General — Page 242 of 245


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 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.

India

Posted 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 ‘‘By the time a licence arrives, what if the technology is outdated?

India

Posted on  /  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?

The Permanent Disaster

Posted on January 30, 2005  /  4 Comments

Here is an interesting article recommended by Nalaka Gunawardene: Four years ago, this magazine’s editor, environmentalist Anil Agarwal, wrote a scathing comment after the Bhuj earthquake: “Disasters come and go but our government has become a permanent disaster”. While we are vulnerable to natural disasters — cyclones, earthquakes, floods or droughts, and now the tsunami — these temporary and preventable disasters turn into massive calamities because of the “perpetual disaster that this country’s governance system has come to represent”. Why? Because earthquakes do not kill, the buildings do. Anil put the question: why, then, do we not build, in areas identified as seismic, earthquake-resistant structures?

Warning System Expert Consultation

Posted on January 24, 2005  /  0 Comments

Published in The Sunday Times “Vanguard Foundation and LIRNEasia will conduct an expert consultation as a part of the process of developing a concept paper and specifications for a Disaster Warning System with adequate regional and global linkages. We earnestly request those who have expertise in the areas of Disaster Management to take part in this exercise.”
The BBC world service programme ASSIGNMENT this week is about the tsunami and emergency communications in Sri Lanka and includes an interview with Rohan. You can hear it at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/meta/tx/nb/assignment_au_nb.
Led to the Colombo Regency Rotary Club’s successful web relief operation. This has been featured in Rotary International’s publication, without either of their names . We, in our small way, seek to correct this by this post. Good work, guys. You are appreciated, by us as at least.
Rohan: Vanguard Foundation was recently created which has a center for disaster management. The work I have done at TRC on disaster management will be leveraged in the current context, and we will prepare a document. Pete Anderson is disaster communication expert who will be brought in to design a concept paper to set up parameters of a disaster management system. We are moving very fast on this. Sequence: Disaster happens, analysed, and transmitted in a secure communication mechanism to the media.

Design of eSri Lanka

Posted on January 6, 2005  /  10 Comments

An article describing the thinking behind the design of e Sri Lanka, with emphasis on e government and infrastructure is at . As the title note states, this was a collective design that many contributed to. So, I cannot take credit for the design, though I will have to take responsibility for any errors in the article. This is a good journal for those working on developing country infrastructure issues. Subscribe.

ICTs and Universities Conference

Posted on January 3, 2005  /  14 Comments

Sujata and I will be participating in a conference in Manila addressing how to get them to focus on ICTs. In light of the Indian Ocean tsunami, there will also be a session on disaster warning, where I will speak. Provisional program is attached. Manila ICT4D and Universities Program Asia Consultation
The most remarkable perhaps is the story of Nallavadu, whose entire population of 3,600 was saved by a phone call. Nallavadu, along with the other three villages, is involved with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation’s `Information Village Research Project,’ where the MSSRF’s informatics division conducts classes from rural knowledge centres. One of the former volunteers of this programme, Vijayakumar, who now works in Singapore, saw the tsunami warning there.

Anti-reform article

Posted on December 31, 2004  /  5 Comments

All this seems irrelevant now, but 2 weeks ago, the government’s Sunday newspaper ran a rambling article about telecom reforms, that was in part a personal attack on Rohan Samarajiva, but mostly an assault on the reform process itself. The tables that were central to the article had been produced by Mr K.K. Gunawardene, former Director of the Department of Telecommunications (state-owned integrated monopoly until 1991), more recently with the ITU’s Bangkok office. These tables are unfortunately not reproduced in the online edition of the newspaper.

Tsunami response 30th Dec

Posted on December 30, 2004  /  0 Comments

The body count is way over what everyone thought. The volunteers are working like crazy. The flaws in the government’s relief efforts are beginning to show. The LIRNEasia response is given in the attachment. Also attached is a scanned copy of Rohan’s interview with the leading Sinhala daily on disaster preparation.

Responding to the tsunami

Posted on December 28, 2004  /  4 Comments

The wind was not held back Below is a talk given 6 years ago entitled “To hold back the wind.” That was an attempt to get disaster preparedness going. It failed, obviously. The walls of water came in with no warning; thousands died instantaneously; millions are homeless. Parentheses refer to 9/11 in the US for scale: in a few hours on the 26th of December more that 17,900 (3,000) died out of a population of 19 million (280 million).

Rapid Response – TRAI, October 2004

Posted on December 24, 2004  /  12 Comments

Rapid Response Unit: LIRNEasia’s response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s Consultation Paper 16/2004: Growth of Telecom Services in Rural India: The Way Forward (October 27 2004) See report and download documents