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Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the like-comcast-but-open-source dept.

Networking 140

An anonymous reader writes "Residents of Jalalabad have built the FabFi network: an open-source system that uses common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles."

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Homebrew mesh networking. (4, Insightful)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574312)

For the win. P2P win, that is.

Re:Homebrew mesh networking. (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574702)

For a second, I was wondering if Jon Katz was back, and if this was a rehash of the supposed "Afghan miracle" from a bygone era.

Re:Homebrew mesh networking. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575094)

Now all they have to do is start using 80% of its capacity to pass the same top-40 mp3s and anime videos back and forth on it incessantly.

Re:Homebrew mesh networking. (3, Funny)

vga_init (589198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576522)

Pashtun to Pashtun networking?

Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574314)

Why are posts accepted that have no damn information? How, exactly, do we duplicate this setup?

Re:Any real information? (3, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574488)

Maybe RTFA if you are that interested. I seem to have been able to find all the information on how to set it up and even read through the wiki with the server setup required.

You must really fail at the Internet if you don't know how to click on a link...

Re:Any real information? (3, Informative)

2phar (137027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574674)

Wiki with the tech details here [google.com]

Re:Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574712)

Go build or buy a cantenna. They are cheap and can boost wifi signal strength quite far.

Captcha: "transmit"

heh

Re:Any real information? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574792)

They're not doing any crappy little cantennas, they're building fair-sized (2 to 16 ft^2) dishes with chicken-wire or window screen stretched over a wood or plastic frame.

Re:Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575544)

Nobody said that they were using cantennas.

Comprehension skills: learn some.

Re:Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36576312)

You may want to take your own advice. You'll notice "crappy little cantennas," and then you'll notice the bit about fair-sized dishes. In other words, they're not doing stupid little half-arsed antenna bashed together by someone with no clue.

Re:Any real information? (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575946)

The Rob Flickenger "cantenna" design doesn't work. A Pringles tube is too small to be resonant anywhere near 2.4GHz, and the threaded rod with the stack of washers just blocks the signal from coming out of the end. It actually works better sideways, since the cardboard doesn't block any of the signal (and the silvery plastic doesn't act as a reflector).

Stopped waveguide antennas *do* work, but for a "cantenna" like that to work it would need to be about 80mm diameter and much shorter. I've built a couple like this, and they give about 6-8dB gain over a dipole. The really neat thing is that you can use them as a dish feed, although on all but the largest satellite dishes you find lying around it will be grossly over-illuminated. If you really want to feed a dish, put a USB wifi (or bluetooth) dongle in a corner reflector at the focus of an old satellite dish - make a wooden block that holds the USB dongle just about 5mm back from the front of where the LNB would go.

Incidentally, "Cantenna" is the name of an old Heathkit dummy load, so be careful asking radio amateurs about them - depending on the context you could be talking about a stopped waveguide or an old paint tin full of resistors, sand and engine oil...

It's worth pointing out that it's probably illegal to do this in most countries, without an appropriate licence. In Afghanistan, I suspect it's not a big deal.

Re:Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36576474)

If you really want to feed a dish, put a USB wifi (or bluetooth) dongle in a corner reflector at the focus of an old satellite dish - make a wooden block that holds the USB dongle just about 5mm back from the front of where the LNB would go.

What kind of range do you get on that? I'm moving a bit further from my parents house than I currently am, increasing the distance from a few hundred metres to around 5,600 meters, and I'm trying to determine if I can get reliable wifi over that range. I keep coming up with the Pringles cantenna when I Google, and I just don't know enough about radio or wireless to know what I'm looking for, or at. (Presently, I've got a couple of WRT54Gs running with a couple of WAN2085/2185 cell antennae providing a fairly slow link, with a wooden wall blocking LOS..)

Re:Any real information? (5, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574742)

    The story was a little sparse on information, but one of the links goes to their page here: http://fabfi.fablab.af/ [fablab.af] . I didn't go through their docs, but I see that they do exist.

    You should be able to figure most of it out just by looking at the pictures, if you have a bit of knowledge in the area.

    The dishes appear to be offset parabolic dishes or troughs. Full wave for 2.4Ghz is about 4.9". So if you want to reflect that, you'd want to go smaller than 1/4 wave, or use a mesh with holes no wider or taller than 1.2". In the pictures, they appear to be using metallic window screen. You could probably get away with "chicken wire" (small mesh wire for chicken coops, so chicks can't escape). I haven't measured the spacing on those in years, but I do remember that it's small.

