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Surya, best wishes in your travels to China!

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Surya Prakash Vinjamuri of India is traveling to China. Surya, please have us in mind and please get permission from any independent thinkers you meet that we
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2007
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      Surya Prakash Vinjamuri of India is traveling to China. Surya, please
      have us in mind and please get permission from any independent thinkers
      you meet that we might sign them up for one of our groups, and let us
      know if they understand English or only Mandarin. We are assembling a
      group in Mandarin!

      I share more news from our lab. Andrius

      I wrote up my ideas for IBM ThinkPlace
      http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/thinkplace/

      Thank you to Peter Kaminski for news that Socialtext and TiddlyWiki have
      teamed up for an "unplugged" version. I have posted that at my
      proposal's page http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Offline and will look
      into that.

      I'm excited to hear from Lonnie Hodge (from Rising Voices
      http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org) in Shenzhen, China. Thank you for
      your encouragement! Yes, I am interested to connect with flash drive
      makers in your area, but especially any who are "independent thinkers"
      in spirit. We'd like to purchase 100 flash drives. Also, I'm looking
      for makers of LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) who might help us invent a
      "reader" that would let one read text files (such as email) stored on a
      flash drive. The next step would then be to connect with a standard
      computer keyboard (available for 10 USD or less) so that one could write
      text files (responses to emails). I imagine this set up might cost 100
      USD or even 50 USD and ultimately 25 USD. It shouldn't be too hard and
      I ask for our help to make this happen because it's the functionality
      that we need for participation at our laboratory. (Or what you need to
      be able to blog without having to pay by the hour.) I am researching
      displays at: http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?WordProcessor

      Another idea that I had is that we can encourage offline file sharing.
      Simple software for a computer (which might be offline) or for our flash
      drive reader (which might have two USB ports) would allow the files in a
      USB (or directory) to be prioritized and to encourage sharing the
      "favorite" files (perhaps deleting the less favored to make room). Such
      sharing would spread files around and also allow people to help each
      other send out their files to the Internet when they do have the chance
      to upload. The implications of an offline file sharing network might be
      no less than those of online file sharing.

      Most of all, I need to find clients for whom we might work on this or
      related projects (or unrelated, for that matter). Thank you for
      helping! And please support us at IBM's ThinkPlace!

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms.lt
      ms@...

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Offline File Sharing Network

      We will create software and hardware that would be optimized for those
      with marginal Internet access. This includes people who access outside
      their home or work, pay by the hour, use at limited hours, or endure
      slow speeds.

      More than a billion people might make good use of even marginal Internet
      access (and the definition of good access keeps changing). They would
      be able to participate in online communities by downloading the week's
      activity and reading it with an offline computer or custom device,
      writing their responses and then uploading them once a week or so. This
      would allow them to multiply the value of 1 hour online with 10 or more
      hours offline. They might be available for knowledge work that they
      might do closer to home, to their native environment. This would
      include work for the global market (like translating, writing wiki
      pages, mechanical turk work) and also local projects (collecting
      stories, interviewing people, experimenting with technologies). They
      would be able to collect information and maintain communication for
      knowledge intensive activities such as rolling out a local wi-fi network
      or assembling computers from a combination of locally purchased and
      globally sourced parts. For example, in a village that is 5 km from the
      Internet, it would be possible to create a local wireless network where
      a few computers are linked up to facilitate local communication,
      expanding one computer and one wireless access point at a time, until
      within two or three years the global Internet is reached as well. (Note
      that the principal business and social value of networks tends to be
      local communication rather than long distance communication.) This
      would also foster offline file sharing. Simple software on the flash
      drives could encourage prioritizing files (text, audio, pictures,
      cartoons, etc.) for the purpose of facilitating copying of one's
      favorite files with others. This would encourage a movement of a wide
      variety of files among people even though they are offline. It would
      also encourage a culture of sharing information and helping forward
      information to the Internet or specific locations. Also flash drive
      file readers and/or writers (a display and word processor) would allow
      the reading and writing of texts without even having to have a full
      fledged computer. This would encourage all manner of intellectual
      participation in the world's affairs but especially with those who want
      to reach out to include Africans and all who are marginalized. It would
      also promote literacy and innovation.

