A High School Student’s Views on Software Freedom

I first noticed this blog on fsdaily. Lots of really good info so far.

Some titles:

Make sure you check out A High School Student’s Views on Software Freedom.

Heres the latest 5 items from his rss feed:

Junior 8 Summit 2008: Japan

The J8 Summit is the youth parallel event to the G8 Summit, which since 2005 gives children and young people the opportunity to articulate and present their opinions and views, concerns and recommendations on important issues and problems affecting them and those which require future action from G8 leaders.

Junior 8 Summit 2008 is being held parallel to the G8 summit of world leaders in Tokyo and is currently taking place in Chitose, on the island of Hokkaido until the 9th of July 2008. This years summit is being attended by 39 children – a group of 4 from each G8 country and 7 from developing nations. The young people will take part in workshops, round table discussions and exercises to help them think through each of the issues on the agenda.

What are the Junior 8 2008 topics?

a. Global warming and climate change

b. Poverty and development

c. Child survival, infectious diseases, and HIV/AIDS

Every day, on average, more than 26,000 children under the age of five die, most of them from preventable causes. Children need a combination of essential vitamins to grow and develop. Deficiency of vitamin A in particular often leads to death from measles and diarrhoea. It is also a major cause of blindness.

UNICEF-voices of youth is a brilliant website aimed at children and young people.

Mission statement

To offer all children and adolescents, including the hard-to-reach, a safe and supportive global cyberspace within which they can explore, discuss and partner on issues related to human rights and social change, as well as develop their awareness, leadership, community building, and critical thinking skills through active and substantive participation with their peers and with decision makers globally.

If you want to help UNICEF either by starting your own project or by encouraging awareness then visit this page.

Micro-blogging with Laconica

I have been fairly busy this week and has set up a micro-blogging site on superuser using Laconica. Its an open source micro-blogging tool written in PHP. Laconica was created as a direct response of a need to create an open source, distributed alternative to Twitter. At the moment Laconica has a basic microblog feature which will most certainly be built on rapidly due to the open source nature of the software.

These are upcoming priority features for Laconica, which include:

  • SMS updates and notifications
  • A Twitter-compatible API
  • More AJAX-y interface
  • Cross-post to Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc.
  • Pull messages from Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc.
  • Facebook integration

Microblogging started as a way for young and technologically savvy users to keep in touch, and gradually the practice has moved into the mainstream. In the United States, for example, Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards started microblogging details from the campaign trail. Some traditional media organizations, including The New York Times and the BBC, have begun to send headlines and links in microblog posts. Other potential applications of microblogging include traffic and sports updates and emergency broadcast systems.

I think microblogging is a useful public relations vehicle. You can connect with influencers, and have the opportunity to connect with the network of people they follow, and you also can keep tabs on projects. I think the future will be microblogging platforms that are more tightly targeted. Take for example, PlaceShout it has an intrinsic value. It works like Twitter, but its goal is consumer reviews. Users have 100 characters to leave a review of a place of business, and the reviews are overlaid on Google Maps.


I checked out a pretty cool game called Tremulous. Its a free and open source, team-based first person shooter. The game features two teams, humans and aliens, and the aim is to build and protect a base. I am not sure I quite got the hang of it, I managed to shoot and kill Jack, who happened to be on my team….oops.

Tremulous is licensed under the GPL, although it includes code from other projects that was released under other GPL-compatible licenses. Most of the game media is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

The release of the game as free and open source software has meant that programmers can modify the game and game engine. This has meant that a growing number of players are releasing patches for the game in order to remove bugs, add features to the game or modify the game play itself.

Its well worth a look. I am going to need a bit more practice I think.

OneSchool online student database

I was browsing the web and found an interesting article about an intranet database dubbed OneSchool, which will profile Queensland’s 480,000 public school students enrolled from Prep to Year 12. It will contain photographs, personal details, career aspirations, off-campus activities and student performance records.

Some parents are outraged and concerned about the possibility that it will make their children vulnerable to paedophiles. Others worry that hackers will target the information.

I was shocked to read in one article that the Education Minister has suggested that if parents refuse to give their consent to their child being profiled, they could also be denied access to public education.

I am still not sure how I feel about this matter, I can understand some of the fears people have, I am not sure that such a centralized database is necessary….

Any thoughts on the matter, feel free to have your say.