Wikipedia offline

Wikipedia produces a downloadable version of the encyclopedia aimed at the schools, with content relevant to the national curriculum. Great idea, and one that could have some serious applications in developing countries where schools have difficulty getting a workable internet connection. The blurb describes it as

a free, hand-checked, non-commercial selection from Wikipedia, targeted around the UK National Curriculum and useful for much of the English speaking world. It has about 5500 articles (as much as can be fitted on a DVD with good size images) and is about the size of a twenty volume encyclopaedia (34,000 images and 20 million words). Articles were chosen from a list ranked by importance and quality generated by project members. This list of articles was then manually sorted for relevance to children, and adult topics were removed. Compared to the 2007 version some six hundred articles were removed and two thousand more relevant articles (of now adequate quality) were added. SOS Children volunteers then checked and tidied up the contents, first by selecting historical versions of articles free from vandalism and then by removing unsuitable sections. External links and references are also not included since it was infeasible to check all of these.

The project is a joint venture with SOS Children’s Villages.

Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.

eBanking for the rural poor

Strange but true: one of the things we learned on the Ndiyo Project from our project in Bangladesh is that the people who may have most to gain from electronic banking are the rural poor of the developing world. David Talbot has an interesting post in Tech Review which illustrates this.

Kasaghatta, India: It’s a 90-minute walk from this southern Indian village–one of 730,000 in India–to Doddabenavengala, the nearest town with a bank branch. Until a few months ago, Karehanumaiah, a 55-year-old agricultural laborer, had no bank account, which also meant he had no access to formal credit. (He would have to pay 10 percent monthly interest to informal lenders to, say, borrow $45 to buy a goat.) But that all changed in recent months…

Video here.

Dream Realisation, release 1.0

When we embarked on the Ndiyo Project we always knew that the realisation of the vision depended on shrinking the thin client down to a chip. Well, our colleagues at DisplayLink have done it! This is the USB version of the Nivo, and it’s now in the back of monitors from two of the world’s leading manufacturers of displays — Samsung and LG. It’s an amazing achievement. And there’s more to come. Stay tuned.

Ndiyo! – Hubster

Hooray! The new Samsung monitors with the DisplayLink chip in the back have arrived! Quentin and Michael have already been doing interesting things with them. And Chris Nuttall wrote a nice piece in the Financial Times about DisplayLink.

(Footnote: DisplayLink is the company spun out by Ndiyo to develop the thin-client technology we deem necessary to change the world — or at any rate the way we do networking.)

WiFi: Record Range Now 382 KM

From O’Reilly Radar

The record for point-2-point WiFi transmission is now 382 kilometers (pdf). The transmission was made from Platillon to Aguila in Venezuela. This news comes to us via The Foundation Latin American School of Networks website.

The researchers behind the project used the WRT54 Linksys router in their experiment. If they are able to make long distance connectivity work in a stable manner and are able to keep the equipment cheap this could make a huge difference in connecting emerging markets.

This could be relevant to Ndiyo.

Windows piracy reduced

Good news

Microsoft UK says that since it launched its Keep IT Real campaign in February 2006, the Windows XP piracy rate has dropped from 16.7% to 12.9%, with 36m users validated.

I’m all in favour of stamping out piracy of Microsoft products — because it forces the world to realise how much proprietary software costs! And of course it helps Ndiyo.