Internet Archives — Page 14 of 15


An assumption underlying our work is that ICTs are good, at least that the choice being available is good. We are therefore not inclined to side with Nicholas Carr in the Internet versus debate. But we like evidence and think the debate is a worthwhile one to have. A favorite columnist weighs in: Recently, Internet mavens got some bad news. Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy examined computer use among a half-million 5th through 8th graders in North Carolina.

Tech phobia is nothing new

Posted on June 5, 2010  /  0 Comments

We have had occasion to tangle with the Luddites, especially the critics of the mobile phone. It was somewhat comforting and definitely educative to see a nice summary of historical and current facts related to the topic in this review of a techphobic book by Nicholas Carr, the head priest of Internet criticism these days: Socrates started what may have been the first technology scare. In the “Phaedrus,” he lamented the invention of books, which “create forgetfulness” in the soul. Instead of remembering for themselves, Socrates warned, new readers were blindly trusting in “external written characters.” The library was ruining the mind.

The PC is a truck–Steve Jobs

Posted on June 2, 2010  /  3 Comments

As a result of our work on Mobile 2.0 we are very interested in the future ways in which people connect to the Internet. Here are the thoughts of one of the great visionaries of our time: Mr. Jobs also predicted that the ongoing shift in technology away from the PC and toward mobile devices will continue. But rather than disappear, the PC will become a niche product, he said.
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.
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka loves SMS. In the pre-election period it requested operators to accommodate a ‘New Year Greeting’ from the President, who apparently was a candidate. Now it warns the users about a false spam SMS. If you have received it don’t worry. Calls from those numbers do not harm your brain or kill you, assures Director General of the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita.

What is Mobile 2.0?

Posted on May 7, 2010  /  1 Comments

How best to name the key theme for the next research cycle? We discussed this at length three years back. Rohan’s original idea was ‘Mobile Multiple Play’. We would have agreed, if not for the reason it already meant something else. Then came ‘Mobile++’.

Mobile 2.0 meets net neutrality

Posted on May 3, 2010  /  4 Comments

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.

Chinese Internet

Posted on April 8, 2010  /  1 Comments

“Press control has really moved to the center of the agenda,” said David Bandurski, an analyst at the China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong. “The Internet is the decisive factor there. It’s the medium that is changing the game in press control, and the party leaders know this.” Today, China censors everything from the traditional print press to domestic and foreign Internet sites; from cellphone text messages to social networking services; from online chat rooms to blogs, films and e-mail. It even censors online games.
We have been following the emotionally loaded net neutrality debate for some time with some detachment. Our research clearly shows that low prices are critical if the BOP is to join the Internet economy and that low prices are not sustainable without the adaptation of the budget telecom network model to broadband supply. One of the most controversial of the recommendations that came out of this work is that which said one should go gentle on regulating quality. The main reason we said that was because we believed that the poor needed access in the form of different price-quality bundles; that if high quality standards were imposed by fiat, the only victims would be the price-sensitive consumers who would get priced out. While we did not take an explicit position on net neutrality those days, we now have to, based on what we have learned.
I guess that means newspapers in hardcopy. Because many who read the news on the web, actually read news that originates in documents prepared by journalists, like the one below. But still, this is a significant shift. With more people at the bottom of the pyramid in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh owning mobile phones than radios, one wonders who the Internet will beat in our part of of the world: just newspapers or newspapers and radio? The Internet has become the third most popular news platform for American adults, trailing only local and national television stations, according to a survey released on Monday.
An Italian judge has held three Google executives responsible for the content of a site picked up and made accessible through Google. This is a threat to us all. 20 hrs of video are uploaded on to Google every hour, so if this ruling stands, Google will have to employ increasingly large numbers of people to monitor web content. Or screen out most web content. Most bloggers have the same problem.
It is nice to know that we at LIRNEasia have been ahead of the curve on Broadband QoSE, including on understanding it as more than simply download speed. Professor Gonsalves’s paper on the subject is here. The NYT today carried a story that says many of the things we have been talking about for the past two years. Tracking the speed of Internet service is becoming more and more important as everyone asks the Internet to do more than handle e-mail messages and Web pages. A few lines of text can take its time arriving, but applications sending voice calls or streaming video become unusable if there is too much delay in delivery.

The Great Firewall of China has holes

Posted on January 16, 2010  /  2 Comments

Internet censorship exists in several of the countries we work in, ranging from the Maldives to Sri Lanka. While censorship is not our focus, our readers may find this story on how Chinese Internet users tunnel through the great firewall of interest. The Great Firewall of China is hardly impregnable. Just as Mongol invaders could not be stopped by the Great Wall, Chinese citizens have found ways to circumvent the sophisticated Internet censorship systems designed to restrict them. They are using a variety of tools to evade government filters and to reach the wide-open Web that the Chinese government deems dangerous — sites like YouTube, Facebook and, if Google makes good on its threat to withdraw from China, Google.
Will the shift to mobile as the primary interface to the Internet, dethrone search engines such as Google, that generate their revenues from advertising? An interesting discussion in NYT. As people increasingly rely on powerful mobile phones instead of PCs to access the Web, their surfing habits are bound to change. What’s more, online advertising could lose its role as the Web’s primary economic engine, putting Google’s leadership role into question. “The new paradigm is mobile computing and mobility,” said David B.
The live blogging at the LIRNEasia@5 conference has yielded MSM coverage in the Sunday Leader’s Kottu supplement. There is also a story on the live blogging itself. The conference was mainly about ICT policy research. But this meant that a myriad of subjects were discussed from various angles. There was politics, economics, business and marketing.
In the old days, you’d just take over the newspapers and the TV channels. Now you have to take over the phone company too. It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.