Monthly Archives: June 2007

The tentacles of the CRACIN


After four years the CRACIN project, that multi-tentacled beast of a research project that has employed me, frustrated me, inspired me, guided me, and provided me with the framework for my research with Ile Sans Fil has wrapped up. I said goodbye to many colleagues and friends who I am sure I will see, but whose official connection with me will soon become more tenuous.

A few pieces of sushi, hugs all around, and I am home in my office realizing that this desk, this window, and this pile of files will be my world for the next year or so, as I finish the thesis. Four years ago, I remember the feeling of stepping out of my small world into a much larger one. Suitcase in hand, I travelled to Ottawa to meet a group of academics who have since shaped my approach to collaboration, research (and good food and drink).

The suitcase has travelled many kilometres since then, and so have my thoughts. As I begin to focus them to create a work that bears my own name, the tentacles of the “beast” that was this project remain. The people and practices I encountered over the past four years have shaped and will continue to shape my work. Thank you, to everyone. And now, to write.

What Is Net Neutrality?

This week, Neil Barratt, Mike Lenczner and I launched — a primer on network neutrality for Canadians. It was a pleasure to work with Mike and Neil on this, and we hope that this site makes the debate more accessible to a wide variety of Canadians.

The official announcement:

Today marks an important day in the net neutrality debate in Canada. With the launch of (WiNN), Canadians have a valuable resource with which to educate themselves about this emerging concept.

While it sounds like an issue for experts, net neutrality is a debate that will affect the future of communications in Canada for everyone. WiNN aims to help Canadians understand this debate, and why it should matter to them. We’re not advocating a specific solution to the debate. Our goal is to inform and educate Canadians about a poorly understood and sometimes intimidating issue. Our lives depend on communications, and the Internet is growing to encompass television, telephone, journalism and entertainment. Net neutrality is a principle that will shape this powerful communication tool.

Please visit the site and look around. The site touches on the business, technology, and policy aspects of this issue. Each section has short and detailed answers, depending on your interest. The dictionary gives simple explanations of many of the regulatory and technical terms in use. The blog will track any developments of the debate in Canada.

This web site is a project of the Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN), a research network comprised of academics and community technology practitioners from across the country. CRACIN is dedicated to community-based research and innovation in the use of new information and communication technologies to empower local communities.

While only available in English for the moment, WiNN will be translated in coming weeks to be fully bilingual.

Thanks for your time,
Neil Barratt
Michael Lenczner
Alison Powell