Archive for the 'Technology' Category

The New Culture of Desire and Hope.

It was pure coincidence that I read the two books – ” The New Culture of Desire ” by Melinda Davis and ” Karama! – Journeys Through The Arab Spring  ” by Johnny Smith in quick succession.

While Melinda creates a new geography of the human imagination that will not only help humankind navigate technology but also enable us to find our way around the inside of our brains and provides five radical strategies that will change our business and life , Johnny takes us through a journey in Tunisia , Egypt and Libya immediately after the Arab Spring where the author encounters revolutionists and security staff at the ground level who narrate the why’s and how’s of the revolution which dethroned three long term leaders – Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya in quick succession .

It is technology and its absorption by the common public enabling a tectonic shift in lifestyle, desire and new hope which is central to the theme of both the books. While Melinda dwells on the life changes at personal and societal levels , Johnny tells us how a primitive Middle east society harness the power of the Internet , Television and Social Networking to start a revolution and overthrow the dictators in short time through public opinion and revolution.

Both the books have fascinating insights and foretell shape of things to come , probably in China , Myanmar , Tibet and other places where Democracy is still a distant dream .

The Portability of Movie Viewing Experience

I have been a movie buff in my young days at least up to the age of 25 . I have seen five movies in a day in cinema halls or at least 25 to 30 movies in a month . I knew all the Hollywood and Bollywood stars and their antics and devoured all the movie news without fail . These records are of no consequence now when you have 24 hour movie channels available and with large screen experience in a portable configuration!

From Bioscope to Optoma Neo – i for iPhone , movie viewing has come a long way . We got free from cinema halls when 8 mm mini projectors followed by video cassettes came along for movie viewing in the privacy of your home. Soon DVD’s and then streaming video took over with Netflix and others dominating the anywhere movie experience . Now for those who still miss the larger screen experience , there is good news . Take a  portable projection system with battery power wherever you go and connect it to your i Phone or iPad and get streaming from any of the service providers like Amazon or Netflix. It is just that simple !

Technology is ahead of the curve here will lifestyle adapting to it and enhancing the envelope of your experience.

Leapfrogging Technology – The Indian experience

Sometime during the year 2000 or so , John Chambers of Cisco during his visit to India was asked by a media correspondent for his advice for India to improve the telephone density and usage in India . During this time , there was already a telecom revolution in India thanks to Sam Pitroda who introduced and democratized the STD and ISD facility with public kiosks all over at very cheap rates. The cell phones were just introduced in India around 1997 or so. Mr John chambers suggested that instead of increasing the penetration and usage rates of the land lines , India could go for cellular phones to leapfrog the technology envelope .

Even John Chambers in his wildest of dreams could have visualized the scene in India today where the country  already has more than 800 million cell phone connections and adding more than 15 million every month ! . It is predicted by experts that by 2012 , out of 6 billion cell phones globally , India and China will have a share of over 2 billion and India likely to overtake China by then .

A truly amazing result from a simple change in paradigm in phone usage and technology !

Working in the Cloud – Shape of things happening in the networked economy.

What is common with Paragon Footwear in India and the global financial giant J P Morgan in the year 2011 ? ,Or where do you think the family picnic photo you uploaded in Facebook  from Dubai yesterday reside in the internet space ? , or the latest Hollywood blockbuster you got streamed into your smartphone come from ?

The answer is CLOUD . Cloud computing is changing the way we work , live , entertain or keep our personal finances tracked . You have cloud computing solutions for ERP [ Enterprise Resource Planning] , for tracking precious cargo , streaming videos and now operating laptops [ Google Chrome Laptop] , Operating systems [ Microsoft Windows 365] tablet PC ‘s and smart phones and many more gadgets connected to the internet .

The days of large captive data storage devices are numbered and you may not even feel like storing anything even in a laptop or smart phone in future . In this exuberance of a promised ” Cloud 9 ” experience on the net , both users and facilitators are well advised to maintain the  interactive , fluid and immediacy features with adequate security and redundancy built into the hardware , applications and systems . If this is done with due care and caution , the software landscape in future will surely be on mobile and cloud platforms .

Making Sense of the Internet

The Internet has become the construct for global connectivity and has surpassed the predictions and projections  of  both the evangelists and nay-sayers . What has started as a laboratory experiment and later extended to military applications during the Star War days has now become inseparable from all human endeavor both in the developed and developing nations cutting across all geographical and cultural divisions . From http to xml and now to web 2.0 and semantic web along with cloud computing , the Internet is going places and it is still evolving!!.

The user friendly nature of its technology and multi language formats,have permitted the Internet  to be used for commerce, navigation, deep sea exploration , remote sensing , defense , remote medical diagnosis and treatment as well as social interaction through e mails, internet telephony, social webs , live webs and now mobile webs . Today, the Internet offers a wide variety of Information and media  packaging  and  Entertainment formats in the form of Live Chats,audio and video down loads as well as interactive games . The NET has also over time come out of the shackles of  fixed apparatus like a desktop to mobile and hand held devices or got  integrated with smart appliances.

The name of GOOGLE stands out in this context and the mission of its founders – Larry Page and Sergey  Brin – ” to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful ” has been more than fulfilled and facilitated. In his article titled ” Icons of the Decade – Google ” [copyright-Guardian Newspapers 2009] Jeff Jarvis narrates how the Google founders made sense of the Internet medium first from a scientist’s perspective [search and discovery] and thereafter sought solutions in data .

During the last decade, Google helped us organise the world’s information and the next frontier could be to organise our lives, predicts Jeff Darvis.

Avoiding Technology Traps through human interface during an emergency

This morning news brought the tragic incidents of  train accidents in North India at three different places with loss of life and damage to equipments . The reason – heavy fog and cold weather may have caused  the electricity grid to fail . A classic case of technology trap without redundancy built into the system  or human interface arrangements where available not applied in time to prevent such accidents.

In a high tech environment  now operating in many cases , where the safety of traveling  public is involved  , it is essential that the authorities have necessary contingency plans in place  and adequate monitoring mechanism to change over the  controls well rehearsed  and kept at a readiness state all the time.

I am reminded of an incident during the 80’s when we were carrying out the user and technical evaluation trials of the  now famous Bofors gun  in the mountains near the Chinese border. The Bofors team from Sweden gave us an impressive display of its manoueverability and the functioning of the APU [auxiliary propulsion system] which can move the gun from traveling to firing position and vice versa in a few seconds.The Army Commander who was present at the scene asked the trial team to show him how the gun can be moved manually by the crew in case of a break down of the APU and other hydraulic systems. The gun crew really had to sweat it out and still the gun could not be moved . A very possible scene in a war situation!!. The Commander was not impressed and he wanted this constraint to be recorded in the trial report .  He gave all of us present a great insight into the working of high tech systems  and the need for redundancies built in for human intervention when everything  else fails.