jump to navigation

Challenging The Chip: The Underbelly of ICT January 11, 2007

Posted by fredericknoronha in India.
add a comment

Interesting! Despite all the optimism about ICTs, this cannot be ignored! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenging_The_Chip Challenging The Chip From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Main Category: Non-fiction book stubs

Challenging The Chip is a 2006-published book on “labour rights andenvironmental justice in the global electronics industry”. It ispublished by Temple University Press, Philadelphia. In three parts,the book looks at global electronics, environmental justice and labourrighs, and electronic waste and extended producer responsibility.Infour apendices, the book also deals with the principles ofenvironmental justice, the computer take-back campaign, sampleshareholder resolutions, and the electronics recycler’s pledge of truestewardship.

This 357-page book (ISBN 1059213-330-4) was put together by “scores ofpeople around the world (who) have been involved over the course ofseveral years in the conceptualization, development, editing andproduction (of it)”.

Contents[hide]

* 1 “Downside not addressed”

* 2 Third World women’s labour, pollute surroundings

* 3 Comments on the book

* 4 Regions covered

* 5 Contributors

* 6 Editors

* 7 External links

[edit] “Downside not addressed”

Says an introduction to its contents: “Of the millions of wordswritten over the past several decades about the electronics industry’sincredible transformation of our world, far too few have beenaddressed (to) the downside of this revolution. Many are surprised tolearn that environmental degredation and occupational health hazardsare as much a part of high-tech manufacturing as miniaturization andother such marvels.”

[edit] Third World women’s labour, pollute surroundings

Editors Ted Smith, David A Sonnenfeld and David Naguib Pellow also comment: “Although most consumers are eager to enjoy their latestcomputers, televisions, cellular phones, iPods, and electronic games,few relate the declining prices of these and other electronictechnologies to the labor of Third World women, who are paid pennies aday. Fewer still realize that the amazingly powerful microprocessorsand superminiaturized, high-capacity memory devices harm the workerswho produce them and pollute the sorrounding communities’ air andwater.

[edit] Comments on the book

Dr. Sandra Steingraber, author of the book Living Downstream: AnEcologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment calls this book”essential reading for anyone who owns a cell phone or a computer” andsays “our digital possessions connect us not only to globalinformation but also to global contamination and injustice”. MITProfessor of Technology and Policy and co-author of Technology,Globalization, and Sustainable Development calls the work “animpressive, comprehensive critique and hopeful, but realistic,blueprint for transforming the global electronics industry into asustainable one encompassing technological advance, environmentalimprovement, and equitable, safe, and secure employment”.

Jan Mazurek of the University of California at Los Angeles’sDepartment of Urban Planning and author of Making Microchips says that”contrary to high tech’s clean image, this pioneering work illustratesthe industry’s environmental and economic downsides from thebirthplace of Silicon Valley to the four corners of the globe to whichthe industry recently has spread”. Mazurek comments that this book is”told from the compelling and passionate perspective of workers andactivists involved in these struggles”.

[edit] Regions covered

Chapters of the book cover “Made in China” electronics workers,Thailand’s electronic sector’s corporate social responsibility,electronic workers in India, workers in and around Central and EasternEurope’s semiconductor plants (Russia, Belarus, Slovakia, CzechRepublic, Poland and Romania), Silicon Valley’s Toxics’ Coalition andworkers’ struggles, Mexico, Taiwan’s Hsinchu Science Park, otherissues from Taiwan, high-tech pollution in Japan, the electronic wastetrade, e-waste in Delhi, producer responsibility laws in Sweden andJapan, among other themes.

[edit] ContributorsIts contributors include David A Sonnenfeld, Boy Lüthje, Joseph LaDou,Anibel Ferus-Comelo, Apo Leong, Sanjiv Pandita, Tira Foran, AndrewWatterson, Andrew Watterson, Shengling Chang, Leslie A. Byster, TedSmith,David N. Pellow, Glenna Matthews, James McCourt, Connie García,Amelia Simpson, Raquel E. Partida Rocha, Hua-Mei Chiu, Wen-Ling Tu,Yu-Ling Ku, Robert Steiert, Leslie A. Byster, Ted Smith, FumikazuYoshida, Jim Puckett, Ravi Agarwal, Kishore Wankhade, Chad Raphael,Ted Smith, Ken Geiser, Joel Tickner, Naoko Tojo, David Wood and RobinSchneider.

