March 2006

Bytes for All…

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Debate of the Month
5 Key Issues for Next 10 Years
Satish Jha invited Bytes For All readers to contribute their thoughts on what they considered were key issues for the next 10 years. Here's a summary he prepared based on his findings.
Poverty: It is now being increasingly appreciated that the poor are a huge untapped opportunity for businesses. Governments have tried with little success. Transforming the existing business models to address the needs of the poor creates a new market that triggers its own growth impulses. The model can be extended to eradicate worst forms of poverty in a manageable span of time. 0

Energy and Environment: Energy situation needs fresh perspectives where leadership from India can bring in a new holistic approach to marrying energy needs with environmental concerns.

Healthcare: Given the current state of understanding of common diseases it is possible to get rid of the most widespread diseases that cause avoidable suffering for a large number of people in developing countries. We need to create healthcare models that can bring down the cost of disease management and within the reach of the poorest. An Indian leadership in this area can bring the possibility of making a difference of an order of magnitude.

Learning: Even the poor recognise education and learning the most significant way out of the cycle of poverty. It is inability to access education that has kept most of them from getting out of it. New technologies make it possible for everyone to become literate and acquire skills appropriate to make them productive members of society.

Water: Four billion people in the world do not have access to potable water benchmarked to what is available through the public system in the urban world. A project based approach can bring them closer to having clean water that can hugely impact the healthcare costs and disease management as well.

Disaster Relief: Recent disasters from Tsunami to earthquakes to hurricane have tested our capacity to quickly offer relief and contain suffering. Disasters are no longer local and need global response to mitigate their worst consequences.
Digital Divide: Digital technologies offer us opportunities that never existed in ramping up our efforts to make the world literate, universal access to acquiring appropriate skills at costs that extend the frontiers of those who can access them. Its flip side creates a divide larger than any that we have seen and managing it well can help us achieve what seemed unthinkable just a few years ago.

Events, Releases and Announcements
First Bangla Blog now online
The first ever localised bangla blog has been hosted by a Norwegian-Bangladeshi joint venture company This blog features popular online keyboard parsers, virtual keyboard for novices and most surprisingly a phonetic Bangla keyboard which transliterate English into Bangla.

Courtesy: Hasin Hayder,
Search Bengali keywords in Google
Google comes up with the capacity to search Bengali contents on the web. One can now put  Bengali key words in Google and find relevant Bengali pages or links.
Courtesy: Nazrul Islam,

Digital communities prize up for Prix Ars in 2006
Prix Ars Electronica will again be awarding the 'Digital Communities' title in 2006. The Digital Communities category is open to smart, successful ways of deploying digital technologies to solve social problems. Prizes include One Golden Nica with 10,000 Euro, two Awards of Distinction with 5,000 Euro each and up to 12 Honorary Mentions will be awarded by the Jury. The deadline for submissions is March 17, 2006.

Courtesy: Sunil Abraham,

Book: e-Commerce and small enterprise
A set of online/downloadable guidance handbooks dealing with e-Commerce in small enterprise in India is now available here.

Courtesy: Richard Heeks,

Book: Wireless networking for the developing world
We are proud to announce the completion of a 250-page free book, jam-packed with information about building wireless networks in the developing world.

Courtesy: Tomas

Book: Towards an African e-Index
Research ICT Africa! has recently launched the book entitled 'Towards an African e-Index' which documents a research initiative investigating both individual and household ICT access and usage in sub-Sahara Africa.

Courtesy: Frederick Noronha,

Book: Internet Handbook for Journalists
UNESCO has published a handbook for journalists of developing countries on the use of Internet for journalistic purposes. Courtesy: Irfan Khan

Special Report on Information Society: The Next Steps
The Report looks at how the ICT landscape is changing in the developing world and what lies ahead.

Courtesy: Nadia Afrin,

Panacea Dreamweavers' Tamil Freeware
The Panacea Dreamweavers' Tamil Freeware suite includes R4U (Tamil-English word processor), Mugavari (Tamil-English address book), Sangam Pro (NGO management package), Selvam (accounting software), fonts and dictionaries. launched
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Oxford Internet Institute at the Oxford University have joined hands and launched the website, supported by Consumers' Union WebWatch  and sponsored by Google, Lenovo and Sun Microsystems to fight 'badware'.

Courtesy: Dr D.C. Misra,

Online meetup by National Association for the Blind
The National Association for the Blind in New Delhi has been conducting a weekly programming workshop moderated by Arun Mehta. Different people here are learning different languages at different speeds.

Courtesy: Frederick Noronha,

OS Edubuntu is available for free
Edubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with community based support. Edubuntu is fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software, you have the right to modify your software until it works the way you want it to.
Courtesy: Frederick Noronha,

Goa Knowledge Commission website launched
The Goa Knowledge Commission, constituted by Government of Goa on November 10, 2005 has launched its website on February 2, 2006.

Courtesy: Dr D C Misra,
Call for papers on the Digital Commons
Asian Conference on the Digital Commons from April 18-20, 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Disaster Information System
The Natural Disaster Information System (NDIS) is a first of its kind pilot project aimed at alerting people about any impending natural disaster.

The 1$ Encyclopedia
Think of wikipedia content available on CD for offline viewing. Wikipedia certainly can replace Encarta/Britannica for students who can not pay hefty amount.

Courtesy: Thejesh GN,
100 NGOs meet for Asia Source
Asia Source was an eight day hands-on workshop aimed at building the technical skills of NGOs in South and South East Asia held at the end of January. Its primary goal was to act as a focal point in increasing the practical uptake of FOSS desktop and tools amongst the voluntary sector in South and South East Asia.

Courtesy: Guntupalli Karunakar,

Rampal Knowledge Fair

A Knowledge Fair 2006 took place in Rampal from January 20-21. It highlighted new ways to introduce ICT in rural villages.
Courtesy: MD. Arafatul Islam,
GEP: Network to build opportunities for young people
Global Education Partnership is a network of educators, development professionals, business people, and visionaries which won the 2004/05 APC Hafkin Prize.

Courtesy: Fredrerick Noronha,

Building analytical capacity among 8-18 year olds
The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive curriculum for learners aged 8 to 18, which develops their analytical skills through the use of software and software engineering tools.

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