The true geographers are in the buses

Passengers created the public transportation map of Managua

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.

Continue reading

An internet of three classes

Net-Neutrality violations lead to a dark age for an Internet of opportunities and social development in Nicaragua

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.

Continue reading

Digital development that does not protect the Nicaraguan people

The pros and cons of a law proposal for the “Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services” in Nicaragua

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.

Continue reading

Copyright in times of digital culture

New principles become old principles again - rethinking cultural creation

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.

Continue reading

The silent evolution of SMS messaging services

How the once highly praised technology now become finally available for everybody

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.

Continue reading

The dream of Open Data

Four examples how Open Data can actually help us.

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.

Continue reading

Mobile phones - the perfect tool for mass surveillance

Second article in my column “Brave new digital world” in Confidential.com.ni

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.

Continue reading

Facebook, a threat to the user?

First article in my column “Brave new digital world” in Confidential.com.ni

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.

Continue reading