2010 April

  • There is a deeply manipulative and delusional culture at work [in Silicon Valley culture], and let's be clear there is absolutely no room for it in nonprofit and humanitarian technology.

2010 March

  • Coverage of Meedan in international press, most of it focused on our Machine Translation engine and our approach to community contributions.

2010 January

  • What could possibly go wrong? Thousands of volunteer hackers break ground on dozens of projects at a bunch of hastily organized unconferences promising to 'Save Haiti?'

2009 November

  • I believe that there is an enormous potential to do citizen journalism better on the web, and that we need the leadership of people who are willing to help clean up the mess.

2009 September

  • Here're my top tags from September 2009.

  • We, as humans, are all multi-faceted. We speak to our parents differently than our coworkers. We lower our voices a bit in a crowded coffee shop. We stand up straighter when we give a presentation. And, again, these are not about secrecy or duplicity, but rather, indications of maturity, and a uniquely human sophistication.

  • During the collapse of the journalism industry, I have rarely been surprised and only occasionally truly saddend -- by a newspaper going out of business.

  • The conference is 'harnessing mobile platforms, computational linguistics, geospatial technologies, and visual analytics to power effective early warning for rapid response to complex humanitarian emergencies.'

2009 June

2009 May

  • Our goal with Swift is to provide a crowdsourcing platform for data triage. Imagine something like Mechanical Turk used only for tagging news, photos, microblogging and videos.

2008 December

  • But it's exhausting, distracting, and inseparable from the cult of efficiency. It takes you away from humans, mashes your nose into an LCD all night, and leaves you with a delusional sense of total control over your environment.

  • The 1968 demo presaged many of the technologies we use today, from personal computing to social networking.

2008 November

  • Including lots of fun sketches for my new job. Working on a translation + foreign affairs + journalism + social project callled Meedan.

2008 October

2008 September

2008 August

2008 June

2008 May

2008 April

  • Africa, Asia, mobile phones, sustainable change, environmental technologies, research methodologies, product design, application development, user experience ... lots of stuff.

  • Understanding [stuff] requires forgetting for a moment about your own love-hate relationship with your cellphone, or iPhone, or BlackBerry. Something that's mostly a convenience booster for those of us with a full complement of technology at our disposal: land-lines, Internet connections, TVs, cars �can be a life-saver to someone with fewer ways to access information.

  • Speaking of personal metrics ...

  • As an infoviz junkie, I have to say that I have always *adored* this stuff. But the tonight I heard a very smart person say that, prior to Nike+, collaborative running was impossible.

  • Street Hacks and Long Wows - An Evening with Chipchase, Burns, and Schauer

  • aggregating media reports about the Zimbabwe elections and using Google Maps to present the results

  • Here's the stuff that makes me a happy programmer this weekend:

  • Low cost Nokia 2626 handsets were successfully used by field workers to conduct surveys. Several field workers had never even sent an SMS before.

  • he was at his best when he was wearing his bathrobe, hunched waaay to low, and doing incredible interpretations of Bach ... and doing this awful singing thing ...

  • I've felt for a long time that education is the most important vehicle for social change. I mean, really how else does anything actually get done? You've got to have some kick ass teachers along the way, or you're gonna be a vegetable.

2008 March

  • In this context, I don't care about iPhones, I don't care about web apps; I'm talking about paying your rent via SMS. I'm talking about currencies and payment methods that aren't defined by a government or even a bank!

2008 February

  • Their VPS plans are a reasonable deal, but, as always, the support is what is always most important when choosing a host unless it's a super small static site, in which case the big guys like mediatemple, dreamhost, bluehost are fine. (Oh and check if you need a free site.)

  • We'll be gathering feedback about the initial concept and looking at some first drafts of first drafts. Basically, we're gabbing on the phone for a bit and I'm taking some notes.

  • It's OK, most of us are pretty mediocre.

  • Three videos for your Sunday afternoon enjoyment. (The first two are for the hippies, the last one is for the geeks.)

  • When I was reading about that project in 2003 or 2004 I was totally turned on by the idea of writing scripts to create DIY datasets; I had no idea how to program at the time, but the stuff I have done with perl scrapers my whole new career in programming is directly attributable to Ethan's inspiration 2 years prior.

  • My question is: where the hell are the tools for people who use cellphones in this way? (In particular, where are the banking tools and educational tools?) In the first world we've got $600 iphones that can read your freaking mind. But a simple flashcard application for learning a few of the 62 languages spoken in Kenya? It's not quite as sexy.

2008 January

  • The basic idea a simple and user-centered web app that helps facilitate ordering, billing and member management for CSA's. Things are JUST getting started and I am soliciting help in doing some feasibility research as well as a basic evaluation of existing CSA management applications.

2007 December

2007 June

  • Recently I've been really worked up about all these computers in the closet. It's a bunch of junk.

  • I've never seen gadget hype reach the levels that have been achieved by the iPhone.

2007 May

  • Fundamentally I think that touch is intimate and intuitive, and clearly touchable interfaces have incredible potential, especially for the folks that haven't been brow-beaten into adapting to 20th-century conventions of computer interfaces like the QWERTY keyboard.

  • Seems like Paypal is one of those 'leapfrogging' technologies that could help entire regions skip the process of developing a banking infrastructure, which apparently takes about 200 years of war (judging from how the West has done it).

2007 February

2007 January

2006 December

  • Many Debian developers denounced the Dunc-Tank proposal.

