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September 2014
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Low-cost Internet options, Comcast special until 3/18

Posted: March 12th, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News  

Seattle was recently named 1 of 15 “Gold Medal” communities nationwide by Comcast. As a result, they’re offering six months of free Internet service through their Internet Essentials program, for eligible households who apply and are approved for their $10/month program by March 18, 2014, next Tuesday.  Their low-income discount is for families with students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Comcast is one of several companies in Seattle who offer Internet for low-income residents for around $10/month. They all have income and other eligibility guidelines for the discounted service.  The City of Seattle has more information about these programs and Solid Ground’s program to help residents with the choices on their community technology low cost Internet page.

CenturyLink Internet Basics (866) 541-3330

  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs (broader than Comcast)
  • Internet wired to your home via phone line
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing CenturyLink Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program (855) 846-8376

  • Must have a child eligible for free or reduced lunch
  • Cable Internet wired to your home
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing Comcast Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Interconnection/Mobile Citizen (Clear) (206) 633-1517

  • Offers Clear mobile Internet for $8 per month with laptop purchase or about $10 per month without laptop purchase
  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs
  • Refurbished  laptops with a full range of software for $99
  • They have a store in Seattle offering products and assistance

Looking for a computer to use or for computer training? Visit our Free Access to Computers and the Internet page for locations and hours of public access computer centers.


Technology Matching Fund

Posted: March 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

Awards up to $20,000 in matching funds to community projects which increase resident access to information technology, increase literacy in using technology, and/or apply technology to foster civic engagement and community building. More info here.

Deadline: March 12, 2014


Lake City computer lab expands its reach

Posted: March 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  
lake city

Participant at the Lake City Computer Lab

The North Seattle Family Center, a program of  Children’s Home Society of Washington, successfully completed a yearlong Technology Matching Fund grant to expand the computer lab at Seattle Housing Authority’s Lake City Court Apartments. The $18,000 in project funds helped 228 low-income and vulnerable residents in North Seattle gain technology access and skills.

Serving a greater diversity  

The project added adaptive equipment to the computer lab, which increased access for individuals with disabilities. Staff also configured the computers to support language capabilities for 35 different languages, including those most commonly found in North Seattle. Participants acquired English language skills through the use of software and internet-based education resources, improving their communication skills in the workplace, the home and in the community. In addition, many  participants received employment readiness training, providing them with technology skills relevant to today’s workplace and increasing their employment opportunities. They also added youth services and open lab time.

Collaboration was key to strong programs

According to Program Manager Ann Fuller, “Collaborating with partnering programs has been key to our lab.” Over the course of the project they worked with Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Public Library, the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens, the Literacy Council of Seattle, the City of Seattle’s Health Access program, Techno-Formation Vocational Services (an organization focused on Somali women, youth, and elders), and the University of Washington. Bringing youth and adults together led to development of projects connected with activities in the lab, including working with the North District Council to add a basketball pick-up court and developing a pea patch plot for families using the lab.

Success providing access to services and building community connections   

The project’s greatest success was in providing computer and internet access to people who cannot afford or don’t know how to use these services. “So many things are based on computer knowledge and internet access, that children and families are being left behind and missing out on opportunities in business, schools and healthcare,” said Fuller. “We work with people who do not know those services are available, or don’t have the skills to use them.”

Another key outcome was building trust with members of the community. The staff at the lab helped build a trusting relationship by teaching computer use step-by-step and troubleshooting problems. Staff often referred individuals to the center’s family advocacy services for more assistance. Providing Seattle Housing Authority youth with a safe, fun, educational place to be has been another very positive outcome. Youth now come for assistance with not only homework, but also when other challenges face them at home and at school.

For more information on the project contact Ann Fuller at, or call North Seattle Family Center at 206-364-7930.


UPDATED: Critical Vulnerability in Apple iOS and OS X

Posted: February 27th, 2014 - News  

UPDATED: 03/04/14

A patch for  Macs [OS X] has now been released by Apple.  Follow the instructions below to update your system.

Apple revealed a major vulnerability in its software that affects its devices, allowing hackers to intercept and alter communications such as email and login credentials.  Apple released a patch for iOS on Friday.  The vulnerability has been confirmed in iOS versions 6.1.5, 7.0.4, and 7.0.5, and OS X 10.9.0 and 10.9.1. Security researchers haven’t ruled out the possibility that earlier versions are also affected. Users should immediately update their iPhones and iPads to versions 7.0.6 or 6.1.6, preferably using a non-public network.

To patch your device(s):

  • Run “Software Update“ from your device’s “settings” menu   – OR -
  • Connect your device to your personal computer, open iTunes, select the device you just connected, and click the “Check for update” button.

For more details, see these articles:


Tech Matching Fund Workshop Feb 4

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News, Seattle Communities Online  

Attend a Technology Matching Fund grant workshop on Tuesday, February 4 at 6:00 PM.  Here you will learn about the eligibility requirements, how to apply and what makes for a successful application.

The City is awarding matching grants of up to $20,000 per project to increase technology literacy or use of technology tools for civic engagement for Seattle residents.  The deadline to apply is March 12.

The workshop will be held:

Tuesday, February 4, 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Beacon Hill Library
2821 Beacon Avenue S
Seattle, 98144

The City is encouraging applications for community based civic engagement projects that build the digital skills of our residents, raise awareness of city resources online and use the internet, social media and/or mobile devices for community engagement and interaction with government.

