A Information to Havana’s Offline Web, through 5 Cuban Interns in New York


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Innovadores Basis’s 2017 interns, from left to proper: Alicia Rodríguez Milhet, David Domínguez Francisco, Gabriela Hernández Rodríguez and Alessa Pérez Roque. Brady Dale for Observer

Perhaps you and your mates went to a kind of locations the place individuals throw hatchets for enjoyable or participated in a foot race encumbered by big bubble fits? Clearly, your crew took plenty of images, and everybody desires copies of one of the best ones. You’re all proper there collectively, however sharing the images within the second is usually a ache. One man sends all of them his through textual content message, however the reception is unhealthy and just one goes by means of. Another person guarantees to do it later once they have Wi-Fi, as a result of they don’t need to burn their knowledge. He suggests that you simply all create a shared folder on Google Images, however nobody desires so as to add the app.

In the long run, one good friend sends round two snapshots and everybody else forgets about it.

But as you’re all speaking about it, each system is lower than 5 toes from one another, however there’s no straightforward technique to simply shoot knowledge between them. This isn’t a problem in Cuba, at the very least not based on 5 younger individuals visiting the U.S. to intern in know-how. We spoke to them about their time right here, and the way they share info in a spot the place the web has a protracted technique to go. In reality, their insights might assist Individuals planning a go to to our nearest tropical neighbor make higher use of their time.

Most Cubans solely have entry to the web by buying hourly passes to wi-fi parks, that are stuffed with individuals utilizing the web in any respect hours, however Cubans can nonetheless make good use of cellular gadgets even when they’re offline. The interns, Alessa Pérez Roque, Alicia Rodríguez Milhet, Gabriela Hernández Rodríguez and David Domínguez Francisco, walked us by means of a few of Cuba’s decentralized approaches to sharing knowledge.

For instance, when individuals in Cuba have images to share instantly, they utterly bypass the web and switch them straight, utilizing the Zapya app. Zapya works utilizing mobiles’ Wi-Fi hotspot and tethering options. It lets customers switch knowledge tremendous quick, totally free, with out touching their knowledge and with out giving the web overlords a document of what they’re sharing. In reality, Cubans move round apps, video games they usually even use it to speak.

“We use that as an alternative of Bluetooth,” Hernández Rodríguez stated, “As a result of Bluetooth is slower.”

A Wi-Fi park in central Havana, at night time (December 2016). Brady Dale for Observer

These 4 had been introduced right here for six weeks with scholarships from the Innovadores Basis, they usually had been stunned to study that nobody right here makes use of Zapya. Cubans’ lack of fixed entry has led them to seek out sensible workarounds for sharing digital items in a world the place media and software program have turn out to be the brand new world language. Probably the most well-known innovation on the island is the “weekly packet,” USB sticks stuffed with imported motion pictures, TV exhibits and software program. There’s really plenty of packets that make their approach across the island now, however that’s not the one Cuba-friendly model of know-how we realized about.

Right here’s just a few extra that may assist the vacationer and enterprise traveler make their far more simply by means of a nation starved for knowledge:

  • Revolico, La Chopi and Porlalivre. Every of those are like Craigslist for Cuba. Revolico and Porlalivre are web-based platforms with the whole lot from a private coach to laptop components to DVD gamers. Porlalivre really emails out all of its listings in addition to posting them on-line, for customers who need to take a look at listings once they aren’t linked. La Chopi is a cellular app, constructed first for iPhone however now on Android as nicely.
  • Conoce Cuba and AlaMesa. Conoce favors the online and AlaMesa is cellular, however they each enter the identical area as Yelp. They checklist fundamental details about companies, inviting customers to submit suggestions about their services or products. Each are designed assuming that customers don’t have web entry. AlaMesa will be downloaded through the Google Play retailer and solely updates each 15 days. Conoce requires a direct obtain. Each ship customers full maps with every replace, to allow them to see the place locations are positioned once they aren’t linked.
  •  Offline maps (the Cuba subreddit likes Maps.me). These are new in Cuba, and Domínguez Francisco stated, “I’m not used to utilizing maps.” Think about that? Truly figuring out your approach round. These had been the times. Saving the map of regularly visited areas is one thing customers can do on Google Maps, too, by the way in which, which will be good when individuals most want maps.

The fixed entry to web and tools right here impressed the interns. “We in Cuba don’t have know-how for something,” Hernández Rodríguez advised us. “One thing so simple as 3D printer, we solely have just a few in Cuba.”

She seen how so many duties within the U.S. have been automated, comparable to promoting tickets for trains, which made for fewer occasions she needed to wait in line. “It’s quite a bit cheaper for the federal government and the businesses,” she stated.

However the American utility that stunned the Cuban interns most was the open workplace plan. “I by no means anticipated these sort of areas,” Rodríguez Milhet stated, describing the open environments the place employees aren’t anticipated to stay to at least one desk on a regular basis. Right here, the interns labored at organizations positioned inside Grand Central Tech. The couches and the break rooms struck them as highly effective concepts. “You possibly can relaxation and calm down. It’s a great way to work, too,” she stated.

Hernández Rodríguez agreed, saying that one among her massive takeaways from her time right here was “the right way to make individuals really feel extra snug, to do their jobs higher.”

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A Information to Havana’s Offline Web, through 5 Cuban Interns in New York

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