        For your transceiver, stick your wireless USB device at the focal point, and back it with something to reflect the signal going the wrong way back into the dish, so your power won't be wasted. A curved piece of foil or some other metal will do the trick.

    I'm suggesting putting the device on the focal point, rather than running an antenna from the device to the focal point, to eliminate loss from the length of the antenna wire.

    "Borrowing" a satellite TV antenna (such as DishNetwork, DirectTV, or Sky), and replacing the LNB with your transmitter would serve the same purpose, but it will be more obvious. At a distance, window screen is effectively invisible.

    If I remember the DefCon contest winners for long range wifi correctly, they used old C/KU residential dishes, with their transceiver at the original focal point. From what I understand, there is an effective size limitation, so going from 3 feet to 15 feet wide won't necessarily help your situation. A 100 foot wide antenna won't have an advantage over a 5 foot wide one, and you may degrade your signal due to receiving extraneous noise.

    If you're crafting it yourself, you have to calculate your focal point. If you're using a previously used parabolic dish, the focal point has already been found for you.

    You may have to mess around with polarity a bit. I believe most wifi operates with a vertical alignment, but does seem to survive ok with horizontal alignment. If you're going for long range service, getting the correct alignment is key.

    When you're working with a target antenna miles in the distance, it's helpful to have a good telescope to find the correct direction. Fine tuning is easy enough by hand with a decent signal strength app (assuming your transceiver supports it). I've done it with good tools, and even just with Netstumbler. Move it around slowly until you reach maximum signal strength.

    I've used professionally made antennas before. The longest term one was a 24dB parabolic at my house, and a 14dB panel at my office. The range was only 1/2 mile, but both sides reported 100% signal strength. That was very impressive, since they couldn't even get over 80% when they were within close proximity to each other with standard antennas. I ran with that for over a year, until our office moved. I was very happy having my own person T1 at the house, after office hours.

Re:Any real information? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574778)

Chicken wire is spaced slightly smaller than the diameter of a chicken's head, for obvious reasons. A lot of what you see sold as chicken wire isn't actually any use for chickens.

Re:Any real information? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574816)

      I wrote that with the assumption that most readers here haven't ever actually *seen* a chicken, much less a chicken coop. They may have spotted the wire at Home Depot, but that could be rare too. Last time I went looking for some, they had 3 rolls off in a corner that customers usually don't go to. It's strange that most Americans have never encountered livestock or a farm, even though they eat the results daily. Damned city dwellers. :) (said, as I'm writing this from a suburb, where there isn't anything resembling a farm for at least 20 miles in any direction)

Re:Any real information? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575406)

Real chicken wire is rather flimsy. What you want is generally called "hardware cloth" with 1/2" square openings. You can find it at Lowes for less than $10.

Yep, we raised chickens when I was growing up. Tasty!

Re:Any real information? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576386)

Considered briefly, but I think I would get far less pleasure from it than the local foxes. Animals are something cute to admire from a distance, but not when you have to go and clean up after them.

Re:Any real information? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576758)

    Ya,.. I grew up on a farm. I haven't been back to one since. :) I may put up with a lot of shit at work, but it definitely doesn't smell anywhere near as bad. :) Pretty much, anywhere the animals are kept will have a distinctive aroma that you'd wish you had never smelled.

    There's a possibility of learning a lot of things. That's why I can fix just about anything mechanical. You don't have a lot of choices. It's not really cheap to have your car towed 20 miles to town to get fixed. The same goes for your 40 year old diesel tractor that has more improvised parts than original equipment on it, home electrical, plumbing, and various other things. City dwellers had TV antennas, usually consisting of rabbit ears. Ours was a yagi up on a 50' tower. It's good way to learn about gravity too. Luckily it was only ever the tools.

Re:Any real information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574808)

Important to note is that all the antenna work is for receiving a more selective signal, not for sending a stronger signal, at least if you want to stay within legal limits. Any old access point with its stock antennas can emit the maximum allowed EIRP (equivalent isotropic radiated power). If you send a more directional beam, then you have to reduce the total emitted power so that the power in that direction does not exceed the maximum allowed EIRP. The antennas help by receiving just the signal coming from that direction and ignoring all the noise from other directions. They improve the signal to noise ratio by lowering the noise, not by increasing the signal.

