Bytes for All
February 2008

Bytes for All

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Attend IIT classes on YouTube
For the last month, 13 video courses in science and engineering of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) have been on free trial runs on YouTube ( One can sit in Ahmedabad or Amsterdam and login in to 40 streaming hours of IIT classroom teaching video. Even classes at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, will get on YouTube soon.

Develop for the One Laptop Per  Child project
One can download the Sugar software for the XO and run it on almost any computer so that one can see how it works and one can show it to others. Some, particularly the Ubuntu packages and the Live CD, are much easier than others, which are only suitable for developers.


Community Info Centres and Bangladesh
80 percent of Grameen's CICs to be sustainable by June this year. It is hoped that 80 per cent of the present 560 CICs will become sustainable (economically viable) by June and 90 per cent by the end of this year.

Indian telecom company to rollout massive WiMax network

Even as Sprint tentatively rolls out the XOHM network here in the States, the largest Indian telecom company is planning to build a mobile WiMax network covering three states on the subcontinent
capable of serving 250 million people. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is leaning on Soma Networks to build the broadband-speed network in response to government requirement that 20 million broadband lines be in service by 2010. The WiMax rollout will first hit the largest and most-connected states, but BSNL is planning on extending the network if things go well. Soma says it's shipping thousands of base stations to get the network operational at full speed, and that when it's done, 400 Indian cities will be covered, with downstream speeds of 1.5 megabits per seconds.

The house for social networking 

The Open Architecture Network, a web site that applies the principles behind open-source software to the construction of the material world, is working toward that sweeping global goal of social networking base.

Cape Town Open Education Declaration

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration arises from a small but lively meeting convened in Cape Town in September 2007. The aim of this meeting was to accelerate efforts to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education. Convened by the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation, the meeting gathered participants with many points of view from many nations sparking a dialogue to inspire action and to help the open education movement grow.

Mapping your neighbourhood from the sky
Satellite imagery-based tools are going to be an integral part of urban planning and development in the days to come. It will also have a direct impact on the lives of the residents with certain kinds of information on buildings, such as property tax details, becoming available at the click of a mouse. A Geographical Information System-based pilot project is in the process of being taken up in Kochi.

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) makes strides in Egypt

Egyptians have been using FOSS technology platforms in one way or the other but mostly for personal needs. Fouad Bajwa's anticipates to establish the Linux Professional Institute Egypt and Ubuntu Linux activities while advocating the benefits of adopting FOSS to the government organisations, universities, civil society and private sectors.

Free Software and school
See this 40-page text on the issue of Free/Libre and Open Source Software, and schools.  This was done for the International Open Source Network (IOSN-South Asia).

China's netizens to become world's  largest this year

The number of netizens or people using Internet in China is set to become the world's largest in 2008, surpassing the US. China had 210 million Internet users at the end of 2007, only five million less than the US, according to a survey released on the web site of the China Internet Network Information Centre (CINIC). The impressive growth was largely due to government efforts to extend telephony to villages and Internet services to townships.

Open access for better science 

With the advent of the Open Access (OA) initiative, the outlook for building science capacity in developing countries has improved significantly. In particular, the establishment of interoperable open access archives that is now underway by a rapidly growing number of institutes opens opportunities for true global knowledge exchange. OA archives are described and progress in both developed and developing regions is recorded, concluding with recommendations of what remains to be done to achieve the goal of free access to all publicly-funded research publications.

Open Access for the non-English-speaking world

This editorial highlights the problem of language barrier in scientific communication in spite of the recent success of Open Access movement. Four options for English-language journals to overcome the  language barrier are suggested: (i) abstracts in alternative languages provided by authors, (ii) Wiki open translation, (iii) international board of translator-editors, and (iv) alternative language version of the journal.

HCL launches laptop for INR 14,000

 In India, HCL today introduced its future computing strategy with two ultra-portable product laptop lines. The first of the products is the MiLeap X series at INR 13,990, a 1.4kg ultra portable with a 7″ LCD, running Linux with a GUI. The X-series has 2GB flash-based storage instead of a hard drive, built-in wireless, USB and PC card socket. It has soft faux-leather cladding to make it shock-resistant, which allows it to be carried without a laptop case.

Articles on the Internet in the third world from First Monday

Two technology  blogs

Vickram Crishna's blogs


We are told that we live in the 'digital revolution' era and that we can communicate across the globe as we never could before. In fact, restrictive copyright laws still act as a serious barrier to sharing and learning from each other. This is particularly true in countries of the South where three quarters of the population live. To read more, get a copy of the 208-page Copy/South Dossier produced in May 2006 by the Copy South Research Group after more than 18 months of research. Available at no charge, this unique dossier contains more than 50 articles examining many dimensions of the issue across the global South, such as access, culture, economics, libraries, education, software, the Internet, the public domain, and resistance.

The origins of FSF India

C V Radhakrishnan started a one-man unit for typesetting  documents, and grew it into a company that now employs 150 people and is today rated No.1 by Elsevier Science for typesetting their journals. Radhakrishnan also played an important role in establishing FSF India, and his firm, River Valley Technologies, uses only Free Software. V. Sasi Kumar of the Centre for Earth Science Studies talked to him about the journey with Free Software.

Meaning of creative in Creative Commons

In the midst of a Supreme Court case arguing that the latest lengthening of American copyright laws was unconstitutional, Lessig decided that if he couldn't stop the strengthening of copyright law, which was extended by an additional twenty years in 1998, he would help create an alternative.,2704,2234809,00.asp
The 'Future of Ideas' is now free
After a productive and valuable conversation with his publisher, Random House, Lawrence Lessig announces that they've agreed to permit 'The Future of Ideas' to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.
One Laptop Per Child: where it's making
an impact
XOs are already in schools in Peru and Uruguay. Mexico is next on the list. There are also pilot programmes in Cambodia, Thailand, Mongolia, Nepal, India, Pakistan and about a dozen other countries.
Some other articles on the One Laptop Per Child project
One Laptop Per Child Versus Intel-Who Speaks for India and China?
Intel Corp. broke its partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Nicholas Negroponte's non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project in January, a mere six months after forging it. On his second visit to India, Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, stated Intel is doing to bring down further, the power consumed by high-end processors and the future of computing technology.



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