Egypt Abruptly Withdraws From the Internet Before Protests

Internet in Egypt has gone down just before the largest protest which is due in a few hours. The government has taken this measure by shutting down all the four major ISPs in Egypt and their partners are suffering along with.

egypt-map

The only online link in Egypt currently is the link to and from the stock exchange of the country. This is a lifesaver, as a downtime of one day would have incurred huge losses. The government is declining to comment and has also shut down all cellphone and SMS networks gradually. This displays an immense potential of the Egyptian government. It has more than a kill switch the US has been dreaming of.

These abrupt shutdowns cause major routing of traffic through adjoining countries and prove fatal for the Internet. However, this sudden black hole is not affecting the optical fiber links through Egypt. Renesys has periodic updates on the situation. Their last update says that nearly 3500 BGR routers have been shut and now, Egypt is fully disconnected from the Internet. In addition, when all four ISPs are shut, it is interesting to know how the Stock exchange is still online in Egypt.

The last time I had heard of something similar, Pakistan caused worldwide YouTube outage by routing all YouTube traffic to a dead end. This was supposed to be a measure to shut YouTube access in Pakistan but went horribly wrong. However, the shutdown of the BGR routers will prevent this in Egypt.

(Image via: africantravelinc)

3G Update: Airtel Launching 3G In 1 Week, Karnataka Gets 3G From Tata Docomo

The 3G rollout to various parts of India has gradually begun and users all over India can now finally start experiencing fast mobile Internet speeds via 3G. Airtel has announced it’s plans of launching 3G service for it’s users in less than a week and Tata DOCOMO, after jumping onto the 3G Bandwagon quite early, has now unveiled it’s 3G services in yet another Indian state – Karnataka.

Bharti Airtel ‘s CEO Sanjay Kapoor told PTI that Airtel   will make the announcement for the commercial launch of our 3G service in next six to seven days. However he did not reveal so as to in what all circles is Airtel planning to launch this service initially. Bharti won the 3G spectrum for 13 telecom circles in India and has given contracts to Ericsson India , Nokia Siemens and Huawei to set up the necessary 3G infrastructure.

In other news, Tata Docomo increased it’s 3G presence all over India by launching it’s 3G service in three areas of Northern Karnataka, namely – Hubli, Dharwad & Belgaum. Tata Docomo’s 3G Network currently supports internet access with high speeds of 21.1 Mbps and the company plans to introduce more products and services with support of NTT DOCOMO.

Closed Internet Networks: Real Geographical Boundaries inside a Global Internet

The Internet was started as a local network at DARPA and today, we know of it as a global network, thanks to CERN. Every host in every corner of the world has the potential of connecting to every other. However, inside this global Internet and information exchange, we still have some networks that are reluctant to join this globalization and are more interested in a local growth.

North Korea

North Korea has no broadband. The government has been prompt in shutting down many attempts to open websites and Internet access is a privilege available only to a few elite government officials, most importantly including Kim Jong-Il himself. Recently in October 2010, the Korean Central News Agency made itself accessible through the Internet and marks North Koreas first step towards joining the Internet. However, the people of North Korea are satisfied with their own internal network and call it Kwangmyong.

Reason for the divide: Political, Language.

China

China is the most notorious country for Internet laws. Well, North Korea might beat it at that, but the number of Internet users in China beats that in any other country in the world. In fact, China has had to establish correction camps for Internet addicts. China loves Chinese. Therefore, most people there are comfortable using their own services (in Chinese). Baidu, Tecent and Sina.com are proof enough. Moreover, strict censorship and the Great Firewall of China have worked extensively towards making its Internet self-sufficient.

Reason for the divide: Political, Language.

Russia

Russia has its own network and calls it Runet. It has done enough to learn from the global giants from niche markets like Google and Facebook and has implemented competitive features. However, all these websites are in Russian and even Facebook, which has its 70% of users outside the US, is scarcely seen in Russia. Yandex is the Google in Russia and provides almost all the services that Google provides worldwide. While Mail.ru is the leader in email services, the Rambler.ru is the most popular portal, all in Russian.

