In a recent talk, I described the value of thinking about Internet companies such as Facebook as producers of meso-audiences: “The only revenues that come to the Internet companies are from advertisers. . . . They can describe the meso-audiences in much greater detail than can the mobile operators and can offer raw material for the production of audiences unlimited by national boundaries.
YouTube has hit a billion regular monthly visitors. Such milestone, also reached by Facebook last October, further solidifies Cisco’s projected dominance of video in the cyberspace. “If YouTube were a country, we’d be the third largest in the world after China and India,” the company said in a blogpost announcing it now has a billion unique visitors every month. “Nearly one out of every two people on the internet visits YouTube.” Launched in February 2005, a year after Facebook, YouTube operated from a small office above a fast-food restaurant in San Mateo, California.
The irony was palpable. At the recent talk I gave on telecom sector reforms at the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, I used Khan Academy to illustrate what Digital Bangladesh would give the people of Bangladesh. Everybody was very happy, since Salman Khan has Bangladeshi roots. But I knew, and they knew, that the government bans YouTube at the drop of a hat and at that moment, it was blocked for all users of BTCL connectivity. So no Khan Academy.
For some time we have been talking about the scarcity and cost of international bandwidth. Looks like it is going to cost people in our part of the world access to sites such as Facebook and YouTube (full article). It appears that distance does matter. And everyone is not actually as close to everyone else as we were told. Of course, distance can be overcome, with money, not the user’s money but the money of the advertiser who believes that particular audiences are worth paying for.
The Economist annual prizes recognise successful innovators in eight categories. Here are this year’s winners: Bioscience: Martin Evans, director of the school of biosciences and professor of mammalian genetics at Cardiff University, for his work in stem-cell research and the development of “knockout” mice. Sir Martin performed pioneering research into stem cells, and used them to create mice with a specific genetic disorder. This led to the creation of “knockout” mice, which are used to model human diseases by deactivating a specific gene. Business Process: Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia for the promotion of online public collaboration as a means of content development.
Launched this year, the Future Telecom Leaders Contest asks students to address an important question: “How can Canada become a recognized global leader in telecom in the next 10 years?” Students are invited to submit their ideas in a variety of formats: audio-visual files (like YouTube); audio only (podcasts or MP3 form); or print. Ten winners will be selected from across Canada and invited to attend the 2008 Telecom Laureate Awards Gala and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Ottawa/Gatineau on October 29, 2008, and have exclusive introductions to Canadian telecom senior executives. The top two winners will receive $1,500 scholarships. “The Future Telecom Leaders contest is a novel and exciting way to engage young minds on the question of Canada’s telecommunications future,” says Lorne Abugov, Founder and Director of Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame.
In one of the two websites it runs, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) gives its mission statement – which is cut and pasted below: “To create the optimum conditions for the telecommunications industry in Sri Lanka by serving the public interest in terms of quality, choice and value for money; the service providers with equitable access to spectrum and other common resources; and the nation in its drive for socio-economic advancement through a skilled and ethical workforce.” We are surprised to see pornography not mentioned – considering the latest task TRCSL has been assigned – blocking porno. Lankadeepa reports only about blocking pornographic movies and video clips, not images. Assumed strict enforcement, this can lead to the ban of not just YouTube but Gmail and Yahoomail also, because pornography videos can easily be distributed via e-mail. For the record, except for few countries including Cuba and North Korea, which had restricted Internet access in full (not just porno sites) no country in general blocks porno sites.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke, resident of Sri Lanka, citizen of the United Kingdom, and man of the universe, passed away on the morning of the 19th of March. His was a life well lived. He will be remembered. Sir Arthur imagined what the world could be.
Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam – New York Times For months there has been a rising chorus of alarm about the surging growth in the amount of data flying across the Internet. The threat, according to some industry groups, analysts and researchers, stems mainly from the increasing visual richness of online communications and entertainment — video clips and movies, social networks and multiplayer games. Moving images, far more than words or sounds, are hefty rivers of digital bits as they traverse the Internet’s pipes and gateways, requiring, in industry parlance, more bandwidth. Last year, by one estimate, the video site YouTube, owned by Google, consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000. Powered by ScribeFire.
The Economist is not correct saying ‘No Evidence’ of Internet blocking in Sri Lanka, and in Laos and Cambodia the Internet usage is low so blocking does not make any difference. As shown, even in Asia the attitude of officialdom varies when it comes to filtering content of a social nature. In many places agreements are set with service providers to block nasty stuff such as child pornography. In a few countries intervention is stronger, up to the level of pervasive censorship. This week Pakistan’s block on YouTube accidentally caused an international outage for that website.
humanitarian.info » The Long Last Mile Courtesy of Nuwan on the humanitarian-ict mailing list, I just watched “The Long Last Mile” on YouTube. Produced by Television for Education – Asia Pacific, it describes the project by LIRNEasia to evaluate Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination. Some useful points in an accessible format – redundancy in communication technologies, identification of key responders, community engagement in the process, the importance of simulation exercises for learning, and so on. Only 12 minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.
It is well known that China polices the Internet content that its citizens can access. The story below talks about a growing movement within China that seeks to challenge these arbitrary restrictions on simple information retrieval and publishing actions. A 17-year old girl’s comment “I don’t know if it’s better to speak out or keep silent, but if everyone keeps silent, the truth will be buried,” seems particularly powerful to me and motivated me to write this post. Several months ago, the government of Sri Lanka blocked access to Tamil Net, a website used by many, including almost all the important journalists, to find out the other side of our one-sided news stories on the war. Of course, this was easily circumvented by those who wanted to.
The “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) project full-length video documentary, “The Long Last Mile”, is now available on YouTube. TVE Asia Pacific, a HazInfo partner, has also published an article on the premiere of the video in Dhaka, Bangladesh. More coverage of the Dhaka HazInfo Dissemination Workshop event on 25 October can be found at the Bangladesh Network Office for Urban Safety of BUET.
A Wi-Fi Express Lane – New York Times IT’S axiomatic in the computer world that nothing is ever fast enough. And so it goes with popular wireless Wi-Fi networks, which already seem overcrowded and slow. The growing interest in video sites like YouTube and streaming TV programs online has served to underscore the problem. Naturally, the wireless manufacturers are happy to step into the breach with a new, faster Wi-Fi standard. Well, almost.