Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing has been filing a four-part multimedia extravaganza of a series from Dharamsala for NPR's Day To Day show. It's called "Hacking the Himalayas" and it
explores how Western "hackers" are building low-cost communications networks to bring phone and Web service to displaced Tibetan refugees -- and how native peoples are trying to hold onto their culture in an interconnected world.
I'm trying to be open-minded about Xeni's journalistic skills and about the genuine benefits that the Internet will offer to exiled Tibetans, but certain passages just make me gag.
Inside the Gyuto Ramoche temple in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, the scene is timeless, seemingly centuries old: Rows of scarlet-robed young monks from Tibet, hunched over prayer scrolls in mediation [sic].
But outside, an antenna sits on a rooftop not far away. It's one of 30 connection points in a wireless network that's bringing the Internet to this remote region where communication technology has been expensive, unreliable and hard to come by -- until now.
Praise Buddha! There's hardly more depth to the rest of the feature, which is all written in this breathless techno-evangelist style.
At the Tibetan Children's Village, youngsters are learning "computer skills" like how to build web pages and do other things:
TCV officials envision a future where Tibetan exiles man up profitable call centers, like the ones in India's booming tech centers further south. Or e-commerce sites, selling traditional art or yak cheese online.
This is progress? And have you heard about CD-ROMs?
Tibetan elders are also embracing technology as a way to share cultural knowledge. Sacred texts, once smuggled out of Tibet or hidden from the Chinese, are being preserved digitally. Hundreds of volumes can fit onto a handful of CD-ROMs.
Link: NPR : Hacking the Himalayas.