Welcome to this read-only archive of the Worknets wiki. Our content is in the Public Domain. We were active at this and previous wikis from November, 2004 to July, 2010. Please join us at the sites below where we are now active!Tweet
Andrius Kulikauskas Self Learners Network. Think Through Art with Andrius Kulikauskas. Directory of ways of figuring things out. Chicago Street Artist Blog. Video summary of knowledge of everything. Notes on Gamestorming. Living by Truth working group. Twitter: @selflearners Email: ms @ ms.lt
Edward Cherlin Earth Treasury
Kennedy Owino Nafsi Afrika Acrobats
Ben de Vries
Samwel Kongere Mendenyo
George Christian Jeyaraj
Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz
Christine Ax, Steve Bonzak, James Ferguson, Maria Agnese Giraudo, Marcin Jakubowski, Ed Jonas, Rick Nelson, Hannington Onyango, Linas Plankis, Proscoviour Vunyiwa
Andrius helped with the following websites:
Social Networking Kit2003
Proposed by Minciu Sodas, [email protected], www.ms.lt
1. Sector of interest and application category
Human rights. Collaboration.
We wish for activists to participate effectively in the global Internet society. No matter how robust or marginal our Internet access, we want to work alongside each other, both online and offline. We wish to present ourselves through our stories and patterns, find each other through our projects and initiatives, follow information on the same topics but in different volumes, target our help with a web of references, and integrate our efforts with a culture of open investigation.
Our strategy is to develop custom solutions for 125 individual activists with marginal access so that we learn of many effective ways they might participate in Internet society. We will build an open source engine for web services so as to deliver our best solutions in centralized ways, much as webmail is today. We will incubate social entrepreneurs to sell extensions and updates for our engine, and to leverage the business value of our global movement of activists, coders, investigators, organizers, so that our success is self-sustaining.
3. Detailed description of project
For many of us, the Internet is a global civil society where we find people of shared concerns and different outlooks, build global teams and personal relationships, learn about each other and work together to do good, have fun, make a living, be in touch.
Silicon Valley designs for abundant connectivity, with the promise that in short time, all of us will benefit. Yet the bandwidth requirements for full participation grow likewise! We have an expanding "middle class" of those who have Internet access, but only within limits.
We think of marginal Internet access as any limitations to the always-on, at-home, high-speed, fixed-rate, real-time, take-with-you, multi-channel, multimedia access that many of us take for granted. We wish to help individual activists make effective use of marginal access, which in many places means paying per minute, staying up after midnight, working from a center, or using a slow line.
Social Networking Kit
There is a need for design, now rather than later, that treats the people with the worst access as the most valuable people, the ones that we should work hardest to include. We will trouble ourselves to do so if we value working both independently and openly. Working independently, we tap into our self-direction. Working openly, sharing our work-in-progress, we mesh ourselves into the social fabric. Our goal is that, even with marginal connectivity, we might work alongside each other in some basic ways:
Hear us! Collection of stories and patterns. We make sense of life through our personal stories as real people. We need simple systems for documenting the wisdom of our experience. How might technology enthusiasts assist those who have something to say? Weblogs are an advance in simplicity, but we need to adapt such solutions for offline users who might work to collect stories and extract patterns.
Find us! Directory of initiatives. We inspire each other simply by expressing what we are trying to accomplish. We need ways to share information amongst existing directories, propagate the initiatives of offline activists, and work with such directories offline, so that we might be aware of each other.
Inform us! Radio of information. We can interact as a group when we have shared information. However, we have quite different tolerances for the amount of information that we are able to receive and digest. We should get the channels we want at the volumes we desire: one item per month, five per day, or twenty per hour. A system could pull new information from groups, blogs, wikis, websites, Google, and then prioritize it, with help from a human editor, so that no matter how many or few items we receive, at least we all get the ones deemed most important.
Help us! Web of references. Wealth is relationships, so we help ourselves by getting to know and integrating each other. Business networking venues such as Ryze and Ecademy are showing the way, and we should have offline tools for managing our participation. We should make good use of kind words for others, and frustrations with ourselves. Discussion groups provide enormous context for verifying who we are, and what we are getting done. In a distributed manner, we might document who helps who, and know how our help can reach the most distant people, and the many connections that we might support and strengthen.
