One month ago, we published a request for your help with a student research project – Holy Rosary School students were testing a hypothesis about how people learn about new technology. With almost 700 responses to their online survey, as noted the following week, they proceeded to modify their hypothesis, and win an award. Now, the next step – explained by their coaches:
The Holy Rosary Gator-bots will continue their journey this Sunday by participating in the First Lego League semi-finals at Shoreline Community College. Thanks to the West Seattle Blog and their wonderful readers, the Gator-bots received a lot of great ideas on the project portion of the competition asking the question, How can we improve the way people learn about Technology?
The Gator-bots considered different ways they could help people with technology from the readers responses and finally chose to made a website with step-by-step videos. Their first wave of videos are out on the site for your viewing pleasure at yourtekhelp.com. Please take a look, and we encourage you to sign into the guestbook with your comments! The boys have worked long and hard learning about website technology, video creation technology and video production. Words of encouragement are always appreciated!
And if you come out to Shoreline Community College on Sunday to watch the competition, the first 50 people to mention that they saw the Gator-bots on the blog will receive a Gator-bots button!
Thank you WSB and West Seattle. We feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.
Good luck, Gator-bots!
(WSB photo, November 2014 West Seattle Hack Night)
Back in November, the first-of-its-kind West Seattle Hack Night drew a bigger-than-expected turnout at WS Office Junction north of Morgan Junction – and now the date’s set for the next one. The announcement comes from OJ co-proprietor Stefan Hansmire:
The Office Junction will be hosting a FREE computer/coder hack night on Wednesday, January 14th from 6:30-9:00. Snacks and beverages provided. The agenda for the evening will be open – with the goal of fielding participants to learn what kind of applications they are working on so that we can tailor a future class with more focus.
You can RSVP now via the Meetup group set up before the November event – go here.
Again this year, we’ve rounded up the year’s most-commented-on WSB stories. These aren’t necessarily the most important stories (many stories are much-read but little-commented), but we always find it an interesting look back; hope you do too!
#11 – 4-mile, 5-hour closure after Highway 99 crash, June 10, 2014 – 121 comments
****Followup note – This much-scrutinized situation was reviewed at City Hall earlier this month; it’s led to changes including more hours of staffing at the city Traffic Management Center.
#10 – SDOT apologies for ‘scumbag hat’ tweet making fun of West Seattle Bridge drivers, May 5, 2014 – 122 comments
#9 – Barton family eviction/protest, July 18, 2014 – 131 comments
****Followup note – Their foreclosure lawsuit is still making its way through the court system at last check.
#8 – West Seattle Health Club officially open, November 4, 2014 – 137 comments
#7 – West Seattle Athletic Club closes; property owner opening WS Health Club, October 25, 2014 – 140 comments
****Followup note on the previous two – The gym’s popular swimming pool has yet to reopen; management says HVAC equipment is still on the way.
What do you think about growth? How can Seattle encourage affordable housing? These and other questions …December 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 31 Comments
The city’s been running online surveys in abundance lately. This one, though, speaks to topics that we cover often here on WSB, and after going through its questions and open-comment spaces, we thought you might be interested, given its questions about everything from housing costs to your opinions of growth. It’s being presented as part of the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. It’s not the usual basic online-survey format; be forewarned, you’ll find some spots requiring scrolling, and some questions where you can check as many circles as you want, others where you have to settle on one. Start the survey here (and note the open-comment thread at the bottom of the start page, if you just want to say something without taking the survey at all).
Last week, we shared a request from student researchers, asking you to take a quick survey for their project. Today – this followup, including the photo and a hearty “thank you”:
Thank you West Seattle Blog and all of your readers for your help with our research project. The Holy Rosary Gator-bots received over 680 responses to our survey in 3 days! The participation from so many readers was impressive, but what impressed us most was the level of detail provided by the readers. The Gator-bots spent a good portion of last Saturday going through the responses. Based on the responses, the Gator-bots realized that there are opportunities to enhance the way everyone learns about new Technology. So they modified their original hypothesis for the project based on your guidance!
Yesterday they presented their research and modified hypothesis to a panel of judges as part of the First Lego League regional competition in Auburn. Thanks to WSB and the survey respondents, the Gator-bots received a trophy for their research through crowdsourcing and were asked to continue their research because they were invited to attend the Semi-Finals in January! Look for an update on the Gator-bots in January!
Thank you WSB and West Seattle. We feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community.
Arbor Heights has for some reason been a hotbed of mail theft, which ratchets up the radar for reports like this: Andi says, “Just wanted to let you know when my husband and I were driving home tonight in Arbor Heights, we saw a man riding a bike south along 30th around 7 pm rummaging around in some mailboxes that are located streetside. I called 911 and gave a description, which wasn’t much since it was dark. The best we could manage was: White, 30s, 6ft tall, wearing a checkered gray winter coat, gray pants, black stocking cap, and a black backpack. Hope they’re able to track this guy down; we’ve had some mail theft problems recently in this area.”
You can do this right here, right now: Take a moment to help five Holy Rosary School students with a research project. In connection with a project for the First Lego League, Brian Christenson explains, the students want to test a hypothesis about how people learn about new technology. To do that – they need you to answer this quick online survey. They thank you in advance. (We’ll check back to see how their project goes.)
1 1/2 months until mandatory food-waste composting: City asks about your ‘most compostable’ holiday dishNovember 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 21 Comments
On New Year’s Day, the new city rules about food-waste composting kick in. To keep that top-of-mind, Seattle Public Utilities just launched a mini-survey with an incentive – asking what food you’re most likely to compost this holiday season. 14 options (or write in your own) on one page, with a chance to win a kitchen compost bin if you choose to include your e-mail address. Friday’s the deadline.
Before we get to what’s up today/tonight, here’s an advance alert about an event tomorrow night – Ben shares the invitation for the first West Seattle Hack Night:
We’re inviting local professional and amateur programmers to come out to a West Seattle Hack Night. The purpose of the meetup is to connect technologists in West Seattle, share information, network, and collaborate to make something cool or useful. We’d also welcome any non-profits or local businesses are looking for tech help or just want to pitch an idea for people to work on.
Thanks to Jeff for sharing that photo with word that CenturyLink crews were spotted installing fiber in Arbor Heights today. That led us to check back with CL on the status of its promised megafast Internet access. Regional spokesperson Meg Andrews replied:
CenturyLink is currently building out the network in the Ballard and the West Seattle area — enabling homes along the way. We are still on track to offer the service to tens of thousands of customers in Seattle by 2015.
Andrews added that if you want to get on the list to be contacted when the upgraded service is available at your house, you can do it here.
Meantime, several readers pointed out the Seattle Times (WSB news partner) report noting that Wave Broadband is rolling out service in Eastlake, expanding its CondoInternet service to all kinds of housing. Pauline looked beyond the Times story to call attention to the company’s suggestion that it might choose future neighborhoods depending on interest expressed – so if you want to tell them to come here, here’s where to go.
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.
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