MobileActive08 interview: Introducing Streetwise

For the time being this is the last video interview that we will introduce through the MobileActive08 podcast series. And we have saved a really exciting interview to conclude this series!

In the video below Chris Williamson from Psitek (a South Africa-based innovative product development company) introduces Streetwise – a mobile computing device that aims to to provide students with lean Internet services, like e-mail or news. The entire device was designed and engineered by Psitek. It comes with a replaceable, durable keyboard and a GPRS antenna that provides Internet access through a SIM card. The device runs on a standard mobile phone battery, but can also be driven on a car battery.

Make sure to watch the second part of the video, where Chris shows this ground-breaking device and explains its features in detail.

Streetwise has also been mentioned recently on WhiteAfrican.com.

This is the 20th and last interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

Stay tuned for the next video podcast series, which will start soon!

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MobileActive08 interview: Introducing Streetwise
was published on 06.04.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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MobileActive08: Jacob Mtalitinya (Tanzania)

In this week’s video interview Jacob Mtalitinya from the University of Dar Es Salaam gives us some insights into the usage and research of mobile technologies in Tanzania. He explains how the introduction of mobile phones has changed the way people in Tanzania communicate and why M-Pesa has become so popular. At the University of Dar Es Salaam Jacob Mtalitinya investigates the social impacts of mobile technologies. His group is also working together with international partners to push forward research in this area.

This is the 19th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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MobileActive08: Jacob Mtalitinya (Tanzania)
was published on 30.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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MobileActive08 interview: Matthias Wevelsiep (Plan Finland)

This week’s video from our MobileActive08 interview series features Matthias Wevelsiep, who is originally from Germany, but currently works as Senior Program Manager for Human Rights and ICT at Plan Finland. Plan Finland is an NGO that has projects in Africa, Asia and the Americas, where they work together with children, families, communities, and local organizations to develop programs at grassroots levels in fields such as health and education.

In the interview below (this week in German), Matthias talks about the impacts of digital technologies on social movements. He raises the interesting question whether the focus of such research is on digital social movements or on social movements who also employ digital channels. “I believe that that the social movement will totally naturally use digital channels more and more,” says Matthias and gives some examples, where Plan Finland was involved, such as the African Movement of Working Children and Youth. They operate in different countries and adapting digital communication and organization channels from country to country represents a big challenge.

Matthias concludes that the introduction of new technologies is not necessarily important, but that development rather happens on a different level, since existing technologies are often used in other ways than imagined or intended. – “People like to say, ‘well if it doesn’t work in Finland, why should it work anywhere else?’ but if you look closer, you would be surprised to see how well and economically things actually work, just in slightly different ways,” he says.

This is the 18th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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MobileActive08 interview: Matthias Wevelsiep (Plan Finland)
was published on 23.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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MobileActive08 interview: Collecting data in the field with your mobile phone

This week’s video interview features Andi Friedman, Managing Director of Clyral Digital Solutions. He talks about Mobile Researcher, an application developed by his company that allows researchers to collect data in the field using their mobile phone.

There are many applications that support mobile surveys out there, but this one seems to be outstanding in terms of its simple approach. The company started working on this project three years ago and developed the first prototype together with Health Systems Trust, a South-African NGO. This allowed them to observe how people were using surveys in the South-African context and to determine user requirements. The fact that they involved their users from the beginning was probably crucial for coming up with an usable and easy-to-use solution.

Surveys are created using an online web tool and can be deployed to the devices, even while they are in the field. No installation of any additional software is necessary (unless you want to use their mobile application channel, which allows for richer survey representation on the device). They also provide a prepaid system without any licensing or subscription costs, which makes the service accessible to NGOs and other organizations of any size.

Clyral Digital Solutions is based in Durban in South Africa. Check out the video below to learn more about Mobile Researcher.

This is the 17th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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MobileActive08 interview: Collecting data in the field with your mobile phone
was published on 16.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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The potentials of Open Source software for development

In this week’s video interview Werner van Staden from MeWe OpenSource talks about his work and his thoughts on current trends of the mobile market in developing countries. He explains how open source software has moved from the desktop computer to the mobile platform. As Werner puts it, “[we need to] push forward the efforts of mobile connectivity and grassroots action in africa today.” Watch the video below to find out how this movement can help to empower the poorest of the poor.

