Paul Polak and the Art of Listening

Paul Polak is a hero of mine. He created a nonprofit organization called International Development Enterprises (IDE) and spent 25 years there developing creative ways to make poor people in Asia and Africa less poor. His specialty is developing sustainable tools that rural farmers earning $2/day actually buy in order to increase the amount of…

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Innovative Teachers, This Time in Hong Kong

It’s time again for Microsoft’s Innovative Teacher’s Forum (ITF), an annual event where we celebrate the 100 or so coolest teachers from around the world, all who are doing great things in terms of integrating technology into their classrooms. This year the event is taking place in Hong Kong. You can learn more about ITF…

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A Little Zippier

Last week we loaned an OLPC XO laptop running Windows to Ina Fried at CNET, and today she posted an article, short video, and some photos about her experience with the computer. You should definitely check it out. I have to say, at Microsoft we are pretty happy with where we are at on this…

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The Real Problem With Windows AND Linux In Emerging Market Education

  The Ecosystem Impact of Affordable Computing This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. This past spring Microsoft hired Vital Wave Consulting to create a five year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model to help us and our customers better understand the true cost structure for deploying large numbers of…

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The Delightful People from Aga Khan

I had the opportunity to participate in a signing ceremony today between Microsoft and the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of agencies administering a broad set of programs in education, health, and social development. Shown here is a photo of Iqbal Noor Ali from Aga Khan along with my UPG colleague Michael Rawding. The…

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ICT4D Explained

ICT4D, or "Information and Communication Technologies for Development" is the name for the multidisciplinary academic approach involving the application of high tech to address international development problems. Kentaro Toyama – who leads Microsoft Research’s Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group in India – just forwarded around some pointers to a series of papers that appeared…

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Netbook Momentum …

I haven’t seen much about this in the press yet, but yesterday Intel and Carlos Slim in Mexico announced a deal to deploy 50,000 Intel Classmate Netbook computers to poor students in Mexico. These machines will be running Windows and Office. The agreement is between Fundacion Telmex and Intel, and the 50,000 machines are apparently…

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How to Build Solutions for MOP and BOP

Channel 9 is running an interview with with Tara Prakriya, a solutions architect here in the Unlimited Potential Group, as their featured video right now. Tara focuses on designing education solutions for poor schools and has some interesting ideas on the challenges we face in adapting a Windows-based solution for areas that lack basic things…

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Recent Recap (Rural)

I was out of the office over the last 5 weeks, and during that time we had a lot going on in the Unlimited Potential Group, especially around some of our efforts involving rural computing. For starters, we have posted a video and have engaged in a public discussion around Digital Green, an agriculture extension…

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Western China Project

A group of people from Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential team are heading out to Western China next week to raise awareness on a firsthand basis around issues involving the digital divide for rural communities in emerging market countries. You can learn more about the project on the UP home page. The team will be evangelizing existing…

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