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Action items & todos

things Gabe needs help with:

  • auth server:
    • short term need: someone who's really good at tuning Apache
    • long term need: a new server
      • one that can be administered by many WT volunteers
      • free-to-WT co-location/bandwidth
      • Gabe favours Ubuntu, but whatever works
  • hotspot adopters
    • training workshop planned for Nov 23
  • some hotspots need immediate attention:
    • Dufferin Grove hollow router not checking in
    • 401 Richmond flaky
    • Carrot Common reinstall (Michael, Jon)

things Hanna & Hilary need help with:

  • find community events for us to have a presence at
  • venue communication plan
  • get up-to-speed on social media
  • invoicing

things Mo needs help with:

  • coding backend of portal pages
  • roadmap for what we want portal pages to be

things Michael needs help with:

  • architecture of new Wordpress site
  • figuring out how to integrate this with portal pages, and the next WifiDog
  • more content for new website
  • organizing a volunteer meeting to focus on: new website, portal pages. SOON: in the next week or two.

project statuses:

  • John St: waiting for confirmation of funding; once it comes through, rush to build network
  • Atkinson: Mo working on proposal
  • Kensington: Jon building a team and talking to community members (email him if you'd like to help)
  • InSite: artists are working on ideas; will ask us questions as necessary

contacting potential venues:

  • Roncesvalles BIA: Gabe will follow up
  • Hart House: Gabe will follow up, and maybe ask for Jon's help
  • Harbourfront Community Centre: Gabe will follow up

project ideas with no lead:

  • make our own iPhone app using ISF's source
  • submit out hotspot list to various websites and apps that list/map free hotspots

Wireless Toronto Fall Volunteer Meeting - November 9, 2009

In Attendance Board: Michael, Gabe, Michele, Mo, Hilary, Hanna

New(ish) Faces:

Jon A - interested in Kensington developments
Juan computer programming student at Seneca, used WT @ harbourfront, became interested in community wifi.
Matthew B - (erstwhile WT
Lee - director of Toronto Freenet,


  • “About WT” - (Michele) WT facilitates the provision of free wifi in public places. currently has at least 23,647 users, 33 hotspots (active).
  • one of the reasons we’re having this meeting today, is because we’ve recently undergone board restructuring, and have lots of new projects we’ve got on the go.
  • (Gabe) note about about model. WT is about wifi in public places, NOT ubiquitous wifi. So, wifi in places where people meet up and hangout, more cultural.
    • each venue buys their own node/router, and pays a $50/year network membership fee- this helps WT cover the costs of networks maintenance (like user login, marketing, etc.)
    • all the people involved in WT are volunteers, but we’ve done really great things on a small budget.

INTRODUCTIONS BY NEW BOARD (incl. Rationale/Process)

Rationale for new board and new board structure:

  • previous board and structure resulted in a situation where people didn’t have specific responsibilities, and just took on tasks/roles on an adhoc basis, with people gravitating to their interests and expertise. Going forward, we decided to streamline and figure out how we can better configure things to make WT work better.
  • (Mo) - some clarification over structure: we decided that there would be working dossiers around each board position.
  • (Gabe): yes, and these dossiers will be made up of what we want and need)
  • NB: the board positions are decided by us, and there’s no firm structure around it. so if someone wants to pitch a position, we’re open to it.

Board Positions/Intros

Gabe - Operations

  • has been monitoring the network (with Michael), and when new hotspots need to be installed, or troubleshooting to do, that’s me.
  • in terms of Operations, status report includes:
  • Team will be working on:
    • auth server - the brain of the network. manages user auth., portal pages, etc. Right now, it’s on VPS, which occasionally craps out and needs to be rebooted. Need new auth server that is inexpensive, easy to maintain. In the short term, the auth server can be rebooted when needed. When it goes down, the whole network goes out.
    • Hotspot Uptime. Network is very reliable. Rare for a hotspot to go out, but we need a new model/framework for when it does go out. Previous model was an ‘adopt a hotspot’ model, where locally placed people would go and troubleshoot when notified by emails. Email system was buggy, and would send out misleading false positive email notifications. NEED, more first line people to receive and respond to hotspot notifications and failures. OPTION - train venue staff to reboot routers and trouble shoot in house (it’s something to think about).
    • TRAINING. For those interested in adopting a hotspot. Training evenings.
      • nb. 2 networks. 30 hotspots on WifiDog, 3 on OpenMesh networks. Primary is WifiDog.
  • Immediate Ops needs.
    • 401 Richmond’s flaky router.
    • Dundas Square mesh network - needs to be swapped out.
    • Carrot Common - reinstall node? (Jon A has been looking at that?)
    • Dufferin Grove - router down.
    • 2 new leads for new hotspots. 1) sports bar on Yonge; 2) bar up north
    • training session would help. Gabe will start planning a proper training session.
  • Ile Sans Fil - new iPhone application. apparently, will be opensourcing the app. code is pending. IDEA: single app for all community wifi in Canada would be good.
    • “unauthorized” WT iPhone app. Not related to WT. some dude from Brampton. Uses XML from WT server.
      • Q: (MO) - we should find all the mobile apps and websites that list free wifi, and list/share WT’s data.
      • A: (Gabe) - we should leverage research and existing practices done by NYCWireless and ISF – perhaps falls on Promos/Venue Relations dossier.
      • p.s. There may be an XML exportable set to give JiWire (ISF has done this?)


