Comments on new Outernet content selection

@kenbarbi It would be great to hear your feedback on content. We have started dedicating more internal staff time to content selection. Ultimately, of course, we want our community to select the content for delivery (that’s a different topic).

What I have seen in the last 2 weeks has been a big improvement over the past content of: Project Gutenberg, Wikipedia, many Tweets, and MP3 tracks.

I particularly like the Rachel-like, Capital Radio Malawi, Infonet, and WikiNews (I never knew it existed) content. The WikiNews is a great source to augment the Breaking News Tweets that (as I have mentioned before) have actually scooped the Washington, DC, media outlets on a few occasions!

I have spent over a year tinkering with hardware issues (which Branko has in hand now), and it is good to finally be able to actually read the content.

An area you should start looking at is Public Domain articles from the internet. I know all US Government publications (for example) such as from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are in the public domain. They have many informative articles.

Other countries have established similar schemes for their published material that are not protected under intellectual property laws that should not cause you any problems to broadcast.

There are also many people who live “off the net” and can’t afford Inmarsat or Iridium data services, but are not in developing rural areas. They would benefit from more specific technical articles that would be useful in (let’s say) running your house. The kind of things we all ask about when we sit down at a computer and do a web search.

Just some thoughts, Ken

Ken, I am currently describing ways for people like yourself to suggest the exact documents you are referring to. You can see more detail on that here:

More details coming today and tomorrow on our website and wiki. If you put together a folder of that material, we will send it.

Thane, I was originally testing your “add content” methodology on your web site at when I made some suggestions (CDC reports on water filters and news articles) IAW your then published procedures. Nothing happened - - no added content, no ya or nay e mail response as I was lead to believe. Again “testing” just as we all build and tweek the ORxPis and Lighthouses.

I’m glad you are now pursuing a workable system. I’m not sure we all have a ton of ideas, maybe just a few we’d like to share. A system that results in new interesting content would be a perfect addition now as we get closer to the Lantern deliveries. Ken

It would be great if we could datacast some old Comic Books already in the public domain. Visit following two websites,

They have a great collection of comic books.

1 Like

I would advertise to any authors of free digital books to submit their works to the Outernet Library.

1 Like

Thane/Ben - - your new: “Welcome to Outernet Content Schedule” and WiKi “Edit Outernet” present some interesting ideas worth discussing here.

  1. My first observation is that the methodology for requesting content doesn’t just jump right out of the documents. That said, I think it would worthwhile posting the upcoming transmission schedule as part of the Weekly Download, and replacing it (I mean deleting the old schedule after a new one downloads) as new schedules come out. Then people would know what’s coming.

  2. I think a very brief explanation, as part of the Core Archive, as to how to request content would useful for remote users. Right now, the only way to find out how to request content requires a 2-way internet connection to read your web site, then an internet connection to actually make the request.

  3. Give additional options (text messaging, hf radio e mail, regular e mail via 2G cellular, BGAM, SPOT, simple telephone) for asking for answers similar to as we do with a Search Engine on our web browsers.

  4. Neither the basic website or are very helpful now. It seems the only viable method of requesting content is to Tweet Thane Richard at [email protected] which requires 2-way internet access and a personal Twitter account to actually send the Tweet.

a) Add a text method for those without internet access, but who can get into a basic 2G cellular network.
b) Add an email method for those with limited (slow?) Internet access using terrestrial, high frequency radio, or Iridium/Inmarsat messaging systems. You could use a Form Method for this if you did want people to use a free-form message.
c) Add a simple web page (that looked and worked the same on both the main and WiKi sites) giving guidance with buttons to automate the requests:

Here’s what a new Web page might look:

If I were remote, and, had some means of sending a request for information, I would phrase it very much the way I use Search Engines on web browsers. Technical type requests might be: How to wire an RJ45 wall plug, or How to make a sand water filter. Search those phrases and you will get back thousands of answers, but just the best one needs to be selected and put in the Outernet Download.

We also should add another file called SEARCH REQUESTS rather than burying the answers in the current Weekly Downloads (which by-the-way each should be dated in the File Selection Folders Outernet Weekly Selections Week of 2015_12_21), and then download the weekly transmission schedule. Ben and Thane, who are involved in the content process, would simply find the answers and put them up.

What do you all think? Ken


Pinging @ThaneRichard and @Syed with this, as i’d like to ensure they see it.

