It's getting easier for New Yorkers to keep tabs on their neighbors with Neighbornodes - group message boards on local wireless nodes. Anyone within 300 feet of a node can post and read messages, and as they proliferate, networks will pass messages street by street throughout a geographic community. DIY instructions for adding your own node are provided on the Neighbornode site, which explains that the concept was developed 'because the Internet, while really good at connecting people half-way around the world, is really bad at connecting people who live across the street from each other'. As well as neighborly chat, these local networks are being used to discuss and take action on community issues such as noise levels. Neighbornode was developed by NYU Interactive Telecommunications graduate John Geraci as part of a software package provided by NYCWireless, a volunteer advocacy group whose mission is to promote the development of public access wireless in NYC. Soon there'll be no need for curtain-twitching and gossiping over the back fence. - Helen Varley Jamieson.
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