Tag Archives: internet

The Kathmandu Post interview: When blogs were Twitter and Facebook

Dinesh Wagle interview with the Kathmandu Post

The Kathmandu Post celebrates its (and Kantipur’s) 21st anniversary today by publishing a 16-page pullout on Nepal’s social media scene. The supplement, titled “Platforms of Change“, explores how Nepalis are using the Internet and its various platforms mainly to express themselves and to connect and share and debate. In the lead article ‘Teleprinter to Twitter’, Editor-in-Chief Akhilesh Upadhyay talks about the impact of technological changes (and a constitutional provision that guaranteed press freedom) in impressive expansion of Nepal’s media.

I was interviewed by the Post’s Weena Pun on my political blogging and journalism days.

Here’s the page as it appeared in the Post (PDF) and the following is the text:

When the then-king Gyanendra imposed his authoritarian rule in February 2005 and later clamped down on all private media outlets in Nepal, United We Blog became the go-to site for delivering uncensored political news. One of the two co-founders behind the blog, Dinesh Wagle, a former journalist with Kantipur daily, quit blogging for the site in 2012, after seven years of running it, but still blogs on his personal site. Wagle talked to the Post’s Weena Pun about his days as a journalist/blogger.

What is United We Blog?

It is a political blog—Nepal’s first—founded on my personal web domain in 2004. Initially it started as a forum to express private feelings and the daily grind lived by journalists and included stories by my friends Ujjwal Acharya and Deepak Adhikari and myself. Later, the site was hosted on blog.com.np and soon became the only uncensored source of political information in Nepal for a while in 2005.

Click on the photo to go to the article

Click on the photo to go to the article for background

Why did you decide to blog?

I was excited by the new medium of expression. In 2004, I had been a journalist with the mainstream media for seven years, and at that time, the new media was still very new in Nepal. Blogs were the ‘social media’ of that time. They provided additional and unlimited space for expressing ourselves, as opposed to limited print and air space of the old media. This ‘limitless’ space was the second reason for me to start a blog.

What has been the difference in your posts before and after the thenking Gyanendra clamped down on freedom of speech?

Before the royal coup in February 2005, our posts were mainly about what we did in our daily lives, whom we met and how we felt about the developments in our not-so-public lives. After Gyanendra imposed restrictions on freedom of expression, our blog posts became more political in nature and were aimed at challenging that stifling atmosphere and advocating for the restoration of democracy in Nepal. For us, freedom of expression and independent journalism became a mission. Soldiers patrolling newsrooms to impose censorship was a strange sight for us, and we expressed our dissent on our blog.

What is the difference between your work as a blogger and as a journalist? Continue reading

Nepal Telecom’s Improved 3G Service

Nepal Telecom's upgraded network now offers Evolved High Speed Packed Access data service.

Nepal Telecom’s upgraded network now offers Evolved High Speed Packed Access data service.

A week ago I posted an entry expressing my dissatisfaction with the Nokia Lumia 820 phone that I have been using since March. I wrote:

Everything’s fine [with the phone] except the 3G connectivity. Not sure if it’s the Nepal Telecom network (I would like to think so and not blame the phone itself as yet) but I have been unable to use 3G internet service on it.

Now I give clean chit to the phone. It was the faulty network of Nepal Telecom, the operator. Of late, NT has been replacing its old towers (called base transceiver stations) with new, improved ones. The result? My phone now picks up the super fast 3G signal in some areas of Kathmandu where the network upgrade has been effective. The news is that the NT will upgrade its network all over Kathmandu valley within a month: Continue reading

Connected in Kathmandu: Complaints and Compliments

By Dinesh Wagle

Soon after Tihar celebrations were over in Kathmandu last week I was in Thamel with a colleague who was leaving the newspaper for good. As he took his bike to a nearby parking lot I stood a few metres away from the entrance of the Roadhouse Café. I started fiddling with my phone. As soon as I tapped on the email application of the iPhone it caught six WiFi signals in the area.  I was astonished.

Not in Khan Market or Connaught Place in New Delhi (where I have been living for the past two years) have I received so many signals at once. Not in Paharganj, Delhi’s Thamel, the backpacker’s ghetto. Not in Park Street, Kolkata or Colaba, Mumbai. I am aware that it will be a gross injustice to Kathmandu if I compare it with some of the biggest cities in India. Kathmandu has suffered tremendously at the hands of incompetent, quarrelling and power hungry politicians. The overall politics of Nepal has become so disgusting that Kathmandu, the capital, has no option but to cover its face in shame. Kathmandu is a humiliated city. Humiliated by its politicians and lazy bureaucrats who are unwilling to think out of box. On the other hand, Indian cities have prospered under the stability that the relatively functional democracy provides.

