The tools of the future are Information, Knowledge and Wisdom – they are more valuable that Oil or Gold. This is true empowerment, our lives should be un-metered and free
ELIAC is Based in the coastal City of East London South Africa, which has the best weather in the World, the winters are mild (no snow or frost in living history) and the Summers are never too hot – if they are you can always go to the beach and cool down. Sadly while the surrounding area has one of the biggest populations in South Africa (which is still mis-reported) it is overlooked by business and tourism, a legacy of Apartheid past
Established in 1989 – Originally ELIAC stood for East London IBM and Compatibles, but times change and we are now a computer Organisation that looks at hardware and software issues, together with consumer rights. Below are the Current and Past Eliac Projects:
Unmetered Lives – Started 2008 – Current
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest – Benjamin Franklin
One of the ideas we put on the Un-metered Lives 2009 flyer, was to make people aware that you could use a text reader to boost comprehension… basically what this means is that people or pupils can read the text on the computer screen and have a text reader talk it to them at the same time, they could also write down notes, which would increase their input of what they have to learn.
Opera Mini (part of Unmetered Lives)
Supplying and making available universal Internet and communications access in Africa is of vital importance, but also needs to be as simple and inexpensive as possible. A big part of the solution will be WAP enabled mobile phones that can run the free to download Internet browser Opera Mini
Opera Mini is a small free browser which allows low tech mobile phones to access to most web pages and not just mobile sites, and enables basic inexpensive WAP phones like the V360 and e250 to act like smart phones, in fact a lot of smart phones use Opera Mini. It is well suited and proven to work in rural areas, the people have the devices, the infrastructure is already in place. Tablets and Smart phones on the other hand are not only expensive but are lucky to last a day without needing to be charged.
Showing people what Opera Mini was and all it could do completely bowled them over, that their phone could surf the web all by its self was a total revelation, they could read and send emails using the phone browser. The best part was that before showing it to people, we would take a reading of the airtime on their phone, then go to a few web pages, like the local newspaper, do a google search then look something up on Wikipedia and finally read and reply to some emails, then log off and check the airtime again, all of this had only cost a few cents.
Wealth from Waste – 2010 -Current
Every year we throw away and more equipment, with regards to PCs and other devices there needs to be a holistic approach as set out in the Unmetered Lives project were used computer equipment is recovered and recycled this creates job skills, employment and turns waste into capital goods. There is little point in giving people low cost broadband if they cannot afford the PCs or equipment that goes with it, this also goes for the maintenance of hardware and software.
There is a lot that can easily be repaired, Printers, LCD Monitors, Motherboards, Laptops, Power Supplies – We need to Organise waste centres were people can be sort out items, because once its smashed and broken its too late. The upside of this is that it is less pollution and it provides people with work, job skills and goods. Problems need to be looked at like separating Lead from Glass in old CRT monitors and TVs
A better life for all
A prerequisite for low cost Internet would be Un-metered local calls and realistic bandwidth amounts for broadband users. The disabled in particular could benefit as they would be able to work from home by either doing work over the Internet, such as typing, market or commercial research, answering email inquiries, or even answering phone calls, and message services via Voice over Internet Protocol rather than having to travel to work which can be very difficult, costly and dangerous for most people
The same applies to typists and other workers who could take advantage of affordable Internet access as they would not even have to leave home, they could log onto the Internet and pick up their dictation then email the finished work back, perhaps even taking on work from overseas. Not having to travel to work means that they can save time and money in transport costs, with less wear on the roads. Being at home would not only help with family issues (especially for mothers) and might well cut down on house break ins. The elderly and the infirm would benefit as they could keep in touch with people, family and friends, either locally or on the Internet. People could think of ways not to go into work for World-no-car-day for example, radio personalities could do their show from home via an Internet link.