Photo by Symo0 via Flickr Creative Commons

The Crockford Files: Getting Information

By John Crockford

In future editions of the Crockford Files, we’ll be exploring how local governments are making use of technology to keep us informed. Twitter, for example, has become a popular source of news and information, especially via mobile devices such as smartphones. The cities of Fresno and Clovis, for example, have begun to utilize Twitter to provide information of an urgent nature to its residents that can be extremely valuable.

To users of our woefully inadequate local public transportation systems, this can be a real help. Both Clovis and Fresno provide “tweets” advising bus riders of delays, changes in schedules and other matters that can help folks get around. But getting that information can be as frustrating and aggravating as the service itself.

The Clovis Transit (@ClovisTransit) system uses Twitter fairly regularly to keeps its users informed. The Fresno Transit system, however, doesn’t. Fresno Area Express (@fresnobus) hasn’t utilized its Twitter account since its first tweet on Nov. 16, 2010—more than two years ago—when it implored its residents to “Ride me.”

E-Mail

Is your e-mail account secured with a good password? Perhaps, for ease of use, your e-mail password is simple and easy to remember. Your e-mail address, however, has become a common tool through which one can recover lost or forgotten passwords to Web sites such as your credit union or bank. So what’s the point of having a complex password protecting your online banking when breaking into your bank account can be as easy as breaking into your e-mail account?

And what happens to your e-mail account when you die? Here’s an article that may be worth reading (www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-happens-to-your-email-and-social-networking-sites-when-you-die/).

Cell Phones for Everyone

According to a recent Fresno Bee article, “The poorest of the poor in California soon will have easier access to one of society’s modern conveniences: the cell phone. A federal program designed to help homeless and other impoverished people connect with family, friends, housing programs and potential employers will provide potentially millions of Californians with free cell phones and service, officials said this week.” Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/), this public program will be run by Assurance Wireless (www.assurancewireless.com/) and “brought to you by Virgin Mobile USA.”

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John Crockford, a self-described “geek with Luddite sympathies,” is an independent Web site designer and consultant. Contact him at info@johncrockford.comor follow the Crockford Files (@crockfordfiles) with Twitter (https://twitter.com/crockfordfiles).

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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