[edit] Editors

This book is edited by Ted Smith, David A Sonnenfeld and David NaguibPellow, with Leslie A. Byser, Shenglin Chang, Amanda Hawes, Wen-LingTu, and Andrew Watterson. Its foreword is by Jim Hightower.[edit]

External links* Asian Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Hong Kong* Basel Action Network (BAN), Seattle* Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), Amsterdam* Computer TakeBack Campaign (CTBC), California* Enviornmental Health Coalition, California* International Camapign for Responsible Technology, San Jose* International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health* International Metalworkers’ Federation, Geneva* Lowell Centre for Sustainable Production* People Organized in Defence of Eartth and Her Resources (PODER)* Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, SVTC, San Jose* South West Organizing Project, Albuquerque, NM* Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, Albuquerque* Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries, TAVOI, Taipei* Taiwan Environmental Action Network, Taipei City* Texas Campaign for the Environment* Thai Labour Campaigns, Bangkok* Toxics Link, New Delhi* Worksafe! A California Coalition

bytesforall_readers : Message: Challenging The Chip

technorati tags:, , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

No complaints: a stolen DVD January 10, 2007

Posted by fredericknoronha in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Why would someone in the postal department somewhere (I assume) want to steal my GNU/Linux DVD?

Firstly, I doubt too many postmen use this operating system. (Don’t get me wrong… it would be great if they did.) Secondly, this is Free Software. If someone really wanted it, I would gladly make a copy for them.

One can only assume that the person slitting my magazine envelope, and helping himself to the DVD didn’t quite know what was inside. Anyway, I lost a recent Ubuntu DVD….

The only good news is that the same DVD came in another magazine. There’s so much of Free Software around, that we have to deal with the issues of surplus!

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Yesterday’s politicised students, fighting for change… and relevant tech now January 10, 2007

Posted by fredericknoronha in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Photo Karina Vasquez

An ICT-for-development workshop got underway in Goa last weekend.It was  organised by the St John’s University of New York and the
Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media. Expectedly, and in
keeping with Goa’s size, it is a small event.

Dr Ashok Jhunjhunwala (green shirt, front row, fourth from left), known
for his CorDECT wireless in local loop telephony solutions, and also
for inspiring so many students to do innovative work at IIT-Chennai,
was among those present. We spoke about how politicised students of the
yesteryears had turned into the key movers and shakers in a movement to
now make technology relevant to the common(wo)man. “IIT Kanpur
was at the centre of it all. We were in between two movements, the
Jayaprakash movement, and the Naxalite movement,” he said. And he
also spoke of the latter influences of Gandhism and his links with the
PPST (the Patriotic, and People-Oriented Science and Technology
movement, with its inexpensive and hardly glamourous publications,
which I saw as a young journalist … and which probably influence
a whole lot of other youngsters too).

Of course, Dr Jhunjhunwala was someone who influenced me too…
with his 2001 seminar on telephony for the ‘developing’
world. It’s interesting to see how, over the years, the
possibility of using ICT for more than just export dollars is getting a
serious re-look. But, what’s to be done to prevent the debate
from being hijacked? ….

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

The promise of … the ‘Bangalore Tiger’ December 25, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in India, Uncategorized.
add a comment

While passing through Bangalore yesterday, I came across Bangalore Tiger: How Indian Tech UPstart Wipro is Rewriting the Rules of Global Competition by Steve Hamm. This is a 2007-dated Indian edition released by Tata McGraw-Hill and priced a rupee or five (can’t recall) below the Rs 300 mark.

Am only at the beginning of the book. But Hamm seems to be trying hard to tell a tech story in an interesting with, with a human face. There are still a lot of details to contend with.

Some reviews and links (including Amazon.com) to the book are here.

On the back cover, the book promises:

“At one time, the West’s multinationals ruled supreme. Now, the shining stars of India’s Silicon Valley are shaking up the global business establishment. Bangalore Tiger exposes the key principles of Wipro’s transnational business model, offering valuable lessons in improving quality, cutting costs, motivating employees, and streamlining processes. From its mastery of global collaboration and its market expansion strategy to its constant-improvement approach and its market expansion strategy to its constant-improvement approach and ‘zero politcs’ policy, author Steve Hamm reveals the never-before-told story of how ‘The Wipro Way’ of doing business is changing the world.”

Wonder if the book will live up to its promise. If I can keep away from the comp sufficiently long to complete it, will let you know…

CC-India … a welcome from BytesForAll December 6, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Digital content.
1 comment so far

Here’s a note posted to the CC-India mailing list:

Congrats to the proposed CC-India, on behalf of BytesForAll
[http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers]

Our goals run parallel, and you can be assured of all support to your
proposed network. Will share your contact via that network.

