Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, March 23, 2007

China: Spam Champion

Wonder where most of your spam is coming from? Asia. According to Semantec, a well-known anti-virus company, 69% of all emails originating from Asia are spam. And China leads the way, generating the most spam in the world by volume.

I don't know if this is accurate, but I do know that almost all of the spam "comments" received on this blog are from IP addresses in China. It seems China is emitting spam at a rate that rivals its CO2 emissions.

Categories: China, spam

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Problems? Blame the Blogs

That is what the Malaysian government is doing apparently. Malaysia's Information Minister has warned newspapers (and by extension citizens) against using blogs as sources of information. According to the Star newspaper, Minister Zainuddin Maidin described blogs as "anarchist websites" and said most websites are run by frustrated journalists and political pundits.

Governments, companies and politicians worldwide are having difficulty adjusting to our wired world. The Internet disintermediates government and others who have traditionally filtered or rationed information. News oligopolies have ended.

Today, individuals can easily and instantaneously project their ideas, opinions and reporting out to the world. It can be a painful experience, as the Malaysian government discovered when allegations of corruption appeared in blogs and were later picked up by mainstream media.

Instant, unfiltered access to information is good. Yet, people still have a responsibility to assess (and question) the credibility of sources -- whether they are blogs or government-controlled media.

It's hard to lose control, and easy to scapegoat bloggers, as I noted here in connection with a company targeting a widely read blog.

As with most things, however, the fault lies not in our blogs but in ourselves.

Categories: Malaysia, blogging

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Google Lands in Africa

By now, many of you have seen the news about Google's partnerships in Africa with the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure and the Kenya Education Network (KENET). Google will supply Google Apps software to thousands of students in both countries as well as government officials in Rwanda.

Three important things are happening here.

First, more and more core business services are becoming Web-based and Web-accessed.

Second, Google sees that partnerships in emerging markets (with governments and educational institutions) is the way to win early mindshare and market share, not to mention goodwill from local communities.

Third, in many countries the public sector is the key catalyst and lead adopter for application of new technologies (unlike in the US).

In many of these markets, users will jump right to communication, business and data management tools delivered over the Internet -- avoiding the pain and expense of installing (and maintaining) business software on their individual computers.

No licensing, no lock-in.

To put it in Monopoly terms, "Go to the Web, go directly to the Web; pass licensing, do not pay $200.”

Categories: google, Africa