Sun Dec 16, 2012
2012 is almost over and I find myself again in Berlin, the streets covered with dirty melting snow and abandoned TVs. It’s been already two weeks since I spoke at Online Educa about the experience of creating Fun Programming. Yesterday I received my 4th donation and it made me very happy :)
After two years of pause, I recently started again contributing to eMOCHA, the open source mHealth app which we demoed in Uganda during summer 2009. And eMOCHA is the reason I visited Baltimore in October: I presented the latest version of the program that will be used in a research about pregnant women suffering domestic violence.
It looks like trips make certain things happen: my visit to Kampala three years ago made me start this blog. A trip to Barcelona in 2001 made me buy my first digital camera. After two years without a camera, I just got a new one right before my visit to the States. Interesting.
During the time I was out of the project my colleagues kept working on it, and it’s now used in different projects in several countries across Asia, Africa and America.
What else is new? These are some of the news that called my attention during the last weeks:
Freedom, privacy and Internet:
- The government is profiling you: a guy who worked for the government developed systems to spy on people and now talks about it. He is asked “Where do you see this going in 5 or 10 years? I see it becoming a totalitarian state. An imperial president (a dictator). Unless we do something.” and “It doesn’t matter if you say ‘bomb’ or not. Everything is stored now”. Interview.
- Texan schoolgirl expelled for refusing to wear RFID tag (H). RFID is a chip that can be read from a certain distance. Students in that school were told to wear those chips, so they can be tracked by school staff.
- Syrian Internet Is Off The Air (H).
- Tor exit node operator raided in Austria (H). Tor is a program used to browse the net anonymously. It’s used to avoid censorship and avoid getting in trouble in totalitarian countries. Some people volunteer their computers to make the Tor system work. Sometimes those volunteers are arrested because someone else used Tor for something illegal.
- You’re not anonymous. I know your name, email, and company (H). It’s now possible for a company to know private data of the person who visited their website, even the person did not register. Just by looking.
- In India, senior police officers must review offences before arresting people because of what they have said online (H).
- B&N: purchased Ebooks only yours until your credit card expires (H).
- In UK, Twitter, Facebook rants land some in jail (H).
- Google Apps Disabled My Domain (H). The danger of storing your data online.
- EU Resists ‘extreme’ US lobbying as data privacy war brews.
- OpenPhoto: free open source project that aims to free your photos from closed online platforms.
- The meteoric ascent of the patent troll and the devastating consequences for innovation. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents to sue others to make money, without actually using those patents to make anything.
- GravityLight: lighting for developing countries.
- ELF: efficient personal electric vehicle powered by you and the sun.
- The word “hacker”.
- Bitcoin-Central.net is now licensed to operate as a bank in Europe (H). Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Digital money, not controlled by governments or banks. Now there is a company in Europe that will make it easy to do wire transfers and use credit cards with Bitcoins.
- Why white tigers should go extinct. Apparently white tigers would not survive in nature. They have defects. Zoos make them reproduce because they attract customers.
- The travel guide. Post by John McAfee, who has been hiding from police while sharing online James Bond-like stories.