Archive for the 'gadgets' Category

OLPC + FM radio = lessons beamed to computers

OLPCMarko Ala-Fossi of the University of Tampere in Finland sent me interesting link to an article about a project of some students in New Zealand using FM radio to beam lessons to the XO computers used by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative. The article is from Peter Griffen’s blog. Griffen is a member of the selection committee for a “Microsoft Imagine Cup” which, in his words, “pits teams of university students against each other in a bid to find the top four most innovative and potentially world-changing projects”.

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Community media and SMS text messages

SMSAt first glance SMS text messages would seem like a natural for inclusion in a community radio station’s essential toolkit. SMS messages are inexpensive and easy-to-use and in recent years the mobile phones that are needed for sending and receiving them have become ubiquitous. However, a survey of recent projects indicates that use of SMS messages among community media in the developing world is still at an early stage. In most stations SMS use is informal. The few cases identified of community stations making more complex use of SMS messages have accompanied political crises or natural disasters and have inevitably been donor financed. There are few, if any, experiences of complex uses of SMS by community media without external funding and technical support, even though the financial and technical resources required are minimal.

Download a Spanish-language version of this article

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Mobile community multimedia in a trash bin

mobile CMCUNESCO and Jamaica’s Container Project have launched a community multimedia centre (CMC) constructed in a wheeled garbage bin. The bin houses laptop computers, a radio transmitter, wireless internet and other peripherals. The bin will travel around Jamaica and be used to give creative multimedia workshops to inner-city, rural and otherwise marginalised communities.

The Container Project is an innovative, arts-driven engine for community empowerment through creativity. It is based in a bright yellow converted shipping container in the heart of Palmers Cross, a rural community noted for its poverty and associated social problems.

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Internet Radio on your telephone

More and more telephones come with built-in FM receivers but a new twist (at least for me) is Nokia’s Internet Radio Beta. It is software that you can install on certain Nokia phones in order to listen to streaming internet radio stations on your phone using whatever connection you have available. If you have a wifi connection at home or at a public access point, you can listen for free. If you don’t, you can also listen via GPRS or 3G.

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Dialup Radio

There is not much information on the site, but Dialup Radio claims to have been specifically designed for use by human rights activists in the deveoping world, with particular attention to security and keeping costs down. From the brief description, I think it could also be used as an alternative distribution method for radio news where stations don’t have access to the internet, but do have a telephone. They would simply call the (open source Asterisk) tepehony server and “order” news from a menu of options.

“Dialup Radio is a tool that distributes human rights and independent media via telephone. Brief radio-style audio files are uploaded and managed via the Dialup Radio website. These files are immediately available to callers who phone the project phone number. Our software automatically generates interactive voice response (IVR) menus that enable callers to naviage audio content using their telephone keypads. Dialup radio works with any telephone, and can be adopted for a variety of activist campaigns.”

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