Thursday, October 29, 2009

BPN 1395 Another day in the history of internet?

By lack of a proper telecom history, October 29 has been claimed to be a historic milestone day in Internet. On October 29, 1969 the now 75 years old computer scientist Leonard Kleinrock is said to have sent his first e-mail between the UCLA computer and the computer of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) of Stanford University in Menlo Park. The statement in many a press article today – even in a Dutch ministerial communication – is rather presumptuous; it creates more history than internet proper deserves.

What did Leonard Kleinrock do? In 1969, the US Defence department started up ARPANET. It was during the cold war and the Arpanet was intended to continue working as network, even if the network in one part of the country had been bombed out. Thus far computers had been linked up sequentially and if the defence computers in Washington, DC had been hit, the whole network would be out of order. So packet switched networks were developed. In these networks messages were put in packages with a destination address and the packages could take many routes in order to reach its destination. So when Washington had been bombed out, messages from New York could take another route to Los Angeles. Arpanet became the world's first packet switched computer network. In Arpanet the defence department , universities and consultancies worked together in the development. On October 29 communication between the nodes at Kleinrock's lab at UCLA and the lab of Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse, at SRI was established. So from that day onwards Mr Kleinrock could send files, no e-mails, to Douglas Engelbart and vice versa. On December 5, 1969 the network was expanded to the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Utah.

Did Kleinrock send an e-mail? No. He sent a computer file. When more people started to use the network they had to get a mailbox on one of the computers, which required an address consisting of a name and a computer name. Proper switches had to be designed. This resulted in the present e-mail address of a name, the @ sign and the computer name. This solution was designed by Roy Tomlinson in 1971. Asked what his first message was, he did not know, but supposed that it was the Gettysburg address, written in capitals.

Was this the start of internet? No. It was the start of Arpa network and Arpanet was at that time a packet switched network of two computers, which grew into an international network and for which the X25 protocol was developed. Arpanet only became internet-like when in 1982 the TCP/IP protocol was defined and when Vincent Cerf started to use the name internet.

Internet proper only started when in 1989 the later Sir Timothy Berners-Lee proposed the World Wide Web (www), a hypertext system. In this system users could put documents on the net and link them to each other without a central administration. One year later the first web browser was published, the first web server installed and web editor introduced. In the same year Sir Timothy Berners-Lee built a website on a Next computer. That development has grown into internet proper. In 1995 there were 16 million users worldwide; at the end of 2008 there were 1.6 billion users. It is only internet when www is stamped on it.

Blog Posting Number: 1395

Tags: internet, www, web

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BPN 1394 Kindle launched globally, did you notice?

Beginning of October a press statement was released by Amazon about the international launch of a global Kindle. The global Kindle would be a Kindle 2, it would be 20 US dollar cheaper than the price of the US Kindle at that time and AT&T would be the telecom carrier worldwide instead of Sprint Verizon. The e-books will be only in English/American and will be two US dollars more expensive; the two US dollar paying for the telecom charges. Next year a Kindle DX would be on offer. After that statement it stayed quiet in The Netherlands even on October 19, 2009, the day of the launch.

In the meantime Sony is very active in The Netherlands and even thinks to sell more than 10.000 e-readers before the end of the year. Sony has associated itself with the popular internet bookshop in the starting market in The Netherlands. So fat the buyers of e-readers buy 4 books to each e-reader; in the US each e-reader contains 8 e-books. The market condition in The Netherlands is now ripe for the sales of e-readers. The publishers are finally embracing the e-book; it is even expected that every new title will have an electronic counterpart next year. The price of the hardware has come down to an acceptable level. There is a portfolio of 110.000 e-books, including Dutch language titles. And the popular internet bookshop has become the prime promoter of the e-reader. Also the physical bookshops have started to sell e-readers of various brands and e-books. The bookshop chain Selexyz started last year selling the iLiad of the Dutch manufacturer iRex Technologies. It looks like the iLiad had a preferential treatment for a period, but now Selexyz as well as other bookshops sells other less expensive brands like Sony, Cybook, Cool-ER and Bebook.

Will Kindle make it in The Netherlands? No. The portfolio contains only English/American titles and no Dutch language ones. AT&T is only a business telecom provider. uses the Mobipocket format, while in The Netherlands the publishers have chosen for the EPUB format (the Dutch even can lend an e-book to four friends or devices).

