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  • ms@ms.lt
    I was asked about the history of our Includer project http://www.includer.org so I will write a bit about that. The Includer is a device that we re proposing
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 25, 2008
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      I was asked about the history of our Includer project
      http://www.includer.org so I will write a bit about that. The Includer is
      a device that we're proposing to develop, which would allow our African
      participants to read and write emails and other texts stored on their USB
      Flash Drives, which they can then upload and download at an Internet cafe,
      and also share files from one USB flash drive to another.

      I founded our Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt in 1998 as a
      private business so that I might make a living while living in Lithuania.
      Our lab's mission is to serve and organize independent thinkers around the
      world. I'm the sole proprietor. We have about twenty working groups
      http://www.ms.lt/news.php and at this time about 150 active participants
      and 2,000 supportive participants.

      In the spring of 2003, Tom Munnecke paid for my flight to California so
      that I might attend his workshop Imagining Iraq. There I might Joy Tang
      of One Village Foundation http://www.onevillage.biz She and her team in
      the US and Africa were responding to the AIDS challenge in Africa by
      encouraging a new approach to village life based on unity centers. I
      looked for ways for our lab to support their work and also earn money in
      related areas. Ian Bruk of Canada provided more than $3,000 for me to
      work on a project that would provide income for our lab. With that
      support, I chose to participate in a contest organized by George Soros's
      Open Society Fund to develop open source software for NGOs. Here is my
      proposal: "Social Networking Kit Social Networking Kit (optimized for
      marginal connectivity) by which activists may be heard, found, informed,
      helped, integrated."
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?SocialNetworkingKit2003
      I think the proposal was very good, but they received about 200
      applications, and also it seems that I was blacklisted (a long story). By
      the way, here are more of our lab's proposals:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Proposals

      In the years that followed I never found a way to work concretely with
      Joy, I think because of my policy to work publicly, in the Public Domain.
      However, through Joy we met many activists, notably Janet Feldman, who in
      2005 agreed to lead our lab's working group based on her deepest value,
      Holistic Helping http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/

      Through Janet we met Samwel Kongere of Kenya
      http://www.ms.lt/news.php?thinker=Samwel_Kongere
      and in May 2005 he started participating in our working groups. He
      "worked for free" in the Public Domain on his own projects, websites,
      letters, proposals and also started work on some small projects ($100) for
      our lab. He did great work and in 2006 he started up our lab's working
      group Mendenyo (which means "Men without food - we can invest in tomorrow
      rather than eat everything today") based on his deepest value "motivation
      through sacrifice".
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/
      Samwel's great example - he was one of our team leaders for My Food Story
      http://www.myfoodstory.com - opened the door and soon we had many
      participants in Africa, especially Kenya (Tom Ochuka, Kennedy Owino) and
      Uganda (Fred Kayiwa). (Thank you also to Benoit Couture, Maria Agnese
      Giraudo, Pamela McLean, Barbara Horst, Janet Feldman and all who have
      nurtured these links and projects.)

      When we first got to know Samwel, he was an "unemployed volunteer", and a
      classic example of a participant with marginal Internet access. He would
      walk 3 miles from Rusinga Island across the sandbar to Mbita Point where
      he would pay $1 an hour at an Internet cafe, or pay a monthly fee, or use
      the Internet at a science center. As he participated at Minciu Sodas,
      thanks to his outstanding work and values, Maria Agnese Giraudo visited
      him and gave him a laptop and they have worked closely together since
      then. She is active in Tanzania and she had him fly there and help set up
      UYOGA, a youth organization there http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Uyoga
      see also http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?WilliamWambura and
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Child
      This year Samwel and Agnese traveled to Ghana and I understand that he
      will visit her in Europe, this has been a goal for some time.

      More than a year ago, Samwel became the leader of an IT center in Mbita
      with at least 15 computers, with the mission in 3 years to train 3,000
      women in ICT and entrepreneurship. I note that "Internet access" is a
      rapidly shifting target. I think that there are more than a billion people
      who are and will be within walking distance of the Internet. But many of
      the individuals within this group, especially those we work with, will
      keep growing out of it. It is a challenge if we want to keep reaching out
      further.

      My Food Story http://www.myfoodstory.info (October 2006 to March 2007) was
      our lab's largest project, $24,000, of which I earned a bit more than
      half, and the rest went to our six teams, about 100 people in all.
      Afterwards, I made a list of our many endeavors
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Endeavors (thank you to Sasha Mrkailo
      for your help!) Note also the diagram which shows how each endeavor
      serves some more basic endeavor, and the most basic of all (perhaps God's
      endeavor) is "reaching out to the hard to reach". Strategically, quite a
      few of the endeavors had to do with making the best of marginal Internet
      access. So last summer I decided that this would be a good set of
      endeavors to focus on for business opportunity.

