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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Location-based services

"Nowadays, mobile devices are commonly equipped with GPS receivers. Using a GPS receiver, you find your location easily because of the many satellites orbiting the earth, courtesy of the US government. However, GPS requires a clear sky to work and hence does not work indoors. Also, the first-generation iPhone is not equipped with a GPS receiver."
"Besides GPS, another effective way to locate one's position is through cell tower triangulation. When a mobile phone is switched on, it is constantly in contact with base stations surrounding it. By knowing the identity of cell towers, it is possible to correlate this information into a physical location through the use of various databases containing the cell towers' identity and their exact geographical location. Cell tower triangulation has its advantages over GPS because it works indoors, without the need to obtain information from satellites. However, it is not as accurate as GPS because its accuracy depends on the area you are in. Cell tower triangulation works best in densely populated areas where the cell towers are closely located. However, cell tower triangulation is not applicable to iPod Touch because it does not have a cellular phone in it."
"The third method of locating one's position is to rely on Wi-Fi triangulation. Rather than connect to cell towers, the device connects to a Wi-Fi network and checks the service provider against databases to determine the location serviced by the provider. Of the three methods described here, Wi-Fi triangulation is the least accurate."
"On the iPhone, Apple provides the Core Location framework to help you determine your physical location. The beauty of this framework is that it makes use of all three approaches mentioned, and whichever method it uses is totally transparent to the developer. You simply specify the accuracy you need, and Core Location determines the best way to obtain the results for you."
(Wei-Meng Lee in 'Beginning iPhone SDK Programming with Objective-C,' p. 392 Wiley India)

Content management systems

"Content management systems make maintaining a web site more practical and more affordable. In the past, if you wanted to build a web site, you built a set of static HTML pages – that is, you hard-coded each page with your text and images. The problem is that if you build a static web site, you are forever locked into working with page code each time you want to change the site. Changing the contents of a page by manually changing the code on the page is time-consuming and labour-intensive. Managing a static site also locks you into hiring people with coding skills to perform content management tasks. Doing this can be a misuse of resources and is typically not a cost-effective approach to the problem. In contrast, if you use a content management system to power your web site, anyone with basic skills can make changes to the web site. You don't need a programmer to change the text or images on a page. Most systems, including Joomla!, use a content management interface that is largely similar to what you see in common word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word."
(Ric Shreves in 'Joomla! Bible,' p. 4 Wiley India)

Pay markets in media

"Traditionally, advertising revenues have had a strong hold in the M&E industry, but increasingly, subscription revenues are becoming important with consumers paying for media services. The media business models in India are undergoing a change with audiences becoming more willing to pay for content and value added services. Technology has brought about convenience and offered superior quality to consumers who have responded positively. The growth in ticket prices of movies at multiplexes, increasing number of Pay TV subscribers, increasing penetration of DTH with its user-friendly interface and technology, and introduction of value added services (VAS) by media players are some examples of pay markets gaining importance."
"Growth in this is likely to be driven by research in consumption trends, and a better understanding of the set of audiences who are likely to pay more for these value added services. This could facilitate going beyond basic monetisation of audience through ad sales."
('Back in the Spotlight: FICCI-KPMG Indian Media & Entertainment Industry Report,' p. 8)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rice-fish culture

"Chinese rice farmers are characterised by small scale family operations. The land farmed by one household is usually between 0.2 and 1 ha. The income level of the household is very much limited by the small land area with farming production of ordinary crops like rice, wheat, and maize. Farmers can hardly make a net profit of $100 from 1 t of grain, i.e., a family with 1 ha of land (the actual average farm is only 0.52 ha) may make a maximum of $1,500 net income with traditional crops annually when harvest is good. Therefore, it is impossible to significantly increase the income of rural famers through growing only the traditional crops."
"Rice-fish culture provides a much more effective approach to increasing the income of rural farmer households in China. The average unit production of 780 kg/ha fish from rice-fish culture can bring the farmer $1,500-4,000/ha income. The usual net income from good practice of rice-fish culture is $2,000-4,000/ha. The farmer's income can be increased by 2-4 times compared with sole crop farming. In general, income of some 2-3 million rural households has been significantly improved through rice-fish culture in China."
"Jiangsu province in central eastern China sets a very good example of rice-fish development contributing to rural people's income. The province started a large project to promote rice-fish culture with high valued aquatic species in 1997. The total rice-fish culture area reached 136,615 ha in 1999. More than 80 per cent of the area adopted rice-fish culture of high valued species. The gross net profit of rice-fish culture reached $2, 912/ha on average. In Maxi village in Yancheng city, 146 ha of rice fields were utilised for rice-crab seed production, where the net profit reached over $11,000/ha in average (Wang 2000)."
(Ed: Sena S. De Silva and F. Brian Davy, 'Success Stories in Asian Aquaculture,' p. 29 IDRC)

