Category Archives: Uncategorized

Private? uh uh

A couple of mornings ago, I read in a local newspaper that the police somewhere had caught a robber who stole a gold chain off a little girl’s neck. Unfortunately, the intrepid fellow had apparently swallowed the chain, thus neatly concealing all evidence. Not to be left clueless, the police ordered an X-ray examination of his abdomen, and the evidence was unearthed in plain black and white. And in other colours, to be revealed when the forcibly administered laxatives got to work.

I searched for the news item online, so as to post it here. I didn’t find it, but a strikingly similar theft apparently happened in Mexico two months ago. Is this copy-catting or what? According to a mail I got recently, ‘pagerism’ is a journalist using someone else’s beeper, but I suspect this isn’t quite as innocent.

Anyway, this isn’t really about missing evidential chains, but about the kind of thinking that pervades the thinking of some people in authority, that the badge of office confers the inalienable right to invade other people’s space, including subjecting them forcibly to potentially cancer causing radiation for non-medical reasons.

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Less Power, More Power

A Little Energy Goes a Long Way

Somehow the concepts of ‘less is more’ and ‘small is beautiful’ do not ring out loud and clear in the community networking environment. Perhaps they are just too obvious: however, I suspect that for urban-focused networks, with their routers and access points dangling from eaves and out of windows, drawing energy from house utility connections, it is really irrelevant.

In the countryside, things are different. Networks stretch across the kilometers, lonely towers in remote spots relaying signals between clusters of homes, over jungle and desert, from hilltop to distant peak and down to the shaded valley below. In this scenario, efficient power solutions mean less money spent on expensive solar power, generated locally and guarded from the depredations of monkeys and men.

Needless to say, the deliverable goes further. In older systems of information delivery, mankind sought to create efficiency by centralising content creation in one place, transmitting across the world with megawatt transmitters, pumping powerful shortwave signals across the world. What price such efficiency, focusing on the packaging till the words became meaningless, the songs capsuled till the music couldn’t be heard.

How many times have I heard techies and engineers shake their heads and mutter, “There has to be a better way“? In the world of information exchange, evolved and transforming the age-old traditions of information dissemination, we find a semantic that neatly divides the e-Generation from its elders and [not-so-?]betters.

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Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, energy, Internet, Intranet, Privacy, Radio, Security, technology, Uncategorized, Wi-Fi

Radio: broadcasting uber wires

India is such an interesting country, as far as the media is concerned (well, admittedly, for many more reasons, but they don’t really relate to this note). It simply explodes with publications, thousands of them in print, tens of television channels, hundreds of radio channels.Why then, is the situation so parlous as far as community media is concerned? And more to the point, how can we emerge from this morass?

All over the world, there has been a refreshing wave of positive change, as far as the media is concerned. From the 80s, pervasively ‘corporate’ media was the norm, being chronicled in later novels like Jeffrey Archer’s “The Fourth Estate”. From the days of Radio Caroline to the angst of Seattle, there has been a palpable and spontaneous outpouring of desire for media unfettered by hidden agenda.

India is such an interesting country, as far as the media is concerned (well, admittedly, for many more reasons, but they don’t really relate to this note). It simply explodes with publications, thousands of them in print, hundreds of radio and television channels. Yes, hundreds.

Radio is the odd one out, actually. The Indian government was always amazingly open to the print media, conceptually, honouring Gandhiji’s tremendous leadership and tireless writing. Much later, it repeated its proactive attitude to the revolutionary impact of television, which took only a short time to become incredibly pervasive.

While print is widely visible, it has a limited reach, since it demands literacy. Television doesn’t, but the medium is terribly expensive, and that defines its creative quality. Sadly, in a very constricted fashion.

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