  • HK and HC will share board position and handle venue relations and marketing/outreach, which are interconnected roles. includes things like press releases, social media upkeep, and liaising with venues for things like membership dues and related accounting.
  • immediate goals:
  • talk to venues more, make hotspots feel less like customers and more like community members.
  • partner with more Community Events (why? we want to be meeting more people, enhancing our communities)
  • more active press release
  • venue relations: - H2
    • create a plan for keeping in touch with venues
    • talk to them
    • email them updates
    • yet, don’t want to foster sense of entitlement to customer service
    • circulate a network members update
    • start regularly featuring different venues - what alex was doing in the summer
    • facebook - on the venue’s fan page on facebook alphabetically
    • making them feel important as a hotspot
    • standard blurb on the venue, the network
    • ask venues to help us recruit volunteers; giving them opportunities to be involved in our community
  • venue recruitment, 2010 - reviving tradition of venue sprint, perhaps more hotspot-oriented recruiting.
  • postcards, brochures, buttons, t-shirts: let's do more with this
  • we need a new name for the roach coach?

Michele - Volunteer Coordination and Recruiting

  • am the mother hen and dispatches volunteers based on their interests.
  • looking for from volunteers is: what kinds of things are you interested in, and how can we best match you up on projects and initiatives?

Mo - Portal Page Development

  • each of the portal pages has the potential to show unique spaces when users login.
  • right now, each are basic, sharing information about the venue. not much that is dynamically refreshed.
  • it’s an opportunity waiting for development. having local dynamic content about where you are, is key.
  • WISH LIST for Portal Pages
    • services around you, some information from the venue itself,
    • dynamic venue features, calendars, maps, businesses, local or system-wide messaging (i.e. hyperlocal bulletin boards), possibly bandwidth cap
    • variety of stylesheets for different platforms.
    • do we want portal pages to be ‘speed bumps’ or have them go straight through, or just a quick bypass.
    • much of this (ie. new/different functionalities) is connected to the pending release of WifiDog, esp. its integration with WordPress.
  • ASK:
    • for people who are interested in working on these portal pages and doing any of the backend coding. Mo’s strength is the front end designing, and the backend coding is something he is not as strong; would love to have someone to work with that is strong in that respect.

Michael - Research and Development

  • it’s been awhile since looking at the code and auth server stuff. but, recently, was travelling and decided to tackle WT website.
  • working on replacing, our primary public face.
  • mindful of: 3 groups: users, potential venues, folks who want to get involved, or support otherwise (i.e. donate)
  • WordPress Installation
    • venues have individual nodes and profiles. Rather than having static pages can we just use iFrame in the portal pages…?
    • Michael will probably work with Mo to integrate the public WT site with captive portal pages for nodes in the network.
    • as WifiDog matures, and theres stronger integration with Wordpress, hopefully we can manage to be ahead of the curve.
    • User Support. More of that information available on the website. FAQs like “i forgot my pasword and user ID”, and integrate that on the public site, so that more Googleable results return to users needing help.
  • (Mo) likes localizing content to populate with more local information.
  • (Michele) - organize a volunteer meeting focused specifically on tackling this project - possibly in the next few weeks? (before Copenhagen and Mo’s Dec. surgery).

