hundred-dollar laptops?

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cheap laptopThe Washington Post reports that

...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.

See related stories at Google News.

How Many Interesting Conversations at WSIS Can You Have in a Day

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(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.

draft IRS returns available for comment

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Your friendly Internal Revenue Service (if you're an American, that is) has some new forms (oh boy) that it's soliciting feedback on...

Drafts of certain federal returns filed by exempt organizations are available for public comment. The IRS is currently accepting comments on the following returns:

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax
  • Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
  • Schedule A, Form 990 or 990-EZ, Organization Exempt Under Section 501(c)(3)
  • Schedule B, Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, Schedule of Contributors
  • Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations
  • Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes on Charities and Other Persons Under Chapters 41 and 42 of the Internal Revenue Code

btw, the Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits page, may also be useful.

love at first site?

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Sorry I've been away so long. It was my birthday on Saturday (I finally turned 29) and I got a little carried away with all the celebrating it. Here's something worth the wait, though. I think...


On Sunday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported:

Washington University and the University of Missouri at St. Louis have gone into the online matchmaking business. What's that - WU and UMSL competing with in the Internet dating game?

Well, not exactly.

Over the past several months, the universities have joined with the United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and several other local groups to form a different kind of online dating service.

The aim, ultimately, is not romance, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, the new group hopes to pair local nonprofits with men and women interested in serving on their boards.

The web is creating some strange... er... bedfellows these days. This does seem like a creative approach, however. Click on the image above to check out the actual site.

after further exploration: While this could be a good idea, the publicity seems a little premature, given that many of the menu items "connect" to empty pages. Which -- perhaps especially in light of the slick, pricey-looking graphics -- is not such a hot idea.

Report from WSIS

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Jody Mahoney, TechSoup's Director of International Development, is attending the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. She sends us this report:

Sunday: On the plane to Tunisia, and it seems that most of my companion travelers are here for the same reason, to attend the second phase of the World Summitt on Information Society hosted by the United Nations in Tunis 16-18 November. In addition to WSIS, a series of conferences, talks, presentations and meetings occurs from 14 November through 18 November in parallel to WSIS, known as ICT4all.

Video Production Survival Guide - Current TV

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The VC2 Survival Guide is a comprehensive video production primer. It's available online -- so I'm writing to make sure you know about it!

Current's mission is to democratize TV, and part of that is helping to make the tools and techniques of video accessible to everyone.

That's where the Survival Guide comes in. It has several different parts:

* The Gear Guide, a run-down of the equipment you need to get started.

IBM, Sony, Phillips... and Linux

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You can click the Reuters banner for the original story, or go to --> all related Google News items. I first noticed this in a New York Times article today:
Linux Backers Form Patent-Sharing Firm...

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Three of the world's biggest electronics companies -- IBM, Sony and Philips -- have joined forces with the two largest Linux software distributors to create a company for sharing Linux patents, royalty-free.

The Open Invention Network (OIN), as the new firm unveiled on Thursday is known, could mark a breakthrough in resolving how to protect vendors and customers from patent royalty disputes resulting from freely shared Linux code.

If OIN's approach to managing intellectual property wins acceptance, it could overcome a big stumbling block to wider corporate adoption of Linux and pose challenges for major opponent Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O), which has argued that relying on "open source" software poses legal risks.

a list of lists

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I spend a lot of time on, some might say too much. But I learn a ton every time I go there. The reason is simple: people who know a lot more than I do about any given subject have been there before me and left little bits -- sometimes big chunks -- of their knowledge. Is there junk, dross, crap? Of course. But for me, ranting at someone else's stupid (imnsho) opinion is all part of the fun. (Fortunately, only my cat hears me. And she generally agrees.)

In the following list of lists, there will also be a lot of repetition. But be careful you don't just blow that off as noise. Sometimes it's valuable information that 20 people all recommend the same book. Especially if it's not Harry Potter or something by John Grisham. Not that I have anything against either. Point is, the narrower the field of focus -- in this case nonprofit organizations -- the more knowledge is required to have any perspective at all. I hope some of these pages will prove useful. If so -- or if not, either way -- maybe you can contribute something of what you know, as well.

So you'd like to...


tech giants funding ed for open source

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In October, Sun Microsystems announced that it was spinning off

...the Global Education and Learning Community(GELC) as a nonprofit organization serving the needs of the education community.... The GELC provides an online portal for teachers to share resources and knowledge that would otherwise go undiscovered, breaking new ground in free and open source computing and helping educators meet the needs of students by sharing best practices around the globe. As a nonprofit, the organization will have access to more resources, including participation from other major corporations and governmental entities...

NewsForge ("The Online Newspaper for Linux and Open Source") notes that the offering is "aimed squarely at the company's own Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris platforms," and contrasts the Sun move with IBM's Academic Initiative (formerly, the IBM Scholars Program), announced late last year. The article quotes the associate director of Oregon State University's Open Source Lab...


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