Markle Foundation — longstanding heros

I had lunch with Sheldon Mains today and he reminded me of another topic area I want to cover in this blog — community technology.

This evening brought this article about the Markle Foundation my way from the Fast Company site.

The Markle folks have been supporting all kinds of community access technology stuff for ages. I ran into them back in the ’70’s when I was part of the community radio crowd. They were hip back then, and they’re hip now too. Hats off to the Markle gang, glad to see they’re still at it. Read on for a quote from the article that gives a sense of the kind of outside-the-box thinking they’re doing these days…


Just listen to Hammond wax rhapsodic on the potential of the MP3 player as a force for social change: “This basically was invented for a market of rich teenagers to download music and walk around with it,” he says, digging unsuccessfully through a sheaf of papers for his own device. “The current model costs $150 and carries an hour’s worth of music. So let’s envision a world just a year away where we’re going to have $50 devices that can store eight hours’ worth of speech. Well, poor villages can afford $50. So suppose a village bought one of these things and then went to their local NGO to download compressed speech files that provide AIDS information, agricultural information, and so on. Listeners share the player with their neighbors, and then six months later, the village takes it back and downloads a whole new set of files. You would have an affordable information-transmission system that is under the control of the users.”

Pretty nifty, eh? Check out the Markle website if you’re feeling like getting smarter about community technology.