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October 11 2011

Portugal: Lisbon Hosts Citizenship 2.0 Event

On October 13, Lisbon is going to host an event about new platforms that promote dialogue in society, aiming to stimulate the discussion between the Portuguese government, public administration, NGOs and citizens - Cidadania 2.0 (Citizenship 2.0). Some sessions are going to be livestreamed [pt], and the hashtag #cid20 is already being used on Twitter (@cidadania20).

Global Voices Podcast: 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting - Part 2

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

Hello world!

In an addition to our usual monthly podcast, we have some special audio for you from the newly concluded 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting in Tunisia.

Nearly 100 bloggers from Arab countries gathered in Tunis from October 3-6, 2011 in a meeting hosted by Global Voices, Nawaat and the Heinrich Böll Foundation to discuss citizen media, safety online, post-revolutionary ideas, and of course to meet each other face to face - some for the first time. In the 12 interviews in these two podcasts (check out Part 1) you will hear about online anonymity using Tor, revolution in a historical context, forthcoming elections in Arab countries, filmmaking, blogging and hope. And much, much more.

Arab Bloggers Meeting, 2011: Part 2

Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and many other countries have citizens living through a time of change and upheaval. Our online information these days is fast and furious when it comes to the minute by minute events, but how should we find context in a time of revolution?

Zeynep Tufekci is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. She presented a wonderful talk at the conference about the importance of putting revolutions into a historical context.

Part of telling the story of revolutionary times in a digital age requires video. Clips on YouTube offer powerful snapshots, but it is also important to follow a narrative to gain a greater understanding. Alexandra Sandels is a Swedish journalist and co-director and producer of a documentary called Zero Silence about young people using the Internet for change. It was screened on the first day of the Arab Bloggers Meeting.

Bloggers from nearly all Arab countries attended the meeting to learn from one another about citizen media and activism. Hayder Hamzoz is a blogger from Baghdad, Iraq. We chatted about his activities online and how the website Iraqi Streets shows an alternative Iraq to the one shown in mainstream news headlines.

The dangers of being identified and apprehended for protest and online activity are numerous and in some cases horrifying. There are methods for staying safer that people can enact, and there is also software that can help. Roger Dingledine works on an anonymity or privacy or circumvention tool called Tor. We talked about how it works.

That's all we have for the special edition of the Global Voices podcast at the 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting!

Group photo from Arab Bloggers Meeting, Tunis 2011

Group photo, Arab Bloggers Meeting, Tunis 2011 by Ibtihel Zaatouri (CC-BY)

Thanks to everyone who took time to talk to me, to the organisers for creating such a fantastic forum, and to Mark Cotton who adapted our Global Voices theme tunes for this particular episode.

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

Global Voices Podcast: 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting - Part 1

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

Hello world!

In an addition to our usual monthly podcast, we have some special audio for you from the newly concluded 3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting in Tunisia.

Nearly 100 bloggers from Arab countries gathered in Tunis from October 3-6, 2011 in a meeting hosted by Global Voices, Nawaat and the Heinrich Böll Foundation to discuss citizen media, safety online, post-revolutionary ideas, and of course to meet each other face to face - some for the first time. In the 12 interviews in these two podcasts (check out Part 2) you will hear about online anonymity using Tor, revolution in a historical context, forthcoming elections in Arab countries, filmmaking, blogging and hope. And much, much more.

Arab Bloggers Meeting, 2011: Part 1

Naturally the topic of Arab uprisings was a big part of the conversation. The role of the citizen journalist has been very important in describing events to a wider audience. I chatted with Egyptian blogger and Global Voices author Lilian Wagdy, about why the benefits outweigh the challenges of this difficult work.

Online activists and bloggers travelled from near and far to come to the meeting. Yazan Badran is a Syrian blogger and Global Voices author currently based in Japan. He told us what motivated him to travel the distance to be at the meeting.

Though the past uprisings are a constant topic of conversation, the Arab Bloggers meeting this year was a forum for pushing things onward. Nasser Weddady, a blogger from Mauritania, is also the Civil Rights Outreach Director for the American Islamic Congress based in Boston, USA. We talked about the main issues of the day.

