Archive for September, 2007

Last Saturday I went to check out the Mid-Autumn Festival organized by Asian Americans United and the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The first time I had heard about this event was several years ago through my involvment with the Detroit Asian Youth Project and our efforts to engage youth with cultural arts and activism. There’s a really dope documentary that tells the story behind the festival that captures the goals to use folk arts to build intergenerational relationships, pass down cultural traditions and build a stronger sense of community.

Walking through Chinatown, there was a wonderful vibe from the festival and the hundreds of young people and families walking around. Continue Reading »

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In trying to get settled in to Philadelphia, one of the first practical things I did was to sign up for internet service.  (How else will I continue to blog? 😉 Philly provided a unique opportunity because of it’s city-wide wireless initiative. For those new to the concept of city-Read up excellent coverage of this on Breitbart’s blog). As a media justice activist and community advocate, Josh’s writings helped me better understand the politics of access to the internet and corporatization of wireless networks.

From what I understand, the story of Wireless Philadelphia has had its compromises, but I thought this would be a good chance to put my dollar into relatively responsible corporate and support something that could increase affordable access to the community at large. And certainly there was an appeal to spending $20/month versus Comcast’s $43/month to get on the web.

I set up an account with Earthlink and within a week received the equipment needed to access their city-wide wireless network, identified as: FeatherByEarthlink, earthlinkwifi, or WirelessPhiladelphia. (I’m not really sure what the differences were, but they all led me to the same sign-on page). The wireless router they sent in looked like any router, aside from a foot-long “mega-antenna” you need to attach in order to amplify the wireless signal.

Unfortunately, my pursuit turns downhill from here. I found Earthlink’s wireless network to be extremely spotty and too slow to load the flash-filled, image-heavy many websites offer these days. Hell, I couldn’t even get to my bank’s website without getting a message saying that the router timed out because it couldn’t find a signal. Perhaps it was my location (I live in West Philly), perhaps the tall trees that line my street were obstructions, perhaps it was something in the atmosphere..I don’t really know.  Sadly, I had to switch over to the competition (read, Comcast).
I’m no techie, so I don’t know the challenges and intricacies of how to provide a fast, widespread wireless network, while staying affordable. I hope that Earthlink will figure this out and still stay in business.