Not all is technology in Japan

japaneseFoodThis blog post is a along way from tech news, but is deeply at the heart of new human experiences – made us think here.

I came across an entry on Cabel’s Blog about a visit to Japan. He entitled it the Kashiwa Mystery Cafe. Nice design centre, sunny day and, presumably, exhibits to view.

Visiting the cafe – you order a drink and a snack and food you didn’t order arrives. You are ordering, in faltering Japanese, food and drink for the person in the queue behind you.

Your food has been ordered by the person in front of you.

Fantastic – what a great way to break out of old habits, or habitual food prejudice?

Could we not apply this to one day of school meals? An extraordinary serving of lunch at the community centre or a healthy eating day at the local sports ground. Way to go Kashiwa!

Live dangerously – give a total stranger a healthy eating treat.

…back to web and tech stuff for a while….

This post was created by Tim Smith, a partner at SmithMartin LLP. The original post was created by Cabel’s Blog – and reblogged by one of our favourites, Jason Kottke.

Summer Sounds of the City!

musicPic2Just lazing in the garden with the radio, basking in the intense heat of the summer sun. If only?

Instead during August, whilst it’s a bit quieter and we’re getting some housekeeping done, we’re going for an in-house alternative – fresh orange juice at our desks and listening to City – a gentle blend of trance, drum and base, dance and electronica oscillating in the background.

This simple web site feeds music tracks from cities around the world to your browser – very contemporary and rhythmic we thought. Ideal when you need that break from long periods of web coding…over 10,000 tracks at the last posting.

Created by Henrik Berggren and David Kjelkerud using the platform.

With thanks to Emily Chang for bringing this to our attention in her original post.

Have a good summer break from the Thirdsector Team.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Music graphic from dalbera on Flickr – A Creative Commons image.

Open access publishing on the web…

gatewayPicPlacing documents in the public domain is giving them away – often seen as an illogical position for a commercial entity to take?

Or should it be better put that placing information online in order to spread that knowledge as widely as possible, is best achieved by offering users of that information clear signposting that copyright and license of the material has been waived.

This is an Open Access argument. If you create information, articles or images that you wish to be freely available to others why not ‘mark’ them accordingly for others to use the material with confidence.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation has been working recently to provide researchers and information users with standardised sources of open access information.

The Creative Commons movement have also posted a set of tools online that can help you generate html to help signify the accessibility of information sources that you have published as original material.

These Creative Commons tools are clearly intended as markers for original content that has not been licensed. Delimiting material already prescribed by copyright is a cautious matter for the original content owners.

You can find the original blog entries from the Open Access Movement that inspired these thoughts here.

The Creative Commons tool kit or code generator can be found here on this Creative Commons web page.

If you are interested in reading more about the Creative Commons as a non-profit organisation you can find a Wikipedia article here.

There is some debate online as to whether the Creative Commons approach is really able to be aligned with the concepts of free software or images, or comparable with Open Source. Surely the point is that the creator of the work has a framework of possibilities available to him or her – deciding which right she or he wishes to devolve themselves of, or not.

We create content for access by the public and in our small way think any framework that helps information users or distributors to be clear about how material can be used is a good thing per se. What do you think?

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Qimo for Kids – Linux for tinies?

qimoLogoQimo for Kids is a customised Linux distribution for child friendly computers. Developed by the people at QuinnCo the project is a non-profit, which accepts donated hardware, which is refurbished and ‘Qimo’d’ for onward transmission as donations to low income families. Their press release says it all…

Qimo is a new distribution of Linux, derived from the popular Ubuntu distribution, customized for use by children ages 3 and up.

Qimo comes pre-installed with free and open source games that are both educational and entertaining, with many more educational titles available for download from Ubuntu.

The interface to Qimo has been specifically designed to be easy to
navigate by the youngest of users, with over-sized shortcuts to games lining the bottom of the screen.

You can download Qimo direct from their website at qimo 4 kids .com

This is not one for Windows die-hards or public sector network users, but for organisations already involved in hardware recycling or Open Source software development to encourage children in their use of ICT…this reads well.

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.



The world’s cheapest laptop?

A tablet PC in operationWe’ve been reading this week about the forthcoming launch of the 20 dollar laptop in India.

There has been some commentary in the rest of the world as to whether it is possible to produce such a machine, given – according to Nicholas Negroponte of OLPC – that the display alone will cost more than this.

