Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

The first BlogCamp of 2010 has arrived!

For those of you who don’t know, BlogCamp is an unconference, an open forum of social media users. BlogCamp began as a module of BarCamp (which looks at the wider net of technology and business) but has gained enough popularity to merit an event of its own.

The format is as follows: Participants register online. Speakers volunteer to take sessions and are allotted time-slots. Anybody can speak and on any topic so long as it is related to blogging, tweeting or social media in general. The event is an interactive one so expect to find the audience jumping right in and at times, even taking over the mic from the speaker.

BlogCamp is an excellent place to network with other social media users, hear about what other people are seeing and experiencing in this space and share your own ideas. If you are a blogger or tweeter, you already have an opinion and a voice. BlogCamp is just a wider offline platform to share this.

Previous BlogCamps (1, 2 and 3) have seen a wide response from the Twitter community as well as from technology bloggers. The focus has largely been on the commercial aspect of social media. Since this is a forum that aims to address all aspects of social media, it would be good to hear from the other factions i.e. people who generate and follow other kinds of content – personal blogs, topical blogs, celebrity blogs, science blogs, photo-blogs etc.

So if you’re reading this and will be in Mumbai next Saturday, sign up and drop in. We’re all really friendly (okay, some of us are not but we’re all interesting to say the very least!)

The details of BlogCamp Mumbai 2010 are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 20th February 2010
Time: 10:00 – 18:00 hrs.
Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering (MPSTME),
Behind Homeopathy College, Bhakti VedantaSwami Marg,
JVPD Scheme, Near Irla Lane,
Vile-Parle (West), Mumbai – 400056

Since we don’t have the inimitable Mr.Shah to organize the Microsoft office as a venue anymore, this is a different place and here’s a map to help you get there.

Please register your participation here and carry a printout of your ticket to the venue. (Did the word ‘ticket’ scare you off? Come back, it’s free!)

Internet access will be provided through Wifi so feel free to carry your laptops to the event. If you would like to tweet about the event, please use the hashtag #blcm.

Afterwards, if you blog about the event (and yes, do! It’s good blogettiquette!), do drop me a link to the post here and I’ll list it in the after-event summing up.

The event is still looking for sponsorships so if you’d like to help out, please contact Annkur Agarwal or Moksh Juneja.

See you this Saturday!

Is Wi-Fi access the real front in the war on terror ?

An article in the Mumbai Mirror is deceptively titled " Terrorists have 15,000 options"

You would think that they are talking about entry points into the city, or the number of trash cans available where bombs could be left behind or some such thing. However to my dismay the article states

There are an estimated 15,000 wi-fi networks in the city that are vulnerable to terrorists like the ones who used the wi-fi networks of an American businessman and an entrepreneur couple from Chembur to send e-mails to various media companies minutes before the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26 and a little after the first of five bombs exploded in Delhi on Saturday evening.

Agreed that open access wi-fi points is a safety breach, but shouldnt the government be busy in making sure the terrorists never get here in the first place. This sending of emails before blasts has been a recent phenomenon. If we clamp down on the access points, the terrorists will still set up bombs, but not email us about it, hence making them so much more difficult to trace.

As much as open access wifi is an issue in the "war against terror" it should be way down on the priority list.

Big Brother Is Watching You Surf

While the whole city is stuck on the scumbag being released from prison on bail, our civil rights are being trampled upon.

In an effort to root out terrorism the city police is in the process of putting on key logging software on computers in internet cafés.

The Mumbai police will soon have khabris deployed (not physically) at over 500 cyber cafes in the city. A new software will allows cops to swoop down on terrorists the moment a keystroke is pressed at any cyber café across the city.

Investigations into the recent Hyderabad and Mumbai blasts have revealed that the planning was done using the Internet especially, chat rooms. [link]

Personally I think it is a breach of privacy of the individual user and frankly if the terrorist planners know that their communication is being recorded, they will use other means and methods of communication. But as a result of this draconian law, we will loose our right to privacy. Yes terrorism is a threat, but it cant come at the cost of our rights. If it does, then the terrorists have won, so you can pack up and go home !!

And what’s the gaurantee that the same police force wont leak out information of people visiting Orkut communities like this one and this one. Now when the Shiv Sena burns down a cybercafe, they will at least have proof that someone did logon to these communities.

Amit Varma, an ex-Mumbai Metblogger, has some tips for you to avoid being key logged if you ever need to use a cybercafe.

Rolls Royce and Cellphone Sales

In what apparently is a first in the world, a Rolls Royce car is being used to sell cellphones. The Hutch Essar group is advertising their tie up with Virgin and Rolls Royce in a campaign called Rock with Rolls.

