Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"To Empathize is to Civilize": An engaging talk on the science behind the empathetic nature of the human race.

As I've said before, one of the things that drives me to photograph is the goal of helping viewers connect with subjects...of allowing viewers to understand a bit of what it's like to be the person in the photograph. By doing that, I hope to reduce the empathy deficit we seem to have in our global civilization today.

This 10 minute YouTube video by author and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) presents an encouraging viewpoint: that we are "soft-wired" by cultural evolution to empathize. He goes on to say that new media technology is giving our global society new ways to connect and empathize, and may in fact be one of the keys to keeping us from destroying our planet.

Scientific proof: using new media to tell the stories of individuals in difficult conditions helps save the world!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Trying my hand at video

My job with Inveneo installing wireless networks in rural and remote regions of the developing world keeps me pretty busy, hence the lack of updates.

Recently, though, I had the chance to edit together some video. It's a timelapse showing the performance of our low power Fit2 PC against a standard desktop when running on identical battery power setups. It's a bit crude since it was shot with a consumer point and shoot...but definitely does a solid job at getting the point across.

As a sidenote, after some initial learning curve pains I found Apple's iMovie '09 to be a pretty full featured editor. I've worked with Premiere in the past, but for this simple project iMovie got the job done.


Goat*Net: Bleating Edge WiFi Mesh Networking from Inveneo

In the tradition of Google, ICTWorks (a platform to encourage collaboration between ICT practitioners in the developing world) needed a good story for April Fool's Day.

I haven't been writing as much as I'd have liked lately, but I'm pretty happy with this short piece on Goat Powered Mesh Networking I put together with Wayan Vota, Inveneo's Senior ICIP Director.

The WiFi hackers at Inveneo, famous for their long-distance network in Haiti, are piloting a new Internet connectivity solution that they hope will bring Internet access to currently unreachable corners of rural Africa. Deploying collar-mounted wireless transceivers on a herd's worth of goats, they've created a mobile, self-healing, self-configuring network they've dubbed the Goat*Net.

To learn more about Goat*Net, read the full story here.

Note this is not my photo, it's courtesy of Eliya, thanks to a CreativeCommons license on flickr.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Inveneo: Image Featured on Front Page

My current job installing rural wireless networks and training IT companies in developing regions with Inveneo has already taken me to some fascinating places.

This image, currently featured on the front page of the Inveneo website, was taken in a UNHCR refugee camp for displaced Congolese living in Rwanda.

The picture shows an engineer from Inveneo's Rwandan partner, RockGlobal, installing a long distance wi-fi antenna that will link the camp's classroom to the internet.

Matador Goods: Photo Contest Win

I heard that the guys at MatadorGoods were running a "favorite mountain" trekking and climbing photo contest. Since those are both things to do, I submitted a favorite of mine from Nepal.

Forget favorite mountain, this has to be one of my favorite spots on the planet: period. Khopara ridge is within a day or two’s trek of the popular Annapurna circuit in Nepal, but only sees 10s of visitors a year. A single rocky trekker’s hut graces the top of the ridge, and lets you sit and contemplate life high above the clouds.

Apparently the MatadorGoods photo editors and I have similar taste, and my win scored me a copy of Trekking + Climbing: The Andes by Val Pitkethly and Kate Harper.

The book features 26 treks and 18 climbing Peaks in the South American wilderness. I've never been to South America...I'm hoping maybe this will inspire me to plan a trip.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NRIDS: Building wireless networks in Nepal

While I was in Nepal, I spent time working with my good friend Sudip Aryal. Sudip started a organization called NRIDS (Nepal Rural Information-technology Development Society) to increase access to technology in his home district of Syangja.
Sudip and I spent a lot of time planning a rural wireless network to beam internet from the tourist hotspot of Pokhara over a nearby mountaintop, and down to five villages in Syangja district. The entire project could be done with the same hardware you use to get wifi access in your local coffeeshop.

NRIDS has a network plan, it also has technical volunteers willing to work for free. Now all it needs is money to buy the hardware: USD $8000 to be exact. Check out the fundraising piece I did for NRIDS, and if you feel like it...give a few bucks by PayPal. Every bit helps!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NetSquared Referenced my article

NetSquared mentioned (if not quoted) my 'Giving Back to your Subjects' article in their discussion of 'Pentaxploitation: do photography and social change really go together?'

...ok, so I'm several months late in knowing about it, their mention was in November 2008. Still, just goes to show it's worth googling yourself every once in a while.