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April 24, 2007

SB 117 WCPN 9 am tomorrow April 25, 2007

A just received word that tomorrow morning at 9 am, the hour will be dedicated to State Bill 117. If you're interested and care about the future of community networking,public accountability for the future of services over the Net, and maintaining some degree of local/regional autonomy in making decisions that make sense for NEOhio related to the future of Internet Age, I recommend listening in. Better yet, I recommend calling and/or emailing in your questions.

Lev Gonick
April 24, 2007

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April 22, 2007

More on Ohio Senate Bill 117 --

Today's Cleveland Plaindealer carries a front page story on the so-called State Franchise bill in front of Ohio's Senate (SB 117).

About a month ago I posted a note on a coalition formed to fight against the AT&T sponsored legislation. A number of States across the country have negotiated state-wide franchise agreements on the basis of the assumption that such a negotiated arrangement removes the cumbersome (and costly) jurisdiction by jurisdiction negotiation that informed the first set of cable television negotiations 20+ years ago. Of course, in the Internet age the triple play of data, voice, and video makes the "market" for these services a matter of plenty of opportunity and big money. AT&T with the tacit consent of Time Warner are sponsoring SB 117 which will allow the State to negotiate the terms of a "master agreement" that will, as currently written, supersede all local franchise agreements.

AT&T and Time Warner are both saying that "master agreements" will lead to more competition and lower costs to consumers. Hmm... this kind of consensus among the competitors should make all consumers think twice about the promise of structured duopoly arrangements leading to lower bills for services. More important, all of the States who have concluded state-wide franchises have NEGOTIATED the terms rather than taking the first draft from the industry ghost-writers.

According to some insiders, "AT&T has the votes" in the Senate. There is some important coalition building between City Managers and Mayors and many grassroots players, and the mostly insightful blogsphere.

Missing from almost all the analysis is the single most important part of existing franchise agreements and those are the provisions that relate to so-called I-Nets (Institutional Networks). In the first round of franchise agreements with Cable providers, the City template franchise agreement for providing rights to lay out fiber included a public set-a-side of 6 or more fiber pairs to be used to connect public institutions like schools, government buildings, public health care services, and other public institutions. The provision was slightly ahead of its time but in the past 10 years or so, enlightened Cities (and Counties) are significantly leveraging their negotiated rights to use I-Net infrastructure.

The current language in Bill 117 is entirely silent on the right of the State or any local jurisdiction to conclude a franchise agreement that will provide public set aside access of fiber pairs to enable communities and their elected officials to use fiber to create connected communities around the country. Make no mistake about it, while cities like Cleveland and Dayton stand to loose $250,000 per year or so through certain changes in the proposed formulas for the franchise agreements, the real economic loss will come from giving up the provisioning of I-Nets as part of the entitlement of cities and the State of Ohio. The long terms impact will be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars not to mention public capacity to participate in framing a public agenda for public benefit in the Internet Age.

Make no mistake about it, neither AT&T or Time Warner are going to volunteer to serve up I-Net fiber. On the other hand, there is more than 15 years of legislative precedence all across the country which should be leveraged as our legislators negotiate the terms and conditions of the final Bill as it moves through the legislature.

Looking back 20 years from now, a decision to miss bringing forward the provisions of I-Nets will be seen by future pundits as the key legislative miss (while cable television will likely be a largely irrelevant issue). While Europe, Asia, and many other countries in Latin America, Canada, and elsewhere are leveraging public access to fiber to position their countries to be leaders in the emerging Internet Age, U.S. and Ohio legislators are loosing the opportunity to leverage legislative authority in the public interest. A decision to remain silent on the need to bring forward the provisions of I-Nets into SB 117 will be a most unfortunate outcome.

It's not too late. The last couple of public hearings are coming up in the next two weeks. Cleveland City Council has a chance to lend its voice to the growing number of cities in opposition to the Bill. More important, City Council, and key media outlets, are in a position to make sure that if we negotiate a state-wide agreement that we do not loose the I-Net provisions of any legislation that might emerge through the negotiation process.

