Windmill builder

Lunch over IP on young Malawi windmill inventor:

William Kamkwamba, a 15-year-old Malawian (…) built a windmill in his rural village based on a picture he saw in a book. He used old bicycle parts, wooden poles, plastic pipes, and an old car battery for energy storage. The windmill now powers four lights and two radios in his home, and he’s working on a larger model to help with irrigation. After he told his story on stage, a number of TED attendees banded together to support him financially to complete high school and go onto university.

See also Soyapi’s blog, another Malawian TED attendee.

(update)
And William’s own blog at: http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/

PR and developers

Scoble says:

But PR departments keep the developers away from the press because the PR departments know that developers:

1. Are likely to tell the unvarnished truth.
2. Aren’t skilled in explaining/demoing what their product does.
3. Might be boring or unprofessional on camera.

The most interesting pictures

The most interesting pictures by nchenga

Cos I don’t have a Pro account at Flickr, the above link only finds the most interesting based on my last 200 snapshots.

BTW, it seems there’s a viable alternative at Ipernity. At least it loads a lot faster than Zooomr, it offers a tidy layout, and the texts have a European feel:

Attention, do not load another page while the upload is processing, it would crash it.

Greater firms didn’t await us to launch services that are now mainstays of Web 2.0.

Bundled with a bilingual French / English company blog. Nice.

ipernity

It feels a bit like Vox, which I’m testing over at nchenga.vox.com. You can upload photos, videos, and audio and setup a blog. Maybe Ipernity is a subsidiary of 6A?

European English

Yay for European english…!

(update) LOL. I just found this quote:

If Yahoo really want to annoy people, they could wait a month or three, then buy Ipernity – and immediately announce that they’re merging it with Flickr…

in the summertime

DSC00199

I tried to capture today’s awesomely red fireball of a sunset in Basel. My cameraphone snapshot doesn’t quite do it justice. But heh, that’s one moment in time captured and stored and uploaded and tagged and online.

Stumbled across this blog entry:
We googled you!

And it definitely raises an important discussion point… what will recruiting employers do with all the data they find on a job applicant.

Easier.com has published some interesting travel tips on Malawi. For example, spending vacation on a tea estate in Thyolo:

More visitors to southern Malawi are discovering the delights of staying in one of the colonial ‘managers’ bungalows on the Satemwa Tea Estate with its views of Mount Mulanje in one direction and the Lower Shire Valley in the other. Now, the UK national newspaper, The Independent has ranked Satemwa among the world’s top five ‘tea hotels’. And there’s more good news. Satemwa is now a certified Fair Trade producer – the only one in Southern Africa.

It’s possible for guests to sample a selection of black, green and white (yes, white) teas as they look across the neat tea gardens and try to identify the birds from the hundreds of species that are resident or passing through the area. You prefer coffee? No problem, coffee is also grown here.

The Satemwa Tea Estate is a wonderful place to stay if exploring in the Thyolo and Mount Mulanje area. They have a new and very informative website: Satemwa.com

A family favorite is Lujeri Tea Estate at the foot of Mount Mulanje.

Which reminds me that I wanted to write a blog entry on Club Makokola. I’ve uploaded a short film I took on the beach, but for some reason the Flash movie only shows 4 secs. The corresponding Quicktime movie is fine. I tried re-exporting with a shareware tool I found, but it’s too lossy.

Any tips on open source video editing tools are greatly appreciated…
Regarding audio, I found that Audacity is useful.

Situation Report

United Nations Regional Inter-Agency Coordination and Support Office (RIACSO) on Malawi:

Malawi will produce bumper crops of maize and other food crops this year. Some of this surplus will be exported to neighbouring Zimbabwe and other countries to address expected wide-spread food shortages.

via ReliefWeb

nchenga’s Web 2.0 roundup: Links and comments

How many online services did you sign up for, use once or twice, and then never return again?

In my case, that would be lots of ’em. Some of them are really popular services like Digg or Mister Wong, where I just haven’t found a personal use case, or I’ve got a substitute or workaround. While some of them have disappeared, like leze.de or gada.be.

Here’s an idea for a blog post which I’ll update as I go along and find more unused websites in the backwaters of my Internet history.

Sites I tried, but which I don’t use anymore:

  • Digg
  • Mister Wong (I keep forgetting the url and typing mrwong.de)
  • MyBlogLog (I wanted to un-subscribe, but I didn’t see the corresponding info, and now I’m too lazy and too busy. I don’t like the automatic delurking. Sometimes I want to lurk around for a while to get an opinion on the site…).
  • Stumbleupon (I tried this once or twice, got really frustrated by the navigation and the tool bar, and couldn’t find a way to un-subscribe and leave).
  • Web.de (changed the policy for their free email service to make it unusable, a clear goodbye from my side.)
  • Blog-city.com (the hosted blog service I first tried out when I started blogging in 2003, at the time it had long and frustrating upgrade cycles, the reason that I moved to my own installation of WordPress)
  • Blogger (I read some Blogger sites… but I hate it if I need to sign in into Blogger to leave a comment, I’ve got about 2 Blogger logins floating around and I just find it cumbersome).
  • Bloglines

Sites or services that I visit regularly:

  • Flickr
  • del.icio.us
  • Gmail, Gtalk…
  • Wikipedia
  • Technorati and blogsearch.google.com (mainly due to lack of alternatives, I think there’s lots of room for improvement in both)
  • Slug.ch and blogug.ch (for the Swiss perspective)
  • Youtube, Revver
  • Skype (I recently signed up for SkypeOut and used it to call Malawi, very good sound quality, comparable or lower pricing compared to telecom carriers)

On the content side of things, I read:

  • Scoble
  • Dooce (you’ve got to have at least one mummy blogger in your Webtwodotoh portfolio)
  • Metablog.ch (although recently this blog has slowed down a bit… I guess, Matthias has a lot of other duties)
  • Climb to the Stars
  • Gapingvoid (all time favorite)
  • Google News, and I’ve set up Google Alerts for a couple of keywords.
  • WordPress and WordPress.com (WordPress goodness hosted for you)
  • Lorelle on WordPress

My favorite RSS feed by far:

  • Dilbert

New explorations:

  • Twitter
  • Stickis
  • Vox.com (they offer a smooth integration into external sites like Flickr. Pretty cool!)
  • Jumpcut (downside: another Yahoo! company…)
  • Afrigator (Blog aggregator for African sites, I like their crocodile icon!)

Google Street Views

With all of the FOG posts regarding Google Maps street views, I decided to have a closer look. It’s a cool tool. I like it very much and can easily imagine using a Wifi-enabled smart phone and this to navigate thru cities unknown.

e.g. Whole Foods on 4th near Moscone – an essential alternative to conference food during my recent visit.

whole foods.

I remember there was a North German company that had similar visions back in dotcom times (I faintly remember a presentation at the Conti Technology Park in Hannover, but I forget the company name). And at LIFT 07 there was a workshop where people headed out onto the streets of Geneva with their GPS.

Side comment: negative news and criticism often raises awareness for a new service or product just as much as good news. Maybe even more. In a TV interview I heard recently, a Phonak official claimed that the company profited immensely from last year’s “Tour de France” sponsorship despite the Floyd Landis doping scandal.

Buon weekend,
nchenga