2005 February


Learning from the tsunami

Posted by on February 24, 2005  /  2 Comments

*This is a Flash version of the PowerPoint (File/Export in OpenOffice). Please click the image for the next slide. This morning I gave a talk by the above title to a group of senior private sector people at the monthly breakfast meeting of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors. In contrast to the many presentations I have done in the past few months that focused almost totally on disaster warning, this talk addressed the broader approach to hazards. Suffice to say that the slides include pictures of an ostrich (with due apologies to actual beast who does not hide its head in the sand), chicken little and tweety (with Sylvester lurking in the background).
The Virtual Organisation: How do we get there? Divakar: How can we get researchers and participants to engage in LIRNEasia activitites? And sustain these relationships? Money? -this is tough, since we have limited funds Professional development?
Some very important issues on government vs private supply of last-mile access (of the type that will come to the fore in places like Andra) are discussed at: Philly Leads Charge For Wireless (New York Times) Are we ready to discuss anything other than tsunami related stuff?

Monthly column

Posted by on February 11, 2005  /  3 Comments

I have agreed to write a column on Choices for Lanka Business Online, starting this month. The first column is up, entitled “Surviving tsunamis: What we can learn from Hawai’i.” Any suggestions, comments, criticisms will be welcome. BTW, a tentative statement in my column (that was written on my flight back from Hawai’i Jan 20-22) has been confirmed: the undersea earthquake responsible for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is now the second largest recorded earthquake at 9.3 on the Richter scale.
A video news conference connecting experts in disaster warning systems in Colombo, Vancouver and Hawaii answered questions posed by the Sri Lankan press and television journalists. This event was organised by LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation on February 10 at the Distance Learning Center on SLIDA’s campus in Colombo. The event was launched by the release of the draft report on a National All Hazard Disaster Warning System written by local and international experts. This draft report emerged from an Expert Consultation that was held in January 26, 2005 where broad input was obtained from Sri Lankans with disaster management expertise, experts in hazard warning and the public who responded to newspaper advertisements. The primary purpose of the video news conference was to discuss the concept paper with the Sri Lankan media in order to give the widest possible publicity to the draft report that was written up on the basis of international best practice and local input.
Comments and suggestions are hereby invited on the interim report: “Specifications of a national all-hazards warning system.” Draft for comment The paper is based on international and local expertise and the input from an expert consultation held on January 26th, 2005. All comments received prior to February 19th will be taken into account in finalizing the report. It is intended that the final report will be handed over to the appropriate authorities in government on or around the 26th of February, 2005, two months to the day from Sri Lanka’s greatest calamity. Comments may be submitted in the comment space below, or alternatively emailed to asia@lirne.

India

Posted by on February 4, 2005  /  3 Comments

Mass computing’s next big thing runs into an archaic law that bans outdoor use of Wi-Fi Thakkar RESHMA PATIL & PRAGYA SINGH Posted online: Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 0154 hours IST Indian Express MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, FEB 5: When tech entrepreneur Jayesh Thakkar geared to connect computers—without wires—20 km away in two Vadodara offices, his corporate client first applied for a licence. They have been waiting for a year. At Mumbai, a construction giant is waiting since nine months for permission to wirelessly connect offices in two suburbs. […] ‘‘Most big corporates stay away from outdoor WiFi use because licences are cumbersome and bureaucratic,’’ says Thakkar, director, JayRaj Exim, a company WiFi-enabling offices in Mumbai. ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?
Mass computing’s next big thing runs into an archaic law that bans outdoor use of Wi-Fi Thakkar RESHMA PATIL & PRAGYA SINGH Posted online: Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 0154 hours IST Indian Express MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, FEB 5: When tech entrepreneur Jayesh Thakkar geared to connect computers—without wires—20 km away in two Vadodara offices, his corporate client first applied for a licence. They have been waiting for a year. At Mumbai, a construction giant is waiting since nine months for permission to wirelessly connect offices in two suburbs. […] ‘‘Most big corporates stay away from outdoor WiFi use because licences are cumbersome and bureaucratic,’’ says Thakkar, director, JayRaj Exim, a company WiFi-enabling offices in Mumbai. ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?
I knew that Sir Arthur Clarke was interested in disaster preparedness from the time I and my colleagues Nihal Kularatne and Shantha Fernando organized a ICTs and disaster warnings workshop for the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies back in 1986 in Colombo. Here is evidence he is still in the game: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.