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Open source telephony platform, Asterisk, has been used for years as an inexpensive alternative to proprietry PBXs, democratising this previously closed service industry. Why then did Freedom Fone choose to use FreeSWITCH as its telephony component instead of Asterisk? Our Project Architect, Alberto Escudero Pascual, will answer that question in the new year, but until then clues lie in this comment from Telecom Monthly:

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I recently found a very interesting article by Kevin Randall from Fast Company "The Boob-Tube, Not YouTube, Is Transforming the World". This is a good opportunity to clarify a bit where the Web Foundation stands in that discussion. In few words, the article is about the power and impact of the Web on Social and Economic development, and how it relates to other medias, TV, mobile, radio..

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Richard Heeks has entered the ITU data on mobile phone penetration for all countries from 1998-2008 into a Google Docs spreadsheet, and then added the Motion Chart visualiser. Makes for very interesting viewing. Read the article

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Amanda and I have just returned from Dar es Salaam. We were on the road with Freedom Fone.

Last Tuesday, Nov 17 it was 9 degrees at 9am in orderly Johannesburg and 28 degrees with sweat inducing humidity at 7pm in chaotic Dar. After negotiating the jam-packed arrivals hall we smiled in relief when we discovered John holding up a torn piece of cardboard with Freedom Fone scribbled on it. We couldn't speak Swahili and he couldn't speak English but we made our greetings and jumped into his car for the ride of our life to a lodge off the Old Bagamoyo Road in Michokeni B.

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A guide to getting SMS campaigns up-and-running in the shortest possible time and with the minimum of fuss. Read the article

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Peer News -- a project aimed at creating the kind of local journalism that brings accountability and value to a community. Read the article

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So get pissed off and start a Facebook group. Launch a Twitter hashtag. Translate compassion into action. But realize that the most effective action probably involves aggregating and disseminating information, building knowledge and awareness that’s an asset even if it doesn’t lead directly to political change. Read the article by Ethan Zuckerman

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Instead of cracking open a book, try sitting back with a short story on your phone. CellStories, which launched in September, offers a new short (1500-2500 words) story every weekday to readers on mobile phones. Read the article

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Activism      New media

Audio interview with leading UN voices on the value of technology in development and demo - It is technologies like mobile phones, which are being used by the United Nations to achieve its goals of development, says the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon. Read the article

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It is posited that, despite the mainstream opinion that technology is gender neutral, cultural values and practices have more tended to exclude women from access to and power over different technologies. Read the article

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Gender      New media

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