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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, April 2

Gapers Block

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Ramsin / August 29, 2007 10:41 AM

Yes and yes. Increasingly, information is a utility.

editorkid / August 29, 2007 10:56 AM

Hell no. This miserable city administration is so obsessed with warrantless surveillance they make Alberto Gonzales look like a keyhole peeper. I have no doubt that every single packet would've been archived in some City Hall server room.

charlie / August 29, 2007 11:06 AM

No and No

Hal / August 29, 2007 11:13 AM

While I may have used it if it were around and may have paid a pittance if it were an emergency and there was no Starbucks around (as if), it was a massively stupid project. How the hell would you get hotspots around the entire city and manage the network for anything close to a reasonable cost?

Oh, you can't? No shit.

p / August 29, 2007 11:16 AM

yes and maybe. hey does anyone else feel sick after watching that Wiener Circle clip? My whole body is still buzzing and I seriously fucking want to do damage to clueless fucking crackers in striped shirts. Shit's disgusting..

Dave! / August 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Yes. I would have used it and I would have paid to use it.

Chef / August 29, 2007 11:41 AM

I don’t trust the government to run anything efficiently.

I would have tried to use it…but it would probably be set up so poorly that it would not work most of the time.

Pay for it? Probably up the ass…have you tried to reconcile a debt with the government? It is the text book definition of red tape.

Give me a privately owned company to run this thing that pays its taxes, listens to its focus groups, treats its workers like crap and runs like a finely tuned engine.

THAT I will pay for.

I quote Morty Seinfeld, “Cheap fabric and dim lighting. That's how you move merchandise”.

Eamon / August 29, 2007 12:58 PM

Yes and yes. You can't tell me the City of Chicago could fuck things up more thoroughly and consistently than Comcast. No way, no how.

jen / August 29, 2007 1:51 PM

Eamon - no shit, hate Comcast. How in the hell does cable internet still cost $50 in 2007? I paid that amount (if not less) in 2000 when Time Warner first had cable internet in southeast Ohio. Shouldn't the price of this shit have dropped by now? I know, supply and demand, blah blah.

Can anyone recommend AT&T DSL? Really, I'm looking into Comcast alternatives, at a price affordable to someone who lives alone and doesn't make big bucks. Hewlp.

jen / August 29, 2007 1:54 PM

err... to answer the question:
yes, and no.

Jill / August 29, 2007 1:59 PM

I probably wouldn't have used city wifi--I don't use much wifi right now, but I can't imagine the city could create something that's reliable.

Jen--the Boy and I have AT&T (or whatever used to be SBC). I think the DSL portion of our bill runs about $50--we have landline (luddites that we are), VM, and DSL bundled in, so I think our bill is $100-$115. Setting it up took a few hours (longer than I thought). After that, no substantial problems/outages. My only beef with it is that I can't use my work computer on it for some weird reason. Has something to do with the work computer security, I think (but all the more reason to not take work home).

wackpuma / August 29, 2007 3:20 PM

Yes, but only if it was done in the suburbs too, so I could use it on the Metra.

skafiend / August 29, 2007 3:26 PM

LOL...Can you imagine the bumbling, corruption, cost overruns, neopotism, political cronyism, etc. that would be associated with such a massive undertaking, second only the civic financial debacle that will be the Olympics (if we get it)? If Millennium Park didn't convince anyone that corruption is part of ANY undertaking by this current admistration, nothing will.

That being said, I'd probably use it but fuck giving Daley more money to help him reach his goal of dying in office like his old man. Where is all that parking ticket money going anyway? I mean, the Sun-Times today reports that the city expects to collect $7.4 mil from city sticker scofflaws. The citywide wi-fi is reportedly supposed to cost about $18 mil. Hell, use that scofflaw cash!

So bottom line, Eamon, you can rest assured that the city could indeed fuck things up WAY worse that mere Comcast.

Chef / August 29, 2007 4:04 PM

If the city ran the internet, it would have been $50/month in 2000 and $250/month here in 2007…but to get to that point would be turbulence in the city council, and then the council asking the state for help. The solution would have been to raise rates from $50 directly to $250/month.

