Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Korean Cyworld - commercial blogging: "Cyworld is a popular site that provides personal homepage services. As of yesterday, the site surpassed 10 million members, or more than a quarter of the South Korean population. Within just a few years of launching, it has become an important part of mass culture. Cyworld's main feature is a type of Web log called a "mini hompy," short for mini homepage. Like other blogs, users can create various Web boards, produce online photo albums, and upload other content. Its specialized content includes a "mini room," which users can decorate with items from a cyber shop. Arcade games and music can also be bought to be included in one's hompy. These are bought with acorns, which cost 100 won (9 cents) each. Currently, Cyworld earns about 150 million won a day from acorn sales."
I was a Cyholic: Good description by a young user, with screen shots and insights into the social processes cyworld builds on (vanity, status-seeking, and even the pleasures of being stalked).
A recent essay by Clay Shirky provides a valuable counterpoint. Looking at mailing lists and SlashDot, he notes how a focus on personal computers and individual users obscures what they are used for. Networked computers are less like "boxes" than "doors" into a social space. Simple means and rapid experimentation can create a lot of value. 11:01:31 AM
In some nations, the rise of 'shortgevity': "It's an article of faith among most 21st-century humans that life is getting longer. In the last three decades, the average life span at birth has increased from about 60 years to 67 years worldwide, a remarkable achievement. But in two dozen countries, human life spans are shortening." Article has table of several countries. In US from 1970-2000, L.E. grew from 71.5 to 77.1 years.
"Today illicit drugs and alcoholism are still major social ills in the [former Soviet] region. But the outlook has begun to improve as those countries stabilize socially and economically, though longevity rates have still not returned to their peak levels of the 1980s.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the picture remains alarming. Experts attribute much of the problem to the HIV/AIDS epidemic there, which accounts for 25 million of the 40 million cases of HIV/AIDS in the world. According to the latest United Nations Human Development Report, life expectancy in Zimbabwe plummeted from 56 years in 1970-75 to just 33.1 today. Zambia went from 49.7 years to 32.4 in the same period, Lesotho from 49.5 to 35.1, and Botswana from 56.1 to 39.7. ..
Every year of life expectancy gained is estimated to raise per capita gross domestic product in a country by about 4 percent. That's prompted some researchers to question whether development aid to Africa, only about 10 percent of which is aimed at improving health, is being properly spent. It's in everyone's interest "to overcome what I call the 'longevity divide,' " Dr. Butler says. While the per capita GDPs of sub- Saharan countries have not dipped as dramatically as their longevity rates, that measure can be deceiving, Hill says. The deaths of young adults have reduced the labor force, but that has allowed survivors to pick up extra work and boost their own earnings. Thus, the fall in per capita GDP doesn't look so bad." 12:19:55 AM