At the personal level, I’m also working to create e-books (second one
almost ready) that records local history within Goa. Naturally, as you
would have guessed, these are being put out under the CreativeCommons
2.5 Attribution or parallel licenses.

PS: You can see the first book here:Behind the News: Voices from Goa’s Press by Various – Project … Download the free eBook: Behind the News: Voices from Goa’s Press by Various. www.gutenberg.org/etext/11523

This was in response to a post from Ramakrishnan Diraviyam who commented:

“We are an upcomming network of the community by name The ICT Gateway. we wish to know mare about Creative Commons. –T D Krishna.”

From the Wikipedia page on the Creative Commons:

The Creative Commons enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others through a variety of licensing and contract schemes including dedication to the public domain or open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems current copyright laws create for the sharing of information.

The project provides several free licenses that copyright owners can use when releasing their works on the Web. They also provide RDF/XML metadata that describes the license and the work, making it easier to automatically process and locate licensed works. Creative Commons also provide a “Founders’ Copyright” [1] contract, intended to re-create the effects of the original U.S. Copyright created by the founders of the U.S. Constitution.

All these efforts, and more, are done to counter the effects of what Creative Commons considers to be a dominant and increasingly restrictive permission culture. In the words of Lawrence Lessig, Chairman of the Board, it is “a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past”.[2] Lessig maintains that modern culture is dominated by traditional content distributors in order to maintain and strengthen their monopolies on cultural products such as popular music and popular cinema, and that Creative Commons can provide alternatives to these restrictions.

CC-India … a welcome from BytesForAll December 6, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Here’s a note posted to the CC-India mailing list:

Congrats to the proposed CC-India, on behalf of BytesForAll
[http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers]

Our goals run parallel, and you can be assured of all support to your
proposed network. Will share your contact via that network.

At the personal level, I’m also working to create e-books (second one
almost ready) that records local history within Goa. Naturally, as you
would have guessed, these are being put out under the CreativeCommons
2.5 Attribution or parallel licenses.

PS: You can see the first book here:Behind the News: Voices from Goa’s Press by Various – Project … Download the free eBook: Behind the News: Voices from Goa’s Press by Various. www.gutenberg.org/etext/11523

This was in response to a post from Ramakrishnan Diraviyam who commented:

“We are an upcomming network of the community by name The ICT Gateway. we wish to know mare about Creative Commons.
T D Krishna.”

FOSS.in .. what’s that? November 23, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
add a comment

It’s a Free [Libre] and Open Source Software held in Bangalore, held for six years in the past (earlier known as Linux-Bangalore). Some reports on it come from The Hindu, Monsters And Critics, Indiaenews.com, the Telugu Portal, IndianMuslims.info, Mangalorean,

It’s difficult to fit such a story into the “news” format, but here’s The Hindu:

Spotlight to be on free software: FOSS.In is eer 1,500 software professionals: Bangalore: Information Technology users have been into a revolution for some years now. With proprietary software packages costing a lot (most come from international giants in the field), home PC users and even small businesses cannot easily afford them. Or keep upgrading their software as new versions are released.

An answer to them comes in the form of an IT event, FOSS.IN, to be held here from November 23 to 25. The abbreviation stands for Free and Open Source Software, licensed freely for users to study, change, and modify its design for their individual requirements because the source code is easily available unlike most other software.

Since late 1990s, open source code has been widely used to build software. India with its huge “coder base” is considered an important player in the rivalry between FOSS and the traditional closed or proprietary software.

This year, about 1,500 professionals will converge here as part of the country’s Open Source community. The event is aimed at those with necessary skills in coding, testing and documenting or contributing to FOSS projects and want to share ideas and expertise with likeminded colleagues.

Prominent speakers: In Bangalore, FOSS.In is expected to bring prominent speakers and experts such as Aaron Seigo and Andrew Cowie from Canada, Christoph Hellwig from Germany and Sulamita Garcia from Brazil.

Rahul Sundaram will speak on the “One laptop for each child” plan, with an ideal to create laptops costing under $ 100 for children in developing countries and the difficulties it has faced in India.

