Use of mobile phones has been drastically increasing, especially throughout the developing world. In more recent times, the use of smart phones has been at the forefront of this drastic increase, even in the developing world where it is happening slowly but surely. The use of Apple iPhones and iPads are some of the most common types of smart phone technologies that have been exploding everywhere. With the growth of this use there has also been a dramatic growth in use of Apple mobile apps. Because of these apps, people now have the ability to do many things. Amongst some of these things, is the ability to store massive amounts of very important information in a single handheld device. Therefore, because of this extreme increase in use, there has also been a rapidly growing amount of attacks aimed at Apple users in attempts by hackers to take over their accounts. A prime example is that these accounts are being used by hackers to purchase expensive apps.
As of only a few days ago, Apple launched a new security campaign to tackle this issue and further increase their measures to prevent an account from being compromised. These new security measures now asks users to choose from three security questions and answers in order to download an app from the app store. Also, they are now requiring a back-up email to be created just incase the primary email is in any way compromised. For all you Apple users out there, if this has not happened to you yet do not fret because so far this additional security measure is only aimed at accounts that may have previously triggered a red flag for some reason.
This new security measure that is beginning to be launched throughout Apple products may at first be viewed as extra precautionary and kind of annoying and at even times confusing to users. However it is essential that companies take heed to Apple’s example and begin to set up security measures like this as well. Security with mobile phones use is an ever increasing concern as use of mobile phones, especially smart phones, is expanding all over the world in both developed and developing countries alike. Hopefully other mobile phone companies will begin to develop measures such as this in order to protect mobile users as much as possible.
Apple Ratchets up App Store Security
One of the largest problems facing the developing world is the lack of access to medical care. This poses a very large issue for women in developing countries when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. In the developed world where there is easier access to healthcare and health knowledge, women go through the process with much greater ease. Women in the developing world do not have nearly the same access to books, internet, or regular visits with healthcare professionals. Thus, they do not have the same access to health knowledge which is very important while going through a pregnancy.
Although these women in developing countries have very limited access to medical care, a very high portion of them have mobile phones. This can open up a whole new world for them when it comes to increases in ICTs in the health sector. Through a mobile phone, there are many ways women can seek the particular healthcare they might not otherwise have access to. If they have access to smart-phones, which is a growing trend in the developing world, their access to this mobile healthcare can increase even more through mobile apps.
Through collaboration with the Grameen Foundation, BabyCenter, Columbia University, and the Ghana Health Service, a new mobile app called the “Mobile Midwife” has been created to help women in developing countries go through pregnancy with much more knowledge and ease. This initiative has the objective “to promote healthy pregnancies by encouraging women to seek prenatal care, debunking myths about pregnancy and childbirth, and offering advice on topics such as delivery, breastfeeding, immunization and good nutrition.” This app has the ability to do great things and help women throughout all stages of pregnancy and even afterwards. Once more people in the developing world gain access to smart-phones, this app can do a lot more for an even greater number of people.
Source: Mobile Midwive
OLPC is a very innovative and powerful way to effectively bring technology to children in developing countries, help connect them with the world, and improve ICT4D in education. However although it may seem like an amazing tool, the implementation has come across many problems and the OLPC initiative has realized that there is much more work to be done. In many rural areas of developing countries, electricity can be extremely hard to get to. If access is even slightly available, it is usually very expensive. Thus, many schools in these areas do not have much access to electricity. Just like any other computer, the XO laptops need to be charged. In remote Papua New Guinea, inaccessible electricity is the case for both schools and homes. So when it comes to charging their laptops, what are the children supposed to do?
In many areas where OLPC has been implemented, there have also been solar power designs that would give power to a centralized AC unit and thus providing affordable and usable energy for the power of the XO laptops. However, it is very problematic to try to charge many laptops at once. This is a huge problem, especially in remote Papua New Guinea because since most children do not have access to electricity at home, everyone of them needs to be able to charge their laptops in school in order to use them as apart of the classroom experience. If they would all try to charge their laptops to one centralized AC unit, the inverter would burn out and nobody’s battery would charge.
