April 07, 2004

The Solomons gets radio email

BBC NEWS | Technology | Radio mail links Pacific islands

I really enjoy reading about how technology can actually be used to help people and make their life better, more comfortable or even better encourage understanding. This theme is very strong throughout the Beeb article on the Solomons and the very 'narrowband' email connection using software called WaveMail, that has been set up. The important thing ultimately is that technology is merely a tool and not the solution as many people especially in IT assume.

The PeopleFirst Network stepped into this gap in 2001.

It was set up with funding from the United Nations Development Programme as a way of connecting the remote island to the outside world, as well as each other.

But another aim was to help overcome the legacy of fear and mistrust created by years of fighting between rival ethnic gangs from Malaita and Guadalcanal.

"We thought that by connecting people together, they would know more about each other and bring peace to the country," said Joe Rausi of the PeopleFirst Network.

"By installing e-mail, people are able to interact more with each other, talk about the things that they need and discuss issues by e-mail," he told BBC News Online.

The work at MIT is also very interesting. The Tek project will be invaluable in opening up the web for those who do not have access to the technology that some of use take for granted:

Researchers at the Boston institute are developing a search engine designed for people with a slow net connection.

"if you are living in a rural village and you want information, you would send a message to Tek," explained Mr Rausi.

"It browses the net for that information and once it is found, it sends that it direct to your computer and stores it on your C drive."

Posted by Paul Goodison at April 7, 2004 10:46 PM | TrackBack

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