eHealth in Jordan: SOHITCOM

On the bus to last year’s ICTD2010 conference in England I met Islam and Daher from Jordan. They work for the project SOHITCOM, a web and mobile e-Health project aimed at providing medical information for mothers in rural areas. I finally got around to edit the interview, in which Islam explains the strategy of the service. Here it is:

Interview with Islam Ahmad of SOHITCOM Jordan on their e-Health project at ICTD2010 (8 minutes)

Slideshare presentation by SOHITCOM team leader Edward Fraser on ICT4D Middle East and project summary

Data as yarn in the net

At DMY festival, Miriam Zink showed „the colours of music“ – a witty data visualisation project: She asks visitors for their favorite songs and then visualizes speed, genre, and the person’s gender in ‚diagrams‘ made of sewing thread. To me, it’s a cool inverse version of how we usually think of data visualisations, as taking aspects from our real, ‚analogue‘ lives and turning them digital. But ‚inverse‘ is the wrong word, not only because our musical tastes are not exactly digital. Why shouldn’t a data visualisation be a real-life, three-dimensional, hand-made object, rather than a digital image or animation? Miriams installation has this ironic twist to it, because the data she uses is the basis for an object that is pretty, but not exactly informative. Beautiful un-understandable information.

Analogue data sets:
Information is beautiful
The People’s Choice Music

Undersea Cable Maps

Check out these Undersea Cable Maps for Africa by Steve Song of the Shuttleworth Foundation. The latest one is an outlook of what cables could provide Africa with data by 2013, indicating the ones already active:

Sub-saharan Undersea Cables in 2013 – maybe (version 29) by Steve Song on Flickr, CC-by

The English Wikipedia has an interesting article on submarine communications cables and their history. On the question of the environmental impact of undersea cables, it cites this report (page 29 forward).

The Guardian published a World Map of Undersea Cables in 2008 including context info. Greg’s Cable Map mashes information from Wikipedia and the Web and is regularly updated. It’s a pretty cool and detailed map, giving you the names of cables, landings, and more info on each one of them.

Facilitating Wikimedia Chapters Meeting 2011

One of the main topics this year’s Wikimedia Chapters Meeting in Berlin was the so-called editor trends study on decreasing editor retention. It takes an in-depth look at the fact that people today tend to stay less longer in the community than when Wikipedia was still young. New editors get more easily frustrated than in the early days. Another big topic was Wikimedia’s struggle to define the „roles in the movement“. The difficult question here is: How does a decentral, community-based project grow and organize? The most crucial issue here is how to negotiate identity of philosophy and practice. How can Wikipedia/media incorporate the ideals and values it is build upon – such as participation, openness and transparency – into actual practice, and into their own organizational structures? Together with Sabria David, I facilitated the sessions.

Visualization: Editor Trends Study by Anna Lena Schiller on Flickr, CC-by-SA

“Futures of Technologies in Africa”

A freely available book focussing on technology and business in Africa was recently published by the Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends (STT): „Futures of Technologies in Africa“ by Jasper Grosskurth
The editors stress that their approach is not a strict scientific one but rather a way of gathering ideas about innovative approaches for using technologies in development in and for Africa. The book is based on interviews, workshops and research in various countries on the continent, and presents an analysis of the present as well as future scenarios and science fiction. Via Hapee de Groot

STT Netherlands Study Centre for Technology Trends / Jasper Grosskurth,, 2010; CC-by-nc-nd 3.0

Broadband via TV antena for rural towns

In Tasmania, analog TV antenas are going to be used to deliver broadband internet, reports engadget:

„Put simply, Ngara uses the broadcast towers that already exist in rural towns that receive television signals, and then with a new set-top box and a modified TV antenna, it’s able to funnel broadband internet into faraway homes.“

The technology is currently tested by the Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), but is still a couple of years from a commercial stage, according to the article.

Ideas are nothing: Erik Hersman and Ken Banks

The crowdmapping plattform Ushahidi has become quite well-known after its application in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Ushahidi software is now used allover the world. Erik Hersman, left, co-founded the project and is currently its Director of Operations. Ken Banks on the other side of the table invented FrontlineSMS, a bulk-messaging tool for texting with mobiles. He heavily disagrees with Erik on who first started the revolution. Despite this ongoing conflict, @whiteafrican and @kiwanja got together at ICTD2010 to talk about innovation in information and communication technologies and development. I recorded what they said about research on ICTD, „practicioners“ vs. academics, and ideas born in distant bedrooms.

Link to ogg
Link to mp3