June 2007

Bytes for All…

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Software piracy in India drops by one percent.

Patrice Riemens informs that a most interesting article in yesterday's Financial Times Digital Business supplement details the stunning costs, direct and indirect, that are associated with the 'management' of software licenses for business and other professional organisations. It's called 'The hidden cost of being too cautious' and is by Alan Cane (Published: May 30, 2007)
Source:  Patrice Riemens,  patrice@xs4all.nl

Google offers help to  Mysore University (Karnataka) to digitise 800,000 books

The Mysore University library has around 100,000 manuscripts that are written both on paper as well as palm leaves. These would include India's first political treatise, the 'Arthashastra' written in the 4th century BC by Kautilya. The idea behind digitising for free is to get free links to these materials once the necessary patenting is complete. Google will also provide expertise, software, and manpower for the digitisation work. Mysore University is training some of its select Physics students to help in the digitisation process.
http://www.techshout.com/internet/2007/21/google-to-digitize-800000-books-at-mysore-university-in-india/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10340

Let's make poverty a 'copyright free zone'

Nalaka Gunawardene argues that we all know the power of moving images. Used strategically, moving images can move people to change lifestyles, attitudes and behaviour. Indeed, the right kind of information — whether about microcredit, contraception, home gardening or immunisation – can vastly improve the quality of life, and even save lives that are needlessly lost. Says Nalaka: “Broadcasters need to let go of development related TV content after initial broadcasts. They must also allow educational and civil society users greater access to vast visual archives, gathered from all over the world. In this context, I would like to repeat a proposal I first made last year, which I have since presented at the UN Headquarters and other forums. It's simple: Let us make poverty a 'copyrights free zone'.”
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10338

Cheaper laptops for children

A programme to provide millions of low-cost laptops to students in poor countries is set to start production in September even as commercial competitors prepare to offer even cheaper models. The idea from Nicholas Negroponte, a co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory, who proposed the project at the World Economic Forum in Davos two years ago, has moved closer to fruition. The non-profit organisation he formed — One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) — attracted support of leading businesses and institutions and will start production later this year, Michail Bletsas, chief connectivity officer at OLPC, said. The laptop is being made by the Chinese firm Quanta: the goal is for Quanta to manufacture 40,000 laptops a month  beginning in September, then step up production to 400,000 per month by the end of the year. 'OLPC would like to manufacture at least three million units in the first round of production,' he said. 'OLPC is in talks with Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Nigeria, Thailand, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda and many other countries — but nothing definite just yet,' OLPC Spokeswoman Jackie Lusting.
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1099381
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10332

Cellphone call from Everest

British climber Rod Baber on Monday became the first man to use a cellphone for making a call from Mount Everest. He used the GSM technology. Earlier, satellite phones had been used to make calls from the Everest summit, but this is for the first time that a call has been made using the 3G  technology. The call was made possible with the help of a cell tower installed by China Telecom in Rongbuk, about 12 miles from the mountain peak.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10321

Stockholm challenge

Earl Mardle in Sydney meanwhile calls on mobile developers from anywhere to take part in the Stockholm Challenge. 'We are very aware that mobile is vital to many areas of development and the more interesting and innovative programmes we can contact, the better,' says he. Contact: earl.mardle@stockholmchallenge.se

Telecentres in the Madrasa

The school based telecentre project of RI SOL has launched Internet-enabled telecentres in two Bangladeshi 'madrasas' (Islamic religious schools), in Khulna and Dhaka. See Khulna Alia Madrasa Advocates for an Inclusive Information Society on World Information Society Day Link to the news story and photos of the celebration.
Source: Nazrul Islam nazrul07@gmail.com
http://www.connect-bangladesh.org/content/view/418/101/

e-Choupals: Networking rural India

Ranabir  Majumdar writes that the agricultural system has also traditionally been unfair to primary producers. Farmers have only an approximate idea of price trends and have to accept the price offered to them at auctions on the day that they bring their grain to the mandi. As a result, traders are well positioned to exploit both farmers and buyers through practices that sustain system-wide inefficiencies. Initiated in 2000, the e-Choupal project placed computers with Internet access in rural farming villages. The e-Choupals serve as both a social gathering place for exchange of information (choupal means 'gathering place' in Hindi) and an e-Commerce hub.
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/web2.0story asp?id=ARTEN20070012289


Peer-to-peer, online

Michel Bauwens (michelsub2004@gmail.com) of that amazing resource called the http://p2pfoundation.net in Bangkok also has an amazing set of bookmarks at  http://del.icio.us/mbauwens. He has an interesting set of books are listed here at: http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Category:Books Some of interest http://www.p2pfoundation.net Wireless_Networking_in_the_Developing_World http://www.p2pfoundation.net/African_Digital_Commons http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Building_Sustainable_Communities
For inspiring policy reforms http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Democratising_Innovation

First rural BPO company in Sri Lanka

Horizon Lanka Foundation started a new BPO company named OnTime Pvt. Ltd. recently to carry out BPO operations.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10261

Some interesting ICT for Development books

Free Media vs. Free Beer (By Andrew L)

The free beer Richard Stallman loathes is everywhere. Media companies are currently falling over themselves to produce the new hive for user generated content. The names have rapidly become common place – YouTube, MySpace, Flickr – and their affect has been enormous, dramatically changing the production and distribution of media globally. Free beer pours from the taps of these new hubs of participatory media as they clamor to get you in the door. But free beer, as Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman has always emphasised, is not the same as freedom.
http://nettime.freeflux.net/blog/archive/2007/05/04/nettime-free-media-vs-free-beer-by-andrew-l.html; http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/andrewl/news/freebeer/


Podbharti.com, podcasts from India

Here is good news for Hindi web community. Indo-Asian News Service reports from New Delhi that a new website has come up with Hindi podcasting service, which will provide rich coverage of news and views on Indic blogging concerning India, tools and technology, current affairs and entertainment. Maharashtra  based blogger duo Debashish Chakrabarty and Shashi Singh have
launched the website www.podbharti.com. It is India's first pure Hindi podcast and targets towards Hindi speaking users in India as well as abroad. Growing number of India centric podcasts like IndiaTech (http://www.podtech.net/indiatech) and advent of community events like Podworks (http://www.podworks.in) are testimony to the growing prowess.
http://in.movies.yahoo.com/070516/43/6fv5l.html
Hindi portal Lokmanch (http://www.Lokmanch.com)
Hindi  blog magazine Nirantar  (http://www.Nirantar.org)

Regional reports:

Tiny Goa and cyberspace

Goa, the former Portuguese colony on the west coast of India, is seeing students get access to computers. But what are they being used for? Dr Nandkumar Kamat (nkamat@unigoa.ac.in )points to various resources available. He writes: “Instead of giving substandard CDs to students, it is advisable to use MIT opencourseware. Undergraduates and postgraduates, just log on to ocw.mit.edu and get information on 1600 courses.”
Enter the Blogosphere: The Politics, Profits, and Perils of Blogs: Interesting syllabus on blogging….
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/10243

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Compiled by Frederick Noronha, Co-Founder, Bytes for all, India,
fredericknoronha@gmail.com

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