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Re: [mendenyo] We can walk the Last Mile with our flash drives

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  • christopher macrae
    This is good stuff but I would like to be sure that we do not assume there is one internet model for taking rural education/youth/entrepreneurial connectivity
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 23 11:51 AM
      This is good stuff but I would like to be sure that we do not assume there is one internet model for taking rural education/youth/entrepreneurial connectivity out of poverty, nor that one searches the internet for one "correct" knowledge
      It seems there are at least three "rural" different emerging models of being interconnected for the first ever time. I will know a lot more aboput whether one of the world's most influential prize networeks agress after the weekend
      One is access to the internet you talk about in some combination of parameters which we nneed to understand a lowest common denominator of rather than assume the biggest US bandwidth that much latest version software is designed around
      Another could be the access to milions of children with the same laptop and curricula development irrespective of what the rest of the world does on its public internet; if you like call that an educational intranet for children of peer age groups
      Another and the one actually most advanced in allevating rural poverty is the shared mobile. Here one mobile is shared by the whole village. Incoming its rather like what the telegram must of first been used for 100 years except that if the operator is smart she charges 10 times more for relaying private messages than ones the whole community can also use . Moreover the operator in charge of the shared facility literally has say 50 mini  community learning hubs expecting incoming messages (answers to question searches with differentiated conytexts) that she delivers that incoming info to. Outgoing it is like a public telephone box. Although this may seem an extremely limited connection, it has the value of studying what is the most urgent and most valauable (freedom of speech and market segmenting) info that a community which previously was disconnected now connects for the first time. And who are (how do you map the truth) intermediaries if you are building knowhow flow from the bottom up not the command and cotrol down. It turns out that the info circulated first is relevant to markets (whether these value exchanges are monetraily or human value driven eg how do we save a life)- where can we go with our product where people will pay for it; what product could we go with; what's our most diverse unique difference we can supply....  What risks are coming. How does share information among hubs of nurses acrross rural. Its the worlds of microcredit and probably kiva.org (provided the projects collected here are based on transparent microcredit intelligence communties) that are furthest advanced in studying the most valuable info when a whole community has its first interconnection
      Its strange that across all these "lab" egroups I haven't seen much connection at all with the open knowledge that is built up from microcredit and the "you can hear me know mobile" which is empowered up through only one collaborative first conneting source. Perhaps there is a lab group that exists that I dont know of. It would need to be moderated by someone (or intern) at the centre of a throving microcredit empowerment and maybe they are just too busy. Yet one has to assume that somewhere in MIT this is being explored since both laptop and you can hear me now were faciliated by innovators who are deep in that community http://up200.tv/_wsn/page14.html
        anyone who is studying empowerment of the world's most rural or isolated communities needs to be linked into someone who is studying this type of map. And perhaps learning what the disconnected community values first also has a relevance to how we should teach kids who we expect to be luckier in having full internet use but need still to make first best uses. 
      This is the opposite of the education profession in richer worlds where we throw the whole internet at kids, no search skills,  and littel practice flowing entrepereneurially and contextually to what matters first to get peer to peer learning curricula developed. We need to go back to nine year olds if not earlier to save them from drowning in noise that has little flow with future people power support what so ever http://ninenow.blogspot.com http://universityofstars.tv  http://peoplepower.jp   I will be turing content at http://brac.tv as my main schools and vocations empowerment web
       note GB's speech at the UN suggests a crossroads for what development help may be out there:
      Last year in Mozambique 1 2 , under the inspiration of Nelson Mandela's leadership, the international community launched a new 'Education For All' initiative: the demand that the promise of free education must be kept, school by school, class by class, and child by child.  (continues rhs)
      And I ask all NGOs, churches and faith groups to demand of every country that they support this great literacy initiative that will help ensure that young children are given hope.
      In Indonesia I have seen barefoot children living above open sewers; in India I have witnessed hundreds of children sleeping rough in the streets; in Nigeria I met AIDS orphans who have AIDS and TB themselves; and in Mozambique I heard from children being taught on the floor with leaking roofs and four shifts a day.
      Today in Africa governments, local and national, provide the majority of school places but up to one third of schooling is provided by churches and faith groups, and hundreds of businesses and charity foundations are involved in supporting schools.
      So how can we move forward ? Already 25 African and Asian countries have agreed to submit ten year education plans.
      The Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, Germany, Spain and Japan have made new commitments.
      The US and G8 have pledged to help fill the immediate funding gaps in the Fast Track Initiative.
      And to set a ten year goal the UK has pledged $15 billion - locking in the long-term financial commitment that is vital to delivering high quality education for all.
      We will call on others in education, business and the voluntary sector to join us so that we can put in place long-term predictable funding to finance long-term education plans.
      We will encourage schools and colleges and universities in rich countries to reach out to partner with schools and others in poor countries.
      In Britain we will review 'gift aid' charity reliefs to maximize the contribution of everyone - individuals, businesses and foundations.
      And it is because we are committed to the rights of every child that we will do for education what the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres do for health and seek to provide education not just in places of comfort and peace but everywhere in the world - for the 40 million children living behind frontiers in conflict zones and failed states.
      And it is a measure of the engagement we need that this new initiative can be led only by voluntary action.
      And let me tell you why I believe schooling for all can be achieved.
      Education is not only the most economically efficient and socially beneficial investment we can make but also the cheapest and most cost effective.
      For in the developing world it costs just $100 per child per year for schooling.
      Just $2 a week.
      And so to finance all the schools and teachers we need costs $9 billion a year.
      For every person in the richest part of the world that is less than two pence a day, or four cents, a day
      Richer spheres Kids are drowning in a world of noise and superficial gratification which is the exact opposite of the flow meaure defining interpersonal productivity - what per cent of your lifetime are you communally empowered to spend experientially at the edge of your own greatest competence.
      Hopefully when the ex-president of India challenges Indian youth to redefine sustainability curriicula by 2020 - not to assume that teachers have any such curricula - we have a world that is led by truly relevant learning not by what people like to teach and examine. The American educational system has become the latter- it is the world's least relevant for developmemt and people empowerment purposes. Take any curricula that we dont know about - eg what webs and communities of practice should your people's most inquiring and competent minds be spending time flowing with for sustainable energy or for sustaible community healthcare. You can be sure that whatever is the conventional wisdom in america and say in India is completely different already. And you had better know which one your local teahers are guidng their youths curiosities to swarm around
      travel guide to learning-
      facebook groups of the month and threads to swarm and then crosspollinate:
      you tell us where you are asking a question that shocks an intelligent group out of its conventional NW lack of grassroots experience
      apply for grant to print your own travel guide to micro-learning projects
      We need to understand that the elaring revolution needed for sustainability everywhere is far greater than the industrial revolution's educational requirementes ever were; it will impact one generation worldwide; and it will need to get away from assuming in many cases that there is one correct information; context is what defines truth and in those worlds wehere there are many opposite true answers what we need is transparency of questiong and answering not an examination as if one standard has answers that define whether you are 100% correct or not
      It will doubtless be that the global aid merchnats that funds can sometine be gotten from wil not undersrand a single word of te above. Which is also why empowerment funding needs different sources- agian a reason why true microcredit with its peer to peer learning circkes between borrowers needs seeeding in any community you must want to sustain out of poverty

