In last week of our course Understanding Media by Understanding Google we have to answer question similar to mentioned above. Here is my take on that:-
We love convenience !! We are always willing to pay something extra for it. The payment we make may, not be the direct one. Lets say you want to have pizza at home on a rainy day and you following options :-
- Cook yourself
- You like pizza from shop A but it does not do home delivery
- Order a pizza from the shop B, which provides OK kind of pizza but do free home delivery.
For simplicity lets assume cost of each of the above option is same. Given the above choices most of us, including myself going to opt of the 3rd options because :-
- We’ll get pizza at home without doing addtional work.
- No need to take a break from on-going activity like watching football/baseball etc to cook or drive to the shop.
- No need to pay extra money.
By ordering pizza from shop B, we are compromising the on the quality and bit on our taste. This is an indirect price we are paying for the convenience. On the internet lets try to compare this indirect price with :-
- Increased data collection and sharing by internet giants.
- decrease in anonymity.
- loss of personal touch with friends, relatives.
In 21st Century, due to high demanding work, traffic, choices etc; I think it is worth paying some indirect price for the convenience we are getting. We save time, money which are two of the most important things which improve life in 21st Century. As mentioned by Jeff Jarvis in Economist Debate on Social Networking “We are sharing for good reason—not because we are insane, exhibitionistic, or drunk. We are sharing because, at last, we can, and we find benefit in it.”
Until we are just paying limited indirect price we would be able to make perfect balance in our public and private life. The problem starts when we become greedy and start ordering pizzas from some low standard shops which charges less money and deliver at home. This would eventually kill our taste and we would forget the original joy of having the pizza. Similar thing applies on what we share on the internet. We just be careful on what we share !!.
In second last week of our course Understanding Media by Understanding Google we have to answer question similar to mentioned above. Here is my take on that.
Lets say our referred in the question is me. While at work or otherwise when I am engaged with my primary activity I do Google searches and browse the internet to somehow enhance and deepen my understand with it. Here is my observation :-
- About 70% of the time that would help me to finish my primary activity or job quickly like finding howto instructions to setup a development environment etc.
- For rest 30% of the it can’t help like stop a crying a baby.
Because of our high success rate we hope to find every answer on the internet even when our primary activity has more to do with personal relations, friends. Other than high success rate we get answers within few minutes, even if we have to skim through multiple search results. This increases our expectation at all fronts of life. And we end up :-
- doing multitask.
- having urge to be connected with internet all the time.
- not paying attention to content of one link as we want to skim through more.
- responding to non-urgent stuff urgently like FB post, chat pings.
- not paying enough attention to the person in front of us.
As mentioned in Joe Kraus video our mind is not designed to do multitask as computers and we are 40% less productive if we do so. I think this true in most of the cases. Only is very few cases context switching between multiple things/work helps and we have to careful when we do that. On the contrary all the internet giants are trying to make internet as part of everyday. They are urging you keep connected all the time. Because this means business as mentioned in Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid? article.
Clearly the choice is ours and we shouldn’t use the technology at the cost of personal relation.
One more week is gone and this week as part of assignment for Understanding Media by Understanding Google we need to explicitly rank YouTube’s impact in these three areas – politics, culture, news and then explain our choice for the area we believe to have been most affected. Here is my take on that:-
I live in India and as per my opinion YouTube’s impact us (in India) in following areas in descending order:-
- News and Politics
Culture is a very broad term. It can be considered as group of people or society bound by :-
- social behavior
Now if in every second, more than one hour of video is uploaded on YouTube and with over 6 billion hours of videos watched each month , a niche culture is getting created every part of the World. Again this aligns with Google’s goal to serve the long tail. India is no exception here. If we look at the YouTube channels for India then we’ll see following :-
- Best of YouTube
- Films and Entertainment
- Beauty and Fashion
- From TV
- How-to and DIY
- Science and Education
- Cooking and Health
- Causes and Non-Profit
- News and Politics
Inside each of these categories there are many sub-channels. From the definition of culture we can consider each of these categories as a type of culture. I am sure each one of us would be part of one or more types. I personally visit YouTube for Music, Tech, Science and Education and News often. As far as I know most of friends and family members visit channels from one or more categories.
From the above I can say that YouTube’s imapct on culture in the most.
Also from the above list News and Politics is a sub-category and can keep them in same bucket. If we look at the trend dashboard for India :-
we do not see many people are interested in following News and Politics on YouTube.