Lev Gonick
Cleveland April 22, 2007

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April 15, 2007

Oh what a night ... Red {an orchestra} in OneCleveland Second Life

Sold Out!

Kudos to the extraordinary talented and visionary team of collaborators who worked with Red {an orchestra} in the launch of "That Red Guy" and the premier of OneCleveland's Second Life platform.

Patron's of the arts from New York to California (and beyond) joined the live streaming of Red's evening of beautiful orchestral music. All three venues in Second Life were sold out. Conversation at the intermission was simply spectacular.

Thanks to the entire team from ITAC@Case, OneCommunity, Tom Knab, Len Steinbach, Jared Bendis, and our partners from the NMC for making the launch such a memorable evening.

For a look at the early collection of snaps of the evening, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/nmc-campus/sets/72157600079178464/. If you took snaps please add a tag in Flickr for "red-nmc" along with "red-cleveland2.0"

Please feel free to comment on your experience here.

There's lots of talk about next productions in OneCleveland's SL platform. Please let us know what we should be doing together to build on this enormously successful launch.

There will be a PBS story on the performance and the SL launch available soon. Details to follow.


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April 13, 2007

Cleveland 2.0 Wired for Wellness - NPR WKSU

WKSU (NPR) ran a feature piece on Northeast Ohio's leading effort in the area of networked health care. Case Western Reserve University, Netwellness (Susan Wentz), Stacy William's VIXAR Lab, OneCommunity, the Cleveland Clinic and John Hay High School are all featured in Vivian Goodman's piece.


You can listen to Vivian Goodman's piece here or read the transcript below.

Technological innovations have changed the nature of the patient-doctor relationship. Health care consumers now have a wealth of health information at their fingertips. Health care professionals now have new methods of communicating with their patients and clients. Health care providers like hospitals and clinics are using high-speed internet and wireless applications for public health education and to educate young people by videoconferencing with schools. In "Wired for Wellness", the third segment of What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, we examine the effectiveness of these new technologies in health education.

Sitting in a darkened auditorium they speak in excited whispers as they watch and wait.

In their gleaming white lab coats they look like doctors...very young ones.

Then up pop the real doctors on the giant screen.

"Good morning and welcome we're in operating room 44 over at the Cleveland clinic obviously and its our pleasure today to share with you an operation we're going to do . This is a woman in her seventies who has severe heart ..."

Watch the entire video online:

(Video Courtesy The Cleveland Clinic)

35 students at John Hay High School for Science and Medicine are watching open heart surgery...live...thanks to the latest interactive videoconferencing technology.

It's a civic education initiative of the Cleveland Clinic. One of the many ways health educators are using a new broadband communications network called Onecommunity that links more than 300 of the region's hospitals, libraries, museums and schools.

Most of the students watching today's aortic valve replacement hope to be surgeons themselves someday.

"Yeah there you can see that little black hole we're just gonna close that hole by sewing it shut ..."

Thoracic surgeon Joseph Sabik can teach a 9th grade biology class without ever leaving his OR. While he snips away at a diseased heart, his audience is about 10 blocks away.

"What does the heart do? Someone must know something. Somebody's got to guess. Take your guess. It pumps blood? Okay. How does it pump blood? Does anybody have an idea how it pumps blood? Because it beats, you're right the heart beats, there's muscle that contracts. Now why does the heart go one way?..."

9th grader Tonya Merchant has seen four live surgeries this school year.

"You seeing the real thing and not just a picture its like live and everything so I say its better than a book and better than a teacher cause you can see with your own eyes and make your own judgment about it, so."

"This is not just about training our kids this is about the whole life cycle of health care management and health care education. "

Mark Ansboury, Chief Operating Officer of OneCommunity, says one example is Metrohealth Medical Center and the Cuyahoga County Library System using the network to educate seniors .