Kathmandu connection kathmandu post 14 Nov 2010

Kathmandu Post. 14/11/010

A few days later I was pillion riding on the bike of a colleague in Tinkune. He showed me a few signboards that advertised WiFi connections. One signboard read: “You have entered Subisu WiFi zone.” (Subisu is a cable Internet service provider.) One couldn’t have expected availability of such services in places like Tinkune until recently. Dozens of ISPs have come up in the past several months in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal. Despite the bad politics the country has witnessed a silent revolution in telecommunication. We have installed a third generation mobile phone tower on a hill that is not very far from the Everest. Thank you, Ncell. Continue reading

फुटबल फेसबुकको भित्तोमा

facebook football_hello_friday

हेल्लो शुक्रबार: ठुलो पार्न क्लिके हुन्छ

दिनेश वाग्ले

एक्लै फुटबल हेर्नुको नमज्जा के भने ‘गोओओओओ….ल’ भनेर चिच्याउन नपाइने । सुन्ने कोही नभएपछि त्यसको के अर्थ ? आइभोरी कोस्ट र ब्राजिल भिड्दै थिए । फ्यावियानो र इलानोले तीन गोल ठोकेपछि खेल पूरै एकपक्षीय बनेकाले अरुचि जाग्दै थियो । रोमान्च थप्न अफ्रिकी टोलीले गोल फर्काउनैपर्छ भन्ने चाहना थियो । ड्रोग्बाले पनि एक हानिहाले । अनि ब्राजिलको परम्परागत समर्थक मैले टाइप गरेँ ट्विट्टरमा-GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!’ (इन्टरनेटमा ठूला रोमन अक्षरले चिच्याएको बुझाउँछ ।) त्यो ‘चिच्याहट’ तत्कालै ट्विट्टर र त्यसमार्फत फेसबुकका भँगालाहरूमा बग्दै सिद्धान्ततः लाखौं मानिसहरूका कम्प्युटर स्क्रृनमा देखापर्‍यो ।

फुटबल इतिहासमा हरेक विश्वकप कोशेढुङ्गा हुन्छ । करोडौं दर्शक उच्चाल्ने प्रदर्शन गर्ने खेलाडीहरूले एकअर्कालाई छक्याउँदै गोल गरेको या पेनाल्टी नछिराएको दृश्यबारे मानिसहरूले वर्षौं कुरा गर्छन् । यसपालीको विश्वकपचाहिँ ती सबै कुराबाहेक भुभुजेलाबाट चिनिने हो कि फेसबुक/ट्विट्टरबाट, म निश्चित भइसकेको छैन । भुभुजेला बजाउने दर्शकले पूरै रंगशालालाई एउटा ठूलो घार बनाइदिएका छन्, मानौं ती रिसाएका मौरी हुन् । उनीहरूको त्यो भुनभुनाहटले संसारभरिका थुप्रै दर्शकलाई दिक्क पारेको छ भने कतिपयले ‘त्यो अफ्रिकी फुटबल उत्साहको परम्परा’ भन्दै समर्थन गरेका छन् । रंगशालामा भुभुजेला प्रतिबन्ध गर्न फिफालाई अनुरोध गर्दै प्रतियोगिताको तेस्रो दिन मैले ट्विटेपछि बेलायतको योर्कमा बसेर वातावरण तथा राजनीतिमा पीएचडी भर्खरै सिध्याएका ललितपुरका महेश पौड्याल (twitter.com/mpoudyal)ले ट्विटे- ‘ओहो, मलाई भुभुजेला खुब मनपर्छ । खेल हेर्दा पृष्ठभूमिमा त्यो रमाइलो भुनभुनाहट ।’

football the facebook wall Kantipur

कान्तिपुर विचार पृष्ठ: ठुलो पार्न क्लिके हुन्छ

धन्यवाद ट्विट्टर र फेसबुकजस्ता सामाजिक सञ्जाल साइट (साससा) हरूलाई जसले संसारलाई खुम्च्याएर यति सानो पारिदिएका छन्, मानौं योर्क, दिल्ली र काठमाडौंका वासिन्दा एउटै कोठामा गफिँदै विश्वकप हेरिरहेका छन् । तिनले एकै समयमा एउटै बल (एडिडास कम्पनीले बनाएको ‘जाबुलानी’), एउटै खेलाडी (मानौं मेस्सी) र एउटै आवाज (भुभुजेला) देखिरहेका/सुनिरहेका हुन्छन् । तिनका प्रतिक्रियाहरू एउटै ठाउँ (ट्विट्टर र फेसबुकका भँगालो) मा आइरहेका हुन्छन् ।

