(delighted man answers door to burly menacing man with enormous sledgehammer, and calls inside) Honey, it's the entertainment industry! They're here to fix our Internet!

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Saving the world is serious fun at Simon Fraser University

Be a part of the conversation - how is social media changing the way we witness the world?

I'm happy to announce that I'll be speaking at Simon Fraser University's Institute for the Humanities conference this Friday, Oct 16 at Harbour Centre. And you're invited!

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Good enough to eat

The 10 ingredients that make a great wifi café

The bare necessities

Some people prowl the earth in search of the world's greatest Don Giovanni; others look for the finest shoemaker, the best bookstore, the ideal glass of Pinot Noir. I put my energy where it counts: the search for the perfect wifi café. While I've yet to find my Holy 802.11b-enabled Grail, i have pinpointed what makes for the perfect, laptop-friendly coffee spot. (And in a separate post, I've identified the best Vancouver wifi cafés and restaurants.)

Here's my list of criteria:

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No time to load fancy web graphics? Surf with loband

When broadband isn't available, loband comes to the rescue

Sometimes the niftiest tools are the ones that have been around for the longest time.

I just came across Aptivate's loband, a wonderfully handy web service that's been around since 2004. Loband lets you see highly-simplified versions of web pages, stripping out the fancy formatting and hefty graphics that can slow down users who don't have broadband Internet connections - mobile users, for instance, or people in developing countries.

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David Plouffe on how technology+people helped elect Obama

This morning at Convergence 09, Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe took the stage. His message: technology helped connect people in a way that's never happened before, to elect a candidate who might never have been able to win before.

Here are my notes from the session.Notes from David Plouffe keynote, #1

Time well spent

Time well spentA pie chart depicting the information on the Internet. While most of it is serious, meaningful stuff, a tiny slice shows 'YouTube videos of people hurting themselves in amusing ways'. According to the chart, that's also what most people actually watch.

Those were the days

Those were the daysFamily at a dinner table, arguing about whether it was a good idea to get rid of the Internet

The sniff test

The sniff test

(one dog at a laptop computer, speaking to another dog) On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. But they can smell a marketer from a mile away.

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Turned off by bad news? Try our special Olympic-friendly Internet!

OneWebDay makes issue of Net Neutrality front and center

I'm delighted to be writing this post as a OneWebDay ambassador. OneWebDay, which takes place on September 22, is a global day to celebrate the Internet, and the values that make the Internet such an essential part of our society. This year OneWebDay is paying particular tribute to the Internet's role in supporting democratic participation -- a role that is made possible by the Internet's character as an open, global and participatory medium.

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Messages to Burma: with the Internet censored, radio rears its head

The brutal crackdown in Burma is following a familiar pattern, including the severing of lines of communication with the outside world – particularly two very modern technologies: mobile phones and the Internet.

Into that information vacuum steps a technology whose time I'd honestly thought may have come and gone: shortwave radio.

Radio Netherlands (a station I listened to religiously when I was a teenage shortwave radio geek) is going far beyond the boundaries you usually associate with a state-owned broadcaster, and using their shortwave service to breach the Burmese border with messages of support from the outside world:

Our frequencies, transmitted from Irkutsk in Siberia, Madagascar and other sites, have not been jammed and for three hours a day we offer an alternative to the military junta's propaganda. Internet may be down but via Short Wave we can punch a hole in the information stranglehold.
Pro-democracy dissidents are having their say and we've broadcast the comments of world leaders telling the military junta to stop its attacks.

You can have your say too

Let us know what you think of the push for democracy as people in Myanmar/Burma confront the military dictators.

We'll publish your comments here on our Internet page. Please include your phone number too so we can call you back to record your comments as we prepare a special 'Shout via Short Wave' programme.

It warms my heart to see this happening... partly because of the impact of this initiative and the hope it will bring to a country that needs it so badly, and partly because of what it says about technology and communication.

The Internet is famed for its ability to route around obstacles, accidental or deliberate. But that capacity may be just as much an attribute of the human values of compassion and solidarity. And it's good to remember that the expression "information wants to be free," which we usually think of purely in the context of the Internet, applies much more broadly. 

Social Signal on...

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Work Smarter with Evernote

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