I don’t understand the complaint that the price is the same as 2000? That actually works for the customer having it stay the same price. If you take inflation into consideration, it is actually cheaper now than it was in 2000 if it is still $50/month.

ben / August 29, 2007 4:45 PM

at&t dsl is fine. i've had it a few years and no real complaints 'cept when they're price goes up they rarely tell you and i only notice cuz my bills are higher. never had service problems but sometimes i contemplating an upgrade to the higher super duper speed.

steven / August 29, 2007 8:52 PM

Free wi-fi anywhere in the city? If I was someone who brought my laptop with me everywhere I went, then yeah, I would have used it. Pay for it? Not unless I had a job that required it. Then again, my job would most likely foot the bill. I would hope.

Doyle / August 30, 2007 8:23 AM

I agree with editorkid about the security issues, and yet, with Comcast/AT&T/SBC all grabbing their ankles every time the govm't "requests" user data...does it really make any difference?

charlie / August 30, 2007 8:39 AM

And you know damn well if you had 1 outstanding parking ticket the City would cut you off of the network......!

Are there other cities (big ones) that do this already? SF maybe?

I just don't like the idea of the Gov. handling all my online communication. I'm not a criminal and I'm not paranoid I just think it a touch scary.

SR / August 30, 2007 9:07 AM

I'd have used it, wouldn't have paid for it.

Would have liked to see some project associated with this program that would have given quality internet access to the poor who can afford to own a computer, but can't afford the monthly bill from ISPs.

charlie / August 30, 2007 9:43 AM

Sr said: Would have liked to see some project associated with this program that would have given quality internet access to the poor who can afford to own a computer, but can't afford the monthly bill from ISPs.

I think that is actually part of the reason why this was floated in the first place. If history is any measure the "underclass" or those most affected by the digital divide would get the least quality service of anybody. I can't prove this of course.

Interesting times either way.....

mary / August 30, 2007 10:38 AM

if i had a laptop i would probably have used the public wifi in a pinch, but the security issues would have been a problem. i doubt i would pay for it.

fluffy / August 30, 2007 11:51 AM

probably not and no

paul / August 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Maybe and maybe. If nothing else, it would have been cool to be able to say that our city had it.

As someone who does carry a laptop, my idea of a security issue is different then most people, as in, I worry about when I shouldn't be using my laptop in public, as in, the 'poor' might get ideas about getting a free computer.

WiFi on Public Trans. would be cool, but it isn't that hard to find an open node somewhere anyway.

A few years ago I would have said yes, but these days I no longer want to be connected constantly, especially while out in public.

How damn long did it take for Ohare to get paid Wifi? It had to be one of the last airports. And you still can't get a signal everywhere outthere.

Dan R / August 30, 2007 3:30 PM

It's a shame. Considering the "digital divide" between the have's and have-nots in this city, I think the people who are really losing out on this deal are young people in poorer neighborhoods. Can you imagine looking for jobs or researching for a school project without using the internet at all?

to answer the question, yes and possibly-- if it was reliable.

JasonB / August 30, 2007 8:35 PM

depending on the price, everyone would warm up to it, eventually.

You can't argue with it's convenience. Not to mention the plethora of wifi enabled devices/utilities on the horizon.

Blanket wifi coverage is inevitable.

Ramsin / August 30, 2007 9:52 PM

JasonB has it right: eventually, the internet will have to be everywhere, the same way cell phone coverage "has" to be everywhere. Think of how annoyed or panicky people get when they can't get any cell signal for any serious stretch.

The question is, given the cable companies record of price gouging (and the sterling example set by other privatized utlities like ComEd and People's Gas, the latter of which has to be ASKED not to kill the elderly) do you want the PUBLIC (not the "government" as fascist douchebags like Chef frame it) to own the internet and access to it? Or plutocrats?

fluffy / August 31, 2007 8:28 AM

"....the 'poor' might get ideas about getting a new computer"??????

Paul, You mean to say "thieves", right? Not poor. Just because you're poor doesn't mean you steal!!!!!!

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