Conference on efforts by ICT 4 Democracy partners


Today we’re attending the “ICT4 Democracy Partners National Conference” in Kampala, Uganda.
Partners discuss projects, present results and lessons learned for efforts which have been funded by SPIDER. Read More →

Connectivity in Uganda: The struggles

So we’re doing a little ICT project here in Uganda. I’m writing this as a little cautionary tale for anyone else trying a similar ICT solution around here (and there seem a lot, not aware of each other, but that’s stuff for another post).

After initially being impressed with the quality of the mobile phone networks here, which seemed more reliable and providing significantly more bandwidth than any “regular” internet connections we tried, it now seems it isn’t all that perfect.

I’m no expert on the communication technologies involved, but my wild guess is a mixture of signals which interfere with each other while competing for dominance, and sketchy maintenance of the overall network, which is growing faster than pretty much anything else around here. This is my guess because we experienced consistently better performance in the rural areas north of Kampala.

In praxis, this is the problem we’re having: We testing a solution where an automated system (IVR) calls people on their mobile phones, but it often doesn’t reach these people. Funnily enough, the logs (we’re using Tropo to make the calls) show that everything works fine – the user answered the call. In reality, the phone never rang.

Public Transportation in Uganda

BodaBodas are a fast, but somewhat risky means of transportation

Transport here can be a bit of an adventure. Read More →

Accommodation in Uganda

For our three week stay in Uganda we are staying at a Guesthouse, namely “manhattan guest house” which has generally gotten quite nice reviews from fellow Bazungu. In a simple room you get a bed with mosquito net (standard pretty much anywhere, but better check the net for holes) and in our case individual bathrooms. Mine has a shower head, though the wall mount is broken,and the water is cold. You’ll get used to it, in many cases it might be better to switch to washing with a washcloth, though. Read More →

Connectivity in Uganda


Today we started our first day getting set up to work in Uganda. It’s easy to get a SIM card, you just go to a special shop and register it using your passport. So we’ve set up, got a SIM card each to stay in touch with each other and any people to get hold of, plus some for 3G browsing.
Getting some plan with 3G (you can buy packages for a day, a week, a month etc. with different data volumes) is highly recommended to stay online. By the way: Mini/Micro/Nano SIM cards are available – they’ll simply cut a regular one to the right size. Read More →

Preparing for a trip to Uganda

Ugandan Flag

So it has been a while since I wrote something, but I think this here could be interesting for others: Tomorrow, a fellow Student and I are going on a trip to Uganda. It’s going to be our second one, so we collected a little bit of experience. I haven’t found a terrible many posts about people telling about their experiences of traveling to Uganda, so this might help people that are preparing for such a thing. I found quite a bit information by missionaries, typically US-Americans, and while that info certainly can be interesting the scope of this trip is of course quite different, so maybe it helps others that travel to Uganda or other regions of Sub-Saharan Africa for research trips or other projects. Read More →

SIDeR 2013 – Day 1


Today I attended the first day of the SIDeR 2013 conference.
After a keynote on the various roles prototyping can play in interaction Design I presented the paper Developing a Cross-media Service to Promote Citizen Participation in Northern Uganda about the People’s Voices project I conducted with three fellow students – it went quite well for my first conference paper presentation, I guess. Read More →

Searching Literature using Papers 2

The search view of Papers 2

Recently I switched my reference manager from Mendeley to Papers. Not that I was particularly dissatisfied with Mendeley (free), but Papers (40$ for Students, originally for Mac, but recently also published for Windows) does have some really neat features. Read More →

Facebook Integration on WordPress

It is about time that I do an overhaul of my old Joomla-based website, which I did not update in ages.

I’ve chosen to go for WordPress now, and keep a blog for posting things that deserve a bit more publicity than a Facebook post.

Nonetheless, since most interaction happens there, I wanted deep integration with Facebook. Luckily,  the official Facebook Plugin for WordPress provides just that. It allows the standards such as adding the ubiquitous “like” button, or integrating the public feed from some Facebook page on WordPress. But the nice thing is that it also enables “Social Publishing” using Facebook’s Open Graph, meaning new content appears directly to a specified user’s Facebook profile (or a Facebook Page, if you like). It furthermore  allows to unify the comment sections, so that personal friends may comment directly on Facebook and the comments appear on WordPress and vice versa.

Unfortunately, the look of the Facebook-provided comment box does not fit the site’s theme very well, but for now I’ll have to live with that. (Overwriting the CSS probably violates some conditions)

Update: It seems I got the thing about having unified comments wrong. Comments to the post notifications that get created on my Facebook wall do not appear here. And that post notification shows much less of the article than I’d have expected. Let’s see if that’s tweakable.