‘नेपालेइडियट’ (twitter.com/nepaleeidiot) उपनामका नेपाली युवक भारतको कुनै सहरमा काम गर्छन्, विश्वकपका हरेकजसो म्याच हेर्छन् र तत्क्षण लागेको कुरा ट्विट्छन् । ‘नेपालबाट टाढा आफ्नो कोठामा एक्लै (फुटबल हेर्दा लागेका कुरा साझेदारी गर्न पाएकोमा) ट्विट्टरलाई धन्यवाद’, उनले एकदिन ट्विटे ।

वेब २.० भनिने अन्तरक्रियात्मक इन्टरनेटको जमानामा भएको यो पहिलो विश्वकप हो । १९९० को दशकको अन्त्यतिर चित्रसहितको इन्टरनेट ब्राउजिङ आए पनि २००० सम्म काठमाडौंमा त्यो केही अफिस या साइबर क्याफेमै सीमित भयो । २००२ को विश्वकपबारे नेपालीहरूले इमेलमा आफ्ना भावना साटे । २००६ मा फेसबुक अमेरिकामै सीमित थियो- कलेजमा । ट्विट्टर सुरु भएकै थिएन । धेरैजसो नेपाली तन्नेरी माइस्पेस र हाइफाइभमा हुन्थ्ये, तर अहिलेजस्तो विश्वव्यापी चाप साससाहरूमा थिएन ।

अहिले सबैजसो साससाले फुटबल केन्दि्रत पृष्ठ बनाएका छन्, प्रशंसकहरूलाई आफूमा बाँधिराख्न । ट्विट्टरको चित्ताकर्षक विश्वकप पेजमा खेल हुँदै गर्दा दर्शकले तत्क्षण गरेका ट्विटहरू त्यहाँ सलल बग्छन् । ट्विटहरूको त्यो बहावमा खेलप्रति संसारको प्रतिक्रिया झल्किन्छ । Continue reading

The Twitter World Cup #Football

the twitter world cup kathmandu post

click to enlarge

It feels like everybody in the world is in one room watching the match together.

By Dinesh Wagle

Every World Cup tournament is a watershed in the history of football. With the stunning display of human emotions and talents, the game rejuvenates millions of people around the world. Those who watch the games will talk about that magical goal by that particular superstar for months and years. Those goals or missed chances, in many ways, define that particular World Cup. I am not sure, as of now, what will define the 2010 edition: vuvuzela or Twitter. These are the two things whose association with the game evokes contrasting feelings in me. I dislike the “stadium horn” as much as I like the express-in-140-characters social networking site.

Vuvuzela-blowing spectators are like angry bees and wasps that make the World Cup stadium a giant hive. Some people have liked the trumpet that is apparently an integral part of South African football tradition. Many others have complained that the continuous buzz has ruined their viewing experience. On the third day of the tournament, unable to hold my frustration, I posted my displeasure on Twitter in all caps (the Internet equivalent of screaming): “#FIFA, WILL YOU PLEASE BAN THIS ANNOYING #VUVUZELAINSIDE THE STADIUM RIGHT NOW?”

My friend Mahesh Poudyal (@mpoudyal) who, according to his Twitter bio, is a “good listener, avid reader, lazy writer, enthusiastic photographer, technology/gadget freak, who is also trying to finish a phd in environment and politics” quickly tweeted back from York, UK: “oh, i love #vuvuzelas, great background buzz while i watch the match :)”

This and many other electronic conversations that I have had with many of my friends and strangers on Twitter have greatly enriched my World Cup experience like never before. This is the first World Cup that I am watching all alone in my quiet apartment in New Delhi. This is also the first World Cup to have happened in the age of web 2.0 which turns the whole world into a huge room. Viewers’ reactions on breathtaking dribbling and their excitement created by a stunning goal are shared not just among a handful of persons in a closed room. They are instantly shared with the world, thanks to the wild popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook.

I started watching the World Cup since 1990. I was in the hostel of a school in Kathmandu, grounded by viral fever yet rejuvenated by football fever, and the world seemed impossibly too big to be connected by a network of computers. I was in another hostel of a different school in the Valley during the 1994 tournament. Two of my classmates and I used to sneak out of the hostel to enjoy the midnight matches at home. The Internet was still far away. By the 1998 tournament, the expensive graphical browsing had arrived at a handful cyber cafés and offices in Kathmandu, but not in individual rooms of the general population. I shared my 2002 World Cup excitement by email, downloaded many photos of my favourite players and match schedules from web sites, and posted comments on some online discussion boards. Four years later, I posted my first World Cup entry (blog) on my interactive web site.

