Friday, August 27, 2010

Indian VPS from E2ENetworks

I've been hard at work getting the website up and running. We migrated over from the oldwikidot site to the new one running Drupal on my MediaTemple account. For the most part its been a fairly painless process. Now that we're up tho we're finding that its extremely slow, and after surfing around the interweb for awhile it appears that its a fairly common complaint of low traffic cms based sites on MediaTemple.

My friend Tarun Dua runs a hosting company here in India E2ENetworks offering VPS servers. He's been promoting local hosting to Indian startups as a way of reducing latency / improving response times for companies targeting an Indian audience. I moved the Jaaga website over to an inexpensive plan on E2ENetworks and the response time on simple page requests reduced by more than half. So now I'm a believer.

Friday, May 07, 2010

china electronics

A few weeks ago I visited a bunch of electronics trade shows in Hong Kong and China.

I was sort of expecting something like an Asian Comdex where manufacturers would show off their latest gadgets. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of new stuff there. In conversation people said that Computex in Taiwan showcased more innovation. The fairs I went to were 'sourceing' fairs aimed at connecting manufacturers with regional distributors who could move large volumes of product. As such there was very little technical staff, and the products on display were much more oriented around volume distribution rather than newness.

Poking around I had a few casual observations:
- generic ebooks were readily available, but expensive at about $120 for a small kindle sized device that had wifi but no Edge. The sales people didn't seem to be pushing them very much.
- netbooks were also on display, but the unit costs when ordering in bulk was basically the same as just buying them from Costco retail. So, I'm going to order a few more netbooks from Costco before returning to India on this trip.
- projectors i would expect to pay $400+ for at Fry's were going for $150
- lots of pico-projectors on the market

The biggest surprise for me was the almost universal ignorance about Android. I imagined that Android running on cheap Chinese phones would be India's answer to the $850 iPhone. Almost no one I spoke to at any of the sourcing fairs had heard of it though. Apparently MTK dominates this space. I had never heard of them...

After the fair a friend sent me this link to an Android tablet that was at the show for $100.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Cafe Thoughts

I'm trying to write more on the Jaaga blog. For now I'm going to cross post here as well.


I spent sometime in Auroville last week and got my farm-on at Solitude Farm. Periodically, I need to do this to remember that sustainability and how we live and what we eat is important and shouldn’t get lost in the practical details of how we’re going to deal with water proofing.

Several people volunteering there were associated with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) projects around the world. CSA is great because it creates a tighter bond between food growers and food eaters. I’d really like to explore how the Jaaga cafe could facilitated this connection to local farmers as well. It could be a simple matter of doing research and sourcing our veggies from local farms we really like. We could also be a CSA drop off point, or have an organic food coop. …

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jaaga Media Center

We've received a small grant to set up a media & education center at Jaaga. Check out the description of the media center below and let us know your thoughts in the comments. We're looking for people who can help us develop and implement this vision. Let us know if thats you !! email:

The Jaaga Media Center helps local people use (consume and produce) digital media to become better informed and more effective in supporting themselves and affecting positive change in the world.
Online Media includes Video, Audio, Blogs, Twitter, Social Media, online advocacy, web design and all other mediums for online communication.
- develop and initiate the media based education program at Jaaga
- develop useful and interesting media content
- educate people on media production and distribution
- promote the use of media in social service
- support the community media movement in India
- help students create rich online
- workshops
- online channels
- media lab
- targeted at students conversant in english and familiar with computers & the internet.
- students work in small teams on tasks given by their advisors
- regular meetups at Jaaga where students share what they have found, show their own work, and discuss.
- projects include creating their own videos, finding / analyzing videos from the web and doing projects for ngo clients
- all projects go towards developing the users online profile.
Online Channels:
Online media channels consist of originally produced content, and curated material found on the web. We select topics for these channels to tie in with the courses being taught in the education program. We promote these channels actively and measure success by the number of viewers we get for these videos and the amount of user engagement we generate. Additionally we maintain a video blog on activities and events surrounding jaaga adding one new video for it every other week.
Constantly screen videos at Jaaga. These include:
- originally produced work
- internet videos
- documentaries
- other material of interest for its educational or entertainment value.
Media Lab:
The media lab is an area in Jaaga which has gear which can be used by the community to create their videos. It includes:
- 5 terabyte file server with media uploaded by participants or downloaded from the web.
- 2 video editing stations (laptops)
- 2 low cost (canon FS200 style) cameras
- 2 mics & headsets
- our course catalog
- the media channels we are involved with
- profiles for our staff & students
- Director (full time), who can oversee and facilitate the development and operation of the Media Center
- Workshop instructors / facilitators (part time)
- Mentors (part time) who can work with students in different areas (video, web design, dj/vjing, english writing, ...)
- Instructional Designer (part time)