A number of talks and presentations during the meeting shed light on current events as well as providing training and new ideas. Marek Tuszynski, co-founder and co-director of Tactical Technology Collective gave a presentation about clear visualisation for online activists.

Many participants attended previous Arab Bloggers Meetings. With Jillian C. York, Director of International Freedom of Expression Electronic Frontier Foundation in the United States (as well as Global Voices author and board member), we talked about her experience and why the EFF takes an interest in international freedom of expression.

In the conversation with Jillian, we talked about how Palestinian bloggers were denied visas by the Tunisian government to attend the meeting. Aternative methods were used to contact these bloggers and include them in the meeting. One blogger of Palestinian origin was there. I spoke to Saed Karzoun about the visa debacle, and what he hoped to bring to the event.

The location of the Arab Bloggers meeting in Tunis was highly relevant to the main topics discussed. Tunisia has seen a revolution and inspired many other movements in the region. Malek Khadraoui is the co-administrator of Tunisian website Naawat, an independent group blog. We chatted about how the network of bloggers across Arab nations offers both hope and valuable practical advice.

There were so many experienced, entertaining, knowledgeable and wonderful people at the Arab Bloggers Meeting, I could not fit them all into one edition of the Global Voices podcast. You can hear more of these great interviews in Part 2.

Thanks to everyone who took time to talk to me, to the organisers for creating such a fantastic forum, and to Mark Cotton who adapted our Global Voices theme tunes for this particular episode.

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

October 10 2011

Russia: Personal Information Leaked, Who's To Blame?

On October 3, 2011, several Russian citizens' documents, including financial statements and passport numbers, were posted on the website rusleaks.com [ru].

Soon after the flood of documents was noticed, the Russian Prosecutor General and the Agency for the Supervision of Information Technologies (which goes by the abbreviated name Roskomnadzor) announced it was investigating how the personal data was leaked to the so-called “anti-corruption” site Rusleaks. Several Rusleaks domain names are currently inaccessible.

Leaked personal information

Russian news site Vedomosti writes that two of its staff found personal information in the leak [ru]:

Корреспондент «Ведомостей» нашел в базах Rusleaks данные своего старого паспорта и помесячные данные о зарплате за вторую половину 1990-х гг., а его коллега — номера двух старых паспортов и некоторые данные, удаленные из «В контакте».

Drop. Picture by Flickr-user kaffeetrauma

Drop. Picture by Flickr-user kaffeetrauma

A Vedomosti correspondent found in Rusleaks documents information about his old passport and monthly statements about his wages for the second half of the 1990s, and his colleague found two old passport numbers and some information that had been deleted from VKontakte [social network].

The Russian government has stated that the posting of such information violates online privacy laws. The Prosecutor's office has filed a lawsuit to the Moscow city court regarding the case (if won by the prosecutor, the website will be blocked for Russia-based users) and has demanded [ru] that Internet.BS Corp (registrar through which the rusleaks.com domain was delegated) stops its registration.

In only two known prior cases has the Russian government decided to use domain hijacking: for sites sochi.ru and torrents.ru, the largest Russian torrent portal, which was blocked in 2010 for violating article 146 of the Russian criminal code.

The agency also noted that some of the personal data, which spans the years 1999 to 2007 may have been forged [ru].

Who's to blame?

Well-known Russian blogger Anton Nosik, whose Citibank account information from 2003 was leaked, posted [ru] a screenshot of the pilfered information on his blog. Nosik intimated that the information must have been passed through various levels of the Russian government and ended up in the public domain.

Круг чиновников и силовиков, с которыми коммерческий банк в России обязан делиться всеми данными своих клиентов, невозможно установить. Зато теперь понятнее становится характер информации, сливаемой банками государству, и способ её хранения.

It is not possible to trace the circle of bureaucrats and law enforcers, with whom a commercial bank in Russian is required to share all their clients’ information. And so now it’s become more clear what information is being sent by banks to the government and how that information is being stored.

A poll [ru] posted by the site Habrakhabr shows that 67.55 percent of those polled agree that:

Опубликование подобных данных, скорее зло чем польза, даже в России

The publication of such information is more evil than helpful, even in Russia.

Many commenters distinguished between Rusleaks and whoever gave the information to Rusleaks. User CLR noted [ru] that the information “wasn't stolen but was bought off people who have access to it,” and stressed that it was necessary to punish those people and not simply the site that posted the information.

