Lift12, Development, Redevelopment: Steve Song [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces prochains jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of Steve Song‘s talk — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

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Mobile access in South Africa looks great from a distance, but isn’t that wonderful once you zoom in. Zimbabwe: same thing, good coverage along big highways, but kind of crap elsewhere.

Other issue: it’s actually very expensive. Upto 50% or more of their income on mobile services. steph-note: did I get that right?

That raises the cost of innovation. Less resilience: single point of failure.

Internet infrastructure vs. telephone infrastructure.

1999: better computer through more refined computer power. At the same time, Page and Brin are improving computing by multiplying commodity PCs (superfluous computing, redundancy).

Similar: scaffolding in the US (minimal, calculated, each rod can support x weight) and in Uganda, Ethiopia (steph-note: and India)… doesn’t matter what the individual quality of the sticks are.

Copper is too expensive as a commodity. Wireless access. Not very expensive. Ubiquitous. Wifi devices will surpass mobile phones in numbers this year.

Many routers run on open source software => hack the device. Inside, but also outside. You can send a signal really far by attaching an empty can to the antenna.

Get a bunch of smart hackers together. Make it simple. Plug an ordinary phone into a wireless wifi network. Needed an analog telephony adaptor. Hence the MeshPotato was born. Not your average wifi device! Tougher, power surge resistant, can be powered by wind, solar, etc.

  • open source
  • open hardware
  • faster
  • cheaper

In practice? Device needs to be outside. Mesh network. No towers involved.

East Timor: monopoly telco, so MeshPotato used to create an alternate, cheaper, network.

South Africa: used to bring the internet 40km away from where it was.

Plumbing manufacturer in Johannesburg: cheaper solution deployed throughout the company to keep everyone in touch.

Photosynth: takes multiple photos to create a higher-resolution one. No reason we couldn’t do this with wifi.

Laurent: if one node of the MeshPotato network gets connected to the internet, the whole local network gets connected.

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