Will The Netherlands embrace e-readers in one or two years. No, not even in before 2015. I believe that by 2030 the e-reader might be a common device or perhaps it might even be overtaken by a new tablet like a multifunctional, colour screen device for cultural matters like music, movies, books, cartoons, newspapers as well as social media. Something like the iPhone but with a larger screen.

Blog Posting Number: 1394

Tags: e-book, e-reader

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BPN 1393 Barnes seeks nook in e-reader market

The bookshop chain Barnes & Noble with 1300 retail stores had already announced its rentree into the e-book; it had also announced that it would launch its own e-reader. Now the announcement is official and the e-reader, named the Nook (meaning a secluded place or space), can be pre-ordered at 259 US dollar to be delivered in November. The device has two outstanding features: a six-inch reading display and a colour touch-screen display with virtual keyboard and the option to pass on an e-book to another device or lend out e-books to one another. Now the battle for the Christmas season sales between the Kindles of and the Nook can start.

The e-reader is 7,7 x 4,9 x 0,5 inches and weighs 317 grams. So its thin and very portable. It has the most advanced E-ink electronic paper display, which can be reads in bright sunlight and inside. It has also a 3.5 inch colour touch screen LCD with one touch control and navigation. It downloads e-books via AT&T, the nation's fastest 3G network and Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g). In Barnes & Noble stores e-book previews can be downloaded for free. The Nook has a memory of 2GB or approximately 1500 eBooks. An expandable microSD can be slotted in so that you can buy an extra 16 GB memory card and store up to 17,500 books (more books on one card than in the library of the Paris based university Sorbonne in 1750!). The Nook can also hold 26 hours of MP3 audio. A battery life of ten days reading is predicted, but also a recharging time of 3,5 hours. As to the format of e-books, Nook uses the EPUB format and can use other e-Reader formats. PDFs, MP3s and graphics can be loaded to the Nook from a computer or from and a micro SD card. JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP files can also be used.

Two features are outstanding in the device: the screen and the lending facility:
- the screen looks like a composite of digital paper with a colour LCD screen. As such this composite screen does not look ideal and might generate technical problems, but it heralds the colour electronic display;
- the lending facility is new to the English speaking world. According to the New York Times the lending facility is limited to one transfer for a fortnight, either between the Nook and another reading device like the iPhone or between the owner of a Nook and another person with a reading device. It looks like a great concession, but it is in fact very limitative as in The Netherlands Sony is using the EPUB format and offering lending facilities to four devices or persons.

Barnes & Noble was in the pre-electronic paper era already selling e-books, but gave up the adventure as the e-book sales were slow. But with the improvement of electronic paper Barnes & Noble is stepping into the e-book fray almost five years after the launch of the Sony Librié. But this time the prospects look better than ever. Barnes & Noble is in time with the launch of the Nook for the Christmas sales season. And the Nook makes a good chance to become a hit. The Nook looks to be top of the bill as far as state of art technology. Barnes & Noble has a book portfolio of 700.000 e-books. People can lend an e-book to a friend for a fortnight. And the price of the e-reader is competitive with the Kindles of and in fact with many other e-readers. Also publishers will be more pleased with Barnes & Noble than with Barnes & Noble offers publishers 55 percent of the revenue, while asks 60 percent. The Nook will be sold only in the US (so I do not have to search the nooks of the apartment for my Christmas present). Let the battle begin!

Blog Posting Number: 1393

Tags: e-book, e-reader

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BPN 1392 Frankfurt Book Fair: no e-book excitement

The annual pilgimage for publishers to the Frankfurter Book Fair is over. On this largest book grail publishers walk kilometers, select potential books to be translated and talk about the latest developments in the sector over a beer or a good dinner. And the e-reader definitely was on the menu of the item list. The marketing bureau Forrester forcated a sale of 1 million e-readers in the Christmas season, followed by sales of 6 million e-readers next year. And Google announced that Google Editions will start distributing e-books in the first half year of next year. But how much whipped cream wsa in these announcements?

Concretely there is some action on the e-readers front. Barnes & Noble will re-join the fray. And Amazon will launch a global English-language Kindle with wireless 3G access through AT&T in more than 100 countries. And Google has announced In my home country The Netherlands the Kindle will (finally) be available on October 19, 2009. Amazon will not have Dutch titles available yet; but the portfolio starts with the US offer and the European offer, read UK offer, probably with a small selection of French and German titles. The e-reader will be available at 185 euro, just a fraction cheaper than the cheapest Sony device. Besides subscribers to the Kindle will have to pay 99 eurocents for every megabyte transmitted. The offer looks too little, too late, as Sony has teamed up with the internet bookshop and is well on its way with their introduction.