      I then remembered my proposal from 2003. We had already achieved quite a
      lot that we had proposed, especially in building a global team. I thought
      that it was a good idea that people with marginal Internet access be able
      to use software optimized for their situation, both at the Internet cafe,
      and at an offline computer. But I felt that this idea was too "abstract"
      for clients or funders. I thought that they could understand better if we
      proposed a hardware solution, it would be more real and concrete for them
      than a software solution. (The OLPC made this point seem plausible.) I
      thought that the optimal hardware would be a USB Flash Drive editor, a
      device for reading and writing content (such as emails) from USB flash
      drives, which we had been sending our African participants.
      Here are some letters from July 2007 and August 2007
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/259
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/273
      And here's the first mention that I can find of the USB Flash Drive Editor:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/275
      and here's a detailed vision:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/295

      Here is a letter from Samwel on "Knowledge based approach" which is about
      his own values and the thinking that he works to inspire:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/261
      and this is very much the kind of leadership that our lab is meant to
      support and that helps us all grow. Here's an enthusiastic response from
      Samwel:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/296

      I should say that the Includer wasn't something that anybody in Africa
      asked for but it did come from my own wishes to support marginalized
      independent thinkers and my understanding based on working with our
      African participants, but especially the high price of attending Internet
      cafes, and the value that they and I were getting from their participation
      at our lab. Also, I was encouraged by supportive feedback from our
      participants. I do think of the Includer as an endeavor that advances all
      of our projects that relate to "marginal Internet access" even if the
      Includer itself never gets built. My goal is that we strengthen our
      independent thinkers and also that our lab find paid work. I'm certainly
      happy if others can earn money fulfilling these needs.

      August I started researching whether there was anything like a USB Flash
      Drive Editor and who might be interested. At the OLPC website I saw
      Ricardo's page about a Sneakernet and we are very fortunate that he has
      joined us. Ricardo has written hundreds of pages at our wiki:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Includer
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Ricardo
      and he's personally helped I think more than a dozen people get access to
      computers and the Internet, and he's advanced the theory and practice
      enormously, much more than me. I think he's the natural leader for our
      Includer project and that his growth as a leader (and our growth as
      leaders) is the kind of challenge that is at the heart of our lab and our
      success. I suppose this is a matter of time. Here's Ricardo's first
      letter:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/312

      In October, I thought up the name Includer:
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/440
      because of the goal to "reach out to the hard to reach" and because "USB
      Flash Drive Editor" sounded clunky. This was just in time for three
      proposals that I wrote (with input from Ricardo, Samwel and others at our
      lab).

      At that time, Samwel's Mendenyo group was the headquarters for our work on
      the Includer. But during the Kenya crisis (January and February 2008) his
      group became extremely active in our Pyramid of Peace
      http://www.pyramidofpeace.net, and also he fell extremely sick. So I
      shifted our work on the Includer to Kiyavilo Msekwa's new group "Learn How
      To Learn", also because of Kiyavilo's studies in software and interest in
      hardware. Originally, Kiyavilo's group was supposed to be in Kiswahili,
      so I apologize for that, but perhaps we can start a new group in that
      language (we also have Josephat Ndibalema's group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hakielimurafiki/ which is in Kiswahili and
      about education).

      In January I learned (but had to keep secret) that the Knight News
      Challenge did not award our Includer proposal (I had asked for about
      $300,000 for our team to build 200 includers, with Samwel leading our
      rural team of users and Kennedy Owino leading our urban team of
      assemblers). Instead, they awarded me $14,000 to blog about the Includer
      idea at the PBS website http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/ This hasn't
      started yet. I haven't yet received the contract or the first payment of
      $7,000 which was due to come in July.

      In March, I worked to organize the European Union thematic network's
      COMMUNIA workshop http://www.ethicalpublicdomain.org Kennedy Owino and
      nine other Nafsi Afrika Acrobats attended, and so did Maria Agnese
      Giraudo, Pamela McLean, and six other lab members from Europe. In April, I
      worked on my taxes and then I flew to the US (thanks to the Knight
      Foundation) where I first attended the News Tools conference in
      California. In May, I attended the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.
      Then I spent five weeks making contacts in Silicon Valley and wrote this
      presentation and proposal to create offline versions of online services:
      http://www.includer.org/presentation/
      Afterwards, I won a scholarship for room and board and spent three weeks
      in Boston at Stephen Wolfram's summer school for "A New Kind of Science"
      where I wrote this proposal that our lab work to expand his community:
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?ANewKindOfCulture
      and now I'll be writing a smaller proposal for $2,000. I spent a week in
      Boston (thanks to Barbara Horst!) and made more contacts for our Includer.