Integrate us! Handbook for investigations. We may have the Internet, but we are not connected to each other until we ask questions that turn on our minds, turn up our hearts. Let us learn the art of organizing by investigating. What is a question that I don't know the answer to? What belief do I take as my hypothesis, and am willing to challenge? How can I investigate so that all might contribute thoughts? Our projects, reexpressed as investigations, can touch and involve many more people, the global community. We can create a handbook for investigations, with examples of self-learning, including templates that may be simple enough to become viral.
Our fundamental challenge is the human engineering so that our activists find such functionality useful, and their provision is self-sustaining. We seek to create not only a toolkit, but a culture for encouraging and integrating individual activists. We have no use for tools created in a vacuum. Instead, we need a movement for providing all manner of customizations, tweaks, scripts, workarounds, fixes, macros, routines to accommodate our projects and constraints.
If we are to design effectively, then we need to focus on what is most important, which is that our minds be alive, free, whole, comfortable, egoless, exact, eternal, as Christopher Alexander writes of architecture in "The Timeless Way of Building". It is not enough for our tools to be configurable. We need coders to optimize them for us, to make them work just right for our situation, in ways that are not standard. We need to think as hackers.
How can we afford to pair activists and coders? Only if we meet each other half-way. This is our fundamental design principle! We must rely on the people who work from internal motivation. How can we know who they are? Because they demonstrate that, despite life's demands, they are able to make time to "work for free" on their own projects that contribute to the public wealth. Consequently, we know that if we invest in them in ways that further their projects, they will share with us the very best they have.
We propose a fractal distribution of resources to catalyze a movement that might further sustain itself. Amongst those who "work for free", we will find 125 individuals with marginal Internet access who would like help to participate effectively in Internet society. We will also find 125 coders, 25 investigators, 5 organizers and 1 director to provide that help and build on it.
We will work openly, so that we might find even more (625 !) people who might help in small ways as volunteers. We will grant hundreds of attractive free gifts, such as licenses to TheBrain, an $80 value, provided by TheBrain Technologies, and also memberships to the Minciu Sodas laboratory, to people who help our coders and activists. Each of our coders will receive $160, which may be thought of as an attractive stipend for four weeks of part-time work for a student in Lithuania, Bosnia, Africa or Mexico. They will be asked to offer custom service to one individual, which may involve some training, administrating, data managing, interface design, coding, but also organizing. For example, a coder might serve a village elder by finding a high school whose students might record their stories, and improvising a system for getting them onto the Web. Coders are paid for their correspondence, in the public domain, that documents the solutions they are trying out.
Our investigators will serve as mentors for our coders. They may typically be software developers who agree to apply their talents and creations to serve those with marginal access. An investigator openly explores a question that they do not know the answer to, perhaps one related to user requirements. They help the coders think more deeply, and document solutions that might be more broadly applied. Each investigator works part-time for six to nine months and receives $800. Each of our organizers coordinates a cluster of investigators and coders, focusing on some geographical region, and responsible for one of the modules of our toolkit. We do not expect a software deliverable, but rather an open design process that builds on successes serving individuals, attracts new funding from individuals and enterprises, sparks projects that serve those with marginal access, shares resources and generates synergy with the other clusters, and makes clear what functionality might be offered more generally. Organizers receive $4,000 for four quarters of work.
Our director is responsible for focusing and projecting our vision so that we might all support each other through our efforts. This includes teaching the concept of "organizing by investigating", establishing a framework for working openly, checking that we actually help not hurt, and attracting related work from the business community. Our director will coordinate our resources and endeavors so that we make real progress for all of our modules, but develop at least two of them to the point where it is clear how they might work as Application Service Providers. Our director receives $20,000 for five quarters of work.
In this way, $100,000, with 20% reserved for administration (fees, authorship taxes, discretionary expenses for visas, books, etc.), jumpstarts a wide synergetic movement that addresses the problem of marginal access for many people in many lands for many reasons.
We intend to showcase the effectiveness of working openly so that private interests might benefit from funding public work. We have found that coders can work in much smaller increments (such as $200) when they work under public licenses. This opens up a market for custom programming under simple terms: pay in advance, and if you are not happy, then you can have all or part go to your favorite charity. Our movement also illustrates the value of team-building. For $2,000 we can provide a corporate thinker with a global team of 30 people (1 coach for working openly at $1,000, 5 instigators at $200, 25 innovators attracted by free prizes), and at the same time help innovators get corporate leads. Likewise, we will market to enterprises the opportunity to fund larger teams at $15,000 or $100,000.
