Frederick Noronha on 13 Feb 2001 03:11:43 -0000

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<nettime> BYTESFORALL: Feb 12, 2001 issue... Simputer, earthquake, i2001list...

_/  B y t e s   F o r   A l l --- 
_/  Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia 

	SPECIAL NEWS: T H E   S I M P U T E R   I S   U P !
	Department of Computer Science associate professor Swami Manohar
	reports from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, that a
	plan to make a low-cost sub-$200 computing device (a 'Simple
	Computer' or Simputer) is making steady progress. 
	Says Manohar: "We have some good news to share. Over the Republic Day
	(end-Jan) weekend we got the first simputer working inside its box
	with its own battery pack. Linux and X, as well as the audio part are
	now in good shape. Pending items are: smartcard driver, higher-speed
	modem (currently 2400 baud is up), A few glitches in IR reception,
	USB slave driver, and power management. 
	Check out for the details and some pictures.
	Contact Prof Manohar: Tel +91 80 309 2368 x204 Email: To join a mailing list discussing the issue:

RESPONDING TO THE TRAGIC earthquake in Gujarat, India that shook the region on
January 26, BytesForAll volunteers -- specially Archana in Goa-India, Partha
from Dhaka-Bangladesh, Zunaira from Karachi-Pakistan, and Shiv Kumar in
Bombay-India  -- have put together a compilation of web-based
initiatives to cope with the situation. Please check

Panjokutch (Our Kutch) ( was quickly transformed
from a community Web site that helped arranged marriages, carried travel 
ads and posted job information. Now it serves as an information hub for
quake relief. Its tasks range from online registration of aid donors to
locating lost relatives. Pankaj K. Shah, managing trustee of the non-profit
S.K. Shah Charitable Trust, which runs, said the site's main
aim now was to inform anxious relatives of victims.
There are a host of other sites such as which details
specific needs for quake-hit villages. Gujarati magazines like Chitralekha
( are also part of the effort. And Bombay's Grain,
Rice and Oilseed Merchants Association ( has a victim
relief site. AlertNet (, run by the Reuters Foundation
of global news and information group Reuters Group Plc, is another site
helping disaster relief communication.
Pankaj K. Shah, managing trustee of the non-profit S.K. Shah Charitable
Trust, which runs, said the site's main aim now was to inform
anxious relatives of victims.
Details of relief needs sought over the web are meticulous, with goods
needed ranging from biscuits and milk powder to cotton rolls and analgesics.

s-asia-it) SUKHPUR (India), Feb 8: Japanese Red Cross doctors helping victims
of the Indian earthquake are using satellite phones and digital photos e-
mailed to Japan to seek second opinions before beginning surgery on  patients. 
The doctors work out of a field hospital in Sukhpur, one of the villages
flattened by the devastating earthquake of Jan 26 which  measured 7.9 on the
Richter scale and claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. A few metres from the
operating table, the picture of an entire leg cut open filled a PC screen
while a digital camcorder kept records of  the three operations performed on
the day. Outside the tent mounted on inflatable material amid the rubble of 
houses in a semi-desert countryside, an antenna is locked into a  satellite,
the whole system powered by a series of generators.  "The doctors are more
and more specialized," said Dr Nobuyuki  Sagehashi, a plastic surgeon clad in
the standard operating theatre-issue blue overalls. "And we must select
several options." Advice from an expert conversant with a given clinical
case is  considered valuable. The doctors in Sukhpur therefore e-mail a 
picture of a wound or fracture to Japan, seeking pointers on how to 

INDLINUX, A MAILING LIST for making Linux even more relevant to India: The
goal of the IndLinux mailing list is to make the benefits of the digital
revolution available to the Indian masses. The Free/Open Source movement is
one of the best vehicles for making this possible. Members of the list are
those who are interested in the Indianisation of Linux project
Further details Indlinux Moderator <>

SUNIL KHAIRNAR <> writes: We  run the largest Indian
centric agribusiness portal  We publish the only
daily agricultural newspaper in India in both Hindi and English from Delhi and

ICICIcommunites is a Social Development Portal, a purely non-commercial
venture of ICICI's Social Initiative Group. The portal aims to create a
platform, which will enable NGOs, development professionals and concerned
citizens to contribute to the development initiatives in India. It not only
gives donors the convenience to contribute to social causes but also provides
a platform to NGOs to dialogue and gain from the resources and the services
provided in the Portal. 
The portal, which is under construction, at present features an online
charity site, called GiveOnline, which allows a donor to donate to a select
 cause or an NGO, a shopping mall for providing opportunities to rural 
artisans to market their products across the world, a news and analysis
section and Resource Centres on Infant mortality and Primary Education. The 
centres will carry information, toolkits and research papers on the relevant 
subjects and will act as discussion centres. These resource centres will be 
extended to cover technology and micro finance in the future.  
In the coming months another feature, Careers and volunteers will be added.
This application will provide space for NGOs to advertise for jobs and for
candidates to post their Resumes.
FURTHER DETAILS: Rahul Barkataky, 4th Floor Shangrila Garden, A wing, Bund
Garden Road  Pune 411 001 India Tel: 0091-20-6128221-5 (extn.413)
Fax:91-20-6128226 Email: <> 

EXPLORE THE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTAL REALITY ON UNE-DOT-NET: reports from Nairobi on the launch by UNEP of a new
interactive environmental Web site ( known as UNEP dot
net. It” will provide an expanded series of environmental  management
solutions.  The network portal will offer a forum for scientific, technical
peer review; provision of insights on  environmental issues to the global
community; and exchange of ideas, information and data.  

of the countries listed, according to Irfan Khan.
New products are often developed solely on the basis of technological 
feasibility. Far too often, the user is ignored and it is not until  the
technology has been fully developed that we begin to consider the  user's
situation and needs. How can we encourage greater attention to human
interests during the  development process? How do we encourage developments
within  information technology, which are more in tune with human interests 
and needs?
The Danish telecommunications company SONOFON has thrown down the  gauntlet
to students, researchers, engineers, etc. - inviting them to enter an
international competition that tries to answer some of these questions. The
"Technology for People" competition is part of SONOFON's efforts to promote
technological developments which are more in tune with the  interests and
needs of the users. Information technology must be  developed for people. It
must be easy to use and access has to be for  all.
The winners will be selected by an international panel of judges.  First,
second and third prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 will be  awarded.

