March 2008

Bytes for All.

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The house that social networking built

An article on the above title was posted by Frederick Noronha of Bytes for All. Read the entire article:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/11571
This article was a sort of an interview with architect Cameron Sinclair who launched the Architecture for Humanity project in 1999. This project has helped to build affordable housing for people in the Indian Ocean regions hit by the Tsunami as well as those hit by Hurricane Katrina in the USA. In 2006 Sinclair won the coveted TED prize in architecture. The spoils of which were channeled towards founding the Open Architecture Network under Creative Commons. Sinclair feels the future of his field is in the slums. Where the UN has projected one third of the world's population will reside by 2030. When asked how the Internet has helped the Open Architecture Network, Sinclair says this project would not have existed without the Internet, which has facilitated the exchange of ideas and information not for financial gain but social gain. He says it's not about a bunch of white guys working in academic institutions but people working on the site in 104 countries. And working with localised innovation and a top down approach. He gives an example of a 'Hippo water roller' which is a barrel shaped container used to transport water in rural areas where traditionally water had to be laboriously carried atop the head. Sinclair said that the Open Architecture Network web site was still English and that caused a major problem because half the world speaks Chinese, Hindi and Swahili. He said volunteer translators were required. One of our readers Vickram Crishna opined that the Bytes for All readers list had plenty of talent who could do translations in Hindi, Urdu and Bengali, etc. But since translations took time list members in a position to give time and effort must form a pool of talent to take up this task under the auspices of Bytes for All. Funds would not be a problem if registered with organizations like kiva.org, where one can find monitory support from people with lack of time and technical know-how.  Partha of Bytes for All opined that, this was a wonderful idea and the Bytes community could support it, not by directing funding to itself and then assigning it to the volunteers but by coordinating to connect volunteers to proper resources. He also said that instead of focusing on funding now, we should rather focus on the list of things to be done as well as developing a plan to accomplish these. He informed that a free wikispace was created to paste all your ideas. 

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/11571

One Laptop Per Child   (OLPC)-XO

Our reader's list has seen a variety of posts on OLPC in recent times. For information, the XO laptop is promoted by the OLPC project of MIT Media Labs. Celebrated technologist, Nicolas Negroponte heads the OLPC project. The vision is to assist in education of children in developing countries, by providing each child with one laptop specially created for this purpose. One of our readers Larry Press was however disappointed with the XO laptop. Larry says that the XO features are innovative but not Internet ready. This will matter a lot where there is no Internet connectivity and the XO applications will seem lame to its other Internet

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