Still, viewing was largely done in a group of friends with occasional collective screams of “gooooooal” or the one that ends in disappointment like “gooooooal… bhayena!” While watching the match, we would talk endlessly about the players’ performance on the field, bet over the result and take sides vehemently to the extent that a certain level of tension and anxiety was created. On most of those occasions, the gatherings of friends were more entertaining than the game itself. Watching the game alone was unimaginable.

And here I am, in the solitude of my apartment, 1,000 km from home, doing that “unimaginable” this year. It would have been impossible for me to watch the games alone had there not been the Internet. With Twitter right in my hand (iPhone) or on my lap (Dell Vostro), the urge to share my excitement is never compromised. In fact, I feel, the sharing over Twitter (or the web in general) is much more informative and effective thanks to the lethal combination of Google, YouTube and news and specialist web sites. Sharing on Twitter isn’t limited to collective screaming (all caps) and expressing your mundane views. It also involves data, expert opinions, video clips of Maradona’s “hand of god” goal and magazine articles.

“I am a traditional #bra Brazil supporter :D. sympathies 4 #prk :D” I tweeted just before the world number one team faced North Korea, the last in the ranking. Along with that thought, I also retweeted a link to a Time magazine article (http://bit.ly/aWcxXE) which was tweeted by @nahsrad with these words: “Go, North Korea!”

Reading our tweets that expressed our support for Brazil, @yowlanku from Kathmandu tweeted to me and @jwalanta: “you on #bra Brazil side too!! :)” Bra, by the way, is the FIFA abbreviation for team Brazil. Twitter, where everything needs to be said in short, has popularised the abbreviation by assigning a cute flag of the country alongside when a hash tag is prefixed.

On the other hand, sensing that I was not rooting for Asian teams like #prk Korea DPR, #kor Korea Republic or #jpn Japan (meaning the two Koreas and Japan), @tajim tweeted to me: “there might be a reason for South not supporting North but we as Asian need to support all Asian Team…”

“I am more for underdogs and poor economies than for regionalism,” I tweeted back.

Then there is this @nepaleeidiot who tweets from somewhere in India about his impressions of the game that are enjoyable to read. Browsing the tweets that are posted as the game is being played in South Africa is quite an experience. One can see how the world is talking while the players are playing.

All these “twitteractions” with friends and strangers about the games during the matches have made me feel that I am no more alone in the room. It feels like the people of the whole world, from York to Delhi to Kathmandu, are in a single room and watching the match together. Everyone sees the same ball, feels the pain experienced by the same injured player and hears the same noise (argh, vuvuzela).

This article first appeared on the op-ed page of today’s Kathmandu Post

Interesting Nepal related Facebook groups

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

You might want to go through this article titled “Facebook आन्दोलन” in today’s Kantipur for reference. And please, enter your email in the box on the right so that I can send you my future posts in your inbox.

twitter intro of article(source, kind of!)

Facebook is becoming one of the most popular web sites in Nepal. Many Nepalis are using it. This entry, a supplement to an article that I have written on today’s Kantipur, is about interesting groups that are created by Nepali people or are related Nepal.

facebook movement kantipur HF 05Mar10

Click to enlarge (ठुलो पार्न तस्बिरमा क्लिके हुन्छ )

The global popularity of Facebook is suitably reflected in Nepali people’s usage of the social networking site. As it is with users around the world, majority of Nepali Facebookers are youngsters, young professionals and a lot of journalists based primarily based in Kathmandu (and other cities AND at least one in Jumla!). Over the past couple of years I have done a couple of stories about Facebook (and many more mentioning it). Every time a story is published, I receive comments from people who either didn’t know about the site but came to know about it from the story or just joined after reading the story. Actually same thing happens with any other story. Once I was very much into doing stories about Gmail when the service was recently launched or was getting popular in Nepal. Some of my colleagues in the newsroom still think my devotion to Gmail played some role in popularizing it. Continue reading

नेटपाली बानी

दिनेश वाग्ले
वाग्ले स्ट्रिट जर्नल
यो लेख पहिलोपल्ट आजको कान्तिपुर कोसेलीमा प्रकाशित भएको हो।

facebook
चित्र स्रोत

त्यो निम्ता रंगीन डोरीले बाँधिएको गाढा रातो खाममा आएको थिएन। त्यसमा लामो भूमिका बाँधिएको पनि थिएन। ‘विषय’ भागमा कालो बोल्ड अंग्रेजी अक्षरमा प्रस्ट लेखिएको थियो– ‘दीनबन्धु लंकेशले तपाईंलाई हाई फाइभमा साथी बन्न अनुरोध गरेका छन्।’ त्यसमा क्लिक गरेपछि देखिने मूल भागमा दीनबन्धुले सारमा यस्तै भनेका थिए– उनले हाई फाइभमा प्रोफाइल बनाएका छन् र मलाई साथीका रूपमा थप्न चाहन्छन् ताकि हामी तस्बिर साझेदारी गर्न सकौं र हाम्रो सञ्जाल बनाउन थालौं। पहिला म हाई फाइभमा सामेल हुनैपर्छ, त्यसमा भनिएको थियो, जसबाट मलाई प्रोफाइल बनाउन, तस्बिरहरू साझेदारी गर्न र साथीहरू खोज्न मौका मिल्नेछ। Continue reading