Last weekend I did Cruise to the Coast ride with CAM. We cycled through Bhagamandala – Bekalfort – Kasargod – Jalsoor and covered ~130 kms. We started from Bangalore on Friday (4th Oct) night and reached Bhagamandala at 5 AM on Saturday. Then after couple of hours of rest we started cycling to Bekal Fort. We followed http://goo.gl/maps/dDFtN route.
On the way we saw many waterfalls. Both sides of the roads there were just trees. I maintained distance from other cyclist most of the time. It was like I was alone on the road. All the nature beauty was just for me. While cycling I can see yellow butterflies on the roads, like they were welcoming us. I used to see and play with them in my childhood. I almost forgot that there are such butterflies.
Most of cycling we did in Kerla state and I must mention that the people/govt. has tried to keep it green and clean. Some houses on the way were very beautiful. They had very good wood work. Some houses even had their own water well. I know this sound stupid to mention but I have seen them since ages.
On they way be Bekal Fort it started raining. I cycled around ~20 kms during that. It was such a great feeling. I even tasted the rain water which got mixed with my sweat. It was sweet ..:).
I reached at Bekal Fort ~3 PM. After spending some time there we headed to our hotels. Second day we started at 7 AM cycled from Kasargot to Jalsoor, which was around 50 kms. We followed http://gooaps/oOx8c route.
We reached to Jalsoor around 11:30 AM and started our journey back at ~12:30 PM. We reached Bangalore ~10:30 PM.
During the ride people greeted us, kids have us high five. Kids kept asking “Whats your name” and “Where are you going”.
Overall it was fun ride. I made some new friends and hope to keep in touch with them.
As mentioned in the previous blog post I have been doing Understanding Media by Understanding Google course on Coursera and as part of second peer graded assignment I have to log the next 20 ads I encounter from Google, whether as the result of a search on google.com or through one of its partner sites and summarize what those ads get right about me and my interests, including at least one example, and what you believe they get wrong.
So I logged them and here they are:-
and to summarize.
- am male
- am married
- reside in Bangalore, India
- work for a Linux based company
- Interested in cloud technology
- have been searching for training in hadoop and a cars using Google
- have been searching for books in flipkart
- fly often
- do banking
- buy consumer goods
From the above list following advertisements are right about me and my interests :-
- Consumer Electronics
- Air Travel Agent
- Online retailer
- Cloud Product
- Online yellow pages
- Car dealer
Following advertisements are somehow interest me :-
- Hardware Vendor (Dell)
- Real State
- Greetings, Gifts
Following advertisements do not interest me and are wrong :-
- Matrimony (as I am already married)
- Forex Trading
If I look at the advertisement more closely then just on one page I am seeing ads about real estate, travel, retailer, matrimony, gifts. Just look how commercial a web page has become. And on top that we now see ads based on personal needs, preferences. This is what can be called as serving the long tail. Web companies are collecting more and more data about us and we giving them for free. But the web companies are charging their advertiser aka our seller.
I have been doing Understanding Media by Understanding Google course on Coursera and as part of first peer graded assignment we have to write about ”Is Google’s intention to digitize all the world’s books a good thing or a bad thing, and for whom? “. Here is my take on it :-
Imagine if every book in the world is digitized then we can:-
- search books as we search publicly accessible web pages today without paying any fee. This will enable us to access books from anywhere with different devices, choose best possible book etc.
- give access of same knowledge base to everyone irrespective to country, income level.
- increase the visibility and life span of books by linking/tagging them and creating conversation around them.
- collaborate more easily, which can put seed for new ideas.
- get access to out of print books.
As mentioned by Jeff Jarvis in ”The Google Times”, that we need to kill books to save them and above points support it. Other than the authors of out of print books who want their work to reach more people, a general user like me/us would get benefited by digitization of books from Google.
But wait !!! everything comes at a cost. Google is a publicly traded company and it has to make profit to keep its investors happy. As per Siva Vaidhyanathan lecture, “Google, Digitization, and the Future of Books” and from some his other work :-
- neither Google nor the publishers guarantee to protect user privacy when using the Google Books site.
- we would loose the personal touch which we get librarians.
- digitization of books can lead to privatization of libraries.
- the quality of the scanning is not good enough.
- with digitization of books Google is trying to make its search better.
By making its search better Google is effectively increasing revenue. Also there is no guarantee that based on user private data, Google would not show sub-optimal results with search; to benefit its Ad sponsors. This is bad for the user. After digitization of a book Google can sell it online to make money from someone else’s work, which is bad for the original author.
