Category: Technology

Telegram sevice: a nostalgia

Media in India are reminiscing over the rich history of the 160-year-old telegram service, which is to wind up soon.

Photo credit: BBC News

The government has decided to discontinue the telegraph service from 15 July due to massive losses, sparking a feeling of nostalgia in newspapers.

Editorials are remembering the telegraph service’s importance during the British rule and the role of the humble postman, who was the bearer of all kinds of news, in connecting rural India to cities and to the world.

“The postman fishing out a telegram from his satchel is an abiding image in many of our earlier movies, at least for those of us of a certain age. The recipient would tear it open with trembling hands, for there was always an element of urgency about a telegram,” The Hindustan Times, in an editorial, says.

“Tersely worded, printed out in capital letters, sentences ending with the dramatic “STOP”, nothing can bring it home like a telegram,” says The Indian Express.

The paper adds that cutting the telegraph wires was a “favoured form of nationalist protest” in India during the time of the colonial rule and was “invaluable” to the British during the Indian uprising of 1857.

“The extinct service will leave only memories now of a day and age in which the postman cycled in a hurry to convey the good or bad news, or even better, came with a telegraphic [postal] money order from a generous relative”, writes The Asian Age.

Read more via BBC News – Indian media: Telegram nostalgia.

Why Murthy returns to Infosys?

IT MAY be the biggest comeback in India since Indira Gandhi emerged from disgrace to be re-elected as prime minister in 1980. Infosys, the country’s technology icon, has announced that Narayana Murthy, its founder (pictured), who retired in 2011, is coming back to save it. Mr Murthy is a legendary figure in the subcontinent who created India’s best company in a flat in 1981 and in the process helped created its best industry, too.

Photo credit: AFP

But since he left Infosys has struggled, with a succession of humiliating profit warnings and the pong of raw panic from its top ranks. The firm’s ascent in the 1990s and 2000s took place as India regained its poise. Its descent into farce over the last few years has mirrored India’s woes—on May 31st the country announced its worst annual GDP figures for a decade.

In hindsight, there were two clues regarding Mr Murthy’s return. At the end of 2012 the 66 year old stood down as a director of HSBC, the bank, a prestigious but time consuming role. In an interview on May 7th, a month after another gruesome set of results at Infosys, he damned his successors with faint praise and declined to rule out an intervention. By that point, presumably, behind the scenes, discussions were taking place.

Read more via Murthy returns to Infosys: A resurrection in Bangalore | The Economist.

Now it’s the turn of Light Pollution

Are you able to watch stars clearly at night? If not, you’re sky is affected with light pollution. With more than half of the worldwide population living in urban areas and more than one fifth living in large cities of one million or more inhabitants—light pollution obscures the stars above billions of people.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As an urban denizen, one might fail to notice it, but light pollution is making city slickers miss out on some breathtaking views of the night sky.

Light pollution is artificial illumination that has surprisingly changed the view of the night sky across the globe.

It is present in our surroundings since the 1800s but was undetectable at the time.

Read moe via Let there be less light: Light pollution and how to track it – Sci/Tech – DNA.

10 Failed Google Projects

The reach of Google, its omnipresence — from software to hardware to personal search results to location metrics to blog publishing — has become a fact of life as quickly as the Internet has grown and changed, finding its way into our daily lives at every turn. As tablets and smartphones bring internet connectivity into our everyday experiences, keeping us closer than ever to our information, Google has followed. Its Android OS, in less than a decade, has become industry standard for the new guard of the pervasive Web. As we know, this is due to both Google’s in-house concentration on innovation and also canny, even prescient acquisition of smaller, promising startups.

Image Credit: HowStuffWorks

Google is very good at sniffing out the future, and bringing it to us in the most useful possible way — until its products are so seamlessly transitioned into the toolbox we might wonder what we ever did before them. But that “throw everything at the wall” approach, even integrated with Google’s focus on user experience, can’t win every time. The probability just doesn’t hold up under that massive amount of experimentation and open-handed approach. This rolling journey of debuts and re-absorptions has become the new norm: Everything is in beta-testing, all the time. Lose a Google product you love, and chances are you’ll see the features that struck your fancy show up in something else soon.

In this article, we’ll look at a variety of these “failures,” across this spectrum. Some projects are simply failed analogues to products we still use today; others turn up piecemeal in different forms. In fact, Google has shown us a great deal about the nature of online development, experimentation, and innovation itself — and that mistakes, properly recuperated back into the experiment, aren’t really mistakes at all.

  1. Google Lively
  2. Google Answers
  3. Google Print Ads and Google Radio Ads
  4. Dodgeball
  5. Jaiku
  6. Google Notebook and Shared Stuff
  7. Google Buzz
  8. Wikipedia Alternatives
  9. Google Video
  10. Google Wave

Read more via HowStuffWorks “10 Failed Google Projects”.