Archives for September 2009

Bangalore podcast!

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Jamillah Knowles | 16:01 UK time, Tuesday, 29 September 2009

This week the podcast comes to you from Bangalore India! It's been great meeting top tech bloggers, IT support workers and those who are hoping to make a change via tech. It's a place of wide scale development and the gap between rich and poor is vast. So, this podcast is a selection of people working in different ways with technology and online media in Bangalore.

If we mentioned a place that you would like to visit online, then you can find all the links right here:

Hrish and VJ

I made contact nice and early with bloggers VJ and Hrish who work in the IT support sector. They gave me a warm welcome and we chatted about their life online and here in the city.

When new to a town, it's not a bad idea to get a feeling for your surroundings by talking to a cabbie. Andrew Shanthraj has been driving in Bangalore for decades. He explained how much his city has changed.


jp1.gifOne of the well known bloggers in tech marketing in Bangalore is Jessie Paul. She managed to grant me a moment our of her busy online schedule to talk about how businesses may take some time to start working well with social media.

While I have been here, Nokia has been launching its Music app. They invited some of Bangalore's top tech bloggers to give it a test run, so naturally it was the place to go and ask them what they get up to in the blogosphere.

ac1.gifAt the same event, open source evangelist Atul Chitnis was also at the Nokia event. I asked him why OS is so important in India and how he is making unsigned music available online.

cltFurther away from the glamour of a product launch, the Children's Lovecastles Trust is putting technology in the hands of children for their educational development and finding new ways to help teachers in rural areas. I spoke to the founder Bhagya Rangachar.

If you have seen a blog or heard a podcast that you think we should know about, drop me a line at podsandblogs -at- I'd love to hear from you. Or you can follow us on Twitter.

jk Back soon with more from the Bangalore - Jamillah

Better living through Twitter?

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Jamillah Knowles | 17:54 UK time, Sunday, 27 September 2009

Hi there,

I have another update for you from Bangalore. Regular listeners to the Pods and Blogs podcast may remember an interview with the founder of Twestival. I went along to the London Twestival this year and many of you may have been to your own regional events as part of the charity organisation.

While here in Bangalore, I managed to catch a gig with a pretty amazing Indian fusion band called Swarathma. Here's a little clip of their performance outside a shopping mall. They certainly have enthusiastic fans!

That might seem a little disjointed, but Swarathma also played live at the Bangalore Twestival. One charitable organisation to benefit from their good musical work was children's charity Dream a Dream. Luckily a volunteer with that organisation was standing right next to me throughout the gig, so I asked him about the connection and where that money goes.

It's nice to act charitably and go to the events that raise money, but it's even nicer to see the smiles and know that it was definitely worth Tweeting about. I was pretty impressed to meet someone from the other side of the Twestival operation as proof that social media get-togethers really can make a difference. It's been said that charity begins at home, but it also seems to get a good head start online wherever you are.

jk.gifMore from my Bangalore online journey soon -

Integrated citizen journalism

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Jamillah Knowles | 05:35 UK time, Saturday, 26 September 2009

Hello again,

I have had the pleasure of chatting with Meera K and Subbu Vincent the editors of Citizen Matters. It's a weekly magazine in print and online that does what it says on the tin. Based in Bangalore it is a well integrated mix of traditional journalism and citizen reporting. That's reporting more than just opinion.

I found it interesting that the way the magazine works is to publish pieces sometimes created by regular citizens with the help of journalists rather than cutting and pasting opinion quotes or adding comments to news pieces. I would have thought this would be more labour intensive but the team at the magazine make it look seamless.


The team at Citizen Matters is small; eight people including the editors and only two of that number are journalists reporting for that publication. They cover weekly news but also have a keen ear for local issues. One of the benefits of working this way is ensuring that they tap into local knowledge and experience to create depth to their stories.

Opening up journalistic skills and sharing them to create this hybrid system might be a good way to move news making forward. Subbu tells me that most journalists in the Indian newsprint business do not credit citizen reporting as it is not a professional approach. But with the relevant coaching, they are starting to see submissions that do not require a lot of work to get them into shape for mainstream publishing.

Citizen Matters is making user generated content relevant and appealing without portioning it off into a section of their website that makes reader contributions look like decoration for news. Their web-native origin also means that they are social, web literate and communicate easily with their community. The editors acknowledge that they are still too new to have the same level of trust as say, The Times of India or the Express here, but they are creating a network of people who know when their input will valuable.

