Nong Kalaland; Nepal’s Drones; Internet Use & Teen Health; Microsoft

Posted October 7th, 2015 at 3:37 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Thailand’s Gamers Fight to Save Open Internet

Thailand’s idea of controlling Internet traffic through one gateway is not sitting well with a lot of the country’s citizens. Several groups that include privacy activists – even gamers – have united to take down government websites with coordinated Distributed Denial of Service attacks. The groups have created a fictional character to represent their struggle on Facebook, called Nong Kalaland.

In Nepal, a Model for Using Drones for Humanitarianism Emerges

Following the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal earlier this year, Patrick Meier of Humanitarian UAV Network has been using drones to map affected areas. The aerial photos and 3D models generated by the drones help track  recovery efforts.

Smartphone Users in Emerging Markets Deserve Better Than Watered-Down Internet

As billions of people in countries like India and Bangladesh and others adopt mobile devices for their Internet use, Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, asks about the quality of content they are getting, given a survey released earlier this year by Quartz that said millions of Facebook users don’t even know that they are on the Internet or how much access they are getting. Surman calls for access that allows for education and openness.

Lagos Finds Its Digital Saviors

According to a recent report from Ericsson, Nigeria boasts around 150 million active mobile phones. And when those gadgets break down, people try to have them fixed at market stalls. But a new startup called SuperGeeks has found a market niche for maintaining and repairing the country’s mobile toys.

Heavier Internet Use Raises Risk of High Blood Pressure in Teens

Teens spending at least 14 hours a week on the Internet have elevated blood pressure, according to research done at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. The findings bolster existing studies that show a correlation between heavy Internet use and a variety of health risks, including addiction, anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation.

Instant Messaging Continues to Grow, Led by Asia

A study from global research consultancy firm TNS shows that daily use of instant messaging (IM) has risen 12 percent over the past year with platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber. Up to 55 percent of global Internet users are now using IM on a daily basis. About 76 percent use it weekly.

Why Microsoft’s Audacious Vision for the Future of Computing is Finally Ready

Until recently, the question of relevance – or irrelevance – plagued Microsoft for years. But writer Brad Chacos argues that Microsoft’s vision of unifying hardware and software in a holistic way is finally coming to fruition, although it remains to be seen if the world will embrace the new Microsoft.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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