Re:Any real information? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574916)

I don't think they're really that hot on enforcement of signal strength limits in Afghanistan! If it interferes with someone's television or radio reception you might get hassled, but apart from that, anything goes.

Re:Any real information? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575358)

You are right, don't worry about official enforcement.

But be careful around the neighbours, they carry AK47's.

Re:Any real information? (1)

unkiereamus (1061340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574992)

I read this entire post, thinking it was well written and seemingly well-informed enough that while most of what you were saying, I knew, I might learn something new.

I reached the end of the second to last paragraph, and I was going to write it off as "informative, but pedantic".

Then I hit the final paragraph, and you were instantly upgraded to "Awesome."

Re:Any real information? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575676)

I don't see how getting a larger dish wouldn't help. I don't buy that there's anything behind "an effective size limitation", unless you provide some links, that is. To get advantage of a big dish you definitely need to align things well -- the bigger the dish, the less tolerance for error there is.

Re:Any real information? (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576222)

off-the-shelf electronics

That's how. The multi-mile range is impressive. But aside from that, I could build an entire "Internet" with a trip to the computer store.

I am (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574320)

first!

Re:I am (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576224)

So close, yet so far.

Interesting... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574322)

I'd have thought there would be well paid contractors over there doing that with expensive, subscription based routing equipment. :P

Yes. (4, Insightful)

Toze (1668155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574352)

This is the reason I'm proud to call myself a geek. This is why I contribute to groups like EFF. This is why I tinker with networking hardware and try out Maker projects, even though I'm a software guy, and not necessarily a great one- because I'm sharing in the culture that can build a digital commons in the middle of the desert in one of the most war-torn regions of the planet using /scrap/. I mean, I'm sure Afghanistan is a great country, but the neighborhood's kinda rough- I have nothing but pride and admiration for FabFi and the people of Afghanistan.

It's probably going to get slashdotted pretty quick, so I'm going to copypasta some of their front page stuff here, and provide some of the links from their homepage at http://fabfi.fablab.af/ [fablab.af] ;

FabFi is an open-source, FabLab-grown system using common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles. With Fabfi, communities can build their own wireless networks to gain high-speed internet connectivity---thus enabling them to access online educational, medical, and other resources.

In the summer of 2010, the Fab team set out to show that Fabfi could be both reliable and sustainable. Choosing Kenya as a pilot site Fabfolk seeded three Fablab students with the hardware to begin deploying a network as a community-operated business.

FabFi is a user-extensible long range point-to-point and mesh hybrid-wireless broadband transmission infrastructure. It is based on the simple idea that a network of simple, intelligent, interconnected devices can create reliable networks in unstable environments. We use simple physics to make low-cost devices communicate directionally for very long distances (physics is cool!), and flexible configurations to adapt to a large variety of conditions.

They build their own parabolic dishes to increase antenna gain, much like the coffee-cantennas, wok-antennas, and pringles-cantennas we've all heard of.

Their blog is at http://fabfiblog.fabfolk.com/ [fabfolk.com]
Their Facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=140474289914 [facebook.com]

Re:Yes. (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574560)

Oh good grief!

Done masturbating?

Clean off the keyboard and go kiss your mom goodnight.

Re:Yes. (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574660)

I like the details on materials for the parabolic reflectors: "Reflective surface materials included chicken wire, woven stainless steel mesh and window screen." -- now *that's* what I call a mesh network!

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

wgoodman (1109297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574668)

If you were concerned about them getting slashdotted, why not provide a mirror link: http://fabfi.fablab.af.nyud.net/ [nyud.net] instead of being the first person to post their actual page?

Nothing in common at all (-1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574800)

This is the reason I'm proud to call myself a geek

On the one hand we have someone who's " ... sharing in the culture" and dabbles a bit with Maker projects. On the other we have some individuals in a war-torn country under foreign occupation actually making people's lives better by cobbling together a comms network out of what they can scrape up.

You sir, have nothing in common with these people at all and your patronising attitude (I'm sure Afghanistan is a great country, but ...) repels me.

Re:Yes. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575102)

Me, too. I like taking broken computers that people are ready to throw away and build new ones out of the parts, and give them to poor folks (especially old poor folks). And there seem to be a hell of a lot more poor folks than there were ten years ago. I urge all my fellow nerds and hardware hackers to do the same.

Be careful calling youself a geek (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575258)

Best Buy might come a calling with a lawsuit.