In reference to this problem, the OLPC initiative has worked on a novel solution to overcome these challenges. Referred to by the name DC Share, the new system uses solar panels once again. However this time, instead of going through an unstable centralized AC unit, DC power is shared directly to the laptops from the solar panels with no inverters or anything in between. The system uses an eight meter cable which connects up to four very thin and flexible solar panels on one end and up to four XO laptops on the other. Since these panels are portable, they can be stored in the classroom over night and in the morning the children can lay them outside in the sun or on the roof and have the eight meter cable come in through an open window. This allows for much more accessibility to electricity to charge the XO laptops and therefore much greater use amongst the children. Initially when I first read about the OLPC initiative, I was very skeptical because of all of the implementation flaws and challenges that surrounded its success. However OLPC has really stepped up their game to try to overcome these challenges and do what they can to insure sustainable use.
Powering Education in Remote Papua New Guinea
The Cook Islands, located in the Pacific Oceania region, is not an area usually typical to the center of development initiatives. However they are in necessary need. Because of their location and physical geography, small islands completely surrounded by ocean in a tropical area, they are very prone to natural disasters. With the recent global climate change, their vulnerability has drastically increased. Also, the climate change has caused much social, economic, and environmental pressure amongst the islands due to water shortages, deforestation and soil erosion. Yet there is a general lack of information and awareness of the effects of changing weather patterns that exists amongst locals.
Recently a local NGO, Te Rito Enua (TRE) has partnered with the government as well as the Asian Development Bank to implement an initiative that would educate locals of the harms they face with the changing climate and what they can do to lessen the effects. They held training for four communities on two different islands that would enable them to develop tools and skills needed to asses their own specific climate risk. They were trained in mapping, climate models, GPS and GIS, and map interpretation. After training, members of the community realized the many vulnerabilities that existed such as the poor location of disaster shelters and the growth of invasive plants. The information that they were able to retrieve was integrated into existing government files so that each community would be able to receive a map showing all vulnerability areas. With this information, the project formed Climate Change and Disaster Committees. These allowed locals to voice their own opinions about what was going on. Through these committees, community members identified traditional practices such as organic farming and the traditional building practices and styles to combat the increases in extreme heat. The community discussions also touched on deeper issues such as loss of language and culture and unsustainable resource use.
This was a bottom-up approach to development used by TRE. Strategies were developed from the family to the community to the island and then even up to a national level. This development technique proved that community-based participatory approach is essential to the project’s success because local knowledge that was given was unavailable to high-level planners. Community participation and input from a local level really does place the reality of the climate change issues at a level more relevant to the community.
Assessing Climate Risk in the Cook Islands
Throughout the world, there are many digital divides that exist both between developed and developing countries as well as between different subgroups within countries. Although more commonly digital divides exist within the developing world, there are many instances existing in the developed world such as between different marginalized groups of a population. More recently, there has been a large digital divide between the marginalized indigenous people of Australia and the rest of the population. Many of these people live in remote villages in the Northern Territory of Australia where acces to more mainstream aspects of Australian culture are limited.
A new project funded by the Australian government, partnered with Burum Media and the Batchelor Institue of Indigenous Tertiary Education, is working to fight against the growing gap between the indigenous Australians and the rest of the population. The NT Mojos project’s goal is to increase the number of mobile journalist (Mojos). To do this, the project goes into remote villages and picks multiple candidates that will be trained to use the technology which is through an app on the iPhone 4. These trained reporters will be able to create and then share stories about things going on in their communities with the rest of Australia by posting them on a government website. This in turn will hopefully lessen the marginalized view of indigenous life that most Australians hold of them.
Another issue faced within indigenous societies is lack of education and literacy. The NT Mojo project will also fight to increase literacy rates. They have stated that the project will teach “story-telling first and technology second.” People will begin to think about stories and issues in their communities and have a chance to think of creative ways to convey them. This innovative ICT directed towards helping the indigenous people has many benefits such as increasing literacy rates and publicizing the daily life of indigenous communities to the rest of Australia. Hopefully this will bridge the widening gap and help to decrease the profound digital divide.