      Now I am in Chicago and will spend a couple of months here. I need to
      think about who we might work for and also work with all of us so that our
      lab is helpful as we work-in-parallel and openly grow as independent
      thinkers. I appreciate our visions.

      I ask for our thoughts, what kind of websites would be most useful for us,
      or how could we best leverage our participation at other websites around
      the world?

      Also, some steps to take for our Includer include:
      * Creating a survey about our Internet access needs and collecting answers.
      * Sketching out the different kinds of user needs and technical solutions.
      * Setting up our websites so that it is easy to download our letters, wiki
      pages, chat, etc.
      * Do a simple project so that offline participants can prepare letters
      that can later be sent to any of our groups.
      * Organize a hardware team (Michal, might you be interested?) to try out
      our Gumstix processor and gain practice and give feedback on what our
      African participants might try to create?
      * Find funding for more small projects (such as Peter Ongele's
      experimentation with solar panels to recharge mobile phone batteries) that
      help us make progress on the Includer.
      * Organize independent thinkers at Google, Yahoo and other companies that
      might possibly fund us to work on the Includer.

      I'm concerned to find income, presumably clients that our global teams
      could work for. Some ideas include:
      * Helping Lithuania (and NATO) develop Ghor province in Afghanistan.
      Proposals are due at the end of September.

      I appreciate our thoughts... Thank you to Ed Prentice, Michal Novytscky,
      Graham Knight, Peter Ongele, Samwel Kongere, Ricardo for your letters and
      for helping with our Includer!

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms.lt
      ms@...
      +1 312 618 3345
      Chicago
    • Samwel Kongere
      OK Andrius, Thanks for this update. I am in Nairobi and will meet Francis Opiyo and Peter Ongele on Tuesday at Mbita, to gather their empowerment, I will then
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 26, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        OK Andrius,
         
        Thanks for this update. I am in Nairobi and will meet Francis Opiyo and  Peter Ongele on Tuesday at Mbita, to gather their empowerment, I will then update all of us i.e. if the includer is still an option with our initial thinking and empowerment to our teams in Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon and Uganda etc! There is the GPRS phones and Mobile phone companies are rolling out modems which can be used at homes if the members are having power and laptops..
         
        Keep us posted.
        Samwel

        ms@... wrote:
        I was asked about the history of our Includer project
        http://www.includer .org so I will write a bit about that. The Includer is
        a device that we're proposing to develop, which would allow our African
        participants to read and write emails and other texts stored on their USB
        Flash Drives, which they can then upload and download at an Internet cafe,
        and also share files from one USB flash drive to another.

        I founded our Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms. lt in 1998 as a
        private business so that I might make a living while living in Lithuania.
        Our lab's mission is to serve and organize independent thinkers around the
        world. I'm the sole proprietor. We have about twenty working groups
        http://www.ms. lt/news.php and at this time about 150 active participants
        and 2,000 supportive participants.

        In the spring of 2003, Tom Munnecke paid for my flight to California so
        that I might attend his workshop Imagining Iraq. There I might Joy Tang
        of One Village Foundation http://www.onevilla ge.biz She and her team in
        the US and Africa were responding to the AIDS challenge in Africa by
        encouraging a new approach to village life based on unity centers. I
        looked for ways for our lab to support their work and also earn money in
        related areas. Ian Bruk of Canada provided more than $3,000 for me to
        work on a project that would provide income for our lab. With that
        support, I chose to participate in a contest organized by George Soros's
        Open Society Fund to develop open source software for NGOs. Here is my
        proposal: "Social Networking Kit Social Networking Kit (optimized for
        marginal connectivity) by which activists may be heard, found, informed,
        helped, integrated."
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?SocialNetwor kingKit2003
        I think the proposal was very good, but they received about 200
        applications, and also it seems that I was blacklisted (a long story). By
        the way, here are more of our lab's proposals:
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Proposals

        In the years that followed I never found a way to work concretely with
        Joy, I think because of my policy to work publicly, in the Public Domain.
        However, through Joy we met many activists, notably Janet Feldman, who in
        2005 agreed to lead our lab's working group based on her deepest value,
        Holistic Helping http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/holistiche lping/

