It’s nice to have the New York Times and Wall Street in our corner in the debate about the future of the Internet. Our argument does not rest on the success of i phones, but on the whole idea that the days of the desktop computer, which was irrelevant to the BOP are over. Wall Street has called the end of an era and the beginning of the next one: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand. The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
An interesting article appearing in the New York Times’ documents the life of a 311 call center operator in New York City. 311 is the city’s online website and phone number which can be used by anyone for obtaining government information and non-emergency services. Last week, the service celebrated its 100 millionth call since its inception in 2003. Each operator takes an average of 90 calls a day and costs $46 million a year to run. As she humourously notes: I had my moments of doubt: should government, for example, really be in the business of telling people when museums are open?
We’ve been saying that most people will reach the Internet through mobile platforms for some time. And for some time, our colleagues have been looking at us as though we have sunstroke. But we like to break new ground and know that skeptical looks are part of the package. Now we have a powerful ally: the New York Times. With the majority of Internet traffic expected to shift to congestion-prone mobile networks, there is growing debate on both sides of the Atlantic about whether operators of the networks should be allowed to treat Web users differently, based on the users’ consumption.
LIRNEasia’s focus is infrastructure, so we don’t write much about censorship and such, except when it becomes unavoidable. There are plenty of entities that have censorship as the primary focus, but few who deal with our specialization. Yet, we are increasingly being dragged into this area, as when our book on ICT infrastructure was detained in the Sri Lanka Customs under some unstated provision, when SMS was shut down on Independence Day and so on. In the midst of the controversy about Google threatening to withdraw from China because of their approach to censorship, it was mentioned in the NYT that some Chinese twitters saw it as a withdrawal from the world by China, not as a withdrawal of Google from China: China promptly tried to censor the ensuing debate about its censorship, but many Chinese Twitter users went out of their way to praise Google. One from Guangdong declared: “It’s not Google that’s withdrawing from China, it’s China that’s withdrawing from the world.
LIRNEasia.net started in September 2004, long, long ago in Internet time. We still do close to one blog a day on average and we are still fortunate to have readers who spend an average of 2 minutes per visit (that means a significant number who spend much longer with us), and occasionally leave a comment or two. So we’re happy to be in the 5 per cent left standing, according to Technorati and the New York Times: According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days.
The New York Times has a good piece on the use of Facebook by the elderly and isolated. LIRNEasia qualitative and quantitative research shows that plain old voice telephony and SMS keep people at the BOP connected and keeps them going on. But Ms. Rice, 73, is far from lonely. Housebound after suffering a heart attack two years ago, she began visiting the social networking sites Eons.
The New York Times documents a recent study conducted by Nielsen Mobile among 30, 000 wireless customers, that estimates over 3.6% of all mobile phone users in the United States have used their phones to pay for goods and services. This figure is expected to grow in the future, with nearly half of all users of text messages and mobile internet, stating that they hope to make a mobile phone purchase in the future. However, security concerns remain. 41 percent of the consumers who transmit data said security was the reason they didn’t buy things via their mobile phone.
On the insignificance of Sri Lanka in the perception of the people who write for the New York Times OR in the preception of the readers of NYT, in the minds of the people who write for the NYT. Universe – Laws of Nature – Physics – New York Times Against all the odds, we can send e-mail to Sri Lanka, thread spacecraft through the rings of Saturn, take a pill to chase the inky tendrils of depression, bake a turkey or a soufflé and bury a jump shot from the corner. Powered by ScribeFire.
Computer enthusiasts in the developed world will soon be able to get their hands on the so-called “$100 laptop”. The organisation behind the project has launched the “give one, get one” scheme that will allow US residents to purchase two laptops for $399 (£198). One laptop will be sent to the buyer whilst a child in the developing world will receive the second machine. The G1G1 scheme, as it is known, will offer the laptops for just two weeks, starting on the 12 November. The offer to the general public comes after the project’s founder admitted that concrete orders from the governments of developing nations had not always followed verbal agreements.
Google has proposed to the FCC that instead of getting into long-term contracts for allocating spectrum, companies buying spectrum should be free to resell the spectrum in real-time auctions. This would probably not involve human beings in protracted auction negotiations but rather negotiations between devices in real-time. Since FCC’s auction is done at the wholesale level it would probably involve companies reselling spectrum that they won to consumers on real-time basis. NYT: “The driving reason we’re doing this is that there are not enough broadband options for consumers,” said Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Google’s policy office in Washington. “In general, it’s the belief of a lot of people in the company that spectrum is allocated in an inefficient manner.
In 2006, LIRNEasia hopes to start a new line of research on the role ICTs play in reducing transaction costs in the economy. Our work will begin from research on Harsha de Silva’s Govi Gnana Service (GGS) project that seeks to provide real time information on market prices at Sri Lanka’s largest agricultural wholesale market. But it is interesting that the whole question of reducing transaction costs (at the high end) is receiving increased attention, as evidenced by the New York Times
People seem to be biting the New York Times pretty hard this week, so I’ve added a direct feed to Circuits in the sidebar, and one to WiFi News for good measure. These are just temporary since people seem to be talking about these topics. We can get feeds to most big news sources (Harsha). If you can find a RSS or XML button on any sites you like they can be syndicated. This, for example, is a Gizmodo Wireless feed below.