Friday, June 11, 2010

The Poor Man's Computer : Simputer

One of the problems with a full-fledged computer is that it is can seem very complicated and intimidating to people who aren’t used to it. Secondly, though mainstream computing devices like desktop computers and laptops are still expensive they are not rugged enough for certain environments.

The Simputer is an Open Source Hardware handheld computer which has been designed specifically for environments where mainstream computing devices cannot be deployed due to limitations that are either monetary or pertain to the lack of reliable electric supply.

The Simputer is targeted as a shared computing device for a local community of users. A village panchayat or a village school can give this device to individuals for a specific period of time and later pass it on to other community members.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Social Media in Governance: Like It or Not, It's Here

Democracy is a system of governance that, simplistically put, gives power to the people. The power to decide the way their nation is run, the way it interacts with other nations in the world, the way it governs those who make it a nation.

Social Media gives the same power to the common netizens who, for years have only been the recipients of knowledge and information online. With the increasing proliferation of Social Media over the past few years it can safely be assumed that Social Media is here to stay. Social Media cannot be wished away as it will only evolve further as it has been doing over the past few years.

What started as initiatives from members of the public, like Tom Steinberg’s fixmystreet or EveryBlock Chicago has now steadily crept into the mainstream. With the UK government stepping into the Social Media sphere with twitter and friendfeed accounts for the Parliament and 10, Downing Street, Digital Britain and their High Commissions and Consulates around the world.

This is a realization that has dawned upon quite a few Government agencies around the world, the heaviest user of Social Media in Governance is the United States of America, predictably enough, considering the way the Internet has penetrated the lives and lifestyles of its citizens.