A Journalist friend is holed up in Syria. Yesterday he told me he needed more mobile web options and asked for advice.
As foreign nationals are being told to leave, he is staying put. As an experienced journalist he’s seen worse, but he has no idea how bad this is going to get. It’s getting harder and move around as recent reports talk of snipers on roofs.
Of the smart phones available on the Syrian streets, today my friend opted for the latest he could find, the HTC Wildfire running Android 2.1.
He is not a geek by any stretch of the imagination. He is not really a user of of any social media tools but he has recently realised the benefits of following twitter lists and the valuable realtime news updates they can give to a person in his position.
All he needs to do is keep an eye on the twitter list curated by @HalaGorani, yet from where he is it seems to be blocked. As is the Android app store. As are many web spaces in Syria.
He emailed me for help and I dropped out a tweet asking for help.
My friend was super frustrated and about to throw his $300 new phone out of the window. He hates how tech can sometimes eat into the time he should be writing stories.
Dabr was my main app when all I had as a smartphone was my Nokia N95. It always worked without a hitch and taught me alot about Twitter.
So.. After trying 5 or six options my friend finally got to trying Dabr.co.uk and 2 minutes later I get a one paragraph email straight back which i think says it all..
Hooray. That worked. That Dabr thing is great. So much nicer that all that fancy shit that doesn’t actually work; substance over style, for once.