India firms warn on IT skills gap November 7, 2006

Posted by R.S in India.
add a comment

Is it due to to the brain drain, lack of mentors or the falling standards of IT education? Comments are most welcome
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/6124872.stm

Business leaders have warned that India’s information technology (IT) industry is heading towards a severe shortage of highly-skilled manpower. They say India will not be able to achieve its targeted growth rates if the issue is not tackled immediately. Young engineers and college graduates lack necessary skills, a conference in the city of Hyderabad was told. Software industry body Nasscom has warned that India faces a shortfall of half a million skilled workers by 2010.

Work culture

Nasscom President Kiran Karnik told the conference that the availability of skilled engineers would be the biggest challenge for industry in the years to come. He said the IT industry in India needed something like 350,000 engineers per annum, but no more than 150,000 of the most highly-skilled engineers were available each year. This was creating severe shortages of talent, Mr Karnik said, and the industry was definitely concerned.

There was a huge number of graduates and engineers, but people with the technical and communications and team-working skils that were required were often lacking, he told the conference. At present, the IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industries in India employ 1.3 million people. This year India’s software exports are expected to reach $30bn while the domestic software business is likely to be worth $7-8bn.

Intel (India) president Frank B Jones told the conference that it was becoming more and more difficult to find the required skills among school leavers and graduates in India. He said that firms hiring people with basic level skills from universities found that it took a very long training programme to integrate them into the companies’ work culture. As a way out, companies like Intel had started relying on those skilled Indians who – having worked in the US for several years – now wanted to return home. Frank Jones said that about 10% of Intel’s work force had come back through that programme.

Youth, AIDS… and making a game about it November 2, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Digital content.
add a comment

Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, has announced the launch of a computer game targeted at young people, and aimed at helping them make better choices to combat diseases like AIDS. This game is currently available in English and Swahili
versions at unicef.org/voy/explore/aids/explore_1360.html.

Announced this week, Unicef called it the “first interactive feature in Swahili today, an online game that empowers young people to make good life choices about and prevent HIV.”

In its Swahili version, the game is called Ungefanyaje (‘What would you do?’) It takes the player through a series of relationship-based scenarios that emphasize the importance of HIV-prevention and testing.

“Translating the game into Swahili makes it accessible to East African adolescents and young people,” Voices of Youth coordinator Amber Oliver was quoted saying.

Voices of Youth, or VOY is a decade-old initiative focused on exploring the educational and community building potential of the internet.

Through web boards, interactive quizzes, youth leadership profiles, live chats and more, Voices of Youth says it “provides thousands of young people from over 180 countries with an opportunity to self-inform, engage in lively debate, and partner — with their peers and decision makers — to create a world fit for children.”

Prevention is considered essential to half the spread of HIV/AIDS. But an alarming 80 per cent of all young people still don’t know how to protect themselves from the virus.

It is estimated that of the 2.3 million children under 15 living with HIV, two million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence reaching out to youth is seen as crucial.

Unicef, some 60 years old, has been working in 156 countries and territories “to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.” It is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Some early responses to the game however commented on the need to use a form of Swahili comprehendible across the region, and the need to make the game work on mobile phones.

Computer games have also been called ‘edutainment’ because of their mix of education and entertainment.

The term “serious game” came into wide use with the Serious Games Initiative in 2002, games were being developed for non-entertainment purposes.

This initiative was launched to encourage the development of games that address policy and management issues. In 2004, another initiative called Games for Change focussed on social issues and social change, while Games for Health addresses health care applications.

Games like 3rd World Farmer give the player a feel of the hardships facing farmers in the poor world. The Adventures of Josie True is an online educational game for girls, targeting fifth grade science and math curricular areas.

Darfur is Dying is an online game that simulates life in a Darfur refugee camp. Food Force is humanitarian video game. The UN‘s World Food Programme designed this virtual world of food airdrops over crisis zones and trucks struggling up difficult roads under rebel threat with emergency food supplies.

For a fascinating entry, see the Wikipedia, loads of useful links [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_game]

Piracy, FLOSS, peer production, new models, innovation… November 1, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
add a comment

Of all the many bytes emerging out of Athens and the IGF, this one made the most sense to me:

Piracy creates jobs, but [Free Software and] Open Source and Open Standards create opportunity, create entrepreneurs. And I think that’s the challenge for the IGF as well, how to look at it is a public interest forum, the Internet is a public space, and how can we facilitate maximum sharing, maximum creativity, peer production, new models, innovation.

Anriette Esterhuysen, at the Internet Governance Forum, Athens, November 1, 2006 http://www.intgovforum.org/IGF-Panel2-311006am.txt.