blog entry

blog entry

gps drawing - driving from work to home 25/02/2005

gps drawing - driving from work to home 25/02/2005

Originally uploaded by AliaK.

I'm trying out the 'blog this' feature from flickr to drupal. it's working well - I need to change the format a touch but that's hopefully just a bit of tweaking. posting some pics in random chronological order.

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blue sky in the cooler district

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Originally uploaded by AliaK.

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blue sky in Delhi

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Originally uploaded by AliaK.

blue sky in delhi, July 2006 - haven't seen blue sky in Delhi for a while so I just had to take a photo (any excuse). this is taken at work. the dishes almost blend in as clouds. it's taken from within the building so a touch unclear. but there was hardly any pollution in the air as well which is a change for Delhi also!

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recording skype audio for interviews

ok, here's a reply to a question about recording skype audio. I got it working on the mac with the ecamm call recorder software. I'll try the pc software one day too.

the notes are a little incoherent but I'll know what I'm talking about at least even if nobody else does and this is just a reminder for me.. perhaps it's time to start doing short/casual interviews/chats again..have been thinking about it..

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ok I tried it out and can't get it to work properly in skype. I think I'm confused with recordings as most of my recordings were with normal phone interviews and I used one of those dick smith phone condensors plugged into my along with my mic mixer which then was plugged into the line in on my laptop and recorded in soundforge or audacity. (I used to have soundforge years ago but then had to rebuild the pc and went to audacity as I lost the sf installer & audacity was free & worked well)

I did a search. on a mac, I came across ecamm call recorder which is about $20 but works for 7days trial to test with first. http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder

I just tried it now calling the Skype Echo / Sound Test Service
http://support.skype.com/index.php?_a=knowledgebase&_j=questiondetails&_...

this worked ok - my mic levels were really low but I think that's just this machine (still getting used to the audio on the mac - I seem to have one less input than I used to on a pc and don't have the wave mixer selection input). this app saves as a quicktime movie - there is also a conversion app to convert the QT file to mp3 (drag & drop) or u can do the normal export to wav/aiff in QT then open in itunes and save the file as mp3 to convert manually. it's actually handy to have it as a quicktime audio track as u can just paste in a video track / images over the top and the videoblog post is done for you (so u could have a videoblog post & podcast if u wanted to - though it's easy to do this manually also..)

http://www.echochamberproject.com/recordingskype has some instructions also - it was a fluke this page came up in the google results as I've helped out with transcribing one of Kent's interviews for his project so it's weird to see a google result for a generic search on a page u already use.

I tried it on the pc over the weekend but the audio stopped recording whenever I would speak so it was like only one worked at a time and they couldn't share the audio source. maybe skype did this on purpose so people wouldn't record calls/privacy issues. not sure.

these links might help - I haven't tried them but they sound like they will work:

http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2004/12/skype_podcast_r.php

http://www.henshall.com/docs/Skype%20Recording%20WinXp%2012202004.pdf

http://forum.skype.com/viewtopic.php?t=12788&postdays=0&postorder=asc&st...

i-Sound WMA mp3 Recorder
http://www.mp3-wma-recorder.com/

if u had 2 pcs u could feed the one making the skype call's audio out into the second one's audio in and record on the second machine. if u don't have a second machine, use a minidisc or other external recorder, then re-encode/re-record it back in (if not already in mp3/wav) - it's a messy & time consuming method but should still work.

let me know if u find a more elegant solution. I'd pay the $20 I think for the ease of using the software - it'll cost more in time & hassle to do it the longer way round & u might find it's more trouble than it's worth and end up not doing it (if u're anything like me! go for the easy solution)

http://del.icio.us/AliaK/skype -> I'm collating links here also for urls & info

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MSF plea for new AIDS drugs to be registered and available in Asia

This article is about MSF (Medecins Sans Frontiers aka Doctors Without Borders) claim that American drug manufacturer Abbott Laboratories are allegedly denying patients in Asia access to an improved version of the AIDS drugs lopinavir and ritonavir. These are apparently "important second-line drugs for people who have been on treatement for several years. The new version of the drug has advantages over the old version, including lower pill count, storage without refrigeration, and no dietary restrictions."

[quote]
"According to MSF, high temperatures and regular power failures are making storage and use of the older drug - the only one available - unreliable. And although the UN recently identified India as the country with the highest number of people liviing with HIV/AIDS in the world, the new version of the drug is not for sale."
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According to the article, apparently, it's not for sale as it wasn't registered in 'developing countries' and without being registered, it cannot be sold here. The old version of the drug is not even available in China (or the new version) because the drug company has not marketed to this country. Countries such as Thailand which also has high temperatures (30C most of the year) would also benefit from the new version of the drug. The old version of the drug is no longer available to the US market - MSF Thailand rep calls it a "second-best product" and I can understand his point. The drug company IS distributing the new version of the drug in Africa, but it seems that this only happened after a time consuming set of procedures were followed.

