India’s Independence Day

As India celebrates its Independence Day, here is some good reading.

President Abdul Kalam wrote in the Indian Express yesterday about empowering rural India:

A new situation is emerging in India. Very rarely in history have we come across such a constellation: an ascending economic trajectory, rising foreign exchange reserves, reducing inflation rates, global recognition of technological competence, energy of 540 million youth, umbilical connectivities of 20 million people of Indian origin abroad, and the interest shown by developed countries to invest in our engineers and scientists, including in new R&D centres.

Governments have been emphasising economic development by ensuring growth rates of seven-eight per cent annually, enhancing the welfare of farmers and workers and unleashing the creativity of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers. This opportunity must be fully utilised to bridge the rural-urban divide, using knowledge as a tool.

This discussion will be in five parts. The first part cites experiences with knowledge centres working in the country. The second part presents a case for Village Knowledge Centres in relation to the integrated development of rural areas through PURA.

The third part deals with examples of PURA in action. The fourth part presents the working domain services for effective knowledge acquisition to the PURA complexes. The final part consolidates the flow chart of data needed for farmers, fishermen and the entire rural population in an integrated way for sustainable development.

In an address to the nation, he called for energy independence:

Noting that the barrel cost of oil has doubled within a year, the President called for an economy which will function well with total freedom from oil, gas or coal imports.

Energy independence has to be our nations first and highest priority. We must be determined to achieve this within the next 25 years. Terming this as a national mission that must be formulated, the President urged that funds be guaranteed and leadership entrusted without delay.

In fact, Kalam did not limit it to the goal of energy security. Rather the goal he defined was energy security as a transition to total energy independence for which he outlined a detailed roadmap, even going into the potential savings the country could make through increased efficiency.

Writing in the Indian Express, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for an open democracy and open economy:

Open societies enable the full flowering of our individual personality. Open economies provide the space for the fruition of our creativity and enterprise. Open societies and open economies empower those who live and work in them. Being an open democratic society and an open economy empowers India. Provision of effective social safety nets for the weak and needy will ensure that all sections of our population will participate in processes of social and economic growth, making for a more inclusive society.

India is fortunate to have such articulate people at the top. Now, if only others would get out of the way and let them lead…

Why Good Strategies Fail

Knowledge@Wharton writes about the exectuion challenges: “While execution can go wrong for a variety of reasons, one of the most basic may be allowing the focus of the strategy to shift over time….Strategies also flop because individuals resist the change…Cultural factors can also hinder execution.”

Media 2.0

Umair Haque writes:

…In a micromedia world, content can be very closely tailored to individual preferences. Put another way, in a mass media world, we each suffer some amount of disutility from having to consume mass media that doesn’t closely match our preferences.

Because micromedia can cause us each to suffer less disutility, the total amount of value that can be created in a micromedia world is greater than in a mass media world. For the folks I was talking to, who were focused on real-world effects, the point is that demand explodes relative to supply (and the equilibrium price of your content, and your margins, and, even better, such an advantage is sustainable).

This doesn’t have much to do with big vs small production budgets. In fact, that’s almost missing the point entirely: micromedia’s happening because the cost of production is being vaporized by order-of-magnitude step changes in technology. So yesterday’s big budgets become today’s small budgets (think about the kind of video production you can do on a Mac today vs even five years ago).

RSS Portals

Russell Beattie writes:

With the appearance of My AOL, Microsoft’s and Google’s RSS home page it seems that My Yahoo! has some company in the “RSS Home Page” space. These competitors are right to jump in as according to FeedBurner, Yahoo! is currently enjoying nearly 60% of the aggregator market. Though it’s nice to see that mainstream portals are jumping onto the RSS bandwagon (lead by my employer), the problem is that all of these services generally suck.

