Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Bringing Connectivity to Under-Served Communities

2003-11-26 Thread S Woodside
WorldSpace is a broadcast system. With a WorldSpace system you are only
capable of receiving data, not sending it. While I think WorldSpace is a
great and wonderful thing, it's very dangerous if people thinking it's a
substitute for the real thing which is an internet connection that
allows two-way communication, email, web access, VoIP, web email,
content creation, content sharing ... none of those are possible with
WorldSpace.

So, if you want to be merely an information consumer ... WorldSpace is
fine. If you want to join the information society, you need something
more.

simon


On Wednesday, November 19, 2003, Robert Miller wrote:

 The WorldSpace connection together with this CampusAxxess last mile
 solution for any school, campus, or village truly narrows the digital
 divide in an affordable and sustainable way. For more info, contact Dr.
 S. Rangarajan, Sr. Vice President of WorldSpace at
 [EMAIL PROTECTED] or me.

--
www.simonwoodside.com :: www.openict.net :: www.semacode.org
  99% Devil, 1% Angel


--
   anti-spam: do not post this address publicly
www.simonwoodside.com -- 99% Devil, 1% Angel



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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] What's on the Horizon?

2003-11-26 Thread Mullinax, John (J.)
I think what Allen is speaking of here can be generalized:

IMHO, ICT is a tool (or more accurately, a very large suite of tools)
that can be used to achieve a wide array of goals. It is not more, and
it is not less. Tools have been around for thousands of years, and
though the implementation of ICT tools can sometimes be on the cutting
edge, we have collectively accrued a large body of wisdom to help us
understand how to use tools, and the opportuntities and limitations they
present to us. Two of my favorite pieces of wisdom about tools:

* It is a poor workman who blames his tools.
* If you're only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Broadband connectivity, telecenters, PC recycling, etc. all have their
place, but they are in the end only tools. We do a disservice -- to
ourselves and the people we hope to help -- if we attempt to provide an
ICT service or capability without a very clear understanding of the
underlying needs we are trying to meet. A very clear understanding of
the end goals, and the priority of these goals, is critical to choosing
the correct tools.


What we must strive for in the future, and what I think we will see, is
an increasing understanding that we must carefully select the tools we
use based on the problems we are trying to solve. Moreover, we must
recognize that in almost all cases ICT tools alone will not be
sufficient. We need to do a better job integrating ICT into the rest of
our activities as a valuable component, but not as an end itself.

John Mullinax


Al Hammond wrote:

 I agree strongly with Simon Woodside's answers--experimentation, more
 modern technology, and broadband. But I was also struck by what another
 contributor said, e.g. Find successful and sustainable activities.
 Replicate. Get constraints out of the way. Get funding on the right
 basis. Let the demand pull what is wanted. I think the aid community
 should continue experimentation, but also be willing to fund scale-ups
 of apparently successful models--yes, that would include those that have
 a business model--even to the point of making equity investments or
 funding additional training and social networking that leverage a
 private sector enterprise and its network.  There are beginning to be
 some successful models, many of them driven by the private sector, and
 some not aimed primarily at connectivity, but at an agricultural
 solution or a microfinance solution or a health solution. Nonetheless,
 they will spread access perhaps more rapidly. See our case studies at
 www.digitaldividend.org.




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] What's on the Horizon?

2003-11-26 Thread Venkatesh (Venky) Hariharan
 1. What new high impact technologies are on the 3-year horizon? Who
 (exactly) needs to do what (concretely) to make those technologies
 widely available?

It seems to me that most of the component technologies needed for
deploying ICT in rural areas are already in place. What really needs to
be done is to knit these together into a system that can be easily
deployed in rural areas. To give an example, Philips in India, is
looking at expanding its market by tapping the bottom of the pyramid.
They have skills in lighting systems, power storage and solar power.
Now, they are exploring how they can combine these skills into a system
that can be deployed in rural areas. One proposal is to create
community owned solar power systems into which villagers can plug
rechargeable lamps. The lamps can be charged during the day and used
during the nights to bring light to off-the-grid locations.

This will probably need some microfinance intervention but my point is
that we don't need more technology because the components -- low cost
computers, renewable energy, VSATs etc exist as discrete pieces. We need
to spend a lot more time and effort to knit these together into
solutions that fulfil the needs of people in different locations.

Hope this makes some sense.

Venky




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] What's on the Horizon?

2003-11-26 Thread Udit Chaudhuri
As for Guido Sohne's comment on battery life of hand-helds:

Of course the real alternative is in effecient circuit design and
perhaps the genre of mini fuel cells being researched on by various East
Asian companies.

However, there is one solution in low-cost solar power. Do visit
www.biodesign.org.uk and the URL below this message.

Udit Chaudhuri
MAXIMISE YOUR MILLIWATT
http://microPower.blogspot.com


Guido Sohne [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 1. What new high impact technologies are on the 3-year horizon? Who
 (exactly) needs to do what (concretely) to make those technologies
 widely available?

 Hardware: Cheap handhelds (approx $100) that are Wi-Fi (or GSM 3G)
 capable. Either as a telephone or a handheld tablet. Processing power
 won't matter too much, battery life will be more important. Linux is an
 ideal choice for these devices. No keyboard.

..snip...




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-26 Thread Don Osborn
Njideka, This is an interesting initiative and the notion of scanning
handwritten letters is a nice innovation as it permits a more direct
communication of content.

It's not clear from your third point,

 3) The youth agents will have a customized form they will use to
 document the message(s).

.. if this means translating or transcribing.  One goal I think would
be to reduce or eliminate the need for translation (with the inevitable
interpretation and transformation of content, however benign the
intent).

Another thing to keep in mind is that the language of the letters might
also be by the sender's choice - not just limited in the case people
haven't learned other languages - and indeed some people may wish to use
more than one language in a single communication. Is it possible that
the young people involved are or could be trained in transcribing the
local languages of the area (presumably mainly Igbo, but others as
well)?

This brings up also the degree to which the computer center is able to
facilitate composing of text (e-mail in this case) in languages other
than English. I.e., if one wanted to send a letter in Igbo or another
Nigerian language, how easy is that (or is scanning the best option they
have?). Of course the receiving end has related issues (re utf-8 mail).

Another possibility that would be interesting but would require a small
investment (relative to the computer cost, but not to local income or
perhaps your project budget), would be to find a way to use audio
e-mail. There exists good software for this but it is not terribly
popular in the Northern countries - might it be interesting to users
whose cultures have stronger oral traditions? To make this work one
would probably have to use something like a minidisk recorder to record
messages in the villages to upload and send as e-mail attachments
(.wav, .mp3).

Altogether, the extent to which the young people's intermediary roles
are for transmission of content without the need for transformation
means less work for them and increased directness of the communication
they are facilitating.

As one might say in one of the languages of SE Nigeria: Jisie ike!

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net



Njideka Ugwuegbu [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 I am a Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford and the focus of my work is to
 develop a rural messaging service that will give villagers a voice to
 the world.

 What I am proposing is a youth-led process to help villagers that don't
 use computers or the Internet, but want to communicate with their
 loved ones outside the village (in other towns or even in the Diaspora).
 The process will begin at the Owerri Digital Village, a community
 technology and learning center in eastern Nigeria. 

..snip...

 What the program hopes to achieve is the promotion and empowerment of
 marginalized youth through ICT skills training for creation of socially
 responsible citizens, access to computers and most of all the
 satisfaction of doing something that the community places a significant
 value on.






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