Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Evolving Computer Desktop

In this video from 2007, Anand Agarawala demonstrates his BumpTop software, an alternative “desktop” interface for computers that allows users to interact with their files within a 3-dimensional interface. Google acquired BumpTop in 2010. Recently, Google previewed the newest version … Continue reading

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Mobile Phones and Gender Dynamics

Melissa Ulbricht at MobileActive.org has posted an article arguing that mobile phone sales to women have the potential to upset existing gender dynamics, with the possibility of an increase domestic violence towards women. The evidence that this is happening is … Continue reading

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People Don’t Trust Their Own Voice

One of our on-going projects at CKS involves the use of voice authentication services in mobile phone-based financial transactions. Basically, you take your mobile to the store, and when you want to make a payment you call a specific number. … Continue reading

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China’s Success with Bus Rapid Transit

According to Dani Simons at the Institute for Transportation & Development policy, this is the city of Guangzhou, China before adopting Bus Rapid Transit: And this is Guangzhou after: Today the Guangzhou BRT services over 800,000 riders daily and was … Continue reading

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Bill Gates’ Praise for Nitish Kumar

From the Economic Times: GENEVA: Bill Gates on Tuesday showered praise on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the World Health Assembly for his impressive performance of rapid vaccination for children in the state, saying “people are hungry for visionary … Continue reading

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Why Apps Can’t Transform Society

Tony Roberts, former CEO of Computer Aid International, argues that relying on technology to fix social ills (and ignoring the human context of those problems) is misguided: In pursuit of transformation, educators and social activists will always make best use … Continue reading

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Innovative Knock-offs

Jan Chipchase argues that Chinese knock-off consumer products (aka shanzhai) are spurring innovation among the manufacturers that they’re ripping off. For example (and this has been going on for a number of years), shanzhai manufacturers are making dual-SIM-card devices that … Continue reading

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Learning to Read in 35 Days

TARA Akshar is a literacy program that has purportedly taught 60,000 illiterate women in India to read. The curriculum they use takes 35 to complete. Victor Lyons explained the program’s teaching method to the Wall Street Journal: The core of … Continue reading

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Sanitation Solutions Takes Third Place in Innovation Competition

A team from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies has taken third place in Dell’s Social Innovation Competition. Their project, called Sanitation Solutions, aims to provide women living in slums with the resources to set up a business that produces … Continue reading

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De-criminalizing Bribes

Indian Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu proposes a radical way to eliminate bribes: de-criminalize the act of paying a bribe. In theory, once a demand for a bribe has been satisfied—and the service received, one presumes—the bribe giver may be … Continue reading

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