User Himari noted [ru]:

Проблема не в том, что существуют такие сайты, а в том что эти данные утекают. Вы как наше правительство, боритесь с последствиями, а не причинами. Тем более раз утекло, то уже всё — оно будет переодически всплывать.

The problem is not that such sites exist, but in the fact that information is being leaked. You, like our government, fight against the consequences and not the root of the problem. And what's more, once it's leaked out, that's it - it will periodically reappear.

October 09 2011

Bangladesh: Internet Safety For children

As several internet festivals start in different cities of Bangladesh, Badruddoza stresses the need for making internet safe for the children before letting them use it freely.

Mapping the Thailand Flooding Disaster

As of this writing, 252 people have already died in Thailand due to more than two months of heavy rains. Many parts of Bangkok, the country’s capital, are already submerged in floodwaters. Online Maps were created to monitor the floods and inform the public on the extent of the flooding disaster.

Bangkok flood. From twitter user @khunknow

The Thailand Flood Map highlights the areas which are 'severely affected, ‘critical', and ‘affected' by the floods

Below is the government’s Thailand Flood Monitoring System

The Water Measurement System monitors the water level in canals and rivers

The Highway Department identifies the flooded roads. Red Car means the road is flooded and impassable. Green Car means the road is flooded but passable with care. Blue Line refers to road diversions

A Brahman water-lowering ceremony was organized by the government to beg to Kang Ka, the River Goddess, to lower the flood in Bangkok rapidly. Hotline numbers are posted online to help flood victims. Red Cross is accepting donations to help Thailand.

Richard Barrow gives the situation in Bangkok

Despite the flood prevention wall, more than 1,200 families in 27 communities outside the flood walls along the Chao Phraya River, the Bangkok Noi Canal and the Maha Sawat Canal are still at risk.

I think there will only be limited flooding in certain areas for short periods of time. They have done a lot more in recent years to protect Bangkok from the floods. We were expecting bad things last year but it wasn’t so bad in the end. The rest of the country is a different story of course.

Empty shelves in a store during flooding. From twitter user @icetimicetim

The #thaiflood twitter hashtag has been very active in the past few days

@tumbler_p Heard that some of Bkk's so-called ‘mega tunnels' designed to drain flood water are out of operation. Don't tell me they're dummy tunnels..

@freakingcat Strongest rainfall in many months - Bangkok drowns

@bamboohuts Our deepest condolences to the victims of #thaiflood. we hope that this crisis will pass very soon with minimal amount of damages.

@TheLilyfish Amazing how people of Ayutthaya are so upbeat and friendly despite being under 3 metres of water…

Sandbags against rising water level. From twitter user @khunknow

@alexandrachua RT @Vvanessaaaa: Thailand has 77 provinces but 55 are flooded while the others are waiting for fate.

@ChaiyaBenz Flooding in Khon Kaen is getting serious too. The water is grow-up from Nampong River! Help!! #Thaiflood

@thai_intel reports says many thai shopping centers are offering free parking so flooded out car owners can keep them safe

@tulsathit Floods crippling over 1,200 factories nationwide, affecting 41,000 workers. Govt's called on the factories to hold on and not lay off labour

October 08 2011

Brazil: Different Perspectives on Steve Jobs' Work

As the world mourns the death of Steve Jobs, the Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff illustrates another side of the entrepreneur. The same does Rodrigo Savazoni, on the blog Trezentos, saying [pt] that Jobs was the number one enemy of collaboration.

October 07 2011

U.S. Releases Report on Social Media in Latin America

The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean recently released a report titled “Latin American Governments Need to ‘Friend’ Social Media and Technology”. Bloggings by boz helps break down some of the report's main points.

Africa: R.I.P Steve Jobs, You Will be Missed

The co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. Bloggers have taken time to pay tribute and remember his contribution to the world of technology.

Thanks Steve Jobs for making creative life much easier:

Thank you Sir, for making my creative life that much easier through the vision you created in Apple Products.

And for making a dent in the universe:

Thank you Steve, for making a dent in the universe.

Collins says Steve was a gift to the IT world:

Steve Jobs was truly a gift to the IT World.

