Bio-diesel Energy Alternative

The need for alternative energy sources is crucial for rural areas. Good News India has a story on how “natural diesel alternatives are beginning to deliver”.

In 2001 when GoodNewsIndia reported on the work of Prof. Udipi Shrinivasa and his organisation SuTRA, at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, he had already proven the idea of using straight vegetable oils [SVO] as diesel engine fuels. He had demonstrated over a 40 square kilometer area that SVO can deliver power to homes and farms. How was this promise going to be taken to an India out there, we had wondered. The Professor however, had no doubts: “It will happen, Sir,” he had said softly. He is a man who knows his India. Two years on, he is proving right.

The Professor’s vision is broad: “There is room for everyone in this new economy. Small groups running nurseries, forest folk gathering seeds, small land holders planting for SVO, big corporations farming hundreds of acres, the state developing wastelands, organic farmers using the oil cake as manure, national security strategists factoring SVO in, activists into greening of India and watchdogs battling pollution. All these can come in and find win-win solutions. The market is virtually infinite. After all our oil import bill is $ 6 billion a year– and growing.”

Composite Applications

Loosely Coupled writes:

Composite applications reuse functionality from existing applications by breaking them down into components, separating out the business logic, and then joining selected elements back together again for presentation to the user as a single (hence ‘composite’) application. This can produce remarkable results when applied to business operations that sit at the apex of several different applications, for example customer service call centers, or returns item processing.

For a long time, however, the only way to achieve these results has been by way of “painful customization,” says Rey Currie, VP of platform product management at tools vendor Quovadx. “People have been building new applications out of old applications for some time, but they’ve been doing it via back-end integration, hooking up to the data store and then making changes to the application. The business logic is not decoupled. The interface is probably proprietary and it’s inflexible. When you’ve only got a couple of applications in the business that’s possible. But as you get more users and they become less homogenous, that’s less practical.”

Now a better method is emerging, which uses standardization and web services to make composite applications easier to connect and configure, says Gartner analyst Massimo Pezzini, who was one of the first to use the term. “I would say that I see web services specifically WSDL as a composite application enabler,” says Pezzini. “In other words you can implement composite apps even without web services. However web services fit well with composite apps as they allow you to encapsulate existing apps into components you can invoke using SOAP or any other underlying protocol from multiple front end apps. This is what we call Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).”

I am wondering how we can these ideas in the eBusiness suite development for SMEs.

Email Client as Microcontent Manager

Phil Wolff writes about a topic closely linked to what we are doing. Our Info Aggregator was created with the same belief in mind: people (the mass market) want fewer tools and programs. Email is the one everyone is familiar with. I see the future as being driven by RSS feeds to which we will subscribe to, microcontent from these feeds which we will read in the email client, and then blogging tools which we will post to. The RSS ecosystem is being created, nearly a decade after the HTML system ecosystem brought us the web. The new web will be a Publish-Subscribe web.

OpenGroupware

OpenGroupware (a quote by Gary Frederick, Leader of the OpenOffice.org Groupware Project): “Just to be perfectly clear, this is an MS Exchange take-out. OGo is important because it’s the missing link in the open source software stack. It’s the end of a decade-long effort to map all the key infrastructure and standard desktop applications — including the Web server (Apache), the OS (GNU/Linux, the BSD’s), the browser (Mozilla, Konqueror, Opera), the office suite (OpenOffice.org 1.1, KOffice, AbiWord), and the groupware applications (Evolution, KMail, Netscape/Mozilla Mail) – to free software. OGo offers users a free solution for collaboration and document management that, despite being free of charge, will far surpass the quality and level of collaboration found on Windows (through integration of MS Office, Exchange Server and SharePoint). Today marks the completion of OpenStack.”

Corporate Strategy

The Economist writes:

As they search for growth opportunities, companies face a classic dilemma, one made more poignant by recent events: should they assume that the future will, more or less, be a continuation of the past; or should they try to anticipate the next big revolution? Should they, essentially, hang on to what they’ve got (their core competence), or should they strike out for a brave new world?

After the dotcom disaster and much idle talk of a new economic paradigm, revolutions are distinctly out of favour. Belief in rapid change and dramatic responses has been shaken by the bursting of the stockmarket bubble, and by the demise of such firms as Enron and Webvan. There is now a widespread aversion to management fads. Most managers today are more interested in getting the basics right than in chasing the next rainbow.

TECH TALK: Dear NRI: Alternatives and Next Steps

Dear Non-Resident Indian,

It is time for you to ask themselves a basic question: what do I do with my life? The answer to that can help guide the decision to return to India or not.

Much of the world is stuck in a no-growth or slow-growth zone. History and the excesses of the recent past have caught up with the US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Contrast that with the growth opportunities that are being seen for India and China. Where would you be rather be for the next decade? That is the fundamental question NRIs need to ask themselves. It is in this context that a return to India needs to viewed. Simply put, life in these developed markets is going to be more of the same for the most part of the next few years. Life in India is going to be a roller-coaster ride, but one which seeks out higher-levels with each curve. Take your pick.

There is a need to think through the alternatives that are there. The easiest decision is to not make one and let things go along as they are. The N+1 Syndrome just one more year will ensure the decision never gets made. The tougher decision is to pack ones bags and return back. It is a very difficult decision to make because now, India is the foreign land! When you left India, there were few cares and commitments. Now there are many. The decision is not an easy one.

Consider the alternatives carefully. You know your business and the industry you are working in. How will life be in the next 3-5 years? What are the opportunities? On the personal front, what does your family want to do? Are you willing to accept a disruptive innovation in your life or would you prefer maintaining the status quo and hoping for the best?

If you do decide to consider a return to India, here are a few suggestions. Take time off from work for 4-6 weeks and come and visit India first. Travel around, meet people, meet prospective employers. If you are becoming an entrepreneur, then meet others in the same space. See your yourself the change that is happening around India. Think about where you want to live. Take a flight on Jet Airways and see the difference. Book a train ticket online yes, the largest eCommerce site in Asia is now the Indian Railways! Travel on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Talk to others who have come back. The decision to move is a game of mental chess only, you are playing against yourself.

I am not trying to give a rosy picture just one which is realistic, or maybe more optimistic (because I am one). One can of course talk about the things that are wrong in India and there are plenty. Water shortages, poor infrastructure, periodic power cuts, and so on. If that is the attitude, then India is not for you. However, if you are willing to inject a disruptive innovation in your own life and tear up the green card (or the equivalent permanent residency certificate of another country), then India will more when welcome you with open arms.

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