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Indonesian farmers reaping social media rewards

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The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani meets the Indonesian farmers using social networking to make the most of their produce.
Indonesia is an economy on the move these days – and fast becoming one of the most technology-savvy countries in Asia.

Just look at the facts – Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest users of Twitter. It is also home to the world’s third-largest group of Facebook users.

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Blackberry maker Research in Motion counts Indonesia as one of its most lucrative markets – and other gadget-makers are eagerly eyeing the upwardly mobile Indonesian consumer.

There’s even talk of a Silicon Valley-style boom taking place in Jakarta’s suburbs, with the likes of US tech giant Yahoo snapping up an Indonesian start-up.

But while urban Indonesians are considered to be as plugged-in as their counterparts in Singapore or Seoul, out in the countryside, it’s a different story.

Challenging existence
Just venture a few hours outside Jakarta, the capital, to the village of Kadaka Jaya, and it is easy to see the digital divide.

The further you drive up winding roads, the worse your mobile phone signal gets.

It’s hard to spot a telephone tower anywhere, but for miles on end you can see emerald green paddy fields peppering the hills.

It is peacefully quiet – a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta.

From a distance, I saw a lone Javanese farmer sitting in the middle of his field, presumably for a leisurely afternoon snooze.

Ade, 24, uses technology to monitor demand for his chilli crop
It’s thought that almost half of Indonesia’s population of 230 million make their living from the land – often a challenging existence that depends on the whims of the weather and the prices of the markets.

It is in Kadaka Jaya that I meet Ade, a dynamic and bright 24-year-old farmer.

Ade has followed in the footsteps of his family, tilling the land the way so many before him have done.

Crop prices
Now though, change is coming to Kadaka Jaya.

“As farmers we constantly need new technology to improve our livelihoods,” Ade tells me, as he takes a break from picking ripe chillis.

“There’s no way for us to tell what consumers in the cities need, or when the products we want have arrived at the stores in town. We have to keep calling the shopkeepers to find out, and phone networks in this area are patchy.”

Mathieu Le Bras is the founder of 8villages, a social network for farmers
This gap between the rural and the urban is where technology start-up 8villages saw an opportunity, using mobile phones.

“8villages is a business social network for farmers,” says founder and chief executive Mathieu Le Bras. “It provides them with a link to local buyers, their local sellers – and other farmers who are growing the same crop as them.”

Ade is one of 900 Indonesian farmers testing the product free.

“It allows me to access information about fertilisers, pesticides and the prices of crops,” he says. “So now when I need information, all I have to do is wait for an SMS from 8villages.”

The plan, according to Mr Le Bras, is to take this nationwide within the next six months – and even further, to farmers in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Close interaction
Mr Le Bras acknowledges he has drawn from his experience with social networks in urban markets – but insists there are already established networks in the countryside that his product is tapping into.

The peaceful Indonesian countryside – not your typical technology hotspot
“Social networks are paramount in the countryside,” he says.

“People interact closely here, social status is very important – and the influence of a senior farmer plays a very important role in the community.”

That’s why 8villages has a service that allows farmers to enter a code on their mobile phones and access product reviews by senior farmers – taking the whole “like” concept offline.

Mr Le Bras says this is key to the success of the product, and why the farmers are now far more efficient.

“What we are doing with this is leveraging the social networks we know – like Wikipedia and eBay for example – and taking it online, so that the farmers have access to the knowledge.”

New consumers
It’s not just start-ups that are looking to tap the huge potential in the Indonesian countryside.

Global handset maker Nokia offers the Life Tools service, costing about five US cents a day.

For that, farmers with a Nokia handset get a text message about crop prices and weather patterns, a service the company says had more than 600,000 users in Indonesia in 2011.

But Nokia’s country head Martin Chirotarrab says the plan is to keep expanding its reach in the countryside.

The 8villages system was tested by its eventual users – the Indonesian farmers
“We have over seven billion inhabitants in the world,” Mr Chirotarrab tells me at the Nokia headquarters in Jakarta.

“Roughly half of them have a device in their pockets. But only a billion of these consumers are on the web. Nokia’s plan is to connect the following billion consumers to the web.”

Both big businesses like Nokia and start-ups like 8villages want many of those new consumers to come from the Indonesian countryside, but this is unlikely to happen overnight.

Phone networks in many districts remain patchy, and telecom providers have yet to make it a priority to extend them.

