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MIT Launches Phone-Enabled Work Site for Haiti

first_imgIn time for the one-year anniversary of the destructive Haiti earthquake, a group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MediaLab have rolled out Konbit, an expansive work database for those effected by the devastation, usable by those with computers and without, by those literate and illiterate. Aaron Zinman, a grad student who, along with Greg Elliott, developed the site, explained the opportunity. “Normally (non-governmental organizations) organizations import foreign labor into Haiti due to the difficulty of finding local talent — a problem we are trying to combat.” Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting curt hopkins 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Real World#web Related Posts The Chicken and the EggKonbit spent a good portion of last year approaching NGOs with the help of consultant Angela Dean at D&A Development Solutions. “We spoke to the UN Development Program, Clinton Foundation, Partners-In-Health, Peace Dividend Trust, at the State Department, and more. Everyone was the same–they thought the project sounded great and to let them know when it was deployed. We wanted more concrete feedback on how to cater the system to their interests, but they were so overloaded already and they didn’t know if this was pure vaporware considering the timing. So we discovered the answer to the chicken & egg is egg.” Now, after beta-testing the system in Miami, the egg has hatched in Haiti. To hear some of the phoned-in audio resumes, click here and select Haitian Creole as the language. If you speak it, here’s where you can also contribute to the translation effort.The project is open source and the code is available on Konbit’s Bitbucket page. The hope is that this process can be rolled out to each new crisis requiring in-country labor. First, however, the chick will have to grow into a hen and lay eggs of its own. To facilitate that, the Konbit folks intend to approach the NGOs who were skeptical the first time out again in January. If the NGOs see the power of the system, it may wind up materially adding to the list of things a competent NGO can do when they’ve got the people they’re supposed to be serving helping them do so. A Resume for the Developing WorldHere’s how it works. A displaced, unemployed Haitian calls the toll-free number (courtesy of Digicel): 5656 in Haiti, or +509 37031042 from abroadCreole (Haitian French) speakers, in Haiti and abroad, call in and translate those messages into English and other languagesNGOs search the database for local laborers who can fill their open positionsThose phoning in are prompted to tell stories that illustrate their experiences. The prompts have been recorded by Haitian radio personality Bob Lemoine and the tool is being advertised with PSAs on Haitian radio, said Zinman. “We have structured the interaction to help people tell what we think are relevant stories from their life that translate into employable skills. We first start by asking the basics–name, gender, education level (to proxy for literacy), can you work at night, and are you physically strong and healthy. Then we ask about their experiences with a wide range of skills. We frame the skill questions with examples to cue them and disambiguate. We ask about first-aid, construction, languages, child care, laundry, sewing, cleaning, repair, and transportation.”For those approaching the site, either as a job seeker, translator or NGO, it is simple and straightforward, as well as graphically arresting. For the NGOs, it helps them minimize labor costs, also a benefit for donors. For those effected by a crisis, not only does it help the NGO serving them to become more efficient, but it gives them extra access to the means to keep themselves and their family safe and fed, work. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Work with Hadoop and NoSQL Databases with Toad for Cloud

first_imgToad for Cloud Databases is a version of Quest’s popular Toad tool specially designed for next-generation databases. So far it supports AWS SimpleDB; Microsoft Azure; Table services; Apache HBase; Microsoft SQL Azure; Apache Cassandra or any ODBC-enabled relational database. It can be downloaded here.Toad got its start as Tool for Oracle Databases (TOAD). Quest bought the tool in 1998 and has continued its development. Toad competes with open source projects such as TOra and SQLTools++.The existing flavors of Toad, such as Toad for MySQL, have long been popular with database professionals. Quest’s move into NoSQL demonstrates how much interest there is in the area. According to RedMonk’s Michael Coté, Toad for Cloud Databases already has over 2,000 users – not bad for a tool for managing relatively new and esoteric technologies. Coté writes that Hadoop is the most popular database among Toad for Cloud users.Quest is positioning itself as a trusted source for NoSQL tools and information. In addition to Toad for Cloud, Quest is running a wiki dedicated to NoSQL. The entry “Survey Distributed Databases” is an extensive overview of burgeoning field of NoSQL players. Quest staffers have been giving interviews on the subject of NoSQL and Hadoop as well. Tags:#cloud#Trends Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… klint finley 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts last_img read more