Any info on... (2)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574358)

...if they are using any pre-Taliban C-64s in their setup, and if Junis is involved?

Re:Any info on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574662)

ZING Noice one.

Re:Any info on... (1)

blackbeak (1227080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575446)

There's an XO and a 17" Powebook pictured in the Times article link

What else to reply but... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575542)

Welcome to Slashdot. [wikipedia.org]

Semantics maybe... (1, Insightful)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574376)

They made a WAN using wireless technology. Big fucking deal. And don't say that 'they are in a third world country so it's a big deal'. It isn't about money when it comes to technology, it is about brains, it doesn't always require money to be smart. I'm sure everybody I know makes more money than most people in Afghanistan and not a single one of them could do this, so money makes people dumb as far as I can tell.

When are people going to realize that making a big deal about what country a person is from when they do something is a big reason for xenophobia. All humans have the same genes and therefore the same ability to do the same exact thing. It shouldn't matter if you are from California or Zimbabwe.

Re:Semantics maybe... (4, Funny)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574396)

... I'm sure everybody I know makes more money than most people in Afghanistan and not a single one of them could do this, so money makes people dumb as far as I can tell.

Don't be that so harsh on the First World people, they have their own share of problems. [reddit.com]

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574410)

I'm sure the people in Afghanistan have access to the same education as the people in California...

Re:Semantics maybe... (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575110)

Better education, actually. They get on a plane and come to the US. Voila. Lower tuition than the pupils in California.

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575142)

Yeah, I'm sure most afghans have access to US education... I mean, the plane ticket is probably more than what they make in a year, but sure...

Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574452)

I respect the Afghan ingenuity. It might be in some future point and time that the combination of laws (broadcast copyrights to lock down the public domain, ACTA, son-of-ACTA, COICA, etc.) combined with ISP interest in trying to make a buck from anything, and the fact that it will be easy for people to become persona non grats (and denied access to the Internet) will end up forcing people in the US to do exactly what is being done overseas.

Want to watch that YouTube video without paying your ISP for a "non premium visited site" fee, a streaming video fee, a fee per second, etc? The Afghan system may be the only way for you to see it, or any content not sanitized and sterilized by Big Media.

It might be that the *only* thing that will stop the Internet becoming like Compuserve (or more accurately Prodigy because Prodigy required each post to be reviewed and pass a censor before being able to be read) would be technology like this.

Plus, LAN stuff is cheap. A wireless router for a subnet is dirt cheap. Wi-Fi is quite inexpensive compared to WAN stuff.

If people started adding point to point links coupled with caching and other techniques to keep as much traffic on the LAN as possible, we (as in people who want to use the Internet for more than a passive TV and want content other than what Fox News wants to present us), this is something we really need here in the US as well.

Of course, latency will be hell and gone, but that's better than no connection at all.

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574748)

While I agree that in principle we may ALREADY need this, any attempt to set up such networks will result in big business taking the matter to court. People must pay for their internet service... and it must be through one of them. Somehow, they is law.

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (2)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574848)

...we (as in people who want to use the Internet for more than a passive TV and want content other than what Fox News, NBC, CNN and all the other shills wants to present us), this is something we really need here in the US as well.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575002)

You never fail to disappoint, Mr. Tinfoilhat!

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (1)

ArcCoyote (634356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575786)

If we need some kind of darknet, we don't need to build a mesh network to get it. We can just run some sort of VPN tunnel over existing broadband. Hell, we've already got TOR.

This kind of thing is for where there is no infrastructure.

What would you rather do: tunnel your stuff over fast, reliable broadband, where no one notices (and can't read it if they can, it's encrypted) or stick a BFD on your roof that everyone can see and eavesdrop on. (You'd probably run it in the clear... WPA doesn't support Ad-Hoc, and point-to-point IPSec links kill performance)

YHT. YHL. HAND.

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575902)

Want to watch that YouTube video without paying your ISP for a "non premium visited site" fee, a streaming video fee, a fee per second, etc? The Afghan system may be the only way for you to see it, or any content not sanitized and sterilized by Big Media.

Good luck hooking up your homegrown Wi-Fi network to a backbone. How are you supposed to get to YouTube if ISPs won't talk to you?

Re:Don't laugh... we may need that in the US (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576630)

I have been thinking on similar lines. I call it The Alternet.