I participated in Bangalore::Hack 2013 last week and was planning to do a blog post about my participation. So I started to collect the relevant link to put on the blog post and came across this :-
and saw the mention about my work.
4) Government information aggregator – This one is close to my heart; a tool that aggregated government information to empower journalists with data.
Though I had not given any name for my project but lets call it as Government information aggregator for now. So here is the pitch about my idea:-
With this tool I would like to help journalists and socially active people who are trying to make difference at ground level. Being in metros we have access good new papers like The Hindu, good internet access to visit different news sites. But if you go any tier II or III cities and read the local news paper there then we do not see similar quality content. This is because journalists or people do not have access to technology by which they can backup their stories with relevant data.
So the idea here is to get the data from government website like data.gov.in and list of policies government has implemented over time. And then try link them together to see what difference those policies have made.
Lets take an example to literacy rates of different states in India over different census. It has varied state by state. This can be visualized using the app the I wrote and made it online during hackathon:
If we can relate the percentage changes in given state with the policies it has implemented over the years then we can get a sense about what caused that percentage change. I did not figured out exact way to relate the change with policies but I did google query for policies from sites sites like gov.in, nic.in and list down the result as shown in following screenshot:-
Education is just an example. We can get the similar data from sites like data.gov.in for health, food producation, manufacturing etc. For now the user have to look at the listed policies manually but this narrows down search.
We talked about state wise here but this can be extended to district level. If we can visualize percentage changes in different sectors for a given district over the years then journalist or others can pick up that data and ask questions to local governing bodies. The data-set would be picked from the government websites, so there is no question about authencity. We just need to visualize them and share.
I never heard about Sequioa Captial, till I came to know about Bangalore Hackday sometime last month. I came to know more about it during the Hackday. And since last week I am reading more about it through the books I am reading about Google for my coursera course Understanding Media by Understanding Google .
I participate alone using team name “Shadowfax”. It was great event. I learnt many things, met interesting people and saw wonderful projects. I hope to participate in events likes this in future.
Last Saturday on 14th September’13 I gave on GlusterFS presentation at LSPE-IN. The title for the presentation was Performance Characterization in Large distributed file system with GlusterFS . Few days before the talk I looked at the attendee list to get the feel of the audience. I felt that not many of them have used GlusterFS by now. So I decided rather than covering lots of performance part I should cover the concepts of GlusterFS and talk about the performance challenges which can be there by design like file-system in user-space etc.
I am glad I did that as there were only 4 folks from ~70 attendees who have used GlusterFS before.
By going through the concepts the audience were able to compare GlusterFS with other solutions in the market. They asked interesting question about hashing algorithm, replication etc.
I attended the meetup till lunch. Other than giving the presentation I attended a keynote on Challenges in scaling cloud storage by Srivibhavan (Vibhav) Balaram in which he talked about the challenges in cloud storage and QoS in cloud environment. I also attended “Scaling using event driven programming with Perl, A tutorial” Aveek Mishra.
This was again a very informative and well managed event. I’ll look forward to attend and present in future meet-ups.
On datameet group I saw a mail regarding the Policy Hackathon, which was pre-event for 8th Annual International Conference on Public Policy and Management at IIM Bangalore on 10 – 11 August’13. I have been to hackathons earlier but not sure what would be the policy hackathon. Anyways I thought to give it a try. I dropped a mail to the datameet to see if I can someone would be interested to join me. I got few replies and we made a team.
The event started 10th at 3 PM. The first thing we need to do is to have the team name. We did not thought about it. So I suggested Shadowfax and finalized it. After the initial briefing we were given the census data from 2001 and 2011, NSSO data form 2002, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2009-10 district wise. We need look at the census data and see what has changed over time and the support it with NSSO data. After that we need to relate that to the government policy. If there is any existing policy then we need to check how it performed and any changes that we can suggest. But if can’t find policy then what policy we can suggest.
As soon as I unzipped the data, I saw one of the largest dataset I played with. For the first hour I had no idea what to look for. As some of the team-mates came late and went in-out between, some time was lost. As policy hackathon was all new to us, we had no idea where to start. But we started discussing different topics like health, education, migration, sanitation etc. Rest of the evening on 10th just went up discussing some random ideas to see if can see some relation between two different sector like education and healthcare. All these discussions were fun and very productive. In the end we decided that we want to do something with education but details were not decided.