They're still a young publication, but they are growing fast and with the balance and understanding that I saw in their office, it's possible they will soon be a challenge to the established news media in this city.

jk.gifMore from Bangalore soon,

Online consciousness

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Jamillah Knowles | 09:15 UK time, Friday, 25 September 2009

Hello again,
I am still in Bangalore, waking to the sound of crazy traffic noises and navigating through areas that are highly contrasted. This city is a bit like an ongoing project. The local people tell me that the change in government means that some projects get left and new ones started to improve the area. Many of the roads have been resurfaced; this work is done as a combination of input from foreign tech business requirement and the local government.

That might seem like a good thing, but as the work is done, the population has grown fast, so the roads, new or old are still very crowded.

Podscomputer.gifAfter around twenty years of development, technology is in the pores of Bangalore. Discussing the social make up of the city at the Centre for Internet and Society, it was pointed out that even those who have never seen a computer believe they are contributing to the internet.

It's an interesting point about how we feel about being an online presence, when we are not necessarily plugged in.
It's a mixed feeling here as to whether or not technology has entirely helped everyone, but certainly it seems from labourers, to cab drivers, school children and entrepreneurs, almost everyone here has the web on their mind.

jk.gifMore soon,

Blogging with patience

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Jamillah Knowles | 19:56 UK time, Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I am still in Bangalore recording video, photos and audio for the radio show and podcast.
I have learned a lot very quickly about Bangalore's online access. There are many places with Wi-Fi now. It used to be that the local Cyber Palace - or internet cafe, was the place to log on, but now in the hotels and many homes there's a Wi-Fi signal. The only thing is, there is a peak time and a better time to be online and it's not generally when you want it on demand.


The kit that I have with me can be used in various ways. I am using a digital SLR, a netbook, a Flip video camera and a Nokia N95 to get data up online when I can. There appears to be wide ranging 3G in the city, so sending stuff from the 'phone is one of the quicker ways to update. I am staying in a hotel that boasts high speed broadband over Wi-Fi, but don't be thinking this is as it might be in the UK or the US.

The Wi-Fi in this establishment is fairly stable and accessible, but can be very slow, which is not good for trying to post things on YouTube or to Flickr. I hear that there are better domestic connections, but as I am working from the hotel as a base, it pays to be patient.

Early morning and late night uploads are swifter and cutting images down and saving them as smaller files is very useful to get things posted.

podsgirlonpc.gifIt's very possible that this girl is having more joy with her connection. She's at the Children's Lovecastle Trust where kids are given tech to learn with after school.

jk.gifMore to explore in Bangalore soon,

Pods and Blogs in Bangalore!

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Jamillah Knowles | 06:36 UK time, Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Hi there,

I'm in Bangalore, India this week getting Pods and Blogs to you from one of the biggest IT cities in the country. It's a place of contrast, ten percent of the population lives in the slums and yet India is one of the largest populations when it comes to being active online in places like Twitter, Orkut and Facebook.


There are many tech companies here either outsourcing their support or developing products for this part of the world. I'll be finding out about the online social scene, the possibilities for helping impoverished communities and how technology is changing this city.

So far I have been out in an Auto, braving the traffic with Hrish (@dhempe) and VJ (@adropofwisdom) who are connected online and working in the tech community. Here's our journey through the streets.

More to come in the following days as I navigate around Bangalore.


Cuba online, blogging citjo and recession funnies

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Jamillah Knowles | 12:21 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Hello again!

The podcast is ready and waiting for your listening pleasure as usual.
This week I found out more about Cuba's online habits, a new blogging platform with citizen media in mind and where to find the light in a recession.

sheena1.gif Sheena Rossiter has been out in Cuba for a month exploring the world online. Speeds are slow and connections are expensive. She explained how people find ways around the prohibitive costs and often dodge more severe punishment in order to blog and more.