Present perfect of Rajasthan

first_imgFatehgarh Heritage Renaissance Resort in Udaipur uses wind and solar energyFew states of India are as evocative as Rajasthan–the very name conjures up images of medieval forts and flamboyant palaces, havelis and temples, castles on hilltops, picturesque villages and colourful fairs. Today, keeping with the times, Rajasthan’s heritage entrepreneurs are incorporating audio-tours, son et lumiore, alternative technologies for power generation or water harvesting. Nowhere is the change more apparent than in the cities of Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur.Udaipur updateA cooking demonstration in progress at Deogarh MahalUdaipur has long been the epitome of Rajasthan’s romance since an island palace of the Maharanas was converted into the stunningly beautiful hotel with five-star trappings. One of the most exciting new heritage developments of Udaipur is Fatehgarh Heritage Renaissance Resort built from the remains of a demolished castle moved to the site from about 150 km away, supplemented with architectural fragments and doors from other heritage properties. Climb to the terrace and the glass-walled restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the lakes. There is much focus on eco and social conscious measures–an energy efficient design that makes the most of air movement and natural light, a wind turbine and solar panels that account for more than half the power consumption of the property, a water harvesting system inspired by medieval stepwell architecture, indigenous plantations to make a home for wildlife, local employment and a focus on using locally available materials. Vintage collections are still popular in the StateIf you are looking for a place to dine on a romantic night out, Udaipur is becoming known for those too–the Whistling Teal is a beautiful garden restaurant with a bar furnished with saddles and a coffee lounge; the park-like Ambrai has a view across the lake to the island palaces, the aptly named Sunset View Terrace in the City Palace complex, and the recently opened Raaj Bagh, which, as the name suggests, is done in colonial style with old dressers, antique furniture and vintage cars in a covered area.Like the properties, Udaipur’s shopping scene is also taking a modern twist–the Bougainvillaea Art Gallery showcases contemporary paintings, sculpture and artworks in aesthetically pleasing interiors with an ambience to match, Andraab is an attractive showroom recently opened for Kashmiri shawls and other handcrafted textile products, the trendy Ganesh Art Emporium, the Pristine Gallery, and galleries of individual artists.New entriesTraditional food is still popular in the StateAs you head up NH-8 from Udaipur towards Delhi, you come to one of Rajasthan’s most fairy-tale heritage hotels–Deogarh Mahal which rises from an elevation in the middle of a village with hill views from its terraces. The 50 rooms are imaginatively designed to match the character of the property. For something more exclusive, head for the owner’s four-suite Fort Seengh Sagar set amid shimmering waters. The decor is Rajasthani yet chic and minimalistic, with rooms having distinctive features–a fountain, a rockery, a temple, stone art and even a jacuzzi.Jodhpur jauntRamgarh Lodge near Jaipur is now a Gateway HotelStraight out of a storybook is Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, built in AD 1459. The new thing about the historical site is an audio-guided tour that will take you through the collections in the museum of princely memorabilia. At the end of the tour you come to the splendidly designed Museum Shop, which blends the fort’s old-world charm with contemporary visual merchandising to display art, artefacts, handicrafts, porcelain, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs. The display prompted an international magazine writer equalling the shop to being as good as an annexe of the New York’s Museum of Contemporary Art!Head from here to Raika Bagh and the Palace Road for Jodhpur’s superbly carpentered furniture, first-rate antique reproductions and handcrafted artefacts. There are