CenturyLink‘s plan to offer 1-gigabit Internet service in neighborhoods including West Seattle got a boost from the City Council today. Councilmembers voted to change the rules for the cabinets that are required to extend fiber service. Full details are in this city news release. A PR firm for CLink pinged us afterward, saying that the company’s local leadership is working with “aerial fiber” to extend service this year and next. We asked if they had any West Seattle specifics yet – where, when, etc. – short answer, no.
More than a year after city government invited Seattleites to take a survey about how we use technology – the Internet, cell phones, etc. – the results are out. Along with the online survey, the city says it also polled some residents by phone, and other via in-person focus groups – 2,600 participants overall. Here are the highlights (sample finding – almost everybody wants faster Internet!); here’s the full report.
1:18 PM: If you haven’t already seen this via The Seattle Times or via Reddit … someone at SDOT thought it was funny that the eastbound bridge was backed up this morning while the westbound bridge was closed for a rollover/spinout crash (as reported here), and proclaimed drivers on the eastbound side to be rubberneckers. If you use social media, you may know it’s considered cool for government agencies to use humor (major case in point, SPD/pot/Doritos). What do you think?
P.S. We have a question out to SDOT’s communications director for his thoughts. The West Seattle Transportation Coalition has already had something to say.
P.P.S. The “scumbag hat” reference is to this meme.
(You might also recall it was just a few months ago SDOT said it only had interns to staff the Transportation Management Center during peak hours – see this December story).
2:42 PM UPDATE: We contacted both SDOT communications director Rick Sheridan and Mayor Murray’s commmunications director Jeff Reading. Their responses both just came in. From SDOT’s Sheridan:
The use of the hat meme was not intended to insult drivers but to highlight a roadway problem and help drivers make decisions about their trips. We apologize to anyone that was offended by the tweet.
Our traffic management center personnel typically use humorous memes to highlight problematic situations for drivers. The staff member was trying to note that rubbernecking near a collision site was creating delays.
We have removed the tweet from our Twitter feed. The staff member’s supervisor will also reinforce the department’s standards for social media. Again, we apologize if anyone was offended.
And from Reading in the mayor’s office:
It’s never acceptable for a city employee to ridicule members of the public. I understand the tweet in question was meant humorously, but many — myself included — took it quite differently. Mayor Murray holds a high standard of respect for communications with the public across all city departments. We will ensure that this type of offending humor is not repeated in communications to the public by City of Seattle employees.
Looking for more/better police/crime info online? West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network hosts SPD Web rep TuesdayApril 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online, West Seattle police | Comments Off
Wish you could get more/better/faster information about crime/police activity online? Have ideas for how Seattle Police could improve/beef up what they offer online now? Come talk about it in person with Shanna Christie from the SPD Web team, next Tuesday (April 22nd) at the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network. As explained by WSBWCN leaders Karen Berge and Deb Greer:
She wants our feedback about the online tools that are currently available on the SPD website, how they work and how they don’t. Are you able to find the information you need? Is the Block Watch Toolkit useful to you? She will talk about the plans in the works for a re-vamp of the precinct webpages, starting with the SW Precinct. They hope to provide better information, and more timely information, about what is happening in our neighborhoods. Your feedback is needed!
That’s 6:30 pm Tuesday in the meeting room at the Southwest Precinct (Webster/Delridge).
Quick update about the city’s Find It, Fix It app, which you can use to report various problems via your smartphone. From the announcement:
… Smartphone users now can use the app to report illegal dumping and streetlight outages, in addition to abandoned vehicles, graffiti, potholes and parking enforcement issues, which have been features of the app since it launched in August 2013. …
Since its launch last summer, Find It, Fix It has been downloaded to 6,350 mobile devices and users have submitted 6,393 requests through this new channel (graffiti, 2,551; other, 1,744; pothole, 1,012; abandoned vehicles, 558; and parking enforcement, 528).
Don’t have it? You can download it by going here.
Thanks to WSB Forums member Wakeflood for opening a discussion about this – the city is asking for your feedback right now about Comcast‘s franchise, before deciding on a potential 10-year-renewal. As Wakeflood points out, you can just answer a few quick questions here – or follow the link on that page to a full-fledged more-detailed survey (here).
Our apologies for WSB having been mostly unreachable for more than an hour this evening. Thanks to those who checked to make sure we knew – our 24-hour hotline, 206-293-6302, text or voice, is the best way to reach us with something urgent. Downtime is rare – our last major problem was almost five months ago – but if WSB ever doesn’t come up for you, please check our main social-media channels – Facebook (facebook.com/westseattleblog – if you “friended” us in the early days at facebook.com/wsblog, please note the “WS Blog” page is long-decommissioned, so you need to “like” WSB at /westseattleblog instead) and Twitter (twitter.com/westseattleblog). We also have a blog-format backup site at westseattleblog.wordpress.com. Thanks for your patience and support!
The plan for a startup called Gigabit Squared to bring high-speed Internet to neighborhoods including part of West Seattle is dead, the Puget Sound Business Journal says this afternoon. This comes days after GeekWire reported that Gigabit Squared wasn’t paying a $52,000 bill it had racked up for city engineers’ time, and shortly after Publicola pointed out a Chicago report that GB2 was on the rocks there. Last year, then-Mayor McGinn announced in his 2013 State of the City speech that the plan would expand to include part of West Seattle, and GB2 announced its pricing plan in July, but there had been no updates since then.
Several have asked about Comcast trouble in the past hour-plus. Via Twitter, @ComcastWA said a few minutes ago “Washington state customers whose services were affected by issues should be back up or coming back up.”
Exactly four weeks from tonight, it’s Halloween! We’ll be publishing our special page of Halloween/harvest-season events/activities soon, so we’re sending out the request tonight: If you have a seasonal event planned, open to the public, at your business, school, church, etc., please let us know. E-mail the what/where/when (etc.) basics to email@example.com ASAP – even better if you have a weblink and/or Facebook link to info about it (not mandatory, though). As with all event-calendar listings, we request that you send the info as plain text, NOT as a Word/PDF/image attachment. Thanks!
Just announced by the city: “Find It, Fix It,” an app for your iPhone or Android phone that can be used to report graffiti, potholes, abandoned vehicles, parking-enforcement issues, and more. The announcement explains that you can use the app to take a picture, add details, pinpoint the location, and send the report to the city. What happens from there?
Submissions are entered into the City’s Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, and departments responsible for providing that specific service will manage and track requests. The City of Seattle began using the CRM system in December 2011. There may be some initial delays in response time as City departments adjust to any increase in service requests. …
The City anticipates adding other request types in the future and welcomes feedback on the app and ideas for additional features. Users should choose the Find It, Fix It app’s “other inquiry” category – found under the “New Request” icon – to submit feedback.
Read more about it here – and/or, if you have an Android or iPhone, go to Google Play or the App Store (respectively) and check it out. The city says it’s looking forward to feedback from the first round of users to figure out how to improve it in the long run.
We are in the “you can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs” technical mode – that’s no excuse, but there’s really nothing else we can say about being offline for a few hours. Some people had trouble seeing the site earlier in the day too – and that has to do with the nature of the problem, which involved the ultimate destination you’re pointed to when you ask your computer or phone to take you here. As of right now, everything’s pointed to the correct place. It’s been a fairly quiet day, so you haven’t missed much, but again, we’re sorry – even on slow days, we work hard to have interesting information here, updated at least every few hours, so we’re behind now and we’ll be catching up on a few things overnight as a result. – Tracy & Patrick, WSB co-publishers
… as they work on new mobile apps. This is the second survey on the topic; they’re asking for specifics on what kind of information you would find useful in three particular areas. Here’s the link.
Please accept our apologies for the outage late today – it was NOT planned, and furthermore, when we occasionally need to take the site down for maintenance, we do our best to make sure it’s only in the very late-night/early-morning hours. Our latest problems are the result of growing pains yet again – every month sets a new record for homes/businesses visiting WSB, and we keep having to adjust the underlying technology to keep up. Right now we’re beginning work (with expert assistance) on leaping way ahead, rather than just keeping up, so once we can make that leap, it should dramatically reduce the risk of sudden crashes like the few we’ve had lately. In addition to checking our social-media channels if WSB is down – primarily Facebook (be sure you “like” facebook.com/westseattleblog, NOT our old “WS Blog” account) and Twitter – we also have revived our old blog-format backup site, so bookmark westseattleblog.wordpress.com) just in case. Thanks again for your patience and ongoing support and collaboration – Tracy Record & Patrick Sand, WSB co-publishers
9:46 PM: If you are a WSB Forums user, you have likely noticed that section of our site is unusable right now. Trouble hit during this evening’s storm coverage, and while the rest of the site has recovered, the Forums haven’t. At some point later tonight, the entire site will be down for maintenance/repairs in hopes of getting that fixed. We’re sorry for the trouble and appreciate your patience.
3:54 AM: As noted in a “sticky” post in the Forum, we have restored the database to a backup that is a few days old. We are still investigating to see if there is any way to get those days’ content back too and hope to have an opinion on that by mid-morning. The threads that had been updated in those ensuing days are still displaying on the forum index page as authored by “anonymous,” but if you click on any one of them, you will see the authors and posts – up to that several-days-old backup. Again, our apologies for this problem, which was internal to the server, NOT caused by anything/anyone external such as hackers or spammers (though spam was displaying on the index for a while until deleted).
New information from Gigabit Squared for the first time since the excitement over its announcement four months ago that its plans for mega-fast Internet service would include West Seattle as one of 14 “demonstration neighborhoods.” (Here’s our February report.) This morning, GB2 sent a news release with its projected pricing when it launches its first neighborhoods (listed as the West Campus District, First Hill, Capitol Hill , and Central Area). You can read the full news release on the GB2 website; here are the toplines, and their reply to our WS-specific followup:
The Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle isn’t usually known as an event venue – but that’s what it’ll be this weekend, for the first-ever Vlogger Fair. “Vlogger” is short for “video blogger”; organizers of Vlogger Fair insist “it’s not a conference, it’s a gathering!” Nationally known Seattle-based online personality/entrepreneur/vlogger Chris Pirillo explains it in this clip published on YouTube (which is sponsoring the event):
If you already know all about vlogging and some of its most famous personalities (besides Chris), check out the list of who’ll be in attendance. It’s happening 9 am-6 pm Saturday and 9-noon Sunday; if you’re interested in going, you can register here.
Thanks for a great year! WSB honored by Society of Professional Journalists as ‘best hyperlocal site’May 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 19 Comments
There were so many big events to cover over the weekend, no chance to mention this until now, but we did want to mention it via a big THANK YOU: Saturday night, the regional Society of Professional Journalists‘ annual Excellence in Journalism Awards were announced, and one of those awards went to WSB – “Best Hyperlocal Site.” (Hyperlocal is an industry term referring to neighborhood or community, the terms we prefer to use.) The region covers five states; the judging is done by journalists from outside the region. While the plaque carries the name of your editor here, it truly should be etched with thousands of names, as WSB has been a community-collaborative news organization since the start – what we publish is inspired by, suggested by, and/or enhanced by information, questions, comments, photos, and more, from people, organizations, and businesses in our community. Though we are thrilled by this and other awards received by WSB over the past five years, the most important one remains what you award us daily – and what we never take for granted: Your readership and participation. Thank you SO much for being part of WSB.
P.S. We also congratulate photojournalist Nick Adams, whose excellent work has graced WSB and our partner sites White Center Now and The South Park News over the past year – as an independent entrant including work done for several organizations, Nick received the regional third-place award for online photography.
If you can spare some time for a survey or two, both the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools are asking for your help:
CITY’S TECHNOLOGY SURVEY: The City of Seattle is asking questions about your use of everything from Internet access to mobile devices to TV, to try to understand how its citizenry is using technology. You can take the city’s tech survey here.
DISTRICT’S SECOND ‘STRATEGIC PLAN’ SURVEY: If you’re interested in helping Seattle Public Schools shape its goals – and the verbiage that communicates them – take this one. It’s the second community survey that’s been offered as part of the district’s creation of a new Strategic Plan.
Just realized that we hadn’t said “thank you” here yet for everyone who alerted us when this site went down for a bit an hour or so ago. Even if you don’t usually check out our social-media channels, please keep them handy in case of the occasional outage – facebook.com/westseattleblog and twitter.com/westseattleblog are the main ones to bookmark – and make sure 206-293-6302 is in your phone for any kind of breaking news, in addition to a “hey, what’s wrong with your site?” question. Last but not least, please accept our apologies. We recently upgraded servers to make the site faster and more accessible, with great results (helps us do our job too), yet every so often an unpredictable trouble spot might erupt, so we appreciate your patience and support.
-Tracy Record and Patrick Sand, WSB owners/co-publishers
10:43 PM: Turns out the server switchover we mentioned Friday night, to address recent intermittent site slowness, needs a bit more tinkering – and the tech team is set to do it tonight, right after 11 pm. As a result, WSB will have a bit of downtime – maybe 15, 20 minutes, we’re told. As always, if there’s breaking news in the interim, we’ll get the word out in our other major channels – Facebook (here), Twitter (here), and if needed, our other websites, White Center Now and The South Park News. Thanks yet again for your patience.
6:42 AM NOTE: The tinkering is finally over as of about half an hour ago, and WSB has fully moved onto a more-powerful new server. Seems to be running well, but it’s early, so if you hit any speed bumps, please let us know.
