Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Voices of millions...

Imagine you are a economist. When you are responsible for the use of scarce resources for the betterment of thousands and millions of people, can you really go by word of mouth, propaganda and marketing pitches that you are headed in the right direction? How do you listen to the voices of a million silent countrymen.

You would use Statistics!

But I'm not an economist and even an economist finds it difficult to wade through the huge amounts of data to reach sensible decisions.

That is why I like what Gapminder is doing with statistics. Visualizing it so that I can understand it better.

Take a look at the demos and videos at gapminder.org

Of course, I am sure with enough effort you can get statistics to mean whatever you want it to. ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Coding for India?

"What can I really do? I am just a programmer. I don't really have any contacts and infrastructure in India. I can contribute a little money. Is there nothing else that I can do? Especially since I am so far away from India."

That thought crosses my mind whenever I think of our hopes for Drid Sankalp. I remember during one of our meetings in 2006, we discussed how we as technical people in a land far away could use our skills.

Well, it looks like the One Laptop Per Child project is a very good example on how we can contribute right from where we are.

Of course, we can have long discussions about: Is it really a useful thing? Are they going about it the right way? What would a kid do with a laptop? Aren't there more important things that a kid could use? And maybe we should.

But the main point is: here is something that all of us can contribute to. Operating system, applications, and most of all local-language content.

It is people like us who have a better understanding of what would be useful content for India. I'm thinking Amar Chitra Katha. I'm thinking Akbar and Birbal. I'm thinking Tenali Raman. Each of our regional languages has folk stories that would be great reads for kids in India. I'm sure you have other things that interested you as a child in India.

Take a look at how you can get involved when you get the chance.

P.S. Speaking of our hopes - they are still alive, aren't they? :)