      Our Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt (for serving and organizing
      independent thinkers) has strong participation in Africa with paid
      workers (typically 100 USD) in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria,
      Cameroon as well as India, Palestine, Serbia, Lithuania and the US. We
      appreciate the huge costs of participation, the great need for
      alternatives to Internet cafes, and the obstacles to the many people who
      might participate but can't. We also benefit from a culture that works
      in the Public Domain. Our first priority is to create online software
      that would allow our participant to download our lab's activity
      (letters, new wiki pages, chat transcripts, typically 1 MB zipped per
      week). Next, we will create a simple way to send or upload texts
      written offline and they may be forwarded as needed by online
      assistants. We are seeking a client who values such a capability and
      might provide 25,000 USD of work for us to create such an open source
      software system. A further project is to develop a device for reading
      (and ultimately, writing) text files (such as emails) stored on a flash
      drive. Note that flash drives are available for 10 USD or less and
      standard computer keyboards are available for 10 USD or less. We wish
      to combine these with an inexpensive display (perhaps monochrome, 20
      lines by 70 characters). It should be possible to source and integrate
      such a display for 50 USD to 100 USD even in small quantities. This is
      very much needed because many of our participants do not have computers
      and they cost typically 200 USD to 300 USD. This device might be
      further developed to prepare SMS messages or even to send them out by
      mobile phone and likewise receive them. Additional projects would help
      organize knowledge bases and community support for rolling out local
      wi-fi networks even if they are not yet linked to the global Internet,
      and organizing the assembly of computer parts based on what makes sense
      with regard to local and global markets. Various ways of funding this
      work include sales of flash drives, income from select publications or
      advertisements (such as Bibles, newspapers contents, health or
      educational materials) loaded onto the flash drives, global knowledge
      work done by participants, and involving teams in global projects as we
      did with My Food Story http://www.myfoodstory.info All of these would
      fuel local adoption and implementation. However, the most realistic
      funding source for our laboratory (based in Lithuania) is to work for
      IBM and other companies for about 150,000 USD during one year to develop
      this as an infrastructure for emerging markets, especially for
      cultivating technology expertise (including computer literacy) in areas
      that may have only marginal Internet access for many more years.

      A very modest investment will make the Internet meaningful to more than
      a billion people with marginal Internet access. As we participate in
      our global dialogue we are all finding that our literacy improves
      remarkably. Such participants are able to do knowledge work that they
      get from around the world. They are also able to contribute to global
      projects (like Wikipedia) their local knowledge, experiences, wisdom,
      data, interviews, stories. Our offline file sharing network opens up a
      new kind of rhythm, a slower, more thoughtful life, that may develop an
      attractive alternative to the stresses of modern Western life. The
      software for uploading and downloading activity encourages us to think
      in terms of the steps in human activity because computers need clear
      instruction, and so a human action web language may develop that may
      codify many (recurring) online activities such as updating a wiki page
      or searching for a book. The flash drive text reader-writers may start
      at 100 USD and drop to 25 USD and may help us rethink the computer in
      terms of its essentials (one flash drive for every child) and also be
      simple enough to open up local innovation. The offline file sharing
      opens up a wild circulation of viral sharing with consequences that are
      difficult to foresee. This is all an infrastructure for literacy-based
      communication (plus sharing of pictures, audio, video) that allows for
      technical expertise to be accumulated and accessed even by people who
      are hardly touched by the Internet. The global and local business
      opportunities are huge, but the greatest asset is the thoughtful people
      who are able to participate globally even as they care locally. Our
      laboratory is finding that our values based approach (asking for
      people's deepest values and investigatory questions) is much appreciated
      and evokes great dedication. We are working openly on our proposal at
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Offline Please let us know how we
      might work for you and with you! Andrius Kulikauskas, ms@...
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