A laptop for $10!

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: $10 laptop, $100 laptop, 500 rupee laptop, bureaucracy, computers, computing, digital divide, e-books, education, government, Government of India, India, Indian media, internet, internet device, J-PRO JL7100 Mini Laptop, Jointech, joke of the year, journalism, life, low cost computer, mainstream media, media, mini laptop, Ministry of Education, netbook, nettop, news, notebook PC, OLPC, OLPC XO, one laptop per child, personal computers, photo of Rs. 500 laptop, picture of $10 laptop, random, Rs. 500 laptop, Sakshat, Sakshat image, Sakshat laptop, South Asia, student laptop, Tata Nano, technology, technology news, textbooks, thoughts, Tirupathi, ultra low cost laptop, Venkateswara University, world, world's cheapest laptop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

When the Government of India’s Ministry of Education announced that it was planning to unveil an ultra low cost laptop for 500 INR (10 USD/8 EUR), the announcement was met with widespread skepticism. This ultra low cost laptop, developed in association with some university departments, was meant to be used by students and was supposed to be a rugged, energy efficient laptop that performed basic computing functions.

The worthless Indian media has been projecting it as India’s answer to the OLPC XO, the student laptop that was expected to cost $100, but ended up costing double that amount. The cheapest laptop at the moment is Jointech’s J-PRO JL7100 Mini Laptop that costs $99. So how could a device be developed for one-tenth of that price?

The “laptop” was unveiled today at Venkateswara University in Tirupathi, in the presence of ministers and government officials. Did it live up to the promise of being the world’s cheapest laptop? Here is a picture of the “laptop”:

The $10 “laptop”, Sakshat

As it turns out, it is neither a laptop nor does it cost 10 USD! The device is rumoured to cost around 1000 INR (20 USD/16 EUR) at the moment, but a lot of “finetuning” and mass production should see the price drop to $10.

Details are sketchy, but the device is supposed to measure 10″ x 5″ and reportedly has 2 GB of memory, Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, USB port and consume very little power. It can be connected to another computer or a printer. As can be seen in the picture, the device seems to have a tiny display.

What’s clear though, is that the $10 laptop is not a “laptop” by any stretch of the imagination! It seems to be a storage device with a tiny integrated display and some connectivity features. The government wants to distribute it to schools to enable students to download e-books and journals from its education portal. It has reportedly made deals with some textbook publishers for the content, some of it for free.

For the Indian media which has been projecting the device as India’s answer to low cost laptops and claiming that the device would usher in a revolution by bridging the “digital divide”, the unveiling of the “laptop” must have come as a rude shock! Well, that’s how useless the mainstream media in India really is. They don’t have a clue of what’s going on and keep dishing out sheer nonsense. For those who believed that this could be another ultra low cost product from India that has the potential to be a resounding success after the Tata Nano, the “laptop” turned out to be a damp squib! The officials had no answer when they were asked why the device was being touted as a laptop when it was not one.      😡

For now, the technology joke of the year can be awarded jointly to two of India’s worst institutions, the government bureaucracy and the mainstream media!!!    😀

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The Vatican looks to harness technology to spread the Word of God

Posted on October 29, 2008. Filed under: bishops, Catholicism, Christianity, Europe, faith, Holy Bible, Holy See, internet, life, mass media, news, radio, random, religion, Roman Catholic faith, Rome, technology, television, the Bible, the Divine Word, the Word of God, thoughts, Vatican, world, world wide web | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In tune with the times, the Vatican has given the nod to spread the Bible in as many languages as possible using modern means of mass communication.

The Word of God on a pen drive . . .

Image: http://blog.pcnews.ro

At a conference in the Vatican, Catholic bishops argued that the written word was not sufficient and have called for the Holy Bible to be spread using the internet, CDs, DVDs and even iPods. According to an official statement from the Vatican, “The voice of the Divine Word must resonate over the radio, on Internet channels with virtual distribution (and by) CDs, DVDs and iPods, and on television and cinema screens.”

Watch a short video about listening to the Word of God . . .

(If the video does not load, you can watch it here.)

While the Holy See has always been quick to adopt new technologies like the internet to keep pace with the changing times, it still clings on to some outdated beliefs and practices that have no place in the modern world 😐

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Network of corridors to protect the European wildcat

Posted on August 31, 2008. Filed under: Africa, animals, Biological Station of Euskirchen, biology, BUND, Carpathian Mountains, cats, conservation, Doñana Biological Station, domestic cats, Earth, Earthlings, environment, Europe, European wildcat, fauna, Felidae, felines, Felis silvestris silvestris, France, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, League for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germ, nature, North Africa, OEKO-LOG field research, random, Rheinland-Pfalz, science, Spain, Spanish Council for Scientific Research, the Balkans, the E.U., wild animals, wildcats, wildlife, zoology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

An international team of researchers has proposed a network of corridors linking the habitats of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) to help this endangered species survive in its homeland. Read this article for more information.

Felis silvestris silvestris is a shy creature but is a born hunter like other cats . . .

Image: http://www.animalpicturesarchive.com

The European wildcat is a native of Europe that has been roaming the forests of the continent long before domestic cats were brought to Europe from North Africa. It looks very similar to the domesticated cat though they are not closely related. Their tails can most easily differentiate the two species: the stockier wildcat has got bushier hair there and more clearly defined dark rings. Mice serve as their main source of food. The German state of Rheinland-Pfalz is home to over half the estimated German wildcat population (between 3000 to 5000). Apart from Germany, the European wildcat survives in the Carpathian Mountains, the Balkans, Spain and France.

German and Spanish researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Doñana Biological Station of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, OEKO-LOG field research and the Biological Station in Euskirchen have developed a model to identify the natural habitats of these cats and possible corridors to help isolated populations to mingle. The research was done by fitting radio-transmitters to twelve wildcats.

The wildcat is known to be a shy creature. The team discovered that they try to keep a safe distance from human settlements. Within a radius of one kilometre from human settlements, they were difficult to find. In the case of isolated human dwellings and roads, they try to maintain a safe distance of two hundred metres. This protects it from humans and their dogs and from being killed by motor vehicles and also prevents interbreeding with domesticated cats.

A project called “rescue network wildcat” was started by BUND (the League for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany). Their mission is to develop a network comprising of corridors of some 20,000 kilometres over the coming years – the equivalent of half of the German Federal highway network.

With these efforts, the wildcats are being helped to return to areas which were once the home of their ancestors. Many more projects like this are needed throughout the world for members of the genus Felidae if we don’t want future generations to be left with only domestic cats.

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