TV is dead. The Internet is alive.

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TV is dead.

This whole conversation about whether we should have local content on hypothetical local TV channels is quite irrelevant.

The Internet, and YouTube in particular, has replaced TV.

Young people don’t watch TV. Even old people are watching less TV given the prevalence of tablets and smartphones. Read this Business Insider article.

Vint Cerf interview on Knowledge7.TV

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Engineering is the art of turning science fiction into reality says Dr Vinton (Vint) Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

In September 2013, Christina and Avinash Meetoo of Knowledge Seven, did an interview with Vint Cerf. He talks about the importance of the Internet, creativity, entrepreneurship and what young Mauritians should aspire to. He puts a lot of emphasis on good education and the need to really master science, mathematics and, specifically, engineering.

He strongly believes that competent Mauritian engineers can make a difference.

Visit www.knowledge7.tv to watch the video.

Two powerful Gimp plugins: Liquid Rescale and Resynthesizer

Whether at home or at work, I rely on Gimp a lot for my image processing needs.

Out of the box, Gimp has a lot of powerful features but, as it is an extensible software, people can add plugins to it to make it more powerful. Yesterday, I came across two excellent Gimp plugins, Liquid Rescale and Resynthesizer, which I would like to share with you.

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Liquid Rescale: this open-source plugin resizes pictures non uniformly while preserving their features, i.e. avoiding distortion of the important parts. In the example above, the picture has been enlarged while the lady has been preserved. I’ve spent some time with the plugin last night resizing some of my pictures in both the x- and y- directions and the results are impressive.

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Resynthesizer: this other open-source plugin restore missing parts in an image. In the example above, the image was rotated and, consequently, some parts were missing (the lower left portion for instance). Resynthesizer can create the missing part from surrounding pixels very quickly. I’ve done some tests last night and the generated portion seamlessly flows into the existing part. Here is an excellent tutorial.

Installation

I run Fedora and both plugins are in the official repositories. For me, this command did it:

yum install gimp-lqr-plugin gimp-resynthesizer

I suppose Debian and its derivatives should have the plugin too. As any open-source software, installation from source is also a possibility.

Have fun!

I want my kids to be hackers

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I have just stumbled upon a nice article on how kids don’t really understand how computers work.

As the author writes in his conclusion, “I want the people who will help shape our society in the future to understand the technology that will help shape out society in the future. If this is going to happen, then we need to reverse the trend that is seeing digital illiteracy exponentially increase. We need to act together, as parents, as teachers, as policy makers. Lets build a generation of hackers. Who’s with me?”

His point is that, while kids are becoming fantastic users of computers (i.e. they can do Facebook using the left hand while playing Angry Birds with the right), only few of them actually understand computers. And this is going to be detrimental in the future when (i) the kids will be adults making decisions and (ii) computers will be everywhere.

There is an element of truth in that. I want my kids to be hackers. Like I was at their age!

Hurray! We are, once again, below average!

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Rejoice fellow Mauritians!

Once again, we’re below average in something important: the speed of Internet in our beloved country.

According to the latest quarterly report by Akamai which is summarised in this post, the average global (i.e. worldwide) download speed is now 2.9Mbps.

Most Mauritians I know still subscribe to Mauritius Telecom’s MyT service at 1Mbps (I do…) which costs around Rs 1099 per month. Only few of us can afford the 2Mbps and 4/Mbps (available at around Rs 1649 and Rs 2649 per month!).

This means that, for a majority of Mauritians, we have only one third of the average global (i.e. worldwide) download speed others are having. This is abysmal in our age of reliance on the Internet for everything we do: learning, working and entertainment.

Hurray!