be happy for the increased internet access when traveling around Seattle, many customers are not sure they like the idea of having their home modem used as a public hotspot on this Xfinity WiFi Network.  To help you understand how Home Hotspots will work, here are some important details from Comcast:

  • The Arris Wireless Gateway Modems are capable of serving as Home Hotspot. If you don’t have this type of device, or if you purchased your own modem, then your modem cannot serve as a Home Hotspot.
  • If you have an Arris Wireless Gateway modem/router combo, but are using your own WiFi router, the Comcast device won’t broadcast the free hotspot.
  • You can always opt out of hosting a Home Hotspot (details provided below).
  • The Home Hotspot modem/router devices are designed with two internal antennae. One provides a private channel for the customer, and the other provides a public hotspot channel.
  • Each of the channels has its own data speed cap. The private channel provides whatever speed a customer already pays to get (most have 25 Megabits per second). The public hotspot channel is given 15 Mbps and allows up to five people to connect at a time.

Outsiders using the public antenna channel never get access to a customer’s private, password-protected home network channel.

Outsiders using the public antenna channel must log in to the Comcast network.  All activity on the public channel is separate from the home channel, and separately associated with the customer that logged into the public channel.

The broadband connection to your home should be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature. Comcast says they have provisioned the feature to support robust usage, and therefore, they anticipate minimal impact to the in-home WiFi network.

  • Comcast’s Home Hotspot are an opt-out.  If you have one of Comcast’s Arris Modems and don’t want to host a public Wi-Fi hotspot, you can turn it off.  Here’s how:
  • Log into your Comcast account page at comcast.com.
  • Click on Users & Preferences.
  • Look for a heading on the page for “Service Address.” Below your address, click the link that reads “Manage Xfinity WiFi.”
  • Click the button for “Disable Xfinity Wifi Home Hotspot.”
  • Click Save.

Note that this ‘Disable Xfinity Wifi Home Hotspot” will only work once the hotspot is already live on your router.

  • If you opt out of hosting a Home Hotspot, you can still use others’ Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots with your Comcast login.
  • Whenever you receive a new or different WiFi router from Comcast, for your added security it is a good idea to change the admin passwords for the router from the generic one that Comcast installs.  For information on how to change the password, visit Comcast.com “Change the Login and Password on Your Router” or call Comcast at (800) 266-2278.

In addition to providing this WiFi service to customers, Comcast is also currently allowing non-customers limited use of it with two options:

  • Limited Free Trial: At select XFINITY WiFi hotspot locations, visitors are allowed two 60-minute complimentary sessions per month. You must wait 24 hours between sessions.
  • XFINITY WiFi Access Pass: Use XFINITY WiFi for an hour, a day or a week by purchasing an XFINITY WiFi Access Pass. XFINITY WiFi Access Passes are not available in all locations.

If you are a Comcast Internet customer and not sure if your modem/router might be a Home Hotspot, contact Comcast customer service at (800) 266-2278.  For a current Xfinity WiFi Network coverage map and more information about the service, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi.

Seattle cable customers should also always be aware of the consumer protections they have under Seattle’s unique Cable Customer Bill of Rights (CCBOR). You can read the CCBOR at www.seattle.gov/cable/2001_Bill_of_Rights.htm. You can also contact Seattle’s Office of Cable Communications with questions or complaints on the 24-hour Cable Line at 206-684-8498.