Re:Semantics maybe... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574520)

They made a WAN using wireless technology. Big fucking deal. And don't say that 'they are in a third world country so it's a big deal'. It isn't about money when it comes to technology, it is about brains, it doesn't always require money to be smart. I'm sure everybody I know makes more money than most people in Afghanistan and not a single one of them could do this, so money makes people dumb as far as I can tell.

When are people going to realize that making a big deal about what country a person is from when they do something is a big reason for xenophobia. All humans have the same genes and therefore the same ability to do the same exact thing. It shouldn't matter if you are from California or Zimbabwe.

All humans don't have the exact same genes. Caucasians generally have a lesser bone mass to Africans. Facial features are radically different between different races, as do skin pigmentation. How can the mind be isolated from all of this?

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574618)

All humans don't have the exact same genes. Caucasians generally have a lesser bone mass to Africans. Facial features are radically different between different races, as do skin pigmentation. How can the mind be isolated from all of this?

Well, it's just that "Caucasians" cannot accept that they not only have weaker bones and a weaker sun protection in their skin, but also a weaker mind. :-)

Re:Semantics maybe... (3, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574632)

Well played, Sir. Let me just add as a biochemist that the genetic differences are too marginal to even justify the concept of "race" in humans. Local varieties that differ on a ultimately meaningless level.

Re:Semantics maybe... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574804)

Nonono... Us whities are far more intelligent. After all, was in not us who invented modern banking, which only goes from strength to ... oh... can anyone loan me a few coins? Just until I find a job....

Re:Semantics maybe... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574540)

Wow, buddy, you're so ignorant (OK, or just uninformed, in that case sorry), you're not even worth getting angry about. Cause that's just sad.

Imagine growing up in a small town, where having a wire out of the wall to connect your radio to, and a water wheel in the small creek outside generating the electricity, is considered a luxury. With lots of space for few people.
Your dad died when you were very young. And all that he left you, was his AK-47. And although that may be a lie, you love that gun more than anything else. Because with it, you are respected. You feel like a man.
If you have the luck of going to a school at all, it would be at a level of at least 50 years ago, if it weren't mainly "teaching" religious stuff.
You are trained in fighting, since you can't remember a time, when there was not war and murder. You lost brothers and sisters, some even were tortured. (Not your sissy waterboarding stuff either.) And the US just set up Kharzai again, who was such a giant asshole, that the Taliban looked good in comparison, which is why they came to power in the first place.
So his drug lord brother started the "business" again. People rather plant poppy for heroine than vegetables for food, as it brings a multiple of the money. And even the police, who officially is supposed to destroy the fields, knows exactly that without them, the town would starve. So they play fake field destructions to fill their quota.
Plus you are happy you didn't have to have a arranged marriage when you were 13, like your grandparents and probably even parents. But it's not much better with love.

This is the world those guys grew up in. While you sat on the couch, munching cheese flips or some shit while watching TV and complaining to your mom about "having to" go to school in your average neighborhood.

Seriously, if people ask me how my dad was when he was young, I honestly still am making a big understatement, when I just have to say one word and one number: Rambo 3.

And you think you can compare yourself to these guys? No offense, but you wouldn't last a week. Just be happy, and save your country from the same fate, OK?

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

bjs555 (889176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574806)

Good post. But, to play devil's advocate, the first homo sapiens 200,000 years ago had practically the same genes as anybody today. What they lacked was a culture that understood today's technology and could pass it on to offspring. 200,000 years of biological evolution produces little change. 200,000 years of cultural evolution produces revolutionary advancement. People from different countries differ little biologically but can differ greatly culturally. It seems to me that a culture that emphasizes education will grow fastest.

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575242)

I think you underestimate biological evolutions some. 200,000 years ago dogs didn't exists, now they range from chihuahuas to great danes. 6,000 years ago when agriculture started we started bonding to cats. Why dos a cat's purr evoke positive emotions in humans? Both species must have evolved in the last 6,000 years.

As to "having practically the same genes", chimpanzees share 95% of our genes.

Re:Semantics maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575660)

6,000 years ago when agriculture started we started bonding to cats.

Wiki says 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. Is this a Jesus thing?

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

aywang31 (2078102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576752)

I thought god just made us that way 8000 years ago.

Re:Semantics maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574824)

All humans have the same genes and therefore the same ability to do the same exact thing. It shouldn't matter if you are from California or Zimbabwe.