We want a toolkit for working voluntarily, and so we invest in people who will work voluntarily to build it. More than just tools, we will gain a movement for investing in voluntary work, and best of all, a virtuous cycle of better tools, investment and work.
Incubator for Web Service Entrepreneurs
How might we make the best solutions widely available? Application Service Provider solutions suggest themselves as they make effective use of Internet connectivity. Imagine that we are uploading new and updated Wiki pages that we have worked on off-line. At some point we will connect to the Internet and send our pages along with instructions such as "add this page" and "update that page". These instructions may be executed through an API or by means of tricky workarounds. They will be vulnerable to fail, as they will depend on the particular Wiki, whose code and layout can change. It would be very helpful to have an ASP take care of these details in a unified way. This makes it simple to manage updates, fix bugs and expand functionality. In this way, the problem is broken down into two parts - a variety of simple off-line interfaces are built for generating data and instructions, and upon connection, a sophisticated ASP service executes the instructions and uploads and downloads the data.
If organized thoughtfully, this means that the user can work with a simplification of the Web. Instead of learning the intricacies of the different syntaxes of the wide variety of Wikis, they can simply work with a single Wiki syntax, and the ASP will handle the conversion. Likewise for posting to a blog, or moderating a discussion group, etc. By rethinking Web activity so that users with marginal access may participate, we are creating a framework of activity that may be executed by agents!
This also suggests a business model that builds on open standards and free universal service. A common open source core engine might be released regularly for free, say, every three months. ISPs and other hosting services could offer this to their customers, just as they offer free webmail. This would simplify the costs of distributing the functionality to a wide group of people. Some ISPs would be afraid this might reduce Internet usage. But others would think more strategically, that this would make the Internet useful to a much wider group of people who will grow to want better access and be able to afford it. (Note that there are ISPs in the developing world which offer local mirroring of requested sites, for example.) The ASP service will naturally break as things change. Those hosts who want to compete on this would be willing to pay for prompt updates. There are also many ways to vary and refine this business model.
The greatest challenge is finding an entrepreneur who might offer such a service of promptly updating and steadily improving the engine. Any entrepreneur who cares to serve this segment of the market is not primarily interested in money. A social entrepreneur will be attracted to offer such a technically involved service only if it fits nicely with their greater vision and values. This depends very much on the details of the service, the people they can serve and work with, and the evolution of their own vision. It is of key importance to incubate such entrepreneurs. And because there is so much for them to think about, it is sensible to assume that there will be several such entrepreneurs, so that we not rely on any single one.
We want our social entrepreneurs to feel they are stewards of the code base, the design fits with their business models, and they or their programmers are comfortable modifying and extending it. For this purpose it is best that the social entrepreneurs select the programmers who create the engine. Furthermore, not merely one programmer, but preferably several should have their hand in it, to make its mindset more explicitly shared.
Another pitfall that we face is that we can build a system that we love in theory but that nobody actually wants to use in practice. We want the functionality to serve the activists. Therefore we have our five cluster leaders of our fractal movement express the functionality that they want, and provide them each with a budget ($5,000) that they can dedicate to one of our social entrepreneurs, iterating as in Extreme Programming.
Finally, we need an overall plan, so that we all have a clear idea of what our system is in its basic functionality, and ways it might evolve. We will devote $10,000 for the coding of the core, and $10,000 for specifying the system and data formats, and managing the development.
Programmers will not receive final payment until they have documented their code. Our work in cycles will help us continuously test our engine and improve its developer's documentation. Minciu Sodas will devote $10,000 to polishing up the final engine, completing testing and developer's documentation. We will also organize an additional cluster for $15,000 consisting of 5 investigators and 25 coders with successful projects so they might help with testing and user's documentation. Finally, we budget $5,000 to help our social entrepreneurs make connections with prospective clients.
4. Description of technology involved
We are encouraged by the work of Andy Rabagliati and others in creating the Wizzy Digital Courier . Wizzy allows students at Eshowe Junior School in South Africa to write emails and create websites during the day, and then send them all out late at night, when the rates are fixed. Alternatively, outgoing material can be transferred to memory and delivered by bicycle to a neighboring school, and likewise with incoming material.
