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Marshall's Web Tool Blog

Training and Consulting in New Tools for Effective Web Use

This site is an archive of posts that I hope you will find useful. Please visit my new site at Marshallk.com.

Cybercafes and Public Internet in India and Elsewhere

I get very excited about working with clients who do not have internet access at home but who use public computers. Be it at the local university, a cybercafe, or other public resources - just because you don't have your own computer doesn't mean you can't use the internet to do exciting things! In fact, as a new client and I were discussing this morning, there's no reason not to jump from relative computer non-use straight to Web 2.o! It's designed to be easy to use, so why make the clunky old web your computer use learning grounds?

And though such a lack of direct access to resources via private ownership might be looked down upon in some circles, even the elite are growing increasingly independent from their own hard drives and relying instead on data storage and bandwidth of the web itself. John Udell, the lead blogger for InfoWorld Magazine, for example says that even the fanciest new features of the Mac Tiger Operating System leave him unimpressed compared to what web tools were already doing for him.

Today I came across an interesting summary of a study about the use of cybercafes in India on the wonderful blog Conversations With Dina. Turns out that though we read more in the popular US press about cybercafes being used by terrorists (!) than anything else, it is a very important part of popular access to the internet around the world, especially by people outside of the upper classes. No surprises there, really, but it's an interesting study to look at for a more in-depth discussion of cybercafes' importance around the world.

Dina Mehta is an India consultant who writes for WorldChanging (pro-environment activisty type site), for SkypeJournal (group blog about Skype internet telephone, home of the free long distance phone call and something I wrote about here - not to be confused with the official Skype blog), for Global Knowledge Review (see their sample issue, I love this publication!) and the still very active Tsunami Help Blog (a great example of new web tools being put to good use.) Wow! What a busy person doing awesome things!

I know I've subscribed to Dina's RSS feed (definition) and am excited to read what she writes in the coming months.

Related: A great publication about getting connectivity and information technology resources into the hands of people on the margins of power is The Journal of Community Informatics. It's fantastic for academic style articles about these subjects.

See also my Furl archive for topic "International"


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