106/2011 The biggest e-governance project of the world uses FOSS !

I am proud to be an Indian, and a FOSS devotee

Imagine counting 1.2 Billion sheep before you go to sleep. Imagine having to give unique identification numbers to each sheep. This is exactly what the Adhaar project of India is trying to do. Aadhar (http://uidai.gov.in/) is a project of the Government of India, which involves assigning Unique Identification Numbers to each person living in India. India is the second most populous country of the world with about 1 170 938 000 people (basis Wikipedia http://www.google.co.in/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:IND&dl=en&hl=en&q=india+population), which is about 17.5% of the world's population. To add to this huge challenge, the fact that India is not amongst the richest of nations, makes such a project an impossible feat. In addition to counting and identifying every individual, many demographic statistics and biometric indicators are also to be acquired and recorded for each person. India's most prestigious and mammoth e-governance project, makes it unique in the history of Information Technology. And, to assist them in this mammoth and ambitious task, the Government of India (Unique Identification Authority of India UIDAI), chose FOSS tools and technologies. The FOSS tools they chose include :: RabbitMQ, Mule, Hadoop, Pentaho, Apache Tomcat, Mongo DB, Apache Solr, MySQL + + + .

The unique ID is a 12 digit number with some interesting mathematical properties.

What more proof do you want about what FOSS can do for us all ? Why should we still be slaves to vendors who make and sell fliMSy, and cluMSy products ?

Aadhar provides a flood of opportuniies for FOSS developers, to develop related applications.

I am proud to be an Indian, and a FOSS devotee, and I have got my Adhaar number.

(Based on a story which appears in Linux For You, December 2011)


105 / 2011 And now, it is the turn of Bulgaria

And now, it is the turn of Bulgaria to learn about Partha's Linux efforts. Partha's Linux post-installation HOWTO is in Bulgarian language !

See ::

Partha's Linux documents have already been translated into :: Japanese, Dutch, French, Turkish, Russian, Spanish, German. Details are available at :: http://algolog.tripod.com/linux1.htm

Thank you Mr. Albertio Ward ( albertioward@gmail.com ).

104/2011 Managing bibliography lists

Take note, ye LaTeX lovers: BibTex is pass\'{e}. Try :: # biblatex, natbib, Biber

Start here ::http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/25701/bibtex-vs-biber-and-biblatex-vs-natbib

103/2011 Direct manipulation interface

A new way to look at GUI -- Direct manipulation interface.

For my friends who have not understood the meaning of GUI, here is something more to learn ::


102/2011 How good a teacher was I ?

This is what my latest batch of students say. This feedback was obtained at the end of my course on crytography, at Kathmandu, Nepal. Take a look :


101/2011 Reason to rejoice !

I made it !

I just posted my 100th entry for 2011 in my "Professor's blog", located at http://partha-the-prof.blogspot.com/2011/12/designing-feedback-forms-for.html.
This is in addition to 24 posts in my "personal blog", and innumerable tweets on Twitter. Of course, I must add the countless additions I made to my web sites. All of this has generated a fan following, and friends, for me worldwide.

The greatest beneficiaries have been my students and my colleagues. Let me quote an email I received just now : QUOTE Prof. Partha: It is very interesting your Web page. I am enjoying it and learning. Thank you again, it is very kind of you. With all my respects to you, from Venezuela, Hugo Rincon.UNQUOTE

For 13 long years, a bunch of incompetent and mentally retarded clowns mocked at me at the place where I worked. In fact, they finally managed to sink the very organisation which they were pretending to manage. Their company is now extinct and fossilised. It is true that, to destroy an empire all you need is a bunch of irresponsible and incompetent mininsters (or, shall we say, Managers ?). By contrast, I am now noticed, respected and recognised, by scholars and students all around the world. It is now my turn to mock, and laugh at those imbeciles.



Designing feedback forms for educational courses

Obtaining and analysing participant feedback is an important part of any educational course. Whereas the instructor and his superiors are keen to get honest and frank feedback, often the participants themselves do not have enough motivation to spend time and effort in this exercise. Feedback should be made a painless exercise, both for the teacher and the taught. This article summarises some design considerations for feedback sessions. As usual, feedback on this article itself is welcome. Please send your opinions and suggestions to the author.

This paper will soon be aceessible at :: http://www.freewebs.com/profpartha/publications/downloadables.htm

You can also request a copy from drpartha.



How technology helps learning

Personal Learning Networks


Create your own PLN today !


The best reward for teaching at KU

The monastery at Namo Buddha (link) can be reached from Dhulikhel (or KU) by road. It is about 15 kilometres away. The sinuous and bumpy road takes you uphill, through some spectacular scenery. At the summit you find a beautiful monastery, the kind you see in your dreams. This is the site, they say, where a young Prince sacrificed his own body, to save a starving tigress which had just given birth to five cubs. The Prince was reincarnated, and later became Buddha.

Namo Buddha, is a place worth visiting. My visit was made possible, because of my stay at Kathmandu University for teaching cryptography.

Be ready for some adventure (ride on the bus rooftop), if you plan to go to Namo Buddha by bus !


Teaching in Nepal

I wish I had seen this earlier ::


About the great rewards, I agree fully. In fact, I can list out some other rewards too (e.g. Nepalese gifts like "Dhaka topi" , "khada", and lovely objets d'art). And, the experience itself is a great reward.

Thank you Nepal.


PS:: What did I tecah in Nepal ? See here ::


Is a bicycle "user friendly" ?

I am amazed by the naivity of many of my colleagues, most of whom are MS worshippers, who claim that a software is "user friendly" if it has a GUI. This is like saying that a bicycle is no good because it does not have a mouse and GUI. There is lot more to user friendliness than usage of a mouse.

Just because a product has a GUI, it does not become superior to anything. In fact the colours and the frills become just a camouflage to cover its flaws. Reminds me of a saying attributed to Albert Einstein ::: "Two things are infinite : the Universe, and human stupidity. I am not sure about the Universe"

Watch this space for more discussions on this subject.


Comparing apples and oranges, statistically speaking.


Some time ago I gave a lecture in Nepal Engg. College Kathmandu (Changunarayan), on the use of FOSS in teaching. One of the examples I chose was about R (a FOSS package for statistics). One teacher took the standard and stale stand about "user friendliness" of SPSS with respect to R. The argument, predictably went around in circles. I now have a more profound anser to that person's remarks. Since I do not know his name, I hope he will be reading this blog, and will realise the fallacy of his arguments.

Please take a look at ::


Most Interesting Websites

Web site designers can learn a thing or two from ::


And, they say, India is a poor country....

Is India really a poor country ?


And, how about some innovative toilets ?

Take a look and feel jealous ::



PS I made this blog entry, just to remind our educational institutions about the need to provide clean and aesthetic toilets in Universities and colleges. All you need is a little thoughtfulness and imagination.

Libraries of the world

Visit all amazing libraries. Take a look at ::


I hope can visit the most famous library of the world :: Alexandrina some day before I die.