Magnus on Thu, 4 Sep 2003 00:17:06 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Sept. 3rd Forum: Bridging the Digital Divide

On Tuesday, August 26, 2003, at 07:45 PM, M.Simons wrote:

      Philadelphia Cares invites advocates, volunteers, service
      providers and policy makers to join our forum on bridging the
      digital divide.
      Join an interactive catalyst groupexploring the most pressing
      issues facing people without access to technology.  We will
      brainstorm and develop collaborative plans for action.

I ended up participating in this and there was a pretty diverse panel representing local business executives, city government, non-profit folks, and techies.

Unfortunately time ran out before we could get into much detail about solutions. Someone did bring up that having to upgrade Windows every couple of years was prohibitively expensive for those who wanted to work within the law. It was suggested (and not even by me) that Open Source Software of all sorts (not just Linux) could do a lot to help bridge the digital divide. I observed lots of nodding over that and was surprised to see how familiar the panel seemed to be (at a high level anyway) with the advantages of OSS.

I'm unsure at this time of anything specifically that PLUG members could do to get involved just yet based on what came out of this initial catalyst group. There was definitely broad interest in using technology to help non-profit orgs in the region to better coordinate efforts between one another, and to communicate bi-directionally with the community that they serve. There was also a lot of enthusiasm for increasing the accessibility of technology, including internet access (last mile solutions, local internet co-ops, etc.) and solving some of the challenges facing public computer labs.

If any wish list items come up that could be addressed well by OSS I'll be sure to post to the PLUG list.


C. Magnus Hedemark
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

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