      samuel kongere <samkongere2004@...> wrote:
      This is agreat idea and we have to support and join the bright efforts from our own inintiatives. As the Internet grows relentlessly, so do the difficulties in monitoring and understanding its complexity. Studies are available that rely upon theoretical models or simplified assumptions in order to emulate certain features of Internet behavior. However, the actual macroscopic dynamic characteristics of the global Internet have not been studied in any detail. Our work seeks to narrow this gap. By making the community access use of devices which can eanble them share data and information of a large set (many tens of thousands) of end-to-end paths over a period of time, we obtain empirically- based insight into macroscopic Internet topology dynamics using mobile devices for data storage.
      The Internet has had a major impact on society and business during the last decade of the 20th century. Yet, despite the popular interest generated by the Internet, there is a lack of comparable data on its spread across the world. Though the quality and quantity of information has recently improved, there are still wide variations in definitions, comparability and scope. Market analysts, particularly keen on the size of electronic commerce, have generated many recent access. This type of information -- though it varies widely depending on the source -- is increasingly compiled for developed countries. However, there is a shortage of publicly available data on Internet accessibility, particularly for developing countries. Standard indicators and definitions are needed to measure Internet access across countries. This will outlines statistics that are presently being used, as well as their limitations, and proposes a set of harmonized Internet access.
      This group of measures access to the Internet. It is critical to distinguish between different aspects of access. The indicators in this category are often used interchangeably, making comparisons difficult. However, there are key distinctions that should be observed. One way is to start with the total potential Internet universe and gradually burrow into deeper layers like using of flash drives, skype phones, other electronics which can save extra power due to lack of electricity,  for more information which can be accessed offline, very interesting idea!. The outer shell is the number of inhabitants in a community and interested in making communication through internet. Most community research limits the data to the adult population, which can affect comparability and often ignore a significant portion of other users. The next layer is the number of people that are aware of the Internet. People who do not know about the Internet are not going to use it. This form the bench marking style which made us to start giving computer basic skills to youths and women to help them understand the usability of the internet.  
      The next critical statistic is those covered by the Internet -- that is, the number of people within easy access of the Internet regardless of whether they are using it. After that is the number of users. The frequency and sophistication of use are important qualifiers. Finally, at the core is the number of members and subcribers, those paying for access to the Internet. This is the most verifiable statistic, but not necessarily a good measure of usage because most users do not themselves pay directly for access, where the offline idea comes in.  It will be a great stride to have offline shring of Data.
      Keep in touch!

      Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...> wrote:
      Our Minciu Sodas online laboratory http://www.ms. lt reaches out to
      serve and include a wide variety of independent thinkers. We have a lot
      of activity in Africa where our participants have only marginal Internet
      access. We are exploring solutions that would allow them to leverage
      online work with offline work. I believe that we also have a great
      business opportunity to work with a manufacturer who would appreciate
      their basic need to view, edit and share the files on their flash
      drives. I share my thoughts about the potential of a "flash drive editor".

      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ---
      Invitation to chat this Thursday
      Our needs in Africa
      Proposed solution - flash drive editor
      Related products - Palm Foleo, AlphaSmart Neo
      Partnerships, Manufacturers, Funders
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

      I invite us to chat about meeting the computer needs of our African
      participants by our earning, financing, donating, assembling or
      manufacturing computers or alternate devices. We start at the usual
      time on Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 4:30 pm Nairobi time, 2:30 pm
      London, 9:30 am New York at our chat room at
      http://www.worknets .org/chat/ I hope that Josephat Ndibalema of
      Tanzania and Samwel Kongere of Kenya might lead this chat with me.
      (Samwel can come only one hour later). We may also have some synergy
      with Asif Daya's Trainerspod Webinar on cross-discipline communication
      which starts at 10:30 am New York.
      http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?TodaysMeetin g

      In Africa, we have participants like Samwel Kongere who walk 5 miles or
      ride even further so they might access the Internet. They may pay $1
      per hour at an Internet cafe for slow access. Yet they benefit
      significantly from participating in our email working groups. Their
      relationships have lead to several thousands of dollars of work,
      computers, video cameras, digital cameras, visitors, travel in Africa
      and now to Europe. Our laboratory has gained clients for worldwide
      projects. Many people benefit locally. Samwel is now leading a center
      with 15 computers where these next three years they will train 3,000
      women to use computers and start businesses.

