Tech enthusiasts from HumaniNet, N-TEN, NetSquared.org and One Laptop Per Child News are gathering in Portland, Oregon, today to explore options for emergency communications as well as conversation, technology, and fun. HumaniNet, a non-profit organization that researches and implements telecommunications solutions for NGOs, is sponsoring the free get together.
Wayan Vota of One Laptop Per Child News will be on hand with a new XO computer designed by OLPC. Gregg Swanson of HumaniNet will talk to those interested in the Nepal simulation exercise in 2007 – and the GIS software that they used.
The team from N-TEN will have a few words about the new Portland 501 Tech Club, a monthly gathering of people working on or interested in nonprofit technology in the Portland area. Amy Ward of Meyer Memorial Trust will also say a few words about Net Tuesdays and MMT.
There’s no cost. Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring a friend. It will be held Wednesday, February 13, at Lucky Lab Northwest (19th and Quimby) in Portland, Oregon.
- 5:00 – 6:30: meet, network, check out the XO and other tech hardware and software
- 6:30 – 7:00: brief presentations, Q&A
- 7:00 – ? meet, discuss, have a good time
In an emergency, what would you put in your communications tool kit? Here are my picks for the most interesting and useful applications:
Solar Powered WiFi/WiMAX:
In an earthquake, your land line, cell phone and power may be dead. That’s where a Wi-Fi or WiMAX connection could come in handy. They don’t require much power so solar is an option and they don’t necessarily depend on a land-line to connect to the internet.
Everyone needs to talk. Talk is free with Skype. Cheap with Skype In and Skype Out.
Live Streaming Video:
Yahoo Live is similar to existing live streaming services like Stickam, Justin.tv, Ustream and Blogtv. Users create a channel, authorize their webcam and start broadcasting to the public. Other people can watch, or choose to participate via video, sound or text chat.
Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others. Check out the 1000 messaging apps, 800 Alert Applications, 234 mobile apps, 165 file sharing apps that you can embed for free.
Yahoo’s Widget Gallery let’s anyone cherry-pick their favorite widgets to use on their phones. There are already a handful of widgets available from big names like MySpace, MTV, and eBay. Yahoo Go is a free downloadable application compatible with dozens of different handsets. Yahoo’s Mobile Developer Platform may be a lot like what many are expecting from Apple’s iPhone SDK, Google’s Android or even OpenMoko.
Google Maps has Street View photos while Microsoft’s Virtual 3D Earth runs inside a browser. Google Maps Mania has the latest and most innovative.
Geo Tagging and tracking:
The Sony Ericsson C702 Cyber-shot uses built-in aGPS to stamp location data onto every photo you take with its 3.2 MP camera while the Nokia 6220 5-megapixel camera uploads directly to Flickr with geotagging. Wikiloc is a free web site which lets you share your favorite GPS tracks through a Google Maps mashup – it shows the elevation profile. Spotigo and Whereboutz offer Free Location Tracking but don’t forget Navigation by Cell Phone.
TwitterVision gives you a real-time message feed from Twitter, superimposed on a map of the world. TwitterVision was used by Google to report Live on Super Tuesday
There are lots of Hotspots for Bedouins by why not use one to Webcasting Events.
Meraki has proposed a free SF Wi-Fi Network. Why not One Laptop (or Eee PC) for every bus stop? Moblin.org hosts the Mobile & Internet Linux Project which is an umbrella, open source project focused on the development of Linux for Intel-based devices. Nokia uses the same Hildon application architecture and Maemo.org open source development tools for their N770/N800.
Cyclists Monitor Air Pollution in the UK. Why not utilize sensor technology to gather all sorts of data autonomously and relay it back to headquarters.
UC’s HPWREN Network:
UCSD’s High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) is a NSF funded network research program. Since 2003, HPWREN has been involved with networking Incident Command Posts using WiFi to aid firefighting efforts for large wildland fires. The southern loop of the HPWREN backbone was replaced with an FCC-licensed radio to Mt. Laguna. A wireless camera and weather station was also installed. HPWREN sensor data can be used for setting off real-time alarms for firefighters.
News Bureau in a Bus:
Cops have their interop communications vans, tv stations have satellite trucks, cellcos have their COLTs, but what does citizen news media have? Why not prepare like amateur radio operators and form a coalition?
A recent storm flooded parts of Washington and Oregon, with high winds bringing down trees, phone and power service. But ham radio worked, reports the AP. Oregon Amateur Radio Clubs like the Amateur Radio Relay Group, the Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club and Astoria’s Sunset Amateur Radio Club can link repeaters down the coast and have proven invaluable numerous times.
ICO and Terrastar Satphones:
TerreStar Networks plans to deploy Internet-HSPA solution for the TerreStar all-IP integrated satellite and terrestrial wireless communications system. They announced $300 million in investor commitments through the launch of its hybrid mobile satellite, for TerreStar-1, to launch during the December 2008 through February 2009 launch window. Competitor ICO, which expects to launch this year, also shares those MSS frequencies and plans to use ICO’s frequencies to carry mobile television as an adjunct to Clearwire’s Mobile WiMAX. These small satphone handsets use terrestrial repeaters allowing first responders to talk directly to each other, without necessarily going through an expensive satellite connection.