        Through Janet we met Samwel Kongere of Kenya
        http://www.ms. lt/news.php? thinker=Samwel_ Kongere
        and in May 2005 he started participating in our working groups. He
        "worked for free" in the Public Domain on his own projects, websites,
        letters, proposals and also started work on some small projects ($100) for
        our lab. He did great work and in 2006 he started up our lab's working
        group Mendenyo (which means "Men without food - we can invest in tomorrow
        rather than eat everything today") based on his deepest value "motivation
        through sacrifice".
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/
        Samwel's great example - he was one of our team leaders for My Food Story
        http://www.myfoodst ory.com - opened the door and soon we had many
        participants in Africa, especially Kenya (Tom Ochuka, Kennedy Owino) and
        Uganda (Fred Kayiwa). (Thank you also to Benoit Couture, Maria Agnese
        Giraudo, Pamela McLean, Barbara Horst, Janet Feldman and all who have
        nurtured these links and projects.)

        When we first got to know Samwel, he was an "unemployed volunteer", and a
        classic example of a participant with marginal Internet access. He would
        walk 3 miles from Rusinga Island across the sandbar to Mbita Point where
        he would pay $1 an hour at an Internet cafe, or pay a monthly fee, or use
        the Internet at a science center. As he participated at Minciu Sodas,
        thanks to his outstanding work and values, Maria Agnese Giraudo visited
        him and gave him a laptop and they have worked closely together since
        then. She is active in Tanzania and she had him fly there and help set up
        UYOGA, a youth organization there http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Uyoga
        see also http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?WilliamWambu ra and
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Child
        This year Samwel and Agnese traveled to Ghana and I understand that he
        will visit her in Europe, this has been a goal for some time.

        More than a year ago, Samwel became the leader of an IT center in Mbita
        with at least 15 computers, with the mission in 3 years to train 3,000
        women in ICT and entrepreneurship. I note that "Internet access" is a
        rapidly shifting target. I think that there are more than a billion people
        who are and will be within walking distance of the Internet. But many of
        the individuals within this group, especially those we work with, will
        keep growing out of it. It is a challenge if we want to keep reaching out
        further.

        My Food Story http://www.myfoodst ory.info (October 2006 to March 2007) was
        our lab's largest project, $24,000, of which I earned a bit more than
        half, and the rest went to our six teams, about 100 people in all.
        Afterwards, I made a list of our many endeavors
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Endeavors (thank you to Sasha Mrkailo
        for your help!) Note also the diagram which shows how each endeavor
        serves some more basic endeavor, and the most basic of all (perhaps God's
        endeavor) is "reaching out to the hard to reach". Strategically, quite a
        few of the endeavors had to do with making the best of marginal Internet
        access. So last summer I decided that this would be a good set of
        endeavors to focus on for business opportunity.

        I then remembered my proposal from 2003. We had already achieved quite a
        lot that we had proposed, especially in building a global team. I thought
        that it was a good idea that people with marginal Internet access be able
        to use software optimized for their situation, both at the Internet cafe,
        and at an offline computer. But I felt that this idea was too "abstract"
        for clients or funders. I thought that they could understand better if we
        proposed a hardware solution, it would be more real and concrete for them
        than a software solution. (The OLPC made this point seem plausible.) I
        thought that the optimal hardware would be a USB Flash Drive editor, a
        device for reading and writing content (such as emails) from USB flash
        drives, which we had been sending our African participants.
        Here are some letters from July 2007 and August 2007
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/259
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/273
        And here's the first mention that I can find of the USB Flash Drive Editor:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/275
        and here's a detailed vision:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/295

        Here is a letter from Samwel on "Knowledge based approach" which is about
        his own values and the thinking that he works to inspire:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/261
        and this is very much the kind of leadership that our lab is meant to
        support and that helps us all grow. Here's an enthusiastic response from
        Samwel:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/296

        I should say that the Includer wasn't something that anybody in Africa
        asked for but it did come from my own wishes to support marginalized
        independent thinkers and my understanding based on working with our
        African participants, but especially the high price of attending Internet
        cafes, and the value that they and I were getting from their participation
        at our lab. Also, I was encouraged by supportive feedback from our
        participants. I do think of the Includer as an endeavor that advances all
        of our projects that relate to "marginal Internet access" even if the
        Includer itself never gets built. My goal is that we strengthen our
        independent thinkers and also that our lab find paid work. I'm certainly
        happy if others can earn money fulfilling these needs.