After coming back home I thought of looking back into the data and see if I can find something interesting. With further exploration I decided to check what percentage of the monthly expenditure people are spending on education and health-care. I worked almost all night to write R code to see this behavior across different states. I noticed that though people’s per month expenditure has not gone much up but share of education and health-care has gone up significantly. What does this mean ?
- If the expenditure on education and health-care has gone up then expenditure on other items would come down?
– Are people saving less because of this ?
On next day 11th August I discussed my finding with Arnab and he suggested that may be I should look at the how does tuition fees of the school/colleges has gone up during those period. I got following after I plotted that for Karnataka.
mpce = Monthly per capita expenditure
urbanEE = Total Education expenditure in Urban area
urbanPE = private tutor/ coaching centre in Urban area
urbanTE = Education expenditure for tuition and other fees (school, college, etc.) in Urban area
From above we see that because of rise in tuition fee, expenditure in education has gone up till 2007. What is surprising is that even though after 2007 the tuition fee has not gone up, we still see rise in overall education expenditure. This trend is same for urban and rural area. So, some other kind of expenditure in education might have caused this. Looking at more closely we found the post 2007, the expenditure on the private coaching/tutor has gone up. So now people are paying high tuition fee and spending in private coaching as well. The new graph look like following:-
Is this good for overall society ?
The above graphs is just for Karnataka. It is very easy to look above data for other states with “R” :-
It would open up a interactive web-UI.
So this was our final submission for the hackathon competition. We were not able find a relevent policy and was not able to coin new policy due to lack of time. But to my surprise we were selected for the final round and invited to present it on 13th August in front of judges. The entire team of judges for the Hackthon was Varsha Joshi, (Director Census Operation, GoI)Sridhar Pabbisetty (Policy Consultant, Govt. of Karnataka) Hema Swaminathan (IIM Bangalore), Arnab Mukherji (IIM Bangalore).Though we gave our best shot but because of lack of policy statement we were not able to make it for any rewards.
I anyway need to at IIM on 13th, so I decided to attend the entire day event. I attended Plenary Address by Professor Gita Sen, which was about human development. She mentioned that India has not spent much on the human development like in education as compared to other countries. This raised a question to me :-
From the data I showed earlier it is clear that people are spending thier own money to get education. Shouldn’t the government make policies to make the sure that teachers in the college/schools teach properly so that student should have to go the private coaching/tutor. The money spent on private coaching can be saved and used some where else.
The other sessions I attended on:-
- Affordable Housing (Ideas from the ground)
- ICTs as Infrastructure – Through the Gender Prism - Anita Gurumurthy (IT for Change)
- Rural Women Journalists Take on New Media Shalini Joshi (Khabar Lehariya)
- The Janaagraha-Brown Citizenship Index:Rationale, Bangalore Study and Plans
- Public Problem Solving
At the end of day I saw documentary about group of women who created all ladies Jamaat (Jamaat is caste based group which can legal action in the community) to challenge Jamaat which were only run the males. It was very inspiring.
I had learnt a lot of new things in last few days. I got new perspective to look at things.
Even after 66 years independence we have not progressed as we should have been. Somehow this can be co-related to to policy that has been chosen by our leaders. To have a impact on large scale, right policy is needed. I’ll try to dig more into policies using different datasets in coming months.
Happy policy hacking!!!
My topic of the talk was “How to visualize the data over Web using Shiny + R”. I showed how we can put the analysis done on R over to web using Shiny. We can even provide user interactive inferface. My presentation is available at:-
For my demo I took two datasets from data.gov.in :-
1. District-Wise Availability Of Health Centres In India as of March 2011
With this I showed the visualization using R + gglot2 (bar chart) for different kind of health center for all districts for given State or Union territory. I also showed how we can download the data in a csv file, which is being currently analyzed.
2. Enrollment for Ph D/M.phil across India between 2001-09
During 2004-07 I observed that less students opted for higher education especially for Ph. D.. May be because students were seeing better prospect in IT. But after 2007 more students opted for higher education. From the visualization of above dataset it becomes very evident.
This time I used slidify to create my presentation, it is very easy and neat way to create and publish.
There was something new to learn from most of talks. I was really impressed by visualization done by World Bank and kind of APIs they provide. World Bank has very rich datasets for lots of countries. Other takeaways for me :-
- How Google maps are helping different part of societies.
- How to query the Wikipedia as database using SPARQL.
I liked the idea of having talks for just 15 minutes. I think it is sufficient to convey the message. It saves lot of time for both the presenter and the audience.
I hope more such data camp keep happening to share the knowledge from different sectors.