Monday, June 27, 2011

CBAIS - Day One 

Ways and Teachings in Navajo - I attended a workshop this morning on "Engaging Diverse Entrepreneurs in Web 2.0." One of the most interesting take aways in the workshop was a small handout at the end as folks were already leaving the room. The handout focused on the ways of learning and teaching in Diné, the language of the Navajo. The handout points out that in the ways of learning and teaching in Diné, the clan system in important. Diné will introduce themselves by naming his or her clans. The clan relationships demand respect and certain ways of interacting physcially, emotionally and spiritually. In Diné culture, this kinship is utilized to develop special teaching relationships to support the learner.

Story telling is also key Diné teaching tool that serves to united family and community. Stories are told based upon the individual's stage of growth at a particular moment. The story teller will know when to tell the story to make allowances for the difference between the stages of growth. For example, if a child lacks courage and is afraid of certain situations, then it would be the right time to share a story that shows how courage is necessary to live. The story is told with hopes that the child will gain insights. Although some stories are only told at certain times, storytelllng is ongoing in Diné teachings. Most storytellers do not expect to tell a full story overnight, rather is a continual accumulation of stories in a Diné mind that begins to develop the person as an individual and a member of the community. Sometimes, it can take many years before one can see the meaning of the story.

This takes me back to Laura Breeden's presentation earlier in the day. Laura asked us to think back to what we were doing ten years ago. Technology For All was "flying high." We had a national partner in a Fortune 10 corporation -- Enron -- and we had a plan to work with Enron to establish broadband for public computer centers across the U.S. In just a few months that vision (with Enron) was abandoned. We had to ask Ken Lay the CEO of Enron to resign as our board chair and experienced a major loss of funding. The sharing of that story reminded me that it "can take many years before one can see the meaning of the story." We are now understanding the meaning of our story.

This post was written from the "Community Broadband - Adoption and Sustainability Conference" (CBAIS) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Headed to Cleveland 

Several members of the Texas Connects Coalition team will be in Cleveland, Ohio for three days next week for the Community Broadband Conference. I will be bloging from the Conference, so check it out and check it often.
Will Reed

Friday, March 26, 2010


What began as a chance meeting in Monterey, California ten years ago has resulted in personal and digital connections that have advanced wireless research and created opportunities for four young people in a low-income neighborhood to enjoy the NCAA regionals in Houston this weekend.

Yesterday, Technology For All received four tickets by overnight delivery from Colorado. The tickets are for the NCAA regional basketball games this weekend and were received as a donation from a donor I first met by email on Wednesday afternoon. Because of his donation four of the kids that use the computer lab at our office at Mission Milby will be attending the two games tonight (Baylor vs. St. Mary’s and Duke vs. Purdue) and the regional finals on Sunday afternoon. How the donation came to be is a study in the ways that people make connections today. It is different than it used to be.

In 2001 I met Tony Elam, then assistant dean of the Rice School of Engineering, at a meeting we were both attending in Monterey, California. We attended the meeting at the invitation of a company named Enron and its Broadband division. While in California, we struck up a conversation and discovered that we lived very close to each other in Houston and even ate regularly in the same TexMex restaurant. We were connected. In 2003, Technology For All received a small collaborative grant from the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund that provided us the opportunity to install a one gigabit fiber circuit into the Mission Milby building where we office in Houston’s East End.

Fast forward to 2004 when I was drinking coffee at the house one morning and reading the Houston Chronicle newspaper. In the paper that morning I read an article by Eric Berger, who is now the “SciGuy” in the list of Houston Chronicle blogs. The article noted that Rice University had received a National Science Foundation grant with several other major universities across the nation. The grant was to fund research that would someday make it possible for 100 million homes in America to access at least 100 megabits of bandwidth. The article stated that the Rice researchers were going to be studying wireless solutions to the challenge. That intrigued me. The lead scientist on the project was to be a man by the name of Dr. Edward Knightly. I remembered my friend Tony Elam and sent him an online link to the Houston Chronicle article. I asked, “Do you know this professor?”