        August I started researching whether there was anything like a USB Flash
        Drive Editor and who might be interested. At the OLPC website I saw
        Ricardo's page about a Sneakernet and we are very fortunate that he has
        joined us. Ricardo has written hundreds of pages at our wiki:
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Includer
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?Ricardo
        and he's personally helped I think more than a dozen people get access to
        computers and the Internet, and he's advanced the theory and practice
        enormously, much more than me. I think he's the natural leader for our
        Includer project and that his growth as a leader (and our growth as
        leaders) is the kind of challenge that is at the heart of our lab and our
        success. I suppose this is a matter of time. Here's Ricardo's first
        letter:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/312

        In October, I thought up the name Includer:
        http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ mendenyo/ message/440
        because of the goal to "reach out to the hard to reach" and because "USB
        Flash Drive Editor" sounded clunky. This was just in time for three
        proposals that I wrote (with input from Ricardo, Samwel and others at our
        lab).

        At that time, Samwel's Mendenyo group was the headquarters for our work on
        the Includer. But during the Kenya crisis (January and February 2008) his
        group became extremely active in our Pyramid of Peace
        http://www.pyramido fpeace.net, and also he fell extremely sick. So I
        shifted our work on the Includer to Kiyavilo Msekwa's new group "Learn How
        To Learn", also because of Kiyavilo's studies in software and interest in
        hardware. Originally, Kiyavilo's group was supposed to be in Kiswahili,
        so I apologize for that, but perhaps we can start a new group in that
        language (we also have Josephat Ndibalema's group
        http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/hakielimur afiki/ which is in Kiswahili and
        about education).

        In January I learned (but had to keep secret) that the Knight News
        Challenge did not award our Includer proposal (I had asked for about
        $300,000 for our team to build 200 includers, with Samwel leading our
        rural team of users and Kennedy Owino leading our urban team of
        assemblers). Instead, they awarded me $14,000 to blog about the Includer
        idea at the PBS website http://www.pbs. org/mediashift/ This hasn't
        started yet. I haven't yet received the contract or the first payment of
        $7,000 which was due to come in July.

        In March, I worked to organize the European Union thematic network's
        COMMUNIA workshop http://www.ethicalp ublicdomain. org Kennedy Owino and
        nine other Nafsi Afrika Acrobats attended, and so did Maria Agnese
        Giraudo, Pamela McLean, and six other lab members from Europe. In April, I
        worked on my taxes and then I flew to the US (thanks to the Knight
        Foundation) where I first attended the News Tools conference in
        California. In May, I attended the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.
        Then I spent five weeks making contacts in Silicon Valley and wrote this
        presentation and proposal to create offline versions of online services:
        http://www.includer .org/presentatio n/
        Afterwards, I won a scholarship for room and board and spent three weeks
        in Boston at Stephen Wolfram's summer school for "A New Kind of Science"
        where I wrote this proposal that our lab work to expand his community:
        http://www.worknets .org/wiki. cgi?ANewKindOfCu lture
        and now I'll be writing a smaller proposal for $2,000. I spent a week in
        Boston (thanks to Barbara Horst!) and made more contacts for our Includer.

        Now I am in Chicago and will spend a couple of months here. I need to
        think about who we might work for and also work with all of us so that our
        lab is helpful as we work-in-parallel and openly grow as independent
        thinkers. I appreciate our visions.

        I ask for our thoughts, what kind of websites would be most useful for us,
        or how could we best leverage our participation at other websites around
        the world?

        Also, some steps to take for our Includer include:
        * Creating a survey about our Internet access needs and collecting answers.
        * Sketching out the different kinds of user needs and technical solutions.
        * Setting up our websites so that it is easy to download our letters, wiki
        pages, chat, etc.
        * Do a simple project so that offline participants can prepare letters
        that can later be sent to any of our groups.
        * Organize a hardware team (Michal, might you be interested?) to try out
        our Gumstix processor and gain practice and give feedback on what our
        African participants might try to create?
        * Find funding for more small projects (such as Peter Ongele's
        experimentation with solar panels to recharge mobile phone batteries) that
        help us make progress on the Includer.
        * Organize independent thinkers at Google, Yahoo and other companies that
        might possibly fund us to work on the Includer.

        I'm concerned to find income, presumably clients that our global teams
        could work for. Some ideas include:
        * Helping Lithuania (and NATO) develop Ghor province in Afghanistan.
        Proposals are due at the end of September.

        I appreciate our thoughts... Thank you to Ed Prentice, Michal Novytscky,
        Graham Knight, Peter Ongele, Samwel Kongere, Ricardo for your letters and
        for helping with our Includer!

        Andrius

        Andrius Kulikauskas
        Minciu Sodas
        http://www.ms. lt
        ms@...
        +1 312 618 3345
        Chicago


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