I took a look on the MSF website for more info and found a few articles here, here and here but I couldn't find specific information about it's release in India but there was an article about the drugs not being released in Thailand anytime soon so that's bad enough in itself. most of the MSF articles were about African countries. so perhaps India isn't counted as one of the 'developing countries'. still I think if the drugs were not available here and they obviously need to be, then they should be!

Over the last week there have been a couple of articles speaking about AIDS in India - one said that India has the largest population of people outside of Africa infected with HIV/AIDS. I read in one of the Sarai Readers that many people here have not even heard of AIDS so they are trying to educate more people. on the tv the other night was an ad for the Heroes Project in Delhi / India. from their media campaign page :

[quote]
Media Campaign

The Mass Media Campaign seeks to create widespread awareness on HIV/AIDS, promote positive attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS, and influence groups to change high risk behavior that make them vulnerable to the infection. It will use a series of public service announcements (PSA), online and print content, television and radio programming as well as several educational events to do this. In order to best address HIV/AIDS through the various mass media, Heroes Project has developed a strategic communications approach to address diverse groups such as sexually active men, married women and youth across all levels of society.

One of the main objectives during the course of the mass media initiative is to expand and coordinate the campaign with a range of media partners. Areas of association and activities within these partnerships include amongst others:

* Pledging airtime/space for release of PSAs, which will be available rights-free to all.
* Developing original programming formats.
* Incorporation of HIV/AIDS storylines into existing programs such as serials, reality shows and documentaries.
* Support for journalist programs and enhanced news and editorial coverage - employee sensitization.
* Orientation workshops for creative content development.

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the UN AIDS website released a report - here's a media summary listing some numbers - http://www.unaids.org has the full report and more info.

from http://www.unaids.org/en/Regions_Countries/default.asp

[quote]
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has just over 10% of the world’s population, but is home to more than 60% of all people living with HIV—25.8 million.

In 2005, an estimated 3.2 million people in the region became newly infected, while 2.4 million adults and children died of AIDS.
Asia

In 2005, some 8.3 million people were living with HIV in Asia, including 1.1 million people who became newly infected in the past year. AIDS claimed some 520,000 lives in 2005
[/quote]

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update 10/07/2006

ok, I don't feel as bad now about the decision making policy of the Times newspaper editors on what should be front page news. the front page of the Times International this morning had the article "Latest AIDS treatment is a daily pill" and spoke of the new drug being available in India shortly. I don't think it's the same as the one MSF are referring to, but hopefully it'll be of some help to the people here.

Khakranagla village - prositution is the tradition for women here

I can't find the online article for this one yet.. will search later this week and re-post if they upload it.

A Rajasthan village where prostitution is tradition
by Saira Kurup / TNN
from Sunday Times of India, New Delhi
July 9 2006
page 7

[quote]
" Bharatpur: Khakranagla village is only about 200 km from Delhi. Yet, the village is a microcosm of rural India - ramshackle houses, non-functional primary school and no health care facilities. Electricity arrived here just two years ago. But what makes it different is that it's inhabited by a number of families of the Bedia caste who have, for long, been identified with prostitution.

Traditionally, Bedias and Nats were dancers in Rajasthan and MP. Being entertainers, it was customary for the women and girls to perform for feudal lords. When the zamindari system was abolished, they lost their patrons. Over time, a number of Bedia women were compelled to take up prostitution for economic reasons and the men lived off their earnings.

Adolescent girls are initiate into the family 'tradition', while their brothers become 'agents'. They may practice locally, on highways, or in big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai as bar girls or in brothels. Marriage is rare for the girls, but once married, they aren't permitted to take clients.

According to Prof K K Mukherjee, former head of department of social work, DU, "There are 91 families in Khakranagla. Of these, 75 are of Nat, bedia and Guijjar castes - 46 of them engage in sex work." Mukkherjee heads an NGO that's trying to prevent young girls from taking up prostitution in eight villages in Bharatpur district.

In a 2004 study of sex workers in India, which he undertook on behalf of the Department of Women and Child Development, Mukherjee found that the number of Bedia sex workers in Delhi's red light area, G B Road, was increasing. He attributes this to loss of livelihood, established networks and men's interest in continuance of the system because of easy availability of money.