      ------------ --------- --------- --------- ----
      Proposed solution - Flash Drive Editor
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- ----

      In 2003, our laboratory addressed the problem of marginal Internet
      access by proposing to adapt our social software (letters, wikis, chats)
      so that participants might download our activity once a week, read it
      offline with a computer at home, and then upload their responses.
      http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Offline I have started creating some of
      this software, for example, we can download our chat transcripts:
      http://www.worknets .org/archive/ and I will make it easy to download on
      our letters and wiki. However, in Africa, many of our participants still
      do not have computers of their own that they can use for free. Used
      desktop computers can start at $180 and used laptop computers at $300.
      We have considered how to lower these costs by assembling computers from
      local and global parts. However, I am realizing that the functionality
      that we need might be very easy for a manufacturer to meet and good for
      business as well. I think we might find a manufacturer we might work
      for to develop this opportunity.

      What I think our participants need is primarily a way to work offline
      with our community's activity, but especially, with email and text
      files. They are using flash drives which we sent them (here in
      Lithuania we can now buy flash drives for less than $10 and in China
      they are less than $5 whereas in Tanzania they start at $30). What they
      need now is:
      1) A flat monochrome text display that would let them read the content
      of the files on their flash drive. They could then do much of their
      reading offline.
      2) A port to plug in a standard computer keyboard (they cost $10 USD).
      They could then compose their letters offline, as well as edit texts,
      enter data and do knowledge work.
      3) 4 AA batteries to power this for 100 hours or more. If you have two
      sets of rechargeable batteries (a four pack is 12 USD), then one set
      might be recharged using a solar Battery charger for 20 USD. An adapter
      is then unnecessary.
      4) 4 USB ports so that they could share files between two flash drives
      (imagine an offline file sharing network!) and so they could also add
      other modules, such as:
      5) an optional module, connected to the USB port, that would provide
      wireless connectivity so that one might set up a local wireless network
      for local communications, and send SMS, email, attached files locally,
      even if yet there is no link to the global Internet.

      The point here is to focus on the very real needs of our participants.
      If we can meet them in a reliable, affordable way, then the ability to
      read and write text files, and share and send all files, makes for a
      vibrant local knowledge community.

      I chatted with Josephat and he agrees that the limited feature set is a
      good thing in Africa. He notes especially that only 8% of Tanzanians
      have electricity. This means that a device (like the AlphaSmart Neo
      word processor) which can go for 200 hours without recharging may be
      worth more than an old laptop which likely needs to be kept plugged into
      a power grid.

      It also seems to make sense to use readily available components wherever
      possible (such as $10 flash drives or $10 keyboards or $3 rechargable AA
      batteries) then to integrate special components. (Note that a laptop
      battery may cost $100 and an adapter may cost $70 and they may need to
      be purchased with a credit card and shipped globally!). By using
      readily available components like a standard keyboard it is possible to
      share parts, buy them separately, and have several of them so that you
      don't have to lug them around.

      The kind of display that we need for text might be the 5.7" monochrome
      320 x 640 Wincor-Nixdorf customer display that is part of their cash
      registers. (See links at
      http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?WordProcesso r). This is I think
      comparable to the original Macintosh 9" 512 x 342 display. Or consider
      the new technology by ZBD Displays http://www.zbddispl ays.com that uses
      power only when it's content is being changed and is targeted for
      supermarkets to display product information. How much might such
      displays cost? And how difficult is it to create a text editor for such
      a display? Note that they all come with some way to edit their contents.

      The software for the text editor could perhaps be kept on the flash
      drive along with the contents. Perhaps it might be kept on a separate
      flash drive.

      A total price of $200 would make this an attractive solution. Given $20
      for 2 flash drives, $10 for keyboard, $50 for rechargeable batteries,
      that would leave $120 for such a display plus ports. But I think the
      price of the display could easily go down to $50 and ultimately $20.
      The modularity would make this extremely practical as parts could be
      replaced or shared.

      For an additional $200 it would be very attractive to link through the
      USB a wireless access point that could reach 1 kilometer or so. I think
      there is great value to being able to send signals locally and not walk
      that kilometer. Indeed, I imagine there is greater business value in
      local communications than in global communications.