Not only in The Netherlands, but also in Europe Kindle will have a hard time. Publishing e-books in foreign languages is not yet popular with publishers as there is no real demand for it. In Europe there is still a culture of ink sniffing. No books without ink.

Google will start distributing between the 600.000 and 800.000 e-books. This portfolio will partly exist of public domain book of which the copyrights are no longer valid., and partly of books, to which Google has been licensed. Google will keep 55 percent of the sales price (Amazon keeps 60 percent).

Should we be impressed by the potential sales figures? The sale of 6 million e-readers is impressive, but still small in terms of demography worldwide and even of the US. It is a start. But publishers and certainly foreign language book publishers will remain careful.

Blog Posting Number: 1392

Tags: e-book, e-reader

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

BPN 1391 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (16)

In the past weeks, I have presented my selection of the best WSA 09 entries. Every category has officially 5 entries; I have selected 2 entries per category.

The World Summit Award 09 (WSA 09) was the the fourth edition. Originally the World Summit Award is an Austrian initiative in the context of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It is an invitation project and puts the focus not on wires and computers, but on contents and applications. The best use of ICT is at the center of a unique, global contest activity in 8 categories and involving more than 160 countries.

Started in 2003 for the Geneva Summit conference, the WSA has been an unprecedented success due to the strong networking of professional associations, the national chapters of the Internet Society, multimedia education and research institutions, electronic chambers of commerce, non-governmental groups and foundations, government offices for IT and Information Society development and many others.

The WSA is the result of the active engagement of all these players in WSIS and of their shared conviction that quality contents are essential for a quality Information Society. Contents inspire, inform and allow the exchange of information and knowledge. Technology offers tools. It is a fundamental fact of the Information Society development that the performance of the tools increases faster than the human capacity to use them. This creates the Content Gap: ICT offers more capacity to produce, store and transmit than humans can use, fill, read or consume.

Participating in the WSA 09 were 157 countries. In total there were 560 entries. Divided over the categories, there were per category the following number of valid entries:
- e-Government & Institutions:79
- e-Health & Environment: 65
- e-Learning & Education: 85
- e-Entertainment & Games: 57
- e-Culture & Heritage: 72
- e-Science & Technology: 53
- e-Business & Commerce: 74
- e-Inclusion & Participation: 75

The entries were judged by an international panel of 35 experts from 33 countries during a week in New Dehli, where the jury was hosted by the government of India..
- CHRISTIAN RUPP, Austria, Federal Executive Secretary for e-Government, Austrian Federal Chancellery
- NARIMAN HAJIYEV, Azerbaijan, Project Director, National e-Governance
Network Initiative
- NAWAF MOHAMMED ABDULRAHMAN, Bahrain, Chief, Information Technology,
General Organisation for Youth & Sport
- ANANYA RAIHAN, Bangladesh, Executive Director, D.Net
- RUDI VANSNICK, Belgium, Chairman, Internet Society Belgium
- ANTHEA FOYER, Canada, Training Programmes Manager, Canadian Film Centre's Habitat New Media Lab
- DAVID BERMAN, Canada. Expert Speaker on Strategy, Ethics and Branding
- ALEX HUNG, China, Vice President, Internet Professional Association (iProA)
- BEATRIZ ELVIRA ALONSON BECERRA, Cuba, CEO, Information Technologies and Advanced Telematic Services (CITMATEL)
- STANISLAV MILER, Czech Republic, Director, Studio Trimedia
- JUAN CARLOS SOLINES MORENO, Ecuador, Partner, Solines & Asociados/Gobierno Digital
- EFFAT EL-SHOOKY, Egypt, Advistor to the Minister for International Relations, Ministry of Communciations and Information Technology, MCIT-EGYPT
- DOROTHY K. GORDON, Ghana, Director-General, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT
- MARIA MERCEDES ZAGHI, Guatemala, Operations Director, Ergocom
- OSAMA MANZAR, India, Founder and Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation
- ALFREDO RONCHI, Italy, General Secretary, MEDICI Framework
- ANDREW GAKIRIA, Kenya, Coordinator, Kenya eLearning Centre
- MANAR AL-HASHASH, Kuwait, General Manager, Dot Design
- LATIF LADID, Luxembourg, President, IPv6 Forum
- RODOLFO LADDAGA, Mexico, Co-founder, You Tours
- SUBHO RAY, India, President, Internet and Mobile Association of India
- JOSEPHINE CACDAC, Indonesia & Philippines, Programs Director, Multimatics Indonesia
- SHINTA DHANUWARDOYO, Indonesia, CEO, PT Bubu Kreasi Perdana (
- JAN BIERINGA, New Zealand, Director, BWX Productions
- JAK BOUMANS, Netherlands, Principal counsellor Electronic Media Reporting
- GBENGA SESAN, Nigeria, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria
- ZAWAN AL-SABTI, Oman, Projects Specialist, Information Technology Authority (ITA)
- ANYA SVERDLOV, Russian Federation, Managing Director, Actis Wunderman
- LUMKO CAESARIO MTIMDE, South Africa, CEO, Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)
- CHITRANGANIE MUBARAK, Sri Lanka, Programme Head, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka
- FAOUZI ZAGHBIB, Tunisia, Chairman, Tunisian ICT Federation
- SHASHANK OJHA, World Bank, Senior eGovernment Specialist
- RAJEN VARADA, United Nations, Resource Person, UN Solution Exchange

