2012 June


Al Jazeera reports that a lot of server farms got knocked out by bad weather in the US. Instead of making us rethink the cloud, this suggests that we need more redundancy, preferably with server farms on the other side of the world. Sean Ludwig, from VentureBeat, wrote in a blog post, “The outage underscores the vulnerabilities of depending on the public cloud versus using your own data centers.” The outages on Amazon’s cloud server come two weeks after a similar incident when a number of popular websites hosted by Amazon went down. A report into the incident by Amazon found that a configuration error was made during a routine upgrade.
WSJ has a piece on big data. “It’s not unlike a microscope—taking something you can’t see and bringing it into the scale of perception,” Aaron Koblin, 30, told me at lunch in Google’s San Francisco office. He’s head of the company’s Data Arts Team. Mr. Koblin’s work sits right on the line between art and information.

Cloud gets competitive

Posted by on June 29, 2012  /  0 Comments

Google is entering the cloud services market. Cloud computing just got a lot bigger. On Thursday Google announced that it would offer computing as a service accessible over the Internet, much like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and others. Google said its prices would be about 50 percent below those of current market rates. Urs Hölzle, the Google senior vice president for technical infrastructure, said Google was drawing off its own long history of managing millions of servers around the world.
Earlier this month, I visited Papua New Guinea, the biggest country in the Pacific with a population of over six million and having 462,840 square km of land. PNG is an amazing and culturally diverse place on earth. It is estimated that more th...
Earlier this month, I visited Papua New Guinea, the biggest country in the Pacific with a population of over six million and having 462,840 square km of land. PNG is an amazing and culturally diverse place on earth. It is estimated that more th...
LIRNEasia and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority are jointly organizing an event on the role of telecommunications in agriculture at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad on 3rd July 2012. The event aims to increase cross-sectoral conversations and work in promoting the use of ICT applications in agriculture. LIRNEasaia is being represented by our CEO Rohan Samarajiva and research managers Sriganesh Lokanathan and Nilusha Kapugama More details to follow later.
The Sri Lanka Medical Association is organizing a Symposium on eHealth Opportunities and Challenges in Sri Lanka, July 6th 2012 at BMICH, Colombo. Senior Research Fellow Nuwan Waidyanatha is one of the invited speakers at the session on e health initiatives: Current e health initiative in Sri Lanka 1.15 am eIMMR Dr N.C. Kariyawasam, MBBS, MSc Medical Officer (Health Informatics) Ministry of Health & Dr B.
One of the things that LIRNEasia tries to do in the region is to maintain good working relationships where possible with high-quality universities in the region. The Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) has been on our radar from the start (with one of its faculty Dr Joseph Wilson working with us as a Research Fellow from the start). However, the return to Pakistan of Professor Adil Najam to assume duties as the Vice Chancellor of LUMS resulted in the interest moving up a level. Therefore we took the opportunity afforded by our agricultural applications event in Islamabad to arrange a visit. It is our hope that this will result in at the minimum a greater involvement by LUMS in CPRsouth and hopefully some joint proposal writing to support research.
The ITU homepage announces the death of former Secretary General (1983-89) Richard Butler. Dick Butler had many achievements to his credit, the most well known being the successful outcome of the crucial and difficult World Administrative Telephone and Telegraph Conference (WATTC) held in Melbourne in 1988 at which new rules governing the conduct of international telecommunications services were approved in a fraught environment. There is value in looking at that achievement today, especially in light of the upcoming WCIT in Dubai, that will seek to revisit the International Telecommunication Regulations adopted in Melbourne during Dick Butler’s watch. What we’d like to emphasize is that Dick Butler was a forward looking man. Having been in the ITU for over two decades prior to becoming Secretary General, he could have acted to reinforce the existing dysfunctional status quo.
We’ve been taking the position that flat-rate pricing (all you can eat) is not what will work in the context of the Budget Telecom Network. Some of our past comments are were in the Indian media and simply blogposts. But now it looks like the big boys in the US are moving away from flat rate. Usage-based billing is seen by some as a fairer alternative to broadband caps, a term most closely associated with Comcast, which had been enforcing a limit of 250 gigabytes per Internet customer per month. Although only a small minority of customers ever exceeded the cap, it became a lightning rod for competitors like Netflix, which accused Comcast of unfairly favoring its own services.
BDnews24.com reports that The minimum tax of Tk 3,000 was endorsed by the MPs, barring those from the boycotting opposition, while the Minister withdrew his proposal to impose tax at source on mobile phone bill.
Less than a month ago, we expressed an opinion on the Bangladesh Finance Minister’s proposal to pile on more taxes on mobile use. Obviously, we could not have been the only people who objected, but looks like it has worked. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given to pressure from exporters as she asked Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday to cut the proposed export tax to 0.8 percent at source. Speaking on the proposed budget for the next fiscal beginning on July 1, she also wanted the planned 2 percent tax at source on mobile phone bills altogether waived.
The findings of the survey of degree opportunities available in Sri Lanka were announced by Sujata Gamage, Team Leader of the Human Capital Research Program, and by Tilan Wijesooriya, Researcher, at an event organized by the Education and Human Resources Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on 27 June 2012. The presentation is here. First report includes: In 2010 the graduate output was about 19,000 people. While 12,250 came from the conventional public education system, 4,150 came from semi-public and 2,500 came from private institutions. While output in the conventional system is actually down from 2009, other categories are up.
In the larger scheme of things, telecom reforms are easy. But they involve technical expertise and are likely to result in terrible errors like Timor Leste’s multi-decade monopoly, Thailand’s concession contracts, Bangladesh’s fixed licenses, and so on, as we pointed out. The Reuters report provides a good overview of the challenges facing reformers in Myanmar. As Myanmar opens up after almost 50 years of army rule, and foreign investors descend on the resource-rich country of 60 million, its long-isolated institutions are struggling to keep up, raising the risk of a policy misstep that could wreck stability in this nascent democracy. The pace of change, already frenetic, looks set to accelerate after President Thein Sein announced on June 19 a second phase of reforms.
People in Sri Lanka felt the tremors from the April 11, 2012 tsunamigenic earthquake. Reports indicate that, before the Government of Sri Lanka could issue any kind of bulletin, within 10-15 minutes of the tremors, people were receiving tweets of the event. Samarajiva wrote – “Tweets kept flying. I and several others active in social media kept emphasizing that only a “watch” existed, that people should be alert and not do anything for now”; see full article in LBO. However, does twitter reach all Sri Lankans?