Reading list for November 2014

After some months break here is a new reading list with some pointers harvested between June and November 2014.

  • In “Nine Lessons for Bridging the Gap between Cities and Citizens” the world bank shares 9 lessons about open governance learnt from their Open Government and Citizen Engagement programs. Their insights go about changing the balance between citizens and governance, foster engagement and trust, and not considering technology as a transformational tool in itself. Making things change is a socio-political process that requires reform-minded policy-makers and society supported by technology.
  • There is on an interesting blog about using Scratch together with an Arduino board.  An interesting combination linking easy coding to the physical world in order to let young hackers create some nice things.
  • SBC4D realised a study over “Open Data in Developing Countries: State of the Art” for the Partnership for Open Data. Their report shows a broad adoption of Open Data world-wide though there seems to be little about relating local OD initiatives with global ones and also using the OD for development purposes. A map of all the open data actors could be helpful here to make it easier for someone to connect with other people having sought  data or competencies.
  • Next to their popular A and B boards, Raspberry just push an A+ and B+. There two new boards are not really new models but rather perfected version of their non-plus alternatives. They come with smaller form factors and lower power consumption. The A+ is cheaper than the A with an announced price of $ 20.
  • Speaking of RPi, this very interesting blog contains documentation about interfacing with cellular networks and the popular open source PBX Asterisk. The outcome, coined out as “RasPBX”, can be used to implement services ranging from voice answering machines to VoIP bridges.
  • A report from Sandvine documents the usage made of Internet in Africa. This short blog post summarises some of the insights: a focus on text messaging services on mobile networks (with Whatsapp as a winning app) and video viewing on land-line networks (with Youtube taking the lead on bandwidth usage).
  • A short article, in French, on the journal “Le Monde” points out that Africa is about to undergo a demographic transition. This is indicated as a unique opportunity to invest into education in order to control natality and boost the economy. Many countries have done that in the past but with 60 millions of young people deprived from education world wide this remains as a challenge.
  • The W3C has just started working on Web payments with Stéphane Boyera in the driving seat. There is an interesting discussion over the goals of the working group in the following blog post. The goal of the group is to standardise the way payments are done on the Web. It is charted until September 2017.

I am a researcher mainly interested in : architectures for publishing, consuming and preserving Linked Open Data in low-resource contexts; complex systems; education; data visualisation; video games

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