It looks like you can never have too much information, right? We’ve got teh Internets, 24/7, cable, satellite, terrestrial and IP TV, mobile internet, FM radio and even quaint text services if you know where to look. But it’s not enough. Apparently we need more.
Step up Lantern, which is the offshoot of an organization called Outernet. The New York based operation has been trialing the broadcast of over the air satellite transmissions of ‘news and information’ services across large swathes of the globe, and now wants to make the service even more available by introducing a tiny portable solar powered receiver.
It’s a clever idea all right. The outernet people grab Internet feeds, chop and dice and beam them up to space, where their satellites beam them back down to the little receiver which stores the data and offers it up to anyone with a local WiFi connection. What could be better?
On the face of it, it all sounds very laudable, with lots of talk about ’empowerment’, freedom, anti-censorship etc, but at the end of the day, it’s still nothing more than a selection of carefully chosen net feeds, which don’t really add anything more than noise to the already laden airwaves. Sure there’s a potential for emergency situation broadcasts, but that’s already pretty well served with shortwave radio. So where’s the beef?
It doesn’t really help when you learn that the first sponsor of the initiative (which is firmly based in the commercial camp, no charitable vision here at all) is none other than the world’s favorite charitable enterprise, The World Bank, which as we know has been working hard on its public relations efforts in recent decades. What can possibly go wrong?
We’re not going to say any more, except to mention that if you want in on this ‘revolution’ in data broadcasting, you’ll need to stump up $149 for the Lantern device itself. Good luck. We’ll just be over here sorting through our old 8 track cassette collection instead.