Technology For Society

Focus on technology trends that create an impact on larger part of Society.

Indian Wikipedias-Grading based on Traffic Analysis

Indian language wikipedia community has so far been looking at more of input statistics, like # of pages, page depth to measure their growth. Using absolute numbers based on content contribution is not a right metric to compare the languages. Outcome based measures like the # of unique visitors per Million speakers is a better measure. Instead of looking at ranking based on value, comparison between groups of languages based on grades can show better insights. I present here the same for Indian languages with more than 1 Million primary and secondary speakers. I have excludeded Sanskrit, Bishnupriya Manipuri (score of >10000) . I have dropped English (>10000) as it is a worldwide language and is not useful for comparison. I have included Chinese(zh) as that language has similar problems as our with regard to use on computers.

It shows Malayalam tops the list and is on par with Chinese (approximately 150). Tamil. Telugu, Marathi are in the second group(>50), Kannada, Urdu,Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali(>25) are in third group. Assuming that these language communities have similar issues with regard to Wikipedia, this trend is expected to continue for the next decade. Only surprise element may be, if Hindi beats the prediction and emerges as the top, because of it being treated as a national language and incorporating it in the curriculum. These statistics I hope will make the Indian Wikipedian communities think about what needs to be done to move to the top grade. Another interesting analysis on how soon these will grow would be, to look at the number of active Wikipedians and what is being done to prmote wikipedia in these communities. I will plan that for a later post. Meawhile I look forward to your feedback.
For those, who are interested in the inputs for this analysis, I have taken the daily statistics on 2009-09-01 and the language population numbers at wiki for generating this chart.

Promoting Indian Language Wikipedias

Indian language wikipedias sample
Wikipedia in Indian languages are of great help to bridge the information gap. Concerted effort to promote Wikipedia awareness is needed. I have created a presentation showing snapshots of Indian language Wikipedia pages, which can be used at any relevant event to promote Wikipedia.

This was done on Ubuntu 8.10 with Open office 2.4, Firefox, Inkscape. There are certain difficulties in attempting this, as I am not a polyglot and know only four languages. This will also be useful for wikipedians tocompare the visual appearance of wikipedia in different languages and plan improvements in their own language version. Improvement ideas and help with additional text/content for the languages is welcome.

INDIKEYS: Keymap stickers for Indian Languages

Using computer through my mother tongue is my hobby. I started doing it some time in 2005, when Linux started sporting this feature. The indic localization improved a lot. I also contributed to Telugu localization of Firefox. Recently, I became interested in Indian language Wikipedias. I realized that though there are lot of members, active contributors are very few.
The big problems I think are awareness and the hurdle to start typing in native language on the English keyboard.

While people from Asia pacific countries such as Japan and China can be proud of their native language support on Computers, we in India have to bear with this problem for few more decades. The colonial rule that we endured is a blessing because we acquired English language which benefitted us in IT. It is also a bane because it made our native languages second class citizens on computers.

While indian government has been working at this for quite some time, the use of native languges is dismally low. Even CDAC's release of Linux based distribution in Indian languages is hindered as it does not provide basic keyboard stickers for Indian languages using Inscript, a complicated key mapping scheme for newbies. There are costly foreign solutions. After trying for few months to find Indian language stickers, I came up with a simple sticker generation scheme, using printing on self-adhesive laser printer paper. A sample file for Telugu and the pdf are available. It can be easily adopted for other Indian languages.

Business Analytics for Railways reservation system

Business analytics is one word which I started hearing from 2005 or so. This is much more jazzier form of the plain Management Information System of the early years of the computer. In simple terms, it means getting an insight from the customers dealings in the past and coming up with better alternatives and ideas to meet the customer needs. While this is being pursued by the private commercial organizations, there is a lot that government or public organizations need to do to provide a better experience for the customer. i will illustrate the same with a real life example of reserving a berth on Indian Railways.

Recently I was to travel to from Bangalore to Hyderabad and utilized the online reservation system of Railways to book a seat. While I have got the confirmed reservation for my onward journey, the status for my return journey was WL 119/WL92. So I had to make a decision on whether I should continue with my reservation for return journey or find alternate modes of travel. I had no means of knowing the chance of confirming a seat or a berth with the status that I was presented. As Railways has multitude of quotas including Tatkal and categories of reservation, I doubt whether it would be possible for even Railway officers to give any probability of confirmation. The only useful information is the final reservation charts for the train on the same day of week/month in the recent past. But these are not made available on the internet. If an analytics application is developed utilizing the past history of final train reservation charts for the same day of the previous week/month/year and the availability of total seats, it will help provide guidance to the travellers when they have to book a ticket.

Referring back to my case, I just went ahead with reservation with a prayer on my lips.I tracked the status regularly, and few days before the status got changed to RAC and then finally I was alloted a berth in the train after the TTE found few vacant berths after the train had commenced its journey.

Text: CC by SA 3.0
Image: From Wiki Commons :Indian_metre_gauge_Train.jpg

Computer Literacy for School Children

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan seeks to achieve universalization of elementary education by 2010. SSA also seeks to provide Computer Education to bridge Digital Divide.

I am contributing to a session on Computer Literacy for School Children during Barcamp Bangalore 8 on Mar 7-8 2009. In this we will explore the status of computer education in Schools and discuss how to usher in 100% Computer Literacy for School Children. We investigate the status of the school education, the approaches to bring down the cost of hardware and discuss the key issues towards 100% computer literacy for school children. The presentation is given below

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