When there is no map for the 1670 kilometers of metropolitan Managua’s public 45 bus lines network, there is only one thing you and anybody can do: Ask the people in the buses how to get from one point to another. The passengers of this complex - and naturally grown network within the capital - know most about it. And two years ago, a group of inhabitants of Managua by own initiative decided to take the feat and create the first bus network map in whole Central America.
The base of a free Internet, where all information packages are treated equally without any discrimination is in danger. In Nicaragua, these developments already lead to an internet of three classes, where the poorest have least opportunities. And very remarkably, the people fall blindly into the shiny lies of the telecommunication industry.
Not everything in the world is just black and white. And this applies also to the new initiative for the “Law for the Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services”. There are good aspects, but there are also others that leak of profoundness and some should be criticized and modified in the interest of the Nicaraguan people.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is based on the principle that “free map data would be a tremendous benefit for humanitarian aid and economic development” and the main activity are the organization of activations of worldwide volunteers to collaborate all together over the OpenStreetMap platform to raise geographic data for disaster response after natural catastrophes (such as the recent Ebola outbreak 2014, the tsunami 2013 in the Philippines or the earthquake in Haiti 2010). This information is then freely available for everybody but in particular to organizations and government working in the field to safe people's life and improve the situation on the ground.
We are in a very extreme situation, where our laws about creative works differ a lot from the way how humankind lives culture. And the new media, through it’s extensive connectivity to all of us worldwise, is bringing us back the thousands-of-year-old nature to celebrate read-write culture, which we were constantly converting into read-only culture over the last century.
Free geodata technologies have been used to map the city of Bluefields Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) [of Nicaragua]. This initiative strengthened the capacities of local actors with respect to their knowledge of social mapping. It also involved the participation of children and adolescents, as well as students and teachers from the Bluefields Indian Caribbean University (BICU) and the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN), under the coordination of MapaNica (OpenStreetMap Nicaragua) with UNICEF support.
Some months ago I read Fefe's notice in his blog, suggesting to use the massive camera surveillance in the UK in order to request CCTV images from institutions or companies, instead of being disturbed all the time by taking own photos on vacations in England. UK's Data Protection Act states that people are allowed to request CCTV footages of themselves.
Some years ago there was a hype on the use of short message service (SMS) communication solutions especially in the IT for Development context and countries in Africa. And indeed, some remarkable projects came out of this: Such as using SMS for HIV/AIDS education in Uganda, providing farmers with relevant information through SMS in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria and convenient money transfer over SMS in Kenya and Tanzania.
To share – it is that easy and very human, but less and less common practice. But with the Internet and New Technology humankind could rather leverage sharing to a new level which would imply progress and benefit for all. There are some movements that already do this, Free Software, Open Data and a lot of artists and photographs that publish their work with explicit permit to the use for everybody.
Last week Porifrio and myself, as members of the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua community, traveled to Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, the capital of the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean Coast. The trip was made possible with the support by UNICEF Nicaragua, which we highly appreciate. We were for four days in Bilwi to present the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua initiative and build alliances with interested groups and institutions.
We have built a system that allows tracking almost any person on this planet and we have not incorporated any suitable mechanism of control. We now know that all this is very out of control, but we are far away from being able to do anything about it.
According to the Internet World Stats, Nicaragua is the second last of all countries in Latin America when it comes to Internet connectivity, after Haiti. In Nicaragua, most users use the internet mainly to communicate and entertain themselves, not so much to learn, to shop or to perform working activities. According to a study by the Center for Spanish Language Media at the University of North Texas, Latin American youths spend an average of 86 minutes on Facebook, daily. But the truth is that instead of enjoying pleasurable activities like talking, meeting new people, studying, eating, dancing and spending time with our friends, we end up sharing badly written notes and amusing photos from one corner of the cyberspace with an established network of persons who we call "friends", and they, again, are also sitting behind a computer. It provides the illusion as if we were doing meaningful things and cultivating our friendships. Instead of living real life experiences, in fact, we are only managing our own virtual identity. We are connected, yes, but in a way bonded with our legs to the desk. Facebook isolates us on our devices.
A nivel mundial la neutralidad de red, censura y vigilancia en linea, se ha convertido en un tema central y urgente. Ya que se puede observar compañías tratando de hacer mayor negocio vendiéndo el Internet de servicio en servicio y hasta vendiéndo los datos personales de sus clientes a terceros. También existen algunos gobiernos cuyo objetivo es controlar a ciudadanos y ciudadanas por medio de medidas en contra de los principios de una red neutral y el acceso libre a información o almacenando una gran canitidad de datos para espiar a la población. Aunque hay algunos países, entre ellos Nicaragua, en donde este no ha sido un tema de interés. Por lo cuál, como residente de este lindo país, quisiera contribuir dando una primera base de información con el conocimiento que tengo, tomando siempre en cuenta que este artículo no pretende cubrir todos los aspectos del asunto.