"Typically they don't go to their doctors on a regular basis but then something happens and they wind up in the emergency room and with our growing aging population we need to look at ways of pro-actively managing that care. "

Over the next 6 to 9 months, OneCommunity will host another pilot project called the Second Life Platform. It's a virtual Three-D web connecting Case Western Reserve University with schools, hospitals and community centers. Health care consumers will soon enter this virtual world space as Avatars, as in a video game, not only to research their health care needs, but also to review their health care records and even consult with doctors in real time about diet and exercise.
CWRU's Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick says wireless video conferencing is already being used to help homebound diabetics in the inner-city:

"Old style Marcus Welby home visit except that the doctor is still sitting in her office."

The patient can relax on her front porch wearing a device that monitors her vital signs. Gonick says the only other equipment is a web camera and a television set:
" Which allows the patient whose in the community to simply press on and up comes the doctor who is waiting for them back at university hospitals or metro health and of course that gives the patient the opportunity to say you know I've had this particular ache and pain and actually being able to show it but not having to spend the time obviously commuting to the doctors office spending time in the doctors office waiting room."

Susan Wentz of Case Western Reserve's Urban Health Education Center is logging on to the website she helps run. :

"For every topic as you can see if you look over to the right side of the topic there's something called an ask an expert. There's a place for a person to ask their question and then after you've written the question you title it and hit submit and that's it."

The Netwellness website provides Health and wellness information from the faculties of the Universities of Cincinnati, Ohio State and Case Western Reserve. It's been up and running for 12 years but Wentz says it wasn't until the development of high speed broadband technology that it's really taken off.

" In the beginning every month we got about twenty-five thousand hits a month and in those days it was more from a regional audience now today 8 million hits a month and its worldwide."

"I noticed in red on this page this is not an emergency service." "Exactly, that's a really important thing we want our visitors to know this is not medical care, its not medical advice, its medical information. This is something to use to help you work better with your doctors to ask the right questions to get timely care to do things in your own life but if you need information in an emergency fashion or in an urgent fashion pick up the phone call your doctor and get the help you need. "Use the old fashioned technology".... "Yes exactly. "

"Hello, welcome . You have successfully accessed the tools to produce fully immersive video, web and mobile-ready content featuring a customized talking digital host. "
Stacy Williams, a speech pathologist at Case Western Reserve University, introduces us to our virtual host, an animated woman who blinks her eyes and nods her head as if she's really there with us:

"The nice part about this particular piece of software is just a click of a button I can change her and make her a man or we can make her a child or anything we want. So it holds possibilities for us in the future we're excited."

They're even more excited about the new speech lab where they'll use some of these animated videos . They call it VIXSR.

"Which stands for the virtual emergence center for simulation research."

It's a kind of interactive theater that just opened on the CWRU campus. People with speech and hearing problems walk in and approach a variety of wall-sized projections...Today it's the counter of a fast-food restaurant with actors who appear to listen and talk to us. It's a new way to learn how to communicate in a virtual real-life situation. Like ordering a cheeseburger.

"Would you like fries with that?"

As patients progress the therapist can make the counter girl get a little testy, or put in other challenging distractions like babies crying, cell phones ringing, people sneezing.

"Their therapist is actually located outside of this therapy environment. They are sitting at a command station which has a series of computers in front of it monitoring a variety of things. There are video cameras located within the theaters that are actually pointing and recording the client."

On the floor of the virtual McDonalds there's a green box with wires coming out of it attached to biofeedback probes:

"They actually go on the clients fingers and what it measures is their heart rate and skin temperature cause this tells us how real they are responding to it."

Williams says the VIXSR lab's new technology addresses one of the biggest challenges in speech language pathology: getting clients to transfer the skills they learn in a clinic setting to the outside world.

Case Western Reserve's Lev Gonick says health concerns are a huge driver to adoption of broadband internet connectivity. He thinks Northeast Ohio will get the latest innovations and become the model for the rest of the country because of what he calls our sense of the value of community.

"A sense that we are facing significant challenges where we have to come together. Here in Northeast Ohio there is a community that is connected to each other, collaborating with each other and engaged in the reinvention of how to use technology to address priorities like health care education."

