Instant Messengers (such as Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger Service or AOL Instant
Messenger) are programs that allow text communication across the Internet in real
The programs are free, easy to install and easy to use. Following simple instructions,
you can quickly set up a list of people with whom you might want to communicate.
The programs will even send a notice to those on your list explaining the few simple
steps they need to take to join you online.
Not only do Instant Messengers allow you to type live messages back and forth, they
will even notify you when a particular person from your contact list is online at
the same time as you. Now you are as likely to "bump into" someone on the
Internet as you are walking down the street.
Online photo albums are a safe and convenient way to store and share your photos.
Several companies (Micro-soft, Yahoo!, Zing and others) offer free services where
you can store your photos in easily customizable albums with brief descriptive text
Individual photos can then be inserted into electronic greeting cards and sent with
personalized messages by email to anyone. Photo albums can be viewed by other online
photo "community" members, or access can be restricted.
You can add or delete photos, create new albums or send out cards at any time. You
can even share all your online photos with friends by inviting them to become members
(membership is free and the signup process is simple).
You will need to have your photos digitized, of course, either from a digital camera
or by scanning your prints. If you don't have access to a scanner, most of the Internet
Cafes in Phnom Penh have scanning services.
To keep the photo files to reasonable size (less than 50KB is recommended) scan at
about 80 dpi and save in .GIF or .JPG format.
Internet "communities" once seemed like a cyber-fad, but as people get
comfortable with them, some are becoming powerful and productive networks.
In short, an Internet community is an online network of people who have some common
bond. They may be members of the same family or NGO, they may have gone to school
together or share a hobby.
Now, they are spread out all over the world and rarely - if ever - see each other.
But they can all join a cyber-community and share ideas, CVs, notes, photographs
and even "chat" with other members (an online "chat" program
allows several people to participate in a text conversation in real time - similar
to the Instant Messenger programs described above).
One popular program called Family Point allows far-flung family members to leave
notes for each other on the graphic of a refrigerator door (e.g. "Don't forget
Dad's birthday on the 31st!").
Another community program - eCircles - is customizable for many different types of
groups. The community programs can also inform all registered members of special
events (meetings, news articles, job vacancies, etc.) by email.
One benefit of these communities is that individuals are responsible for keeping
their own contact information up to date, so if you are sending a snapshot from your
weekend in Kampong Som to all of your nieces and nephews, the program will send it
to the last addresses they registered, not the last address you have.
Anyone can start an Internet community, then invite others to join - but only those
invited can gain access.
Flyswat is a free program you can add to your browser to bring your Internet experience
right into the 21st century.
With Flyswat enabled, every time you open a web page, the little program "looks"
around and finds proper nouns it "knows" something about, then underlines
them in yellow and creates links.
When you click on a link, the program presents you with a menu of links to all sorts
of information you might want about the subject in question. For a city or country
it "knows", for example, Flyswat will offer information including the weather,
maps, hotels, selected web sites, etc.
We tested the program on a news article about Senator John Kerry's recent visit to
Phnom Penh. The program immediately underlined Senator Kerry's name. When we clicked
on the newly created link, we were given a menu of links to the senator's biography,
home page, voting record and political ratings by various special interest groups.
What about words Flyswat doesn't recognize? If you need to know the meaning of a
word or information about an organization, you hold down the "Alt" key
and click on any word and Flyswat will start checking encyclopedias, dictionaries
and other reference sources to see what it can find for you.
Flyswat is not intended to replace the serious search engines (and doesn't) but it
makes excellent use of the power of hypertext links to enhance your connection to
the largest and most complex library in history.
The Cambodian Senate now has its own website with much useful information including
the membership and role of all the commissions. There are also useful links to related
Among other features, the site includes individual color photos of each Senator.
Diplomats and journalists take note! Study this site before your next foray into
a cocktail party.
SHARE, a Japanese NGO working here in health projects, has a website in both Japanese
and English with text and photos of its projects.
Save the Children / Norway has a nice new website about its Cambodia programs.
Instant messenger URLs:
Photo album URLs: