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Red Hat, IIT to host summit on IP reform August 16, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in India.
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Here’s my story on LinuxWorld.com which says:

What do open source, seed saving, traditional music and medicine, and patent policy have in common? They’re all things on which policymakers in India want better international deals.


From Pune with love, for Google August 16, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in India.
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Indian Express is reporting that the Pune-based Persistent Systems is helping Google to overcome its limitation in searching for data on corporate intranets and knowledge management systems.

This report, by Rituparna Bhuyan says in 2002

Google released a plug-and-play device — Google Search Appliance — that enabled employees of private companies to search their servers and also external sites. But the hitch was that it had a limited use as certain contents were not compatible with the appliance and hence failed to respond to the request.

Persisten product manager (connectors) Gautam Malkarnekar is quoted in the piece, saying:

We have released two features. The first release was in April and the second one in June. By releasing these two features, we have provided connectivity through which the search appliance will have access to live data stored in servers like Lotus Notes, Domino, MS Exchange through Google OneBox

What does it do?

* It enables employees to search for their colleagues and quickly access full name, department, designation and phone numbers.

* It extends the ability of the search appliance to get all the relevant entries of the employees

* Even if there are aliases, this feature helps the information seeker to get details of the employee, the member list, list description, list owner and so on and so forth.

Of course, care is being taken to ensure that the search operation “does not transgress into other domains and keep a security check on it.”

Pakistan’s first private sector fibre optic cable goes live August 8, 2006

Posted by R.S in Connectivity, Pakistan.
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On 28 July 2006, Pakistan’s first private sector submarine fibre-optic cable system called Transworld-1 (TW-1) was launched. The aim of this initiative is to offer global end-to-end connectivity solutions through a state-of-the-art network, according to the bandwidth provider.

The aforementioned fibre-optic cable system is the third one for Pakistan, after two similar ones which belong the SEAMEWE series.This development is expected to bring about a vast improvement on the situation last year when between June 27 and July 8 Pakistan’s sole cable link with the outside world was snapped, resulting in an internet breakdown throughout the country.

Transworld Associates Limited — the organisation behind the project — claims that the new cable system has been designed to provide high availability and to ensure minimal error rate, thus empowering the users to enjoy reliable international connectivity.

The 1,250-km-long TW-1 cable system connects Karachi to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The segment is installed with a single Power Switched Branching Unit. A branch segment leads to Al Seeb, Sultanate of Oman. In November of 2005, TW-1 cable shore ends were successfully landed by an e-marine cable ship CS Etisalat at Fujairah, UAE, Al Seeb, Sultanate of Oman, and Karachi.

BOOK REVIEW: Building clouds… in cyberspace August 7, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Digital content.
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Tag clouds
Building Tag Clouds in Perl and PHP
Jim Bumgardner
Ebook in PDF format
ISBN: 0596527942
Pp 48
$9.99 US, $12.99 CAN

Tag clouds? What are those?

O’Reilly’s new e-book ‘Building Tag Clouds in Perl and PHP’ by Jim Bumgardner explains a concept every serious user of cyberspace would have at least heard of.

Says Bumbardner: “Tag clouds are everywhere on the Web these days. First popularized by the web sites Flickr, Technorati, and del.icio.us, these amorphous clumps of words now appear on a slwe of web sites as visual evidence of their membership in the elite corps of ‘Web 2.0’.”

Wikipedia says: “A tag cloud (more traditionally known as a weighted list in the field of visual design) is a visual depiction of content tags used on a website. Often, more frequently used tags are depicted in a larger font or otherwise emphasized, while the displayed order is generally alphabetical. Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. Selecting a
single tag within a tag cloud will generally lead to a collection of items that are associated with that tag.”

If you’re a content person like this reviewer, why bother at all about all this stuff? As long as I get my neatly-laid out keywords that give me a clue of what’s where, why worry?

But then, someone has to do the job of getting the tag clouds to work. And that’s where this book is born out of a need.

It may be a fad. But one which has “real merits” when used popularly, as Bumgardner explains. This e-book analyses what is and isn’t a tag cloud. It offers design tips for using them effectively, and also shows how to collect tags and display them in the tag cloud format.

Interesting background on issues like craiglist’s weighted cities list, and statistically improbable phrases (SIPs) or capitalized phrases (CAPs) lists provided by Amazon.com. SIP has word order corelating to the improbability of the phrase.

In the CAP list, the word order relates to the frequency with which the phrase appears in the book.

After some interesting history about tag clouds — which takes us to Flickr (who doesn’t know this photography-sharing web site?), tag roots in the blogging community, and Jim Flanagan’s Zeitgeist idea — things start to get technical.

There’s code, graphs and how-tos.Time for me to leave it to techies, who prefer raw coding to merely writing book reviews!

