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international development, technology, & human rights news
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    I kept seeing kids the age of my own kids who had absolutely nothing—no clothes, no food, no low-velocity aircrafts—and it absolutely broke my heart

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    interesting that the informal social element is mentioned as key to kenya’s success(pete’s coffee). this opinion piece about Boston vying to be an innovation hub argues that cities like New York and San Francisco will outcompete Boston simple because of Boston’s less-vibrant nightlife (due to laws demanding its low number of bars and early closing times) — and these informal social spaces are critical to nurturing an entrepreneureal tech scene: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/05/26/boston-bar-buzz-kill/KbPYBLYiTjLsykcpPi0mRJ/story.html

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    wow. this actually looks pretty comprehensive!

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    grrr. currently only ships to europe. seems like an odd restriction

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    VoiceXML?! I love it when forgotten, obscure standards come up in awesome places

    Also source code for the project is here: https://github.com/maxf/tabale

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    The Boston marathon scenario sounds like the first real-world example of Meier’s theoretical, widely inclusive, organic crowd crisis response. In the past, Meier has blamed the shortcomings of failed crowd crisis responses on factors like: disrupted telecommunications infrastructure, lack of crowd responders at the crisis' epicenter, or crowd reporters' self-selection bias (only a certain segment of the population participated).

    As the Boston incident unfolded all of these factors were present — yet the crowd crisis response was a resounding failure. Perhaps the worst to date; instead of being irrelevant, the crowd crisis response’s witch-hunt was actively spreading libelous misinformation to a large audience.

    I’m really shocked that Meier refuses to be critical of his own theories or even attempt to defend them with respect to the Boston crowd response. In this interview, he sheepishly skirts questions and promotes his current work. In fact, he seems to be making the argument that the traditional crisis responders are becoming — and should be becoming — the primary digital and social actors during a crisis and the organic crowd should be ignored. This interview really solidifies Meier’s transition from an academic researcher into an evangelist.

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    This is very compelling. Networking hardware (and its accompanying administration software) is in dire need of a shakeup (I won’t say disruption, because networking hardware is crying for evolutionary change). Feature-wise, the BRCK is very basic — but if the price point of the retail version is close to the donor perk levels ($150 – $200), then its still cheaper than buying off-the-shelf router + UPS + gsm dongle and doing the same thing.

    I really hope the BRCK brings about an OLPC moment where the incumbent industry is shocked into action and a new category of device explodes. Networking gear really hasn’t changed since the addition of web-based administration dashboards in the 1990s. And I think more and more home and small business networks need more advanced functionality than a combo router/wifi device, but don’t need the functionality networking gear made for SME or enterprise.

    I love where this could go. I would certainly pay for a similar device that also includes something like Squid caching and a great GUI for firewall config. I have above average technical competency but I always struggle with firewall configuration. And as more and more internet connections become metered or capped, having intelligent caching baked into the networking gear would really save on bandwidth. Sure I could set up an old PC with linux and accomplish the same thing, but honestly I would rather buy something like BRCK than spend a weekend setting it up and tweaking the configuration myself. I would pay even more if it included some sort of traffic shaper that could throttle bitttorrent and streaming video traffic — in a small office with moderate bandwidth, it only takes one person torrenting or a few people watching youtube to make the connection unusable for everyone else. There aren’t really any decent traffic shapers that aren’t geared toward enterprise or ISP networking (read: they’re all expensive). It does seem like these are the kinds of things that the BRCK creators are imagining, since they are hoping to include a breakout board and raspberry pi in future versions — which would make it really easy to include a proxy/caching layer and other goodies.

    Outside of the developing world context, I’m not sure its all that useful with the current specifications except maybe while traveling or at a conference (but at that point its much easier just to use a 3g dongle or mefi hotspot for connectivity and not even mess around with hotel wifi, etc). If I have a cable internet connection at home, I’m probably not going to go to the trouble of getting a SIM card for the rare instances when the internet goes out. And if my cable connection does goes out and BRCK fails over to the prepaid 3g, I probably will want to stop streaming Netflix rather than blow through all the credit after it seamlessly switches over.

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    should it still be receiving aid anyways?

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      good question. according to a bbc article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22365355) many aid organizations find the decision premature

      Whilst South Africa should be in a position to fund its own development, there remains widespread poverty and inequality, so UK aid is still a lifeline for poor people

      perhaps the UK is trying to force South Africa to devote more of its own funds to development.

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    check out http://www.iceaddis.com/

    iceaddis, an innovation hub, accelerator, incubator, coworking space for Ethiopian entrepreneurs. The home for startups in Addis Ababa.

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      Very cool. Thanks for posting.

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    I would like this on facebook

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      i put it on pinterest and it’s been re-pinned. how many children did i save?

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    Does anyone know of any productive ways to support gay rights advocacy in Uganda?

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    Why does the post end with a photo of a hat?

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      Ah, the blog post is about the study. Patrick Meier wears that hat, he’s kind of iconically known for it.

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        That is very strange

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          Agreed. He lost it once, and there was a crowdsourced effort to figure out where he left it. (hint: crowdsourcing totally works, because the crowd found it) :)

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    The tags on this post are not applicable … interesting article though.

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      Yes on both counts. I’ve edited the tags to be a bit more accurate