some fun places to eat in this area–On-the-Rocks, as the name suggests, is a bar and restaurant in a rock garden along the imposing Ajit Bhawan Palace while Khaas Bagh has an arts and crafts gallery, a resort garden and a Bollywood themed dining area.A hidden gem in the city is MV Spice Shop in the Vegetable Market. The daughters of spice merchant, Mohanlal Verhomal, who was quite a legend among tourists, have come up with an extraordinarily innovative range of spice blends that they make at home from hand-ground spices. It is the place to buy anything from chai masala to a mutton curry mix.Jaipur goes contemporaryPolo tourism is catching up in the StateWhile Udaipur and Jodhpur remain old-worldly in their charm, Jaipur has burst out of its ‘Pink City’ shell with gleaming glass-and-steel shopping complexes, malls, supermarkets and multiplexes along its thoroughfare, Delhi-style plush new residential areas, and the ubiquitous CCDs, Baristas, fast food outlets and bars. But for visitors Jaipur is still about serious shopping. What is really exciting about shopping in Jaipur these days is the initiatives of the NGOs, cooperatives, self-help groups and artisanal families. A classic is Anokhi’s museum at the restored Chanwar Palkiwalon Ki haveli at Amber which won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award in 2000. Here you can watch craftsmen at work on block printing and woodcarving, learn about the history of block-printing besides experiencing the architecture of a haveli. It is just a few minutes away from Amber Fort, which now offers an audio-tour as well as a Sound and Light Show, with Gulzar’s words, Amitabh’s voice and music to match. Amber is also being given a makeover ahead of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.The stylish showrooms of Anokhi and Fabindia in the city, the Soma on Jacob Road, the UN-supported Mojari which, as the name suggests, sells footwear from rural Rajasthan, and the blue pottery showroom called Kripal Kumbh, run by the daughters of the master ceramist Kripal Singh, are happening places to shop.Jaipur is also teeming with places to eat–from well-known names like Dasaprakash and Sankalp for South Indian food, Copper Chimney for North Indian, Little Italy, and so forth, to novel places like the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant or Om Tower Revolving Restaurant. Favourite evenings-out from Jaipur are village-theme restaurants like Chokhi Dhani, which also offers a range of folksy entertainments, an artisanal bazaar and camel and elephant rides.A couple of new options are also available for those who want to escape the city and yet not be too far from it. A good example of this is the Ramgarh Lodge, the former hunting lodge of the Maharajas of Jaipur, which is now a Gateway Hotel. And for a taste of something more energetic, get whisked away to Anokhi Farm outside Jaipur where you can learn the royal sport of polo. The training includes riding under supervision, stick-and-ball practice on wooden horses and practice chukkers.They say it’s just the beginning of modernisation. Let’s see what this year–the year of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi–spells for Rajasthan, its neighbour. advertisementadvertisement Fact fileFatehgarh–A Heritage Renaissance Resort Sisarma, Udaipur; tel: (0294) 241 3845Whistling Teal 103-Bhatiayani Chhohata, Udaipur; tel: 242 2067Ambrai Amet Haveli, Chandpole, Udaipur; tel: 243 1085Sunset View Terrace, City Palace Complex, UdaipurRaaj Bagh Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaipur; tel: 329 0228Bougainvillea Art Gallery Fatehsagar Lake, UdaipurAndraab New Fatehpura, Udaipur; tel: 242 3285Ganesh Art Emporium Jagdish Chowk, Udaipur; tel: 242 2864Pristine Gallery Bhattiyani Cohtta, Udaipur; tel: (0) 98291 84223Deogarh Mahal tel: (02904) 252 777; 253 333Fort Seengh Sagar Reservations through Deogarh MahalMehrangarh Fort Audio Tour Tel: (0291) 254 8790, 254 8992On-the-Rocks Circuit House Road, Jodhpur; tel: 251 0410Khaas Bagh Opp. Police Lines, Ratanada, Jodhpur; tel: 251 4513MV Spice Shop Clock Tower, Jodhpur; tel (0) 92520 00435;Anokhi Museum Amber Fort, Jaipur; tel: (0141) 253 0226Sound and Light Show at Amber Fort; 6.30 and 7.30p.m.Anokhi Jaipur; tel: 400 7244/45Fabindia MGF Mall, Jaipur; tel: 511 5997; Prithviraj Road; tel: 511 5992advertisementSoma 5 Jacob Road, Civil Lines, Jaipur; tel: 222 2778Mojari Vishwakarma Industrial Area, Jaipur; tel: 309 4260Kripal Kumbh Bani Park, Jaipur; tel: 220 1127Peacock Rooftop Restaurant Ajmer Road, Jaipur; tel: 237 3700Om Tower Revolving Restaurant MI Road, Jaipur; tel: 404 6666Chokhi Dhani Tonk Road, JaipurGateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge One-hour drive from JaipurAnokhi Farm Tel: (01532) 275 0868last_img read more