      Sending SMS, email, attached files is I think a good first application
      for unreliable local wireless networks. The flash drive editors would
      help Samwel and others to accumulate the content and maintain the
      regular communications which would allow them to take up
      knowledge-intensive tasks such as rolling out a local wireless network,
      assembling computers, customizing software and paving the way for Skype
      phones as Accton is producing. The flash drive editor allows a company
      to develop markets that nobody can otherwise because they are too
      remote. The flash drive editor may open up an explosive "offline file
      sharing" with simple routines that let people quickly fill up their
      flash drives with each other's favorite files.

      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --
      Related products
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --

      There are several products that are similar to what we want, but not
      quite... see: http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?WordProcesso r

      You may think of the One Laptop Per Child http://laptop. org which is
      striving for a 100 USD laptop. Yet the current price will be 175 USD
      and that's if you buy a million of them. And it is designed for
      children whereas I want to serve literate adults!

      However, thanks to the OLPC wiki, I was excited to learn of the
      AlphaSmart word processors. http://www.alphasma rt.com These look like
      keyboards that include long displays at the top to view six or more
      lines of text. They are used primarily to encourage writing in schools
      and also by writers who are working on their first drafts. They have a
      nice group of enthusiasts who like them because of their long battery
      life (the 3 AA batteries last for 200 hours) and the lack of
      distractions (so they can focus on writing!) and they have large
      keyboards and are very durable. The Neo is $220 and the Dana, which is
      wi-fi enabled, is $430. And there are used AlphaSmarts available at
      eBay for $50 and up. However, they don't write to flash drives, which
      means instead you have to take them with you and use the USB cable and
      load their software on the computer you use. The Dana does write to
      Secure Digital cards and Multimedia cards. I look forward to connecting
      with the makers and their community.

      Jeff Hawkins, inventor of the Palm, has similar thoughts about the new
      Foleo, not yet available, 499 USD, which looks like a small notebook but
      is meant as a device for overcoming the limitations of a smartphone:
      http://www.palm. com/us/products/ mobilecompanion/ foleo/
      "The concept of this product is five years old... it became clear the
      smartphone wasn't going to fill that role. It has a keyboard, nice
      display, except there's a problem. You need a full size screen and
      keyboard. .... When you want to introduce a new platform, a new product
      category, you have to find someone who really wants it, and it grows
      beyond that. The thing we focused initially on is that email experience.
      Talking about battery life... it's similar to a cellphone usage model.
      ... People always focus on the fastest processor... like a game
      machine. But its simpler, it's more fun to use. This is a fun product to
      use, you just like using it."
      http://www.engadget .com/2007/ 05/30/palms- jeff-hawkins- live-from- d-2007/
      Note the many negative comments, but they are mainly driven by price:
      "Maybe now someone will see the opportunity for a display/imput
      accessory that's under $200."

      Coby manufactures several very inexpensive products that can be
      purchased through Amazon and offer a slightly different set of
      functionality but show what could be done:
      * Coby TF-DVD7377 7" DivX Compatible Portable DVD Player plays digital
      audio, video, photos including from USB drives and SD/MMC cards. Digital
      and Analog AV outputs. 125 USD.
      * Coby DP772 7-Inch Widescreen Digital Photo Frame with MP3 Player 5.6
      inch for 71 USD DP-562 TFT LCD @ 320 x 234, 7 inch for 76 USD, 8 inch
      for 108 USD. Displays JPEG and BMP image files. Plays MP3 and WMA audio
      files and most MP4 and AVI files from digital cameras. A/V output for
      use with home theater systems; integrated stereo speakers. SD, MMC, xD
      and CF Card compatible; USB port for fast file transfers.
      * Coby CX-TV1 Black White Television with AM/FM tuner for 15 USD.

      ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------
      ------------ --------- --------- --------- -------

      My thought now is to find partners who would like to make this happen.

