A General Interest Monthly Magazine for South Asians in the U.S.

Northern California:
SF Bay Area | San Jose | Fremont | Santa Clara
Silicon Valley | Sacramento Area
Southern California: Los Angeles | Artesia | San Diego | Inland Empire

Web siliconeer.com
Advertise in Siliconeer | Home | Subscribe Print Issue | About Us (FAQs) | Contact | Locations | Staff Login | Site Map |






India’s Rural Poor Go Solar
HTC: Launches Flyer
Facebook: Warns Firms
Google: Five More Indian Languages

India’s Rural Poor Go Solar

Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision was fogged by glaucoma and she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where snakes slithered freely and tigers carried away neighborhood dogs.

But things have changed at Gowda’s home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. She can now cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well at night.

“I can see!” Gowda said, giggling. In her 70 years, this is the first time she has had any kind of electricity.

Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.

With 40 percent of India’s rural households lacking electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps running on subsidized diesel, “there is a huge market and a lot of potential,” said Santosh Kamath, executive director of consulting firm KPMG in India. “Decentralized solar installations are going to take off in a very big way and will probably be larger than the grid-connected segment.”

Next door to the Gowdas, 58-year-old Iramma frowned as she watched her neighbors light their home for the first time. At her house, electrical wiring dangles uselessly from the walls.

She said her family would wait for the grid. They’ve already given hundreds of rupees to an enterprising electrician who wired her house and promised service would come. They shouldn’t have to pay even more money for solar panels, she insisted.

But she softened after her 16-year-old son interrupted to complain he was struggling in school because he cannot study at night like his classmates.

“We are very much frustrated,” she said. “The children are very anxious. They ask every day, ‘Why don’t we have power like other people?’ So if the grid doesn’t come in a month, maybe we will get solar, too.”


HTC: Launches Flyer

Smartphone manufacturer HTC Monday announced the launch of its first tablet, HTC Flyer, in India to compete with the already existing players such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, BlackBerry Playbook and Apple iPad.

The seven-inch touch screen tablet is powered with HTC sense, a graphical user interface and it combines natural touch and pen interaction.

HTC also announced HTC watch, a new connected video service that will debut on HTC Flyer tablet, and will collaborate with the pioneer of cloud gaming OnLive, Inc. to launch the first cloud-based mobile gaming service on a tablet.


Facebook: Warns Firms

Companies luring users to click on the Facebook ‘like’ button to enter contests have come under scrutiny of the social networking giant which has 700 million users globally and 31 million users in India. Facebook has deleted pages of big brands such as Cadbury’s Bournville, French Connection UK (FCUK) India, and Pizza Hut India, and is understood to have sent warning letters to dozens of big companies for misusing the button to promote their brands, thus violating the provisions of its promotional guidelines revised May 11.

Facebook has been enforcing the guidelines strictly in the last fortnight said social media strategist and joint CEO of SocialWavelength.com Hareesh Tibrewala.

The problem is fake Facebook accounts abound and the like button can easily be misused to increase the number of fans on any page.

Facebook, however, said it has systems to track and disable such accounts.


Google: Five More Indian Languages

Internet search engine giant Google announced the expansion of its translation services to include five more Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, thus increasing its reach to a potential half a million population.

“Beginning today, you can explore the linguistic diversity of the Indian sub-continent with Google translate, which now supports five new experimental alpha languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu,” said Ashish Venugopal, research scientist at Google.

“In India and Bangladesh alone, more than 500 million people speak these five languages. Since 2009, we’ve launched a total of 11 alpha languages, bringing the current number of languages supported by Google Translate to sixty three.” wrote in a Google Blog.

Venugopal said one can expect translations for these new alpha languages to be less fluent and include many more untranslated words than some of the more mature languages like Spanish or Chinese which have much more of the web content that powers its statistical machine translation approach.

“Despite these challenges, we release alpha languages when we believe that they help people better access the multilingual web. If you notice incorrect or missing translations for any of our languages, please correct us; we enjoy learning from our mistakes and your feedback helps us graduate new languages from alpha status,” the Google research scientist said.

“Since these languages each have their own unique scripts, we have enabled a transliterated input method for those of you without Indian language keyboards,” he said and hoped that the launch of these new alpha languages will help one better understand the Indic (Indo-Aryan languages) web and encourage the publication of new content in Indic languages, taking Google five alpha steps closer to a web without language barriers.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

A Golden Opportunity?

Prof. Vivek Wadhwa reviews some of the ‘constraints’ that are part of the package to innovation. The debate has been on for a while, the U.S. Supreme Court has given its decision, the institutions might feel differently.

Political Alienation:
India’s New Middle Class

India’s middle class has been alien to the political system of the country, but in recent times one man has changed that, writes Patrick French.

A Lifetime of Painting:
M.F. Husain (1915-2011)

He may be loved or hated, but whatever the taste, M.F. Husain was arguably a charismatic painter, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj.

EDITORIAL: Innovation: A Golden Opportunity?
POLITICS: Siachen Glacier Dispute
SUBCONTINENT: Terror Threat at Nuke Plant
COMMUNITY: Gov’t of India Eases Rules
BUSINESS: News in Brief
EVENT: Incredible India
SUBCONTINENT: Quest for Indonesian Coal
RECIPE: Bhuna Vegetables
TRAVEL: Walt Disney Museum
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Honda Odyssey
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: Ready
BOLLYWOOD: IIFA Weekend in Toronto
BOLLYWOOD: Hrithik Roshan Talks to Siliconeer
TAMIL FILM: Nootrenbadhu (‘180’)
COMMUNITY: News in Brief

IIFA Awards 2011: TORONTO
Siliconeer Exclusive

IIFA Awards 2010: SRI LANKA: JUNE 2010

IIFA Awards 2009
A Siliconeer Exclusive Photo Essay

81st Annual Academy Awards
A Siliconeer Exclusive Photo Essay

IIFA Awards 2008
A Siliconeer Exclusive Photo Essay

Advertise in Siliconeer | Home | Subscribe PRINT Issue | About Us (FAQs) | Contact | Locations | Staff Login | Site Map
© Copyright 2000-2014 Siliconeer • All Rights Reserved • For Comments and Questions: info (AT) siliconeer.com