But this is changing – although very slowly – because of the vast untapped potential that companies are now beginning to see in the Indonesian farmer.

culled from: BBC Techonology News

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Mobile Platforms

IOS APPS ON MACS? GEE, THAT FEELS FAMILIAR…

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Well, gang, it’s official: Cross-platform convergence is now both magical and revolutionary.

Apple, in case you haven’t heard, is taking a serious step toward bringing its mobile and desktop platforms together: At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference adjective-shouting extravaganza this week, the company announced a plan to let developers bring iOS apps onto MacOSstarting next year. So, yes: That means the Apple faithful will soon be able to run iPhone-like software on their regular ol’ keyboard-packin’ computers.

Pretty spiffy idea, right? Mobile software, on the desktop! Just think of the possibilities. But wait: Why does something about this seem so eerily familiar?

Oh, right — because it’s exactly what we’ve been watching take shape with Android and Chrome OS over the past several years.

Now, before you grab the nearest suit of armor and novelty foam sword, hang on: I’m not here to play a game of “Who Did It First?” Let’s be honest: That kind of talk is pretty tired at this point. Some years, Apple borrows heavily from Google; some years, Google borrows heavily from Apple. Sometimes, the inspiration-lifting is for the better, and sometimes, it’s for the worse. I’m not an intellectual rights attorney (thank goodness) — and from a normal user’s perspective, the arguments over who copied whom are equal parts boring and irrelevant.

What I do want to discuss is how much Apple’s move validates the approach Google’s been pursuing for some time now — and, at the same time, how its implementation of the idea is both similar and simultaneously different.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Apple, Google, and the tale of converging platforms

We’ll start with Google. The move to bring Android apps to Chrome OS began in earnest in 2016. (Yes, the work technically started two years earlier, with the beta-wearing “App Runtime” project — but that was basically just a test, with significant limitations and nothing even close to a polished or mainstream-ready experience.)

For Google, the notion of bringing two platforms together was nothing short of transformational. Chromebooks had traditionally been cloud-centric computers — a model that provided some enticing advantagesover traditional PCs but required you to rely mostly on web-based software like Google Docs and Office Online. Realistically, that sort of setup was more than sufficient for the vast majority of modern-day computer users, but it also left a fair number of gaps in what a Chromebook was able to do.

By allowing anyone to install and run almost any Android app while still maintaining Chrome OS’s security, simplicity, and speed-related advantages, Google accomplished several significant things: First, it redefined a Chromebook’s possibilities and limitations, making the devices more compelling and feature-complete for an even broader array of users. (On a smaller and much more specifically targeted scale, the current move to allow Linux apps on Chrome OS serves a similar purpose.)

Beyond that, it essentially created a whole new category of device — the Chromebook/Android mashup. That’s something we’ve seen progress considerably over the past couple years, as the hardware has slowly caught up with the software and convertible Chromebooks have effectively become the new Android tablets.

And last but not least, it created an ecosystem like no other. Developers could build and publish a single app and have it be available to the world’s largest mobile platform and the world’s increasingly dominant desktop computing environment. As long as the apps are built with responsive design and with a handful of form-specific optimizations in mind, it’s a single, streamlined process with minimal extra effort involved.

Significant as those first two points may be, we can’t underestimate the value of that last one — the ecosystem expansion. Remember, Chromebooks are hugely popular, particularly in schools. And developers tend to go where the users are. For the first time, Google could actually overcome its chicken-and-egg problem and have an existing audience that’d entice developers to craft large-screen-optimized apps — apps that, by their very definition, would straddle the lines of two overlapping ecosystems and benefit Android and Chrome OS alike.

Apple’s approach is a bit different. Unlike Chromebooks, Macs already run traditional desktop software. Unlike Google, Apple already has a successful tablet platform. And unlike Google, Apple doesn’t currently offer touch-enabled Macs — another one of those classic “it doesn’t work” declarations from Steve Jobs, way back when — and even if the company does eventually come around to rethinking that stance, it doesn’t seem likely that it’d look to phase out or de-emphasize the iPad anytime soon.

What Apple does share with Google, however, is the ecosystem part of the equation. Apple is all about the ecosystem, in fact, and it has been for a very long time. Google is the relative newcomer to that kind of focus.