For more information on the Technology Matching Fund, including history and success stories, visit, email or call Delia Burke at 206.233.2751.


Digital documents for the homeless

Posted: February 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

Have you ever misplaced an important piece of paper, like a birth certificate or an identification card?  A hassle, yes, but not that big a deal. Now imagine if you were homeless. People struggling with homelessness are routinely asked to show documentation in order to access services. However, this documentation is easily lost or destroyed, and it is often difficult and costly to produce the information needed when it’s needed most.

Seattle nonprofit, Springwire, worked to address this problem with a 2012 Tech Matching Fund grant, the “Online Document Access for the homeless” project.  Over the course of a year, Springwire offered scanning services to homeless individuals  at events in Seattle, including multi-day events at the Seattle Public Library, Community Resource Exchange and Financial Fitness Day, as well as individual events at the Urban Rest Stop and Youth Care. Volunteers succeeded in helping 65 homeless men and women digitize their vital papers.

For many clients, the impact of knowing their information was secure was immediate and profound. One Springwire client carried hundreds of pages of handwritten documents that formed the basis of a book she was writing about her life. She had been fearful of moving them into a digital format because as a survivor of domestic violence, she was worried about her abuser finding them. It took a long time to scan them. They were fragile, on wrinkled paper in all shapes and sizes. Once Springwire volunteers transferred her files to a USB flash drive, you could see the joy and relief on her face knowing that her life story was now protected.

Integrating digital document preservation into services provided for the homeless is a model Springwire hopes to continue.  They shared the program design and training materials developed during the pilot to Catholic Community Services for use the King County Coordinated Entry program.

For more information, contact Andrea John Smith .


Workshops offered for Technology Matching Funds

Posted: January 17th, 2014 - Community Technology, News  

Student learning technology skillsThe 2014 Technology Matching Fund grant cycle is now open!

The City is awarding matching grants of up to $20,000 per project to increase technology literacy or use of technology tools for civic engagement for Seattle residents.  The deadline to apply is March 12th!

Important dates for grant applicants:

            Thursday, Jan. 30, 10 – 11:30 a.m., free grant workshop
            2100 Building, 2100 24th Avenue South, Seattle

            Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6 – 7:30p.m., free grant workshop
            Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South, Seattle

            March 12, Technology Matching Fund application deadline

The free grant workshops will both cover the same information: grant basics, how to apply, grant requirements and what makes a successful application.

The City is encouraging applications for community based civic engagement projects that build the digital skills of our residents, raise awareness of city resources online and use the internet, social media and/or mobile devices for community engagement and interaction with government.

For more information on the Technology Matching Fund, including history and success stories, visit, email or call Delia Burke at 206.233.2751.


Tech Matching Funds deadline

Posted: January 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

Technology Matching Funds are now available: with a March 12, 2014 deadline.

Apply for a grant up to $20,000 for technology literacy and access or civic engagement projects. New applicants are encouraged to attend a grant information session  at 10 a.m. on Jan. 30, at the 2100 Building (2100 24th Avenue South) or 6 p.m. on Feb. 4, at the Beacon Hill Library (2821 Beacon Avenue South).

Learn more about  how to apply for funds, which projects qualify, and what makes a strong application.


December brainstorm eZine now online

Posted: December 5th, 2013 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News  

The December Brainstorm, City of Seattle Community Technology Program eZine, is now online. View it here.

This month, we feature:

  • 2013 Brainstorm Survey;
  • Seattle Channel’s new mobile app;
  • Seattle hosts National League of Cities Congress & digital inclusion workshop;
  • Iu-Mien American Association’s new computer literacy program;
  • Seattle Public Library’s Tech Impact survey
  • Seattle the top Twitter trendsetter in US; and
  • Much, much more!

Contribute announcements and articles to or call Vicky at 206-233-7877 to discuss an article idea.



City of Seattle Director named NATOA President

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 - News  

Tony Perez, the Director of the Office of Cable Communications in the City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology was recently chosen by his peers to serve as the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) at their annual meeting in Orlando.

“I’m honored to serve as the President of NATOA,” said Perez of his presidency. “These are exciting times. We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is fundamentally changing the communications industry. The convergence of increased computing power and internet protocol is transforming traditional services like cable and voice into internet applications and enabling a revolution in mobile communications. As computing power and storage capacity increase, and become less expensive, the pace of change will accelerate.

“These advances have the potential to lead to increased consumer choice and better, more innovative services across a variety of platforms. However, they also present serious challenges to the interests of all local communities because the public interest benefits historically associated with traditional communications services may not survive this transformation. I look forward to working with NATOA members, other national organizations, the communications industry and the FCC to ensure that the social compact between communications providers and the communities they serve is preserved in an all IP environment.”

NATOA is the leading local government professional association that advises and supports its members on the many local, state, and federal communications laws, administrative rulings, judicial decisions, and technology issues impacting the interests of local governments.

Perez has served on the NATOA board of Directors for the last four years where he co-chaired the Community Broadband and Conference Planning committees. In addition to his work with NATOA, he also serves on the Federal Communications Commission Committee for Diversity in Communications in the Digital Age (Diversity Committee). The Diversity Committee makes recommendations to the FCC regarding policies and practices that will further enhance the ability of minorities and women to participate in telecommunications and related industries.