Monday, May 31, 2004

I'm working from Maputo, Mozambique on this U.S. Memorial Day. Today I've been talking to humanitarian demining groups about our proposed mine detector. Last week in South Africa I was discussing adaptive technology for the blind and software for human rights groups.

Our Martus human rights software was just covered today by the San Jose Mercury News in an article entitled Software Helps Rights Groups Protect Sensitive Information. Martus is continuing to grow and expand in its impact!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I've been in South Africa for just two days and have had several exciting meetings. My base of operations has been the IDP Africa Forum 2004, a conference for organizations serving the blind throughout Africa. I have had several great conversations about the state of adaptive technology for the African blind, and am getting good ideas for how we can help over the next few years.

I also have been meeting with human rights groups. Patrick Ball is here working on the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission data analysis. Looking forward to when that report gets issued. I spent some time yesterday at the University of Pretoria, talking about both disability technology and human rights. Reminds me of some universities in California in terms of climate and feel.

There is no substitute for personal connections and experience, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot more over the next ten days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

My May President's Update has just been posted. This is my quarterly (roughly) update to Benetech's stakeholders on what we are doing.

This update is chock full of news: there's a great deal cooking in Palo Alto and around the world. One exciting news item is Benetech receiving the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, which expands the already great support from the Skoll Foundation.

I highly encourage you to check out the update. It will give you some idea of the scope of Benetech's efforts to bring the benefits of technology to the people who need it most!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Bookshare.org is moving quickly to expand in serving the needs of students. eSchoolNews just did a very nice story about Bookshare.org and schools with quotes from teachers and Margaret Londergan at Indiana University.

Bookshare.org offers 17,000 royalty-free texts.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Benetech exists in the social entrepreneurship sector. This article, from the Wharton School, takes a critical look at venture philanthropy. Even as a relentless booster of the benefits of venture philanthropy, I have to admit that their core conclusion is correct: that pure venture philanthropy is still a small segment of the philanthropic funding sector. But, new ideas often have small market share early on. The real question is: do they deliver the results? I believe that the rapid growth of venture philanthropy is continuing because it delivers good results, and that much of this investment is not explicitly labeled venture philanthropy.

Does venture philanthropy work? | CNET News.com

Monday, May 03, 2004

Benetech's Dr. Patrick Ball has just been awarded the ACM's 2003 Lawler Award for humanitarian contributions using computer technology. The ACM is the leading organization for computer science professionals.

It's exciting to have one of our own honored by the technology community, and for the open source software that Patrick has so passionately advocated for.