So Apple, like Google, stands to benefit by aligning its platforms (a familiar phrase, no?) and making them more similar from a user’s perspective. It’s no secret that people adore their iPhones and the apps associated with them. Making MacOS follow iOS’s lead in some ways and allowing users to run familiar mobile apps within it will make the Mac feel more consistent and connected with the iPhone — and thus could make it more appealing both to current users and also perhaps to those who don’t presently own a traditional laptop or desktop computer.

Apple, like Google, could also benefit from energizing its desktop software ecosystem and giving developers added incentive to focus on that form. It may not be entirely comparable to Google’s Chrome OS situation, but the idea that development on the desktop side of Apple’s ecosystem is stagnating compared to the mobile side is a pretty common theme of discussion these days. Bringing iOS-like apps onto Macs could go a long way in reversing that view.

Perhaps most critically, aligning the ecosystems provides yet another piece of ammo for the famous “lock-in” weapon: You’ve got the environment you know and love and the apps you know and love on your iPhone and/or iPad — and now on your Mac, too. Just like Google is aiming to accomplish with Android phones and Chromebooks, our investments in these ecosystems are more expansive than ever — which, of course, means we’re more likely than ever to stick with whichever ecosystem we choose and continue to buy its associated products year after year.

Interestingly, Apple and Google also share the same persistent view from pundits that “the two platforms must be combined!” — a view that no level of adamant denial or ongoing evidence to the contrary seems able to extinguish.

Converging platforms, diverging paths

One thing the two companies don’t fully share is the specific approach to bringing mobile apps onto the desktop. Google, fitting with its general ethos, has established a bit of a free-for-all with Android apps on Chrome OS: By default (unless a developer explicitly disallows it or an app is inherently incompatible due to hardware requirements), most any Android app can be installed on a Chromebook. The Play Store you get on a Chromebook is quite literally the same Play Store you get on a phone.

So everyone is in, more or less — and it’s then up to each developer to optimize an app and make it excel in the large-screen, keyboard-and-trackpad-using form. Or not. Most apps work well enough on a Chromebook out of the box, and in some scenarios, it’s clear a developer went the extra mile to really make the experience shine. Either way, you can find plenty of useful titles that add meaningful value to the Chrome OS environment.

But you can also find plenty of apps that clearly weren’t made to run on that type of hardware — where even the most minimal amount of effort is painfully lacking — and those apps, while technically compatible with a Chromebook, are incredibly awkward and unpleasant to use. (Hi, Instagram!)

From the sounds of it, Apple is taking the exact opposite approach: The door will be closed by default — and the MacOS-iOS collection will consist only of apps optimized for the traditional computer form. That’s why Apple is releasing only its own iOS apps for the Mac to start and will be working with developers to optimize their apps for the desktop over the months ahead.

“There are millions of iOS apps out there, and some of them would be great on the Mac,” Apple Chief Shirt Unbuttoner Craig Federighi noted during yesterday’s announcement. The emphasis there is mine, but the message is clear: The entire App Store won’t — and, in Apple’s view, shouldn’t — be coming to the desktop.

Apples and oranges

So which approach is better — Apple’s or Google’s? The reality is that each seems to have its own set of pros and cons, and it’s tough to label either one as a definitive “winner.” Google’s implementation brings a massive number of new applications into the desktop environment and then puts the onus on the developers to make the experiences shine. The result, as we’ve established, is a bit of a mixed bag: You have tons of possibilities, many of which are valuable (with or sometimes even without form-specific optimizations) — but you also have apps that are just plain clumsy and out of place.

Apple appears poised to offer a more strictly curated selection of apps, allowing only those with form-specific optimizations into the mix. That should create a more consistent level of quality and experience, which is obviously a good thing, but it’ll also mean some apps that might be more mobile-specific and not likely to be optimized probably won’t become available.

Who cares? Well, consider one example: Apps like Netflix and YouTube are readily available via the web and don’t seem like the types of titles that’d receive the full desktop optimization effort or the Apple stamp of “great on the Mac” approval. But running the mobile apps on the desktop gives you the unique advantage of being able to download videos from those respective services for offline viewing — a handy little loophole crafty Chromebook users have certainly come to appreciate.

When you stop and think about it, the differences here are very much analogous to the differences in the two companies’ broader approaches to mobile app distribution: With Apple, you get a more closely controlled selection, which forces developers to comply more closely with guidelines and (in theory, at least) creates a more consistent experience. With Android, the less closely controlled gates mean more variance in the level of experience within — but that also means the door is open to more advanced and interesting types of creations that wouldn’t make their way past Apple’s gatekeepers.

