NetAction Notes

Published by NetAction Issue No. 39 July 27, 1998
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


Post That Protest
Cybercafes and Community
Africa Confronts the Millennium Bug
People-Friendly Software
About NetAction Notes

Post That Protest

Planning a protest or a political action? Get the word out quickly -- and globally -- by posting an announcement on Protest.Net.

Evan Henshaw-Plath has put his programming skills to work for progressive political causes by creating Protest.Net, a web site that provides a clearinghouse for announcements about protests and other political actions by progressive organizations. The site, which was launched on June 1, is on the web at

According to Henshaw-Plath, Protest.Net was created because many activists web sites have long or difficult URL's, which are hard for people to remember. Henshaw-Plath is hoping that Protest.Net will help solve that problem by giving activists an easy-to-remember central site to bookmark and check for information about protests on a wide range of progressive issues.

Henshaw-Plath can screen for inappropriate (non-progressive) content, but so far he hasn't found it to be necessary to block any postings.

Cybercafes and Community

Visit a cybercafe in almost any community and you can log into the global community of cyberspace while sipping a cappuccino. But there's a good chance that you won't be sharing the experience with the people immediately around you. For although cybercafes offer convenient access to the Internet, they don't necessarily promote a local sense of community.

To rectify that, Christopher D. Frankonis of the Millennium Cafe has launched a new list dedicated to discussing how cybercafes can position themselves as hubs of community activity, and activism. List information is on the web at, and more generation information on the community-building potential of cybercafes is at NOTE: These URLs are no longer valid as of 05/23/2001.

According to Frankonis, topics for discussion on the list will include:

Frankonis is especially interested in participation by interested cybercafe owners, community network specialists, and community/neighborhood activists, but the list is also open to others with an interest in the topic.

To subscribe, send email to
In the message body type: subscribe cybercafe-community

Africa Confronts the Millennium Bug

As readers may be recall from the article in NetAction Notes No. 38 computer programmers are in a race to solve the "Year 2000 Problem." If they fail, most of the world's computers will "read" the year 2000 as 1900, potentially creating horrendous problems for government agencies, banks, insurance companies, and countless other large and small businesses. But the problem isn't confined to technology-rich nations like the United States. In fact, preparing for the "Millennium bug" is going to be a much more daunting task in nations with a more limited technology infrastructure.

On the African continent, efforts are underway to hold a "Y2K for AFRICA Awareness DAY" on August 19, 1998. The date marks the 500-day countdown to January 1, 2000. Some technology experts believe it will be too late to fix the problem in time if efforts are not underway by that date.

According to Chris Anderson of the Y2K Cinderella Project, "The idea is to hold a 'Virtual Hands Across Africa' to highlight the Y2K Problem and to initiate action across the continent. The objective is to involve all radio, TV and print media as well as public and private organisations in every country in Africa."

The Y2K Cinderella Project is a clearinghouse for information on zero-cost, minimal-impact solutions to the Year 2000 problem. More information on the web at

People-Friendly Software

If you're using a PC, you're probably using a computer that came with Microsoft's Windows operating system already installed. You may not even realize that there are other operating systems available -- some of which are free and can be downloaded from the web.

Just what are the alternatives to Windows-based operating systems and software applications? In a recent issue of NetAction's Micro$oft Monitor, Project Director Nathan Newman looked at "open source" software, also known as "freeware," and explained why it promises to be the best choice for consumers and software developers seeking to avoid Microsoft's monopolistic grasp. See:

NetAction is planning a series of monthly Open Source brown-bag lunch meetings in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the East Bay, to bring together software developers, media representatives who cover the software industry, and interested members of the public. The meetings will provide a forum for exploring and discussing open source software applications, introducing new features, and increasing support for the use of open source code in personal and business settings.

Readers who are interested in being notified when the forum schedule is established may write to: to be put on a mailing list which will be used to announce the forum schedule. For additional information, see:

About NetAction Notes

NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.

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