Show of 9-26-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Andria: Dear Tech Talk. I was on Craigslist and chatted with someone about meeting. I changed my mind and now he is bothering me via email. He only knows my email address. Can he locate me? What should I do? Thanks Andria
    • Tech Talk Answers: The short answer is that yes, it’s quite possible you could be found by just your email address. It depends on how you have used your email address on the web before. If you have entered an personal information along with your email address in a public forum, it is probably traceable. The best thing to do is to search for your email address using Google to discover any linkages.
    • Email from Jim: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I missed your Tech Talk show last Saturday and now going through withdraws.  I usually can hold out for several days and if it gets too bad, listen to two or three shows to tide me other until the last show is posted.
    • I hope this email finds you well and just still busy trying to catch up with things delay from being in India.  Your insight on their education has confirmed what I’ve been running into when working with IT personnel trained in that country.  
    • Hope the show gets posted soon. Thanks for all the work you do and see if you can get Mr. David Byrd on as a guest. Jim from Alexandria
    • Tech Talk Answers: Thanks Jim for listening. I did post the show a few days late this week because of my grueling travel schedule. I am in town for awhile now.
  • Profiles in IT: Azim Premji
    • Azim Premji is Chairman of Wipro, one of the largest software companies in India and considered to be the IBM of India
    • Azim Premji was born July 24, 1945 in Mumbai, India.
    • His father, M. H. Premji, was a Muslim and a businessman in Mumbai.
    • He completed his high school education at St. Mary’s School in Mumbai and entered Stanford University in electrical engineering.
    • Premji was forced to leave Stanford after completing his BSEE at the age of 21 to take over the family business when his father suddenly died in 1966.
    • The family business was the Western India Vegetable Product Company (later known as Wipro Ltd.) which made hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats.
    • Azim repositioned Wipro into a consumer goods company that produced hydrogenated cooking oils/fat company, laundry soap, wax and tin containers.
    • In 1975, he set up Wipro Fluid Power to manufacture hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders
    • In 1977, when IBM was asked to leave India, Wipro entered the IT sector.
    • In 1981, Wipro began selling computers becoming India first computer maker.
      • Wipro subsequently developed the first Indian 8086 chip.
      • In the 80s, Wipro developed customized software for hardware customers.
      • In the 90s, Wipro moved off shore, particularly into the US.
      • Wipro expanded into IT Services, R&D Services, Technology Infrastructure Services, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
      • Wipro’s Technology Infrastructure Services (TIS) is the largest Indian IT infrastructure service provider in terms of revenue, people and customers with more than 200 customers in US, Europe, Japan and over 650 in India.
      • Wipro provides business process outsourcing services in areas Finance & Accounting, Procurement, HR Services, Loyalty Services and Knowledge Services.
      • In 2002, Wipro acquired Spectramind and became one of the largest BPO service players.
    • Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class
    • He prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels.
    • Premji has been recognized by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time for his vision and leadership at Wipro.
    • He set up the Azim Premji Foundation. Azim Premji Foundation says it "dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary Education in India".
    • Two weeks ago, in accepting a lifetime achievement award, he said, ldblquote Build your organisation that is grounded on values and practice these values on a ‘no exception’ basis. Integrity is the biggest value.rdblquote
    • Premji is married to Yasmeen. The couple has two children.
    • He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for IT in India.
    • Azim Premji was rated the richest person in the country from 1999 to 2005.
    • His wealth in 2006 was estimated at US$14.8 Billion (fifth richest Indian).
  • My Cell Phone Experience in India
    • I have a Blackberry Storm from Verizon.
    • It has CDMA and GSM (four band) so it can function as world phone.
    • The GSM has a Sim card managed by Vodaphone. The phone is locked.
    • I got the roaming unlocked and gave Verizon my SIM card number for registration.
    • $39 per month for unlimited data plan and around $2/minute for phone calls.
    • I took an unlocked GSM phone with me and bought an AirTel SIM card. AirTel rates were 2 cents a minute domestic and 5 cents a minute when calling the states.
    • The message is unlock the phone. Don’t call using roaming.