I'm Vivian Goodman, 89.7, WKSU

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Cleveland in Second Life .... the Buzz... It's all Red

The launch of Cleveland in Second Life tomorrow night is all the buzz in SecondLife. Red {an orchestra} has grabbed the top story of the day at SLNN.com

The launch and debut was carried on NPR radio at noon here in Cleveland. A special concert buffet and bar has been set up in OneCleveland. Here are some exclusive snaps of the concert hall set up on the NMC Campus. See you either live at the Masonic or in SecondLife in OneCleveland or the NMC Campus.



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April 12, 2007

Move over YouTube; Case TV to showcase the university's talent and intellectual property


Forget YouTube. Soon, the campus community will be able to upload their own videos and short clips to the newly launched Case TV.

Case TV is an archive for streaming the university's video assets, and the project is being rolled out in phases. Version 1.0 started in January, and currently features over 150 selections, including lecturers who have spoken at the university; department or student-sponsored events; student items such as Undergraduate Student Government meetings and Career Center tours and information; class lectures; and entertainment, including the recent Stop Laughing concert.

Missed a speaker or campus event due to a busy schedule? Check out the Case TV archives. Through technology, it brings the university community together—despite the fact that everyone can't be at the same event. "There really has never been an accessible repository of video assets on campus," Michael Kubit, director of MediaVision, said about the magnitude of having this type of campus network. "On any given day, there are a number of speakers and presentations on campus, now we have the ability to make them available to the entire campus community."

The videos are available 24 hours daily, and accessible globally to any user who has Internet access. Departments and student organizations request video taping services for specific events, and MediaVision is now including most of these items on the network. Users can rate videos, and items are even organized into seven categories, including "Student Stuff," "Academics and Research," "Soap Box," "Talking Heads," and "Sports." Within each category, users are presented with the "most recent" postings as well as the "most popular" videos.

One of the more useful features of Case TV is the ability for users to search for content. "As the number of assets continues to grow, this feature will become more useful," Kubit said. "The search engine utilizes the same technology that is already being used by many of our students to search for content in MediaVision Courseware." The site also features an advanced search function and allows users to search the entire site or narrow to specific parameters or within categories.

Version 2.0 of Case TV will include a feature allowing students, faculty and staff to upload their own videos, similar to YouTube. It's expected to be rolled out during the summer and fully functioning in time for the start of fall semester. Eventually, Version 3.0 will include a 24-7 Web cast channel featuring a combination of live and previously recorded programming.

Kubit said so far, the project is going very well. "Departments that have seen Case TV are very enthusiastic our biggest challenge moving forward will be to keep up with demand and to obtain permission from presenters to put some of these assets on the Web. Some speakers might have concerns and not want their talk published on the Internet." To remedy this, MediaVision is exploring a conditional release that would allow the video to be accessible only to users with a university affiliation. "People would have to authenticate with their Case ID that they are a campus member. With our technology, we can protect these assets and ensure that they are only accessible to the intended audience. We are also very excited that our alumni will now be able to view many of these presentations that might have been impractical for them to attend."

When the upload feature is enabled in version 2.0, MediaVision is aware that a variety of content might be uploaded by the campus community. However, because this is an academic environment, many voices will be heard and represented. "Our role is to provide the enabling technology, not police the content," Kubit explained. However, if a particular clip is deemed inappropriate by those that monitor acceptable use, assets can be removed.

Kubit and his staff believe the benefits of Case TV will be far reaching. MediaVision is currently in preliminary discussions with a number of departments and could envision posting everything from sporting events to department seminars. "Case TV allows the campus to become more accessible, whether you are the parent of a student athlete, an alum who lives in another part of the world, or a member of the campus community who simply can't make it to a particular event. The ability to stay connected is a great thing for the university," he explained.

For more details about Case TV programming, go to http://tv.case.edu/, or contact Media Vision at 368-3777.

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April 06, 2007

Statewide Coalition Formed To Fight SB 117

This arrived in my inbox and after reading the draft legislation, I think it is really important that folks inform themselves of this significant retrogressive Ohio Senate Bill. Smart communities around the country continue to leverage Franchising Authority to create and sustain community value. This development, if it were to pass, would be very significant nail in the coffin of community partnership networking efforts. If others have insights, please share them via comments.


