Feeds

4G hobonet stunt was riddled with flaws, doomed to ridicule

Surely we can do better than penniless Wi-Fi porters?

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Is giving small amounts of money to homeless people useful?

Homeless charity Homeless Link told El Reg that giving homeless people small amounts of money is not the first or best way to reduce homelessness. Most homeless charities aim to get people off the streets as a priority and then look at accessing other services for them. Commenting on Homeless Hotspots, Homeless Link told us:

I would question whether this initiative would really benefit someone who found themselves on the streets. Individuals who sleep rough can have complex problems and the longer someone stays out, the worse these problems can become. Our members are focused on getting people off the streets and into accommodation.  We need long-term solutions that enable people to overcome their problems and get a home, a job and a better future.

The Big Issue is very specific about how selling magazines is helpful to the vendors of the magazine. And it's the act of selling that is seen as the most valuable part of the process. From their mission page:

The Big Issue offers some of the most excluded people in the country a unique opening to take some control of their lives and earn a legitimate income. Vendors make a personal choice to buy their magazines with their own money, taking charge of their finances and sales whilst developing the skills required to retail to the public.

Walking around in a T-shirt telling the world that you are a 4G hotspot, presenting your body to people with iPads and accepting donations doesn't really involve the same skill set and probably doesn't do much for self-esteem. It would also be more problematic for women, the more vulnerable vendors and those with mental-health problems.

In a response on its website, BBH New York's admen have claimed that at least its initiative has drawn attention to the problem of homelessness. Well, at least that's true.

Is the tech industry really full of callous twats?

SXSW fashion show, credit SXSW

SXSW fashion show 2011. Credit: SXSW

Sure, sitting here criticising an ad agency isn't going to help homeless people either. I suppose what gets to me in particular about the Homeless Hotspots initiative is that it promotes itself as the tech industry stepping up to solve a social problem, but the solution reads like some horrible parody of Silicon Valley: with hipsters quite literally not taking their eyes off their gadget screens to look at the social problems in front of them.

And it doesn't do SXSW any favours either, although a spokesperson for the event said the hobonet stunt was not affiliated with the festival.

But are the roaming Wi-Fi porters the result of some of the world's best minds coming together to discuss great ideas, or a bunch of self-regarding twats with Wi-Fi-only gadgets wanting to upload videos of themselves with other gadgets so that other self-regarding twats can watch them. Answers via Twitter.

The tech industry is going to be about as popular as financial services if we can't see outside our own bubble. Maybe I'm being idealistic about technology, but given the brain power in the industry surely we could do better at tackling some of society's issues. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.