<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d6667958\x26blogName\x3dJust+Shoot+Me\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://sodabottle.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://sodabottle.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3915831345667505297', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

World Classical Tamil Conference - Day 3

June 27, 2010

Day 3 at the wikipedia stall in the Tamil internet conference went pretty much like Day 1. It was less tiresome as the student volunteers had shaped up well and took over much of the actual work from us. I wasn't able to attend Day 2 because Day 1's lunch gave me a moderate case of diarrhea. The pattern of visitors was similar to that in the first day a)mere sightseers looking for freebies b)people with computers and internet connections, who want to use Tamil in computers c) Some advanced users with specific doubts.

There was another class of people who were very curious about Tamil and computers - Govt employees. With the govt pushing e-governance (and usage of Tamil) hard, most of the govt offices have been computerised and use Tamil for official work. From what i can understand, they have not been given enough training in computers and using Tamil. There were employees from the collectorate, govt school teachers, health department officials, policemen, fire fighters who wanted to learn how to use Tamil in computers. A clerk/typist from the collectorate wanted to know if there were any speech recognition software in Tamil - something similar to Dragonspeech. Unfortunately nothing of that sort is commercially available (there are some research projects but nothing advanced beyond beta version). Another thing people found surprising was the Tamil support available in Nokia mobiles. Most of the handsets dont ship with Tamil enabled. We had to disappoint interested people by asking them to approach their nearest Nokia care centre and install Tamil in their handsets. So everything i saw reinforced my earlier opinion - People want to use Tamil both offline and online as they are more comfortable with it.

There were few "surprise visitors" to our stall. A couple of professors of linguistics dropped in to see what Wikipedia was all about. Just an hour before i had finished writing the article on Francil Whyte Ellis and was able to explain how we can make subjects like those accessible to the laymen. The Professors were happy to see we are writing articles on their subjects and promised to contribute to Wikipedia in the future. They left after gifting us a couple of their books. A pair of marketers from Google, Hyderabad showed up to see the Tamil internet conference. Google did not have a stall of their own, so Paul and his colleague (sorry i forgot her name) were there out of their own initiative to see the conference. They were disappointed with not being able to attend the actual paper presentations (entry only for those with ID cards), but I got an opportunity to lament about the woes of Google translation project in Tamil wiki to them.(The Google Tamil translation toolkit is a crappy software and Google India doesnt have a clue about how volunteer run, consensus driven projects like wikipedia work). They listened very patiently to my pulambal and promised to send the feedback to the relevant team.

I am extremely happy that i was part of such an event. This has made me realise when offered a chance to use Tamil and English in computers a lot of Tamils would chose the former. And it was a chance to meet Tamil wikipedians who have slogged it out to get Tamil wikipedia to where it is now. The things i did not like? First there was the food - Vasantha Bhavan's shitty lunch knocked me out a whole day which i spent mostly in the Kakkoos. The whole ID card situation - none of us volunteers were given IDs, which pretty much restricted us to the Internet conference section. I wasnt able to see anything else - no paper presentations, no panels, no speeches, none. Once i was inside the internet conference dome there was no coming out. Even for peeing, someone with a ID card had to escort us out through the back way and vouch for us to the police guards posted there. I had planned to take photos of politicians/bureaucrats for Wikimedia commons and that didnt happen at all. And there was the lousy internet connection. There were enough jacks available in the stall, but the connection was fickle. The wifi network was feeble and completely useless. The LAN was better but would go off every ten minutes or so. This is supposed to be a "internet conference" and internet did not work properly. Sigh! thats govt for you.

The Hindu's Karthick Madhavan (who has been doing good work covering the conference) has a nice write up on us here (the photo is posed though :-))

Labels:

posted by Bala, 9:02 AM

3 Comments:

I anticipated the connectivity issues,i.e I brought my own Data card which provided seemless connectivity.

It was nice talking to you there in the conference :)

Aravindan
Bangalore
Is that you who is operating the comp? Bala, Why do not you write about stock market to educate people like us?
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7:03 PM  
A Family starts with a baby. Surrogacy Nepal helps to start your own family with our guaranteed surrogacy program. The complete package helps you to get baby.
commented by Anonymous Surrogacy Nepal, 2:59 PM  

Add a comment