Citizen journalism August 7, 2006

Posted by R.S in Uncategorized.
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The volatility of the present remains underscored with man-made catastrophes in the form of suicide attacks, bomb blasts and armed conflicts. While these developments result in unwarranted loss of human lives and generate waves of panic and anguish, each event itself is a test for e-media as a viable news source – projecting blogs as a source of ‘citizen journalism’.

In July, as the world gathered to commemorate the London bombings of July 7, 2005, media pundits were quick to acknowledge the role of citizen journalism in the wake of the event. According to Torin Douglas, media correspondent at BBC News, the London bombings marked a turning point for the media. “That day, the BBC received 22,000 e-mails and text messages about the London bombings. There were 300 photos and several video sequences. With events happening largely underground, far removed from the eyes of the media professionals, the mobile-phone camera helped illustrate the day’s horrific events in a way that would not have been possible before. Dramatic photos and video sequences from passengers on the Tube led the BBC News bulletin, the first time such material had been deemed more newsworthy than the professionals’ material.”

As the world continued to debate the newsworthiness of ‘user-generated content’ and citizen journalism, the Mumbai bombings of July 11, 2006 once again highlighted the efficacy of cyberspace in times of crisis. As people turned to traditional media to get updates on the event, many others flocked to online news sources and forums. Many people chose to vent their frustration and anger via blogs, while others used the global reach of the Web to connect locals, Indian expatriates and other netizens to the event via blog updates. As Nayanima Basu of Indo-Asian News Service reported, “that dreadful night of 7/11, bloggers came to the rescue of millions of Mumbaikars and thousands across the globe with their continuing stream of information on every aspect of the blasts and the victims. The bloggers continued to visit the blast sites and hospitals, networking with the police and posting all the necessary details on their blogs. Among these, Metroblogging Mumbai and Mumbai Help featured details about the blasts and the names of all the hospitals with contact numbers, list of the injured and dead along with photographs and contact details of the missing people as well as details of the blood banks.

Endeavours such as these are a clear indication that in this day and age the internet’s role as a news medium has surpassed being merely an online version of news media and instead produces unprecedented examples of ‘citizen journalism’.

Originally published in SPIDER Magazine

August 2006

BytesForAll… laughs at an online chat August 5, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in India.
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We had a rather interesting — and fun — BytesForAll admin meet-up via chat late Saturday night. Those who took part were: Farah, Reba, Partha, Jehan Ara, Warren Noronha, Fouad Bajwa, and self.

Some issues that came up included:

* Brainstorming on what BytesForAll could do to consolidate its work.
* Building SocialSourceCommons in South Asia:
http://beta.socialsourcecommons.org/ Intereted volunteers ask Partha
to get you access to contribute to this site.
* How BytesForAll started
* Blogging on bytesforall.net and contributing content actively
* Need to update BytesForAll volunteers list on site.
* Possibility of meeting on other Saturdays, with more volunteers
* Pakistan ICT policy monitor pakistanictpolicy.bytesforall.net.
* Bangladesh ICT policy monitor bangladeshictpolicy.bytesforall.net
* Zunaira has moved to Palo Alto
* Choosing a commontag for BytesForAll initiatives. Suggested: b4all,
southasia, BytesForAll, b4all_southasia, b4asa, bytesforall_southasia
* Promoting South Asian content on Flickr, del.icio.us, Wikipedia, etc
* Page of photos (baby photos will do!) with brief details of all volunteers.
* Depending on new techie members Foaud and Warren for site help.
* Need to build/support Pakistan-related ICT mailing list.
* List priorities for potential volunteers, tasks-to-be-done.
* Mentoring young South Asians to set up mailing lists
* Need to improve content flows, discussions around ICT
* Building a list of ICT4D lists… (underway)
* Posting BytesForAll summaries to other lists.
* Attempt to build ICT writers network: https://southasiaict4d.wordpress.com
* Agenda notes for online chat could be placed on Gabbly in advance.
* See Global FLOSS Map ohioh.net
* Building FLOSS skills in South Asia. Can BytesForAll do something here?
* SoftwareFreedomDay.org comes up on Sept 16, 2006.
* Possibility of a ‘Planet’ for software firms.
* Is the Simputer still alive?

Some facts you might have not known:

* Jehan was a writer; Reba, a Java programmer earlier!
* Warren Noronha is 22 years old. Calls himself a retired programmer!
* SPIDER, Pakistan’s internet magazine, costs Rs 50 per issue.
* Read Reba in Urdu on BBC
* WordPress in Your Language
* Urdu poetry site
* Planning an ICTwriters blog (initiative of Reba) here exactly.

What was interesting was seeing Fouad tell Warren: “You have got some good skills, can you help with Drupal + Urdu?” And in no time Warren came back with a solution to start a Drupal Translation Project for Urdu.

This chat started at 11 pm IST and ended at 0145 IST. Quite a marathon…Lest you thought it was a dull and boring affair, there was a hole lot of humour peppering the entire discussion!