BB1.gifWhen writing online these days it's not just that you have a blog that is important, but what you blog about. If you are inclined to be a citizen journalist or if you like to comment on the news, the Bloggers Base might be one for you. Dan Barak is the co-founder; he told me why he set up this space to appeal to online writers as well as mainstream media.

jason1.gifFeeling the pinch in the recession? Well you might be able to cheer yourself up online. Jason Li's site 'I Heart Recession' is finding the funny in harder times. He told me about the ideas that brought about his web comic.

podsa1.gifThat's all for this week, if you read a particular blog, listen to a great home-made podcast or have found a special place online that we should know about, drop me a line at podsandblogs at bbc dot co dot uk or send me a link on Twitter where you can find me as PodsandBlogs


Fashion, pigeons and IT

Jamillah Knowles | 17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

dress2.jpgWeb wanderings ahoy on the podcast as usual. It's ready and waiting for your listening pleasure. This week we have a mixed bag of digital delights for your delectation.
If we mentioned a place that you would like to visit online, then you can find all the links right here:

dress.jpgMost women have a moment where they simply cannot decide what to wear. Sheena Matheiken and Eliza Starbuck are putting pay to that problem with The Uniform Project. One dress for every day of the year and a good cause along the way as they update their blog with outfits and tips for sustainable fashion.
wtm.jpgFashionable clothing to fashion online as we talk to Oliver Reichenstein, creator of the Web Trend Map where you can clearly see what your friends are up to as well as the rest of the world.
rockstar.jpgDo you show enough love for your IT guy or girl? It's about time you started to show them how much you appreciate them and David Applebaum is leading the way so that systems administrators everywhere can accept their rewards for saving our digital work lives every day. You can even vote for your own IT Rockstar.

winston.jpgIf your internet connection is running a bit slow, maybe you should consider sending your files via carrier pigeon? An IT company in South Africa did just that. Kevin Rolfe of Unlimited tells is about avian flight file speeds.

If you have seen a blog or heard a podcast that you think we should know about, drop me a line at podsandblogs -at- I'd love to hear from you. Or you can follow us on Twitter.

jk Back next week with more from the web - Jamillah

Words, books and no cats...

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Jamillah Knowles | 17:42 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hello! This week the podcast has us minding our language and asking who should be the world's librarian? We also explore the idea of a web without cats - would it all just fall apart?

If we mentioned a place that you would like to visit online, then you can find all the links right here:

al.jpgIt's often said that online activity in it's shortest forms; like Twitter or status updates, is ruining our written skills and literacy. All is not lost though as Professor Andrea Lunsford of Stanford University points out - young people in particular are writing more than ever before and their spelling and style errors are not as common as you might think.

paul.jpgCapital letters online are often associated with "SHOUTING!" and can cause offence when used in electronic communication. So how can font and shape help us communicate in a more harmonious way? Paul Luna of the University of Reading is a typography expert and blogger who told me all about crimes of type.

billt.jpgShould Google be able to create it's library? The final decision is yet to be made and there are many critics of the idea. Bill Thompson talks us through the finer points and updates us on an exciting digital meetup in Nairobi for Digital Planet too.

mog.jpgCan the Internet exist without cats? We may be about to find out. Stephen Lenz of explained how it is about time cats had the day off and which animal he would like to see fill in the gap. But isn't having a "Caturday" taking the glue out of the Internet?

If you have seen a blog or heard a podcast that you think we should know about, drop me a line at podsandblogs -at- I'd love to hear from you. Or you can follow us on Twitter.

jk Back next week with more from the web - Jamillah

Global outlook

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Jamillah Knowles | 04:37 UK time, Tuesday, 1 September 2009

This week the podcast has a collection of people working globally in creative and meaningful ways.

If we mentioned a place that you would like to visit online, then you can find all the links right here:

bp.jpgAlways welcome on Pods and Blogs, Global Voices tipped us this week about the launch of the Blogging Positively Guide. Janet Feldman, the creator joins us to explain how addressing the topic of HIV and AIDS is so important to share understanding and support online.

re.jpgDenis Kimambo of REPACTED in Kenya also talks about training local communities to blog and why this is helpful when looking at the virus.

gl.jpgBlogging often shows us a window into the lives of people around the world. David Evan Harris is taking things a step further by recording 24 hours in the lives of 10 people around the globe and has a guide to help us if we should want to pursue the same sort of coverage. He told me more about Global Lives Project and some of the things that make us the same, but different.

nalu.jpgAna Lucia Gonzalez is a journalist with BBC Have Your Say, she's been out and about exploring internet cafes. They appeared 15 years ago, so she found out who frequents these places, why and how they have changed. You can see more of her reporting here.

I managed to have a nice long chat with Ana Lucia about her exploration of cybercafes around the world. We couldn't fit the whole thing into the show this week, so here's the longer version so you can listen to what she has been up to.

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If you have seen a blog or heard a podcast that you think we should know about, drop me a line at podsandblogs -at- I'd love to hear from you. Or you can follow us on Twitter.

jk Back next week with more from the web - Jamillah

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