Posts tagged ‘digital divide’

Anita Who? Happy Ada Lovelace Day!


as part of a 1900+ person pledge to blog about a woman in technology honoring ada lovelace day, i have to put out the name of one, anita brown. it was a toss up as we could only pledge to blog about one person or i would certainly have included red burns in the mix (red, if you are reading this:  i am very excited about working under your guidance at ITP. you’ll get my post next year!).

brown founded one of the earliest (if not first) online resources, the now defunct black geeks online, to address digital divide issues, particularly  for african americans. she was an avid advocate to close the digital divide in the u.s.- before it was popular and after the topic seemed to fall to the wayside in the u.s. i met ms. brown at columbia university several years ago. i was inspired by her knowledge and passion for the subject. i am still surprised  at how little i hear of her in conversations about early web pioneers who didn’t limit their aspirations to financial gain. i could hardly find news of her passing (she was 63) , save for an obituary in the washington post nearly three years ago.

like too many civic-minded entrepreneurs, brown seemed to run out of steam just as digital divide concerns were beginning to become of interest to the mainstream again. i am constantly reminded of lesser known talented people who could truly stand to benefit from the kind of support that will provide lasting energy to overcome fatigue. entrepreneurship can be a lonely experience. being focused on more than the bottom line can take a toll on more than the psyche. i often wonder what it might have been like if ms. brown were alive to experience the wave of socially-focused entrepreneurs and initiatives that support them including echoing green, ashoka and the school for social entrepreneurs

it’s easy to mistake her name for others: anita baker, anita bryant, anita hill (yes, i went there)-  but her legacy remains. there are those who know and value her work, endeavoring to carry the torch for digital literacy and information for all. i count myself as one. three cheers for passion, ideas and inspiring people.


learn more about the pledge here:

March 24.2009 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

We’re Due For Another White-washed Public Debate Over Net Neutrality

so, this is not news- that some large media companies want to offer tiered levels of access to the Internet based on varying bandwidth speeds and place limits on consumption.  tw/comcast is definitely opening the door to more net neutrality beef.

i advocate a free, affordable AND reliable net (not necessarily services offered by those on it), but i don’t know if that means it must be balanced by government intervention. there can be a place for it, but i am not sure where, if at all in this instance. tiered service has the power to widen the existing digital divide (and yes, it does exist in the u.s. and other so-called western nations). still, i wonder if the market has not already signaled its acceptance of tiered offerings in the space and if so, does it render the net neutrality debate moot?

i am sure google and friends are going to weigh in on the matter publicly- again. in case both sides seem to use language that makes it difficult for consumers to understand their distinctions, don’t fret. it seems intentional because i am not entirely certain either side would be complaining if they believed they would come out with a truly sustainable ompetitive advantage in the first place. remember how the u.s. took microsoft to court? remember who got the witch hunt started (and i am not necessarily a microsoft fan, being mostly an apple and open source consumer)? it is interesting how companies hate intervening government arms (or rather hands, according to economists) until others in the industry and/or market are not going along with their plans; in that case, government suddenly become the intervening hero. hmmm…. big wonder.

June 3.2008 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

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