June 2005

Bytes for All

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Introducing ICT4D project of SEBA
Society for Economic & Basic Advancement (SEBA) of Bangladesh has initiated a new project titled ICT for Development Programme, Bangladesh (ICTDP'B) to carryout various ICT4D initiatives. Under the new endeavour, SEBA is designing a business model for Multipurpose Telecentre (MPTC) and piloting one centre at Sonagazi, Feni. The MPTC is offering integrated services including education, communication, citizen services, health, business information, advisory services, etc. to the local communities. www.sonagazi.info

Rural India's rough road to computer literacy
In a pilot installation in a village near Mumbai, India, students use PCs, donated by Via Technologies, to perform geometry homework, while local women use computers to track their savings in a micro payment program. Later this month, college teachers from around India will take a three-week training course that will allow them to replicate the program in other regions.
http://news.com.com/Rural%20Indias%20rough%20road %20to%20computer%20literacy/210-1047_3-5700701. html?tag=nefd.lede

ICT accessibility
Indian firm plans cheap desktops worth $230 
Encore Software Ltd has plans to launch a range of cheap desktops costing around $230 to $280, three years after it launched the $200 Simputer. These desktops are targeted mainly at the basic users like students, small shop owners and educational institutions. http://in.news.yahoo.com//050510/137/5yhow.html

Indian language computing
The Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India's mission is to proliferate the use of Indian languages on computers, to overcome language barriers that restrict the nation's path to knowledge and development. The DIT has invited individuals, public, private agencies and academic institutions to participate in a national initiative in public-private partnership to launch and distribute applications, tools, utilities and products developed for Indian language computing.

100 $ Laptop
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab is launching a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop. This technology could revolutionise the education of the world's children. The idea was announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

Open Source
India eyes own open source license
In the seemingly never ending quest to balance openness with profits, one of India's more influential professors is devising yet another open source licensing programme.

Cuba to switch to open source software
Cuba will gradually switch to the open source Linux operating system for its state computers, eliminating its exclusive use of Microsoft Windows, the government daily Juventud Rebelde reported. Roberto Del Puerto, director of the state office of information technology, said that Cuba already has about 1,500 computers using the Linux system.

Toasted open source  
The Shuttleworth Foundation has distributed Freedom Toasters around South Africa so that anyone can copy open source software. Freedom Toasters are open source distribution points that allow anyone to burn, or toast, software to a CD legally and for free, says Shuttleworth Foundation project manager Jason Hudson.

bridges.org publishes software comparison study
bridges.org study identifies harsh realities of using Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and proprietary software in public computer labs in Africa. The study was conducted by bridges.org in collaboration with the International Development Research Council, the Open Society Institute, and SchoolNet Africa.

Open Admin for Schools 1.80 released
Open Admin for Schools is a freely available web based school administration programme. It now includes an online grade book, and allows parent viewing of attendance, report cards, and grade book, if desired. This is being developed by both the Battlefords School Division and the North West Catholic School Division in Saskatchewan, Canada. http://richtech.ca/openadmin

Free software for digital library collections
Greenstone, a UNESCO supported suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections provides a new way of organising information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU general public license.http://www.greenstone.org/cgi-bin/library

Events and Announcements
$60,000 award for research on development   The medals for outstanding research on development carry cash prizes of $60,000 plus travel expenses to the Global Development Network's seventh Annual Development Conference. Two prize medals will be granted for complete research papers in each of five topic areas corresponding to the themes of the conference. http://www.gdnet.org

International 2005 ICT Student Competition
The International 2005 ICT student competition is sponsored by the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) in co-operation with the United Nations ICT Task Force, the United Nations Programme on Ageing, the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Swiss Agency for Development and other partners. www.international-iccc.org

IPDC-UNESCO prize for rural communication
The International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC)-UNESCO Prize is intended to recognise a meritorious and innovative activity in improving communication in rural communities, mainly in developing countries. The prize will be awarded during the twenty-fifth session of the Intergovernmental Council of the IPDC.

e-Content award 2005
The e-Content Award 2005 has been introduced to select best e-Content for the World Summit Award 2005, scheduled at Tunisia on coming November. This award is jointly sponsored by Ministry of Science and ICT, Government of Bangladesh in association with International Center for New Media (Austria). www.e-content.org

Site Watch

This is a new website designed to help the international aid community improve the speed and effectiveness of relief efforts by making it easier for decision makers to access critically needed information on global emergencies and natural disasters on a 24/7 basis.http://www.reliefweb.int


The drover's wife logs on
This study explores the Internet experiences of women living in rural and regional Australia, their motives for Internet uptake and use, the benefits they gain from using the Internet, the difficulties they encounter in using it and whether the benefits are affected by technical factors, such as computer equipment and telecommunication infrastructure, availability of opportunities for developing online skills, and perceptions of the Internet. 

Who benefits more from e-Governance: Public authorities or citizens? 
The finding of an important study commissioned by European Union and carried out by Capgemini, Netherlands and TNO-Strategy, Technology and Policy, is that e-Government does pay off and that back office changes are required to achieve results. The study selected and studied in detail eight European exemplary public services from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Spain.


India is all set to become the new knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) hub
India is all set to become the new knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) hub, according to paper 'India in the New Knowledge Economy'. The paper has revealed that KPO would grow at 46% to reach a staggering US$ 17 billion by 2010. Besides, the study points that the growth of services sector would be more than 8% and its contribution to India's GDP would be more than 51%, affirming that India's transition from being a BPO destination to a KPO destination is imminent.
http://www.ciionline.org/news/newsMain.asp?news_id= 592005103415AM&comment=posted

Euro-India ICT co-operation 
The Euro-India ICT Co-operation initiative has published the European and Indian ICT market background documents. Each document has been compiled to offer European & Indian players a brief yet comprehensive overview of the European & Indian economies, their marketplaces, and prospects in the 'digital era', the respective ICT markets – evolution, present status, performance indicators, future outlook and much more.

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Compiled by Farah Mahmood, Bytes for All, Pakistan

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