We corresponded by email and he shared with me that “Ed” Knightly was one of the rising stars at Rice and that he was on sabbatical as a visiting professor at ´Ecole Polytechnique F´ed´erale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. So my friend Tony introduced us by email and early one morning for Ed and late one night for me we talked briefly by phone. I told him that TFA had excess bandwidth (at least 100 megabits) that we would be willing to contribute to his research with the hope that together we could someday provide wireless Internet services to the low-income neighborhood around our office. That phone call began the development of a research relationship and friendship that continues to this day. So today, over 4000 users in the neighborhood around our office are able to access wireless Internet and Rice is able to advance research in the field. To date, over 75 journal articles have been published from research on the project. See the list here.

About two years ago two Rice alums were in Houston for the Rice business plan competition. My friend Ed introduced them to TFA and the collaborative wireless project with Rice because of an interest they had expressed. Ed hosted us and we enjoyed a wonderful meal and conversation at the Back Street Café on Shepherd Drive.

Earlier this week I got a phone call and an email from Cindy, one of the Rice alums. It seems that a friend of theirs had tickets to the NCAA regionals here in Houston. “Would TFA be interested in using them to send some deserving youth to the game.” I quickly said, “Yes!” Cindy put me in touch by email with their friend and this weekend four of our youth will enjoy the games.

Today, these four youth have the world at their fingertips because of the research by Dr. Knightly’s team. What began as a face to face meeting in Monterey, California in 2000 and the reading of a brief article in the print version of the Houston Chronicle way back in 2004 has resulted in digital and personal connections across the country and across the world.

That is the power of connections.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas Connects Coalition 

Technology For All has joined together with Austin Free-Net and the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network to create the Texas Connects coalition. Our goal is to bring broadband technology opportunities to Texas' most vulnerable citizens.

New TFA Website 

We thank Jim Forrest and Holly Hanna for their work on the new TFA website that just went live. We are using DotNetNuke, a content management system built on Microsoft's .Net content management platform. Check it out and let us know what you think. Also be sure to check out our new Facebook page.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thanks to Andy Carvin 

Technology For All thanks Andy Carvin for a great presentation last Friday for our 5th Annual Commmunity Technology Conference. Approximately seventy-five (75) persons were in attendance. Andy led two sessions on "The Rise of Participatory Media" and "Using Web 2.0 to Make a Difference in Your Community." Summaries of Andy's presentations will be online at the TFA web site (www.techforall.org ) and on Andy's site (www.AndyCarvin.com ) sometime in the next few days.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

TFA to Host C4All Conference 

Thursday, December 7, 2006, Technology For All will be hosting with CTCNet (www.ctcnet.org ) a conference aimed at helping community technology centers do a better job of serving persons with disabilities. For more info, go to www.techforall.org .

Friday, September 22, 2006

Technology For All teams up with North Forest ISD 

It was a rainy Saturday morning two weeks ago when Technology For All began delivery of over 900 computers to North Forest ISD. Through our TFA-STARRS program, TFA redeploys corporate technology assets being replaced into communities and neigborhoods that can benefit. TFA is teaming up with the District and SimDesk Technologies to provide computers for schools and for distribution in the homes of students in designated feeder patterns. For about the project check out the article in the Houston Chronicle.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

SimHouston Briefing and Luncheon 

Host: SimHouston and Technology For All

Location: Sheraton Houston Brookhollow Hotel
3000 North Loop West Freeway, Houston, Texas

When: Monday, August 7, 11:00am to 2:00pm

Phone: 713.688.0100 (RSVP)

SimHouston - On-demand Solutions for Population-Wide Computing


Join a select group of Houston's best computer technology organizations for this important technology briefing and complimentary luncheon!

On August 7, 2006, Simdesk Technologies and Technology For All invite you to join us for an important update on SimHouston and the new version 3.4, the most powerful and easy-to-use release of SimHouston to date. Your FREE attendance will provide you with powerful resources and will spark new ideas to improve and sustain CTCs in the greater Houston area.

Your attendance also automatically enters you in a drawing to win an HP Desktop Computer!

Louis Waters
President and CEOSimdesk Technologies, Inc.

