Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

September 30, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. This year's theme is 'water'.

Please register your blog here and participate on October 15th, the blog action day.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

September 27, 2010

The Islamic Community Center In Ground Zero - An Inside Story on CBS

See and hear for yourself the truth behind all the fuss and propaganda.

September 23, 2010

Join and follow us:

September 19, 2010

An example of citizen media

In Bangladesh citizen media is yet to flourish. Now in the age of audio and video technology in our hand (cellphone, digital camera etc) we should be seeing more instances like this video depicting the anomalies in our societies and systems:

[In this video: a student is being tortured by a teacher of Notre Dame College in a very uncivilized way.)

And the job of citizen journalists are not to create sensations or make judgment on any piece of evidence. It is the job of the media and the society to take the issues forward and resolve the problems the citizen journalists expose. I wish I could see any Bangladeshi media investigating this incident and make a full report of it.

September 18, 2010

Mixed Grill and Es Teller

@ D'nanta Bistro, Jalan Panglima Polin, Jakarta - an exclusive Indonesian restaurant.

September 16, 2010

Why we need online RSS reader clients

Ever since I started to use rss readers it changed my life. Earlier I used to read newspapers regularly by actually going to the sites. But instead I subscribe to certain newspapers and certain keywords in Google search and I can follow news or opinions targeted to a specific region or community at ease.

However, it seems rss could not appeal to many people who want more dynamic and updated information. Twitter, Facebook etc. provided them with more real time information withing the community. I have nothing against them but have doubts whether they will ever cater my special needs as Twitter updates are not stored somewhere to get hold on to. Your only option is to search and you get information overload and might miss the actual news.

I didn't even notice that people are talking about the death of rss readers. I realized after Bloglines announced that it is going to shut down on 1st of October, 2010. I should have seen it coming as there were reports suspecting the demise of Bloglines.

Bloglines quoted Steve Gillmor as a reason for their decision:

..being locked in an RSS reader makes less and less sense to people as Twitter and Facebook dominate real-time information flow. Today RSS is the enabling technology – the infrastructure, the delivery system. RSS is a means to an end, not a consumer experience in and of itself. As a result, RSS aggregator usage has slowed significantly, and Bloglines isn’t the only service to feel the impact.. The writing is on the wall.

And more so it struck to me as I tried to switch to a suitable rss reader replacement. I already use Google reader for monitoring Rising Voices Projects and keeping an eye on the development of new media in general. So I have tried for other online rss reader options (to access from anywhere) and found that Wasabi, Rojo, Newsgator - these services does not exist anymore. Pluck went down in 2007 and the rest of them followed.

Now we need to give a serious thought on what should be the way forward. Why should I invest my time in Google reader if it is going to shut down in near future? Mathew Ingram argues that rss is not dead, but but merely evolving. But we need more online based services so that we do not feel like we are pawn to Google's free service monopoly.

Does anybody have a suggestion which online rss reader client can I use except Google Reader?

September 09, 2010

The Eid Exodus

In comparison: The city crowds going back to their home towns and villages during Eid Holidays -

In Bangladesh

Courtesy Facebook user Baakbakum

In Indonesia:

Image courtesy Megatriks99

In Indonesia this tradition of going home during the Eid holidays is called Mudik.

Tomorrow is Eid-ul-Fitri in Indonesia and the exodus has started a couple of days ago. 2.2 million out of a population of 9.6 million are expected to leave Jakarta this week.

September 06, 2010

Our flight back home

September 05, 2010

Uluwatu at the time of sunset

Clouds are covering the sun :(.

The stunning Tanha Lot in Bali

Sadly its raining.

September 04, 2010

Rice Terrace at Tegalalang, Bali

Its drizzling a bit so could not take a better view of the Rice Terrace at Tegalalang, BALI.

Tampaksiring Temple in Bali

Mountain and Lake Batur, Bali Island

Clouds are spoiling the view but its lovely anyway.

Wonderful view

Ganesha in celuk, Bali

Yes. We are in Bali now. We could not book a preferred destination (Manila) during the upcoming Eid holidays as almost every affordable flight was sold out. So we looked and found that Bali was booked during Eid holidays too but is available this long weekend. So we went for it.

Today is a bit overcast but looking forward to a rainless day as we head towards Kintamani hill area. We arrived yesterday via Air Batavia, Indonesian domestic airlines. The experience was not bad as expected. Atleast we had plenty of Legroom. The hotel in Kuta beach was ok.

Will keep you posted.

September 02, 2010

How To Protect Bangladeshis From Cyberstalking

Time and again we have heard stories about how women and kids and even men are being stalked online in Bangladesh. As internet is new to the Bangladeshi societies and most of the users are young and in their teens they do not take any precaution in their engagement.

Just today I was reading an article about how e-stalking is thriving in Bangladesh. Examples include:
  • Faking a Facebook account and posting obscene pictures
  • Threats on Cell phones
Cyber bullies use text messages on cell phones, or email, instant messages, social networking blogs, or Web pages to harass, embarrass, and intimidate other kids. The bullying takes many forms, from spreading false rumors and posting embarrassing pictures of others to sending offensive messages, repeated harassment (sometimes sexual), stalking, threats, and even extortion. (Cyber Bullying - anti social behaviors online)
The problems multiply when the victims hide the fact from their parents and are subjected to stress and depression.

And the media is only talking about the threats and not the naivety of the users in not talking the proper precautions while interacting online.