Woman’s advice

"Grandpa looked through his notebook. 'In the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southwestern Asia was the land of Babylonia. The ancient Greeks called it Mesopotamia. It's now Iraq. In the third century, there was a popular saying in Babylonia, 'If your wife is short, bend down and seek her advice.' In other words, make an effort to listen to what she says.'"
"Michael looked surprised."
'A group of teachers in Babylonia wrote that in some matters, a man should make the decisions, and in some, the woman should decide. They said a woman's advice is invaluable, but Michael, that doesn't mean that every matter is one your wife decides. One of the teachers added that you should be careful not to hurt your wife's feelings, but if you always automatically follow her advice without using your own judgment, your life can become hell. She may lead you to do something wrong.'"
"Grandpa continued, 'Grandma is a smart person. I value and appreciate her advice, but I don't always just do whatever she says.'"
(Elliott Katz in 'Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants,' p. 44 Macmillan)

No shareholder activism

"While shareholder rights are clearly defined in the Companies Act, 1956, these rights are not always fully exercised. Investor representatives state that shareholder activism is practically non-existent in India (International Institute of Finance, 2006). The World Bank found that institutional investors do not appear to exercise their voting rights in a transparent manner. The three largest institutional investors, all government-owned, instead exert influence through directors nominated to the board of their portfolio companies. The Bank has recommended that regulators should consider introducing an obligation that institutional investors acting in a fiduciary capacity adopt and disclose their corporate governance and voting policy (Word Bank, 2004c)."
('OECD Investment Policy Reviews: India,' p. 133 Academic)

Island of the individual

"It was another three weeks before Shiva's entourage reached Ayodhya, the capital of the Swadweepans. They had travelled along a decrepit, long-winding road to the Ganga, and then sailed eastward to the point where the mighty, yet capricious river passionately welcomed the waters of the Sarayu. Then they had cruised north, up the Sarayu, to the city of Lord Ram's birth. It was a long circuitous route, but the quickest possible considering the terrible road conditions in Swadweep, the island of the individual."
"The excitement in the hearts of the Meluhan soldiers was beyond compare. They had only heard legends about Lord Ram's city. None had ever seen it. Ayodhya, literally the impregnable city, was the land first blessed by Lord Ram's sacred feet. They expected a gleaming city beyond compare, even if it had been devastated by the Chandravanshi presence. They expected the city to be an oasis of order and harmony even if all the surrounding land had been rendered chaotic by the Chandravanshis. They were disappointed."
(Amish Tripathi in 'The Immortals of Meluha,' p. 363 Tara)

Commercial encroachment

"Today our country is at the top in the world as far as number of shops in a given are concerned. There is one shop per 4-5 families in India, whereas in European countries or even in Singapore (called shoppers' paradise) it is one per 20-25 families. Thanks to district development authorities for achieving this record. Once a shop is opened an area double the size of the shop is grabbed outside the shop by putting articles and display boards. Beyond this the remaining space is utilised for parking the vehicles of customers. If it is a shop for eatables, may it be of modern fast food or old-fashioned samosa-kachoriwala, I am sure you do not require any description."
"Except in some major cities, virtually there is no control of development authorities over the above. It is very easy to start commercial activity in residential areas or to make an unauthorised encroachment on roads without permission. There is no one to observe and object to it. If at all there is someone, he is easily 'manageable.'"
(Dr Sanjay Kulshrestha in 'Tsunami on Roads: Wake up India!' p. 117 Conscious Citizens)

Disappearing villages

"By the time you read these words, the Japanese village of Ogama may no longer exist. Concerned by their remoteness from medical facilities and daily amenities like shops, the village's dwindling and increasingly elderly population have decided to sell their land to a recycling plant. When they move to a bigger town, the villagers will bring the bones of their ancestors and their village shrine with them."

"Ogama's disappearance is due in part to the decline of Japan's rural economy. It also results from a bigger issue in Japan and elsewhere in the developed world: societies are ageing. There are two main reasons: we're living longer and we're having fewer children. In years to come, this trend will have a real impact on developed countries."

(Brian Keeley in 'OECD Insights: Human Capital,' p. 12 Academic)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Women power

"The Marwaris who had migrated to Manipur for trade, controlled the main market of Khwairamband Bazar. They also controlled the food prices. Towards the end of the twenties food prices shot up. For this the exploitative dealings of trading communities were blamed. The people of Manipur established another market to counter such dealings. In 1938 an unprecedented event took place. There was an untimely flood before the harvest of rice and subsequently there was acute food shortage. To make matters worse the traders purchased whatever stock of rice was available for export that led to a further hike in prices. In December of that year, frustrated with food shortages and a price rise, some 50 to 60 women in Imphal stopped traders' carts taking rice outside the region. Soon word spread and women all over Manipur started stopping carts and bringing these to local villages. A huge gathering of women then went to the State Durbar Office and demanded that the King ban any export of rice. The King was in Bengal and so the women surrounded British officers and some members of the Durbar and did not allow them to leave until the King came to town with his decision. In the ensuing intervention by an armed British detachment, about 21 of these women were seriously injured. However, the women who had gathered there did not lift the siege. The King soon returned from Bengal and realising the massive public outburst announced the ban on the export of rice. In this round, at least, the Nupi women outsmarted the immigrant traders."

(Paula Banerjee in 'Borders, Histories, Existences: Gender and Beyond,' p. 101 Sage)