Satya Nadella seeks nod to launch White-Fi tech

NEW DELHI: Satya Nadella, global CEO of Microsoft, urged telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to allow the US software major to pilot its ‘White-Fi’ technology to provide internet connectivity in remote villages in the country at a meeting in the capital on Friday.Microsoft’s White-Fi, or television White-Space technology, works like Wi-Fi on a bigger scale to provide wireless connectivity across a 10 km radius at a speed of up to 16 mbps, by using chunks of airwaves lying between spectrum kept untouched by broadcasters to avoid interference or disturbance between transmissions.

Nadella, who is in the country on Christmas holidays, also discussed with Prasad other ways in which Microsoft could partner in the government’s Digital India initiative. He was accompanied by the firm’s India head Bhaskar Pramanik.

“We have asked Microsoft to put forth concrete ways in helping achieve various social objectives under Digital India such as raising digital literacy,” Prasad said. A person privy to the discussion told ET, “The minister assured Nadella that the government would welcome all possible technological solutions to bring broadband connectivity to remote areas.”

During his visit, Nadella also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The Hyderabad-born Nadella said Microsoft was committed to setting up data centres in India to promote the cloud first and mobile first strategy as a means to empower every citizen and business in the country. ET was the first to report that Microsoft had filed an application with the wireless planning and coordination wing in October to deploy White-Space technology for a pilot project in Bangalore.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the first global CEO to speak to the telecom minister for deploying alternate technology in its case, solar drones for last mile connectivity, followed by Google, which offered to provide inexpensive internet access across India through a network of helium-filled balloons, and now Microsoft.

While Facebook and Google are yet to put in written requests to the government, Nadella on Friday told Prasad his company is eagerly awaiting the government’s approval to begin the pilot.

The White-Fi technology has already been successfully implemented in the US and Singapore and is being tested in Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania, among others. It works on chunks of unused spectrum available in broadcasting bands in the lower frequencies from 200 MHz to 700 MHz.

The government’s Rs 1.13 lakhcrore Digital India initiative envisages delivering e-services such as health and education to every nook and corner of the country over broadband by 2019.

Despite the government laying a nationwide optic fibre network, reaching homes, schools, hospitals and other institutions may require wireless technology, especially in hard-to-reach areas. This is where the technology giants such as Facebook and Microsoft hope to deploy their respective technologies.

According to Microsoft, it costs less than Rs 10 lakh to install a White-Space technology router.



The Incredible Story Of How Google Glass Helped A Blind 13-Year-Old Get His Vision Back



Google Glass has already proven itself useful when it comes to the medical industry. Some doctors, for example, have been using Glass in the operating room to assist with surgery. Now, Google’s wearable display is being used to help a teenager losing his vision see the world around him.Michigan teenager Ben Yonnatan was diagnosed with a disorder called retinal dystrophy, which slowly deteriorates one’s vision over time.

In an interview with local Michigan news station WWMT Newschannel 3 (via 9to5Google), Yonnatan described how Google Glass has helped him expand his field of view.

It only took about four months for Yonnatan’s field of view to become heavily restricted. In fact, his field of view became so confined that it was like looking through a straw, his mother Erin Brown Conroy told WWMT.

Google Glass’ tiny screen is small enough to fit in this small window. With the device’s camera Yonnatan is actually able to see more than he normally would since Google Glass’s camera can capture a larger field of view than Yonnatan’s eyes currently can.

Doctors charted Yonnatan’s vision both with and without Google Glass, and you can see the difference is extraordinary:

“The first time I put it on, I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa whoa!'” Yonnatan said to the Michigan news channel. “I could see seven people! I took it off and I could only see one person with one eye.”

Check out the full video at WWMT-TV’s website here.

Industry goes innovative with staff referral plans; offers attractive rewards

Employers are ready to dole out big rewards to staff who help recruit the right talent because the candidates they bring make the cut more often than those who come through recruitment firms. MUMBAI | NEW DELHI: Get your friend as coworker and take your Harley-Davidson. Companies, from startups to old brick-andmortar giants, are going innovative on rewarding staff who bring potential employees from their networks. Cash rewards are still around but out of fashion, and iPads and iPhones are among the most common prizes. Internet product company Directi is urgently looking for mobile app developers for its new communication business and wants to hire 20 senior developers in two months. It launched an employee referral programme this August and the prizes include a Harley-Davidson bike and Volkswagen Polo car. Previously, it had given away iPads, and that had proved to be immensely successful in filling up urgent vacancies.SmartPlay, a technology service provider, is offering European holidays along with several other rewards to employees who help recruit fresh staff. Rewards become bigger and novel when the demand is in niche areas.