1. No they don't.
2. No they can't.
3. Yes it does. California and Zimbabwe are human-created constructs. If you meant the land which those intangible entities exist upon, then you would be slightly more correct, but still mostly wrong.

I take it you've never been to Zimbabwe. You should visit a 3rd world country sometime and you might being to understand something about Real Life.

Re:Semantics maybe... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575122)

I think you completely missed his point, which was that those of us with brains and know-how are helping make people's lives better no matter how rich or poor they are, or where they live..

Re:Semantics maybe... (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575324)

Really, we are all exact duplicates of each other? When you are faced with shortages of equipment or supplies, the intelligent people will take the knowledge out there and use it to address shortages, but to say that all humans have the same genes is as ignorant as you can possibly get. There is a HUGE variation in the human species, and yes, there are some people who are so intelligent it can seem scary to those who are considered intelligent by most people, but there are also those who are criminally stupid and shouldn't be allowed to live.

Now, being able to create your own intranet is not the same as being able to create your own internet. The Internet by definition is a network of networks, and unless they are trying to create an alternative network that spans the globe, at most it would just be a WAN that covers a given region due to not having a solid infrastructure currently in place. I give the people credit for being able to make the stuff themselves, but at the same time, if others have actually invented the equipment, then this is just another do it yourself project, and isn't quite the same as INVENTING anything. If you read how to do something on the Internet, that doesn't mean that if you build it yourself, that you invented it.

Re:Semantics maybe... (1)

ArcCoyote (634356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575800)

Well, IMHO, the integral reflector and mount is a pretty cool, inexpensive idea.

What they're really using it for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574394)

And, all this time, I thought that porn was outlawed in most Muslim countries.

Re:What they're really using it for... (0)

petman (619526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574528)

Most? Is there even one Muslim country where porn is not outlawed?

Re:What they're really using it for... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574728)

duh, why do you think they are using a difficult to track mesh network?

Re:What they're really using it for... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574942)

duh, why do you think they are using a difficult to track mesh network?

That is the reason for the helpful directions.

--

The amnesia epidemic has been forgotten.

Re:What they're really using it for... (2, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574944)

Is there even one Muslim country where porn is not outlawed?

Is there even one Muslim country where porn is not found?

No. 1 Nation in Sexy Web Searches? Call it Pornistan [foxnews.com]

Random connection: Exclusive: Pornography found in bin Laden hideout: officials [reuters.com]

Far more troubling than the porn:

"I hope that Kuwait will enact the law for...sex slaves" [jihadwatch.org]
"When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her" [jihadwatch.org]

Pakistan: In the Land of Conspiracy Theories [pbs.org]
What explains those crazed conspiracy theories running wild in Pakistan? [jihadwatch.org]

We out-Sovieted the Soviets (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574406)

In the US, we do the opposite: take the Internet and make it INTO trash.

Re:We out-Sovieted the Soviets (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574484)

In War Torn Afghanistan, we go looking for the Internet

In First World America, the Internet comes looking for YOU!

OMG (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574438)

They totally discovered radio!

sand niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574454)

n/c

Re:sand niggers (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575724)

There's a reason it's called Anonymous Coward.

Afghanistan (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574468)

Afghans have been through a lot.

They are a resilient and resourceful people.

That is why empires go to Afghanistan to die.

The American empire will die soon, and history will be vindicated.

Re:Afghanistan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36576382)

they are a stupid and ignorant people who will die over what is being told to them from the back of a light truck buy some ranting madman with no teeth

the entire place needs to be made into a glass factory via nukes

So off the shelf is trash now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574492)

Nice sensationalist headline, with a summary that contradicts it.

Sneaker (or sandal) net (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574542)

This guy lugs his desktop around: How to publish a Hindu newspaper in Pakistan [boingboing.net]

Well okay its Pakistan, not Afghanistan, but I suspect the poorer parts of both countries have similar challenges.

Re:Sneaker (or sandal) net (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574570)

Well okay its Pakistan, not Afghanistan, but I suspect the poorer parts of both countries have similar challenges.

You mean "US troops shooting innocent civilians at random". Yeah...

Re:Sneaker (or sandal) net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574736)

Somebody should mail that guy their old laptop or netbook. I would have gladly done it, but I just got rid of my old laptop a few months ago.

Re:Sneaker (or sandal) net (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575260)

Thirty years ago a "portable" was bigger and heavier than today's desktop.