      I'm working with our participants to meet our own needs by:
      * developing our web interfaces (letters, wikis, chat) so that our
      activity can be easily downloaded and make sure that is indeed useful
      * encouraging entrepreneurship by shipping flash drives to Africa for resale
      * putting together 100 MB of content to publish on those flash drives to
      make them more attractive for sale, especially because we will be
      selling the smaller flash drives
      * making sure everybody has a computer, helping them earn them
      * learning and thinking through how best to assemble computers and set
      up wireless networks

      Italy is a center for the world's "trashware", which is making good use
      of old computers. I will be there for at least a week after September
      27 so I hope to engage them and learn what can be done. I hope they
      might help to see what we can do with used AlphaSmarts or with old
      computer monitors and so on. Also, thanks to our participation in
      Communia, we will be able to invite our African participants to Europe
      next year and I hope that we can help them get training in trashware and
      wireless. I am glad that Maria Agnese Giraudo is excited to help us
      make these connections.

      I will be engaging manufacturers who we might work with, or especially,
      work for to develop these opportunities. I am especially interested
      that we might work for One Village Foundation founder Joy Tang who is at
      Accton http://www.accton. com and is interested that they serve emerging
      markets. More broadly, I am seeing that there is a wider community that
      we might involve, especially around AlphaSmart and OLPC. I invite all
      who are interested to join Samwel's group Mendenyo
      http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/mendenyo/ at our lab which is where we'll
      focus our work, send a blank message to mendenyo-subscribe@ yahoogroups. com

      There are also various sources of funding. Thank you to Pamela Maclean
      for alerting us to the MacArthur Foundation and HASTAC Innovation Awards
      http://charitychann el.com/publish/ templates/ ?a=14249& z=26 where we will
      apply for a $100,000 grant. Also, the European Union program EUREKA
      fund 50% or more of research costs and I think there's a reasonable
      chance for that here. We need to find partners in other European
      countries so I'm looking perhaps for a trashware company in Italy,
      Denmark or elsewhere that might help us do hardware research and also a
      manufacturer like ZBD Displays or Siemens which I think makes the
      Wincor-Nixdorf customer displays, or Ricoh Europe as Greg Wolff works
      for Ricoh Innovations. I'm also writing a proposal to Lithuania's
      foreign ministry for 20,000 USD to work for three months next year in
      the Ghor province of Afghanistan on organizing independent thinkers and
      overcoming marginal Internet access.

      Our lab's largest project to date was My Food Story
      http://www.myfoodst ory.info for Greg Wolff of Unamesa Association. I
      realized that Unamesa Association http://www.unamesa. org might play a
      key role here potentially as a holder of any patents that might arise in
      our research so that they are part of our commons. Also, Greg and I are
      discussing how people might help finance our colleagues in Africa so
      they could buy computers or other devices and then pay them back as they
      get related work. Greg offered to loan $1,000 for this purpose if we
      might match it with another $1,000, if he might earn 15% in one year,
      and we might try to work with TiddlyWiki and SharedRecords technologies
      that are relevant for us here, and we could cover any defaults with our
      lab's services. Steve Bosserman and I thought further about this, given
      that it is not very attractive to send money out of Africa, what if our
      lab had a community currency in Africa that somebody like Greg could be
      buying? Then if he wanted cash instead of services, I or others could
      buy his community currency, but we wouldn't have to ship that money out
      of Africa. Greg has inspired us to think fresh about financing and also
      business opportunities that computers open up for our participants.

      I look forward to our ideas how we might make "marginal Internet access"
      a reality that we are comfortable acknowledging and making the best of.
      More than a billion people will be within walking distance of the
      Internet. We can make that a digital invitation rather than a digital
      divide. And we can cross the last mile by
      serving our own local communication needs and working outwards from our
      homes rather than waiting for the day that somebody finally reaches us.
      The Internet is a network of networks!

      Please write how any of the above might be of interest to you and I will
      try to include and acknowledge and reward all of our contributions!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms. lt
      +370 699 30003
      Vilnius, Lithuania

      Samwel Okech kongere
      Nyamuga primary school
      P.O BOX 191,
      MBITA  040305-KENYA.
      Cell: +254 725 600 439
      Information Networking and E-learning Trainings
      UDOGO youth development/ Miniciu-Sodas Laboratories

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