But these problems can be avoided if the online users be a lot more cautious in their approach. If they can maintain these precautions then I think they can escape a lot of trouble down the line.

Protecting yourself online:

  1. Protect your identity: When opening a facebook or blog account, do not use your full name - Use nick name or a fabricated stylish name - your friends will know you - so no need to give stalkers a head start.
  2. Protect your account in Facebook: There are privacy controls - you can fix what type of friends can see what - for example - make some friend profiles - allow everything for best friends and family members- allow limited contents for class and coursemates - allow the minimum possible for new friends.
  3. Register your birthdate - but do not put the actual year. For example if your birthdate is 3rd April 1986, you register as 3rd April 1975. You will still get birthday wishes from your friend - but the stalker will not be able to assess your age.
  4. Use photos cautiously: I do not usually upload my or my family photos in Facebook or blog. If I ever do it I do it cautiously - limiting access to family members and close friends only. So use minimum photos and try to use photos without face - side view, blurred images etc.
  5. And more importantly don't put friends photos and tag them without their consent. If you find your photo is tagged - go and untag it if you feel you friend is not using privacy control and its not safe.
  6. Do not and I repeat do not put your address or telephone numbers online - in Facebook, in forum emails or other sites. You can write about your location like this - Dhaka, Bangladesh. But not like Dhanmondi, Dhaka. In Facebook if you are an advanced users you can limit who can access your telephone numbers - if you require this.
  7. Be careful before opening emails. Do not open attachments until you realize that the mail is from a friend and is important for you.
  8. Here are information on how to set privacy control in your Facebook site

Protecting your identity on Mobile phones:

  1. Do not give your phone number indiscreetly
  2. If you receive any unsolicited call then first tell that person that you are going to tell your parents that you are being harassed.
  3. If the person still calls you - first keep your phone off to show that you are not interested. If the problem persists use the phone operators complaint service (I think GrameenPhone has that). If the service is not available tell your parents - they will guide you by talking with the caller or changing the SIM.
  4. Alternatively tell your friends that you are being stalked from a specific phone. They will call that number to give piece of their minds to the stalker.

What the parents and authorities can do:

  1. Many US states have anti-cyberstalking laws - the authorities can consider implementing one.
  2. Its the parents' responsibility to make sure that their children are neither victims or bullies. The parents need to be supportive of their kids. They must know that identity falsification and theft is a reality in the cyber world and keeping offline cannot guarantee their kids from being stalked in the roads. They need to tell their kids to inform such incidents and they should help them with open minds and not accusing them.
  3. NGOs and other organizations can implement a phone in help/consultation center which can guide the young people if they feel scared to tell the family.
  4. The police should have a specialized cell to deal with this - so they can provide guidance and help.
I think with some precautions most of these cases can be avoided. As being online is and will be an important feature of our lives we need to sort out these anomalies and let the stalkers know that they cannot get away.

Image by Flickr user Terry Freedman. Used under a Creative Commons license - BY-NC-ND.

Guest Post: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in South Asian Education

This is a guest post by Alexis Bonari.

The World Bank’s infoDev program has conducted a 2010 Survey of ICT for Education in India and South Asia, exploring the ways in which technology is used in both formal and informal education. Based on survey results, infoDev has isolated several themes of ICT for Education (ICT4E) that will continue to play a strong role in the development of ICT4E programs in South Asia. While educational programs tend to be thought of as addressing students, ICT in the training of teachers is an important concept, especially within the area of building capacity through basic computer literacy. If teachers don’t understand technology and how to use it, they can’t teach students about it, so future ICT4E initiatives should include this aspect of teacher training. Another essential ICT4E theme observed by infoDev was that of public-private partnerships aimed at providing and sustaining ICT infrastructures in schools. Perhaps the most important components of ICT4E are Distance Education (DE) and open universities, which allow students challenged by geographic or financial barriers to access the education they need.

ICT4E in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has made great strides in the area of mobile phone use and accessibility, with coverage reaching over 90% of the population, but ICT in education remains an area of focus that demands more progress. A significant challenge for any ICT4E initiative would be the high cost of Internet access, which cripples Internet use for a majority of the population in Bangladesh. There is also a significant disparity across gender literacy, with males at 54% and females at 32%, which would present some difficulty in educating students and teachers on how to use ICT. However, among the younger population, there are more literate females than males, so if there has ever been a time to equalize gender literacy for ease of education, it is quickly approaching. Bangladesh has had some success with ICT in non-formal education, with programs dedicated to the spread of libraries and village computing and Internet centers. Within the realm of formal education, Bangladesh is focusing on teaching ICT courses in higher education to promote the industry, but using ICT to guarantee an education to all students is an idea that merits more attention. Because Bangladesh does not currently have an ICT in education policy, that is the first step to be taken toward incorporating ICT into the nature of teaching and learning.

Important Components of ICT in South Asian Education

In countries like India and Sri Lanka, ICT in education has taken the form of traditional media such as television and radio. Stations provide 24-hour educational material to viewers and listeners, taking advantage of existing technology to promote teaching and learning. Innovations like the Simputer and corDECT have also been instrumental in the ICT4E development of these countries. The Simputer addresses the educational and communication needs of the illiterate by including functions that read handwritten text and provide audio translations, among other capabilities. corDECT is a wireless local loop that provides Internet access within a 10-km radius, which can be easily expanded to a 25-km radius. By taking advantage of these technologies in distance teaching and learning, South Asian countries have made significant progress toward using ICT in education.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching accredited online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo: Public Domain