Our sincere condolences to the family, colleagues and friends from this blog .

Steve Jobs holding a MacBook Air at MacWorld Conference & Expo 2008. Photo courtesy of Matthew Yohe, released into the public domain (CC-BY-3.0).

Swahili blogger Simon Kitururu writes:

. kuwa MTU mmoja anaweza kuwa changamoto kwa WENGI,…
…weye STEVE ulikuwa bonge la CHANGAMOTO na ni bonge la CHANGAMOTO bado

that one person can be an inspiration to many
…you STEVE you were a huge inspiration and still are

Moses says, “R.I.P Steve Jobs, you will be missed”:

Steve Jobs was without a doubt one of the Fathers of modern technology as we know it – a true Titan of all things digital. He defined and redefined everything from personal computers to mobile phones as well as movies and more recently tablets. He drove the vision of products and services that were quite simply “magical” – we would never have appreciated the art of technology that he brought to life through his well-known and unrelenting drive for perfection in all he did. The world would not be what it is today we’re it not for Steve Jobs.

One of Steve Jobs’ famous “closing” statements when recruiting new team members to Apple was to ask them if they wanted to “put a dent on the universe” by working for him. Indeed, Steve Jobs made many many dents in the technology universe, as we know it. R.I.P Steve Jobs, you will be missed.

EK13 Photography desktop screen shots of the London Regent Street Flagship Store. Image courtesy of EK13 Photography.

Kanyana's chooses best Steve Jobs quote:

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Open Mic writes a “cheesy tribute”:

So, Apple Inc. have just announced Steve Jobs' demise after and amazing career that brought us iPods and every i-Thing we can think of. Wangari Maathai, our very own Nobel Laureate, activist, environmental champion and perhaps our best prototype of positive feminism is set to be cremated soon. Here goes a cheesy tribute:

Its an adage: An apple a day, or so they say
But what becomes of the apple trees on that day
The gardener's away and won't ever return again
Another adage: Where there's trees, there's rain
An apple a day, but not today, not today
A torrent of rain, but never again, never again

The day the designer died:

No one embodies the three things we strive for at Appfrica than the man the world lost today. Design. Leadership. Vision. We salute you, Mr. Steve Jobs. Best wishes from me, Jon, and our colleagues and friends in Uganda.

Mr Cape Town looks forward to paying respect to Steve Jobs by getting his hands on Tweetdeck for iPhone:

Running social media accounts for brands is something which requires having access to these accounts on-the-move. The best thing for this is @Tweetdeck for iPhone and I am looking forward to paying respect to Steve by finally getting my hands on when when my upgrade is due in a few months!

Finally, a poem for Steve Jobs from Nana Acquah:

Here, when The Empty dies
We cry a little. Just a little.
And then we drink, drum, dance
And recount their great deeds
So the living will not forget.

The common die with all or most
Of their dreams still in them.
They die full. Losers. Cowards.
Procrastinators. Full of excuses.
We don’t even notice when they go.
But you, you died empty: The way
The great do.

And may your soul rest in peace.
(For Steve Jobs, because he truly lived).

Ada Lovelace Day: Inspirational Women in Action

Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was an English female writer and mathematician, widely held to have been the first computer programmer.

Our tribute for Ada Lovelace Day goes to women who are constantly working to make our world a more transparent and fair place; brave social leaders denouncing corruption while providing tools and directing campaigns who are increasing our awareness and uniting us to act for change.

'One Laptop Per Child' project. Image by Flickr user venkylinux (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

'One Laptop Per Child' project. Image by Flickr user venkylinux (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

As we have done in the past, this year we are including smart women in the intersection between technology and social change who are a central presence in projects promoting a more accountable and transparent society.

Our tributes

Fernanda Viegas (@viegasf) is on the list of the top 100 more influential Brazilians. She is a computational designer whose work focuses on the social, collaborative, and artistic aspects of information visualization.

Viegas is a co-leader, with Martin Wattenberg, of Google's ‘Big Picture' data visualization group in Cambridge, MA. She is also one of the great minds behind public visualization platform Many Eyes, an experiment in open, public data visualization and analysis. In this video you can see her talk in TedX Sao Paulo:

Hok Kakada from Cambodia is creating a software program that will help Cambodian hospitals store data more accurately, allowing for better treatment. All her work is based on Open Source software. She challenged the difficulties girls face in her country and obtained a master degree in Japan.

