How the web works – even during festive holidays…

worldwebPicHappy festive holidays and thank you for reading and subscribing.

We take the internet for granted now, having information, email and web access to everything we think we want to know.

It is a very new experience. If you worked in an office in 1989, the experience for connected colleagues is very different now than just those few years ago (some web users do remember those times!)

When we are relaxing after our seasonal lunch or sitting on the train home daydreaming about our targets for next year, will we think of how the internet works?

Probably not, but in those moments when all of us who connect without a thought do think about how it all works there is

This is a great site for explaining loads of concepts and technical developments and is designed to present complex ideas in a clear and concise way.

The internet is no different, the article on How Internet Infrastructure Works is a good example. Visit these pages to find out how your own computer fits into the hierarchy of the web, or how your router or network connects to the backbone of the internet. Complete with diagrams too.

However, not everyone is connected to the web, even during the festive holidays. The Worldometers site has a running clock which clicks through a count of pc’s purchased around the globe.

According to research by Gartner Dataquest it states that there are currently over one billion laptop and desktop computers in the world today. By the end of 2015 this figure will have reached 2 billion.

These enormous numbers need to be tempered by the population of humans who could theoretically access these machines. This site has a running population clock for the world. It is ticking inexorably towards seven billion. (The population in 1989 was only 5.14 billion – see the site for more historical population data).

In truth, despite our passion for technology, we are still a long way off being a connected world – even at holiday times.

However, to all our readers and subscribers to whom we are connected, do have a happy festive season – your web and email communications will be running – from the Third Sector Web team.

You can visit the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Who can get the information?

onthePhoneThe International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have recently published the 2009 edition of Measuring the Information Society – The ICT Development Index(IDI).

The pdf of the core findings is freely available from the ITU.

They make interesting reading – particularly when looking for analysis on where the greatest growth lies and how people access information with ICT.

Africa is a world leader. The data from the ITU on the IDI reveals that ICT access to information growth, across a broad spectrum of carriers and hardware, was 100.4% in North Africa from 2002 to 2007.

The equivalent growth rate in Western Europe was only 23.4% in the same period.

Much of the growth in Africa is in non-traditional internet access areas. Mobile phone market penetration is six times higher in Africa than in Europe.

If we were starting a web/information social business in Africa having all data and output available in mobile friendly versions, just like this Third Sector blog, would be an absolute given.

To their continued credit, Google are making strides to get information to these non-traditional access routes. Google has just released a set of SMS friendly services called Google SMS.

Offering mobile phone users an SMS marketplace, search service and tips – delivering advice on crops, health and clinics. All designed for the currently less well developed or mature hard-wired infrastructure markets. Go Google.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Flickr Creative Commons image by Telelavoro

The bus and ICT provision

googleBusimage1Google India have recently launched the Google Bus – an internet enabled, mobile web access point, designed to take the web into communities across India.In the UK there was a time, in the early nineties, when mobile internet classrooms and mobile community internet access was all the rage. Winning funding to deliver internet access and training from a wheeled vehicle.

Times have changed and the ubiquity of the laptop means that getting access to ‘undeveloped’ web communities has become easier.

googleBusimage2However, has the time come for a resurgence of interest and thinking in the mobile service for communities? Not only for specialist training and education for particular groups, but also a more general community web access provision, given the much wider range of services, shopping and information available on the net.

A quick search online found a traditional ‘mobile’ solution still active around York – at Mathemagic – an adult numeracy service. As well as a best practice example of how complex teaching and training can still be delivered from North East Surrey College of Technology.

Is there a case for a resurgence in mobile services, particularly in rural areas that combines access to a general and traditional printed information resource, web access of the broadest kind – and an entry point to community focused services for jobs, employments, benefits etc. E-government access, but with a wider, friendlier face?

What do you think…?

You can read more about the Google India web bus and how far it has traveled so far here.

Pictures from Google India.

Find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

The world’s cheapest laptop?

A tablet PC in operationWe’ve been reading this week about the forthcoming launch of the 20 dollar laptop in India.

There has been some commentary in the rest of the world as to whether it is possible to produce such a machine, given – according to Nicholas Negroponte of OLPC – that the display alone will cost more than this.

Does this miss the point? The general thrust of the project seems to be to get learners and the population in general to access sites such as the Sakshat Portal – India’s gateway to learning resources. (Its tag line is The One Stop Education Portal for All)

If the Indian government are subsidising the creation of a cloud computing infrastructure across the sub-continent, then there must surely be a paradigm shift in the strategies needed to get ‘access point’ terminals into as many hands as possible. The National Mission on Education through ICT seems to be just this.

This is not a business proposition. It is a learning proposition.

The target of the Indian government is to get a 5% increase in tertiary education starters in 5 years. When your target sample is the largest democracy in the world…that needs to be a lot of takers.

The golden egg in the proposition is a vastly more connected society in the next generation, with more intellectual and social capital to deploy in the service of a perhaps vastly different world GDP mix and meta-economic model.

Cloud services and no-cost terminals must be the way to go. We watch the future product launch with interest. Go India!

These thoughts were drawn from an article by Mohammed Siddique at

What do you think?

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

‘…my old bamboo’ – surely not?

Clip2Dick van Dyke sang about his ‘…old bamboo’ in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – he could never have visualised back then the innovative use of this renewable resource in the 21st Century.

Asus have recently announced the forthcoming delivery, in the US and Europe, of a bamboo version of the Asus notebook range.

When it arrives it will be in two versions – 12.1 inch and 11.1 inch, both with Intel® Core™2 Duo processors and fitted with DDRII RAM. The versions will weigh 1.57 and 1.25 kilograms respectively. To be priced as a premium item we suspect.

Both machines will use the Asus Super Hybrid Engine which can extend battery life between 35% and 70% compared to other notebooks with the same specifications, offering Asus users a power boost to their systems performance by up to 23%.

You can read the full Asus press release here. Watch this space for more news about launch dates.

You can visit the Third Sector Web home page here.