Blog Posting Number: 1391


Monday, October 05, 2009

BPN 1390 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (15)

Category: e-Inclusion & Participation

Voices of Africa

The Voices of Africa website hosts over 300 examples of mobile reports supported by a programme which gives young Africans with little or no journalistic experience the opportunity to make a living by pursuing careers as mobile reporters. The foundation behind the site provides individuals with the basic technological equipment and financial means to be active in the media sector. Participants are given training and support with specific small scale assignments and are also encouraged to participate in specific media projects initiated by partners of the foundation. Their efforts are displayed on

Both inclusive and participatory, the depth of content and the interactivity are particularly rich on the Voices of Africa. Emerging journalists, mentored by experts in their field, take matters into their own hands and get valuable on the job training that is second to none. This interactivity is incredibly rich as they learn from scratch how to produce their own stories. The program fits for the needs of the audience and enables a large number of people to engage journalistically in a meaningful way eliminating financial barriers that may prevent talented journalists to emerge and grow. Voices of Africa is an outstanding citizen journalism site and was recognized as such through its invitation to be one of a few hand selected bloggers at the G20 Summit in 2009. This project exemplifies both bridging the digital divide and narrowing the content gap.

Voices of Africa Media Foundation
Pim de Wit
Olivier Nyirabugara
Media Format
Product URL

Blog Posting Number: 1390

Tags: ,

Sunday, October 04, 2009

BPN 1389 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (14)

Category: e-Inclusion & Participation

Tradenet (Esoko)

TradeNet is an innovative technology that links mobile phones to web-based management systems and enables agri-business, agri-associations and other agri-projects to systematically build polls, and automatically scouts participants for critical field information. The scout technology can be programmed to send or receive text messages from participants in the field in order to track activities and inventories or evaluate crop behaviour. The project incorporates an SMS-based and Java-based application that connects mobile handsets with a powerful online toolset, enabling large-scale tracking from the field, and significantly reducing the cost of real-time distribution and recovery of responses from thousands of participants. Today, almost
800,000 price records have been entered from 10 countries, making this the largest SMS-based MIS system on the African continent. Over 12,000 registered users are profiled in the system, and almost 500 markets are covered.

TradeNet uses a combination of offline research, mobile content and communications with easily accessible online content to enable farmers and traders throughout Africa to access critical market information as means of improving market transparency and thereby household security and an opportunity to have returns on agricultural investments. Till today, small scale producers have been excluded from accurate daily price information in national markets. By training their
communities and making price alert deliveries to mobile phones automated, TradeNet provides access to more markets and negotiate better prices. It improves the transparency of agricultural markets in developing countries and includes communities in information services that previously they did not have access to.

