An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog

An interview by Esther Sassaman for an upcoming text

The following is a personal interview by Esther Sassaman:

Bloggers are known for strong political opinions and too much openness about their love lives. A growing number have taken the expressive power of the blog into new realms. Many bloggers of all interests and political viewpoints have debunked inaccuracies portrayed by the mainstream media, maintained compendia on rapidly developing stories more quickly than big broadcasters, and established their own live news services in conflict zones. Jacob Applebaum is one of this last category, publishing photojournalism from Iraq, Houston, and New Orleans that has often surpassed the news value, narrative power, and beauty of photography produced by longstanding news service photographers. Appelbaum went to Iraq in April 2005 as a photographer and to visit friends, and visited Houston’s Astrodome after Katrina to help set up a low power FM radio network and wireless service [] for details. He is currently in the poor, black Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, administering a data center at the behest of community organizer and former Black Panther Malik Rahim.

Jacob’s photographs have gained a new audience with the Houston Astrodome series [], which has become widely distributed. I reached him on Tuesday, the second day of his stay in Algiers. We talked about the situation in Algiers on Tuesday, but also about his personal motivations for coming to activism, and his background.

You can read the rest of the interview off site.


NYC hackers Neil and Justin save the day

Posted in algiers,gear,Katrina,neworleans,photos,radio,supplies,wireless by jacob on September 17, 2005

NYC hackers save the day

 These two guys deserve more respect than I can possible express. They came in today with nearly $2000 worth of equipment and within a matter of moments they had everything ready to roll. We’ve got over a dozen laptops – both Mac OS X and Windows (Knoppix shall soon overcome!).

The two brought everything including normal telephones. I think the kitchen sink is actually still in their trunk but we’ve got a few of them so we’re good to go in that department.

These guys are my heroes. They’ve helped us complete a very vital part of our mission here, they’ve helped us bring the medical center online. The medics now have the ability to look up life saving information and stay in contact with their familes, friends or whatever they use the internet for these days.

We now have two separate internet connections that we can share out over wifi and tomorrow we’ll deploy the gear we staged tonight. I think we’ve got three EVDO cards in the general area (one is Justins and the other two are Common Ground gear). I wonder how many cards we can fit per tower, is anyone really familiar with how Verizon CDMA towers allocate slots with EVDO? How many cards can we use before we max out the tower?

If you’re in the area and you need an uplink just select essid “Common Ground” and enjoy!
Oh and don’t forget about the radiostation on 94.5FM!

Radio Interview with Chris Pirillo

Last night I talked to Chris Pirillo for his weekly show. You can hear the interview on their site.

The media center is deployed by the community!

Posted in algiers,gear,housing,Katrina,media,neworleans,photos,supplies,wireless by jacob on September 15, 2005

Today was great. We accomplished much in getting everyone online. My method was to teach people how to teach other people. Everyone that learned from me went to teach others. They became the teachers and then they made more teachers. By the end of the day, no one was working with me at all, everyone knew how to fish. We now have 8 public terminals, custom ethernet cables, scavenged switches as well as other things. If you’re in the area we’ve got an open wifi network.

Community media center comes online

Here we have a photo of a local boy teaching a member of the Danish press how to setup a computer.

Community media center comes online

Here’s the finished product being used by the community that build it.

Joel is going to post about the actual tech involved tomorrow. I’m tired and for the first night since I’ve been sleeping in the Media center, I get to sleep on something other than a floor!

Algiers radio 94.5 FM

Posted in algiers,gear,Katrina,media,neworleans,radio,supplies,wireless by jacob on September 13, 2005

Today one of the better adhoc hacks I’ve seen came into town.

Behold the glory of a lunch pail made into a low power FM station:

Community radio 94.5 FM

Community radio 94.5 FM

I’ve been told that this radio station is planned for 94.5 FM.


Posted in radio,wireless by jacob on September 12, 2005

If anyone knows how to contact Verizon please tell them EVDO is down in Algiers, New Orleans. Apparently Verizon cell phones work but EVDO service is entirely disabled.

 Update: Thanks to David Fine we had this reported and it magically works again. I wonder if it’s related? Anyone from Verizon know?

The results of our wardriving through occupied New Orleans

Posted in Katrina,neworleans,radio,travel,wardriving,wireless by jacob on September 12, 2005


Posted in blackwater,fema,Katrina,media,medical,neworleans,wardriving,wireless by jacob on September 11, 2005

This city smells. To attempt to describe the stench would be an almost impossible task, one of untangling the many oders of a crippled city. On the way down the block out of Algiers we found the first of many bodies. It was merely laying on the cement, rotting, the skin was starting its quick turn into human jelly. The wind would blow against us and the stench of death was almost overwhelming. The face of the man was covered by a ragged blanket spread lengthwise down his body. His feet jutted out but his socks weren’t covered with shoes. It makes me wonder if they were stolen and if that related to the mans death. I called someone to decode the DMORT code on a trash dumpster. It looked like it had been there a week. As a matter of dignity and in hopes that someone would come to take the body away. His body was covered in a scrap of sheet metal with a large red X. We notified an emergency team and they said they knew. The body was no secret, obviously it wasn’t a high priority when only one body was needing removal.

A portrait of Malik Rahim

Posted in algiers,housing,Katrina,media,medical,neworleans,photos,supplies,wireless by jacob on September 11, 2005

Malik Rahim