Reviews of PTP Nodes and Hotspots.

["Node518"] Coffee Plant

I hit Coffee Plant today with a compatriot to test out the connectivity.

First off, Very Very nice work on the info flyer. This is something that I think will get more penetration into the non tech/geek inclined crowd. It is branded with both t he host biz and the PTP, it is clear, simple and the text about the PTP is some of the best I have read. The top title grabs you and the rest flow to inform and educate without blowing out or off potential users. Are there plans to do this at UG and other biz hosts?

Second, after our drink and some surfing/socializing we walked over to the park across from the Coffee Plant. I got connectivity on the south east corner and a little into the eastern benches. Other areas were not LOS or had trees/water in the path. All and still, you can sit in that special section of the park and enjoy the day whilst surfing merrily along. Grab a cupojoe when you can though to show support of the bizhost.

Third, they got their punch cards in:)- Yea I know most folks dont deal with the "buy 10 get 1 free" thing, neither did I. Until, that is, I got married. I gota tell you, its a nice thing to occasionally get that bonus cup of joy juice.

Great site, cool host biz, coverage into a nearby park and a fantastic job at the outreach material..Thank you to everyone who put this one together.

- TomHiggins

["Node491"] Capuia's International Restaurant

After a few weeks of not going to check out Tom's place the planets finally came into alignment. Having met up with the usual suspect compatriot we took off for the posted location. From where I work the trek was damn short and seeing as the weather was agreeable it was a good excuse to check out that part of town which I normally do not find myself.

Toms place is right on the corner of the block, you cant miss it. From t eh big windows to the signs posted there in you know from the get go this is a complex place. Complex not in that "oh shit I'm going to drop a wad here" but complex in "its gonna take a few trips here to take it all in".

Walking in there is the art. Art is everywhere. On the walls there are large works, in the air there is music, linning one section of wall is a row of half cased computers, on the tables are Frys ads. Thelast one is not something most folks wold appreciate, but for the tribe I am part of its as much art as seeing Andre Has A Posse or Mona Lisa.

From the art comes the goodies. A wall of coffee items, menu choices and the ever ready proprietor Tom Fitzgerlad awaits your order. Aside from the obviously posted items be sure to ask Tom what he has got cooking on the side. Tom has the price point placed just right for his items. My soy chai was well under the towns norm for price which meant it was that much more the sweeter in devouring. With food ordered it was off to the tables for the pointed purpose of my being there and then...wireless access.

The thing that makes Capuia's set up better than most is it is not just another hot-spot to the Internet. As is becoming very obvious to Portland denizens setting up a wireless gateway to the Internet is cool and great and everyone and their half brother can do it. Where the real guts of the matter comes in is content. Yes Content, which for all the hype over Connectivity, is still king..or Queen or whatever your gender bias leans you towards. Connectivity in and of itself is pretty drab if there is no interesting Content to move across it. With most stright up hot-spots the content is pretty much what you could get anywhere. I can be at a at one of a hundred or so documented places in the Portland area to surf the web so whats the draw for being at Capuia's?

Content, fast driving local brewed served with a smile and an iced chai content. Dig the math and you will dig the deal. If I am at a straight up hot-spot and I want to grab a web page, Linux distro, chuck of Project Gutenberg, etc I am going to be running at the speed of that hot-spots pipe to the Internet. If the stuff I want is local then I'm blazing down at pretty much the top speed of the wifi AP serving up the local. Say a hot-spot has a 256k pipe to the Internet, thats what I am sharing with each and every person using that pipe plus the hot-spots owner who could be using it for their own use. With 802.11b and the content based off the net and local I'm running about 5 or 6mbps or about 23.4375 X faster. Woosh.

Another thing about local content, its localized. Yes this may seem obvious but lets fill the thought out. If I am a wireless user who frequents Capuia's odds are I will find stuff on its local servers that I will need, want or otherwise find handy. Say, for instance, the newest copy of Knoppix, some pictures of the art work surrounding me, the works found in Project Guttenburg, other Open Source works, some cool PD music I hear as I sit and sip my chai. Being local means its fast, its accessible even if the rest of the Internet should fall down and go boom and its here because someone local thought it was of worth.

Tom has plans, plans to fill up hard drives and cd slots full of local content. The more we talked about it the more I realized Tom was in this for more than just the biz, more than just running an Internet Hot-Spot..he was talking about content as if it really mattered. This was music to my ears. Just like the menu at Capuia's there is more to the network offerings than what is posted.

The other thing to remember when talking to Tom about the plans of what the place will become we are talking about more than just bits and bytes. We are talking a sense of purpose, of making the choice to use and offer open source based apps and services over closed sourced options, of realizing visual art and information have important places in ones life and making the space called Capuia's a reflection of that idea and listening to the customers as someone who has valid ideas that might be cool to implement.

Capuia's is that rare place where thought and action come together across a spectrum of experiences.

- TomHiggins