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<nettime> BytesForAll * September 2003 ezine... (Copyleft)
Frederick Noronha (FN) on Wed, 27 Aug 2003 17:08:47 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> BytesForAll * September 2003 ezine... (Copyleft)



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_/  B y t e s   F o r   A l l ---  http://www.bytesforall.org
_/  Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia
_/  SEP03 * http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers
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	The "Open Source Approach" to develop informational goods has been
	spectacularly successful, particularly in the area for which it was
	developed, software. Also beyond software, there are important,
	successful Open Source projects such as the free Encyclopedia,
	Wikipedia; collaborative sites writing/publishing projects such as
	koro5hin.org; and the Distributed Proofreading Project, attached to
	the Gutenberg Project. ....(This) does not mean that the "open
	source model" cannot apply to, say, the production of literary
	works, music, or medical drugs. What it means, however, is that to
	make it viable, another round of social innovation is required. This
	is slowly happening. The growth of "Open Access Journals" or
	discussions around "compulsory licensing" are good, though very
	early examples. -- Felix Stalder <felix {AT} openflows.org> on the
	Nettime mailing list, titled 'Six limitations to the current Open
	Source developmental methodology'.

URDU RESEARCH CENTRE: South Asia IT mailing list which can be found at
(http://mailman.apnic.net/mailman/listinfo/s-asia-it) tells us that the
Center for Research in Urdu Language Processing at National University of
Computer and Emerging Sciences (www.nu.edu.pk) in Pakistan has released the
beta character-based Nafees Nasta'leeq Open Type Font for writing Urdu in
Naskh script based on Unicode standard. This work has been funded through
Small Grants Program by IDRC, APDIP, UNDP and APNIC. Nafees Nasta'leeq is
freely downloadable from www.crulp.org or www.crulp.nu.edu.pk.

INTERNET HANDBOOK FOR ASIA: Bangalore-based IT consultant and writer Dr
Madanmohan Rao has recently edited "The Asia-Pacific Internet Handbook" and
"The Knowledge Management Chronicles". Check it out at
http://www.tatamcgrawhill.com/digital_solutions/madan

FOUR INITIATIVES FROM INFODEV: infoDev will launch four initiatives -- an
e-security network study (contact: Michel H. Maechler,
mmaechler {AT} worldbank.org), a free/libre and open source software toolkit , a
program on lessons learned from infoDev projects and an infodev case studies
(contact Jacqueline Dubow, jdubow {AT} worldbank.org for the above three)

FOR PUBLIC SECTOR DECISION MAKERS: OpenSector.org, is for the public sector
decision makers meet the people, projects and principles of the open source
software (OSS) movement to bring the benefits of free software to their
constituents and where OSS developers and organizations can find
opportunities and advocate for adoption of free software.
http://opensector.org/

NEW GKD DATABASE ON OFFER: For the past six years, thousands of people
worldwide have generously shared their experience on IT for development via
GKD, the Global Knowledge for Development mailing-list. "We believe that
shared knowledge is extremely valuable, and thus we have developed a
database that makes it easy to quickly find messages about various key
topics. I hope that you will find this unique tool to be a powerful resource
for researchers, educators, donors, journalists, and others with an interest
in using ICTs for development," says Centre for Innovative Technologies EDC
director Janice Brodman <jbrodman {AT} edc.org> Check out the new GKD database
resource at: http://www.GKDknowledge.org.

FREE-AS-IN-FREEDOM WINDOWS? Swatantra software for Windows? See an Indian
compilation. Write for a copy to Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M., 'Nandini', S. R. M.
Road, Ernakulam, Cochin-682018, Kerala, India.
http://in.geocities.com/paivakil Email paivakil {AT} vsnl.net

WATER LINKS, FROM NEW DELHI: Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi
says one of its most successful initiatives on this front has been Water
Links, a directory of individuals and organisations, engaged in activities
related to water harvesting in different parts of India and rest of the
world. They have a new website, www.rainwaterharvesting.org

STUDYING INDIA'S NATIONAL RIVER LINKING PLAN: Check out the website
http://indianenvironmentonline.net/riverlink, which is a programme to
compile the information about the recently proposed National River Linking
Plan. Says its promoters: "This questionnaire will cover all the positive
and negative aspects of river linking plan from scientific to economic and
environmental aspects and its future effect and if you are not supporting
the link what is the alternate solution for our water problem," says Tamil
Selvan, editor of the Indian Environment Online.

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	BATTLING ILLITERACY, TATA STYLE: On August 14, BytesForAll finally
	met with Anthony Lobo and Maj Gen B G Shively (Retd) of the Tata
	Consultancy Services. We've been following their work in the field
	of using computers to battle illiteracy for some time now, actually
	since June 2000 when the story first emerged in the technical press. 
	In brief, they use a software product of theirs to help just about
	anyone teach adult illiterates to get access to 'functional
	literacy'. The focus is on reading skills (so that anyone can read a
	few basic words, maybe even simple newspaper headlines and
	sign-boards... rather than just being able to sign one's name).