Our goal is to rethink this concept so that we might meet a wide variety of individual needs for robust participation. Our coders will create solutions that will necessarily be eclectic, making use of their favorite programming languages, and improvising by providing training, swapping hardware, scraping pages, calling APIs, creating databases, designing interfaces, writing scripts, installing software, organizing volunteers, asking for donations or permissions, corresponding with developers, sharing solutions.
We envision that for our ASP engine we will use Python to build a language for calling the instructions (like "spider a website", "send out mail"). Social entrepreneurs add functionality through modules written in the languages of their choice (Perl, PHP-MySQL, C, Java, etc.) and by creating a variety of simple clients for preparing the data formats and instructions. We will create a cross-platform engine, but our intent will be to run on Linux. Our engine will be open source, preferably public domain, and will allow proprietary modules and extensions. There will be an open data format (instructions plus data), based on Unicode and XML, building on email and RSS/Echo, that can be created by all kinds of clients (for example, a Microsoft Access application using the royalty free run-time engine). This architecture will be, in a sense, an interface for participation through the web, expressing all the kinds of things that you would like to do, so that it might be done asynchronously.
5. Description of user group, including expected location(s) and use scenarios
We look forward to serving all manner of activists who would like to make effective use of marginal Internet access. In particular, we will focus our efforts on four groups that have different kinds of marginal access.
Africa. Many places have absolutely no access, yet might exchange CDs by mail. OneVillage.Biz is pairing university students (humanist and technologist) to bring to their villages a computer with wifi Internet access, which is used as a shared resource.
The Balkans. The telecottage movement is creating bases of activity for social entrepreneurs, both managers and customers. We optimize the division of labor between home computers and the slow, pay-per-minute access at the telecottages.
The Tamil world. The Tamil people live in many lands under many conditions, as businessmen, refugees, servants and programmers. We encourage the spread of social and technical skills for leveraging the economic, cultural and educational potential.
Lithuania and Belarus. Various awkward ways of accessing the Internet are coming to the Lithuanian countryside: slow, expensive, after midnight. We organize a network for traveling self-learners, especially for free thinkers from Belarus.
6. Description of civil society application for project
Our open laboratory, Minciu Sodas, serves and organizes independent thinkers around the world. We bring together our individual projects around endeavors that foster our shared value of "caring about thinking".
Civil society organizations thrive through the individual activists, thinkers, organizers, investigators, self-learners who they include and encourage. Often, these individuals feel isolated, rejected, depressed, and they greatly appreciate the energy that they get from each other. Their activity gives life along the entire spectrum of human rights.
In Lithuania, we have organized 150 thinkers, making special efforts to reach out to the countryside in Dzukija, near Belarus. We helped villager Saulius Sakalas get Internet access through his mobile phone, and create a website for his countryside cabin. We travel to help our neighbors in Belarus develop modest ways to overcome their isolation, they want to create a website for canary breeders. We now organize in the Lithuanian countryside a network of independent thinkers that would serve as a base for research, and could be visited by traveling self-learners who wish to think and grow as investigators and organizers.
We have also helped George Christian Jeyaraj for four years while he was in and out of Lithuanian refugee camps. We helped him teach himself progamming and participate through the Internet when available. Through him we have connected with Bala Pillai and the online Tamil world where there is much civic potential.
This summer, our director Andrius Kulikauskas made the effort to reach out to find Islamic independent thinkers in Bosnia. The issues lead him to the Serb controlled region. There he met a young unemployed Muslim without Internet access but with a home computer. He tutored him how to teach himself web design, so that he could work through a friend who has a hosting service in another city. Later, he visited the youths of kuda.org in Novi Sad, Serbia. Everywhere there is a need to speak more plainly that the Muslims are victims. We have organized 100 speakers of Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian. We will work through telecottage managers to encourage reaching out to other peoples.
Most ambitiously, we work with oneVillage.Biz and their youth networks to confront the AIDS crisis in Africa. We hope to build a responsive human web that stretches from villages in Africa, including teachers and doctors, through regional centers of education, health, business and IT, to international organizations, business, philanthropic and governmental networks, all the way to software developers, corporate thinkers, and even school children throughout the West. Our ability to shift personal, corporate and governmental resources will be the greatest test of our Social Networking Kit.
