Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Tuesday, December 10, 2002day link 

 Mobile Phone Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh
picture From Smart Mobs: BBC reports on the way microloans for running mobile phone services have changed the lives of low-income women in Bangladesh. Another sign that the mobile telephone is reaching people who have never participated in the PC or Internet revolutions. Watch for huge changes as even the least expensive mobile phones morph into miniature Internet terminals with significant onboard computing power.
Hidden at the back of a pharmacy in rural Bangladesh, its rickety shelves piled high with medicines and condoms, is a thriving mobile phone business. The only sign of any kind of technology is a 20-metre bamboo pole, topped with what looks like a television aerial.

But this is the workplace of Jamirun Nesa, one of 50,000 Bangladeshi women making a living as Grameen phone ladies, as they are known.

Villagers flock to her phone booth in the region of Gazipur, two hours from the capital Dhaka, to use a mobile to call relatives, friends or business associates, paying for calls by the minute.

Life-changing

Grameen phone ladies provide villagers with a vital link to services such as hospitals and to relatives both at home and abroad, in a country with the lowest number of phones in South Asia.

The scheme was set up by one of Bangladesh's largest non-government organisations, the Grameen Bank. It offers women low-cost loans to set up a mobile phone exchange in villages where there are few if any landlines.

"I started the business as there was no other phone nearby," said Jamirun. "I saw it as a good business opportunity."

The mobile has literally changed her life.

"I get more respect now," she says. "Before people in the village wouldn't talk to me but they do now. "I also have more respect from my husband and family."

[ | 2002-12-10 16:08 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Search Google before you commit suicide
From Cory Doctorow: More from Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, speaking at Supernova:
"People who are thinking about committing suicide search Google for 'suicide.' Depending on what they find, they may or may not kill themselves. There are businesses that depend on the kind of results that searchers get from Google, but that's very secondary compared to searches like 'suicide.'"
What they would get is this. Which is good. But is that because these were automatically selected as the most authoritative references on suicide, or did Google cheat a little and manually select these as the best to show? What would happen if the top page happened to be a collection of grisly pictures of people who killed themselves in spectacular ways?
[ | 2002-12-10 16:47 | 21 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 You can't shut up a network
SmartMobs on Dan Gillmor talking about the future of journalism, and the power of networks:

"The second event Dan cited was the occasion last summer at Esther Dyson's PC Forum, held in Arizona, where Joe Nacchio, CEO of Qwest was, in Dan's words, "whining about how hard it was to run a telephone company these days." Dan blogged this while he was listening, and immediately got email from a reader in Florida who sent him a link disclosing that Nachio had sold $300 million of stock in the company he was helping to kill. Dan blogged it, and another participant in the Forum, Doc Searls, who was contemporaneously blogging the event, took Nachio to task for it, while Nachio was still standing at the podium. Here is Doc's version."
[ | 2002-12-10 17:33 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Wallpaper Cars
picture I'm going to exercise my creative muscles by some lateral thinking every day. A good source of inspiration is the sometimes strange things that people search for in search engines that takes them to my page here. Somebody searched for "wallpaper concept cars". OK, if I try to be rational, they were probably just looking for a picture with concept cars to put on their computer's desktop. But wallpaper cars sounds much more intriguing as a new concept.

So, eh, you get these rolls. Dip them in replication glue. Wrap them around a shape you like, like a Ferrari you see standing on the street, while nobody's looking. The strip shrinkwraps and hardens, and you zip it off, and put wheels on it. Hm, maybe that's not such a great idea. So, then, how about cars made in strips, that slightly overlay each other. Or road lanes, that you roll out strip by strip, and flatten with a roller. Hm, I'll keep trying.
[ | 2002-12-10 19:52 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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