The Sacramento Wi-Fi network is finally underway: Through $750,000 of equipment leasing from Intel and Cisco, the $1m pilot project will get going, and potentially proceed to completion. Azulstar, once the lead partner on the project, was unable to raise the $9m needed without proof of concept in place, apparently. I wondered at the time why Cisco, Intel, and IBM would be willing to let their eyes be blackened and not participate; now the project seems self-financed. The pilot buildout launches in February in downtown with a May completion date. Rates of up to 1 Mbps are ad-supported and free; $15 to $50 per month subscriptions are available for varying speeds. (I confirmed with the City of Sacramento that Azulstar is no longer involved with the project; the city's CIO said that Azulstar is no longer "listed on the partner list" that was provided by the consortium to the city.)
Cameras on San Francisco street corners deliver choppy videos: Money was invested, time spent, but the 68 cameras don't record video well enough to help in cases or bring people to justice. Nearly $1m has been spent. The cameras are wireless (not using Wi-Fi, I believe), but the real problem appears to be storage and configuration--and the fact that "surveillance cameras have delivered mixed results in studies of their effectiveness at decreasing violent crime."
AP rounds up three messaging appliances: Sony Mylo COM-2 (not really available yet, $300) has dramatically improved on its first model, the reporter says, seeing a few glitches in pre-release software, but having a much more favorable reaction than anyone did to the first Mylo. The article also looks at the Nokia N810 tablet ($480), which is a full-fledged computer with good, but not great, IM capabilities: Yahoo and AIM aren't supported out of the box, but require additional software. The Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 ($150, optional $5/mo for 1,500 incoming/1,500 outgoing SMS messages) gets a thumbs up, too.