Ohio Legislature Considers New State-Wide Cable/Video Franchise Bill
Divesting Local Governments Of Franchising Authority

April 4, 2007

Dear Clients and Friends,

Ohio Senate Bill 117, which was introduced on March 15, 2007, will divest Ohio local governments of their cable/video franchising authority and will cost Ohio municipalities and townships millions of dollars in revenue and telecommunications support. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the grave danger that S.B. 117 poses to municipal Home Rule authority, the fiscal health of Ohio's cities, villages and townships, and local community growth and to ask for your help in stopping the Bill.

Effectively opposing this unconstitutional proposal will take an enormous effort by local governments, school districts, and public interest organizations throughout the State of Ohio. Local governments must act now if they are to preserve their cable franchise authority and prevent further erosion of Home Rule authority. Therefore, we request your immediate participation in the opposition to S.B. 117 through local legislative action, voicing your objection to the State Legislature, and providing a contribution toward the necessary funding of the efforts of Local Voice Ohio, a non-profit, state-wide coalition working to stop the Bill.

Threat Analysis:

A full summary of S.B. 117 is presented in the enclosed Client Briefing. As you will see, the Bill:

► Slashes franchise fees paid to communities by cable television operators by reducing the revenue base upon which they are calculated.

► Allows cable operators to abandon their current cable franchises.

► Significantly reduces local control of the Public Right Of Way (PROW).

► Bans Institutional Networks provided by cable companies for schools and local governments.

► Severely limits Public, Educational & Governmental (PEG) Access Channels.

► Eliminates Funding for PEG Access.

There is no doubt that S.B. 117 is an unmitigated financial disaster for Ohio municipalities and townships and it is bad for Ohio's schools. In addition, it's bad for cable subscribers. The only parties who will benefit from S.B. 117 are large and highly profitable cable and telecommunications companies.

Action Requested:

1) Become knowledgeable about the effects that S.B. 117 will have on your community by reviewing the enclosed Client Briefing.

2) Lobby your local government to pass legislation that formally objects to S.B. 117. A sample Resolution is enclosed.

3) Make a contribution to Local Voice Ohio’s efforts to do the following on behalf of local Ohio governments: (1) perform legislative analysis; (2) grow a diverse and vibrant local government coalition; (3) prepare model resolutions and letters to state legislators; (4) prepare "talking points" for use in connection with face-to-face meetings with legislators; (5) lobby to oppose and/or change the current proposed Bill; (6) work to identify and prepare pro-local government witnesses for Senate hearings; and (7) develop legal strategy concerning S.B. 117.

As discussed in the attached Client Briefing, S.B. 117 would reduce franchise fees in many communities by as much as 10-20%. Based upon our estimate of the work involved in the above-described activities, we suggest a contribution to Local Voice Ohio in the amount of 3% of your community’s annual franchise fee revenue. Alternatively, we suggest the following minimum levels of support:

Villages & Townships (population < 1,000)...................................................$500

Villages & Townships (population 1,000 - 4,999)..........................................$1,000

Cities & Townships (population 5,000 - 9,999)..............................................$1,250

Cities & Townships (population 10,000 - 14,999)..........................................$1,500

Communities with populations of 15,000 or greater...........................10¢ per resident


Time is of the essence in gearing up to try to counter the huge cable & telephone lobbying efforts. The Sponsor's introduction hearing has already been held and additional critical hearings will take place this month (April). In order for Local Voice Ohio (LVO) to effectively mount opposition, funding will be needed by April 13, 2007. Please mail the detachable portion below with your contribution, and make checks payable to: Local Voice Ohio, Inc. You may receive other requests for support from other organizations assisting Local Voice Ohio and/or from LVO directly, or you may already have received such correspondence. If so, we apologize for any inconvenience but urge you to support LVO.

