Tag Archives: free

C-DAC-ACTS Pune offers free IT courses for underprivileged minority students

To increase the opportunities available to poor minority students the Ministry of Minority Affairs of the Government of India has started a new initiative to offer job oriented training programmes through various institutes throughout India. Pune’s C-DAC, one of the premiere Government institutes for R&D in the information technology sector, will provide this training via their C-DAC ACTS (Advanced Computing Training School) center in Aundh, Pune.


ACTS is C-DAC’s existing insitute that provides IT training to graduate students. Here is an overview of ACTS from their website:

C-DAC Advanced Computing Training School (ACTS) was set up in 1993 to impart quality training in high-end technologies to existing and prospective users of advanced computing. Over the last sixteen years, the activities of ACTS have extended nationally through a network of more than 46 training centres spread across the country. C-DAC is committed to nation building through its Advanced Computing Training School (ACTS) and is the first Government Lab that has expanded its horizons globally, extending its high quality training services to countries like Mauritius, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Myanmar,Tanzania, Dubai and Japan.

Now ACTS will start offering free training under this new scheme. The objectives of the scheme are to assist students belonging to the minority communities by way of special coaching for Coaching/training for jobs in the private sector such as in airlines, shipping, fisheries, information technology (IT), business process outsourcing (BPO) and other IT enabled services job oriented courses as per the emerging trend of employment in the private sector.

More details of eligibility criteria are given here.

Currently, two courses (both are 5 month courses) are offered:

  1. Diploma in Embedded Programming. Minimum qualification BE/ MSC. This is a 5-month course.
  2. Diploma in Java Programming. Minimum qaulification 10+3(BSc)

For more details, and other courses offered, see the C-DAC ACTS ‘Coaching for Minority Community’ site

FREEconomics: The economics of free stuff

GNUnify 09 LogoLast week, SICSR (Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research) hosted GNUnify, a conference on open source technologies, which attracted hundreds of students and other open source enthusiasts. Shirish has written a couple of posts on his blog about the talks he attended – read those to get a flavor of GNUnify (day 1, day 2). Usually, the presentations and discussions revolve mostly around the technology, but I decided to talk about not the technology, but about the economics of open source in particular, and free stuff in general.

If so much stuff is being given away for free, how is it sustainable? Programmers need to eat, even if they are immersed in the ideology of the free software movement. Businesses who give away free services exist for making money. So it is instructive to follow the money trail and look at who is paying for the free stuff, who is making money and how. As more of the business world is pushed towards free (whether they want to or not), it is important to understand the various fine points of the economics and sustainability of this situation.

I’ve embedded my presentation below. If you are not able to see it, you can download the PDF.

If you can’t see the slideshow above, click here to view it online, or download the PDF

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InfoBeanz: Free web-based platform for “digital signage”

Have you seen the TV screens at McDonalds or Inox that are showing advertisements? Have you ever wondered what exactly it takes to set up a system like this – in terms of software, hardware, and how much it costs?

Well, I don’t know the general answer to that question, but Pune-based company InfoBeanz is trying to ensure that people don’t need to ever find out. Because they have just released a web-based software platform for “digital signage” that that allows anybody to this using any old computer and monitor (or in a pinch, even an old TV screen will do). No software download is required. Just upload the content that needs to be shown on the screen to InfoBeanz website from a regular internet browser (Windows XP+ and IE6+ only). Then hookup the screen to any computer (windows or linux) that is running any browser (IE or firefox) and point it towards the InfoBeanz site. The InfoBeanz webpage will display ads (or whatever the customer wants) on the screen.

All of this is available to anybody free of cost. Basically, InfoBeanz is trying to democratize the process of digital signage. According to their press release:

Globally players in this segment are charging a hefty price for their digital signage solution and licenses.

InfoSignz plans to serve the largest and the smallest of the digital signage customers across the world and aims to break the entry barrier of cost and proprietary hardware.

So how does InfoBeanz plan to make any money out of this venture? The standard open source model. From their FAQ:

There are various revenue models that we will earn money from. One of them is advertisements on the network. Another is paid premium subscription services.

The paid service will have enhanced file, playlist and location management features. Apart from that, the paid service will also have enhanced interactivity features.

The paid service will also be able to connect to the inventory backend of the customer. Consider this:

What use is it to keep on selling something that is not in stock? I am frustrated when there is a display in a store selling a 27″ TV for $149.99 but when I make up my mind to buy (after much haggling with my wife) the item is out of stock. The marketer was successful in capturing the moment of truth, but the supply chain guy missed out because the two of them did not talk after every piece was sold. The marketer not only lost out on selling something that is not even available, he could have shown something else and lost out on selling something which was readily available. Double whammy!!
How nice would it be if the display stopped showing the promotion related to the television when the TV went out of stock? Wouldn’t it be even better if the display started promoting something that was in stock?

When all the other systems are interconnected and act intelligently, why should the digital display network be treated poorly?

(From the CEO’s blog)

In general, I think this announcement is very cool from a number of perspectives. It is a new and disruptive way to enter into a field dominated by expensive and proprietary solutions. It is a leap of faith to be able to release a free product and hope that you can figure out how to make money later. It is also technically challenging to be able to deliver on the promise of “no proprietary hardware and no installation of software required”. And finally, scaling to the demands of all the freeloaders who will want to use this service will also be a challenge.