Project Updates

  • Reports from project leads: new WT Website (Michael)
  • ELN/John St. (Hilary)
    • Emerging Leaders Network
    • toronto city alliance (Luminato people)
    • trying to build art/cultural hubs to make it a renown city for art and culture
    • chose john street as pilot hub.
    • art installations, residencies, etc.
    • part of the project is free wifi.
    • massive project. ELN will help identify hubs. i.e. OCAD, AGO, and other hubs.
    • Quoted $10K to build newtork, ELN said yes.
    • nothing in writing, so not 100% confirmed.
    • 1 partner confirmed for 1/2 the funding. details pending.
    • we will need people to help build the network by JANUARY 1st.
    • working with the Entertainment District BIA; great promotional opportunity.
    • rationale for the wireless network is to build a network based art project
  • Atkinson/Kensington Report
    • (Jon) - had some meetings with Adam Vaughn, and decided it wasn’t feasible for WT?
    • (Gabe) - yes. background: proposal for free wifi at Atkinson Housing Co-op. Seemed easy at first, then level of complexity and projected costs went up dramatically. At a personal level, Gabe decided didn’t want to continue talking re: project. But Mo was interested.
    • (Mo) - has decided with Adam that perhaps something smaller scale, and on a pilot project basis would be good to explore?
      • Jon A would like to look at specs and draft proposal.
    • (Jon) - Kensington - focused on Bellevue Square park. Have been talking to community folks; they’re interested. Has created a custom Google map showing where public free wifi is already available, and where some potential hotspots might go. can share the map if you email him. haven’t done this before, and would like others to connect to that, but would like to shepherd that.
    • Gabe and Matthew are interested in helping with this.
  • Other projects
    • Michael – roncesvalles BIA - haven’t heard back from John Bowker
    • Suada - Harbourfront Community Centre – need to follow up
    • Carrot Common router – Jon A? Have called Dan, need a new space to run the router from.
      • Jon can call David Walsh for recommendation on where to set up router in the newly configured space?
    • Hart House - potential new venue. probably wanting to provision access to non-U of T guests. Jon A works at U of T, can maybe follow up with them.

Toronto Muni Wifi Report

  • No immediate action items. but some potential bearing on the atkinson and kensington.
  • gov’t managmenet meeting today (Nov.9).
  • report by David Wallace, talking about pilot projects
  • 7 presentations by people responding to RFI, talking about wireless strategy in general.
    • Bell, Rogers, Cisco, Dlink, +3 community people (Peter Frampton/LEF and 2 others from South St. Jamestown.)
  • Context - there are pilot projects under discussion.
  • Wired Canada Program (Oxford Housing). 1000 Ad-supported terminals. going forward.
    • Council Minnan Wong - said: we should be doing free wifi instead. refers to Freethenet in SF as precedent. Compelling in that it’s a complete step away from the enterprise grade vibe that City of Toronto usually goes with. Instead, it advocates using cheaper equipment, and looking to the community to support and service the network.
  • backhaul will be provided by COGECO (viz. Dark Fibre Licensing agreement?)
  • overall, david wallace (City CIO) has agreed to a 1 year pilot project in addition to Wired Canada Program.
  • *Action Item*(Jon) - get a meeting together with Denzil Minnan Wong? (Yes, nodding heads).

InSite (Hilary)

  • CONTEXT: curated by Michelle Kasprzak (Scotland), commissioned by Year Zero One. this is the 2nd one. 1st was in Montreal, on ISF’s network.
  • 6 toronto-based artists, 4 of whom are in attendance.
  • site-specific art using WirelessToronto portal pages. So, very timely given the current redevelopment of portal pages.
  • each art piece has at least one location or hotspot attached to it.
  • each artistic piece will be custom and original, will be created specifically for this project.
  • part of the hope from MKs part, is to create a bit of interesting dialogue between the artists and WT volunteers/network/community, leading to new art and conversations.
  • Artists introduce each piece/potential ideas
    • Swintak:
      • Still in conceptual phase - wants to go around to venues and check-out physical space.
      • Tranzac project maybe - would be willing to join if she does project there
      • Mechanical Turk inspired
    • Jeremy Bailey
      • artwork typically writes satirical software. can’t be present at these sites, so thinking about what kind of software that would impel users to do performance CAPTCHAS. that is, be foolish. i.e. hit note of C to access hotspot. optout would be of course, built in.
      • has to figure out little things like “can i add a Java applet”, and what’s the minimum level of opt-out
    • Kelly
      • of 2 camps. 
1) just put in a piece of art to portal page; wifi hifi; giving people music. like bad 70s AM radio music. potentially some copyright issues etc. tho.
      • 2) responsive to things in my environment. critiquing wifi. and technological public interventions. subtlety is good. don’t want users to have to look at my art if they just want to log in.
don’t understand the concept of why people going to cafe’s to have fere wifi and yet pay $6 for their latte’s.
      • Aim? Getting people to question their own wifi behavior. (Humor…)
    • Fedora
      • still brainstorming.
      • main concern is obsessive and excessive description.
      • where the doors are. where does the cloud end? interested in exploring that as a liminal space
      • goal: find someone to translate into Latin, the measurements. record people unfamiliar with Latin, get 5-10 people to speak the text. post to site.
    • in absentia: 
      • recording 7 audio plays. variety of toronto-based performers read them.
  • Timeline for InSITE
    • Nov. 30 - Production MidStage
    • January 16 - final ideas due
    • run for 6 months to 1 year?
  • DECIDE -
    • keystone venues?
    • process - do we need more volunteer-meets-artist meetings?
  • NB - artists should contact Gabe/Hilary for tech/other needs.
    • but also put queries to the discussion list.
meeting_notes/volunteer_091109.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/28 17:06 (external edit)