DR ANIRUDDHA MALPANI <> has published an article in
HouseCalls magazine, which explains "why every doctor should have his own
Some tips: Putting up a website has become very easy, and your first website
can be hosted free at -- you just need to fill up
the  form online at the website. 
He notes: "Remember that Indian patients want information about diseases
common in India  so they want information on malaria rather than cystic
fibrosis. By providing this information, you establish yourself as a credible
Dr Malpani's first website, is a purely
educational site. And by putting up over 20 full-text books on ayurveda and
yoga online in our reading room, he says they are helping to promote Indian
healing systems internationally. 
Says he: "The future of medical care is e-healthcare, with the promise of
online medical records, online pharmacies, telemedicine, patient education,
and an ever-expanding list of exciting opportunities. The opportunity to help
our patients navigate the wealth of information on the World Wide Web and
better educate themselves is now in our hands. We owe it to ourselves and our
patients to meet the challenge that lies before us all!"

INTERNET CONTENT over the telephone may soon be a reality... with benefits for
many, including the blind. The new buzzword in technology circles is VoiceXML.
It is being promoted by the VoiceXML Forum founded by AT&T, IBM, Lucent and
Motorola. The idea is to make Internet content available over the telephone.
You do that, and the number of potential Internet users will go up from three
or four million to over 20 million (in India) in one step, writes Dr S.
Ramani, who until recently was director of the National Centre for Software
Technology, Juhu-Mumbai. Contact:

COMMONMAN: Newspaper reports say that this year 24 Indian cities will deploy
If the Fortune magazine calls him one of the top men to shape the future of
the world, the telecom industry revers him. But Ashok Jhunjhunwala, the 
father of CorDECT Wirelss in Local Loop (WLL), is a professor through and 
through ... 
What is the difference between CorDECT WLL and the CDMA WLL?
CorDECT WLL provides high-quality telephone and Internet access at a cost 
lower than conventional technologies, in both dense urban and sparse rural. 
While CorDECT WLL can provide data transmission rate of 70 kbps for Internet
access, WLL based on CDMA or GSM can not go beyond 9.6 kbps. Also, while the
CDMA WLL and GSM can be used to provide mobility, CorDECT is more  suited for
the needs of faster connectivity to the Indian villages, since it is cheaper
and can provide high quality Internet access, even if it  can't provide
mobility. Moreover, in CorDECT, the same line can be used simultaneously to
access  the Internet and to provide voice.
BYTESFORALL wishes all luck to Prof Jhunjhunwala.

BANG!inux -- India's premier and exclusive open-source conference and
exhibition, according to its organisers. March 5-7, Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore. Three days of open-source code, information and knowledge
from programmer to programmer. 32 sessions covered by international speakers.
Over 40 exhibitors showcasing the hottest Linux products and developments.
Details from:

COULD THE INTERNET help improved rice farmers fetch a better price?,1151,21402,00.html

FROM BANGLADESH, Walther Warnaar <> recently commented
in a discussion on the mailing list: "Here in Bangladesh,
many people working in IT have a degree in other subjects, such as statistics
or applied physics. That will not hamper development; the analytical skills
needed for software development are the same as the skills needed for these
other subjects. The real problem in education might be that, traditionally,
education here is more aimed at knowledge than at skills and real
understanding. And, indeed, knowledge becomes outdated very fast.
"If Bangladesh succeeds in setting up an export-oriented software industry,
it will be due to the many young entrepreneurs who are now starting IT
companies. The competition between them will automatically lead to improved
quality. Especially when they'll work for foreign customers who will demand
higher quality and business standards.
"By the same token, I'm much more optimistic that out of the large number of
IT training institutes we have in Dhaka, some real good ones will evolve,
than about the possibility that the government can set up many new

Communication and Development (IICD) officially launches its new website
( It provides valuable information on all its
activities in the area of ICT for development purposes.
The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
assists developing countries to utilise the opportunities offered by
information and communication technologies (ICTs) to realise
sustainable development. It focuses on good governance, environment,
health care, education and socio-economic opportunities, such as
e-commerce. IICD's role is to act as a facilitator and an independent
broker in knowledge, partnering and funding. Focus countries are to
date Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Mali, Uganda, Jamaica and

2001 INDIAN/SOUTH ASIAN WEBSITES: BytesForAll update of Indian/South Asian
websites is now available online at
If you'd like a copy of the HTML file via email (300K) please write to with REQUEST i2001 as your subjectline. This is a 
GNU/CopyLeft compiliation.

bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture that seeks the involvement and 
support of all who agree with its goals. 
Contact us at * Compiled in public interest *
CopyLeft/GPL. May be freely distributed provided whole message (including
credits) are kept intact.
bYtES For aLL ezine volunteers team includes: Frederick in Goa,  Partha in
Dhaka, Zubair in Islamabad, Archana in Goa, Arun-Kumar  in Dortmund, Zunaira
in Karachi, Shivkumar in Mumbai, Gihan in Colombo, Daryl in Chicago and
Sangeeta in Kathmandu.  Partha Sarkar is webmaster of
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