  • Update from India
    • Demographic Bonus
      • Improved healthcare, followed by improved education, creates a peak of unencumbered youth who focus of jobs and career
      • Occurred first in the south of India (responsible for IT boom)
      • Next will occur in the north
    • Challenge for Education
      • If the demographic bonus is not educated and employed, it will be squandered
      • Can India meet the challenge in K-12 and post-secondary
      • K-12 challenge is to keep the students in school rather than drop out to help with the family business
      • Post secondary challenge is to make certain that graduates are employable
      • English and communication skills are a premium
      • Critical thinking and leadership skills are valued by industry
      • Traditional education is focused too much on memorization
  • The Indian Education System
    • India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States.
    • The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state.
      • Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.
      • As of 2009, India has 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 13 institutes which are of national importance.
      • Other institutions include 16000 colleges, including 1800 exclusive women’s colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions.
    • All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was established in 1987 to develop higher level technical education, including
      • Indian Institutes of Technology
      • Indian Institutes of Management
      • National Institutes of Technology.
    • Distance education in India is managed by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
    • Regulatory authorities like UGC, AICTE, and IGNOU are developing standards to accredit private Indian universities.
    • The standards of accreditation are being developed as we speak
      • Outcomes Assessment (critical thinking, communication, math, etc.)
      • Completion Rate
      • Placement Rate
    • Legislation is before the legislature now to open the entire system up to foreign universities. Regulatory authorities are developing methods to accredit or approved such institutions.
  • The Great Accreditation Debate
    • The US has the most robust educational system in the world because it is not run by the government.
    • Quality is ensured by accreditation agencies which are endorsed by the US Department of Education (approximatesl 80). Accreditation ensures academic quality. Accreditation is required to participation in the Federal Student Aid program.
    • States certify institution and are concerned with consumer protection issues. States grants colleges and university the right to confer degrees.
    • This system is called the Triad (Federal, State, Accreditation Agency)
    • Accreditation has both institutional and programmatic accreditation agencies.
    • There are two historical pathways for accreditation.
      • The first came from the public non-profit community which focused on education in the European tradition.
      • The second came from the perspective of career education.
    • Regional accreditation is the first and national accreditation is the second
    • What should be measured by the accreditation agencies?
      • Learning outcomes (Regional)
      • Completion rate (National)
      • Placement rate (National)
    • US Department of Education allowed the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) to rate accreditation agencies
    • Last year NACIQI was very critical of the regional accreditation agencies and focused on ROI issues like completion rate and placement rate.
    • These hearings were troublesome for the regionals and swift lobbying got the NACIQI disbanded and reformulated with larger board (6 appointed by Department of Education, 6 by House, 6 Senate). It is not met yet.
    • I bring this up because this divide must be healed. My vantage point in India made that clear.
      • The nationals must embrace Learning Outcomes because employers want employers who can think critically, communicate, a total human beings.
      • The regionals must embrace return on investment and provide better completion rates and placement rates.
    • The US can continue to be a beacon for the world in education, but we must clean up our act first.
  • Scientists discover water on the moon
    • Water is on the surface of the moon endash even in the hottest areas
    • Separate analyses using data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellite and two US spacecraft, Cassini and the Deep Impact probe, found evidence of water in the moon’s soil and showed it was widespread across its entire surface
    • Carle Pieters, lead scientist for the instrument used on the Indian spacecraft to make the finding, admitted: ldblquote This is not what any of us expected a decade ago.rdblquote
    • When the initial data showed evidence of water, the scientists tried to dismiss it as water residue on the spacecraft that had been picked up on Earth.
    • But the Chandrayaan data was then compared with decade-old data from Cassini’s 1999 fly-by and recent data from Deep Impact
    • The Cassini data was never examined to check for water on the moon, in part because it took years to calibrate its instruments to counteract the effects of Earth water on the spacecraft.
    • The moon’s water is located within two millimeters of the surface, but the moon is still quite dry, with about a liter of water for every ton of soil.
    • Even the driest deserts in the Earth have more water than are at the poles and surfaces of the moon.
    • The US space agency Nasa is in the midst of another year-long look at the lunar surface to prepare the way for a planned return of humans to the moon.