create your own low-cost search engine

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Wired News reports on a new program that could be very attractive to some nonprofit orgs.

In a move with potentially far-reaching implications for the search market, Alexa Internet is opening up its huge web crawler to any programmer who wants paid access to its rich trove of internet data.

Alexa, a subsidiary of that is best known for its traffic rankings, on Monday unveiled Alexa Web Search Platform, a set of online tools for searching, indexing, computing, storing and publishing vast quantities of net data.

Cheap and Easy Communication Tools

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I manage a couple of projects in Europe. I work in San Francisco. The organizations in Europe don’t have much money. My organization doesn’t have much money. I had to find a way to communicate with everyone cheaply and easily, so of course I looked to open source solutions. Let me tell you about two I found and how they helped me overcome my communication challenges.


You’ve heard about it quite a bit recently. EBay bought the company (it’s based in Luxembourg) so buyers and sellers on the EBay site could talk to one another.

I didn’t have to buy the company, though, I just showed up at and downloaded their (then) Beta version, and I was ready to go. Here are the features that sold me on Skype.

New Technologies in Support of Old-School Transportation

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I just sent an email introducing two organizations that I think ought to know about each other.

GhostCycle gathers information about bike accidents in the Seattle area, makes that info available to site visitors (including a very interesting GoogleMap) and uses public art to draw attention to particularly unsafe intersections. GhostCycle is profiled in the Net Squared in Action section of this site.

BikeTalk Radio is a radio show and podcast about bicycling that's recorded in Davis, CA.  The podcast can be listened to anywhere in the world online or by download.  Listeners can subscribe to receive new episodes automatically by RSS.  Recent topics include mountain biking, winter riding tips and California legislation concerning bikes.

Nonprofit Innovator Profile Wish List

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First, I want to say thanks to Paul Treadwell for posting the most recent nonprofit innovator profiles: the Food Museum Blog and the Circle of Life/Julia Butterfly Hill's blog.  Wahoo!

I have had so many folks send in great ideas for other organizations and projects to profile, and here at NetSquared we have some orgs we are interested in seeing up on NetSquared in Action too, so  I am including an expanded list from my "OK, 1,000 Case Studies" post of organizations and projects we'd love to have profiled for NetSquared in Action

Give 'em a click.  And if one (or more!) speaks to you, shoot me an email (so I can make note of who you're profiling and your efforts won't be duplicated) and write 'em up. It only takes 15-20 minutes.  Just register on the site, log in, go to the "Put Your Voice in the Mix" page, click on "submit your case study" and fill out the form.

How many blogs must a (wo)man maintain before......

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One of the issues I am encountering lately is how do I interact with some of the sites which offer me personal blog space? Over at the Digital Divide network I can pull from the blog I maintain with most frequency and not have to craft seperate entries into that system. That seem like a winning approach because, as it is, time is somewhat precious and it's hard enough to create the content I need to create as part of my work life.

Holiday Promo/PSA for the 501c3cast

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I just got done with a short promo/psa that I'll be sharing with some other podcasters during the holiday season:

In it I encourage people to consider making honor gifts instead of purchasing gifts for loved ones.  I'd love to see nonprofits reach out like this with short 1 minute blurbs about what they are doing or how the public can get involved.  It's easy to do and can be distributed quickly.  The file is just about 1 MB which can even be emailed if needed!

A Look at NGOs Serving Seniors & Technology Today from the White House Conference on Aging

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Technology and seniors is topic of the newest blog at the White House Conference on Aging portal. The author, SeniorNet's director Kristin Fabos, recounts her experiences last week in Seoul speaking at the 2005 International Conference for Bridging the Digital Divide. She also paints a picture that's closer to home:

<blockquote>According to the 2004 PEW Internet and American Life Project research, only 25% of adults 65+ have Internet access… Medicare Part D, which goes into effect on January 1, 2006, requires online registration. For something as important as Medicare benefits, to require online registration for a population where only 25% is online…What about the other 75%?</blockquote>

Nonprofits and Flickr

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Micah Sifry had an interesting post last week about how MoveOn has used Flickr to organize their members' photos of events and its added benefits:

"Apart from being able to save server space and involve volunteers, MoveOn’s engagement with Flickr has had some unexpected benefits that come precisely from using a platform that is designed to push power to the users." Kane recalls, “One of our campaigners wanted a slideshow of photos from a recent action and was able to put it together himself, just by selecting the tags he was interested in and using the Flickr slideshow app.” He adds, “It's also made finding pictures for the MoveOn homepage and other materials a snap -- MoveOn staff can easily browse photos by campaign or time period.”

New Mapping Tools Open a World of Possibilities

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Good visualizations of data probably light up entirely different synapses in the brain than almost anything else.  I have long wondered just how truly useful they are, though.  Over the past few weeks, I've been convinced that online maps in particular are a very important development.

GoogleMaps is a powerful new tool that people all around the world are utilizing for a wide variety of projects.  The system is highly functional, integrates data and imagery beautifully and is very nice to look at at the same time.  It is also very welcoming for people who want to manipulate maps to visualize their data. 


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