ICTs for Development

February 3, 2009

Some Technology Leaves Blind Behind

Filed under: Uncategorized — amandafi @ 3:53 pm

Some Technology Leaves the Blind behind

I saw the above article on NPR’s website a few days ago. I know that in terms of development this is really just looking at the populations of blind people in developed countries but I thought it addresses issues of availability and accessibility. Even in places where technology is readily available there are still ways in which accessibility (or lack there of) to technology can create a ‘divide’ between those able to use and those who cannot. When I read this article I began to question the real necessity of touch screens on cell phones. I happen to have a cell phone with a touch screen and although I will admit that it is cool to just punch a screen and have something come up in response, overall I have yet to see the advantage of that screen over a regular mobile keyboard–I also began to wonder how many people would be unable to use a small touch screen due to disabilities and whether or not inventors of future mobile technology will take this into account when designing their devices. 

I did send this article to a friend of mine, who promptly responded with the question–why do blind people need a dvd player? And suggested that DVD distribution companies begin creating dvds in purely audio form. It did seem like a good alternative solution to the advancing technology that leaves the blind behind. There have been other solutions to this issue such as this device which allows for anything that it scans to be spoken out loud. But this brings me back to the issue of accessibility–none of this equipment is affordable or available to all. I think that it is important, especially if the ability to create such technology is a reality (which in this country it is) that we do our best to attempt to keep everyone in the network by at the very least attempting to make technology a which can be utilized by as many people as possible.


The Long Tail. Does it really work?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rafael lazarini @ 3:20 pm

For those who’d like to understand better the Long Tail Theory, there is an updated version of the book (The “longer” Long Tail) now available in paper back. It is interesting also to play the devil’s advocate and look for another point of views. At the beginning of 2008, the Harvard Business Review tried to refute Mr. Anderson’s theory in a well- structured piece. Last December a couple of British researchers tried to do the same thing, but now with solid numbers of the music industry. Check it out and make your comments! http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article5380304.ece

February 1, 2009

Laptops or cell-phones …or food?

Filed under: Uncategorized — François @ 7:27 pm

Tomorrow, we will continue our class discussion of the connection(s) between information technologies and development An article in the Guardian last week argued that laptops (though maybe not the OLPC exactly) are essential and that “the world’s poor will derive lasting, meaningful benefit from widespread access to technology and networks”.

What do you think?

The “Little Laptops That Couldn’t”

Filed under: Uncategorized — mgarafola @ 7:10 pm

On Tuesday, February 3rd, India will unveil a new, $10 laptop.  Given this course’s focus on low cost technologies, this article provides insight into how the country is able to do it.  Many are skeptical of the plan — what do you think?

From IndianExpress.com:

“The Little Laptops that Couldn’t”

All our stuff is made of dreams, and all technological accomplishments rest on an initial imaginative leap. So tomorrow, in Tirupati, land of miracles, India will unveil a ten-dollar laptop. Developed jointly by Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science and IIT Chennai, supported by companies like Semiconductor Complex, the laptop has reportedly been fitted out with 2GB of memory, wi-fi, ethernet, and expandable memory.

If that sounds fabulous, it probably is. Even with a huge Government subsidy, it is unclear how ten dollars can get you much more than a souped-up calculator.

January 27, 2009

Women in South Africa, Domestic Abuse, and Mobile Phones

Filed under: Uncategorized — myriamusc @ 8:39 pm

A neat example of how cell phones can help empower women, give them a voice, and help development…

January 12, 2009

Is a cellphone a basic human right?

Filed under: Uncategorized — François @ 7:37 am

From transnets:

Les téléphones mobiles font-ils partie des droits humains?

Doit-il inclure un téléphone gratuit?

cellphoneindia-leandroid.1231758270.jpg C’est la question que pose Linda Hurst du Toronto Star.

Elle pose la question en référence à SafeLink, un programme mis en place par le gouvernement des  États-Unis qui prévoit de fournir pendant un an un mobile et 68 minutes par mois de communications gratuites aux Américains qui en ont besoin. Ils sont 7 millions concentrés, pour l’essentiel, dans les états les plus pauvres du sud.

C’est la question du «droit de communiquer» qui est posée.

May 3, 2008

Travelling ICT training…

Filed under: Uncategorized — anoushrima @ 7:43 am
Tags: ,

Sounds like the the E-tuk tuk went so well in Sri Lanka that UNESCO is working to launch similar projects. Here is a new press release about the “Mobile CMS”  for the Caribbean. This time it’s housed in a bright yellow converted shipping container, and will be rolling out in Jamaica:

The Mobile CMC called iSt. Lab, which is abbreviation for “High Street Laboratory”, is a mini high-tech mobile unit configured in a garbage disposal wheeled bin consisting of laptop computers, radio transmitter, electronic community newspaper, wireless Internet access and other peripherals.

The goal for the iSt. Lab is to move across the Island to inner-city, rural and otherwise marginalised communities delivering a myriad of creative multimedia workshops to people who have never used a computer before and also those who want to increase their skills in using ICT to support their personal and community development.

May 2, 2008

Economist Article

Filed under: Uncategorized — urizee @ 12:36 pm

This article from the Economist is an interesting counter-point to the New York Times magazine article recently and others about the prospects of using cel. phones as a link to the internet in developing countries. It basically argues that while mobile technology is being widely used for calls & text, using mobile phones to access the internet would still require a huge infrastructure investment. The article raises the question about whether governments should step forward to make this investment in infrastructure since it’s not clear that the private sector will.

April 30, 2008

Report on mobile phones and social change

Filed under: Uncategorized — anoushrima @ 11:25 am
Tags: ,

some of you may have already seen this, but I just stumbled upon and thought I’d share. A recent report published by Vodafone and the UN Foundation on mobile phone use by NGOs and other activists…

From the UNF website:
“This second publication in the series—Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use—examines innovative uses of mobile technology by groups working to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The report identifies emerging trends in “mobile activism” through 11 case studies, and highlights the results of a global survey of NGO usage of mobile technology.”

Might be a nice summer reading assignment 🙂

Mobile Technology for Social Change

April 15, 2008

Appropriating phones for teen dating in the middle east

Filed under: Uncategorized — anoushrima @ 9:14 am
Tags: ,

Following our discussion on Chipchase-envy, here’s another fascinating piece of anthropological-mobile use research:

“Hiyam Hijazi-Omari and Rivka Ribak wrote a paper called “Playing With Fire: On the domestication of the mobile phone among Palestinian teenage girls in Israel”. In their research, they analyzed mobile phone practices among Palestinian teenage girls in Israel. The Paper constructs a detailed account of mobile phone use among Palestinian Israeli girls who, at the time of the fieldwork (2003-2006), used mobile phones given to them by their illicit boyfriends, unbeknownst to their parents.

You can link to the research paper, or see some commentary about it here where I initially found it, on Global Voices Online.

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