Thursday, July 26, 2007

Surprise, surprise...

Citizenre's plans delayed...until they say...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Three Short Items

First off, I just added MadKast to this blog. That's the little green icon by the post and it will allow you to to easily share posts with others, if you so desire. It's presently by invitation and in beta. Please try it out, and let me know if you like it or if it causes any issues.

Second, I mentioned blogging about Intersolar 2007 in Frieburg. It was certainly a very interesting show. However I've decided not to get into it to avoid any possible disclosure of non-public information about my company's direction and future plans. By the way, this is 100% my decision and my employer has applied no pressure on me whatsoever (in fact, I don't even know if they are aware of this blog).

Finally, it's as good a time as any to announce that I will be speaking at Solar Power 2007 in Long Beach. The unofficial title of the talk is “Off The Rack – Recent Innovations In Mounting System Design”. If you're able to make it, come up and say hi.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Inspiration in Africa

Well, I've been away from the blog for quite some time. I just got married about a month ago and have been on my honeymoon since...well, we stopped through Intersolar 2007 so I'll blog on that too...but anyway that's kept me away from the computer! In the meantime Heliotropic has gotten a lot of attention as a "blog of note" - quite cool.

What I wanted to post on tonight is something quite incredible: The blog of a 19 year old Malawian secondary student, William Kamkwamba.

This is an extraordinary blog for many reasons. First, he started this blog only 2 weeks after learning about the internet at the TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania.

Mr. Kamkwamba was attending this conference because of the work he's been doing in is village to provide his family with electricity -- building a wind turbine entirely out of scrap materials and wood, and armed only with his intellect, junior-high education and a book on electricity.

It's an almost unbelievable story...but it is also quite inspiring. Can you imagine what just a little help (books, light to read by, internet access) can do to help people in these communities that are already motivated to improve their lives and hungry for knowledge?

Now, it's clear to me that Kamkwamba is absolutely exceptional and actually something of a genius. Nonethless - there is no greater demonstration of the human potential that is tragically untapped in Africa due a lack of resources in education, basic health care, and infrastructure that we take for granted.

On the positive side, it is incredible to see people like Kamkwamba work with what they have to improve their own lives and it shows that there are any number of ways to solve a problem with the resources at hand. It is truly appropriate technology; if (when) the windmill breaks, he will readily be able to fix it, because he built it himself and the parts are readily available in his community. No need to parachute in expensive parts or specialists from Europe, the US, or even the capital city.

It's the very definition of appropriate technology.