Showing posts from July, 2009

Indian Publishing legend visits Bookshare

We just hosted Indian publishing legend Mahendra Meghani , who dropped in last week when many of our team were traveling. The following account comes from Pavi Mehta, Bookshare's Volunteer Coordinator, and I wanted to post it! It was a quietly special visit. Meghani came with his two hosts and daughter, and at 86 is still keenly interested in learning how technology can help bring books to the disadvantaged. With Carrie’s help he chopped his latest book (a compilation of Gandhi’s writings) up for the Bookshare collection. His publishing house mainly deals with literature in Gujarati but they do have a handful of books in English that they are more than happy to send to us. Viji [Dilip, Bookshare international manager] has sent over the appropriate paperwork and we’ll follow up on that. This is a guy who as his daughter put it, piled books onto a little vegetable cart and trundled it into the market place so that the common man in small town India would be exposed to the literat

Not Business As Usual!

As the chair of the Social Enterprise Alliance, I have the opportunity to address the annual Summit. I had a blast in New Orleans revving up the crowd about this exciting time for the Social Enterprise Alliance and the movement. Here's the text of my speech: [long post alert] Social Enterprise: Not Business as Usual! Jim Fruchterman Chairman’s Address to the Social Enterprise Alliance 2009 Annual Summit The world’s a mess. I thought that would be news to you. We’ve got a lot of problems. We have a global economic meltdown. We have instability and violence all over the world. And we have this thing called the global climate crisis. It’s kind of daunting. The challenges of today’s world demand innovation because we can’t afford — business as usual. I want to talk to you today about this moment in time, this great opportunity for us. We’re joining together to talk about the new face of business. An approach that puts social issues foremost; a strategy that delivers better resul

Bookshare Announcements

The Bookshare team has been attending the summer conventions of the two major blind consumer groups, the NFB and ACB. We had great user parties, listened to our users and talked to other key players in the accessibility field. We also announced a couple of assistive technology partnerships. The first release was about support for mobile phone use with software developer Code Factory of Spain . It still takes downloading the book to a PC and transferring it to the cell phone, but I'm looking forward to getting rid of that extra step! The second announcement was by Plextor of Japan, about their new ebook player that will play Bookshare books . The device also allows users to record their own audio books. The last item I wanted to highlight was a White House blog post with President Obama hosting a delegation of people who are both deaf and blind . I was just delighted to see this quote from the post: This visit was not and should not be viewed as a sympathetic thing for the Pre

Major article on Benetech

It was exciting to note the publication of my big article on Benetech in MIT Press' Innovations journal. I just received the PDF and was able to post it on Benetech's site. As many of you know, I'm committed to doing a book (and am holed up at Caltech's Athenaeum this week working on it). This article was my first big step in writing up some of Benetech's history and why we do what we do, and the process of working with the editors gave me a taste of what I'm in for with a book!