	What is interesting is that TCS claims this program is 90%
	successful, and can convert an adult into 'functionally literate' in
	just about 40 hours of teach. What's more, anyone can teach -- since
	the computer does most of the work, one doesn't need to be a skilled
	teacher. Each teacher can take a number of classes without getting
	tired.

	TCS is a commercial firm. But this is a free-of-cost software, which
	is available to anyone without charge willing to implement it for
	community benefit. There are no hidden costs. The lessons tie up
	with the programs and books of the National Literacy Mission, and
	Indian attempt to fight illiteracy nationwide. NLM's books are
	inexpensively priced, each costing around five rupees or so... 
	Because of obvious constraints over resources, TCS currently has
	only the software program in five languages -- Hindi, Marathi,
	Telugu, Tamil and Bengali. Gujarati is being worked on.

Some links you might find useful:

	Maj Gen B G Shively, AVSM (Retd)
	Consulting Advisor, Tata Consultancy Services, Pune
	bshively {AT} pune.tcs.co.in

	Anthony Lobo, TCS, Air India Bldg, 10th Floor,
	Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021 Tel 56689378
	anthonyl {AT} mumbai.tcs.co.in

	National Literacy Mission (India) site
	http://nlm.nic.in

	http://www.tataliteracy.com
	Site explaining the TCS idea of promoting
	functional literacy through low-end computers.

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INTERACTIVE-VOICE AT BANGALORE'S TREASURIES: Bangalore's Department of
Treasuries now has an interactive voice response system (IVRS) at the
district treasuries of Bangalore City and Bangalore Rural. The IVRS provides
the latest information on the status of pending bills to drawing officers
and the public. Officials argued that thanks to the new system, a major case
of overdrawal and wrong claims by banks disbursing pensions and family
pension could be rectified. The contact numbers for the IVRS are 2350202 and
2350303 (in Bangalore) See
http://hinduonnet.com/stories/2003081703280400.htm

SOFTWARE FOR TAXPAYERS: www.incometaxindia.com is a new website for the
Income Tax Department. It offers a new software developed by IT Dept to make
life easier for taxpayers, accessibility from home or office, all
tax-related information.

FIND YOUR BUDGET HOTEL: www.budgetstays.com is promising a "single stop
shop" for finding hotels, homestays, inns, lodges, resorts, tour and travel
operators, money changers, jungle lodges, travel agents and more in India.

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING FOR NOT-FOR-PROFITS: Topsys Solutions <topsys {AT} vsnl.com>
of Bangalore is offering a financial accounting package for non-profit
organisations. Accounts21 version for non-profits offers accounting plus two
reports -- an income and expenditure statement, and a receipts and payments
statement. The single-user version is priced at Rs 5000. See
www.topsyssolutions.com.

ONLINE TOOLKIT FOR NON-PROFITS: The Association for Progressive
Communications (APC), with the support of the Commonwealth
Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), has developed an online toolkit to
assist nongovernmental organizations in understanding the impact of
information and communications technology policy on their work. See the
toolkit: http://www.apc.org/english/capacity/policy/curriculum.shtml

INDIA TURNS TO COMMUNITY COMPUTING: Interesting interview by Technology
Review magazine with Kenneth Keniston, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Human
Development at MIT. Keniston, who serves as director of MIT's India Program,
is interested in the proliferation of ICT4D initiatives -- an acronym used
in global development circles to describe the use of information and
communications technologies for development. 

	Keniston discusses some of India's leading ICT4D initiatives,
	including Gyandoot, the Bhoomi land records project and Drishtee's
	Community Information Centers. He is particularly eager to work with
	Indian researchers to quantify the impact of ICT4D initiatives and
	identify strategies to make them sustainable. "My fear is that ICT4D
	could become one of the development fads that follow the boom and
	bust cycle," he says.

	"Billions of dollars are being spent on ICT4D -- but if it crashes,
	people may feel that the money is better spent on something else. To
	prevent that we need to know what works and what doesn't work, how
	costly it is, and who can pay for it." SOURCE: MIT Technology Review
	http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/print_version/
	wo_keniston081303.asp (url may wrap).

