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Government

Submission + - Ten hours of power cut every day (wordpress.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Nepal is a country whose power potential is roughly 83,000 MW, which is equivalent to the combined installed hydroelectricity capacity of Canada, the United States and Mexico [0], although less than 1 percent has been developed [1]. In recent years, load-shedding has been an unmistakable feature of daily lives in Nepal. People plan their days accordingly. They sleep and wake up accordingly. Businesses and office-goers, professionals try to adjust their work and daily routine in harmony with the load-shedding schedule published by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA, aptly called No Electricity Authority of Nepal). NEA is very good at doing it. It changes its schedule and duration time and again, citing different reasons. In summers, its usually because of the flooding at certain rivers that grains and rock try to disturb the hydro-power plants. In winters, its because most rivers originating in the mountains decrease in their volumes because the snow melts less. At other times, its because one or the other power plant needs to be closed because of technical difficulties. At no points do we learn about measures taken to forestall annual occurrences of such events.

Effective from today, NEA has imposed, another schedule[2]. There will be 70 hours of power cut every week. That is 10 hours a day. NEA says that, come mid-January, the duration will be increased. Imagine how lives will move. Industries have already declared that it'd be impossible for them to sustain.

There is an yearly loss of 25.15 percent power[3] (of total power capacity) by NEA due to power leakage.

[0] http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishdaily/trn/2003/jan/jan26/features1.htm
[1] http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/archive/ieo00/hydro.html
[2] http://nea.org.np/loadshedding.jpg
[3] http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=170922"

Google

Submission + - The First Android powered phone (blogspot.com)

bibekpaudel writes: Today, T-Mobile announced the world's first Android-powered phone[]. This marks an important milestone in the young history of Android. It was less than a year ago, on November 5, that the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies, announced plans to create a complete mobile platform that would facilitate the development of advanced mobile applications and give users the best the web has to offer on a mobile device.

[0] http://www.t-mobileg1.com/

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Kathmandu Declaration on Free/Open Source Software (fossnepal.org) 1

Bibek Paudel writes: "One of the three winners of the Software Freedom Day (SFD) 2007 Best Event competition[0], the FOSS Nepal community has issued the "Kathmandu Declaration"[1] today, that was signed by over 700[2] professionals, students and other FOSS enthusiasts, amidst the presence of Nepal's Minister of Science and Technology, journalists and high level government officials. The declaration was signed during the Software Freedom Day[3] 2008.

The declaration talks about the right to information, especially in the context of electronic exchange of information. A FOSS Nepal volunteer explains in his blog[4], the necessity of such a convention. The official statistics and result of Nepal's recent Constituent Assembly Election[5], that turned Nepal into the world's youngest republic and in a rare event, brought a warring party of Communist guerrillas into mainstream democratic process can be viewed only by using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The website[6] is run by the government's Election Commission.

The Convention advocates the use of open standards and open technologies for the electronic exchange of information. It brings all the information related to the "technology, procedure, results and statistics related to any study, research or implementation that involves partial or complete participation or investment of government" under the jurisdiction of the right to information.

[0] http://softwarefreedomday.org/Competition2007/Winners#head-21e083384666d3141a28fe356d6886d49bbdcebc
[1] http://wiki.fossnepal.org/index.php?title=SFD08_Press_Release_II#Kathmandu_Declaration
[2] http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=161299
[3] http://picasaweb.google.com/jwalanta/SoftwareFreedomDay2008RallyAndCandlelightVigil#
[4] http://open--source.blogspot.com/2008/09/sfd-08-how-good.html
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_Constituent_Assembly_election,_2008
[6] http://www.election.gov.np/reports/report/reportBody.php""

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Kathmandu Convention on Free/Open Source Softwares (fossnepal.org)

Bibek Paudel writes: "One of the three winners of the Software Freedom Day (SFD) 2007 Best Event competition[0], the FOSS Nepal community has issued the "Kathmandu Convention"[1] today, that was signed by over 700 professionals, students and other FOSS enthusiasts, amidst the presence of Nepal's Minister of Science and Technology, journalists and high level government officials. The Convention was signed during the Software Freedom Day[2] 2008.

The Convention talks about the right to information, especially in the context of electronic exchange of information. A FOSS Nepal volunteer explains in his blog[3], the necessity of such a convention. The official statistics and result of Nepal's recent Constituent Assembly Election[4], that turned Nepal into the world's youngest republic and in a rare event, brought a warring party of Communist guerrillas into mainstream democratic process can be viewed only by using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The website[5] is run by the government's Election Commission.