FRIDAY NIGHT, 10:57 PM: Just a warning – WSB may be offline for a short time later tonight, because we’re making a technical upgrade – moving to a new server with more power and memory, to handle the ever-increasing usage, which sometimes leads to site slowness. Thank you for your support and collaboration, and forgive us in advance for the inconvenience while we’re making and verifying the change. If there is breaking news during the downtime, we’ll report it in full on WSB’s Facebook page and will have bulletins on Twitter, as always. Our sites White Center Now and The South Park News are on other servers, so they’re always available for backup too.
SATURDAY, 7:31 AM: Looks so far like the move was a success – please let us know in comments or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you encounter any error messages or unavailable pages. Meantime, we’re moving on to catching up with some stories we covered yesterday/last night that were delayed by breaking news and then the technical move. Thanks for your understanding!
There’s a scam born every minute. Every second, probably. Our coverage of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting last week mentioned some, in relation to mail fraud. Now, the state Attorney General’s Office has just issued this warning about the latest trend in e-mail “spoofing” – read on: Click to read the rest of Scam alert! Attorney General’s Office says, don’t get ‘spoofed’…
Who wouldn’t love faster Internet access – if affordable? The cautiously excited reaction on Tuesday was no surprise after we published word that Mayor McGinn announced in his “State of the City” speech that part of the West Seattle Junction area had been added to the planned mega-fast “demonstration” service planned by Gigabit Squared. We promised a followup, and talked this afternoon with Mark Ansboury from Gigabit Squared and the City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Erin Devoto. Here’s what else we found out:
West Seattle Junction added to Gigabit Squared demonstration project, says mayor in State of the CityFebruary 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 28 Comments
Announced by Mayor McGinn in his “State of the City” speech this afternoon: The West Seattle Junction area has been added (along with Ballard) to a demonstration project involving a “public/private partnership with the University of Washington and Gigabit Squared to bring next generation high-speed broadband infrastructure to Seattle. … More than 3,300 people have signed up with an interest in using Gigabit Squared services, along with more than 130 businesses and numerous apartment buildings. Gigabit Squared has also secured the funding they need to begin detailed engineering.” More about the company here. Its Neighborhood Gateway program is described as working toward broadband “100 to 1,000 times faster than what Americans have today.” (We will be following up with Gigabit Squared to get West Seattle-specific answers – but they’re headquartered back east so we may not get more info till tomorrow. [added] As commenters note, G2 has a Seattle-specific website.)
P.S. Here’s the prepared text of the mayor’s speech, which includes another West Seattle reference of note: “We’re also working with Sound Transit to accelerate their planning process, including a Ballard to Redmond [rail] line via 520 and a route from downtown to West Seattle.”
The return of a lost Golden Retriever to her family tonight reminded us that today is the 5th anniversary of the WSB Lost/Found Pets page. In keeping with our mentioned-earlier resolution to “make WSB more useful in 2013,” particularly by making sure everyone knows about free services offered here beyond 24/7 news, a few words about it: We haven’t kept count, but anecdotally, the page at westseattleblog.com/pets has helped at least a couple hundred pets reunite with their people. We never expected to have a lost/found pets sideline, but as WSB readership/participation grew after our turn toward news in winter 2006-2007, we started receiving requests to list them; on January 5, 2008, we launched the dedicated page as an easy-to-find place for listings, whether you’ve found a pet or lost one. Last year, we upgraded its format so each listing would have its own web address, enabling it to be shared if necessary (as with every story or page here on WSB, mouse over the “Share This” link for a simple way to share it via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and/or dozens more sharing-service options). Once there’s a reunion, please let us know so we can update the listing and remove the details. We share our home with pets (the two cats in the photo above, both adult shelter cats when we adopted them) too, and are glad WSB can be of assistance in getting wayward animal friends home. Hope you don’t ever need to use the Pets page, but if you do – e-mail info (and photo if available, jpg preferred) to email@example.com.
One of our resolutions for WSB in the New Year is to make the site even more useful. Part of that means more visibly showcasing some of WSB’s most popular features. Among them: The WSB Forums‘ “West Seattle Jobs Offered” page. We have long offered FREE “help wanted” listings there for West Seattle/White Center/South Park-area companies/employers (that includes families seeking child-care help and other such jobs) – and even without promotion, it’s consistently one of the top five most-viewed pages on WSB. So starting today, the “Jobs Offered” page has its own link on our row of tabs under the sunset header photo – clicking the JOBS tab will take you directly to the section of the forum where you can see the latest listings and/or post a new one (you have to sign up for a Forum account first, but it’s quick ‘n’ easy). No “job wanted” listings, please – just “job offered” – thanks, and we wish all businesses (and job applicants) a successful 2013!
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