Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Savor Bollywood on the move...

Bollywood is going all out to woo mobile owners. Heard of cinemas produced keeping mobile users in mind? Well, that is just what Bollywood is producing more and more of.

Pray For Me, Brother , an English album by A R Rahman, was shot on the 'mobile cinemascope format,' by Bharatbala of Vande Mataram fame exclusively for mobile users. Then there came a 25-minute movie 'Ctrl+Alt+Del' starring Rahul Bose that premiered recently, which was again made keeping the mobile user in mind.

Rediff reports that with the 3G coming up, video content on mobiles will get the required push to make its presence felt as mainstream content.

So don't be surprised to see your favorite movie being offered soon as a download on your 3G set soon. You can savor Bollywood on the move.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Technology and Educational Institutions

I paid a visit to a new school in my neighborhood today. Founded and promoted by a software engineer, the school boasted of using the best that technology could provide in taking the way education is imparted to the next higher plane. Accompanying me were my Dad and a lecturer from a different school.

The school indeed was an experiment in new uncharted territory.
  • Each class had 29 inch TV that beamed multimedia programs to the students.
  • The students were equipped with smart cards that held their entire profile and track record at school. It also served as their access card to the library and the laboratories. And not to mention their attendance was marked by their swiping into the school in the mornings.
  • The school had 14 cameras installed across the campus and each class room for central monitoring by the management.
  • Plans were on to rope in telecom providers to provide instant updates of class test results via SMS to the guardians of the students.
Quite impressive I must say, given the fact that the school is located in the middle of nowhere in a rural area along the Golden Quadrilateral between Bangalore and Pune.

While driving back, however, the debate that ensued was on the balance that needs to be struck between technology and traditional methods of imparting education. The following points of view emerged.
  • 14 cameras to monitor the classrooms would definitely make teachers conscious and inhibit their natural teaching style. Isn't it like having a private eye sitting all the time in the class and reporting
  • Wouldn't SMSing parents and guardians instantly about student results make a mockery of the students and amount to the school management raising question marks on the integrity of students?
  • Asking students to swipe in and swipe out through access cards hints at draconian disciplinary measures. Are these required at schools that mark the formative years in a kid's life?
Technology can only be used to assist education delivery, but anything beyond that is an area marked in shades of gray. One needs to be careful not to trample on people's sensitivities while turning tech-savvy. Technology should not be used to monitor and keep checks on core human values like faith, trust and integrity. More so in our hallowed educational institutions that impart the very same values to Gen Next. We would not want them to be hypocritical by using technology to keep tabs on students and teachers.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

YOU - The Person of the Year

Who is the Time 'Person of the Year' this time? It is 'YOU' screams the Time Magazine cover which has honoured as its Person of the Year in its upcoming year-end issue with a cover featuring a piece of mylar, mirroring the face of the reader and saying
"Yes you.
You control the Information Age.
Welcome to your world

An apt testimony to the Web 2.0 age that has evolved with people as its central pillar of growth. Give people what they want and they will give back to you the power of the masses, the power to hold sway over huge swathes of humans spread across the nations. This seems to be the sole driving force behind Web 2.0 applications. Be it video sharing sites like YouTube, MetaCafe or social networking sites like Orkut, Friendster, MySpace or Blogging sites like Blogspot, Yahoo 360, LiveJournal or shopping sites like Ebay, Amazon or bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumble the common streak across all of them is the driving force that has sustained them - People Power.

People create content, upload content, publish content, get content rated by other people and move up and down the popularity scale inducing more/less people view their content in turn. The net is truly turning democratic in nature. It is content 'of the people, by the people and for the people'.

What this also translates to, is the overwhelming power, that this spread out mass of people can exert on governments, public and private organizations. An example would be the kind of vocal protests over the Internet by a few hundred Indian bloggers a few months back, when the government closed down access to key blogging sites. The protests drew support from international bloggers who highlighted the episode and the government had to back down and restore access to the sites within 72 hours.

Truly, Internet is a better medium today for millions who want to express their feelings, their opinions, their talent and reach out to like minded individuals across the globe. Web 2.0 apps have provided the right platform for this and 'YOU & I' are making it possible.

Related Links : Mankind's Epoch Journey via Internet

Friday, December 08, 2006

Lalu on Orkut....The pic says it all.

Who else can give Orkut the kind of publicity that Lalu can? All by just opening an Orkut account... An excellent spoof. Not to be missed.

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