The Convention advocates the use of open standards and open technologies for the electronic exchange of information. It brings all the information related to the "technology, procedure, results and statistics related to any study, research or implementation that involves partial or complete participation or investment of government" under the jurisdiction of the right to information.

http://softwarefreedomday.org/Competition2007/Winners#head-21e083384666d3141a28fe356d6886d49bbdcebc
http://wiki.fossnepal.org/index.php?title=SFD08_Press_Release_II#Kathmandu_Convention
http://picasaweb.google.com/jwalanta/SoftwareFreedomDay2008RallyAndCandlelightVigil#
http://open--source.blogspot.com/2008/09/sfd-08-how-good.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_Constituent_Assembly_election,_2008
http://www.election.gov.np/reports/report/reportBody.php"

Education

Submission + - Some observations on OLPC in changed situations (bibekpaudel.com.np)

Bibek Paudel writes: "A heated debate is ongoing since the resignation of OLPC's Walter Bender and reports of Nicholas Negroponte's plans to switch to Windows from Linux as the OS of the XOs. Works have been going on, however in the grassroots level all around the world, and mostly with encouraging signs. Though the real power behind the OLPC are those people in the villages and schools in different parts of the world, decisions taken in Boston in the USA are bound to make major impacts on the worldwide level. The recent events are also taking the attention to GNU/Linux and its community, once again, with Negroponte expressing doubts over the Sugar UI and open source development methods.

On the wake of all these, I had mailed my observations, as a volunteer for OLPC Nepal, to some mailing lists. OLPC News [0] today carries the mail in its entirety.

[0] http://www.olpcnews.com/people/negroponte/observations_on_olpc_from_nepal.html"

Software

Submission + - Mark Shuttleworth talks to BBC about open source (bbc.co.uk)

Bibek Paudel writes: "In an interview with BBC, Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind Ubuntu talks on various topics related to open source and Linux. On the Microfost-Yahoo deal, he says, "They will have 20,000 people (at Yahoo) who are firm free software advocates reporting to Steve Ballmer. Talking to Microsoft employees I get the sense they realise they can't transform that company into a Windows-based company without killing it." He goes ahead to talk about Linux innovating beyond the desktop, the impact can open source have in the commercial world and common misconceptions of open source and Linux.

Reacting to Microsoft's charges of patent infringement, Shuttleworth says, "It does everyone a bit of a disservice when Microsoft characterises the open source community as being cavalier with intellectual property. It looks to me like they are trying to create an element of uncertainty."

BBC has a related story [0] on its home page on "Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend' ."

[0] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7358483.stm"

Government

Submission + - Why IT Development is slow in developing nations? (blogspot.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Mass adoption of Information Technology through Free and Open Source softwares would provide a huge benefit to the people and governments of third world countries, both in terms of cost and benefit. But things don't seem to be happening the way they should.

Jwalanta Shrestha has an interesting insight about what might be slowing down IT development in third world countries. In his blog post [0], he compares and contrasts two similar events that he has witnessed in his country Nepal, a land-locked nation in between India and China, where a bloody civil war ended recently [1].

A group of students in Kathmandu developing a Linux-based software that he thinks is very useful to Nepalese computer users, organized an impromptu event where developers came to look at the prototype and give feedbacks. This "highly productive" event was organized at the cost of a few phone calls and mailing-list posts. The only problem for the further development of the students' project is the lack of fund and resources.

The next day, he was at a five-star hotel in Kathmandu, to attend a program "Demonstration & Interaction Programme on Rural Information Gateway Portal." But actually it was about a website named www.telecenters.org.np. He had mistaken the event for the launch of the website. It turned out that it's only purpose was feedback collection. People lunched and spent one whole day at a luxury hotel, just to give feedbacks?

He writes, "The website building process is even more interesting. The project was initiated by USAID [2] and it handed over the development works to HLCIT [3]. HLCIT being a government body, called for a bid which Mercantile Communications [4] won. Mercantile Communication again did a bid which was won by Winrock International [5]. Winrock further did a bid and finally Magnus Consulting [6] got the job of developing the website. The result — it is not even Web2.0 and I bet, with Drupal, I can create a better site in ONE day!"

Telecenters, for which the said website is being made, have apparently failed in Nepal. Lots of money was spent on this zero-productivity event. He estimates the maximum life-expectency of the website to be not more than a year!

What do you have to say about this? Is this how things are going in other developing countries also? What might be the possible reasons for slow paced development of IT in such nations? How can things be improved or will they never? Lets have a discussion.

[0] http://jwalanta.blogspot.com/2008/03/why-it-development-is-so-slow-paced-in.html
[1] http://blog.bibekpaudel.com.np/2008/04/the-aftermath-of-nepalese-elections-long-entry/
[2] http://nepal.usaid.gov/
[3] http://www.hlcit.gov.np/
[4] http://www.mos.com.np/
[5] http://www.winrock.org.np/
[6] http://www.magnus.com.np/"

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why IT Development is slow-paced in developing nations ?

Mass adoption of Information Technology through Free and Open Source softwares would provide a huge benefit to the people and governments of third world countries, both in terms of cost and benefit. But things don't seem to be happening the way they should.

