- On the left: the “new” Nokia cell phone. On the right: why they may be a HUGE commercial success. The phone on the left is a reboot of the Nokia 3310 model, “the most reliable phone ever made”. That article calls it “dumbphone” because… it should be, as its direct ancestor, a real, serious mobile phone. A mobile phone, that is, that: receives and makes phone calls, SMS and nothing more should be “nearly indestructible” (compared to modern “smartphones”, at least) wouldn’t know what to do with a Wi-Fi signal, no matter how strong but… has a battery that will last one month on one charge will connect even from the bottom of a cave, if there is a base station in a radius of 2 KM… costs only 59 Euros The screenshots on the right outline the excellent reasons why many people may want to buy that phone, or one like that, as soon as possible: switch to a phone like that and you will be able to hand over your phone without problems to any border guard, anywhere.
(this is a translation of my Italian post of 2012 on the same issue. I’ve done it because the problem, and the need to solve it as imagined below, are still there)
The airport of Fiumicino offers a good example of the real, and really serious digital divide that afflicts many Italians. That divide is not the lack of broadband connectivity, smartphone or computers: it is the lack of knowledge and capability of using those tools for doing something that is actually, really useful for themselves. In the Fiumicino’s case, this can be seen by connecting three facts.
- It looks like the UK Labour party will soon call for closer scrutiny of tech firms and their algorithms. If all goes well, it just won’t work, and that will the end of it. Otherwise, it will be really bad.After the 2016 Christmas break, a Labour’s industrial paper will call for suggestions on “how tech firms could be more closely supervised by government”. The algorithms, that is the formulas and rules used by those firms to run their services, are closely guarded trade secrets.
- This seems real, and if it is.. I thought Italy was among the best when it comes to, huh, less than smart law proposals about computers and the Internet, but it’s not match for South Carolina. Quoting from RT America: A bill pre-filed by Republican State Representative William Chumley would require that personal computers and other devices block internet access to pornography and obscene content This “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” would fine manufacturers or sellers of electronic devices that do not install the blocks, whether they are created in factories or are at the point of sale.
- I enjoyed POSS2016 in Paris Last week, I presented the current status of the EU-funded research I am working on these days, that is DiDIY (Digital DIY), at the Paris Open Source Summit. I have already reported about that side of the conference on the DiDIY blog, but I found many more interesting things at POSS 2016.What I heard at POSS 2016 about OpenDocument and Free Software in Public administration is so important, in my opinion, that I put it into a separate post.
- Last week I attended the Paris Open Source Summit, were I saw things as interesting and diverse as autonomous tractors, Open Source legal support and “degooglized Internet” visions. Please read that other post to know more. Here, I am only going to describe one other moment of POSS 2016, about two other arguments I care a lot about, and on which I wouldn’t mind working again, even if these days I am mostly busy with Digital DIY.
- On November 4th, 2016, I was invited to attend the Conference by the Pontifical Lateran University on “Core Values - The Transmission of Values in Digital Age”. I was very happy to go, because I’ve been studying the relations between Catholicism and (open) digital technologies for more than ten years now (see links below). I have listed in a separate post the most interesting things I was happy to hear at the Core Values conference.
- On November 4th, 2016, the Pontifical Lateran University held a conference on “Core Values – The Transmission of Values in Digital Age”. Radio Vaticana already published an official summary that explains how participants spent the day _“posing hard questions to each other about the values that will best inform and sustain a coherent vision of integral human development in changing times” under the guide of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato si’”.
- an Internet of Things that we definitely don’t need there is a project, over at Seeed, that is a good example of a really (too) large category of projects that I really do not get. At least, I don’t get why they should have anything like “smart” or “smarter” in their name. I’m talking of “Gmail Buddy - Smarter Email Notifications”:_ “_Gmail Buddy is companion device which checks your Gmail inbox every 15 secs and notify you using sweet elegant light [and] can also be used as a sweet night light!
- By now, you probably already know that Yahoo scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence”, and if you haven’t you can read all the details in the previous link, or in many other places. Here, I only want to point out one thing, mainly but not only to software geeks, and to any organizations whose goal include promoting privacy: this whole Yahoo story is just one more perfect example that one of the most urgent things to do in the digital sphere is to give everybody their very own, personal email server, at the smallest possible cost.