Employee referral is increasingly becoming an effective recruitment tool. Employers are ready to dole out big rewards to staff who help recruit the right talent because the candidates they bring make the cut more often than those who come through recruitment firms.

The chances of such candidates falling prey to counter offers are found to be lower too, as often the existing staff become brand ambassadors for the company to persuade them to get on board. With the economy now looking set to make a turnaround, the battle for talent has become intense. Many companies, especially in the technology and emerging sectors, are looking to recruit experienced employees in droves, and fast.

Many are turning to their own employees for help.”We got 75 resumes in one month and, despite being a regular at top tech colleges, this was the best way to get employees with experience,” said Ameya Ayachit, senior manager for talent acquisition at Directi India, which develops mass-market Web products.

The Mumbai-based firm also launched an external referral programme, wherein a candidate seeking a job with the company can refer friends and if those people get selected, then the candidate would get half the monthly salary of the selected employee as an incentive. And, the candidate himself doesn’t have to pass the interview to claim this incentive.
“We realised that those who reach the last stages, will have peer group with similar skillset and that is our target lot,” Ayachit said. Employee referrals, say companies, have a 50-60% conversion rate, and the chances of retention are higher than those employed via recruitment portals or agencies. Besides, can save on cost, while also rewarding existing staff.

Startups are at the forefront with employee referral programmes, with attractive incentives to net the young workforce. Last week, Bangalore-based taxi aggregator Ola Cabs announced it would give away the newly launched iPhone 6 and paid international holidays for those who refer mid- to senior-level candidates. The company also gives out cash payouts and Ola Money credits which give them free cab rides. Rival Taxi For Sure, launched an employee referral programme for the first time officially this May, offering cash.

It plans to also give away iPhones, gadgets and two-way air fare for domestic holidays starting next month. In fact, some of the startups, which have re- alised the necessity of employee referrals, are making their programmes more attractive. And they include SmartPlay, the company that is offering European holidays. Its fovourite reward for the past four years was iPads.


Here’s How Much Your Degree Will Help You Earn Over A Lifetime

With the overwhelming student debt burdenin the US, students and parents alike are wondering: Is college really worth it?

Depending on your life stage, go ahead and plug in “med school,” “grad school,” or “technical school” into that ball of undecided stress.

A new analysis from ebay Deals finds that when it comes to earning potential, yes, college is worth it.

By breaking down lifetime earnings for professionals with different degrees, the analysis was able to pull out how much a graduate earns by degree, by class, and even by grade.

For instance, over their lifetime, a college grad will earn nearly $600 for every lecture they attended, about $25,000 for every C or D, and about $42,000 for every A or B.

Not every major is equal, however: Engineering and computer science majors will see greater results than students who majored in education or psych.

Want to see how you measure up? Take a look at the infographic below, and see the full methodology at

Survey indicates four out of five developers now use open source[By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols]

RALEIGH, N.C. — At the All Things Open conference, Jeffrey Hammond, a Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst, revealed that four out of five programmers are now using, or have recently used, open source development tools.

open-source code
Open source tools, such as the Eclipse editor being used here to look at some Android code, are now being used by 80 percent of software developers.

Forrester, with Black Duck software and North Bridge Venture Partners, conducted a survey of over 1,400 programmers and found that 84 percent now use open source software. The survey included not just programmers from open source companies but also developers from traditional proprietary companies such as Microsoft.

Why? The majority of them have switched to open source because they perceive open source development programs as having better performance and reliability. This, as Hammond observed, is a change. “Open source used to be popular because of the lower cost. Now the cost of tools is the least important element for developers.”

This popularity, said Hammond, means that “open source is taking over. This is a golden age for developers.” A consequence from this is that “We are now seeing open source tech compete with open source tech; it’s no longer open-source software vs proprietary.”

In addition, the survey reveals the three industries expected to be impacted the most by open source software are education, government, and health care. In these, and other areas, Hammond said, open source projects like Apache Tomcat, the JavaServer Pages (JSP) server, are replacing proprietary programs.

