Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tunis: WSIS and WSA, part 3

Yesterday I started my trip to Tunis yesterday at 15:00h from Utrecht. At Milano Malpensa airport I met my friend Osama with his lovely wife. He was lugging around bags full of the book. He allowed me to have a copy for inspection. E-Content: Voices from the Ground, The Sequel 2 looks really great. In the meantime Osama and his wife get some routine in producing books in a short time. Again the book was produced between the Grand Jury, which was in September and the WSIS opening; in less than 40 days 38 contributors wrote their country profile on content, Osama and his wife edited the book, his wife designed it and did the lay-out and it was ready for the printer and binder. They must have worked very hard.

By 23.30 we arrived at Tunis, where we had to go through the usual formalities. We were not allowed to take a cab to transport the books to the hotel. But we had to go with a bus of the organisation and were brought to our hotel after many stop-overs. The hotels are closely guarded and there are a lot of policeman around. I have been in Tunis years ago and I recognised some of the buildings and places we passed.

In the morning we got up early in order to beat the queues at the registration desk. After that formality we were bussed to the Kram Expo hall. Osama and his wife were still lugging their bags with books through the exhibition hall. At the exhibition the audience awaits a weird collection of exhibitors. The big companies as Nokia and Microsoft, HP, Cisco they are all there. They of course are less commercial over here; they are audience sensitive. So Intel, for example, shows low power consumption applications for ruggedised computers (always handy in the desert, the US HQ must have thought) , while Hitachi shows two products out of its product range, a motor and a portable. The rest of the exhibitors look more like missionaries, be it for a non-religious cause. With Nokia you will know what they sell, but with the missionaries you have to get sucked in into their message first, as you can not see from the outside what their message is.

On my way into the exhibition hall my eye caught a mock-up and a prototype of Negroponte’s 100 dollar computer which will be catching more media attention than the politicians, I guess. The pay off of the campaign is: every child a computer. Want to know more about the 100 dollar computer, just google it.

A mock-up and a prototype of the 100 dollar computer

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