Experiences with international teleconferences

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If you click here you will find an interested blogpost from my e-collaboration group. We experimented with skype and interwise teleconferences and have some interesting observations like this one on the level of security and comfort: 

 Level of security and comfort. A teleconference (using a new technology or for a person unfamiliar with teleconferences) adds to your level of insecurity and discomfort, that you have in new groups. So if you have a new group, you can hardly get people to feel secure enough to get good work done. After all, these are all things that you have to consider while choosing for a f2f meeting, an online asynchronous discussion, a chat or a teleconference. A participant who was new in the group: ‘If it had not been for the explicit remarks that we were dealing with an experiment, I would have felt disappointed about this meeting. It was emotionally stressing. I compare this with meetings a had in South America, were I just started speaking Spanish. Even though I did not understand everything, it did not feel right to keep questioning: 'what do you mean', or 'would you repeat this?'. Still, people might ask for my opinion and expected you to participate in decision making. The experience with skype may be even worse: In the situation of our conference I could not check your faces, there were no lips to be read, no clues from the context. I felt insecure. I was so busy trying to listen that I had no energy left to check with the notes. I did not make notes myself, because I felt insecure about the content-value of what I could add.’’

Technology in the non-profit world hits home in Houston's 5th Ward

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Britt already posted about this (thanks Britt!), but the Houston Net2-ers are super excited to have Kathy Payton of Houston's Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation come to speak to us next Tuesday Dec. 12th.

Birthplace of George Foreman and other prominent members of society, the 5th Ward is a very historical part of Houston.  Originally settled by newly freed slaves after the Civil War, the Ward in later years became a hotbed of violence and drug activity with the city's lowest income levels.

United Nations takes a crack at online accessibility issues

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I ran across information on a recent United Nations accessibility review of 100 different Web sites from 20 countries around the world.  Their grade?  Big Fat F for Failure

Only 3 of those 100 actually made a decent score, which is just pathetic.  Specifically:

  1. German chancellor's site:
  2. British prime minister's site:
  3. Spanish government site:


Fundraising for Nonprofits with the Social Web: Kiva & Menu for Hope @ SF Net Tuesday

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Are you looking for new fundraising models that are fun, engaging and use the social web?  Come hear Matt Flannery, CEO and Co-Founder of, the first Web site to let anyone with a PayPal account be a "banker to the poor", and Pim Techamuanvivit (Chez Pim) a food blogger who raised $17,000 for UNICEF with her 2005 Menu for Hope campaign.

Schoolhouse Supplies Online Launch Story

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This past fall we piloted a new service called "Schoolhouse Supplies Online".  The basic idea is to provide an online tool for parents to purchase school supplies for their children.  What makes this tool special is that all of the specifics are handled through an amazing nonprofit here in Portland called Schoolhouse Supplies.

Schoolhouse Supplies is a seven-year old Portland organization providing free school supplies to local area schools.  Teachers visit the free store and "shop" for items they need for their classroom.  The supplies are donated by businesses, or purchased by Schoolhouse Supplies through donated funds.

Podcast: From Org Charts to Sitemaps -- How organizational structure affects web strategy and implementation

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Does your organizational structure support web innovation or inhibit it? Social Signal's first podcast will help you learn how to make the most of your own team's structure from the web strategists at two very different nonprofits: Corrie Frasier,  Online Communications Manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jed Miller, Director of Internet programs for the American Civil Liberties Union. Corrie a

New tool for users in countries that censor the Internet - psiphon

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This looks promising!

From their website:

"What is psiphon?

psiphon is a censorship circumvention solution that allows users to access blocked sites in countries where the Internet is censored. psiphon turns a regular home computer into a personal, encrypted server capable of retrieving and displaying web pages anywhere

Who will use psiphon?

psiphon operates through networks of trust. There are psiphon providers who install and administer a psiphon server (psiphonode) in an uncensored country, and psiphon users (psiphonites) who login and access the server from a country that censors the Internet."


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