Werner van Staden currently lives in Johannesburg and works for MeWe OpenSource, which is a trading subsidiary of the social enterprise MeWe Art & Education. Both organizations do work in London and South Africa with the aim to improve the lives of children and young people in those countries.

This is the 16th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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The potentials of Open Source software for development
was published on 10.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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Repository of people in ICT4D

As our interview project is quite a success and we plan to extend it further on upcoming events such as e-Stas and Africa Gathering, we decided to create a repository of these videos in our wiki.

Additionally to the interviews we are trying to add a short CV to every person, to get the context right. Carrying this idea further a bit, we are creating an Open repository of interesting people in ICT4D – every person gets a wiki page.

Ideally this should become an overview as complete as possible – so help is welcome, just mail us if you want to add information. Of course if somebody doesn’t want to appear in this repository – again, just mail us.

Currently the wiki page is far from complete – but we will continuously work on it – make sure you check it out from time to time – http://wiki.ict4d.at/People.

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Repository of people in ICT4D
was published on 06.03.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Interview with Blaine Cook (former chief developer at Twitter)

After last week’s interview with Evan Henshaw-Plath, we want to introduce Blaine Cook today, who worked on Fire Eagle together with Evan. We were excited to meet Blaine at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg, since he used to be the chief architect at Twitter, before he joined Yahoo. Currently he works as open source developer for BT group.

Blaine has received quite some attention in media due to his role at Twitter. He also has a big name in the open source developer community, not only for writing an open protocol for secure API authorization for desktop, mobile and web applications (OAuth).

Find out in the interview below what his views on mobile technologies for development are and why he thinks that current trends of the mobile market in Africa will change how this technology is viewed.

Check out also this interview that he gave about his experiences with ruby on rails last year in June.

This is the 15th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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Interview with Blaine Cook (former chief developer at Twitter)
was published on 03.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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Interview with Evan 'Rabble' Henshaw-Plath

Evan ‘Rabble’ Henshaw-Plath is currently working at Yahoo! Brickhouse. In the past he worked on odeo.com and Fire Eagle. His business card says he is a hacker & builder of things. We met this really interesting technologist and activist at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg, where he shared his thoughts on emerging technologies with us.

One of the things he points out in the interview below is that mobile innovation in developing countries is currently restricted by costs. Text messages are a very powerful medium, but projects that rely on text messages are too expensive for actual deployment. In the interview he explains why many amazing projects around the world thus remain pilot projects.

Evan ‘Rabble’ Henshaw-Plath is also the co-author of the upcoming O’Reilly book Testing and Debugging Ruby on Rails. He blogs about technology and politics at anarchogeek.com.

This is the 14th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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Interview with Evan 'Rabble' Henshaw-Plath
was published on 23.02.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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How to get the unbanked banked

We met Alex Comninos at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg, where he told us about his research on mobile payment and mobile transfers. In the interview below he explains how mobile payment systems like M-Pesa may improve the banking situation in Africa. “We are looking at how we can deepen services like this to integrate people into the formal bank sector, give them access to credit,” Alex says. He further explains how having access to a transaction history would not only help people learning about budgeting, but also potentially make it easier for them to receive loans.

Alex works as researcher and network coordinator for Research ICT Africa, which is based in South Africa.

See also MobileActive’s notes from Alex’ talk at the conference.

This is the 13th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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How to get the unbanked banked
was published on 16.02.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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AfrikaCamp Vienna – Interviews

(cc) Walter Krivanek, www.vividvisions.com

(cc) Walter Krivanek, www.vividvisions.com

Just a list of the people interviewed at AfrikaCamp – the interviews will be on the ICT4D.at youtube channel soon.

PS: We won’t upload all the material, partly because people didn’t want the interviews to be online, partly because the interviews were too short.

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AfrikaCamp Vienna – Interviews
was published on 03.02.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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