Browsing Posts published in April, 2010

So, it’s been a while I haven’t been on an international flight, 21 days to be exact.   The last time I nearly got onto one – but didn’t –  it was unusual (my travel agents words, not mine), it ended up good, as the subsequent flights and my return flights got cancelled due to the Icelandic Volcano, which of course like everyone else, I can’t pronounce or spell. Going back into this trip, I had to cancel going to Riyadh, because the visa didn’t come through on time. So, from being on a trip that would have taken me to Riyadh, Frankfurt and Brussels, I stayed home all the time. -well not really – I went to Pokhara.  The turn of events was, I agree, unusual. I was going to fly Etihad Airways for the first time – that has to wait too now.

So, how is it to be not on the ‘road’ for almost a month. I think not much different. But, all the time you spend traveling, you end up doing other stuff.. which might have taken a back seat. Like this blog setup. All it needed was a few hours to tweak around. I hadn’t had the time to do that for more than two years now. That brings to the next question – was I being more productive just because I had lots of time or  because most people thought I was on the road, and had no expectations of me in Kathmandu ?  I have no idea. But at least the first 3-4 days after I was supposed to have flown out – I didn’t get any calls other than from my Travel Agent.

Anyway, it’s getting around the time for lunch, so let’s talk about food. I think when I am in Kathmandu, I do go to a fair number of foodie places. So, sometime in the last thee weeks, I did manage to go the not-so-new anymore Pizza Hut in Durbar Marg. The pizza was pretty good, I’d say.  And also this new place called ‘Caferina’ – which is in Sherpa Mall – the food is hit or miss. But, Lakpa’s Chulo in Jhamel still wins hands down on both food and ambience. The service is also great. I also found out that Rum Doodle has moved locations within Thamel. The new place is large and airy – but quite not the cosy atmosphere from the old location. Rum Doodle still has the best Rum Punch in town and that’s what matters more than the location.

What else.. being in Kathmandu, I had my scooter repaired, upgraded RAM on an older Laptop, found time to look through some old backups to get them onto this laptop and so on. I also found time to upload pictures to Facebook. Quite interesting to see that I had people commenting even before the entire album was uploaded.

The world is connected even if you are not on the road.

I wrote this piece for the Y! magazine. One reason to post it here is that I said I’ll post my published articles in this blog.Another reason is also to get some practice in categorizing the content within Word Press. Ciao!!

Visit Y! at http://www.yzine.com.np

download Issue 12 at Download

-gaurab

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10’s – Touch, Cloud and Go

A new decade is always interesting. Contemporary historians tend to generalize trends in terms of the decades gone. 80s was for the PC, 90s for the Internet, the first decade of the millennia for the Youtube, Facebook and everything that survived the Dot com Crash. What’s in store for this year and then onwards for the decade? How would you flashback in a few decades?

The past 30 years of innovation and challenges in end-user computing has been enormous. This has peaked in the last decade with much more innovation happening from a user experience perspective. The cell phone which at the beginning of the decade was at least half a kilo brick is now a sleek device not much larger then a Dairy Milk pack.  As Nokia claims – adding a phone to the phone made them the biggest camera manufacturer in the world diluting the line between consumer electronics and communications devices.

Then came the iPhone, which can be credited to starting this focus where users had the world at their fingertips – literally.  Then Kindle revolutionized the e-Book world. We will have to wait and see how iPad impacts the world.

The next decade will be how people use the more easily available wireless connection to enrich their online experience with more video. The iPad and other sleeker internet access devices with larger screens are possibly the devices that will make it easier for people to watch video on the move. Instead of the grainy small resolution video, you will be able to watch full screen and even High Density (HD) videos on these devices. You then connect the audio through a blue tooth headset. Your video may be stored locally or be streamed over the network.

These days we don’t think twice before uploading our pictures to flickr, facebook or some other photo sharing site.  With bandwidth becoming more affordable, and content being easier to access over the network, we’ll start seeing more personal videos being uploaded to Youtube and similar sites.

