Go immediately to this website if you aren't lucky enough to be at WSIS and see it in person. Empowered by the Shuttleworth Foundation, the FREEDOM TOASTER (think Bring & Burn) is a CD/DVD kiosk stand where, for the cost of a CD, you walk up, push a button, pop in your CD, and burn whatever open source software you need. No charge. No muss. No fuss. Just the cost of a CD. Freedom toasters in South African locations, East London, and a few other cool sites.
Urls and websites of some of the CSO participants at WSIS have been blocked by the Tunisian government. The Swiss President was censored on Tunisian television. I travel each day through multiple armed checkpoints & roadblocks in order to get from my hotel to the Kram expo. We go through security screening everywhere.
I am seeing the use of blogs and RSS aggregators in a very different light from my understanding of their use in the US. In the US, I considered them tools for networking and information exchange/dialogue. In Tunis, however, one begins to understand the compelling argument for free and open source information exchange--the more blogs, RSS aggregators, community radios, and open source tools, the greater chance there is for information to slip through the ranks of censors and out to the public. As Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate said yesterday, "...human rights defenders--the writers, translators, are imprisoned--their only crime freedom of expression."
If you haven't been here -- or haven't been here in a while -- this is worth checking into (again). Click the graphic.
Recovery 2.0 was crystallized in a post by Jeff Jarvis based on discussions going on around the web in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's designed to be a clearing house for independent initiatives towards building reliable web-based platforms for disaster recovery efforts.
It builds on posts from many people concerned about our ability to do better next time.
c|net has a set of interesting pages on various trypes of social software, including wikis, tagging and maps. Definitely worth a look.
Online mapping is evolving into a historic nexus of disparate technologies and communities that is changing the fundamental use of the Internet, as well as redefining the concept of maps in our culture. Along the way, map mashups are providing perhaps the clearest idea yet of commercial applications for the generation of so-called social technologies they represent.
They are, in a very real sense, bridging the gap between the virtual and physical worlds.
Here's a photo from WSIS flickr stream. A comment mentions this quote: "A slightly embarrassed Mr Annan inadvertently broke the crank handle of the non-functioning model on display as he left." The full news story.
"The costs of connectivity, computers and mobile telephones can be brought down. These assets -- these bridges to a better life -- can be made universally affordable and accessible. We must summon the will to do it." --Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
"It is, quite frankly, unacceptable for the United Nations to continue to include among its members states which imprison citizens for the sole reason that they have criticised their government on the internet or in the media. As far as I'm concerned, it goes without saying that here in Tunis inside these walls as well as outside everyone can express themselves freely. It is one of the conditions sine qua non for the success of this international conference." --Samuel Schmid, Swiss President (NOTE: These comments were censored on Tunisian Television today)
...scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they're close to creating a... tough, kid-friendly laptop that could be sold to poor countries for $100.
The laptop, which still lacks a cheap screen display, will be shown today at a conference in Tunisia. It will -- eventually -- have a hand crank to provide power. Wow, like those old telephones you see in movies sometimes. What a cool idea.
(or more from Jody Mahoney, our intrepid representative at WSIS)
Unlimited (if your body holds up). This was the first day of full WSIS operation. The President of Tunisia arrived this morning, the ICT4all exhibit hall was open with an array of multistakeholder exhibits, and the WSIS plenary hall was in full swing.
Three innovative organizations
CTCs in South African urban and rural communities: Refilwe Tshabalala of South Africa (who came highly recommended by David Barnard, Executive Director of SANGONeT in South Africa). Refilwe is very knowledgeable about Community Technology Centers, particularly about the social impact of CTCs. It was Refilwe's opinion that technology was in many ways the least important work of telecentres. Really good telecentres, he said, are able to address the fundamental social needs of people, providing them an introduction to techology within the social customs most familiar to them. He said a really effective telecentre understands that if technology is presented within the social customs of a group of people, not only is it likely to be adopted, but it changes the adopter, inspiring confidence and a willingness to risk.