Daily Archives: 31 January 2011

Tech news that’s gotten my attention

Today’s blog: pointing you to some interesting posts that have come my way regarding technology use in humanitarian efforts, at NGOs and nonprofits, and by government agencies trying to connect more effectively with the public. I promise that each item is very much worth your time to read:

    • Look at the philosophy, not the technology, yet another terrific blog entry by Paul Currion: “…don’t be distracted by the shiny packaging, but instead look carefully at the philosophical underpinnings of the product and (especially) the provider of the technology. If the match isn’t good with your needs at the outset, it will never meet those needs.”
    • Humanitarian Open Source, the focus of the December 2010 Open Source Business Resource (OSBR): The humanitarian open source movement seeks to create “IT infrastructure to support a wide array of goals for the public good, such as providing effective healthcare or microloans to the poorest of the poor… In this issue of the OSBR, “the authors from several open source software and hardware projects explore not only the global need for humanitarian open source projects, but also the business cases for humanitarian-focused ICT.”
    • If you are involved with an NGO or nonprofit, and would like to find out more about how Ubuntu could benefit your organization, this is the place to come. And on a related note: I was thrilled to get a document from a colleague in Afghanistan yesterday that was done in OpenOffice; further inquiry revealed he was now using Ubuntu as his operating system. Hurrah! I, too, use Open Source tools for most of my software needs.
    • Addendum: Tor software has been downloaded in huge numbers by Tunisians and Egyptians recently. It enables online anonymity, hiding information about users’ locations and other factors which might identify them. Use of this system makes it more difficult to trace internet traffic to the user, including visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms. The software is open-source and the network is free of charge to use. The name Tor originated as an acronym of The Onion Routing project.