Classified as a Scheduled Caste, Bedias may be deemed poor. But in Khakranagla, there are signs of a consumerist lifestyle coming up - multi-storied houses, linoleum floors, young girls in capris and mobile phones.

However, more than the need for income, the community is worried about social ostracism. Villagers say they don't receive ny benefits of the reservation policy. Ravinder Kumar, an unemployed graduate, says, "The moment they (employers) see the Bedia name, they set aside our job applications." Kumar says no person from the village has been able to get a job with the Rajasthan government. Bedia children are taunted and discriminated against in schools, he adds.

Kumar's brother Om Prakash, a former panchayat samiti member, says, "Don't give us money. Give us work. Give us our own leader. We don't have any political representative to speak fo us." He asks, "Why are we being stigmatised when there are other castes doing the same work?"

They claim that mindsets are changing - some girls in the village have got married, while some 80 young girls from nearby villages study at a residential school run by Mukherjee's NGO in Roopvas village. There are parents too who want daughters sheltered from their lifestyle.

But gaining social acceptance is another battle altogether. "
[/quote]

wow. my mind was racing whilst reading this article. it's just SO FOREIGN to me. for a start I don't understand all the different castes here in India and why, in this day and age, that they are still around. when you talk to people at work they say there's no caste system any more, but they each know what caste they are from.

just the fact that these women have had to support themselves and men from prostitution and pass this on to their daughters is crazy to me. plus the fact that villagers are discriminated against for being Bedia and cannot get work. there's just so many things worng with all the things mentioned in this article! and perhaps it is naive of me to say that, after seeing how some people live here in Delhi, but it shouldn't be this way!!! and I'm surprised and disheartened that locals here don't put an end to it. it can't all be the government's fault as seems to be the case (or at least they are blamed) for other conditions.

I'd like to find out more about the NGO that is working with the women and people of the village. googling the village name returns no results as does searching for the Professor's name and NGO.. I'll try contacting the paper for the journalists name, perhaps they know the name of the NGO.

and another thing.. how ironic is it that this article in the paper lies next to the 'Check Mate' dating and matramonial advertisements, and a couple of columns next to an ad for Ganga International School where "your child is our child" and "SUNCITY Jaipur" - "A contemporary township that's ready to create history". under the article is an ad for "Canton City" - "A luxurious township"

craziness

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in the news this weekend - 7-9 July 2006, Delhi Times of India

The Times of India reported a few stories today that caught my attention.. I don't get time to read the papers during the week and I never really read them at home in Australia or even UK, but here in India I've been catching up with local news and reading (incredulously) some of the articles over brunch on the weekends. (split over a few blog posts so easier to read)

first up, "Powerless : Delhi's Worst Crisis", an article describing the powercuts over the past weekend and how it is causing problems in some of the local suburbs which were without power anywhere between 8-15 hours! interesting that the article mentions the problems started last monday - I've been here since april apart from a week back in sydney and it's been happening since I've been here, albeit for a few minutes at a time.

Water supply too down to a trickle - this problem seems to be happening everywhere. Delhi's meant to be drenched in monsoonal rain at this time of year but so far there's only been a few showers. Today was drizzly, so perhaps the rain is on it's way, though a couple of weeks ago the papers were saying the monsoon had been cancelled in Delhi this year.

This article was interesting - basically it came down to the availability of infrastructure in Delhi and Mumbai, with a growing number of high tech / IT companies setting up offices in Bangalore as well. The two main methods that companies use to operate in India are (1) ..."through a branch, project, liason office etc. These offices engaged in trade, research, consltancy, trade promotion, etc, could also remit their profits outside India". and (2) .."through joint ventures or 100% wholly-owned subsidiaries. Once registered and incorporated as an Indian company, they are treated like any other company."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1717369.cms

Will the office ever die?

This was another tech/business article about working from home now and in the future. It's an issue in Mumbai at the moment. Due to the monsoon, many people had 2-3 days at home last week as the city was flooded and they could not travel to work.

another crazy thing is, that the fluffy articles such as the ones above can be found on the Times of India - Delhi website (even if they are cut-down versions compared to those in the printed paper), but the ones which I think are of more importance such as the villager women & prostitution and lack of aids medication for Asia are not found on the site. perhaps I'm not searching hard enough or they were sourced from an external source which doesn't allow publication on the internet, or they were summarised to 'fill' the paper? who knows.

http://flickr.com/photos/aliak_com/tags/delhinewspapers/ has more photos of other headlines in the papers this week

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Birdy Nam Nam video on YouTube - turntablism extraordinaires!

this crew is great! so musical & very creative

thanks to idiotproof for posting the link on Stealth board.

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