Will ReedPresident and CEO
Technology For All

Lou and Will are committed to providing CTCs with the resources and advocacy necessary to bring technology access to underserved communities in the greater Houston area. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

The SimHouston event will provide CTC attendees with…

- Live demonstration of SimHouston version 3.4 including the new Simdesk Tray and S-Drive
- Updates on the SimHouston initiative
- Posters
- CDs
- New User Guides and more!

Please do not miss this important gathering of your peers! Together with SimHouston, CTCs will realize the vision of a world in which all people have equitable access to technology and the skills necessary to use it meaningfully.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Net Neutrality 

One of the issues facing Congress and public policy makers is the issue of "Net Neutrality." The heated debate continues among Internet Service Providers, backbone carriers, Legislators, community technology advocates and a host of others.

Today, on one of the list-serves I participate in, the question was posed "Could someone explain to me why i ( young, black poor male, frequently offline) should really care about net neutrality? I think I understand the arguments and still it seems pointless. "

Andy Carvin's (www.andycarvin.com ) response was helpful and enlightening.

"From the time the Net was created until now, there's been no discrimination against those of us who create content on the Net. Anyone with access has equal right to post new content and execute their own online software - the underlying infrastructure won't discriminate against anyone.
If network neutrality ends, internet providers will be able to discriminate against what content is available to the public. For example, cable ISPs that own their own content streams could decide to block all video bloggers and sites like youtube.com because video takes up more bandwidth and competes with their own service. So they offer high-speed access to multimedia content of their own and their business partners, while slowing down or blocking access to services that refuse to deal with them or pay up. Corporate content gets put in the fast lane, while public media gets put in the slow lane - or blocked entirely.
Imagine if Walmart opened up a store in your town and acquired all the local roads in the process. They could set up roadblocks or tollroads to their competitors, while offering a superhighway directly to their own doorstep. So while the underlying issue is about network discrimination, it translates into ISPs controlling access to content, and restricting free speech and free expression."

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mind Over Media 

Nikki Payne serves as an AmeriCorpsVISTA at TFA through the Community Technology Centers CTCVISTA Project. The project recently created the CTCVISTA Project Digest which chronicles some of the work of CTCVISTAs across the US during the past year.

Much of Nikki's work with Technology For All has been with the "Mind Over Media" program. Through an annonymous grant, Nikki visited digital media programs in South America in early January and instituted the Mind Over Media project at TFA's Mission Milby Community Technology Center.

Much of Nikki's work with the Mind Over Media project is chronicled in a five minute video on the CTCVISTA Project Digest site. Click on the lower right square under the Wall of Video. We are proud of Nikki and the program. At the end of her term, Nikki will be heading to Rice University to begin work on a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Computer Bundle offered by TFA 


Computer Bundle Special Promotion
Community Technology Centers
May 24, 2006

End Date: June 30, 2006*

Cost: $100 per computer bundle

Special Promotion: 2 free computer bundles for every 5 computer bundles purchased

Package includes: Free Dell CPU Computer
(1GHZ, USB, CD-ROM) USB, Mouse/Keyboard)
Windows 2000 Operating System
Anti-virus and Anti-spam software
Adobe Reader
SimDesk software
Power cords
Free Microsoft Office 2003 software (can only be used in a community technology center lab and is not for administrative purposes nor can it be transferred to computers that are used outside of the CTC computer lab).

Make Checks Payable: Technology For All, Inc.

*This special promotion is for a limited time only and is available on a first come first served basis. The offer expires when 100 free computer bundles have been allocated but no later than close of business on June 30, 2006.

Other organizations that do not qualify as a 501(c)(3) organization and/or individuals that are interested in purchasing computer bundles can contact Jim Forrest at 713-454-6413 or email: jim.forrest@techforall.org, for information on upcoming promotions to purchase computer bundles.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

TFA Information for potential donors 

Technology For All recently completed the process of uploading all its financial and other information to DonorEdge, an online resource for donors created by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

DonorEdge is an online resource designed to provide an unmatched level of information about Houston-area nonprofits. Donors have told us that they need more information in order to make informed charitable giving decisions. DonorEdge will provide this information in a format that is readily available and consistently presented.