And open source is doing more than just replacing old software. It’s also leading the way in new software. Hammond cited big data and NoSQL as areas where open source has become the software groundbreaker. Proprietary software doesn’t really stand a chance in these new fields.

Companies are going along with this, according to Hammond, not just because of the cost savings but because they’d rather try an open source solution than deal with the hurdles of acquiring proprietary software.

The survey indicates that open source is leading in several other fields as well, including cloud/virtualization (73 percent); Content Management Systems (CMS) (66 percent); Mobile (61 percent); Security (59 percent); and network management (57 percent).

However, while development has swung heavily toward open source on the server, datacenter and cloud, on the desktop Windows still rules. The most popular single developer desktop operating system is Windows 7. Indeed, slightly more than two out of three programmers are running Windows, while just over 12 percent use Linux and slightly less run Macs.

Hammond thinks this is due to inertia. For example, when it comes to software configuration management (SCM), Hammond was “blown away” to find that the single most-used SCM program is Microsoft’s long obsolete Visual SourceSafe.

Still, despite some proprietary hold-outs, the general trend is clearly toward open source tools. Hammond pointed out that Windows developers, for example, are migrating to Git for SCM. Ironically, Git, along with Linux, is a product of the fertile mind of Linus Torvalds.


India, Singapore can consider warship-building venture

SINGAPORE: Singapore and India should consider exploring the untapped potential of cooperation in naval ship building, an expert from an Indian naval think-tank said here on Friday.There are excellent opportunities for the two countries to jointly build warships in India, given Singapore’s technological and design expertise and the low production costs in India, particularly in terms of labour and raw-material, said Captain Gurpreet S Khurana, who is the executive director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi.”India has lately offered several incentives to foreign firms to undertake joint-research and co-development of defence hardware,” he said.

“These include New Delhi’s new ‘mantra’ of ‘Make in India’, the attendant facilitation of overseas investments, and the raising of foreign direct investment (FDI) cap on defence from 26 per cent to 49 per cent,” he added.

Khurana spoke at the conference “The Merlion and the Ashoka: Singapore-India Strategic and Defence Ties”, which was organised by the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of Singapore.

He pointed out that the private sector in India was now being encouraged to participate in the defence industry, which was hitherto driven largely by state-controlled or public-sector enterprises.

He noted the strengthening defence cooperation between Singapore and India.

However, Khurana pointed out that defence-technology was conceived by the Singapore leaders as a facet of cooperation more than a decade ago during the signing of the bilateral Defence MoU in 2003.

Following that India-Singapore Defence Procurement and System Development Working Group (DPSD-WG) met in June 2007 to identify the specific areas of such cooperation, the two countries were yet to develop a functional agenda.

“This facet of Singapore-India defence cooperation must not be seen as only buyer and seller relationship; both the nations may have to move towards long term and comprehensive cooperation such as joint scientific and technological research, development and production of weapons system and even explore sale to international customers,” he said.

Khurana said he was expecting to see the initiation of defence hardware co-development tie-ups between India and Japan in the near future.

“There is enormous economic potential for the Japanese to benefit from India, which is poised to spend a whopping USD 150 billion on defence hardware over the next decade, and is creating an in-house investment-friendly environment”, he said.

“The only hurdle for Tokyo is the restriction posed by the post-World War II Japanese Constitution on sharing defence hardware and technology with other countries, which are likely to be overcome sooner than later.” he added.


The many ways Apple could seize control from the carriers with its new SIM card


When Apple launched the iPad Air 2 with its new programmable SIM card on Thursday, I suggested Apple had all the tools necessary to become a global virtual operator, selling data (and eventually voice) services directly to its customers. It’s a move industry observers like Gigaom contributor Rudolf van der Berg have been anticipating for some time, but I still feel the likelihood of Apple becoming a flow-blown carrier is slim.

When signals go down, networks get congested and unexpected charges appear on your bill, people vent their displeasure at their carriers. That’s grief I’m sure [company]Apple[/company] doesn’t want to deal with. But Apple has plenty of other options beyond becoming a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) if it wanted to exert more control over the mobile industry.

Apple, just like any other phone maker, has always acted as a gatekeeper to mobile networks through its hardware choices…

View original post 951 more words