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft-Novell take open-source to China (theage.com.au)

Bibek Paudel writes: "In a move to tap the growing market of free and open source-softwares in developing economies, Microsoft and Novell have announced they were expanding their alliance into the hot China market. Microsoft and Novell believe big enterprises in China are willing to pay to have the US firms keep hybrid systems updated and running and for assurances that there is permission to use patented software involved. The companies are marketing "supported Linux" in which they take a fee to maintain software systems blending the open-source programs with Microsoft products such as Vista, Office, Excel and Outlook.The longtime US computer software rivals unveiled their alliance in late 2006, saying their engineers were "building a bridge" between Microsoft's proprietary software and Novell programs based on the Linux operating system. Sunday was the first time the firms publicly targeted a specific country with their effort."
Social Networks

Submission + - Stanford Professor starts a course on Facebook (bbc.co.uk)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Professor B J Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford has started unique course that blends popular culture with the more time-worn principles of psychology. He says, "Where on earth could you get a million customers in a week? That was when I said 'I want to learn more about this' and I thought the best way was to teach a class and look at how persuasion happens." Apart from students at Stanford, the course named "The Psychology of Facebook" is attended by entrepreneurs, angel investors, business heads. Professor Fogg declares that his goal is to help everyone to become a world class expert on the psychology of Facebook. "What we learn here isn't just relevant to Facebook. The psychology that drives Facebook relates to other online success stories, including those blockbusters yet to be invented.""
Programming

Submission + - Lockheed Martin shows ADA is alive (adtmag.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Last fall, contractor Lockheed Martin delivered an update to the Federal Aviation Administration's next-generation flight data air traffic control system — ahead of schedule and under budget, which is something you don't often hear about in government circles. The project En Route Automation Modernization System (ERAM), involved writing more than 1.2 million lines of code and had been labeled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as a high-risk effort. The GAO worried that many bugs in the program would appear, which would delay operations and drive up development costs.

Jeff O'Leary, an FAA software development and acquisition manager who oversaw ERAM, attributed at least part of the success to the use of the Ada programming language. About half the code in the system is Ada, according to O'Leary, and it provided a controlled environment that allowed programmers to develop secure, solid code. Military developers stuck with the venerable C programming language they knew well, or they moved to the up-and-coming C++. A few years later, Java took hold, as did Web application languages such as JavaScript. However, Ada never vanished completely. In fact, in certain communities — notably aviation software — it has remained the programming language of choice."

The Internet

Submission + - Comcast, Pando Partner for 'P2P Bill of Rights' (pcmag.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Comcast on Tuesday announced that it would partner with Pando Networks to create a P2P bill of rights for file-sharing networks and Internet service providers. Comcast and Pando will meet with industry experts, other ISPs, and P2P companies in order to come up with a set of rules that would clarify how a user can use P2P applications and how an ISP can manage file-sharing programs running on their networks.Last month, Comcast announced that it had reached an agreement with BitTorrent whereby Comcast agreed to alter its network management practices, and BitTorrent acknowledged that Comcast has the right to police its own network.

Comcast's battle with P2P networks started last year after the Associated Press published an article that accused Comcast of blocking peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent. Comcast admitted to delaying P2P traffic during peak times, but denied that any file-sharing applications were being completely blocked.

Nonetheless, the FCC has opened an inquiry into the matter."

Security

Submission + - Hole found in 'flawless' encryption technology (physorg.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: "Physorg reports, "Quantum cryptography, a new technology until now considered 100 percent secure against attacks on sensitive data traffic, has a flaw after all, Swedish researchers said Friday."
Many experts hope quantum cryptography will be the answer to growing fears about data security on the Internet, providing a one-off code that would be unbreakable for crackers. The evolving technology called quantum cryptography has emerged as absolutely secure since quantum mechanical objects, according to the laws of physics, cannot be measured upon without being disturbed and setting off alarm bells that the transmitted data has been manipulated.

"All that's needed is a small addition to the authentication process to fill the security gap," said Jan-Aake Larsson, an associate professor of applied mathematics at the Linkoeping University in southern Sweden, who found the bug. To send the key over the quantum channel, you must simultaneously send additional data over the traditional Internet channel, and then verify that the classical data has not been changed through an authentication process, he explained. While all data traveling though the quantum channel was 100 percent secure, "a gap appears because this is a combined system, which complicates things so much that the usual security system in some cases does not work," Larsson said. The problem arises when the system had been running for a long period of time, he said, adding that he and Cederloef proposed adding a so-called handshake between legitimate users."

Comment George Orwell's predicted this long ago (Score 1) 74

Google looks all set to become the next evil guy in the tech-world. What if the next "matrix" is built inside the Googleplex? After Google starting to aggree sharing its data with the CIA, the government beginning to index DNA of everyone arrested and now google willing to index the world's genetic information, the BIG BROTHER that George Orwell predicted is now only a matter of time.
The Internet

Submission + - New graphic novel from O'Reilly (macsimumnews.com)

Bibek Paudel writes: ""Hackerteen: Internet Blackout" is O'Reilly's first graphic novel written for young readers. By following the exploits of Yago and friends, readers learn about basic computing and Internet topics, including the potential for victimization. The book is also ideal for parents and teachers who want their children and students to understand the risks of using the Internet and the proper ways to behave online. Readers will follow Yago and his hacker buddies in their fight against the bad guys of the Internet world. In the real world, Hackerteen is an educational project in Brazil that teaches adolescents about computer network security, entrepreneurship on the Internet, and hacker ethics. Its innovative methods include challenges, games, RPGs, Linux, and comics."

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