What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Jim Fruchterman explores the social entrepreneurship side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
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Cell Phone Literacy Ideas in China
I just had a great meeting with Jenny Zhao where we talked about the cell phone industry in China. Jenny manages the China operations for a global cell phone technology company. One of our dreams for the Route 66 technology is that it could be used to teach reading to people all over the world, in English as well as other languages. Having the chance to talk to an expert like Jenny helped me understand the development environment, which cell phone capabilities are widespread in China as well as practical differences in the issues that would be facing us in a country like China. This is an example of why I like my job so much: top people are especially excited to share their knowledge when the topic is doing something socially beneficial.
Of course, it could be years before we do something like this in China, but the seed's been planted!
“Your secure software is open source: doesn’t that make it less secure?”
This is a recurring question that we get at Benetech about Martus—our free, strongly encrypted tool for secure collection and management of sensitive information, built and provided by the Benetech Human Rights Program. It’s an important question for us and for all of our peers developing secure software in today’s post-Snowden environment of fear and worry about surveillance. We strongly believe not only that open source is compatible with digital security, but that it’s also essential for it.
Let me explain with the following analogy:
Think of encryption as a locked combination safe for your data. You may be the only one who has the combination, or you may entrust it to select few close associates. The goal of a safe is to keep unauthorized people from gaining access to its content. They might be burglars attempting to steal valuable business information; employees trying to learn confidential salary informati…
Every once in a while, the Beneblog features something of personal importance to me.
I'm very excited (and proud) about an exciting concert coming up soon in Palo Alto. My daughter, Kate Fruchterman, will be returning briefly to the area the evening of June 17th to give a concert. Kate will be heading to Europe this fall to sing professionally in Italy for the Turin Opera Company, as the winner of one of three Opera Foundation Scholarships.
As I said at the Skoll World Forum this year after hearing Monica Yunus, the famous opera singer and daughter of leading social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, Kate is another proof point of the proposition that geeky social entrepreneur dads can have beautiful opera singer daughters.
But, there's more! The accomplished pianist Virginia Fruchterman (who I happen to be married to) will be the main accompanist at the concert at St. Mark's Church. In addition, Lauren Osaka, flautist, and Phil Kadet, the NYC-based jazz pianist and compos…
Tomorrow is an exciting day for our Bookshare online library for students with dyslexia or visual impairments. We have incredibly generous matching grants from two of our dedicated tech entrepreneur supporters, Bernie Newcomb and Lata Krishnan. Tomorrow, Tuesday May 5, 2015, is Silicon Valley Gives day, where donors from around the world will find their contributions to organizations based here matched by local donors.
We love reading, and we know how important being able to read a book is to educational and employment opportunity. Each year, we provide more than a million books that are spoken aloud, enlarged or made into braille for students who can't pick up a print book and read it because of a disability.
We've never done a crowdfunding campaign specifically for Bookshare, and tomorrow we'll find out if some of our 350,000 users and their families are able to express their appreciation by helping match these challenge grants. And we need help: our annual federal f…