Posts filed under ‘telecommunications’

Adacamp

I wrote this article about my Adacamp experience for RiAus when I worked there.

Recently I was honoured to attend the first-ever AdaCamp, an ‘unconference’ for women in open technology, hosted by The Ada Initiative at the CERES Community Environment Park in Melbourne.  I was attending this during my holidays with no particular affiliation; however it became evident throughout the day that the conference had relevance to my role at RiAus in many ways.

This conference preceded linux.conf.au, an open technology conference, but was specifically for women. Why? For reasons the Ada Initiative was set up to address. Women are underrepresented in the technology industry – which is why RiAus has hosted activities such as the WIT luncheon late last year. Most starkly, women make up less than 2% ofparticipants in open source projects. Given that RiAus is about bringing science (including computer science) to people and people to science, this is an issue of concern. Open philosophies align well with the RiAus raison d’être, as they allow people of all types and backgrounds to benefit from the wonders of science. Last year I presented on a panel at Flinders University library during open access week. Whether it’s open access to research or open source technology there are shared principles — which was the theme of one of the AdaCamp sessions, captured here.

One of the first sessions at AdaCamp was dedicated to the impostor syndrome, which afflicts women in science as much as women in open technology (everybody in the session, including myself, identified with this). I added to that wiki a feature in Nature about the impostor syndrome in women scientists. Speaking of which, women are underrepresented as editors of Wikipedia. Have you ever used Wikipedia? Have you ever contributed to it? I had, but it never occurred to me to identify as an editor until I heard that women were underrepresented – and there’s a mailing list about that.

One of the best things about AdaCamp was meeting some amazing women from around Oceania and beyond who are using their passion to defy stereotypes of who participates in open projects. You can see a photo of us, and read blog posts from other participants, here. AdaCamp stood out for me from other conferences because everyone participated and seemed to really want to go beyond the conference and drive things out in the real world (thanks in part, I’m sure, to the ‘unconference’ format). I found it useful to identify potential speakers and presenters for future RiAus programs, and to get ideas for projects that could work in other organisations I’ve been involved with, such as Hackerspace Adelaide.

It also made me look at whether women are represented in technology projects RiAus is involved with, such as the upcoming 3D Printing workshop, which will indeed feature an exceptional woman in technology — Dr Genevieve Bell from Intel.

February 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

Media Issues

Today’s media is a growing and changing industry. Technology is developing and becoming more interactive, key players in the media have to make changes to keep up. Our taste for entertainment gives rise to debates about the quality of broadcasts and publications. Meanwhile discussions about freedom of the press continue, sparked by issues like celebrity privacy and freedom of information.

The information in this book comes from a wide range of sources including government reports and statistics, newspaper features, magazine articles, surveys and literature from lobby groups and charitable organisations.

You can read more about this book on the publisher’s website; you can buy it there, or on Amazon.

Editors: Cobi Smith and Sophie Crewdson
Publisher: Independence Educational Publishers
ISBN: 978 1 86168 408 0
Published: September 2007

December 21, 2007 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Careers in technology enterprise

Entrepreneurial women in technology in the East of England talk about their experiences.

This podcast is part of a series. You can listen to this episode, or read the transcript.

October 5, 2007 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

End of monopoly could mean better connectivity in west Africa

The Association of African Universities has called for African leaders to use the end of a monopoly on a submarine communications cable to provide cheaper Internet access for students.

The SAT-3 submarine communications cable — which runs from Europe down Africa’s west coast — is currently monopolised by a consortium of state-owned and private telecommunications providers in different countries, and pricing structures have been the subject of criticism.

That monopoly ends in June, which could open up internet access for west African nations.

Information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in African universities are suffering due to expensive, slow and limited connectivity, says Akilagpa Sawyerr, the executive secretary of the Ghana-based Association of African Universities (AAU).

“In our universities you’ve got 18,000 students and 1,000 teachers using the same amount of bandwidth as an American household,” said Sawyerr at a conference on African development at the UK-based Open University last week (16–17 May).

“The more people that use it, the slower it works. And because of the monopoly pricing in Africa, that university will pay 50 times more per unit than the American household.”

Sawyerr says the association needs to persuade governments that ICT programmes will not work without connectivity and effective networks between universities.

Rather than looking at expensive satellite Internet services as a solution, west African universities should be accessing the SAT-3 cable, he says.

“The monopolies run out in June and it is very important that before our governments renew their licenses we persuade them that these companies could give away a portion of their lines at a discounted rate to us,” Sawyerr said.

“We need those who are making the choices at higher levels to realise that it would cost them quite little and make a difference.”

He said the AAU is keen to work with other African organisations to lobby governments to this end.

Read the whole story on the Science and Development Network.

May 29, 2007 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Norfolk technology to eliminate world’s broadband black holes

A Norfolk company has developed an inexpensive wireless internet service, which has been linking coastal villages in the East of England and will now be distributed in the developing world.

Newman Concepts has partnered with the Commonwealth Business Council to supply the broadband technology to developing Commonwealth countries.

The company’s Managing Director Will Newman is heading to Johannesburg in coming months to organise distribution of the technology to Africa.

“The fact that technology developed here in West Norfolk will benefit those far less fortunate in the developing world is a humbling realisation,” said Will.

The Digital-Bridge Network technology uses a wireless backbone system, with users connecting at access points along the backbone using fixed aerials from their premises.

While in England and Europe the technology can eliminate black spots, much of the developing world is a black hole when it comes to internet access. Solar energy can be used to power the broadband access in developing areas, where schools and hospitals will be brought online.

“Giving access to schools and hospitals has the potential to help a lot of people in countries where most can’t afford their own computers,” Will said.

The technology will be distributed to more English black spots by another Norfolk business, Swains Voice and Data Plc, while the East of England Innovation Relay Centre is working to take the technology to mainland Europe.

“This is good news for us, for all those who have helped us, and for the people of West Norfolk,” Will said.

“It is just a first step and there remains a great deal to do. As we step down this path there will be many hi-tech jobs created here in Dersingham which will boost the local economy and provide a career path for more local people.”

Read this article on the Norfolk Network.

November 21, 2006 at 8:58 am Leave a comment


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