Does this miss the point? The general thrust of the project seems to be to get learners and the population in general to access sites such as the Sakshat Portal – India’s gateway to learning resources. (Its tag line is The One Stop Education Portal for All)

If the Indian government are subsidising the creation of a cloud computing infrastructure across the sub-continent, then there must surely be a paradigm shift in the strategies needed to get ‘access point’ terminals into as many hands as possible. The National Mission on Education through ICT seems to be just this.

This is not a business proposition. It is a learning proposition.

The target of the Indian government is to get a 5% increase in tertiary education starters in 5 years. When your target sample is the largest democracy in the world…that needs to be a lot of takers.

The golden egg in the proposition is a vastly more connected society in the next generation, with more intellectual and social capital to deploy in the service of a perhaps vastly different world GDP mix and meta-economic model.

Cloud services and no-cost terminals must be the way to go. We watch the future product launch with interest. Go India!

These thoughts were drawn from an article by Mohammed Siddique at

What do you think?

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Qt – a small, well formed browser

QtwebrowserPicThe new version of the Q t web browser has a executable footprint of only 4MB, with support for Japanese. Korean and Chinese languages added to its features, along with the ability to disable Flash and Quicktime etc., if required.

Being so small it will run from a CD or a USB memory stick, which is very useful for mobile workers who use remote machines but do not want to interact with existing settings.

Users can turn on private browsing and instigate a full reset after using the browser too. The customisable interface allows users to see how programs and web sites look under different versions of Windows and Unix.

Users can also undock the navigation and bookmark bars, putting them on your desktop if you wish. See the Q t web browser screen shot pages for illustrations.

Small, light and fast – Q t is also Open Source software, based upon Nokia’s Qt framework and Apple’s Webkit rendering engine.

To install and run Q t on a CD or USB use the ‘stand-alone executable’ from the Q t download page.

You can see the Third Sector Web home page here.

A history of the internet…

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

This is a very elegant visual storyline about the background of technical developments that have given us the internet we have today.

This is a superb piece – taking months to create.

Clear explanations of a complex phenomenon. What the best knowledge transfer should be.

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.

Not technology – but heart felt

emptyImageIf you have spent time on the Northern Line at 5.45pm on a Friday, or rushed to get the 158 to BlackHorse Road and had to wait for the next one in the rain because it was full – this set of images from IanVisits will touch a nerve.

They remind us a bit of the city as a film set for one of those science fiction movies.

Entitled Abandoned London – we just had to share them.

Sometimes empty can be good?

IanVisits profile and portfolio is available from Flickr.

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.

New Year – new resolution – new email backup

Clip2Our New year resolution is to keep our physical and cyber space desktops a bit tidier.

Pretty easy to implement in our various physical locations, but requiring a little more effort in e-space.

We use Mozilla Thunderbird as our default email client. We like it for its safe ease of use, ability to intuitively create folders and drag emails off the various servers across our partnership, so that our team members can consolidate their communication.

So far so good. We have recently implemented an email archive solution, to complement Thunderbird. Allowing individuals from their home offices, for example, a crucial back up of multiple emails from different sources, all into one folder or burned to a single dvd.

Partners chose Mailstore for use on their personal computers. A simple, easy to understand interface, which will back up and relocate not only Thunderbird folders, but also Microsoft Outlook, Express and Exchange, as well as Google Mail, IMAP and Pop 3 mailboxes and even Windows Live Mail.

We like it. You can find the freeware personal edition here.

You select the target folder to save to and declare the attachments you would also like archived, .pdf, .doc etc. Then back up.

Mailstore also offer business wide archival solutions on their website.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

New search engines for the New Year

Always with trepidation do we flag things as new. Such is the variety and flow of change available on the internet that we realise things we discover may already be old hat for our readers.

However, these we have recently found and have liked.

Clip3Joongel is a search engine which combines results from the ten most popular pages on any given theme.

You can use Joongel to select your search theme and it will consolidate the findings for you.

Dogpile is perhaps the most well known ‘search consolidator’, but we like Joongel too. There is a browser add-on for Firefox and IE7 too.

Clip4Tag Galaxy is another great find.

This is a diploma thesis project from Steven Wood of the Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences in Nuremburg.

Build using Papervision 3D and the Flickr API, Steven has integrated the concepts of web tags and the galaxy to present image search in a refreshing and engaging way. We loved it. Smooth rotations and quick image calls were available on our office high speed connection.

Definitely web search for the solar system – Tag Galaxy.

You can find the Third Sector Home page here.