7. Description of team, including countries of origin and previous software development experience
Dr.Andrius Kulikauskas (Lithuania/United States of America) has a Ph.D. in algebraic combinatorics. Since 1995 he has designed database systems in health care, agriculture, human resources and consulting. He drafted the Mindset modeling language for interchange of aggregates of thoughts, and worked for adoption through KMCI, IrDA and XTM. In 1998, he founded the Minciu Sodas laboratory serving independent thinkers, now integrating 50 active and 500 passive participants around the world.
JoyTang (United States of America/China) worked at Cisco Systems in Government Alliances, Emerging Market Development, Sales Development, Executive Business Briefing and Marketing. She is the Founder of www.oneVillage.biz with youth in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa responding to the AIDS crisis with holistic IT solutions for villages. Joy leads our cluster for "web presence", especially serving Africa villages with the help of students, and active at MindEcos.
FranzNahrada (Austria), the head of Globally Integrated Village Environment (GIVE), is the organizer of a decade of global village events, and Computers for Cameroon www.vum.at He is a visionary for activating a network of villages across the Balkans. Franz leads our cluster for "directory of initiatives" and community profiling, especially working with EUTA, the European Union of Telecottage Associations, to encourage initiatives at telecottages in Bosnia and Serbia.
ShannonClark (United States of America) founded www.jigzaw.com offering custom software development, technology consultation, auction support services, AI based software for Information Extraction and Integration. He is Events chair for Ryze business networking in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Shannon leads our cluster for "radio of knowledge", rallying efforts of social software developers inside and outside the "greater Silicon Valley" through the Blue Oxen Collaboration collaboratory.
RytisUmbrasas (Lithuania) worked as a high school IT teacher, and now as a systems administrator. He promotes the Lithuanian character sets, and is an IT mentor for teachers and villagers, such as Saulius Sakalas. Rytis leads our cluster for "handbook for investigations" by organizing a network of villages in Lithuania which self-learners might travel through, especially from Belarus.
NeilMcEvoy (United Kingdom) founded in 1999 The App Tap for creating web services, and in 2001 the Genesis Forum for organizing agile, OnDemand networks of workers, especially through Ecademy. Neil leads our cluster for "web of references" to establish public identities for activists to multiply support for their activity in Africa, the Balkans, and the Tamil world. He works through Ecademy and Michael Wolff's ki-Net.
BalaPillai (Australia/Malaysia) as Principal of www.apic.net is a pioneer since 1995 for the online Tamil community, www.tamil.net, and Asian ISP services. He is an innovator in fostering acumen for forming human networks.
VladimirMaruna (Serbia and Montenegro) leads teams and manages projects in digital assets management, query building, business portals. He consults for the multimedia center www.kuda.org and realizes art projects as part of an art/math/technology trio.
Investigators: People from around the world have expressed the desire to participate as investigators: SuhitAnantula (India), RasaArmanauskaite (Lithuania), AsomiddinAtoev (Tajikistan), StankoBlatnik (Slovenia), AlgisCibulskis (Lithuania), JoeDamal (USA), ... (Lithuania), GeorgeChristianJeyaraj (Lithuania/Sri Lanka), IkeMaboe (South Africa), MatthiasMasawe (Tanzania), MosesMwale (Zambia), OlumideOmowumiObidiran (Nigeria), KennedyOnyango (Kenya), KafuiPrebbie (Ghana), UmeshRashmiRohatgi (USA/India), DenisRojo (Italy), NenadSabert (Serbia and Montenegro), RudiVonStaden (South Africa), DaliaSteponeniene (Lithuania), GlebTiurin (Russia), JohnTobler (USA), RaimundasVaitkevicius (Lithuania), NeilWilliams (South Africa).
Timeline: Jan 2004 - Dec 2005.
We are searching for co-funders. We are coordinating our efforts with oneVillage Foundation and the European Union of Telecottage Associations. In Lithuania, we will apply for EUREKA funding to build and commercialize our ASP engine, and for PHARE funding to develop our network in the villages. TheBrain Technologies provides us with free software for prizes, and we will look for more such sponsors. We are offering team-building services to corporations that might sponsor related work.
December 5, 2003, ThinkCycle That's a great idea, and this is one of my favourite topics - particularly since I recently moved from DSL in Toronto to per-minute-charged-dialup in Croatia. Of particular value would be the option of having selected content (not links to content) emailed to me, or SMS'd to me. Either method is faster & cheaper than 'web browsing'. And because I would select which topics I want emailed to me, each email could potentially be counted as a 'page view'. Email me if you want to chat & toss ideas around. DerekMartin