DonorEdge Online is a powerful online resource to inform, empower and enrich charitable giving in a specific region, benefiting donors, nonprofits and the community at large. This new online tool supports the DonorEdge process, a combination of local hands-on assessments, technology, education, and targeted technical assistance. It captures critical information relating to the organizational and programmatic performance of nonprofits and makes it easily available to donors.

Today’s donors demand detailed and insightful information about local nonprofits to help them make strategic charitable investments and create positive change. Developed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in response to donor needs, DonorEdge provides access to an unmatched wealth of knowledge about local nonprofits, including detailed financial, operational and programmatic measurements. Information is collected through a hands-on interview and profile process by trained Community Foundation professionals and is updated at least once a year.

When implemented on a large-scale basis, this program has the potential to drive impact well beyond the initial organizations and communities included in its database, through the creation of a national center of information on the performance of nonprofits. Such an asset could help an expanded number of philanthropists make informed grant decisions and influence the performance of nonprofit organizations, by making it possible to offer targeted technical assistance based on the nonprofit’s needs and educational opportunities.

The DonorEdge process has three core components:

Profiling nonprofits – Using performance measures and comparable information on hundreds of organizations in a local community, to help philanthropy understand the current capacity needs of nonprofit organizations;
Analyzing nonprofit profiles – Employing 75 organizational indicators to build efficiencies and to identify promising business and mission practices in nonprofits and within the sector; and
Responding to trends – Creating and implementing educational services and technical assistance programs that meet the needs of donors, nonprofits, and the community based on local and national trends gleaned from the data.

For more information go to www.ghcf.org

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Invites you to the monthly CTC BROWN BAG LUNCH and a

With Presenter
Twonda Thompson, Senior Community Liaison
After-School Achievement Program (ASAP)*
City of Houston

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Mission Milby CDC
2220 Broadway
Houston, Texas 77012

The Program
Youth Development & Afterschool Programming
(Ms. Thompson will discuss the ASAP RFP that is currently accepting proposals from Community Organizations)
Seating is limited so reserve space now by contacting Pam Gardner at Technology For All-Houston 713.454.6415 or Pam.Gardner@techforall.org.

Please feel free to bring YOUR brown bag lunch to this event.


12:00 Lunch and Networking

12:15 Welcome and Introductions

12:20 Presentations and Discussion

1:30 Adjournment

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Digital Houston RFP is out 

The City of Houston has issued the RFP for a Wireless Broadband Network and Management Services. Technology For All was a participant in the process of writing and commenting on various sections of the RFP. Section B11 of the RFP addresses community technology services and requests respondents to the RFP to propose solutions to encourage digital inclusion across the City.

TFA encourages community technology practictioners to attend the Tuesday, April 4, 2006 Bidders Conference to support and encourage digital inclusion efforts with potential bidders on the RFP. The conference will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. downtown at 611 Walker in the Garden Level Auditorium.


Almost 2000 Computers 

This week Technology For All received a grant of 1900+ computers from a local corporation through the United Way Gifts in Kind program. The computers will be utilized first to assist and empower our Houston area Community Technology 2.0 sites (http://www.techforall.org/community_technology2.0.html ) where we are focused on building the capacity and effectiveness of CTCs serving Houston Hope (www.houstonhope.org ) neighborhoods. TFA staff and volunteers will be working together over the next few days to develop a plan to fully deploy the PCs into all the neighborhoods we care about. One of those neighborhoods is Pecan Park, the East End neighborhood that surrounds TFA's office. TFA-Wireless provides wireless Internet access in the neighborhood. Many of the computers will be re-deployed through "Learn and Earn" programs with HISD students in the neighborhood. When the plan is finalized we will report back here.

Houston Hurricane Recovery Portal announces Office 

The Joint Hurricane Housing Task Force office is now located on the Katy Freeway. The Disaster Recovery Center on the South Loop is now closed. The Task Force is comprised of City of Houston, Harris County, Housing Authority of the City of Houston, Harris County Housing Authority, Houston Apartment Association, Housing Authority of New Orleans, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and FEMA.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?