Monthly Archives: December 2008

In the end … Flickr Pro

Flickr logo. If you click it, you'll go homeAfter several months of thoughts, I got my Flickr account upgraded. It’s not because my photography skills are suddenly improved. It’s actually because of my digital camera, again.

I bought my first digital camera about one and a half years ago. Since then, I used it to take photos once in a while, as I don’t really have that habit to record everything with camera. Earlier this month when I tried to use it again, however, I found the battery cannot be recharged again. Sending it back to the company, it only took ten minutes to know that “kind of” embarassing truth.

The customer services lady took a look at it and said, “Sir, do you rarely use your camera?” “Yes,” I replied. “If you don’t use it often, the battery will be dysfunctional soon. Please use it as often as possible.” “…”

Fortunately she is kindly enough to change a new one for me, as the camera is still in warranty period. Since I have to use the camera more often, upgrading Flickr account may be a motivation.

I never realize buying a digital camera is more than buying a gadget, but also making a promise. Use it frequently, or it will be dead soon. I miss my old, non-digital camera now, at least it doesn’t shoulder a hidden promise…

Two Years On

Time flies. I join Global Voices (and Lingua) project for two years already. I didn’t realize that until one morning after the conference. I couldn’t sleep that night, trying very hard but in vain. Early in the morning, before the sunrise, I left the bed, turned on my computer, and started to translate another GV article.

Only in this time, I feel intimate with someone else, and that someone is myself. Car sounds are far, birds are still asleep, and no wind strolls in the woods. From nowhere, I recall others asking me how long I have translated for GV. “Almost two years,” I answered then. And now, it’s already two years.

At the end of year is always a time for reflection. Some people sum up the year in preparation for a whole new one. Some just follow others. Creating so many more contents in Chinese, I ask, do they bring up any changes to others?

Global Voices, and I, believe media has power. It has power to increase public awareness, discover interconnectedness, and dig into stories unrealed before.

It has power, for sure, to bring out changes and mobilize the crowd.

For the past year and a half, David Sasaki, Outreach director of Global Voices, representing Rising Voices project, flies around the world and visit different citizen media projects. Among them, HiperBarrio, supported by Rising Voices, has trained a group of citizen reporters in Medellín, Colombia, to cover stories often overlooked or neglected by major media and their correspondents who rarely visit there.

I have to confess that before reading their reports, violence is the only impression I have towards Medellín. After HiperBarrio, I really broad my horizon. Their blogs and records, at least, have changed my understandings about that place.

The project has extensive coverage on a 78-year-old man Suso, who collects bottles and cans for a living. We must have seen someone like this in our neighborhood, but most of us don’t have that motivation to talk to them or understand their stories.

Well, HiperBarrio citizen reporters do, and they discover a great story. Suso’s family had great contributions to the community, including the land for local library, so they think to pay back in some ways. HiperBarrios starts a fundraising campaign to repair Suso’s makeshift shelter.

They also make a great video clip at here.

After months of voluntary works, it’s almost done. If you are willing to play a role in this, but not able to be there, please feel free to make a donation via PayPal to dsasaki@virtualvillagetovillage.com.

Donate to Global Voices - Help us spread the wordAlso, for the past couple of years, Global Voices has been working very hard to bring up voices around the world to join the global conversation. We have Rising Voices aforementioned to enhance digital literacy, Advocacy to promote online freedom of speech denounce censorship, Voices without Votes to amplify concerns from the world about US Election 2008, and Lingua to spread GV information to different parts of the world in different languages. At the time for reflections, we also invite you to make a donation, big or small, to “keep the world talking”.

Some people say there’s already too much information and news online generated by media and bloggers. After two years of participation, I know it is never enough to reveal stories that major media pay not enough attention to. And Global Voices will bring up more for sure.

Freedom to Live in … Anywhere

The CultureMondo Roundtable in Taiwan is finished. We’ve got more than 30 guests from 20 countries to join us. Here’s the one-minute video we show on the opening ceremony, briefly introducing everyone here.

Luckily, we’ve got three beautiful and warm days in a row. Everyone seems to enjoy the sunshine and 20+ degrees Celsius temperature. A guy from the Netherlands just stays in a park and under the sun for a whole day, even saying maybe he should move to Taiwan for the sun and the city.

Why not?

Some of us are luckily enough to have a job nowadays, such as translators, or work for an online/virtual organization, such as Global Voices, that we can basically work everywhere with a broadband connection and a computer. Being mobile is such as a luxury to some people, to tell the truth. They have to wake up at certain time every day, change their pajamas (or not), leave home and fit into their office table before nine, for example. Maybe some people like that routine life, but not me so far. I now work with an NGO and help them do some works, so I get to experience sitting in an office twice a week. I think it is enough for me. 😛

The conference is interesting as well, providing some sparks during discussions. Some speakers, such as Geert Lovink, are more skeptical towards social networking sites and web 2.0, and ask us to imagine a life without Google services. Many of us are now living closely connected with many Google services. It’s will be more difficult for me to work in Global Voices and Lingua teams if no Google services, though not impossible.

Then I am thinking, if we are possible to physically live anywhere in the world with my current works, in the cyberspace, however, can I live in and work on any sites that may provide similar services as Google and Yahoo? Many of us are using G&Y because they combine lots of services under one interface and one account. Google says users can export all their data and materials anytime they want, but how many of us periodically save backups, in case one day suddenly we have to leave G&Y (or they file for bankruptcy and terminate all services at once)?

I am not worrying about privacy, but imagining the life without G&Y. Hopefully alternative sites and services will soon all adopt something like Open ID, because that will make our lives much easier.

My friend Chris is trying to move away from Gmail, saying he doesn’t want Google to know everything about him. I am just trying to find alternatives, so I can be fine without G&Y and live happily hereafter anywhere in the cyberspace.