OKAPI Spotlight – February 2009

Every month, OKAPI Spotlight features Open Knowledge news at UC Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Lizzy. To receive more frequent updates, join our email listserv.

On Campus
Understanding Science
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the UC Museum of Paleontology of the University of California at Berkeley collaborated with scientists and teachers to develop this project, which is focused on  “provid[ing] a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works.” This project focuses on the teaching of science in classrooms, as well as the public engagement and understanding of science.

Co-Evolution of the Mobile Phone and users in Rural Uganda
February 11, 2009: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building, the Maria & Dado Banatao Conference Room
Jenna Burrell, assistant Professor in the School of Information, will discuss how technological development (e.g mobile phones) should focus on the interests of users, rather than “seek to introduce entirely novel devices and systems.” Cultural and environmental context shape how individual engage and use technology in ways that are useful and meaningful to them. “A particular case is the successful repurposing of the phone to facilitate money transfers.  This was accomplished by sending air-time codes via text message.  In this way users have extended and improved the utility of the mobile phone.”

Funeral for Analog TV
The service will take place at the Berkeley Art Museum
Tuesday, February 17, at 7:00 PM
Although Congress has postponed the date, BAM/ PFA, along with the Berkeley Center for New Media, KOFY TVV-20, and the Long Now Foundation, invite the public to “mourn the loss of our long time acquaintance, the Analog Television Signal,” which was born in San Francisco in the 1920s. The public is encouraged to bring their old analog sets to recycle, though the first 40 will be stacked as part of a memorial. Events include a brief history of the television, a funeral dirge, and finally a eulogy. “It’s rare that the entire nation gets a specific date on which one major medium dies and is replaced by another. This event will be a scholarly and artistic reflection on the passing of one of the dominant mediums and cultural influences of the late 20th century.”

Flickr, Flarfing and Babelfish: The Internet and Art Practice
Ray Beldner
March 2, 2009
As part of the UC Berkeley Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium, Ray Beldner, an artist from San Francisco, will “describe the vital role the Internet plays in his own creative process.” The Internet has provided artists with accessible content and tools, thus changing the way art can and has been created

Around the World
2009 NMC Summer Conference Call for Proposals Opens
Deadline: February 16. 2009
The 2009 New Media Consortium will be at California State University, Monterey Bay. NMC is currently calling for proposals focused on “reconference workshops, breakout sessions, posters and interactive sessions, and NMC’s fast-paced Five Minutes of Fame.”

Google Unveils Cellphone Version of Digital-Book Collection
Google’s digital-book collection has been formatted so that the collection can be viewed and read on a cellphone. Users are only able to read books that belong in the public domain, however. This is yet another example of how mobile phones are being used in multiple ways to share, connect, and even educate the public.


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