Why? Because they all break a very simple rule: You should only see an RSS item once. If I go to a page and see the weather for the day, that’s it. I don’t need to see the weather again until it changes drastically or tomorrow. After I’ve seen it once, it’s noise. If I see a news story headline, that’s it, I don’t need to see it again unless there is something new. It’s very simple. There’s too much information out there in the world to constantly have to search for updates on my own customized news page. New information should stand out, and old information should go away.

Mobile Web

[via Sadagopan] IHT writes:

Many of the Web sites I turn to – to check my e-mail, to find breaking news, to look up an elusive fact – don’t look very nice on the small screen of my smart phone. I see a fraction of a Web page at a time, or icons that land far from the words that go with them or, worse, buttons that I know I should be able to click on aren’t there or don’t work.

When part of the splendor of the Internet is supposed to be that it is the same for everyone, it makes me feel like something is broken – not to mention that I’m not getting my money’s worth from my mobile phone subscription or the outrageous price of my phone.

Eleven technology and telecommunications companies, under the umbrella of a for-profit corporation based in Dublin that is seeking additional investors, now have a plan to change that. This past week, their idea for an Internet address for mobile devices was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers at a meeting in Luxembourg.

By this time next year, you should be able to go to Web sites with names like, or – or even, for wireless use of internal corporate sites.

When you access a .mobi site, it should look like it belongs on a small screen. In theory, behind every .mobi address will be a series of “style sheets” that let the site identify what kind of device you have – its screen resolution and size, for instance – what kind of Web browser it uses and the amount of bandwidth you have and then adapt its presentation accordingly.

TECH TALK: Next-Generation Networks: BPL (Part 2) adds:

For several years, people have thought that BPL could allow electric companies to become a viable third alternative to the cable and telephone companies providing high-speed access to the Internet. But technical issues have kept the technology from being deployed widely. What’s more, critics say turning electric utilities into consumer broadband providers will cost the industry billions of dollars because of the need to upgrade existing electrical grids.

But there has been renewed interest in the technology as companies such as Google make significant investments in companies delivering BPL service. Supporters of the technology also say consumer broadband service is only one application that energy companies such as CenterPoint are considering as they look to deploy BPL technology.

“A lot of people have been focusing on BPL as the third competitive leg in the broadband market,” said Raymond Blair, vice president for IBM’s Broadband Over Powerlines initiatives. “But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The main reason utilities want BPL is to manage their businesses better.”

Because BPL essentially turns the electrical grid into an Internet-based network, every device attached to the grid will be able to communicate with other devices on it. This means BPL technology has the potential to develop a “smart grid,” which could allow for such services as automated meter reading, real-time system monitoring, preventive maintenance and diagnostics, outage detection and restoration, as well as other potential applications.

Alan Mutter provides additional context:

While cable and telephone companies long have scrambled with varying degrees of success to become full-service, triple-play providers of video, Internet and voice services, the third line into every home, the power line, has been quietly buzzing along and largely overlooked. Not any more.

Google, Hearst Corp. and Goldman Sachs have put $100 million into a private company called Current Communications Group, which says it can send and receive high-speed Internet signals to homes and businesses via the existing electric grid. The tres unlikely amigos are teaming up at Current Comm with earlier investor John Malone, the man who built Tele-Communications Inc. into a cable TV behemoth before he sold it to AT&T at the peak of ripeness in 1999.

Several small broadband power line (BPL) start-ups have spent a long time trying, without much technical or commercial success, to safely coax satisfactory Internet-protocol signals through electric lines. The plan was to provide an electrifying alternative to the enviable businesses of the high-priced cable guys and the low-tech telephone companies. To date, various flavors of BPL have moved out of the lab and onto a few hundred utility poles in a small number of experiments.

But the evident success of a 50,000-home pilot in Cincinnati has turned Current Comm into Googles preferred partner in what appears to be no less an effort than delivering unlimited video on demand (VOD) to any home, shop or office with access to electricity.

BPL is an emerging technology which could potentially be the dark horse in the race to deliver broadband to the home.

Tomorrow: Next-Generation Services

Continue reading