ASIA-PACIFIC REVIEW: See the Digital Review of Asia Pacific: Riding the
waves of change: Transforming the digital divide into digital opportunities.
The authors participating in this initiative belong to the same diverse
constituencies as the target audiences and come from 27 economies in the
region, including areas for which almost no data was available until very
recently. http://www.digital-review.org/

THE DOT.ORG REVOLUTION: Janmanch (http://www.janmanch.org) is a project of
the New Delhi-based Centre for Research into Environment and Development
Online (CREDO). More about CREDO at http://www.janmanch.org/credo.asp They
say: "We believe in the dot org revolution and in the importance of
information and communication technology in furthering activism and
non-profit endeavour. CEDO offers a range of services as far as IT goes:
>From building basic websites to creating complex databases. But we only work
with non-governmental, non-profit organisations. Our roster of clients is
available at http://www.janmanch.org/custom.asp. We offer competitive rates,
but more importantly, offer a mindset towards development that mirrors that
of your organisation. If you wish to utilise our services, specially
subsidised for NGOs, VOs and other non-profit groupings, or know someone who
needs it, feel free to contact us at thecredo {AT} vsnl.net"

UNV's WSIS Project: The United Nations Volunteers has formed a special team
of online volunteers to research the impact of ICT Volunteers on our
Information Society, according to David D'Barrio Lamarche
<david.barrio {AT} unvolunteers.org>. Says Barrio: "We aim to research the
contributions of ICT volunteers on our Information Society as they relate to
the UN's Millennium Development Goals. To do so, we want to reach out to as
many organizations as we can that engage ICT Volunteers. We then plan to
share the wealth of information we find with those involved in the world
summit as well as those concerned about how the MDGs are being reached
through the use of ICT. The Online Volunteering team hopes our project will
uncover and present the qualitative impact of ICT Volunteering on the MDGs
as well as promote advocacy in volunteering in ICT. If you can help us
gather successful stories or experiences on any of the MDGs it would be
greatly appreciated". For more information, visit 
http://www.unites.org/wsis or email the group coordinator:
david.barrio {AT} unvolunteers.org

SEMINAR IN MALYSIA: The theme is -- "ICTs in Asia : Do we know enough?"
Noida-based magazine 'i4d' is announcing a seminar to highlight the successes
and failures in information for development attempts in the "developing"
world; get key information-for-development related projects showcased; and
provide an opportunity for academic and pragmatic discussions on the
information for development related issues.  These seminars will be held in
various parts of the developing world encompassing Asia, Africa, Latin
America and Caribbean countries. The first of these seminars is planned to
be held as a one-day event at Kuala Lumpur on October 14, 2003.
Details at www.i4donline.net/seminar
Contact Manish Kumar, Senior Research Associate, i4d (Information for
Development) G-4, Sector 39, NOIDA 201301,India Tel No. +91-120-2502180 - 87
Fax +91-120-2500060 www.i4donline.net

ORGANIC AGRI PORTAL: Sanjay Verma <sanver {AT} sanver.com> recently announced
their web portal on organic agriculture. Says he: "We are in the process of
launching a portal focused on organic Agriculture (http://www.sanver.biz).
The stated objective is to provide a platform for people involved in
production and marketing of organically produced agricultural produce,
agricultural inputs used in organic cultivation and for people who are
either provider or user of services like organic certification, soil testing
laboratories, training etc. to interact with each other." He says the site
is dynamic and database driven. It has facilities whereby sellers and buyers
can post their requirements or browse through the listing. Other resources
include knowledge articles written by invited experts, links to useful
knowledge resources on the Net.  Interested organizations and individuals
can post their profile too on the site free of cost. Still in beta stage. 
Details from: Sanjay Verma, Promoter, M/s Sanver Agri Biz
http://www.sanver.biz M/s Sanver E-Solutions http://www.sanver.com Mumbai,
India Mobile # 9892481284 sanver {AT} sanver.biz

BUDDHISM GUIDE: The Buddhist Scholars Information Network (H-Buddhism),
H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences Online, Michigan State University, USA.
Supplied note: "We would like to remind those of you who teach in graduate
studies programs that have tracks in Asian Philosophy/Religion [i.e.
Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism or Hinduism - ed.] to do an occasional check
of the Graduate Studies Guide hosted at the H-Buddhism site, to ensure that
the information regarding your institution is complete and up-to-date. See
[the URL below]. Updates and new listings can be forwarded to the H-Buddhism
web editor, Bill Kirtz, at (kirtz {AT} beld.net). - cm.".... 

URL http://www.h-net.org/~buddhism/GradStudies.htm 
-------------------------------------------------------------- 
Src: The Asian Studies WWW Monitor ISSN 1329-9778
URL http://coombs.anu.edu.au/asia-www-monitor.html

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bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, 2003. bYtES
For aLL e-zine volunteers team includes: Frederick Noronha in Goa,
Partha Sarkar in Dhaka, Zunaira Durrani in Karachi, Zubair Abbasi in
Islamabad, Archana Nagvenkar in Goa, Arun-Kumar Tripathi in Darmstatd,
Shivkumar in Mumbai, Sangeeta Pandey in Nepal, Rajkumar Buyya in
Melbourne, Mahrukh Mohiuddin in Dhaka and Deepa Rai in Kathmandu, among
others. If you'd like to volunteer in any way, please get in touch.

BytesForAll's website www.bytesforall.org is maintained by Partha
Sarkar, with inputs from other members of the volunteers' team and
supporters. To subscribe to our main mailing list, send a blank email to
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