Blackouts, dust and poor connectivity — why Kenya’s BRCK router requires a different approach

Kenya’s Ushahidi is best known for its pioneering crowdmapping efforts, but right now the company is busy finishing off its BRCK router, a fascinating device that’s designed for rough use in sub-Saharan Africa. As posts on Vice and TechRepublic explain, the $199 router has its own battery for coping with blackouts or bush use, it can automatically hop between Ethernet, Wi-Fi and mobile broadband as its source, and it’s set up to act as a hub for “internet of things” sensors. BRCK got crowdfunded last year and a recent blog post from the team explains some of the challenges of engineering such a device in Kenya.

How Social Networks and Mobile Tech Helped in Haiti

A study that looked at the use of social media, text messaging, interactive maps and other online tools during the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake says they helped co-ordinate rescue efforts and aid, but that more work needs to be done to make them fully effective.

SXSW: Shirky’s New Opportunities in Public Sharing

Today social technology theorist Clay Shirky delivered a fitting counterpoint to Danah Boyd’s keynote on privacy at SXSW the day before. Where Boyd spoke of the danger of making information more public than users intended it, Shirky talked about new opportunities for sharing information.