Michael Ocansey
Puoza Gamaliel
Mark Davies
Xose Ahlijah
Andrea Biardi
Original Title
English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Media Format
mobile content
Product URL

Blog Posting Number: 1389

Tags: ,

Saturday, October 03, 2009

BPN 1388 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (13)

Category: e-Business & Commerce


AvaGuide combines interactive video and text-to-speech technology to enable virtual characters to hold customized conversations on company or product web sites. In less than 10 minutes of production time, AvaGuide can provide businesses with a virtual employee who will work 24/7, serving tens of customers at a time. One needs only to record a video or choose one of the pre-recorded characters and add a background and a dialogue. The code is to be simply copied and pasted into the website and AvaGuide is ready to attract more customer attention, convert visitors into paying customers, plus gain distinction from competitors. AvaGuide helps visitors to navigate though sites and find answers to questions instantly providing an intuitive online experience.

“Making business life easier” - AvaGuide is a sophisticated combination of top quality interactive video and text-to-speech technology that enables businesses to create astoundingly life-like virtual characters on the web in the most simple way. Designed for small and medium-sized enterprises and using cutting-edge multimedia technology business websites gain immensely in attractiveness. Visitors can thus easily find information, fill out forms or get answers to their questions. Stylish backgrounds can be easily integrated and classical business dialogues are already prepared for customization. The simple copy and paste approach of the finished HTML Code make AvaGuide a breakthrough product that refreshes each business.

InteliWISE S.A.
Marcin Strzalkowski
Marek Borzestowski
Marek Trojanowicz
English, Chinese
Media Format
Product URL

Blog Posting Number: 1388

Tags: ,

Friday, October 02, 2009

BPN 1387 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (12)

Category: e-Business & Commerce


ngpay is India’s first mass market mobile commerce service. Functioning on every telecom network, consumers all over India are able to bank, pay bills, book tickets, make donations, shop, order food, and more - from a single place on their mobile handsets. At present, transactions with 80+ businesses across 10 sectors can be completed following a simple download of a free, 64kb application. Upon selection of a merchant, users are guided step-by-step through the m-commerce transaction via a menu-driven interface. At the payment stage, the conventional forms of electronic payment are offered. Data and over-the-air transactions are fully encrypted and require multi-level authorization to be accessed. Users receive SMS and, where applicable, email verifications of their transactions, and can view their transaction history on the ngpay main menu.

The power of mobile connectivity to change the way people do business transaction is amply demonstrated by ngpay. It is easy, fast, and secure and has already a quite comprehensive list of services including entertainment, travel, shopping, banking, utility bill payments, and donations. The ngpay has an attractive menu, clear graphics and provides easy yet comprehensive mobile banking including 3rd party fund transfer and redeeming ngpay loyalty points. It delivers a true PC-based e-Commerce experience. The Ngpay user needs only a basic java handset and active GPRS connection. Ngpay brings low-cost electronic commerce and financial services to the rural and working class.

(JiGrahak Mobility
Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)
Sourabh Jain
Media Format
mobile content
Product URL

Blog Posting Number: 1383

Tags: ,

Thursday, October 01, 2009

BPN 1386 My selection of WSA Best e-Content 09 (11)

Category: eSCience & Technology


Videolectures.Net provides free and open internet access to high quality videos of lectures presented by distinguished scholars and scientists at prominent academic
events. The portal aims to promote science, facilitate the exchange of ideas and
foster knowledge sharing by providing high quality didactic content, not only for the
scientific community, but also for a more general public. All lectures, accompanying
documents, information and links are systematically selected and are classified
during the editorial process according to user comments. The materials come from
several EU funded research projects and organizations such as Xerox Parc, British
Telecom, Max Planck, Fraunhofer Institute, Australian National University and
Carnegie Mellon. The range of countries involved and languages used includes Europe,
USA, Taiwan, Australia, Ukraine, Russia and Brazil.

Videolectures.Net's impressive content array on all scientific topics is truly impressive comprising materials suitable for both venerable scholars and the general public. It is an excellent "best practice" example for video content aggregators with its categorization and classification of content, ability to pinpoint very targeted pieces of knowledge within a large sea of information and true aggregation of various media according to topics. The high didactic quality gains significance as the site provides free and open access to science information from the world's leading experts in one internet space. The portal's navigation is easy and intuitive. This project plays an immensely important role in bridging the digital divide and narrowing the content gap. Geographical borders, financial considerations and access limitations disappear through provision of unlimited access to quality content for all.

Jozef Stefan Institute,
Center for Knowledge
Mitja Jermo
Marko Grobelnikl
Peter Kese
Davor Orlic
Sebastjan Mislej
Darko Ignjatovic
Nina Rancic
Media Format
Product URL

Blog Posting Number: 1386