[Chtechcomm] Carrboro to test online meeting records

chtechboard at willraymond.org chtechboard at willraymond.org
Thu Nov 3 08:36:25 EST 2005

We've been talking about this for over a year on the TB.  Technically it's
a no-brainer, we should move forward ASAP on this.


> Carrboro to test online meeting records
> Online exclusive
> http://www.dailytarheel.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/11/03/4369a00ce52e7
> November 03, 2005
> Carrboro town staff are asking for feedback about a new feature that
> allows broadcasts of Board of Aldermen meetings to stream into
> residents’ homes through the Internet.
> The meetings, along with other town group discussions, are now available
> as archived broadcasts on the town’s Web site,
> www.townofcarrboro.org/BoA/Agendas/2005/streamtest.htm.
> Andy Vogel, information and technology officer for the town, is asking
> residents to e-mail him at avogel at ci.carrboro.nc.us with concerns or
> suggestions.
> If the demand exists, Carrboro also might add audio-only streams for
> dial-up users, since recordings of the meetings, at 225 kilobytes each,
> are available only to computers with broadband connections.
> “A lot of people want to see what happens at the meetings,” Town Clerk
> Sarah Williamson said. “This is easy access; you just get on the Web.”
> Williamson said the town won’t discontinue transcripts of the meetings
> just because the video is available.
> “We will definitely still provide the minutes of the meetings,” she said.
> Vogel said the town pays for a certain bandwidth — the amount of data
> that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of
> time. Adding the online streams only will put to use the resource the
> town already pays for, he said.
> “It doesn’t cost the town any more money or time,” Vogel said. “A button
> just needs to be pressed along with the current VHS recording. The
> computer has the software to save the broadcast to the hard drive.”
> Carrboro set up the streaming capabilities in conjunction with the
> town’s wireless Internet initiative, completed last fall, that brought
> wireless to a majority of the downtown.
> “I’m glad that it’s all finally happening,” Mayor Mike Nelson said.
> “They’ve been talking about making the meetings available online for a
> while. It’s really great.”
> Streams come in RealPlayer format, and the program must be downloaded
> prior to viewing.
> Town officials stress that residents seeking to view the meetings must
> download RealPlayer at their own risk.
> The town will not provide technical support for problems that arise from
> the online streams, Vogel said.
> Before the online option became available, meetings were recorded only
> on VHS tapes, which then were accessible to the public to view at Town
> Hall.
> “I have to make the minutes,” Williamson said. “It’s much easier to
> watch the meetings on my computer while doing this rather than using a
> VCR.”
> While aiding the town staff internally, the online streams also will
> provide easy access for locals wishing to view the meetings.
> “Now people don’t have to come in and rewind, play, fast forward,” Vogel
> said. “They can watch meetings late at night or on weekends if they need
> to.
> “This will be helpful for residents, town officials and reporters.”
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