Ways of keeping up

One of the hardest things about the constantly changing world wide web, and ICTs generally, is keeping up with myriad new developments. There is no shortage of information available but where to start.

Miraz Jordan suggests one way for community groups to keep up is setting up someone within their organisation as a Technology Scout (see her article “Technology Scout – an asset for every organisation“). This is not about fixing printers or helping with using computer programmes (though the person who is a scout possibly does some of this stuff anyway).

Rather the Technology Scout’s job is to:

“… explore the world of new technologies, especially, but not only, the Internet, and to work out where and how your group should be involved: to scout the terrain and suggest a way forward.”

For the Scout’s toolkit I’ve got suggestions of a couple of radio programmes available for download that are helpful ways of getting a snapshot of technology developments. I actually find it easier to listen to a short programme that prowl around reading websites and blogs.

It’s easy to get overloaded with the technology hype: the shiny, whizzy latest gizmo or software being pushed by companies, however profit hungry altruistic they may be. Search Engine on Canada’s public radio eschews the technology itself focusing instead on culture and small-p politics. The producer’s describe the show as your “open source to all the surprising and significant ways the Internet is transforming our world.” I haven’t missed an episode since it went on air last August.

The redoubtable Guardian Unlimited has just added a Tech Weekly podcast to their website. As well as running news stories, discussion forums and a blog, the online version of the newspaper now has some of the same journalists producing a news and commentary podcast. Unlike the other two podcasts listed, this show is not broadcast over the wireless.

BBC World Service’s have been running their Digital Planet programme for many years. Each week the programme literally tours the globe talking with people involved in projects, telecommunications infrastructure, the latest gizmos, policies, industry, what’s new online, digital divide, community projects and everything in between. It’s a very broad reach. You may have heard their commentator Bill Thompson talking with Radio NZ’s Simon Morris on This Way Up.

Of course Radio NZ features many useful features and commentaries at different times. I’ll try and list them here later.

Somehow I do find time to listen to these programmes each week, though luckily the fast forward button is at my finger tips.


  • Search Engine, CBC (Canada), 30 minute weekly shows, podcast or on demand
  • Tech Weekly, Guardian Newspaper UK, 30 minute shows, podcast only
  • Digital Planet, weekly, 25 minute shows, podcast or on demand