New Case Study: The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Evolution of CRM in Boston

In 2012, when I was a visiting professor at HKS and HLS, I taught a course called Solving Problems Using Technology. (For the second term, my co-teacher was the wonderful Mike Hooper of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.) The class provided an overview of the use of technology in governance and put students to work with the residents of Dudley (a neighborhood in Boston) designing applications and systems that could be useful in solving particular problems on which the neighborhood wanted to focus – like “How do we involve residents…

The big picture: Why the Verizon/NARAL flap matters

I arrived in DC in the middle of last night without a phone charger, having left mine in Manhattan last weekend. So this morning my first stop was a Verizon Wireless store downtown. Right in the store, in a corner, I plugged in my phone and called back someone who had a lot of questions about yesterday’s kerfuffle. Sitting on the floor, I tried to explain why this story matters. [The convenience of the VZ store downtown (and in fact the ubiquitousness of those stores in most cities in the…

Long rules for short codes

The Verizon/NARAL tornado that passed through the US telecommunications village today (brief, but with a lasting effect) propelled me into reading the carrier rules for use of short codes. They’re remarkable. Take a look at Verizon’s rules, starting on p. 40 of the pdf. No bad words, no chat services, no gaming, no dating services – nothing that Verizon thinks would either offend people or compete with its own services.

Buying regulation

So now AT&T has joined Verizon (and Frontline) in challenging the FCC’s 700 MHz proposed rules. AT&T’s beef is not about the no-locking, no-blocking rules – rather, they’re focused on the block of spectrum that a commercial private actor is supposed to use to build out a network for public safety’s purposes (the “public/private partnership”). They’re saying it’s too hard to do a deal with public safety officials before the auction. There just isn’t enough information coming from public safety about what it needs. I’m focused on two things: (1)…

Amateur Hour: Nov. 2, NYLS

From the esteemed Dan Hunter comes the following: From television (YouTube and Revver) to advertising (craigslist and consumer-made TV ads), movies (Machinima), photography (Flickr and iStockPhoto), and news (blogs and citizen journalism), technology is enabling amateurs to produce and distribute high-quality content that people want to watch, read, consume, re-use, and buy. Media and entertainment companies are facing a range of challenging new issues. On November 2, 2007, New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law & Policy will host the inaugural Amateur Hour Conference to bring together leaders in…

Why the digital transition

One of my students asked whether his television set, connected to a cable system but with no set-top box, would be able to receive digital television after February 17, 2009. So I decided to try the experiment of being a consumer with this question. I was happy to see the NCTA has this site with information about how this will work. And this: The good news for cable customers is that the digital transition should be easy. Thanks to a compromise adopted by the FCC in September 2007, cable companies…

Jottit.com

I know it's so common to think Aaron Swartz is special because he was a co-author of RSS when he was 14.  But I really like one of his new side-projects, jottit.com.  Go take a look.  It's always been so hard for ordinary people to create web sites.  This one allows you to pick a name for your site, then “claim” it, decide whether to apply a password to it, and whether other people will be allowed to edit it.  Then you're on your way, setting up your site. This…

The ham band

When I was in high school I remember going with a group to play a concert in an Elks lodge. The room was dusky and the building was a little broken down. There was a giant sign in the room where we played that read, “Keep America Strong. Ask A Young Man To Become An Elk.” The people there were boisterous and kindly. Well, I think I’ve found the home of the telecommunications-Elks. It’s amateur radio. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual is full of folksy, boisterous, exclamation-point-studded advice. You…

A thousand posts

Four Septembers ago, I started this blog. It’s mostly been a delight, a homecoming each day, to be here and write a little. Today is my thousandth post. So I’ll keep it short. Enough already! First, for Kaliya Hamlin, who has to go through life rhyming with an overbearing regulatory cost-shifting scheme, a big congratulations for the upcoming She’sGeeky unconference on Oct. 22-23. I can’t be there, but I’m with you in spirit. Second, for everyone that’s had anything to do with OneWebDay all around the world, a huge thanks…