Archive for the 'software' 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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Radio and Mobiles in-a-box

mobiles in-a-boxTactical Tech is a group of people working to help NGOs and human rights advocates to make better use of technology in their work. One of the ways they do this is with their excellent NGO in-a-box project, a series of toolkits complete with software, information about on-line tools, tutorials, case studies and lots of ideas for how to make innovative use of practical technology within the technical and financial grasp of NGOs. The latest addition to the series, Mobiles in-a-box, is a candidate for inclusion in our ICT / local and community radio essential toolkit.
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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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Frontline SMS

I wrote about about FrontlineSMS a few months ago. It’s a piece of software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a powerful system for sending and receiving SMS messages and that I think should be part of the essential digital toolkit for local and community radio. FrontlineSMS creator has just come out with a new version of the program, as well as a new website.

I haven’t tried the software (although I have requested it and we want to test it at a community radio station somewhere in Latin America) but Sanjana Hattotuwa gave it a pretty good grade in a blog post on mobileactive.org, although she questions whether it might be too complicated for some grassroots organisations and complained about compatibility problems with her Nokia 3110 (one that FrontlineSMS does NOT claim to support fully).

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Campcaster open source automation system for radio

Campcaster is an open source radio management application for use by both small and large radio stations (yes, real radio stations, not internet radio) to schedule radio shows. It provides both live studio broadcast capabilities via a desktop application called Campcaster Studio as well as remote automation via the Campcaster Web interface. Campcaster has networking components that make it easy for affiliated stations to share their content with each other, either over the Internet, or by exporting content to removable media for ground transport. This latter method is necessary in many places where there may be little or no Internet connectivity. You can create mashups with other applications using Campcaster’s XMLRPC interface, which is supported for the audio storage module and the scheduler. Campcaster runs only on Linux.

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