I definitely agree with your first 4 points. I also agree having people be able to contact us through other routes would be great.

I feel this part is greatly oversimplified though. The process of going from question to answer requires understanding of the subject at hand. For this reason we specifically want to have a community where people with relevant expertise can contribute.

Maybe Ben, but why not try it out with some “simple” questions from a few of us that we’d tweet to Thane.

To see how it might work, you would need to have a folder in the files section where you would post the question with the answer. Then we can see if the process is really too complex. Ken

I don’t think the process of asking questions and having them answered would be too complex (time consuming is another matter) but i do think that unless we have some sort of relevant experience to a given question, it will be more difficult to provide accurate information.

Of course, this assumes technical questions and not reasonably simple things like requests for pictures of animals or weather that haven’t been seen by someone before.

Tweeting questions at Thane sounds great to me, though that’s mostly because i don’t think i would be asked to do the googling. :smile:

Also, i’d like to point out that i don’t make any decisions about what we do with content from an editorial side. I do provide feedback about technical capabilities to Thane, but he is the one who more or less makes the call on content, arrangement of content, etc. I just happen to be the developer who works on the most content stuff.

OK - got it. Let’s see what Thane says. Ken

This is kind of the subject, but after Pradeeka mentioned the TED MP4 video he couldn’t find, I looked for it in my download.

Ben had said there would be new content, but I couldn’t find it where I expected it. I finally found it buried in the Files tab under a new Tab called Content that had the week of 12-28-2015’s stuff:

rather than in what I expected one of the “Outernet Weekly Selections” tab.

So I guess what I’m asking for is a more user friendly way to find the new content. It would be great if everything could be found under the Content Tab:

but all the Tabs in that screen are empty except for the Pages Tab.

Thanks for listening, Ken

1 Like

You’re right, this will be changed. I think the problem you are describing with the location of this week’s files is an uploading error on our part, as opposed to a somewhat broken user interface.

Content that appears in the files section is indexed by FSAL, which in turn notifies Librarian, which indexes the metadata, and puts it into the Library section at some later point in time. Unless there’s some new bug in the indexing code, it should appear after a while (where ‘while’ depends on the total amount of new indexable content).

That is as long as the content is indexable. You can find out if content is indexable by looking at the folder icon or the physical directory on disk.

If the icon is a video player icon (same as video section icon in the Library app) the content has been indexed already, and should be available in the library section.

If it is not indexed, but a file named .contentinfo is physically present in the directory on disk, then it will be indexed by Librarian later (or we have a bug that prevents indexing). If there is no .contentinfo file, it may not have been downloaded yet, or it’s missing to begin with.

Here’s a screenshot from my Pi2 which has TED videos, but no .contentinfo file to allow Librarian to index the videos.

The only content that I have ever seen indexed (with the ORxPi or Lighthouse) are the HTML pages which show up either in the “all” or “pages” Tabs. The received audio and video files have never appeared indexed as this picture of audio content shows, but are visible elsewhere.

They are on my device (either ORxPi or Lighthouse), but I have to go to them by clicking on the Outernet ^ then the Files folder

and then drill down into Content

Eventually reaching MP3 files in String Cheese Incident which play fine

Nothing ever shows up in the Files Folder Tab below the Video Folder Tab. It is empty too. Ken

See my previous notes.

As Branko mentioned the files that have been broadcast lately do not have .contentinfo files associated to them. Unfortunately, i made a mistake on monday while uploading files which resulted in this week’s bin being under content/Outernet Weekly Selections/.

Ben, I think it would be worthwhile in next week’s satellite up link, if you put one of every type file so we could all see how they get indexed - - HTML content, Music (String Cheese Incident or someone), video (such as TED), WikiPedia, WikiNews, Malawi News, Rachel content, Project Guttenberg, etc.

Over the months, we have gotten them all, but not necessarily using the same Version of ORxPi or Lighthouse software.

Every time I run a new release, I wipe out all my old content to start fresh, so I don’t have any of your past transmissions to migrate and view.

Librarian v1.0.post1 / Lighthouse 2.3.001 seems stable enough now, so I have attached a 1 TB hard drive to save data. My ORxPi is still operating on a single 16 GB SD chip with no external storage. Ken

A very good source to get comic books for learning Physics

1 Like

yeah. i also.