  • a beautifully executed charity project that fills a very simple, traditional purpose

  • appreciation to my favorite independent software artists

  • The bigger issue, Zuckerman points out, is that there are any number of products that the Rich Folks of the world are consuming that cause economic and social trauma in the same way that the diamond industry does

  • Rajan Harinarain, a South African entrepreneur and inventor has come up with a temporary foldaway house for use in emergency situations

  • Ubuntu Linux has been translated into Kurdish!

  • difficult conditions can lead to the same creative insight as design on a limitless budget.

  • Ever since the introduction of Microsoft Office 2003 it has been possible to distribute documents that can only be used in the way that you want them to be used -- such as limiting who can copy, print or forward the information.

  • NEED magazine is an artistic hope-filled publication focusing on life changing humanitarian efforts at home and abroad. ... We are not out to save the world, but to tell the stories of, and assist, those who are.

2006 July

2006 June

2006 March

  • I have a wonderful new job (wrangling Linux servers) and am too busy learning to post at present. After I get through the stack of O'Reilly books on my desk I'll be back (and much better informed).

  • I needed something that was simple, cached hourly, displayed various encodings well and worked with RSS and Atom formats. Most importantly, I wanted something I could install on my own server, and it needed to be community oriented (not designed for a single reader).

  • I mean, I love campfire and all, but you could've at least published with lulu

2006 February

2006 January

2005 December

2005 November

2005 October

2005 September

2005 August

  • Ever since the first Vatican broadcast of a sermon on the radio in 1931, there has been little doubt about the power of broadcast media as a part of religious practice.

  • Today's New York Times carries a front-page article about the growth of the cell phone industry in Africa.

  • The people they interviewed (about 25 of them) were smart folks in a wealthy, highly industrialized country. They used the internet all the time. But when they came to a normal blog, they were stumped.

  • Test taking is boring. It's a boring subject. But you can't direct change in any environment without having some feedback. So this investment in ICT literacy evaluation is good to see.

  • This is a super-unfortunate development; Google is the web's best hope for easy, inexpensive archiving of scholarly research.

2005 July

  • Evaluation is a science of promoting nonprofit organizations. Do you need to measure the effectiveness of a specific program -- or your entire organization? Well, there's an entire discipline devoted to helping you do just that.

  • This page is from a university in the U.K., and would be useful if you're about to sink a few hundred dollars in some software (which will in turn play an important part in your research, of course.)

  • A new journal devoted to researching the (primarily sociological) aspects of Technology's influence

  • next week in Portland OReilly is hosting a panel of women developers""

  • This post from Tech Soup is a good, brief introduction to the use of databases in your organization.

  • There is a new, exciting model for programs exporting technology to the developing world. But the real issue is about education, not just setting up a rural network.

  • A technology conference yesterday in England was host to a speaker Iqbal Quadir, who has sold about 100,000 cell phones to poor folks in Bangladesh.

  • Drosphilia researchers have a leg up on web designers.

  • Websites and emails, for example, need to reflect some kind of graphical relationship with the rest of your organization. But I think they should also reflect a tone of your organization and its role in the world.

  • Worse, it appears that a rather large industry has grown up around the censorship, because all businesses realize they've got a lot to lose if their employees get busted for reading about human rights at work. So corporations, like individuals, are participating in their own punishment.

2005 June

  • If your organization is getting into blogging as a way to advocate your cause (and give honest PR, retain donors, keep employees up-to-date, keep volunteers enthused etc. ...), this is something to keep around the office.

  • When Nonprofit X goes to county Y and begins handing out seeds and fertilizer to farmers as part of an agricultural intervention during a famine, how does Nonprofit X know that they aren't causing a greater problem or ignoring a better solution?

  • The Journal of Community Informatics, a new, academic approach to community technology, is now in its third issue.

2005 May

  • Techsoup just announced that they have Symantec Antivirus with multiple user licenses for under $100.

  • If you are completely new to podcasting, a quick shot in the arm

  • File Under: It's a blog subscription service. And a distribution service for your blog. And one of the S's stands for "Simple." And it's free. Which means, File Under: It rocks.

  • There is an interesting discussion going on (for some time now) over at the Stanford Social Innovation Review forum about charitable donations and the new ranking systems ...

  • Here's a great resource for getting your email campaigns in a row

  • If you are investing money in a website with a social justice purpose (do, please), you of course need to be thinking about getting people to your site.

  • I so much appreciate David Geilhufe's recent frustrations with the increasingly for-profit nature of N-TEN's national conference.

2005 April

  • This is a good article for nonprofit-type folks who are thinking about getting a website.

  • striving for that loose-limbed, vernacular mode

  • Mission-Driven nonprofits have, I think, the most to gain from blogging than any other organization or type of individual. If your organization has a site, I think you really should have a blog. There are a number of clear reasons.

  • An excellent new collection of advanced javascript

  • The visual aspects of the internet are all distractions without quality content. And that means content that is useful and clear.

2005 March

2005 February

2005 January

  • I have't worked directly with them but they do good work

  • Even if you're new to web design and Javascript spooks you, you'd do well to look into some of the techniques that are described in the attached article.

  • The Linc project (based in NY) has an interesting article on their use of

  • There is no shortage of webmasters desperate to get their hard-won site noticed.

  • If you or your nonprofit is concerned about your pages being readable to people with limited sight or non-graphical browsers

  • If you like to think about branding ...

  • ICT is at the core of a movement that seeks to provide access to technology for people who would normally not have access to it

2004 December

  • With a little bit of online research, there is often an open-source alternative to expensive programs that are needed for programs in rural/poor/developing areas.

  • There are some very sophisticated techniques emerging into the semi-mainstream this year. You may not have noticed, and you may not care. But if you can get the hang of it managing the blogosphere, there's a lot to be learned.

2004 July

2004 May

2004 February