Feel Free To Browse The New York Times

Yes, now I feel FREE to browse New York Times on the Web! Thanks to NYTimes.com and and best wishes to the site to attract more visitors (to attract more advertisers to have more revenue)

It was disheartening and disappointing to learn about the Maoists drop out from the cabinet today but one news report brought smiles on my face. The headline: Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site. I was reading the web site of New York Times which is one of my favorite news sources on the Internet. But I always have difficulties in accessing some of its contents becasue of the pay service. Most of the time, I just purse my lips and start browsing other links. When I really need or want to do read them, I email the link to one of my friends in California who is a subscriber to the TimesSelect. He then sends article in my inbox. Last time, about a month ago, when I did the same, he sent a blog post instead. The title was: To De-select The Subscription Option Press Escape. The blog post said that the Times was soon eliminating its pay service TimesSelect and there was a link pointed to a New York Post article about the possible Times decision. Since then I was waiting for the official confirmation of that report by the Times. In the meantime, I even though that what if New York Times doesn’t eliminate the TimesSelect jus to prove that New York Post report was false!

I knew about the possible development about TimesSelect via a blog entry and in a letter to readers, Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com say that one of the reasons for the elimination of pay service was the growing influence and impact of blogs or Web 2.0 on the Internet. “Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs and other online sources.”

Paying for news on the web is a tricky issue even for the big players. The only successful pay news site is that of Wall Street Journal (not to be confused with Wagle Street Journal, Wall Street Journal is a world famous American business newspaper!!) Personally, I am very much against it (that is why you are reading this blog post for free ). First, I don’t have I money to pay. Second, I don’t have credit card. Even if I get one, buying news is not in my priority. By the way, to own a credit card, with lots of money in the account, is one of my unfulfilled dreams (one of them, owning an iPod was fulfilled some months back). The first thing I will do after getting hold my own credit card is log on to ebay.com and take part in auction and go to Amazon.com and order a book.

For people like me who are living in a third world country like Nepal, to log on to the site of New York Times is equivalent to taking part in the pay services like TimesSelect though I know I am not really the kind of audience that the Times is produced for or targeted for. It’s not cheap to have Internet connection on the first place. Still, being in a Third World country has its own advantages as well. For example, I didn’t buy any of the software that I am using on this computer for the last couple of years. We take software for granted as we think buying a computer (hardware) itself is a big thing for us and we think by computer it should mean both hardware and necessary software packaged into one. That’s why free things are welcome.

On Microsoft verdict in Europe

Another news report that caught my attention in the past couple of days was about the Microsoft by the second highest court in European Union. I had a kind of mixed reaction to the verdict that Microsoft had abused its market power by adding a digital media player to Windows, undercutting the early leader, Real Networks, New York Times reported. The court also ordered Microsoft to obey a March 2004 commission order to share confidential computer code with competitors. The court also upheld the record fine levied against the company, 497.2 million euros ($689.4 million).

My first reaction was: Why can’t Microsoft do what it was doing? After all, they made the Windows, not the Real Player or Apple. Why can’t Microsoft add a feature in their product? And why on Earth, or in the computer rather, should Microsoft share confidential code with competitors? Why? If people can’t compete, so be it. Let Microsoft rule the computer.

Second thought: well, may be Microsoft can’t dominate the computers like they are doing now! I know this thought isn’t very much convincing and I would be more than happy if some accidental readers of this post explain me. I also think that such feeling (first thought) might have come to me as I haven’t bought any software yet and have no idea about monopoly in software pricing.

Back to the TimesSelect: I want to say Thank You to New York Times for not just eliminating the pay service but also making available the archive for free. Another provision that really pisses me off that in the Times website is its free-only-for-seven-days policy. I not only get information from the Times articles and news but also learn about various aspects of journalism and writing skills. They also provide me important reporting tips and ideas.

