Some San Francisco hackers are working on rigging up a system that enables Laotians in remote farming villages to connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi and computers powered by pedal driven generators. For all the stupid crap that we do in the IT industry, it’s great to read about projects like this that are improving the lives of people. It’s also incredible to realize what a big difference simple inventions can make in the developing world. Not long ago I read about a system that includes a long hose and a bike driven pump that enables African farmers to irrigate fields using water in nearby wetlands. Before this incredibly simple device was introduced, they had to try to irrigate their fields by carrying water over in buckets. I love reading about projects like this, and dream that someday I can work on one myself.