Questions/Further Information:

With 75 years of public law experience and having represented hundreds of Ohio municipalities and townships in telecommunications and cable television franchising matters, Walter & Haverfield LLP is uniquely positioned to assist Local Voice Ohio (LVO) in this vital effort on behalf of Ohio’s local governments, school districts, and public interest groups. Please contact Bill Hanna [(216) 928-2940;whanna@walterhav.com] or Todd Hunt [(216) 928-2935; rthunt@walterhav.com] with any questions, or log on to www.localvoiceohio.com.


Walter & Haverfield LLP, on behalf of
Local Voice Ohio, Inc.

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April 05, 2007

Red {an Orchestra} in OneCleveland Second Life April 14th


On April 14, 2007, at 8:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time), Red {an orchestra} will be premiering the first ever live digital-simulcast of an American orchestra into the 3D virtual web. In partnership with Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, OneCommunity and the New Media Consortium (Austin, Texas), Red {an orchestra} will perform its concert, That Red Guy, both in Cleveland at the Masonic Auditorium as well as into two sites in Second Life. Second Life is the free online virtual environment that has been gaining international attention as the future of the internet.

This performance heralds the “Grand Opening” of virtual Cleveland and the Case Western Reserve University Campus known as OneCleveland, thereby demonstrating to the world Cleveland’s role as both a “digital city” and great cultural center. This will be the first time ever a live audio/video feed of an American orchestral concert is presented in Second Life and is sure to be of interest to orchestra audiences around the world.

Red {an orchestra} is using this concert experience in Second Life to explore ways of introducing new audiences to Classical Music, an important part of Red’s mission. Second Life has over 5 million inhabitants active worldwide in the site transacting over $1.7 million in real money daily. Many colleges, museums, universities, and corporations have established a presence there for community building, education programs, and collaboration.

What will you experience?

First you need to go to www.redanorchestra.org to learn how to create your own avatar, which is your character in the Second Life virtual world. You will be given instructions on how to get to the OneCleveland or New Media Consortium areas of that virtual world. At 8:00 pm, while Red {an orchestra} performs live at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland, you and an audience of other avatars will be seated at either OneCleveland or the New Media Consortium campus amphitheatres. Each amphitheatre will feature three screens. The central screen will stream the live performance and the other two screens will show exciting images related to the concert.

The Concert:

That Red Guy has music orchestrated and composed by Red’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Jonathan Sheffer. Red {an orchestra} will present the world premier of Sheffer’s A Red Couch Floating in Lake Erie: A Symphony of Songs. This new work features a libretto written by Cleveland poets and poems written about Cleveland. This is a tribute to Cleveland and is based on poems published by the Poets’ and Writers’ League of Greater Cleveland. The poems include one about Helen Keller experiencing a 1913 blizzard in Cleveland, and one about the only major league baseball player ever hit and killed by a pitch – yes in Cleveland.

The other pieces include the North American premier of Jonathan Sheffer’s Romp: Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra, featuring Anders Paulsson of Sweden, the world-leading classical soprano saxophonist. And, Six Preludes from the Well Tempered Clavier, an orchestral transcription Sheffer composed from Bach’s masterpiece, “The Well Tempered Clavier” will also be performed.

We suggest you take time to get acquainted with Second Life at least a day in advance of the performance so that your Red experience will be as rewarding as it would be live. We look forward to seeing you, either in Real Life or in Second Life for the experience of “your life”.

Seating at the Seating at the site is limited. Entry to the Red {an orchestra} performance in Second Life (while free) is based on a “first-come” bases.

For the in-person live concert... here are the details

When: April 14, 2007, 8:00 PM
Where: Second Life OneCleveland Campus (Go to www.redanorchestra.org to register and get instructions on how to participate)
Where: Masonic Auditorium; Cleveland, Ohio

* Tickets are priced from $15-$65
* Available online at www.redanorchestra.org
* Or by phoning 216.361.1733

RED’s performance in Second Life is made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and with support from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, the New Media Consortium, OneCommunity, Leonard Steinbach Cultural Technology Strategies, MediaAffect.com, JaredJared.com, and the musicians of Red {an orchestra}.


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