I also hope that NYTimes.com will experience a surge in visitors, page views and overall traffic which will help the site to attract more advertisers which in turn will help the site and the newspaper to present more news and information from around the world to its readers around the world. That’s why I am linking to the standard first page of the article on NYTimes.com instead of one that displays the printable of the page that doesn’t contain advertisement. I will also continue linking to printable version as well for those like me who don’t always have fast internet connection. Didn’t get what I am talking about? Try this standard and this printable version of the same New York Times article about Microsoft verdict to find the difference!

Hurray! Laptops Go Wireless in Nepal

Theme of the blog: Now you can be online from anywhere in Kathmandu and 52 other districts of Nepal, thanks to the PCMCI card distributed by Nepal Telecom from yesterday

The season has started in Kathmandu (and other parts of Nepal) for laptops to go wireless. As I am typing these lines, I am elated to see a web page being downloaded with the wireless connection that I purchased today. 🙂 🙂 Feeling like flying over the sky thinking aloud: “I am freed from the world of wires.” Thanks to the PCMCI card that Nepal Telecom started distributing from yesterday in BICC, New Baneswor where Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) is organizing 13th edition of CAN Info Tech. I bought teh CDMA-based data card this afternoon for Rs. 8, 890 and installed it in my machine with the help of a NT employee. It feels so special to be connected wirelessly in Kathmandu. It was always a dream. Now, in principle, I can go online from anywhere in Kathmandu and other 50 districts of Nepal. Yes, I must carry this laptop with me and pay the bills. 😦

I am happy but I strongly feel that Nepal Telecom overcharged us. The pre-paid card that includes Rs. 500 equivalent of Internet connection (25 paisa per 100 KB), is very expensive and NT hasn’t justified why it is charging that much money. In addition to that, I had to make my voice louder when two employees refused to give me back the change. I gave them Rs. 9 thousand and they had to give me back Rs. 12. “We don’t have change,” said the man. “If you want change, give us the exact amount (Rs. 8, 888).” I thought that wasn’t a responsible way of handling a sales desk. They said that around 20 people bought the card today and none of them demanded the change. “So what are you doing with that money?” I asked them. The money would not go to Nepal Telecom. “Well what can we do as we don’t have any change,” the man said.

“I want the change back,” I kept insisting and another man came complaining about a different problem.

The younger man started looking into the safe box to look for the change and found Rs. 10! I was shocked with their behavior. “What is this?” I asked the man waiving two five rupees notes. He was quiet and quickly turned away from me.

While trying to install the card, it almost seemed that the card wasn’t working in my machine. I was frustrated. While sitting behind the NT desk in the Gandaki Hall of the BICC, I had to face so many curious visitors who were throwing one trillion questions about the CDMA and pre-paid mobile phone service of NT. There were no other NT staffs to deal with the visitor’s questions. That was a poor show on NT’s part. Thankfully, the card in my laptop worked and I quickly opened UWB, the homepage, and checked out WSJ and my Gmail account just to make sure I was getting things live from the web. Yes, I was!

Laptop owners lined up since yesterday in front of the Nepal Telecom stall as the Kathmandu Post had carried news about the card on front page. Since NT had announced that it had only 300 cards in stock, people were eager secure one for their machine. Two persons from our office, (Ameet Dhakal, news editor, the Kathmandu Post and Rajesh KC, cartoonist, Kantipur Publications) bought cards yesterday. In canteen yesterday afternoon, Ameet dai and I talked about accessing the web and chatting with people in different part so of the world from a paddy field in Jhapa! I am looking forward to use Internet from some of the strangest points in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal.

Inviting Nepal To Gmail: An Experience

Nar Phu blogs will be posted daily. Please check below

dinesh wagle gmail communication image

I emailed from new Gmail address two years ago to express my excitement to myself. And, as you can see in the photo above, in the next email I congratulated myself!

A new job is keeping me busy in the last few days. I have become a distributor of Gmail, so to speak. Four days ago I wrote an article titled “Jamana Gmail Ko” [Gmail’s Era] and I felt it was my duty to provide an email address at the end of the article so that readers who might want to give a try to the service but have no one to get invitations from would write to me. That’s what happened and I started getting emails in numbers that I hadn’t expected. I didn’t realize that so many people would be reading teh article or (even if they read) be interested in trying out Gmail. I had hoped to received a few dozens requests for Gmail invite but as of now, the inbox says there are about 500 messages. Five days after the article, requests are still coming in.

It’s a time consuming act though. Nevertheless, I am enjoying inviting these folks to the world of Gmail. This is also part of my passion of sharing information like in journalism. First, I shared the information I knew about Gmail with the readers of Kantipur and now I am sharing my Gmail experience with them by inviting them to join this cool email service from Google. Many of the requests contain interesting messages and those kept me smiling.

Here is the article that I wrote in Kantipur.