All over the world discussions are emerging on net neutrality, online censorship and surveillance as urgent topics. As we can see, companies try to sell the internet service by service or even the data a about their clients in order to make more money off of their clients. And as well as some governments who's aim is to control their citizens by violating their principals of a neutral web, free access to information and collecting data by spying on the population. Still, there are some countries, Nicaragua being one of them, that are (almost) not suspects to investigation. As a resident of this lovely country, I would like contribute by giving an overview of issues I personally am aware of, but taking into account that this article cannot be claimed fully accurate.
TEDxManagua is a independently organized TED event happening in Nicaragua. This year, I participated with my talk in Spanish language “The map is in your hands” (El mapa está en tus manos), about maps in a country where the streets have no name, community initiatives by active citizens and building the first map of Managua’s public transportation system.
I had the honor to be invited and received a scholarship to attend and give a talk at the yearly edition of the State Of The Map US conference in beautiful San Francisco. A great community, with nice and interesting individuals and a very well organized, expiring conference made it all over a superb experience. It is remarkable that OpenStreetMap is a community project at an exploding point. A lot of innovation can be observed. The atmosphere of having fun with what people are doing is constantly present and a lot of start-ups and bigger companies are discovering business models, using Open Geo Data.
At the first OpenStreetMap event in Managua the Mapertulia last December we initiated the idea of getting the information about bus lines in Managua mapped collaboratively. So we started now with a Mapping Party: A whole (sun)day beginning with an introductory session in the morning, then field work – mapping in the buses. After lunch another workshop about how to introduce the obtained information from the morning into OpenStreetMap, the wonderful world wide free and open map available for everybody to use or build upon it in any way. And in the afternoon coffee, fruit drinks, later some beers, sticking together and working, inserting the newly mapped bus lines into the global server.
From 13th to 15th of March 2013 the third Drupal Summit Latino 2013 has taken place in Loja, Ecuador, after the first in Lima, Peru and the second in Guadalajara, Mexico. Once again the Drupal community from all Latin America gathered at one locality to share knowledge, rock Drupal at a new place, getting to know each other (better), plan future activities and enjoy good company. The event was held at the local university Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, which provided a good service, meeting rooms for BoFs and speakers as well talkrooms for a total of five tracks on the same time.
For the DrupalCamp Bolivia 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Bolivia, and beeing there I wanted to meet some of the Free Software movements in this country. In the lovely city of Cochabamba I soon got contact to the Scientific society of the university of San Simón, some of the most active young people in town, when it comes to technology. Some of them volunteered in the DrupalCamp and talking to them, they invited me to their OpenSeason, a new and open event series they are organizing in their university about free and open software and tecnologies. I was very happy to meet those great tec people, rocking their little hacking space in the university. The Open Season was well visited and besides my two talks about OpenStreetMap and How to contribute to Debian, as well a new project was presented: The GNU/Linux distribution “Fosobi“, a new distro with local flavour that shall make it easier to start and therefore attractive to students of technical careers using GNU/Linux.
The first DrupalCamp in Bolivia took place from 21st to 23rd of February in the Universidad Católica Boliviana "San Pablo" in Cochabamba. A city, that it's population also call kindly "Llajta" (Quechua meaning for "perfect place to live"). A big success: Three days of Drupal brought to this beautiful country, organized by the local community with support by international specialists. Did I say three days? Actually this camp were four days: One day before the official start Juan Pablo from Spain held a great code sprint for the Devel module. A really valuable initiative to help people getting involved more into contributing, learning, participating and forming actively this great open source project Drupal.
Inspired by other co-working offices I could experience all over the world and being tired of working alone at home, together with Leandro Gomez we took the initiative to open a real creative space in Nicaragua and this way co-labora was born. Looking for a physical place we allied us to the Cultural Center Quilombo, with which we share the same spirit and philosophy.
Because of the fortunate increasing interest in mapping in Managua, after some different activities, like the mapping party initiative we realized with some students in the Universidad Centroamericana to complete the information in OpenStreetMap used for the porpuse of this map I built for the Debian Conference 2012 and as well a talk I gave lately about Open Data, putting a focus on OpenStreetMap as the mayor example in the National Festival about Free Software this same month. I decided to propose a meeting about OpenStreetMap, so the first “Mapertulia“ was born. About 30 people showed up to know more about colabortive mapping and how to use open maps for their benefit.
The Latin American Drupal Community keeps on working with a lot of motivation! A lot of people from the whole continent are forming a team to organize together the **DrupalPicchu** in the beginning of 2014! Picchu means Summit in quechua (native indigenous language), so DrupalPicchu means DrupalSummit. This gives an original name to such an important historic event for the Drupal Latin Community.
The very sad news about the cancellation of the DrupalCon in São Paulo has reached us volunteers surprisingly one day before the official announcement. The Drupal Association (DA) board took this decision because of the lack of interest (in session proposals and scholarship applicants) and sponsors which lead to the obvious lack of money.
From 20th to 24th to August 2012 the DrupalCon Europe came for the first time to Germany. During the week of this summer's hottest week so far 1800 Drupalistas from all over the world gathered under the motto "Open Up! Connecting systems and people" in the Grand Westin Hotel in Munich, Germany.
