802.20 for Wireless Broadband?

Jeremy Allaire points to Telepocalypse, suggesting that “unlike it’s sister standard 802.16 (WiMax), it is not limited to fixed line-of-site wireless, but can handle people moving in cells. It is less expensive to setup and operate than 3G, but more importantly is built entirely around an IP-based packet networking model, unlike 3G's CDMA based model which still retains a circuit-oriented, voice oriented architecture. The result may be that new wireless broadband carriers emerge where VoIP is a free service as part of their data offerings.”

Distributed Social Software

Corante points to an Eric Gradman paper which “summarizes the ever changing state-of-the-art in social software, and presents an alternative to this service-centric view of social software. The novel user-centric distributed social software model outlined in this paper overcomes many of the limitations of the current model by drawing from ideas from the Semantic Web.”

Open Source beyond Software

Prospect Magazine writes that “open source software has come of age, and open source working methods are spreading beyond computers.”

Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Yale University, has called this “commons-based peer production.” The commons refers to the sharing of the underlying code or the output that is open to all, akin to the public land that farmers once grazed their livestock upon. Peer production means that producers participate for their own varied reasons and in ad hoc ways, not necessarily via legal contract or management fiat. Benkler calls this a third mode of production for the market, distinct from the company and the “spot market” (or, in employment terms, the freelancer). Open source shows that it is possible for part of the economy to function without companies but with many self-employed individuals contracting with each other.

Benkler cites examples of areas in which commons-based peer production is superior. In one case, Nasa used volunteers to identify geological features on Mars. The project, called Clickworkers, allowed anyone to look at images of sections of the planet and identify features. Around 85,000 people took part, and nearly 2m images were checked. According to researchers, the result was “virtually indistinguishable from the inputs of a geologist with years of experience.”

Education is another fruitful area for open source. In 2001 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled OpenCourseWare, which publishes the syllabuses, lecture notes, reading lists and even student solutions to 500 different courses. While MIT retains copyright, it allows anyone to access the courses. The institution is clearly confident that the value it adds lies not in the written part of the courses but in the teaching and the environment, which students can get only by attending and paying fees. By contrast, Oxford limits access even to its exam papers to university members.

Academic journal publishing is another business targeted by open access. The market is a cartel, dominated by Reed Elsevier, Springer-Verlag and a few others. Many academic institutions complain of the high price of subscribing to these publishers’ journals. The open access movement aims to increase distribution of research through journals unhampered by restrictive licensing regimes and high subscription costs-indeed, it has been doing so for several years, and some of them have become essential sources for scientists.

Local Search and Advertising Opportunity

NYTimes reports on the potential of small businesses in the online advertising market:

The dearth of local search advertising is likely to change soon, Internet advertising analysts said. According to a report released last week by eMarketer, a technology research firm, online search advertising revenues in the United States will reach $2.5 billion this year and $3 billion next, and local search advertising will capture at least 15 percent of that market.

Neal Polachek, an analyst at the Kelsey Group, said that although Google and Overture have sophisticated paid search functions, they do not hold a firm advantage over their online Yellow Pages competitors in local search advertising because they all face the same challenges. First, the search sites need a significant number of monthly visitors. Second, they need technological expertise. Third, they need effective ways to gather information on the roughly 15 million small businesses in the United States. And finally, they need sales agents to reach those business owners.

While Google and Overture have the Web traffic, they may lack the ability to attract small business owners, Mr. Polachek said, because they require most advertisers to create their own search ads and monitor their placement. Verizon, SBC and other Yellow Pages publishers have millions of small advertisers already buying their services – and have sales forces to help those businesses with their online advertising – but their Web divisions lack the online traffic of the search giants.

TECH TALK: Rajasthan Ruminations: A Little History

To understand where Rajasthan is and what can be done, it is necessary to understand some of its history.

RealRajasthan.com: The north-western region of India, which incorporates Rajasthan, remained in early history for the most part independent from the great empires consolidating their hold onthe subcontinent. Buddhism failed to make substantial inroads here; the Mauryan Empire (321-184 BC), whose most renowned emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism in262 BC, had minimal impact in Rajasthan. However, there are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist shrines) at Jhalawar, in southern Rajasthan. Ancient Hindu scriptural epics make reference to sites in present day Rajasthan. The holy pilgrimage site of Pushkar is mentioned in both the Mahabharata and Ramayma.

India Travel Guide: According to the Hindu Mythology, the Rajputs of Rajasthan were the descendants of the Kshatriyas or warriors of Vedic India. The emergence of the Rajput warrior clans was in the 6th and 7th centuries. Rajputs ancestry can be divided into two: the solar or suryavanshi-those descended from Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, and the lunar or chandravanshi, who claimed descent from Krishana, the hero of the epic Mahabharata. Later a third clan was added, the agnikula or fire-born, said to have emerged from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt Abu. It has been accepted that the Rajputs were divided into thirty-six races and twenty-one kingdoms. The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties like Sisodias of Mewar (Udaipur), the Kachwahas of Amber (Jaipur), the Rathors of Marwar (Jodhpur & Bikaner), the Harsa of Kota & Bundi, the Bhattis of Jaisalmer and the Chauhans of Ajmer.

Stig.BizHosting.com: Rajasthan comprised many small kingdoms ruled over by clans who warred constantly for supremacy and individually tried to stem the tide of the Islamic invasions. The clans were all Rajputs, which means sons of kings, and claimed descent from the early Aryan warriors known as the kshatriyas. Internal rivalries prevented any combined defence against foreign invasion and led eventually to their domination by the Muslims. But they retained a measure of independence as allies of the imperial power at Delhi, till the advent of British rule, when they became figureheads. Their states were finally merged with the Republic of India when they voluntarily relinquished their remaining authority in 1947.

RealRajasthan.com: From a security point of view, it was vital to the new Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms, which were contiguous with Pakistan, were integrated into the new nation. The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur were merged in 1949. The Maharaja of Jaipur, Man SinghII, was invested with the title of rajpramukh. Jaipur became the capital of the new state of Rajasthan. Heera Lal Shastri was installed as the first premier of Rajasthan. Later in 1949, the United State of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. As a consequence, Rajasthan became the second largest state m India, exceeded in geographical area only by the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan attained its current dimensions in November 1956 with the additions of Ajmer-Merwara, Abu Road and a part of Dilwara, originally part of the princely kingdom of Sirohi which had been divided between Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Tomorrow: Trip Impressions

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