जमाना जीमेलको

दिनेश वाग्ले

एउटा पुरानो प्रश्न- कम्प्युटर निर्माता एप्पलका प्रमुख कार्यकारी स्टिभ जब्स र एक फेसन डिजाइनरबीच के फरक छ ? उत्तर- दुवै आफ्ना उत्पादनको बनावट र सौन्दर्यप्रति अति रुचि राख्छन् । आइपोडको कामुकता चर्चा गरी के साद्दे ? तर बितेका केही वर्षमा फेसनेबल, कामुक र लोभलाग्दो हुने दौड गुगलले जितेको छ । जीमेल पछिल्लो र सशक्त उदाहरण हो ।

जीमेल छैन भने तपाईं के ‘फेसनेबल’ ? ‘कुल’ कसरी भन्ने ? दुई वर्षअघि ‘अपि्रल फुल’ मा आएको जीमेलका फ्यानहरू भन्छन्- हटमेल र याहुमेलका दिन गए, जे छ जीमेलमै छ । हुन पनि जीमेलको दुई जीबी स्पेसमा नअटाउने कुरै के रह्यो ? अनि गुगलको चकित तुल्याउने खोजी-क्षमताले जीमेललाई पनि धन्य पारेको छ जसका कारण दुई वर्षअघिका सन्देश एकै क्लिकमा फेला पर्छन् । खोजी-क्षमताले हटमेल र याहुमेलको टाउको दुखाइदिएको छ, उनीहरू चुस्त हुने अभियानमा छन् । त्यसैले हालै हटमेलले ‘विन्डोज लाइभ’ ब्रान्डअन्तर्गत सेवा थालेको छ भने याहुले नयाँ डिजाइनसहितको इमेल प्रणालीको परीक्षण गरिरहेको छ ।

अन्य इमेल सेवामा नपाइने जीमेल सुविधा ‘च्याट’ हो जसका लागि मेसेन्जर चाहिँदैन । इनबक्समा छिर्नेबित्तिकै इमेल सूचीको बायाँपट्टी ‘सम्पर्क’ हरू अन/अफलाइनमा देखिन्छन् र च्याट स्वतः सेभ गर्न (या नगर्न) मिल्छ ।

सुरुवातमा जीमेल केही विवादमा थियो, इनबक्समा देखिने शब्द-विज्ञापनका कारण । जीमेल भण्डार हुने कम्प्युटरहरूले सन्देश स्वतः पढ्छन् र त्यहाँका शब्दसँग मेल खाने विज्ञापन दायाँपट्टी देखाइदिन्छन् । त्यसले प्रयोगकर्ताको गोपनीयता भंग हुने गुनासो आएको थियो । सन्देश मानिसले नपढ्ने तथा कम्प्युटरले स्वचालित रूपमा त्यस्ता विज्ञापन राख्ने भएकाले गोपनीयतामा कुनै समस्या नहुने जीमेलले बताएको छ । विज्ञापन सबै इमेलमा हुन्छ, झन् अरूमा ध्यान विकेन्दि्रत गरिदिने झिलिमिली ब्यानर हुन्छन् ।

प्रयोगमा सहजता र भण्डारण क्षमता जीमेलको सबैभन्दा आकर्षक पक्ष भएको यसका प्रयोगकर्ता बताउँछन् । सुनौं ओजस्वी राणालाई जो मलेसियाको एउटा कलेजमा ‘लिबरल आर्टस’ (स्नातक) पढिरहेकी छन् । ‘वास्तवमा धेरै स्पेस भएकाले जीमेल मन पराउँछु,’ जीमेल च्याटमा कुरा गर्दै ओजस्वीले भनिन्- ‘उसो त हटमेलले पनि धेरै स्पेस दिन्छ तर जीमेलले जित्यो । जीमेल सेवा छिटो छ । अँ साँच्ची, जीमेलमा त्यो च्याट प्रणाली समाविष्ट छ जो मेसेन्जर प्रतिबन्धित स्थानमा प्रयोग गर्न सकिन्छ । जस्तो, मेरो कलेजको पुस्तकालय !’ पहिलेदेखिका र धेरै सम्पर्क त्यहाँ भएकाले हटमेलको मेसेन्जर अझै प्रयोग गर्ने गरेको ओजस्वीले बताइन् ।

