[wirelesstoronto-news] Wireless Toronto news, summer 2009

Gabe Sawhney gabe at pwd.ca
Sun Jul 26 18:53:33 EDT 2009


Hi everyone!

It's been a while since we sent out an update on what Wireless Toronto has
been up to.  So here goes:

1) Milestones
2) New hotspots
3) BIG on Bloor
4) Open-mesh deployments
5) InSite Toronto
6) Yonge-Dundas community portal page project
7) Solar prototyping
8) In the news
9) About Wireless Toronto

---

1) Milestones

This summer, Wireless Toronto hit two big milestones: our 4th anniversary,
and 20,000 users.  Here's a blog post about it:
http://wirelesstoronto.ca/blog/2009/06/09/wireless-toronto-celebrates-4-years-of-community-wi-fi-with-20000th-user/


2) New hotspots

We've launched three new hotspots so far this summer, bringing the total up
to 36.  The new ones are Grapefruit Moon, East Side Mario's on Front St.,
and the new Fox & Fiddle on Wellesley.  A map of all our hotspots is here:
http://auth.wirelesstoronto.ca/hotspots_map.php


3) BIG on Bloor

On June 20th, Bloor Street West closed for a giant street festival, and
Wireless Toronto was there.  Despite it being a very rainy day, we sold
t-shirts and buttons, and set up a six access-point network, covering Bloor
from Ossington to Dovercourt.  Photos here:
http://wirelesstoronto.ca/blog/2009/06/22/big-on-bloor-2009/


4) Open-mesh deployments

We've been experimenting over the past year or so with the open-mesh
networking platform (open-mesh.com).  This summer we converted to of our
hotspots to this system, to help us get better coverage.  The results so far
have been great: the network at Yonge-Dundas Square and at Dufferin Grove
Park are both now way stronger than they were with the previous system.
We're continuing to experiment with the platform -- if you're in Toronto and
working with open-mesh, or are interested in checking it out, introduce
yourself on the "discuss" list!


5) InSite Toronto

Wireless Toronto is happy to be working with the art collective Year Zero
One on a new public art project, In-Site Toronto.

In-Site Toronto will be a collection of site-specific art presented on the
portal pages of wifi hotspots in the Wireless Toronto network. Once the
project is developed, the current start page that Wireless Toronto users see
when they log in will be a platform to showcase newly-commissioned media
art. The project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and will
feature work by six prominent Toronto-based artists.  Production begins this
August, and the exhibition will begin in early 2010.  The works that the
artists will develop will range from video, audio, web work, a series of
still images, interactive work, games, and more. Each project will have a
conceptual link to the hotspot that it inhabits, making the connection to
Toronto's public spaces far more than just a mere presentation platform.
In-Site Toronto is curated by Michelle Kasprzak, and was piloted in Montreal
a few years ago.

The kick-off meeting for In-Site Toronto will be held on August 28th.
Wireless Toronto volunteers are welcome to get involved!  Please email Gabe
(gabe at wirelesstoronto.ca) if you're interested.


6) Yonge-Dundas community portal page project

As part of the recent expansion of the Yonge-Dundas Square hotspot, we're
working on building a new community portal page for that hotspot.  We've
been dreaming for years about our ideal community portal page (or "location
portal"), which would feature location-based information pulled from
geo-aware APIs, along with social media features.  These days there are lots
of APIs available for making this happen, so we're going to give it another
shot this August.  If you're interested in helping out, please post in the
"discuss" list!


7) Solar prototyping

Another project we'll be working on this summer/fall is building a solar
wifi mesh node.  There are commercial ones on the market, but it'd be fun to
build our own prototype, publish the specs online, and see if we can keep it
running through the winter.  If you'd like to participate, email Gabe (
gabe at wirelesstoronto.ca).


8) In the news

There's been some buzz in the past few months about the possibility of free
wifi in Toronto public housing.  Matt Hartley wrote a good article about it
in The Globe and Mail, and interviewed Gabe from Wireless Toronto:
http://wirelesstoronto.ca/blog/2009/06/06/globe-and-mail-free-my-wifi/


9) About Wireless Toronto

Wireless Toronto is a non-profit all-volunteer group, dedicated to the
growth of no-cost wireless Internet access in Toronto's public and publicly
accessible spaces. Wireless Toronto is equally dedicated to exploring how
technology can be used to build community in interesting and innovative
ways.  Since the group's founding in May 2005, our volunteers have set up
dozens of hotspots across the GTA. A good place to start finding out more
about Wireless Toronto is by checking the group's blog at
wirelesstoronto.ca/blog and by joining our e-mail lists:
    Wirelesstoronto-news (announcements only)
    Wirelesstoronto-discuss (discussion, normally low volume)
Subscribe at: http://wirelesstoronto.ca/wt_email_lists.php

Wireless Toronto welcomes individuals, collaborative partners and community
groups to contact us, attend one of our monthly meetings, join our
discussion list, and get involved in expanding free wireless in all of
Toronto's  neighbourhoods.

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wirelesstoronto
Fan us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WirelessToronto
Read our blog: http://wirelesstoronto.ca/blog/
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