As part of the campaign, the Phantom will visit 11cities to begin with, starting with Mumbai followed by Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Pune. Consumers will get a chance to touch, feel, ride the Rolls. [link]

And of course the hallowed car brand is not happy.

“We were surprised to see reports that we have partnered with Essar,” informed a RR representative. The RR dealer in the city denied that the car costing Rs 4.5 crore was purchased by Essar for its promotional campaign and insisted that it was purchased for personal use.

What was Essar thinking of ?? Buy a cell and get a Rolls free ??

Cellphone Theft

Cellphones have become so endemic in our day and age that I think in a few years we will be born with a cellphone device genetically mutated to our body :)

Anyways, along with the high volume of cellphone users, comes a growing number of cellphone robberies. And one should not be surprised. Cellphones are expensive commodities and many of them cost upwards of 15,000 Rs (375 US$). And therefore they create circumstances for a lucrative black market.

According to the police, mobile thieves’ most preferred modus operandi was to target victims in crowded places. “There was a spate of incidents near traffic signals, where men on motorbikes would snatch the mobiles and zoom off.

They prefer crowded spots as it is difficult for victims to identify them,” said Prakash George, sen ior police inspector, Dharavi po lice station.

All I can say is that one needs to be careful about flashing their fancy gizmos in public and being wary of someone who will love to lay their hands on your mobile.

Haresh Parekh Heads to Physics Olympiad in Iran

Guess you never heard of Haresh Parekh. Well take heed. He is one of the 5 students making up the India team to the Physics Olympiad. The event will be in mid July.

He is only 18, but is already in possession of accolades that include being awarded Wonder Child of The Year. Today as a student of Sathye College, Harsh Pareek, is awaiting his Standard XII Board exam results. However, what he is more eager is about his inclusion in the International Physics Olympiads being held in Iran. [link]

We wish the young lads the best of luck. Traditionally India has done reasonably well at these Olympiads.

Unofficially India holds 7th rank in the International Physics Olympiads India will be participating for the10th time this year.So far, India has bagged 13 gold medals, 15 silver medals and 11 bronze medals.

Panvel Goes ‘GIS’ for its Records.

Panvel city is gearing up to make all its records available in electronic format. And this involves using GIS systems to give the city officials faster and more reliabel access to local conditions. [via]

To avoid wastage of time and to ensure that data on city related projects is made easily accessible, Panvel Municipal Council gears up to install an electronic version of all its filed records.

With an aim to provide a better administration, the Panvel Municipal Council (PMC) has initiated measures to implement Geographic Information System (GIS). The GIS, if implemented, will give the administration fast access on each and every aspect regarding city planning. [link]

The possibilities that GIS information systems bring is limitless. The entire USA has been documented in various layers of information to the point that you can pull up “all the fire hydrants in NYC that are within 50 feet of a subway entrance”. This kind of possibility helps city planners, police, fire brigade, and other essential services in times of disaster. They also help commerce and industry in ways, too long to describe here.

If the experiment succeds in Panvel, it would be great to see the whole of the Greater Bombay region and infact the whole country get on the GIS bandwagon.

Controlled Constructive Demolition

These are still images of a controlled implosive demolition of a building in Andheri. You may be wondering how in the world can someone use bombs to demolish a building in the middle of the city? Well this is a very common technque to demolish existing structures.

A new technique of building demolition brought to India will help in saving time

The CEO of Kumaaran Demolishers P. Ponlingam, is blasting buildings in the heart of Mumbai, but relax. He is doing it with the government’s full knowledge and permission.

A unique implosion technique of demolition was used to pull down the five-storey ‘Juhu Milan’ building at the New D. N. Nagar, Andheri (W) on May 12. Two buildings had been demolished. “The technology is especially useful in bringing down high rise buildings. Various kinds of explosives are used in the demolition process. While the process may be a little expensive, an important factor is that it is time-saving,” said Ponlingam.


Buildings as Letters

As an architect, I find this a little corny, but what the heck….I cant hide away from reality, can I ??

Make your own letters here

internet usage – male/female skew

Being in the business of an internet startup in Mumbai, I’ve done my fair share of research on demographic and statistical information having anything and everything to do with the Internet in India (one thing you’ll learn fast is the believe nothing you read – I don’t care if it’s IAMAI or a PWC report!). One of the more staggering statistics I came accross was the male/female skew in Internet usage in Mumbai – 85/15! Yes, you heard me right – 85% male, 15% female (aren’t we leaving out the Eunuchs?). I find this very hard to believe, but even if we apply a fudge factor of +/- 10%, that’s still a 75%/25% split. I’m wondering if my Mumbai brethren have an inkling of an intelligent response as to why this might be so. From what I’ve seen accross town, there seems to be a very healthy group of young, working professional women; women who surely must have internet access from the workplace. So why the lopsided skew?

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