March 10, 2006

Device Convergence

Perhaps everyone has wondered about this and perhaps the industry is also working towards this ...But its just taking forever.

Can I not have one device which I can use as my cell phone, PDA and mp3 player ... and yeah that can be within my student budget? Well isnt that what everyone is asking for ...

The closest product that I can think of that does all this is Treo from PalmOne which is still pricy at a hefty $249 (with mail-in rebate, 2 year service contract and all that) and there is a limit on the number of songs you can load etc etc ...

Apple is coming out with an iPod cell combo but still expensive and not on the market yet ...Why is it taking so long to get device convergence. I am sure it is not because of the underlying electronics ... Samsung has been a leader in PDA cell phones they should be able to come up with a product that does all this and more ...

I definitely want to switch from my Samsung SPH 3250 (or something like that) which I got about 4 years ago (yeah I have been milking every dollar I paid back then) but I dont have a good alternative. I guess I should just go for a bare bones cell phone and wait and hope for a medium priced all-in-one device ...

To read a more detailed analysis of device convergence and the options (specialized and converged) out there here are some links:

Posted by vdakshin at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

The Sharing Economy

In the previous entry I mentioned about new age economics ...I am not an economist so there should be better explanations for this. But what is happening with Skype and slashdot and maybe even Wikipedia ?

Its the sharing economy - says professor at Yale Law School, Yochai Benkler. Read the whole article here

So what does this mean ... strangers are coming together to produce goods remotely ... goods that are more like civic goods (for the commons) than private goods. Thats pretty neat! Open source projects, free content and knowledge sources are examples of these ...

But wait a minute. Whatever happened to the old saying ..."there's nothing like a free lunch". Well in this case, the producers are bearing the cost ...for the benefit of the commons. Hats off to them ... Their incentives ... respect and social capital in the online community. Good enough to sustain them so far ...

What does it mean for businesses? For starters, perhaps they should create such communities internally. Create communities which contribute for the benefit of the community ... not the regular tasks as part of regular jobs but "the above and beyond" part. Will employees work beyond their responsibilities to contribute for the growth of the company? Where is the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) question ...

Maybe they should sponsor more of the open source consortiums ...In any case, there is a new kind of market phenomenon at least in open source software, now content and communication.

P.S: There also seems to be two types of "economies" ... the production-sharing economy (produce for common good) and the community-based economy (where people trade within the community so that the cash flow is within -- an age old concept)

Posted by vdakshin at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

New Age Economics

Community based interactions are leading to new types of economic transactions. Information and Technology revolutions are finding new ways for people to exchange goods and commodities. There are several organizations which are doing research and studying these types of economic transactions.

Here are a few:
New Economics Foundation
Interra Project

New Economics Foundation based in UK is piloting several community economics projects as well as tackling bigger city wide issues. The Interra project is looking at community-driven marketplace for civic goods.

Perhaps this is the dawn of new economics ... maybe its time big businesses took notice of small communities.

Posted by vdakshin at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

WDI Internship Day 1

I spent most of today trying to plan my trips and talking to people on the phone. As per schedule, I am leaving to Delhi on May 1st and returning to Chennai on May 14th. I have tickets on Indian Airlines and Air Sahara - but thats about all :)

I still have to coordinate a lot of tasks before I can be ready for the visits. The contact persons at both Drishtee and n-logue are extremely helpful and seem very excited about this study. I have to put some more structure so that I can deliver something concrete at the end of the study.

After speaking to Arvindd, it appears that to really understand the Drishtee kiosk operations from a social and business performance stand point, I would have to visit the kiosks in Assam ! But luckily, there are people at Drishtee in Assam who might be able to accompany me to at least 2 of the 6 kiosks that I might visit. This is a big relief because it would have been very difficult to visit kiosks on my own without knowing any Assamese or Bengali. Hopefully my broken Hindi might be of some use!

I also spoke to Elizabeth (n-logue) to schedule a meeting with her tomorrow. The people at n-logue and Drishtee seem to be working some long hours. My original perception that you might have more control on your schedule in the citizen sector is vanishing. However, n-logue and Drishtee are not really citizen sector - both are for-profit companies so I guess they are just like any other company in the corporate sector except they are providing services to empower people. Anyways, from speaking to Elizabeth, it appears that the week from May 23rd might work well to visit the n-logue Telemedicine kiosks since the kiosks under this model would have been in operations for a full 2 months by that time. These kiosks might be in Sivaganga (???) district I think. I also readily agreed to these kiosks since they will mean less (or local) travelling and also I would not have the language problem. Hopefully I can provide some concrete schedules to her in tomorrow's meeting.

I also got an email from Vineeta Sinha about the World Links operations in Delhi. Again it was a very enthusiastic email offering all help that I would need to collect information from the kiosks. She had also asked for what information I was looking for ... if only I knew :)

Looks like the first phase of the study would really begin in Assam ...

Assam seems to be a beautiful place with lots of nature getaways but there is also poverty and unrest. I was able to find a Human Development Report (HDR) on Assam from the UNDP website. It appears that Assam is one of the poorest states in the country in spite of several efforts by the state and central government to improve the quality of life there. Also, an important statistic is that 7 out of 8 people in Assam live in rural areas. I could not have asked for a better place to study the socio-economic impact of telecenters on communities.

But of course, before Assam, there is an opportunity to visit the World Links telecenters in Delhi ...

So perhaps I should be starting to gather some data and readings on Delhi and the World Links operations there. The case study could come in handy but there is contextual information (like the SI 501 contextual information) about communities, income and poverty levels, general education levels for which I might be able to find data online.

I should also finish the research draft for Mike and start writing some outline for both Drishtee and n-logue. It would be easier to produce the reports if I started the study with a rough draft.

Posted by vdakshin at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

The Simple PHP Blog

I was able to find this blogging tool on Its really a very lean, hassle free, no-nonsense program that is easy to deploy and maintain. So I decided to consolidate and move all my blogs to this and host it on one site. Not that I had a huge fan following or many entries in my other blogs anyway. Some unique features of this blog include theme, color, categories selection, static page addition etc.

One drawback with the simple blog is that it does not allow you to pick the date as blogger does. This is a disadvantage for the "not so regular" bloggers like me who want to blog stuff once every 3 months but have several blogs to enter. Anyways ... who cares when I blog stuff ...

Posted by vdakshin at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Round Three ... China or India?

India - 1.08 Billion
China - 1.3 Billion
Rate of natural increase in population
India - 1.7%
China - 0.6
Projected population in 2025
India - 1.3 Billion
China - 1.4 Billion

Why India can match China?
"The Golden Triangle": The U.S., India & China
Two Systems One Grand Rivalry - The Economist, June 19th 2003 (You have to subscribe for the online edition)
IC Stands for India and China
Its India Above China in New World Order
The Challenge of China and India

Posted by vdakshin at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)