ICT

NGO Develops Book Reader For The Blind

A Nagpur-based NGO, Saksham, has launched an audio book reader for the
visually challenged. The device, will not only help the visually challenged in their studies but also to undertake leisure reading and learn music.

The NGOs' national general secretary Avinash Sangvai said that the instrument was developed after carrying out detailed research on various devices used for the blind.

National Planning Commission Recognises Role of ICT

The National Planning Commission (NPC) has recognised ICT as a key component in meeting South Africa's development goals.

The Medium-Term Strategy Framework (MTSF), unveiled on 14 July 2009 by Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency responsible for the NPC, highlights key government priorities and outlines the role of technology in industrial policy, social infrastructure and improving services.

Link Between GDP Growth and Broadband Access

The World Bank has urged African countries should focus on lowering the cost of broadband access to help boost their economies.

In its latest report, the bank found a strong link between gross domestic product (GDP) growth and broadband access, underlying the need for stimulus programmes in which governments have allocated billions of dollars to expand high-speed Internet access to fight recession.

Google SMS Service for Africa

Google has unveiled a new service designed to provide information via SMS to cellphone users in Africa, where mobile handsets are prevalent but Internet penetration is low.

In a blog post, the company points out that, "At Google we seek to serve a broad base of people - not only those who can afford to access the Internet from the convenience of their workplace or with a computer at home."

Nyanda Criticises Telecoms Costs

Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, says information communication technologies (ICTs) costs are still too high and possible collusion will have to be dealt with.

Nyanda warned that if engagement with private telecommunications operators is not effective in bringing down costs, the government will have to resort to regulation and legislation.

Climate Change Project to SMS Weather Information

Telecom firms Ericsson and Zain, and the United Nations (UN) weather agency, have teamed up to harness Africa's booming stock of cellphones to SMS vital weather information to villages.

Brought together by former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan's foundation, the venture is also aimed at using the equally burgeoning network of cellphone transmitters to bolster the continent's dangerously sparse cover of weather sensing stations.

More Time Spent on Social Networks

The number of minutes Americans spent on social networking sites nearly doubled in the past year with Facebook and Twitter enjoying explosive growth. This is according to Nielsen Online.

Nielsen Online found that the number of minutes Americans spent on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Tagged, Twitter and LinkedIn grew by 83 percent from April 2008 to April of this year.

It says the total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, from 1.7 billion in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009.

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