Linda Kamau (@lkamau) is one of the coders behind the well known Ushahidi initiative. She is a software developer based in Kenya with a degree in Business Information Technology. Kamau develops both web and mobile applications and is contributing to change across continents, from election monitoring to corruption mapping.

Brenda Burell is the technical mind behind the Freedom Fone Project, a voice database where users can access news and public-interest information via land, mobile or Internet phones. Previously she directed the Kubatana initiative in Zimbabwe.

Camila Bustamante (@cabude), from Peru, is working on the design front, on design strategies for participatory processes mainly related to urban mobility, public space and new media. In 2010 Camila iniciated Todos somos dateros (”We are all data providers”), a participatory mechanism for sustainable urban mobility in Lima.

Working from the UK-based Open Knowledge Foundation, Kat Braybrooke @kat_braybrooke is a front-end web developer and Lucy Chambers (@lucyfedia) is in the process of learning how to code. They are involved in the organization of the world's biggest open government event, the Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw.

Kristin Antin (@kjantin) from the United States is participating in the design and organization of New Tactics in Human Rights, a technical on-line platform providing resources to human rights advocates that offer innovative tactical solutions for confronting specific local challenges, using technology.

Stephanie Hankey is the co-founder of Tactical Technology Collective, a small non-governmental organization dedicated to advance the skills, tools and techniques of rights advocates, empowering them to use information and communications as a critical asset in helping marginalised communities understand and effect progressive social, environmental and political change.

Daniela Silva (@danielabsilva) from Brazil is the founder of Sfera Brazil and Transparencia Hacker a community of over 800 designers, developers, coders and even government officers developing huge projects together to promote transparency and accountability.

These are some examples of brilliant women who are not afraid of the mouse, the screen, or the complexities of coding. They are inspiring others by doing amazing projects, all of them contributing to social change.

If you have an example in mind today, we invite you to write about them, to describe the amazing women working in technology you know; women who are an example and inspiration for girls in the generations to come as Ada Lovelace, more than hundred years ago, was for many others. Share your stories and inspire others!

Brazil: Mega No to Surveillance Wins FRIDA Award

The movement Mega No to Surveillance [pt], a Brazilian watchdog of online censorship, has won the FRIDA International Award in the category “Freedoms”. This joint initiative of Latin American Network Information Center, International Development Research Centre and Internet Society, rewards digital innovation and research initiatives that have made the Internet catalyze change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Slovakia: New Draft Law Threatens Internet Freedom

The Slovak Ministry of Finance has published a draft law [sk] that would allow blocking web servers that provide online gambling without a Slovak license. Internet providers would have to block web sites from a list updated twice a month - not by the court, but by the Tax Office.

Against this idea are, among others, the non-governmental Society for Open Information Technologies (SOIT) [sk] and the Slovak IT Association [sk]. SOIT warns that this way Facebook should also be blocked completely, because it allows users to play online roulette and poker.

According to SOIT consumer protection, crime prevention or reduction of tax burden are not sufficient arguments for establishing of Internet censorship: “We believe that the promotion of purely economic interests at the expense of personal freedoms of citizens is particularly dangerous and unconstitutional.”

Their online petition [sk] has been signed by thousands of citizens. Later, the Ministry of Finance asked [sk] the European Commission for their opinion.

Below are some comments from a discussion at SME.sk.

mrf:

this should be … immediately taken to the Constitutional Court … because if it starts, […] we will end up with just the [web] pages of the Ministry of Finance :-(

Blur(rr)e(d) vision:

This whole idea is sick. What if I earn money and go to Las Vegas and spend it all there? Will the Minister prevent me from doing this?

yep, me again:

when we start blocking some selected entrepreneurs and companies … that are based in the EU, then we say that we want to be in the free-trade club only if it is useful to us … and that is already not free trade.

Marty:

Just as I can order goods from a German e-shop, or let a licensed German architect design my house, I can freely bet through a British online casino.

