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Report from Mallory Knodel
National Technology Coordinator for the US Social Forum (USSF)
June 1 - 30, 2010

International Outreach

WSF IC: Members of the World Social Forum International Council that came to the US Social Forum often came, as many people did, to the People's Media Center to check their emails and hold impromptu meetings. I was able to support their requests not just for meeting space but also for online technical help in a few cases where groups from outside of Detroit were required for a meeting.

WSF Dakar: Working with another representative from the NPC, of the PMA working group, I will be traveling to Dakar at the end of July for a seminar meeting on the WSF 2011. I will be representing not only May First/People Link, who has an ongoing involvement in WSF technology work, but as a representative of the USSF ICT and OC.

WEF Palestine: Small meetings have been happening between me and the chief website technologists for this forum.

National Outreach

Technologists from around the country and some international activists stayed in Detroit in what we've deemed the "Tech House", a loft space near downtown Detroit in which our volunteers stayed with free rent and board for the month. Preparations for the space and ongoing support of the space included opening the space, holding meetings, installing internet, buying and preparing food, cleaning, and parceling out food, furniture, and equipment at the end of the month.

The Techie Congress was and event at the US Social Forums sponsored by four national organizations who hosted the techie house and effectively our techie volunteers for the ICT. It was a moment that galvanized our team, something that everyone had been looking forward to as a means to express their political participation in the movement. I was in attendance and as a member of one of the hosting organizations, also helped in some ways with its preparation. Local organizations that we'd met in Detroit such as Motor City Free Geek and World Education Relief were not present, but invited and continue to be engaged, we hope, in our process.

People's Media Center

The set-up for the media center was largely done by team members of the ICT. There were some very important meetings that were scheduled before the USSF began, which included collaborations with Language Access, Communications, Logistics and DLOC.

The Online Media Center was a project slated for completion before the forum began, although our capacity for development work lessened as the reality of installing on donated computers, maintaining infrastructure at Cobo Hall, and preparing for Registration took precedent. I was able to help minimally with development of this site, but work on it is ongoing.

During the forum, equipment was available for workshop organizers to checkout. I helped to organize this equipment and contributed slightly to its programmatic implementation for any computer used by the organizer.

Detroit Expanded

In the lead up to the USSF, I worked tirelessly with 50 other workshop organizers on how to schedule their Detroit Expanded event with a potential volunteer present and all of the recording or live streaming equipment available to that small team. All was in place leading up to the forum, with minimal help from the Detroit Expanded team that had been meeting, but unfortunately did not come to fruition because of a lack of volunteers. This was disappointing as 50 workshops were indeed scheduled and confirmed, but our ability to actually cover any one event with a volunteer present for the entire duration was impossible. A full report is here

ICT Support

Registration was supported largely by the ICT team. In preparation, the tech team met with representatives from Resources working group and DLOC to determine the proper flow and positioning of registration computers. All of our donated computers were given initially for the purpose of registration. ICT members held trainings for volunteers and coordinated the move-in and set-up of registration computers. They also aided volunteers and worked non-stop during open registration hours for the first few days of the forum.

Information Tables at the USSF were an integral part to organization during the forum itself. I helped merely to try and coordinate the Open Space of the forum, although in the end, as with many things, it ended up coordinating itself or just not needing too much coordination.

ICT helped to work with Language Access to figure out a suitable configuration for how plenaries would be simultaneously interpreted in the case when the main speaker was speaking Spanish. We successfully streamed the Spanish audio of the first plenary on the web, however only 4 people listed.

NPC/OC Support

I attended two OC meetings before and after the USSF in addition to a 3-hour preparatory staff meeting.