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Get Hip to Text Messaging

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I heart my text messages.

Who doesn't like to get a note from their sweety during the day or confirm the address of where you're meeting your friend without having to take notes and loose it on the way there?

On my new cell phone when I call 411 they send the number I was calling about as a text message to my phone. I think that's cool. Why? Because I don't have to try and write it down and then program it back in my phone after they connect me. Also, I don't always have to call them back every time I want a specific number because I'm too lazy to program it. Now, I just program it right way in a few buttons. It saves them money, I'm sure, because I have unlimited 411 on my plan and they want to reduce the number of times I'm calling, no doubt.

Awwa Research Foundation - Knowledge Management

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(from KMWorld.com - November 1, 2005)

The Awwa Research Foundation (www.awwarf.org) is a member-supported, international, nonprofit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to consumers.

The foundation initiated an in-house KM initiative to:

• establish an organizational culture to support knowledge management and improve sharing of information among staff and customers;

global library

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PaidContent.org reports on an important Washington Post Op-Ed piece, A Library for The New World, by Librarian of Congress James Billington...

Library Of Congress Proposes World Digital Library; Google Provides First $3 Million In Funds

The Library of Congress has been working towards digital preservation for 15 years, starting with the prescient American Memory collection. This proposal for a World Digital Library builds on the effort of the last five years to launch bilnigual, binational digitization projects with other countries; Russia, Brazil, Spain, France and the Netherlands along with the U.S. have made material available for any user. A more recent agreement between the LoC and the Library of Egypt, descendant of the grand library of Alexandria, enhances the global; potential to preserve and share material across the world. The idea, as James H. Billington, librarian of Congress, explains it: "to harness technology to bring scattered primary materials of the varied cultures into consolidated Web sites for each culture ... created primarily with and by the people of the respective regions."

Google, which has its own fascination with digitizing libraries, is the first donor with $3 million; other donors for the public-private project are being sought.

organ donors

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Today's New York TImes has an article about MatchingDonors. Worth a look.

My search for a healthy, living donor has been frustrating. I have no siblings, let alone an identical twin. Donors don't need to be related, but at minimum they need to share the same blood type.

Several friends said they would look into donation, but they turned out to have disqualifying medical problems or spouses who objected, or they grew scared.

I turned to matchingdonors.com, a Web site created last year to help link potential donors and recipients. Once a match is made, the process follows the standard path, with physicians at a transplant center determining whether to proceed with the surgery.

The site lists 2,400 potential donors and 100 possible recipients, and it says it has brokered 12 transplants, with about 20 more recipient-donor pairs matched and awaiting surgery. The site charges organ seekers several hundred dollars for a listing. There is no charge for donors. It waives the fee if necessary.

read.io as an example of a tool that could be used by nonprofits

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read.io: Instant Podcast, Just Add Feed. (Get Real) - Automated blog to podcast service [del.icio.us feed for net2 tag]

It's still in a closed alpha but the link above will take you to a review of read.io.  This is a great example, I think, of the kind of tools that could be tremendously beneficial to nonprofits.  Imagine:

  • Making site updates, calendars or anything else that can go into an RSS feed available to users with different levels of literacy
  • ...or folks who are visually impaired
  • ...or kids who have mp3 plays hanging off their bodies (iPods, phones)

Just a thought.

What do we mean when we say "remixing the web for social change"?

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Sean Coons at connecting*the*dots writes about the ways that social tools, most particularly tagging, intersects with social change. Here's a long quote:

The complete disregard of the intelligence and voice of the American citizen begins to explain the groundswell of blogging that has occurred over the past four years, specifically the political blogs and mainstream media watchdog sites. Across any time period in human history, technological advances go hand-in-hand with human motivation. While most of the time the potential for capital gains plays a large role in the motivation to advance technology, moral conviction has the ability to drive both the evolution of technology and the passion to leverage it to it's fullest degree. So what's the connection between geo-political events and blogging and the tactical fervor of Web 2.0? (social bookmarking, tagging, open source, open content, etc.) In a nutshell: everything.

Two Takes on Tunis

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Last Friday, reports began to appear on the ending of the WSIS conference in Tunisia. Here's the lede from the Associated Press story...

A crucial summit on expanding Internet access around the world ended Friday with a firm promise to narrow the digital divide — but little in government funding to make it happen.

The World Summit on the Information Society originally was conceived to raise consciousness about the divide between the haves and have-nots, and to raise money for projects to link up the global village, particularly Africa and Asia and South America.

But instead, it was overshadowed by a lingering resentment about who should oversee the domain names and technical issues that allow people from Pakistan to Peru surf Web sites for information, news and consumer goods.

And from another report from the BBC

Amidst exceedingly tight security, world leaders, civic groups, non-governmental groups, representatives from leading global technology companies, journalists and bloggers converged in what was the biggest global event to come to Tunis.

But the summit was most notable for palpable tension during the events organised by civil society groups who called for action to balance the rights of all digital citizens in a global information society to freedom of expression.

In a statement, the US delegation expressed disappointment that the Tunisian government "did not take advantage of this important opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression and assembly in Tunisia".

It's live!

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Well, the sneak preview isn't so sneak or so preview anymore.  As you can see the design is live.  I've gotten a few emails to tell me about some buggy behavior -- thanks and keep them coming.  You can also drop a comment on this post and we'll address the bugs as they come up.

I want to give a big thanks to duoh and Floatleft for their hard work on getting the design and implementation done.  And, of course, none of it would happening without hosting and lots of assistance from Bryght

Meet The Dream Geek Team for Free Speech Online

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Source:  Global Voices Online, Rebecca MacKinnon

From a post on Global Voices, Rebecca MacKinnon writes "These guys are basically the dream geek team for free speech on line. They gave instructions in detail about how non-governmental organizations, human rights groups, and individuals trying to speak the truth under dangerous circumstances can secure their communications and data, and minimize the likelihood that people will get caught or arrested as a result of their work." 

welcome to the world of wiki

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wikimedia logoA couple days ago, ZDnet published an interesting (to me) overview of WikiMedia and the many projects the underlying tools have spawned. if you're new to wikis -- and what they can do for your nonpropfit org -- this painless aerial tour isn't a bad place to begin. The following is from Wiki news: Of the people, by the people...

The popularity and proliferation of wikis are particularly significant in an age of increasing distrust of mainstream media. In many ways, wikis are emblematic of the democratizing principles of the Information Age that seek to give voice to ordinary citizens.

"With the distributed nature of the Internet, you now have the ability for people with common interests to rapidly aggregate themselves and apply their nearly unbounded knowledge of different subjects into cohesive organization in a matter of hours," said Rob Kline a product manager for Marchex who helped create the KatrinaHelp.info wiki. "Because it's distributed, it's global, so when I have to go to sleep, someone else can pick it up and keep working on it."

Wikis began in various forms, but it was the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia that propelled the concept into the popular consciousness. Wikipedia and Wikinews were created by the same nonprofit organization, Wikimedia Foundation, and are available free of charge.

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