Laptops for Abbey Court Kids UPDATE

I just purchased the first Chromebook for testing. We’re going to make sure it’s the best solution before getting more. Then I’m going identify the first receipiant and LISTEN to them. To make sure this tech will really help. The last thing we want to do is make anyones life harder. Technology is not perfect. But it can make a difference. Plus I plan on working with the wonderful Pilar Palacios-Bianchi to make sure spanish speakers get the most out of these laptops.

FYI we’ve raised about half of our $3,000 goal. Another $1,500 could help more kids. To make it happen visit our paypal donation page. Thank you!

Remember all donations to Orange Networking are tax deductible! Thanks again to Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton for working with me to get this campaign started.

Laptops for Abbey Court Kids

Dear Friends,

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and Orange Networking are raising $3,000 to provide laptops for fifteen kids at Abbey Court. Can you help us? We want to close the digital divide for fifteen families who currently have no computer at home. Please give whatever you can by clicking here. If you prefer to donate via check please make it out to ‘Orange Networking’ then contact me for our mailing address.

Abbey Court is an apartment complex in Carrboro, North Carolina. It is home to many Carrboro Hispanics. Unfortunately many of the young children who live there don’t have the technical resources we take for granted.

The American Psychological Associations says, “… children from low-SES (Socioeconomic Status) households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher SES groups (Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier, & Maczuga, 2009).”

Orange Networking is a North Carolina non-profit tax exempt organization I started in 2006. Its primary goal is to bridge the digital divide. To learn more about it’s mission and goals please check out our mission page.

Please tell others about the Laptops for Abbey Court Kids campaign today. A blog post, Twitter, and Facebook would be great! Attached is a graphic that could help with that.

The holiday is a great time to make a donation to help. All donations to Orange Networking for this fundraising campaign are tax deductible. Donation receipt letters will be sent to all donors. Let’s do something to close the gap!

Happy Holidays!

-Brian Russell

Founder and Chairman of Orange Networking

The Dream Lives

It’s been several years since we started Orange Networking and first obtained tax exempt status. It was a challenging process. At the time I felt that if we had all our legal ducks in a row funding would follow. Finding funds has been much harder than I expected. Especially now after October 2008 and the recession our country and world is in. But our hardship provides MORE reasons that we all must have equal access to the Internet.

Here’s what I’ve been up-to. I became a father and ran a small business for three years. We’ve seen a lot of changes in State law concerning community broadband. A new president was elected. Computers have gotten even smaller and tablet computers are taking over as the mobile internet device of choice.

But I haven’t given up on our dream of bringing equal access to broadband to all people who live in Orange County, North Carolina. So for those of you still reading know this, I’m here and so is this organization. We will continue to work to find ways to bridge the digital divide!

Join the NC Public Broadband List

With the Obama Administration focusing on bringing more broadband infrastructure to the US and a new PRO net neutrality FCC chairman the future looks bright for Public Broadband creation.

If you live in North Carolina and care about this please join the NC Public Broadband Google Group.

Its low volume and primarily an announce list. Great place to find out the latest in the mission to bring the Internet to Everyone in North Carolina.

High-speed Internet must be a part of Carrboro’s infrastructure

People who live, work and visit Carrboro love the free wireless Internet. But the Town of Carrboro’s wireless is a victim of its own success. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have problems with it and wish it worked in their homes. Fact is, the area the wireless signal covers is too small, the connection is unreliable and the bandwidth is too little. Now is the time for the Town of Carrboro to take the next step. I propose the town support the construction of fiber optic Internet connections to buildings within the downtown business district.

The idea of building a fiber optic network in Carrboro isn’t farfetched. Matter of fact, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT) and the Town of Chapel Hill are already working on it. The Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill share an old copper-wire traffic-signal system. Last year, the Town of Chapel Hill budgeted $50,000 toward a joint investment with NC DOT to replace this old signal system with fiber optics. One strand is planned for traffic signals and another is for the town’s use. Little has been publicly discussed about this project, which is slated for completion in 2012.

The small size of Carrboro’s downtown makes the cost of extending the network practical – primarily because the distances from traffic signals to local businesses are short. Right now, the Town of Carrboro rents the signal system from the Town of Chapel Hill. If Carrboro isn’t a full partner in this resource, they may not have the power to build our future access. Supposedly, the NC DOT is trying to squeeze the Town of Chapel Hill for more money to build a fiber loop. Now is a good time for Carrboro to put in.

There’s already a large customer base for high-speed Internet service in Carrboro. We have five planned new construction projects, including a mixed-use hotel, office and retail space. Public safety organizations like rescue, fire and police also could use the bandwidth, not to mention other creative and talented people. Fiber optic Internet can provide reliable upload and download speeds in excess of 100 Mbps. We can do a lot with that!

Diversifying our community’s tax base to relieve stress on property tax has been a goal for years. One way to do that is by enticing new businesses to move here and convincing existing ones to stay. A major bit of bait can be fiber-speed bandwidth for data and voice. Now is the time to invest in building the last mile of high-speed infrastructure in Carrboro. Not later, after the recession has killed development projects. Not after the Town of Chapel Hill gets around to doing something, but now on the cusp of major national infrastructure projects promised by our new president-elect.

Brian Russell is founder of Orange Networking,

Source: Carrboro Citizen, January 15, 2009

Back to School for OrangeMesh

Hi, my name is Mac Mollison and I’m one of the three students who created the OrangeMesh dashboard over the course of the last semester. Over the summer, all three of us had some form of internship or training program to attend to, but school will be back in session in a few days and I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to getting our feet wet with OrangeMesh in the days to come.

Since we released our beta version in May, over 80 people have created test accounts on our live demo, and a number of feature requests have come in from early adopters around the world. We’re looking forward to tackling those as the semester progresses.

During my free time over the summer, I’ve spent a lot of time working with a group known as Village Mesh, which has been interested in using mesh networking to facilitate Internet access in Uganda. I’ve also heard some interest expressed in setting up mesh networks for apartment buildings in Chapel Hill. So let’s hope this is a fruitful semester (and work to make it one)!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or check out the ROBIN forums, where there is a fair amount of discussion about OrangeMesh. As a reminder, our website is here.

OrangeMesh hits beta – OrangeMesh 0.3b

We’re pleased to announce today the release of OrangeMesh 0.3b, the beta version of the open-source network management dashboard for ROBIN-based wireless mesh networks. This project is supported by Orange Networking, implemented by students at UNC-Chapel Hill, and designed for the benefit of community wireless initiatives worldwide. You can pick up a copy at our temporary project page.

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