Peter Šoltés:

If the Minister was serious in that he wants to increase the intake into the state budget, he would first eliminate Tipos [a 100% state-owned company] monopoly on online poker and online casino.

kohutisko:

And next they will block Amazon, because a local company has higher prices, and we will search using Zoznam.sk only because Google will be blocked too. Not to mention the fact that Wikipedia will be blocked in all language versions because of our cobweb-filled libraries!

Vilsa:

we will start with gambling and end up like in China … because the state will not release its claws when it can extend its scope and power.

risiak:

And speaking of morality, does he think that the same services, just provided by Slovak companies, will be moral?

refuge:

What's interesting is that they never propose to proceed in the opposite direction - somewhere else they have better conditions, so let's change the conditions in our country.

corr:

A typical political solution - hardly feasible, its effectiveness is problematic and it probably also violates international treaties … So it seems the problem will stay unsolved … but it will trigger other, more serious problems. This approach - “we do not know how to tax it, so we will disable it” - is incredible and shows that the author of this solution has a problem with elementary understanding of how the world behaves in the 21st century.

salam00n:

I would like to hear/read the Minister's opinion on how a person threatens public morality when he is playing PC online gambling game at home?

Pomaranc77:

disable something on the Internet? lol :-)))

MaRmAR:

Mr. Minister, please concern yourself with the real problems and needs of Slovakia and its people. Leave such nonsense to others who understand that blocking or censoring the internet is virtually impossible (if you do not want to be a second China) and incorrect, if not unconstitutional.

nieze:

We all are stupid, incapable of thinking for ourselves, making decisions and acting independently. Therefore, we need clever, omnipotent, the most beautiful, the best, infallible politicians who will tell us that when we put our hand into the fire it will burn, because we stupid idiots can't figure it out by ourselves.

pavuk29:

What nonsense. Do they want to draw boundaries on the net?

Thumbnail image of Slovakian flag by Flickr user HatM (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

October 06 2011

Caribbean: Remembering the Genius of Steve Jobs

News of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' death yesterday made techies everywhere pause, reflect, and maybe treat their Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads with more than the usual reverence. The death of this visionary leader, who helped transform not only the computing industry, but also the way in which consumers experienced digital media and communications, has left a gaping hole in the world of technology. Caribbean bloggers took the opportunity to say “thank you” and talk about the role that Jobs - and the company he helped revolutionize - played in their lives.

Jamaican diaspora litblogger Geoffrey Philp reminisced about his first Apple IIe:

Back then, the choices were limited to clunky PCs with Microsoft technology, Commodores, and Ataris. I chose the IIe because it felt right. It was user friendly and I didn't have to remember complex codes for commands, as if I was some postgraduate math major. All I had to do was point, click, and begin.

It was that easy. Steve Jobs, it seemed, had created a computer just for me. Or that was how it felt.

He went on to explain how that one little computer did so much more than make his professional life easier:

At the heart of Apple products is the desire to communicate and to make our sensory lives as rich and layered as possible. And the complex engineering is always expressed in elegant, user-friendly devices that follow the intuitive contours of our minds. Steve Jobs has transformed the inhuman integers of 0s and 1s into a humane language that all of us can understand.

This has practical implications in our world. If we stopped thinking about “just the numbers” and more about what they meant–the values– then we would see the human faces behind our 9% unemployment rate: brothers and sisters who have are looking for work so that they can feed their families, keep a roof over their heads, and maintain their dignity.

Steve Jobs wanted us to think about our world and the ways that we can make it a better through our individual experience.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. You have expanded the possibilities of my life and the lives of my children.

One Love.

At Translating Cuba, a site that regularly posts English translations of Cuban blogs, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo paid tribute to the late Apple chairman in a post entitled “jobsless”, noting:

The day-to-day operation of TranslatingCuba.com and HemosOido.com is accomplished on an iMac and a Macbook.

Babalu blog also weighed in:

There are very few people outside of my family that I can say have had a positive effect on me. One man and his singular vision revolutionized not one but several industries. His technological vision was such that from kernels of ideas he created the first personal computer, created a computer with a graphical user interface, practically invented the digital publishing industry along with Adobe and Aldus, changed the way we listen to music, buy it, interact with it. And, he gave us the best damn smartphone ever developed. I am sitting here, writing this on one iteration of that computer, my iMac, and next to it are my iPhone, my Apple router, my iPad, and my iPod. They just work. Thanks to Steve.

