The Jig Saw

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Indian IT industry has failed to realise the potential of domestic requirements’

An interesting point of view ... when is the herd gonna cash on this opportunity?

S S Ghosh, retired MD and CEO of CMC Ltd says

The Indian industry is not realising the potential of domestic requirements for IT applications, ranging from training and education, healthcare to e-governance. The local companies are too involved with the export market for IT services, overlooking the possibilities for complete solution development within the country.

Development of applications in local language could be one area and IT-based education delivery could be another. What is being done to eradicate illiteracy? Are we really taking vast advantage of IT to do something in this area? It is just not sufficient that some isolated applications are being used by private training institutes or IT is being taught in schools. These are not enough to unearth the potential. The Indian companies should apply themselves to create solutions related to mass applications of IT. It could be in the education segment or in the operation of transport system in metros and cities. We have to plan to develop new applications so that the quality of life of an ordinary Indian improves.

Read the full story here

Monday, January 24, 2005


The BBC website has a report 'E-VILLAGES' by Mukti Jain Campion - 5 pioneering projects that are bringing the internet to rural communities on the Indian subcontinent

Friday, January 21, 2005

ISRO group to create low-cost system terminals for students in rural India

Plans are under way to create low-cost system terminals by the ISRO group to facilitate distance learning at the local level especially to students in rural areas. “The terminals will be developed in a few months and distributed to the schools in rural areas to induce interactive class sessions,” said ISRO director Dr Prem Shanker Goel.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Global Information and Communications Competition Launched

The Development Gateway Foundation has launched its second global competition for achievement in the use of ICT for development.

Rural BPOs

The ITC Mera Gaon Mera Desh B Plan contest winners presented the concept of Rural BPOs .. Interesting ain't it? Is there a way I can get in touch with them?

Read about ITCs Philosophy on Rural Development

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Reaching The Unreached With ICT

M S Swaminathan plans to make every village in India a knowledge centre by 2007 by taking information and communication technology to them..

Read the full story here
More about M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

JNU: Kalam's vision of a developed India


On integrated action to meet the needs of one-billion people, Kalam said: "We have identified five areas where India has core competence for integrated action: agriculture and food processing; education and health care; reliable and quality electric power; surface transport and infrastructure for all parts of the country; information and communication technology and self reliance in strategic sectors.

"These five areas are closely inter-related and if we do well, this would lead to national, food and economic security, and national security. One of the important components of national development is Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas or PURA, which will eliminate the rural-urban divide."

Monday, January 17, 2005

Government of India Initiatives for e-Governance

Ashis Sanyal, Director, Department of IT, Ministry of Communications and IT presents the National e-Governance Action Plan (NEGAP)

Download the presentation here

Tuition Outsourcing: California, Boston kids dial India to brush up maths, science

From low end BPO work to tutoring ... India Inc can do it all!

Indian Express, January 16, 2005

Twice a week, Ann Maria, a sixth grader at Silver Oak Elementary School, California, logs on the Internet from home.

She’s not chatting up with friends, but connecting to her personal tutor—already online, armed with a headset and a pen mouse—in a cubicle almost a timezone away in Kochi.

Your neighbourhood tuition teacher, riding on the Information Technology Enabled Service (ITES) wave, has now gone global and his monthly pay packet has turned meatier—anywhere between $10 and $40 an hour.

Apple plans to blitz the low-end of the market with a cheap computer and music player.

Red Herring Tue, 11 Jan 2005

Apple made its big stab at the low-priced market today, with Steve Jobs unveiling a $499 computer and a $99 flash memory-based MP3 player during his MacWorld keynote in San Francisco.

The new Mac Mini includes a 1.25 GHz G4 processor with 256 MB of RAM, a 40-gig hard drive, and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. It will sell for $499 starting January 22. Apple will upgrade the processor to 1.42 GHz and double the size of the hard drive for another $100. The machine comes loaded with Apple's newest operating system, Panther, and software, iLife 05.

ISRO plans internet connectivity to remotest villages

BANGALORE: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has ambitious plans to provide internet connectivity to the remotest Indian villages. ISRO is looking at a possible association with BSNL in this mission.

This along with the announcement made by the Union IT and Telecommunications minister Dayanithi Maran on the possibility of launching a sub-Rs.10, 000 computer by June 2005, during his address on the occasion of BSNL 'Data One' launch in Chennai indicates the government's intentions to make computers and the internet more affordable and popular.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Winners of the "I Look Like My Dog" Contest

Put on the dog ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

60% of companies will use open source to some extent by the end of 2005

According to Forrester Research, about 60% of companies have installed or will install some form of open-source software by the end of 2005.

IBM Heads to Open Source - Wired

U.S. patent leader IBM said it plans to donate 500 patents for free use by software developers, marking a major shift in intellectual property strategy for the world's top computer maker and a challenge to the technology industry.

The IBM move is meant to encourage other patent holders to donate their own intellectual property in order to form what the company refers to as a "patent commons," a modern twist on shared public lands set aside under traditional laws.

The donation coincides with an announcement by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that IBM topped the list of annual patent recipients for the 12th straight year, with 3,248 patents -- or 1,314 more patents than No. 2-ranked Matsushita (MC) of Japan, known for its Panasonic brand.

Microsoft Research India aims to impact villages

Microsoft is keen on doing pure research in India that would show how "computing could impact rural areas and benefit emerging markets", says a senior scientist-businessman who heads the company's main research centre in the United States.

"A small group of outstanding people we have put together in Bangalore will focus on research that might have an impact on the lives of Indians in the villages... for this we are not only doing hardcore computer science, but also working with social scientists and ethnographers," Daniel T Ling, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research told.

Read the Press Release

Cautionary Tales - Plus Encouragement - from Three Veteran Entrepreneurs

Jeffrey A. Citron, co-founder and chief executive of Vonage Holdings, David Morgan, founder of Real Media and currently chief executive of TACODA, and Josh Kopelman, founder of Infonautics and

While a bold idea, unflagging determination and patient financial backers are all crucial to successful start-ups, entrepreneurs must also focus on less dramatic aspects of running a company, according to seasoned entrepreneurs who spoke at the 8th Annual Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference.

This means paying attention to investment relationships, exit strategies and the mechanics of building a business, including hiring and firing, marketing and distribution, said Jeffrey A. Citron, co-founder and chief executive of Vonage Holdings, David Morgan, founder of Real Media and currently chief executive of TACODA, and Josh Kopelman, founder of Infonautics and

When looking for start-up opportunities, Citron said he targets businesses that revolve around disruptive technologies that will shake up big, preferably global, markets with huge entrenched players. He looks for businesses with products that make a major change in a large number of lives.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Paper on Google Desktop Search

Seth Nielson, Seth Fogarty, and Dan Wallach's paper - "Attacks on Local Search Tools" discusses the security flaw in Google Desktop Search.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Here's a list of sites for when you're feeling bored.

End of the World


Bluepoint as a Foundation

Bluepoint aims to help bridge the digital divide by bringing computing to the masses.

The foundation intends to realize this goal by using Linux, a freeoperating system that is technically superior to other proprietary environments. It runs on what most people consider as obsolete machines without any of the performance penalties incurred by, forexample, Microsoft Windows. Using Linux, Bluepoint aims to revive old computers and bring them to those who will greatly benefit fromcomputerization but who cannot afford restrictive and expensive software licenses

Our mission is to help ease the economic burden of the average Filipino in terms of IT and to uplift his technological skills. We intend to do this by using and promoting Linux and Open Source technologies.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Facts Vs Truth

Shantaram alais Gregory David Roberts, once known as Public Enemy Number One and Australia's Most Wanted Man talks on The Search for Truth -

When I talk about what we know, or when I call some piece of data a fact, I’m proceeding from the point of view that nothing in the universe is absolutely true, and I’m then making a distinction between what is merely believed to be true (without some supporting data) or what simply might be true, on one hand, and what has a high order of probability of being true, on the other hand.

When I say that something has a high order of probability of being true, what I mean is that to the best of our understanding and knowledge, at this time, the statement of fact is more likely to be verified than contradicted, through observational tests and closely examined predictions of outcomes. An example of this kind of "fact" and its "high order of probability of being true" is the statement that all men are mortal. It may be that all men are not mortal, and that an immortal person will be born tomorrow, but based on all the data we have, the high order of probability is that each new human being born will be mortal. Thus, for the purposes of our discussion here, I would accept the statement "all men are mortal" to be a fact, which is to say that it has a high order of probability of being true.

Now, I know that there may always be people who won't or can't accept even this use of the word "fact", or the word "true". If you happen to be such a reader, and if you just can't get past this point, then I advise you to stop reading right now. It's not my intention to cause distress to anyone who might read this series of seminars, and it's not my practice to try to convince anyone of my point of view. If a reader finds that something in my method, or some conclusion I draw, is upsetting to her or his sensibilities, I advise that she or he should simply stop reading, and leave the seminar series with my best wishes.

I’m talking to the body of people – the very large number of people, in my estimate – who think it useful to proceed on the assumption that some pieces of data, on the basis of a high order of probability, should be considered facts. I’m not ruling out the possibility that new evidence might emerge that might show me that the piece of data wasn't a fact. On the contrary, my method demands that we must learn everything we can about the universe, and constantly subject what we've accepted as facts to the test of new evidence. One of life's greatest delights, it seems to me, is the emergence of some new research or insight that reveals a previously accepted "fact" to be quite wrong. While I don't accept everything in the analysis of Popper (more of Karl Popper in later seminars), I do share the delight he felt in seeing long-cherished scientific tenets overturned.

Tsunami (London Times)

A team from Anna University in Madras is logging the details of any child or adult whose relatives may be searching for them. Photographs and personal details will be posted on a website and the team will tour camps with computers.

`Lost and found' system (Hindu)

CHENNAI JAN. 1. Anna University will instal a computer-based `lost and found' system in Nagapattinam relief camps.
It will set up eight PC stations (each consisting of one PC, one web camera and a modem) connected in the network mode to a central server.

The system uses `e-milan' software, a web-based solution which facilitates the lost people to get in touch with their near and dear, posting their photographs and details on a central server that can be accessed from anywhere using a modem and a telephone line.

Horror writ large on young faces (The Australian)

A team from Anna University, in the southern city of Chennai, has travelled to the region to assist in reuniting displaced family members.

Armed with a laptop, webcam and wireless internet connection, the team is moving between containment centres, photographing children and people who have been separated.

"We will build a data base and travel around from camp to camp to help families identify missing relatives," said Manoj Mathur, one of the program's co-ordinators. "I am very sure that some of these people have family in other centres."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Snippets from Nagapattinam

The villages in Tamil Nadu hit by the Tsunami are by no means poor. And therefore you can see lot of relief material being wasted .. heaps of clothes, loafs of bread, packets of water name it! There is enough rather more than enough relief reaching affected people only they don't want what is being provided. The only voice that echos here is "return our boats and our houses, we'll feed ourselves!"
It is estimated that in Nagapattinam alone the loss in prawn culture is about 10 crores. At certain places one can see boats on the road - alomst a kilometer from the shore!

Kumaravein, a small time fisherman says he earns Rs 5000 per month on an average. He sells Vanjaram, a fish that costs Rs. 250 a kg (a kg holds 2-3 fishes) and his boat costs about 2 lacs. He has no faith that the government will help them get back.

But spending time at the Collectorate you can see how much effort the Govt and NGOs are putting. There is no place that has short supply of anything - including human resources like doctors or relief workers.

I wonder how much of a difference our project will make .. maybe isn't even a scratch on the surface but it's still a begining a way to make people aware how technology could be used for their advantage. There has been much learning but I guess the message that a system could be built to help displaced people in any situation - even in a disaster and crisis.

Monday, January 03, 2005

IT works for Tsunami victims

Dhoonde ne se bhagwan bhi milta hain aur aab IT ki madad se Tsunami mein khoya hua insaan bhi milta hain. (if you search for god you’ll find him and now with the help of IT a missing person from Tsunami can also be found!) Don’t believe that do you? Ask Manikantan(11) and his siblings living in a relief camp in Nagapattnam who were reunited with their maternal aunt from Serathoor, Velankani, both fishing hamlets destroyed by the Tsunami.

With news reports of thousands of missing individuals, especially children being flashed across all news channels Anna University mobilized an initial team of 14 within 24 hours. While the technical consultants flew from Expert Software Consultants Limited, Anna University provided the infrastructure and organized volunteers from various institutions to execute the Project Help Milan. Reliance Infocomm provided the communication infrastructure for the mobile camps.

The team has set up a “Missing Persons” help desk at the Collectorate in Nagapattinam and is operating mobile camps in Nagapattinam and surrounding talukas. The volunteers move with laptops and web cameras clicking pictures and capturing data of the “Missing Persons”. The data is simultaneously uploaded to the internet for easy access. Currently the database holds more than 300 records of missing persons and is still growing.

In less than 48 working hours of assembling the Help Milan team we have successfully reunited 4 orphan children from Nagapattnam with their maternal aunt Avvayam in Velankani. Maheshwari (16), Kalaiselvi (13), Manikantan (11) and Mahendra (8) lost their mother when the wall of water hit their village in Nambiar Nagar

About the team –
Help Milan is an Internet based ‘Missing Persons” service that utilizes the technology developed by Expert Software Consultants Ltd and is being deployed by Anna University. The program assists Tsunami victims to locate their displaced relatives, especially orphan children in relief camps. Since the database can be accessed from anywhere, people can even take the help of the nearest cyber cafes. It thus minimizes the trauma of “Missing Persons” and helps reunite with their family. On a successful reunion (Milan: Hindi for reunion) the system records associated information regarding the “Missing Persons” and his/her claimant.