Reason for the divide: Language.

Even today, language seems to be a barrier in communication and crossing the language barrier would be the technology that we can develop and invest in. Google Translate does the job roughly but a lot of work is yet to be done in this field and this can form a new business niche in future.

Online Digital Content Sales Looking Good At 65%

Pew Internet has published a survey report recently that outlines the buying habits of people for digital content online. The report can be accessed through this page and is downloadable in a PDF format.

According to the report, more than 50% of Internet users are now paying for online digital content like news, eBooks, music or movies. The figure for news stands at 18% while more people opt for online music and lesser for eBooks. On an average, people spend $47 per month online content. However, the average is biased by a small section of those who took the survey and spend extensively on online purchases. Otherwise, most users spend around $10 pe month buying online.

The survey was conducted among 750 people who were interviewed personally and questioned on their buying habits. GigaOM’s analysis of the report is,

Here’s a rundown on some of the Pew results for spending on digital goods:

  • 33% of internet users have paid for digital music online
  • 33% have paid for software
  • 21% have paid for apps for their cell phones or tablet computers
  • 18% have paid for digital newspaper, magazine, or journal articles or reports
  • 16% have paid for videos, movies, or TV shows
  • 11% have paid for members-only premium content from a website that has other free material on it
  • 10% have paid for e-books
  • 7% have paid for podcasts
  • 5% have paid to access particular websites such as online dating sites or services
  • 2% have paid for adult content

Music and software is undoubtedly the most paid for category. However, a close number for cellphone apps shows that mobile content is doing well when it comes to online business. The sale of online eBooks has declined over the last two years due to an immense amount of piracy.

Chinese Internet Penetration Deepens, Mobile Internet Access Crosses Desktop

China already has the world’s largest base of Internet users. Its Internet usage has been so immense, that a new business has sprung up in the niche that helps people abstain from using the Internet- Chinese Internet Bootcamps.

China has claimed 450 million Internet users this year, a number that is one third of China’s entire population. China was already at the top of the list and the current figure is an increase of 20% from last year. Given such a large population on Internet users, the Chinese government’s crackdown on violence and pornography is justified as it affects a large part of the nation.

China has already shutdown 60,000 websites and handed sentences to more than 2000 people for offensive content. Wang Chen, head of China’s State Council Information Office has remarked on the recent crackdowns saying,

Our campaign has not come to a stop. This will be a long battle.

He is pleased with the work his people have done. Moreover, the Great Firewall of China has proven extremely effective in blocking politically offensive content.

Another interesting fact from the report is the increase in the population of mobile Internet users. This population numbers at 277 million, which is well over half of the total Internet users. Clearly, if you want to start an online business, you should not ignore China.

India Accounts For 30% Of Yahoo’s Global Ventures

Yahoo!’s India base has been expanding big time over the past few months and it now accounts for a major contribution to Yahoo!’s global ventures. Almost 30 per cent of Yahoo!’s intellectual property development around the world now comes from it’s Bangalore research center. This share was a modest 12 per cent few years ago. Among other development centers of Yahoo!, USA accounts for close to 60 per cent and the rest 10 per cent comes from Yahoo!’s other centers across the globe.

According to Mr. Shouvick Mukherjee, chief executive and vice president of Yahoo India R&D Yahoo India’s share of intellectual property grew rapidly as the Bangalore dev center got deeply involved to take end to end responsibility of number of global as well as regional products making Yahoo India R&D the second largest centre globally. Another reason is the fact that more than 50% of Yahoo’s users are outside USA and more focus was required on the growth of theses markets in its research and product development efforts.

Two of Yahoo!’s best products – Predict and Helion have been developed at the Yahoo! India development center. Predict is an advertisement exchange that predicts which ad will get what level of click thus improving the return on investment for advertisers. The second product Helion facilitated the launch of multiple sites in parallel. Yahoo! has rolled out major lifestyle based portals using Helion.

