Archives for the month of: February, 2009

CHARGE CALLS This clip was found in a leading English daily last week. Shocking news in a market where incoming calls are free and local calls using POTS are not charged. Not surprising though considering that one of the operators reported a 33% loss of revenue compared to last year for the same period. These calls are totally free with subscribers not paying for the usage of any of the networks.

The move to make incoming calls free, by one of the operators and copy cat move by the rest has led to all of them smarting where it hurts…in the pants. But then these are the benefits to the subscriber when competition comes into the market. It would definitely be a move in the wrong direction if the decision was rolled makes back or one of the operators unilaterally begin to charge for calls from land lines.

one wonders, if the third operators was started for the investors or for the customers. A friend of mine commented how customers are called subscribers and not customers…can’t wait to see what’s going to happen

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ULTra or Urban Light Transport is a mass transportation system that offers on demand non stop transportation muchCanopy_with_Vehicle like a metro train, but in the comfort of your own module. The waiting times for the modules are negligible at less than a minute and can transport passengers non stop to their destination. The best part, perhaps is not having to share your module with people who are not part of your group. This feature makes it comparable with a car, and at minimum environmental impact.

The modules can seat up to 4 passengers with enough space for shopping and even wheel chairs. The system is driverless and the passengers can maintain a link with the control station through audio links. The vehicle can carry around 450 Kg payload and travels at a speed of 40kph. While these speeds may seem to be slow, the fact the vehicles are traveling non stop from point to point should make up for that pace.

With Kuwait and other Gulf countries considering a metro system, this idea is just in time for consideration for a mass transportation system, that allows for safe, secure, exclusive travel perhaps complimenting a metro system.

A video animation of the installation at Heathrow Airport which is expected to be operational in the spring of ’09 is shown below.

Bellbajao.org is the website of breakthrough a human rights organization that is working against domestic abuse of women. Breakthrough aims to use popular culture and the power of the media to bring about awareness and to create global social change.

Their simple advice is to interfere by walking up to the door and ringing the bell, which is most likely to cause a pause or even bring a complete halt to the abuse, thereby saving the woman from abuse or allowing her to get back to her senses to react.

The voice of the people is heard through the mouths of a few selected and elected persons. Those persons should be as clean as a hounds tooth and in order to do that there needs to be transparency. There needs to be accountability. Or soon people begin to loose faith in the concept of democracy.

obameter_promiseKept The St. Petersburg Times has decided to bring to fore the tenet of accountability, on the site Politifact. They have taken over 500 promises made by Barak Obama during his election campaign, based on his recorded and reported speeches etc. Over the course of his presidency they will track these promises as Kept, Compromised, Broken, Stalled, In the works and No Action taken. Besides instilling a sense of faith in the presidency, it also pressures Obama into taking action.

Transparency in governance was one the underlying policies of his campaign. So much so that the White house has set up a website www.recovery.org, which will clearly state how the money earmarked for the stimulus package in response to the recession that has affected the American economy.

In this connected world, I really think these initiatives are very important be it for the democratic experiments being carried out in the Middle East or for young, vibrant democracies like India. Where politicians will be held to task and will be forced to follow up on their promises than just the rhetoric and nose that they spew during their election campaigns. These initiatives will bring back the importance of the power of the ballot, both in the eyes of the voter and the candidate.