DebConf is a highlight of the Debian year, when the community comes together for hacking, presentations and discussion sessions, and just to spend time face-to-face with other contributors who are normally only names on a mailing list or nicks on IRC. This year DebConf took place in Managua, in the beautiful Central American country of Nicaragua.
This year the 13th Debian Conference (DebConf) is going to happen for the first time in Central America. From 8th to 14th of July 2012 developers and contributors of the universal operating system from all over the world are heading to Managua, Nicaragua. Last year’s DebConf hosted in Bosnia-Herzegovina had over 350 attendees from 46 countries.
The Central American activists from La Via Campesina asked my to help them to build an easy tool as an online *observatory* for agrarian conflicts. Today, on the International Day of Peasant's Struggle, this website has gone online. Built with Drupal it was an easy task to create rapidly an useful tool to store the information and visualize such important incident for the global unity among peasants, landless, women farmers and rural youth.
Last month, in June 2011, the third DrupalCamp in Centralamerica has been taken part in the venue of the pacific headquaters of the University of Costa Rica in Puntarenas. In total 168 persons from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua y Panamá assisted from the region as well as visitors from Colombia, Germany, Peru and the United States of America. There was a huge participation by people from different Drupal communities, private companies and public institutions. Most participants were professionals working in areas of graphic design, marketing, providers and programmers of services (technical support, software and web development), products or training related to Drupal and Free Software. There was also a strong participation of students and professors from University of Costa Rica.
Recently I was giving two intensive Drupal 7 workshops and trainings. One at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica, sponsored by a United Nations Development Programme finanzed project in Costa Rica "TICs Capacity Building through the Use of Free Software to Promote and Strengthen Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMEs)". And the other one at ISIC (Instituto de Informática y Comercio) in Managua, Nicaragua. Together with Leo Arias we prepared the materials of these trainings and made them publicly available at **aprende.drupal-centroamerica.org**.
Being part of the main organization team I'm really glad to write about the first Drupal event oriented to the whole Latin American audience happened in Peru, Lima from 27th to 29th of January 2011. Over 250 persons from 16 Latin American countries and Belgium, Spain and the United States of America came together to share knowledge and experience about Drupal. During these three days, I almost would call them a historical momement, we had the oppurtunity to get to know each other and seeing the faces of people from the whole continent and Europe and we were able to set the base for future colaborations and the formation of a global Spanish speaking Drupal community.
The story of stuff project started with one general video on how our industrial life cycle of the products we are consuming is hurting our planet and environment where we are living.
These are really good and short presentations on global correlations that the powerful companies and politicians trying to hide from the citizens. It is not just worth to watch it, it is even better to tell and show other people.
Last weekend (25 and 26 June 2010) took place the second DrupalCamp in Central America, the venue was this time the education center INTECAP in Guatemala. With 264 participants, it exceeded by more than double the number of participants for the DrupalCamp 2009 in Nicaragua.It brought together people from many fields: developers, designers, users, and both national and international companies to discuss the CMS/Framework Drupal. Another specific objective of the DrupalCamp was to strength and extend the still quite young Drupal community in Central America.
Interesting project on alternative development: The Venus Project
The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. There are many people today who are concerned with the serious problems that face our modern society: unemployment, violent crime, replacement of humans by technology, over-population and a decline in the Earth's ecosystems.
As you will see, The Venus Project is dedicated to confronting all of these problems by actively engaging in the research, development, and application of workable solutions. Through the use of innovative approaches to social awareness, educational incentives, and the consistent application of the best that science and technology can offer directly to the social system, The Venus Project offers a comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology, and nature will be able to coexist in a long-term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibrium.
From the 17th of June till 21th of June 2009 the First Central American Free Software Summit was taking place in Nicaragua's northern mountains close to Estelí. Over 80 persons met from all Central American countries and some others from the all over the world (Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Austria and Germany). Everybody was connected through the common ideology of Free Software and sharing. The majority of the attendants actively participate within local Linux User Groups inside of their countries. On the summit everybody loved to discuss topics like Free Software and government, Translation and adaption of open licenses to local jurisdictions, the role of women and Free Software in education.
The first DrupalCamp in Central America took place 18th of april in Managua, Nicaragua. The all-day event aimed to actively form a community of professional drupalers from all Central American countries.
The image fulgurator won the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica 2008.
The Image Fulgurator is a device for physically manipulating photographs. It intervenes when a photo is being taken, without the photographer being able to detect anything. The manipulation is only visible on the photo afterwards. In principle, the Fulgurator can be used anywhere where there is another camera nearby that is being used with a flash. It operates via a kind of reactive flash projection that enables an image to be projected on an object exactly at the moment when someone else is photographing it. The intervention is unobtrusive because it takes only a few milliseconds. Every photo another photographer takes of an object at which the Fulgurator is also aimed is affected by the manipulation. Hence visual information can be smuggled unnoticed into the images of others.
It really let's your phantasy going crazy about funny uses. Watch it in action!
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