I think most reasonable people would agree that Google could stand to gain some of Apple’s quality control and ability to get developers to follow its lead, while Apple could stand to loosen things up at least a little and allow some different types of tools into its closely walled garden.

Neither scenario is perfect, but both serve to accomplish the same goal — one that, in this wild new cross-platform world, seems both sensible and inevitable, regardless of which ecosystem you prefer.

 

 

 

 

Source: Computer World

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CEO's

WHY THESE 9 CEOS BELONG ON THE WORLD’S GREATEST LEADERS LIST

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In our current culture, CEOs arguably command more power than respect. You can blame that in part on the light-speed exchange of information in the digital era. As Fortune‘s Geoff Colvin writes in the introduction to this year’s World’s Greatest Leaders list, “Easier access to information for customers, competitors, and others causes industry dominance to change more quickly, corporate life spans to decline, and executive tenures to shorten.” What’s more, unflattering news goes viral in an instant.

Nonetheless, year after year there are chief executives whose impact, not just on their own companies but on the world around them, is so significant that they deserve to rank among the greats. Our annual leader list spans politics, the arts, activism, sports and the nonprofit world, but each year, many business figures shine in this particular galaxy. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is one of only two people who have made all four editions of our list. (The other is Pope Francis.)

Here are nine private-sector CEOs who made Fortune‘s 2017 list. (For the rest of the list, click here.)

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Tech News

JOSE MOURINHO DISMISSES CONCERNS OVER MARCUS RASHFORD’S DEVELOPMENT

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Jose Mourinho has played down concerns over Marcus Rashford’s lack of game-time at Manchester United as the World Cup approaches.

Rashford has not started a league match for United, who face Crystal Palace on MNF, live on Sky Sports Premier League, since Boxing Day and has found his first-team opportunities limited following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.

However, Mourinho insists Rashford remains firmly part of his plans at Old Trafford and he expects the 20-year-old to be part of Gareth Southgate’s squad in Russia.

“No, I don’t reassure anyone,” Mourinho said. “The main reassurance for him is that he is always selected.

Mourinho insists Rashford is a key part of his squad at Old Trafford
Mourinho insists Rashford is a key part of his squad at Old Trafford
“There is not one single match when Marcus is not selected to start or to be on the bench. When I see you sometimes put in doubt if he is going to be selected for the World Cup or not be selected.

“You know, if the national coach trusts him, he selects him. It doesn’t matter if he plays or doesn’t play.

“There are many examples of players who don’t play for their clubs at all and they go to the national teams.

Gary Neville insists Marcus Rashford is firmly in Jose Mourinho’s plans at Man Utd and that it is normal for a young player to come in and out of the side.
“You have the example of (Sergio) Romero, who is the second goalkeeper at Manchester United and the first goalkeeper for such an amazing football country like Argentina.

“In your own country, you have examples of players who play even without scoring a goal in the Premier League.

“So, it’s up to Gareth Southgate. If he trusts him, he selects him. It doesn’t matter if he plays or if he doesn’t play for Manchester United.”

Rashford burst onto the scene with a series of crucial goals during the 2015-16 season under Louis van Gaal, and the England international cemented his place in the United first-team with a solid campaign last season in which he scored 11 goals for the club.

“At his age, what he’s doing is more than enough and the experience he’s getting at every level is more than enough for us to be happy with what we think is going to be his future,” Mourinho said. “It’s as simple as that.

“But because he had such an impact at the beginning, probably people expect him to play even more than he does and score even more than he does and perform even more than what he does but it is not so simple.

The 20-year-old is expected to be part of England’s squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia
The 20-year-old is expected to be part of England’s squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia
“What I see makes me really happy, to see the same boy. When you ask me about (Scott) McTominay, I spoke about McTominay as a boy before he was a player and Marcus is the same.

“What will keep them in the right direction, what will make them have that stability to improve is what they are as boys. And Marcus is a fantastic boy,b also very grounded.

“For sure, we love him, and we believe in him, and he’s going to have the chances.”

 

 

Source: http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11667/11276870/jose-mourinho-dismisses-concerns-over-marcus-rashfords-development

 

 

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