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TeNet develops low-cost biometric ATMs

Submitted by Karthik on 29 June, 2006 - 02:04

TeNet has developed a low-cost ATM featuring a fingerprint identification system specifically targeting users in rural India.

Grammteller, unlike other ATMs is meant to be a cash dispenser, which plugs into a kiosk PC, which acts as a tunnel between the dispenser and the bank server thus bypassing use of the 'switch' used by ATMs. The 'financial transaction switch' is an enterprise server that connects the ATM to information from various sources, which then dispenses with the switch, thus reducing the cost of the machine to about Rs. 50, 000. The server is encrypted and runs on a proprietary format developed at IIT-M.

The ATMs are being tested in Chennai at the moment.

Full story: CIOL

VSNL to invest in an undersea cable to Europe

Submitted by Karthik on 25 April, 2006 - 10:09

Tatas-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited is planning to lay an undersea cable between India and Europe, covering about 10,000 km, at an investment of over $300 million (about Rs 1,350 crore).
When contacted, senior VSNL officials confirmed the plan and said that the company was expecting to have enough demand for bandwidth by 2008 and keeping this in mind VSNL has undertaken the major project.

Story: The Hindu.

Desktop Zen - Reducing Visual Clutter on your Desktop

Submitted by Karthik on 23 April, 2006 - 18:36

Jeroen, this one is for you :P

I'm one of those paranoid "empty-trash-every-5_minutes/arrange-icons-by-type-every-5_minutes" freaks and funnily enough, I've never actually noticed the "Show desktop items" option :o Anyways, the Orion Nebula is now viewable in all its glory on my desktop.


Mobile music industry growing dramatically

Submitted by Karthik on 22 April, 2006 - 19:52
India's mobile music industry will apparently soon overtake its conventional counterpart, with projected sales for 2006 set at INR 7.2 billion.
Airtel has a subscriber base of 20m, out of which 6m use mobile music services. During the last financial year, the company registered about 50m downloads. This year, music downloads are slated to go up as the company adds more subscribers.
For instance almost all operators have launched an "Easy Music" service that allows subscribers to walk into a mobile phone outlet, choose their favorite music from a huge catalogue of music in as many as 20 languages and download onto their mobile phones -- or even other digital devices like iPod -- for as little as 15 cents each for a Hindi song or 30 cents for an international song.

Google foundation supports Indian literacy project

Submitted by Karthik on 19 April, 2006 - 21:18

The Google foundation has chosen to support PlanetRead, a non-profit organisation that promotes literacy in India and elsewhere through the use of SLS.

The SLS method leverages the reach of TV and a "national passion for songs" of Hindi cinema as well as folk and devotional music.

Existing TV song programmes are subtitled in the same language as the audio. As villagers read along the lyrics they hum - and without realising it themselves - their literacy skills are growing.

Bridging the divide?

Submitted by Karthik on 19 April, 2006 - 16:39

ET has an interesting article overviewing the impact of various technology initiatives in rural India including the following gem:

Started under the governement's Grameen Sanchar Sevak scheme, a postman totes mobile phone along with letters. Postmen carry WLL (wireless in local loop) phones while delivering mail. Residents can use the phone to make calls, both local and STD for certian charge. The service is targeted at people who do not own a telephone.

HP launches a 'gesture keyboard' for Indic languages

Submitted by Karthik on 19 April, 2006 - 16:23

HP's "gesture keyboard" -- a digitized pen and pad packaged with handwriting-recognition software -- allows people to quickly jot down words in Hindi script on the digitized pad that transmits them to a desktop computer screen. Indians can use it to type a report, chat on instant messengers or search the Web. The new system could prove more convenient than tediously typing combinations of characters from the Indian script-based languages that, if assigned their own computer keys, would require a keyboard with close to 1,000 buttons.


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