The post continued:

Jobs was a genius, no doubt, but his kind of genius is not the E=MC2 kind; his is the evolutionary kind whose life's work, when taken in toto, amounts to a greatness few ever achieve, a greatness that touches so many lives with positive energy and delight. My generation has just lost its luminary.

From the Dominican Republic, Bracuta said:

You changed the way we worked, played games, listened to music and spoke on the phone. You changed our world in so many ways it is impossible to describe. You believed in your dreams and made us dream with you.

In one phrase, you made us think different.

Godspeed, Steve.

Weblog Bahamas‘ Rick Lowe also commented:

You have left an indelible mark on this world and made it better for millions of us.

Lower down the Caribbean archipelago, in Trinidad and Tobago, coffeewallah noted:

This blog, since inception has always been written on an Apple computer, starting with a Powerbook and then moving to a succession on MacBook Pro's. Every computer I have ever owned has been a Mac, somehow, I've never been a PC type of girl.

Whether you liked him or not, used his products etc, we have lost a visionary make no mistake. Since the second coming of Jobs at Apple the company has consistently pushed the envelope to create products that capture the imagination and by so doing, changed the face of world.

Apple has inspired many to continue to reach, to up their game, Tim Cook has large shoes to fill. And in truth, Apple may continue on brilliantly, but it will never be the same.

Trinbagonian diaspora techie and longtime Mac genius in his own right, CunningLinguist added:

Steve Jobs officially became my boss in May 2005 and in the last six years, from part-time on the sales floor to full time tech support, I’ve participated in the launch of four iPhones, two iPads, three operating systems, the transition from PowerPC to Intel. I’ve introduced people to devices that have changed their lives, I’ve helped them get back on track when their favorite device doesn’t quite do what they expected it to and showed them how make the computer they’ve had last just a little bit longer.

Thank you Steve Jobs, for giving me and tens of thousands of retail employees the power to help people in whatever way we could. You didn’t hire each of us individually but your vision created the space for us to exist and I’m honored to have had you as my fearless leader.

Eloquent words from Caribbean netizens whose lives - real and virtual - were transformed by Steve Jobs and his innovative, user-friendly products - yet, Trini Like Salt managed to sum up the feelings of the regional blogosphere in a post that contained nothing more than a headline. Jobs would probably have loved the simplicity of it:
iSad

Iran:In the memory of Steve Jobs

Alireza Shirazi, head of a leading blog provider, remembered Steve Jobs as a creative human being.

Bolivia: Is Twitter Good for Democracy?

Roberto Laserna [es] blogs about the use of Twitter in Bolivia and argues that Twitter “has enormous potential to facilitate democracy and direct personal contact between citizens and the authorities, especially if authorities manage their own accounts and interact actively and honestly with citizens.”

Uruguay: Concerns About Collecting Census Data Online

The blog Uruguay: click para actualizar [es] (”click to refresh”) lays out several concerns about a website with an online questionnaire that closely resembles the official census survey. The people behind the website say they want to show that census data could be collected online rather than door-to-door.

Jordan: Prince Hassan Joins Twitter!

Jordan's Prince Hassan joins Twitter, much to the delight of many Jordanian tweeps. He is the son of the late King Talal and Queen Zein al-Sharaf and brother of the late King Hussein and uncle of the present King Abdullah II.

The Jordanian royal, who was Crown Prince from 1965 to 1999, is the third member of the royal family to go on Twitter. The other high profile relatives as Queen Noor Al Hussein, King Hussein's widow, and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, King Abdullah's wife.

Prince Hassan was popular among Jordanian tweeps, who had taken to tweeting his appearances on television and whenever he speaks in public. Now he makes the plunge and joins the Jordanian Twitterati.

akrumidrees tweets the reasons why he is happy Prince Hassan has joined Twitter:

لأنك ترى رجلا يستحق الإحترام يعي ما يقول ويواكب روح العصر ونهجه المعرفي تركة للأردن بأكمله

Because you see a man who deserves respect; he realises what he is talking about and is tune with the spirit of this era and knowledge. He is an asset to Jordan.

Ahead of his appearance on AmmanTT (Amman Tech Tuesdays) where the Prince was scheduled to give a session about “Continuity, Innovation and Change: Building a Knowledge Economy,” he created his Twitter account (@HRHPrinceHassan), which attracted hundreds of followers within hours.