The other big semi visible but important part of technology progress is the increasing use of cloud computing infrastructure. When we use Gmail, or Hotmail or yahoo for e-mail, search and storing information, we are already using a remote computer system and trusting our data to it. While these were limited services, cloud computing itself as a product can enable lots of small business and even individuals to setup online businesses and platforms. It will enable smaller organizations with limited budget to be able to utilize more complex system with a fee. Computing will then becoming a utility brought to you through the internet.

While these are the visible icons of the progress, there has been a lot of other innovation which lie underneath the visible progress. Every year in the past few years, technologies have enabled companies to pack in more components into ever smaller scale. Dual-core and quad-core CPUs enable massive computing power that until a few years ago was only available at specialist labs. Technologist realized that instead of packing in too many components into the same chip, running multiple CPUs actually increased the parallel processing power and at the same time reducing heat dissipation, enabling to build efficient machines.

On the other hand, for those who work in the industry, the greater problems lie in how to manage power and cooling for large cloud computing clusters. Since there are no mechanical parts in computers, almost all energy is radiated out as heat – creating a massive cooling problem when you have larger numbers of computing systems in one place. Research is ongoing on how efficient cooling system can be designed along with efforts in reducing the heat radiation from devices.

There is a lot more happening in this area for those who are interested.

But, what interests us today is how all of this comes to impact us in our daily lives. In the next decade, we can assure ourselves that we’ll be using more and more of wireless technology whether at home or mobile. As phones becomes replacements for computers, it’s obvious that wireless is the technology to watch. You may still have cables and fiber  that bring the internet to your homes and offices, but you will possibly use wireless connection for access – whether it be WiFi or through GPRS or may be even 3G connection.

In Nepali context, we may be able to get the ubiquitous Blackberry service finally in Nepal, producing our own share of crackberries. We may also start seeing more organizations finally sensing the ubiquitous ness of the Internet and choosing to use it more. Banks have been in the forefront of encouraging customers to use e-Banking services without much success – but this will change. It took ATMs the last decade to be the preferred means for personal banking in Nepal, and  eBanking will take at least half of that time frame to be widely used.

Another aspect of usage will be the increased focus in education institutions on the use of the network for students use. Universities and colleges have been spending a lot of money and resources in building libraries, but as many international publications and journals make internet the preferred means of delivering texts, research materials as well as other teaching resources, Nepali institutions will need to connect with high speed Research and Education Networks like the Internet2 (US), GEANT (Europe), APAN (Asia) if they want the students to have access to resources. The connection to these international networks will in fact make the local students a lot more competitive when they go abroad, having had access to the resources already.

Last but not least, there are progressing signs that Nepalis, who went abroad 10-20 years ago  have finally made a mark in their own fields in their adopted home countries. They are now poised to help the industry, academia and the government in Nepal with expertise and knowledge in their specific areas. They are interested to share their knowledge with local youths and professionals. The use of video conferencing facilities have made this a lot more easy then in the past – whereby they had to travel to Nepal for such knowledge sharing activities. Organizations in Nepal and US are now working to create a regular series of such knowledge transfer initiatives. Computer Association of Nepal with its US chapter has successfully piloted this last year already.

Kathmandu University will soon start regular lectures over video conferencing facilities with faculty in Europe. Doctors at Kathmandu Model Hospital do a video conferencing session with doctors in its satellite hospital in Dolkha every morning, and all of them are regularly joined by experts in New Mexico, US for regular consultation and medical discussion. They are sometimes joined by helath workers in Nangi, Myagdi, also over video conferencing.

The future is there for those are able to use the technology for making their lives easier, and the next year and the decade will be no different. Innovation in technology, Ingenuity  in usage and Improvement in user experience is all what’s for us in 2010.

hi all,

So, I guess as a tech savvy guy.. I am supposed to have a blog. I had an intention to get one for a while, but finally I found the right system and time to get it done. Here I hope I can write about stuffs I like..

I will also post things that are published elsewhere here too.

see you here more..

-gaurab