जीमेलेको ‘स्पेस’ दुई जीबीभन्दा बढी छ र प्रत्येक सेकेन्ड चार बाइट बढिरहेको छ । अर्थात् सन् २००९ सम्ममा जीमेल स्पेस तीन जीबी पुग्नेछ । ‘कुनै सन्देश मेटाउनुपर्दैन’ भन्ने जीमेलको नारा छ । ओजस्वीको जीमेलमा १ सय ७४ एमबी भरिएको छ । ‘चार महिनाअघि मैले असावधानीवश सबै इमेल मेटाएँ,’ उनले भनिन्- ‘नभए यसको झन्डै पाँच गुणा बढी थियो ।’ अरू इमेल प्रयोगकर्तालाई जीमेलले सुरुमा अचम्मै पार्छ । ‘लामो समयसम्म हटमेल प्रयोग गरेकीले जीमेलमा फोल्डर नदेख्दा अप्ठेरो लागेको थियो,’ ओजस्वीले भनिन्- ‘तर लेबलबारे मैले छिट्टै कुरा बुझें र यो सजिलो लाग्यो । सुरुमा स्पेसले चाहिँ मलाई साँच्चै उडायो !’

स्पेसकै कुरा गर्दा अब जीमेलमा वर्ड फाइलहरू पनि जस्ताको तस्तै भण्डारण गर्न सकिन्छ- इनबक्सको माथिल्लो भागमा रहेको ‘डक्स एन्ड स्पेडसिट’ मार्फत । ‘फरवार्डिङ’ सुविधाबाट कुनै एउटा जीमेलमा आएका सन्देशलाई स्वतः अर्को ठेगानामा पठाउन या आउटलुकमार्फत कम्प्युटरमा झारेर अफलाइन हेर्न सकिन्छ । हटमेल या याहुमा भएका सम्पर्कलाई जीमेलमा ल्याउन सकिन्छ जो जीमेल खोल्ने बित्तिकैको सन्देशमा हेर्न सकिन्छ ।

यति पढेपछि जीमेल प्रयोग गर्न मन लागे त्यो हुने साथीसँग निम्ता माग्नुस् । चिनेको कसैसँग छैन भने, विषय हरफमा जीमेल चाहियो भन्दै blogmandu at gmail.com मा इमेल गर्नुस् ।

Internet and email habit of Nepali people has changed over the years. More and more young people are becoming loyal consumers and heavy users of Internet and email in cities like Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Pokhara. They want to try out new technologies and services. I have found that the more and more young users are not just limiting their internet usage in Chats or messaging. In my interaction with young internet users in various cyber cafes in Kathmandu couple of months ago, many said that they were logging on to look for universities in the US or UK or Australia. Some of them wanted to be in touch with friends they made during their stay abroad.

Even if we are one of the poorest countries in the world, emailing has become a very necessary part of Nepali life; that is to say in the city area. I can’t imagine working without Email though we went through that horrible experience for a week following Feb 1, 2005 when King Gyanendra dismissed democracy, imposed autocracy and emergency, cut off telephone liens and switched off Internet connections. Emailing has emerged as new cultural phenomena in Nepal that is changing the way people communication. An email account is a must if you are studying in private colleges to be considered that you are not unfashionable. No email, you are considered backward. Young people have found it easier to communicate via email things that they can’t say in telephone. Instant messaging and chat are other examples. Not to mention the growing popularity of mobile SMS phones among youth.

Hotmail and Yahoo Mail are the most popular fee email service in Nepal. More than 95 percent of the requests I received were from Hotmail and Yahoo addresses. Sorry Bill Gates and Jerry Yang but Gmail is so cool that I want many people to try it once. I don’t mind if they don’t like the service and stick with old addresses. I have noticed that Hotmail and Yahoo have also upgraded their services and space which is definitely good.

So my friends were asking me if I was hired by Gmail as they saw me writing article on Gmail and inviting readers to it. No, I am not hired by Gmail or associated with Google. I wrote the article because I thought it was important for readers to know about the service and I gave the email address to make sure that those interested would get opportunity to try the service as it can’t be used without invitation.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Gmail (and Google in a whole) and I am immensely enjoying the service since the third week of April, 2004, 22 days after it was launched by the search engine company. I wrote an article in Nepal Magazine about Gmail at that time. My request to try Gmail for that article was reciprocated by someone at Gmail and I got the invitation from Google. I have abandoned Hotmail since then (though I have reactivated the account for reporting purpose) and I rarely use my Yahoo accounts. And I am totally into Gmail chat that is incorporated into the inbox. I rarely use MSN messenger (though I have been logging in to the service once a day these days for reporting purpose) that too with my own domain email address.

I have invited many people in Gmail and those I invited have also invited many others. Gmail network in Nepal is growing day by day. I think people will be enjoying Gmailing until a new service with better features comes into effect.

Note: Okay, if you still don’t have Gmail and want to give a try, email me at blogmandu (@) gmail.com. Don’t forget to mention “Wagle, Malai Gmail Chahiyo [I want Gmail]” in the subject line!