Prince Hassan's official Twitter account

The prince announced on his official Facebook page that he's entering the world of Twitter:

So after hearing and reading a lot about twitter, i was prevailed upon to open an account… please bear with me: https://twitter.com/#!/HRHPrinceHassan @HRHPrinceHassan

When followed by Prince Hassan, YazAmro tweeted:

This is the greatest email I ever received: (HRH Prince El Hassan (@HRHPrinceHassan) is now following you on Twitter!) may God bless you YRH.

wara23inab was also happy, she tweeted:

Heartfelt welcome to your Highness @HRHPrinceHassan, so delighted to have the chance to interact with you in this virtual yet intimate space.

RHammouri said:

it is great to be able to read your thoughts here your highness, this gives a better meaning for twitter. thank you sir.

Colombia: First National Evacuation Simulation

On the morning of October 5, Colombia carried out a national evacuation simulation exercise [es], in which 14 cities participated. The idea was to simulate an emergency (an earthquake) and build awareness of the steps people should assume in the event of an actual emergency.

Those in charge of the event, which was scheduled by the national government to start at 11:00am, turned to the media and a website [es] to invite Colombians to take part in the exercise. As such, state institutions, educational establishments and a number of private companies agreed to participate in this simulation, which was the first on a national level, but the third in the city capital, Bogotá [es]. The event's official site published [es]:

El Simulacro de Evacuación ha permitido posicionar a Bogotá y al país en general como líderes en el tema de prevención y preparación para afrontar emergencias en América Latina. Este año se ha hecho especial énfasis en el sector educativo, en el cual ya confirmaron su participación 214 planteles educativos, tanto privados como públicos, de toda la ciudad.

The Evacuation Simulation has allowed Bogotá, and the country in general, to position themselves as leaders in the area of prevention and preparation for overcoming emergencies in Latin America. This year, special emphasis has been placed on the education sector, in which 214 educational establishments in the entire city, both private and public, have confirmed their participation.

Logo oficial del Simulacro de evacuación Nacional

Social networks did their part and people spoke about the event with quite a sense of humor.

Some also placed a political spin on it. Carlos Hernánez (@creacionhumana) said that it was a smokescreen so that people would not discuss the passage of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Colombia.

Lo del #simulacro era para distraernos de la aprobación del TLC?

Was the #simulation done to distract us from the passage of the FTC?

Mal_nacida (@JelizMon) took advantage of the situation and spoke about the flaws in the Colombian health system's attention to emergencies:

Por que no mejor un #simulacro de atender bien en las URGENCIAS de los hospitales

Why not do a better #simulation and pay more attention to the EMERGENCIES in the hospitals

Nonetheless, Twitter users like Marisol Gutierrez (@marysolga) made light of the event and wrote:

charlé, reí, caminé, busqué a mi grupo, dije presente y volví a trabajar, estaba #simulacro. Jaja será que en un terremoto se pasa tan bueno?

I chatted, I laughed, I walked, I looked for my group, said I was present and went back to work. That was the #simulation. Haha, are real earthquakes so much fun?

There were also varying opinions that demonstrated the fact that the objective of the event was not reached.

José David Hidalgo (@josedavidalejo) wrote:

El #Simulacro De Mi Colegio Fue Muy Malooo :/

The #Simulation At My High School Was Really Bad :/

Geovanna Valencia (@Geovannella) pointed out that during a real emergency, no one stays calm:

#simulacro es una perdedera de tiempo, a la hora de una emergencia NADIE piensa, ni conserva la calma!

#simulation is a waste of time, at the moment of an emergency NO ONE thinks, nor remains calm!

Finally some, like Sebastián Álvarez (@SebasAlvarez6), didn't notice a simulation was going on:

Yo ni me di cuenta del #simulacro!

I did not even realize the #simulation was happening!

You can read more reactions under the hashtag #simulacro.

Puerto Rico: Internet Leadership

Dondequiera says that “there is no way that Puerto Rico will ever have a chance of building an Internet startup community if we don't enjoy the same freedoms and access that are granted to other leaders on the Internet”, adding: “This isn't about status, it's about opportunity.”

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