No Rest On Mount Everest, Internet Climbs The Mountains

I have known people who take a vacation to just relax and stay away from Internet. In fact, not so many years ago, travelling in a plane was comforting because you knew that you did not have access to the Internet. Then came in offline storage for , and a bunch of other services, which meant that you had access to content even on a plane. This was quickly followed up by Internet access on planes. See where we are headed.

Mount Everest Internet

If you thought that you could escape the Internet by climbing the highest mountain peak in the world; Mount Everest; think again. Ncell, a subsidiary of a Swedish phone giant TeliaSonera, has set up high speed 3G networks at an altitude of 5,200 meters in the Everest region.

"Today we made the (world’s) highest video call from Mount Everest base camp successfully. The coverage of the network will reach up to the peak of the Everest" Ncell Nepal chief Pasi Koistinen told reporters in Kathmandu on Thursday.

This means that you can no longer fool your wife when you say that you were busy climbing Mount Everest while you were busy playing golf, because you will now be able to make videos calls and surf the Internet on your mobile phones. Sigh, will we ever be able to get rid of the Internet? Do you think that they would have high speed internet in Heaven and Hell too?

(Source: AFP | Mount Everest Peak Image courtesy everest-2002.de)

iDuple: Another Indian Internet Tablet – 5 Sec. Boot Time, 50GB Cloud Storage

We have already told you about a lot of Internet tablets from India. Here is iDuple for you – yet another Indian tablet PC but this one is with a difference! This tablet from iDuple basically has one app – just a web browser. It does not have a hard drive and the tablet boots in just 5 seconds.

So does the lack of a hard drive mean you can’t install apps, store files, and perform other activities that you do on a PC? No, because the iDuple tablet is designed in such a away that when you turn it on, the tablet remotely connects you to a server that runs a virtual operating system.This mean you will be requiring an always-on internet connection just for turning on the tablet.

Actually the OS, your storage and your apps – everything is in the cloud. This way the tablet won’t require a lot of storage or a fast processor to handle resource-intensive applications as they’re   run by a remote server. This is a valid reason for the price of the tablet to be on the lower side. However you do need a pretty good internet connection for using the tablet. Users also get 50GB of cloud-based storage space for their files. You can take a look of the virtual OS that is being run on the tablet, here: iduple.com/webtop.

Indiatimes Launches Live Streaming For Commonwealth Games 2010

Looks like everyone is now trying to monetise the 14 day long Commonwealth Games (CWG) that is being held in India someway or the other. Yesterday we told you about a Delhi and CWG specific map service that has been launched by MapMyIndia. Now, Indiatimes has joined the motion too!  Times Internet has partnered with CWG 2010  to bring a live stream of the games to the masses at  Live.Indiatimes.com/CWGLive.cms (a microsite on Indiatimes.com). Live streaming of these games started yesterday (Oct 5th).

According to a spokesperson from Times Internet the main motive behind this Live Streaming is to enable as many people as possible to be a part of the games.  Indiatimes has also integrated Facebook and Twitter into the Live Streaming microsite so that viewers post comments directly on the live streaming page.

Dogs + Yoga = DOGA

You have that lazy bummer of a golden retriever lazing around the house. You’ve tried everything to get that lazy dog up on its paws, but it merely refuses to follow anything that you say. So you give up and follow the old adage of if you can’t beat em, join emand laze around the house as well.

Now you have a tummy, and you want to get rid of it. But you cannot bear the sight of your lazy dog sitting around doing nothing while you puff and pant those calories off. So what do you do?

You practice yoga on your dog. Literally.

ExpertLeta Koontz has been studying yoga for quite some time and has become adept at the silly form of yoga with dogs as the inspiration. Here’s a video of one of the unimaginably ridiculous practices in action.

More at urlesque.

Warning: Using a Chihuahua is not recommended during DOGA.