Re:Sneaker (or sandal) net (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576718)

I used to have to drag one of these [oldcomputers.net] around for work. And I was mightily envied by the other geeks of the time.

Junis, is that you? (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574598)

Junis, is that you? Shades of 2001. [slashdot.org]

Re:Junis, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574798)

+1, i was thinking the same thing.

No internet for the OLPC network (1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36574718)

Yet, in Afghanistan, the authorities REFUSED that OLPC are equipped with WiFi connection, refusing kids a free access to the Internet, base on the false pretext of the dangerousness of its content for kids.

It's not Freedombox.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36574766)

and so it is patently obvious that it (and its penis) are in the back pocket of the Afghan government.

The new high of fidelity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575074)

Fabulous Fidelity

I'm in Jalalabad right now so I'm gettin' a kick.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575296)

Seriously though, I am basically in Jalalabad right now. Temps regularly are above 100 degrees F by 1000 and are at 140 degrees F by the afternoon.

These guys are doing awesome stuff.

Also note the black box used in one of the pictures on the site is a "Gorilla on Wheels" toughbox regularly sold in US Army PX's at bases across Afghanistan.

Soon to be Illegal "E-Waste"? (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575388)

This kind of "good enough" tech, also seen in the Arab Spring internet cafes, depends on access to used, refurbished, and re-marketed electronics cast offs. A new bill just submitted to Congress (Green-Thompson) will ban trade with these "geeks of color". Do-gooders say that American jobs will result (Americans will begin using "trash" to make our own internet), and the geeks in the emerging markets, freed from the "ewaste" exploitation, will then leapfrog into 4G.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer, nothing makes me happier than to see kids who studied technology textbooks use the schematics to increase internet. Geeks of Color Entrepreneurs need SBA more than they need AID.

Stupid Afghan jerks! (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575416)

You thought Afghanistan had social problems before? Now, without the benevolent oversight of the copyright holders, the Afghans will be filesharing like crazy, thus causing their entire country to collapse and the birth rate and life expectancy to plummet. Buildings will crumble into rubble, roads will take you to the wrong destination etc.

Cost effective? (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575456)

It would probably still be cheaper to buy pre-built stuff from China. The most expensive component they are probably shelling out for is Pringles.

Trash? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575522)

I have yet to see fully functional wifi routers in the trash around here.

Re:Trash? (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575554)

We get them at our recycling plant on a regular basis. Sometimes working, sometimes they need a tweak. Often the best fix is to put the circuit board in an oven, or in the sun, and a tiny hairline crack in solder somewhere gets fixed. Currently, we export 22% of the used electronics we receive (78% are not worth exporting even if they worked). That export to geeks of color is being made illegal, since people assume that anyone exporting 22% must really be dumping 100%.

Re:Trash? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575712)

I picked two modems up that were going to be thrown out. WAG-54Gs. They had only one thing wrong with them - bad caps. Didn't take long to fix that, and the repaired one has lasted me for two years so far.

Not impressed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36575530)

I'm not really that impressed. If you RTFA, the only thing they are building from scrap are the reflectors/antennas. Hell, I know a bunch of people who did similar crap with pringels cans and clothes hangers.

Use OLPC's much? (1)

blackbeak (1227080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575540)

Uhm, aren't those case-hardened OLPC laptops supposed to be for the poor, deprived kids? I hope this guy [slashdot.org] is helping his son (I suppose daughter not likely) do his homework?

If not, it appears the OLPC theft problem [laptop.org] has not been solved.

Then again, maybe we (via Nicholas and his brother John [wikipedia.org] ) meant to supply Afgan insurgents with an insecure means of communication?

Preposterous, I'm sure!

Re:Use OLPC's much? (1)

blackbeak (1227080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575566)

Sorry, that first link pasted in wrong, should be http://fabfi.fablab.af/ [fablab.af] >

Re:Use OLPC's much? (1)

blackbeak (1227080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36575594)

Btw, I don't see any little kids hanging around in that pic! Looks like serious stuff on screen. Heroin harvest accounting? Munitions supplies? Plans for improvised devices? Ahh, probably just a YouTube cat video!

Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36576242)

I've been doing that by dumpster diving and using linux for years.

And Yet... (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 3 years ago | (#36576640)

This entire project will fall by the wayside in America because it's not wrapped up in pretty little buzzwords and it's not backed by grinning suits. I swear that the entire country is suffering Stockholm Syndrome as far as internet access is concerned.
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