Chicago Wi-Fi

The Chicago City Council's Finance, and Economic, Capital and Technology Development Committees passed a resolution in March calling for a study on deployment of a citywide high-speed wireless network.

The resolution comes in response to a bill pending in the Illinois Legislature that would restrict municipalities from building wireless networks that compete with commercial entities.

Acknowledging the political climate, the committees' co-chairs urged quick action. One chairman suggested passing a shell resolution stating that Chicago retains its right to explore a citywide wireless network. It's not clear what that resolution would mean if the legislation did pass. -- Center for Neighborhood Technology

Take My Server, Please

An Indian Linux software company, Linuxense, sponsored the Linux Server Break-in Challenge in early March. The company made a server available on the Internet for 96 hours. It hosted an open source project as a potential victim to give enthusiasts across the globe a chance to break into the machine.

According to Linuxense, nobody cracked the server, which lacked firewall protection and ran all services normally found in a regular Linux distribution and more. All user activities on the server were logged, and at the end of the event, Linuxense planned to share the packet capture data with the contestants for analysis.

The software version used was Adamantix 1.0.4, and the challenge server (PIII 600 MHz 128 MB RAM) was connected to the Internet through a bridge (Compaq P4 2.2 GHz 256 MB RAM) set up using Honeywall. -- Linuxense

Stale Web Site Costs Restaurant

A New Zealand restaurant was fined $3,000 in addition to $260 in court costs in the Waitakere District Court after pleading guilty to violating the Fair Trading Act.

Over a six-month period, the restaurant's Web site advertised availability and prices of certain meals on the menu. An investigation discovered many of the meals couldn't actually be ordered at the restaurant, and others weren't available at the listed price. In some cases, the Web site price varied between 17 and 36 percent cheaper than the in-house menu.

The New Zealand Commerce Commission received a complaint from a customer, who had notified the restaurant and the Restaurant Association of New Zealand that the Web site menu was outdated and misleading. -- New Zealand Commerce Commission

Bringing Home a Telly

The Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management and Miami-Dade TV's Down to Earth environmental television series received the red carpet treatment in March.

After an extreme makeover, Miami-Dade TV entered an episode from the series in the Telly Awards and picked up a Bronze Award in the TV Program Education category. The episode, Yard Care 101, discusses tips for gardeners to make their yards not only beautiful but environmentally friendly as well.

The Telly Awards -- which honor outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs -- receive more than 10,000 entries annually. -- Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management

Wireless ISPs Get Spectrum

The FCC adopted rules in mid-March to open access to new spectrum for wireless broadband for wireless Internet service providers (WISPs). The move is designed to draw new entrants into the market and stimulate rapid expansion of wireless broadband services, especially in rural America, according to the agency.

Licensees must register all system base stations electronically with the FCC. Base station registration will enable licensees to locate each other's operations and will boost protection of grandfathered stations from interference.

The FCC also provided an opportunity for introducing new wireless broadband technologies, such as WiMAX, into the 3650-3700 MHz band. -- Federal Communications Commission

IT Could Cut Medical Costs

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Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor
Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor