A Wonderful Attempt

Roman to Nepali Unicode Converter launched today is simply a wonderful attempt that will help to grow Nepali language websites.

When I opened the mailbox this morning there was a mail from Nepali Unicode Project. It was about the Roman to Nepali Unicode Converter. I didn’t understand it first but when I visited the website (www.unicodenepali.com), I was amazed to see what it was.

When opened the site is two panes – the left is for typing Nepali in Roman (for example Ma Nepali Hun) and the right pane will convert it into Nepali unicode format. It allows people to type Nepali in Roman and get that in Nepali unicode and I hope this will not only make easy Nepali blogging for the people like me who don’t know Nepali typing.

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For Bloggers & Journalists

Let me share two emails I received today. One is from someone called Mark and its about a free blog host. I haven’t tried it yet but the advertisement suggests its promising:


Free Blogs, Done right. No Registration Fees. No Banner Ads. No Popup Ads. No Spyware. No Censorship. User Friendly Interface.WYSIWYG editor for writing with easy adding of picture and sound file. Integrated Media Management. Podcasting, automatic thumbnail generation, mass uploading of files. 60 Templates. Easy Trackbacks. Multiple User Blog.

Check it out.

The other is from UNESCO mailing list. Its about a book that UNESCO has just published – The Net for Journalists: A Practical Guide to the Internet for Journalists of Developing Countries. The pdf version can be downloaded (2.1 megabytes). Its written by Martin Huckerby. The table of content looks quite impressive.

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Welcome to Blogosphere!

The population of the blogosphere – the virtual world of the blogs – is 26.1 million. Blog, the shortened form of web-log, was the hottest Internet technology in 2004 which grew and matured in 2005 to become a household name.

The debate of whether blogging is journalism or not is over, as the critics have settled on the pendulum – in some cases, blogging is journalism, and in many, it’s not. The Pulitzer Prizes announced that they would accept online materials along with print ones in its journalism categories, starting with the 2006 competitions.

For many bloggers, blogging is a hobby, something that satisfies their soul by opening up their hearts. But blogs are more than that. Blogs are used for advertising or keeping intact the relations with their customers by corporate offices by what is called corporate blogging, for campaigning or advocacy, and even by many newspapers to tell the audience why something got published and others didn’t.

Instead of writing something, people record their thoughts and put them up (called podcasting) and upload the video (vblog). Blogs primarily are personal sites containing mostly news, called posts or entries, regularly updated, in the form of a diary with most recent posts at the top of the page and allowing visitors to instantly publish their comments. With many free services and tools available for blogging, it can be set up easily and is as easy as creating an email account.

For democratic nations, blogs are the media’s watchdog. In the countries with suppressed media, blogs are heralds of the freedom of expression. During calamities, like hurricanes or tsunamis or earthquakes, they are sources of firsthand information. Blogs are personal, thus biased and subjective. That very characteristic of it makes it better than traditional media in such incidents. What people prefer to read during such calamities – how many died and what are the police and government saying, or how the people are experiencing the incidents? Blogs go for the latter.

In 1998, there were just a handful of sites of the type that are now identified as weblogs, so named by Jorn Barger in December 1997. But within a few years, blogs became the buzzword – millions of people turned bloggers. Blog directory sites and blog search engines emerged along with free blog hosting services. Many freeware scripts for bloggings were introduced and the blogosphere was thus formed.

Blogs nowadays are personal identities – if you aren’t blogging, you’re missing something. Blogging is simple and blogging is easy. Blogging gives an individual an opportunity to tell the world what matter to him/her. As the heralds of free expression, blogging can take on any subject in any style and any frequency. That makes blogging popular to millions of people, and it looks like the fever of blogging won’t go down for a few years on.

Free Blog hosts
(Sites where you can register and begin your own blogs for free)
Blogger, Blogspot Logo
Free Blog scripts
(Software to be installed in your own site for blogging, all of them require php installed and MySql database)
Wordpress logo
WordPress – wordpress.org
B2Evolution – b2evolution.net
MyBloggie – mybloggie.com
Nucleuscms – nucleuscms.org
Serendipity – s9y.org

Blog jargons
Blog – Short for Weblog: A website that contains written material, links or photos being posted all the time, usually by one individual, on a personal basis.

Blogger – Person who runs a blog.

Blogosphere – All blogs or the blogging community.

Blogroll – List of external links appearing on a blog, often links to other blogs.

Moblog – Contraction of mobile blog: A blog that can be updated remotely from anywhere, such as by phone or a digital assistant.

Permalink – Contraction of permanent link. Web address of each item posted on a blog.

Photoblog – A blog mostly containing photos, posted constantly and chronologically.

Podcasting – Contraction of iPod and broadcasting. Posting audio and video material on a blog and its RSS feed, for digital players.

Post – An item posted on a blog. It can be a message or news or just a photo or a link. Usually a short item, including external links, that visitors can comment on.

RSS feed – The file containing a blog’s latest posts. It is read by an RSS aggregator/reader and shows at once when a blog has been updated.

Trackback – A way that websites can communicate automatically by alerting each other that an item posted on a blog refers to a previous item.

(From Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents published by Reporters Without Borders)

(As published in the CityPost of The Kathmandu Post today.)

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Curfew! Curfew!! Curfew!!!

On the day when the capital city saw curfew imposed from 8:00am to 6:00pm, what to expect from the Nepali bloggers other than their experience about the curfew. For me, it was a bad day without the mobile and even internet (its just because I didn’t noticed that yesterday was the last day of my subscription!).

United We Blog! featured a photo entry with seven photos of the day. And a running blog by Dinesh Wagle about the condition of the city. Deepak Adhikari too wrote his experience about the curfew yesterday. Pradeep Chand rounds up many issues including the curfew. Deelip talks about his day under curfew.

During last two days, I could not put up the Best of Blogs and a few blogs I really liked to put includes one by Tajim about Future of Nepal. He presents eight alternatives one of which could happen in Nepal. Three interesting pictures taken at Basantpur yesterday is here.

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Bloggers in Mainstream Media on Blogs

Nepali blogosphere has just been created as a year ago, there was merely one or two blogs run by Nepalis. Blogs was a new word of technology. But now, the scene is changing with many, specially journalists, jumping into blogging. And, the journalist bloggers are not only blogging, they are looking to use mainstream media (MSM) to spread the words about blogging in Nepal.

The story of MSM publishing blog article begins with Kantipur daily when something encouraged the most popular Nepali daily to publish an article by Dinesh Wagle as the main piece in the expression page. Dinesh, who is co-founder of United We Blog!, the pioneering blogging site in Nepal, wrote a story about blogging which was much on international scenario. It was published on February 16, 2005.

I myself then wrote an article for Nepal weekly, the popular newsmagazine by Kantipur Publications in March, 2005. It was one-page write-up titled ‘Internet’s Open Diary’. The article attracted Martin Chautari, a forum of discussions, and asked us to give a session on blogging.

The next was by Anbika Giri, who still contribute to United We Blog! in Samaya Weekly newsmagazine in July, 2005. It was a two-page write-up with photos of some of United We Blog! bloggers with black band on mouth to protest the media ordinance. Titled New Source of News, the article dealt mainly with United We Blog! and how it rose to limelight establishing itself as a freer media during the time of press censorship.

KP Dhungana, the co-founder of BloggerNepal, then wrote a half-page article on Rajdhani daily. It was all about Nepal’s blogs with a little history of blogging. I don’t quite remember the date and sadly I could not find it Rajdhani’s website.

The latest in the line is Umesh Shrestha, the MeroSansar blogger. He has written a two-page article on Himal fortnightly – a very popular newsmagazine. Titled, Alternative Journalism: Blog, it is about history of blogging, Nepali language in blogs and has a list of freehosts and Nepali blogging sites. Although, it has prominently mentioned United We Blog! as a pioneering site, it has however missed to put the URL in the article.

In between, when United We Blog! organized a dinner program to celebrate its anniversary, Kantipur Television made a feature news on blogging with interviews of Dinesh, me and Umesh. Also, there was a good coverage about ‘blogging basics’ in Nepali Times weekly titled Why You Can’t Ignore Blogs Anymore by Aarati Basynat.

It looks like Nepali MSM are helping Nepali Blogosphere grow.

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Why Freeware is Free?

Many computer users have probably pondered why there are so many free programs – also called freeware – available? Why would freeware programmers spend countless hours for free at all? And for their dedication, users are happy to see so many available programs suiting their needs without having to pay a single paisa. Freeware also competes with commercial products and sometime are even better, but costs nothing.

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Little Things Journalists Can Do

I know as a journalist the happy moment is when somebody talk back about something s/he has written. Even better is when somebody acts positively after the writing appears. Same happened to Deepak. He wanted to write about a girl in Magaltar, Kavre who has been tied whole time since she was senseless – unable to reason. I accompanied Deepak for the tour, and he wrote from the angle which I loved. There were stories about such patients being tied up and always the angle used to be about the girl or boy’s right; they always criticized the parents for doing so and not providing treatment. Deepak thought from the point of view of parents. As a parent, what can you do other than putting her in chain after several of your treatment missions failed? I think I never complimented Deepak for the angle but I loved it.

After the story was published, a lady doctor provided treatment to the girl free of cost and Deepak has come up with that in his blog. Giving a New Life is about his writing helping the girl. He has photos of the girl before and after treatment.

And, lo and behold, she is now freed from chain. I came to know that she’s also cured from epilepsy. The before and after pics tell you a lot. Here, I would like to thank Dr. Aruna Uprety and Rural Health and Education Service Trust (RHEST) for being Good Samaritans.Hats off to you. I am also thankful to blogger and The Katmandu Post reporter Ujjwal Acharya and photojournalist Bikash Karki for accompanying me to the place. They didn’t complain when I had less-than-enough money to support the travel expenditure.

There are little things our writing can do.

Along with the happiness to seeing the new photo of the girl, I was made sad by two photos at UWB! that presented relatives of the killed policemen. The result of violence – I wonder when the conflict will end and we will be able to live in peace.

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The Nepali Irony: Living in Darkness

Nepal is the second richest country in the world (after Brazil) yet we are forced to spent a few hours everyday under darkness. Anbika Giri, in UWB!, writes about loadshedding in the town.

Nepal is second richest country in water resource in the world. Sounds good but reality? We are facing load shedding, we have no drinking water, and we should have to depend on sky raining for our croups. We are rich?

Deelip talks about a story in the religious ceremony that he heard and ask if the moutains are made up of somebody’s bone. The story of Swasthani, read daily for a month of Magh (current under Nepali calendar), has it. Deelip feels its ridiculous.

Lord Bishnu put them [two demons] on trap [by asking a promise] and said,” So i wanna kill you guys, You guys have did swear remember”.
They finally agree with him and bishnu killed them. then their blood made oceans , their bones made himalaya , their muscles made land . Then their was made a environment for living beings. Then Lord Bramha started to produce living beings.

Deepak gets lucky as a journalist because his medical fees for the checking of his knee pain has been waived for his story about doctors. Sounds great!

He said: “Don’t charge him, he’s our great friend.” I blushed in his compliment.

Among Nepali language blogs, NepalBlogs has an entry written by journalist Harihar Singh Rathore about Internal Security in Conflict Journalism. He enlists a few website useful for journalists working on conflict area and says that both the state and rebels have started avoiding fair local journalists.

Umesh has a video Prachanda, the rebel leader talking on an Indian channel. Chij had videos and news gathered about the New Buddha. I myself wrote about the Buddha Boy after visiting his place a few weeks ago. BloggerNepal writes about mismanagement in the National Football League in the country.

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Nepal’s District in Saudi Arabia!

Confused! Well, a news entry in Laliguras says that Nepalis from Rauthat district living in Damam of Saudi Arabia have formed a committee and held the first assmebly. I know that many Nepalis are seeking jobs abroad dur to lack of employment opportunities and conflict in the country but didn’t thought that so many from even a district (Nepal is divided into 75 districts) would gather to a city in a Gulf country to held an assembly and form a 13-member committee.

Tajim accounts his experience of coming back to Nepal and how people are being cheated by Internet Service Providers in his hometown Butwal. Deepak describes his day – pain on his knees and wait to meet Sister Nirmala.

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Changing Trends in Online Media

… of Nepal (obviously)!

It looks life Year 2006 will redefine the online media in Nepal. With the popularity of blogging growing in 2005 and Google Adsense giving a few bucks to the website owners (even there is rise in the online advertising), mainstream news sites are also trying to go up in competition.

On the eve of 2006, a few mainstream news sites were launched including promising NepalEyes.com and NewslineNepal.com. Both of them do not have the backing of any established print media as in case of newsofnepal.com or rajdhani.com.np or thehimalayan.com. The earlier two are nothing more than the online version of their print editions while the latter updates regularly. There are many more online sites of newspapers. But I would love to see Newsline and NepalEyes doing good because they offer fresh opinions and interviews or articles. In the case of news, I don’t think they can do much.

I didn’t mentioned Kantipuronline.com which has been newly re-launched as ekantipur.com. On the day of new year, ekantipur was re-launched but sadly it was the launch of design rather than content. With so much resources available with them, ekantipur could have left all other far behind, but that’s not the case. NepalNews.com contines to dominate the online media market.

Talking about blogging, 2005 was a year that saw blogs rising from a position of non-existent. Its good to see more Nepali language blogging than English language and I hope they will further grow to form a thicker and louder blogosphere. Currently, I believe there are around two dozens regular blogs operated by Nepalis. Its good to see citizens coming forward establishing participatory media but none-the-less I am not satisfied with the way they have focused on the disseminating current affairs only and they surely lack the personal ‘subjective’ touch which I feel is a most for blogs.

The most interesting development on online media in the new year though is the registration system implemented by Nepalitimes.com. The popular weekly magazine’s online version is now subscription service. For now, you can register for free for a year’s service. I see this as a step forward to establish a pay-online media. Surely, Nepali Times wanted to count on how many regular visitors they have and will surely be forwarding emails asking if they are ready to pay in coming days.

It looks like online media is taking shape in Nepal and the coming years could see more of such newsites emerging.

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Journalists in Conflict

Aha! It’s sad to read such experience but journalist Nagendra Upadhyay’s writing in BloggerNepal after being freed from 166 days of prison reflect how difficult the condition is for the journalists outside Kathmandu. Upadhyay recalled how the Maoists forced him to accompany them in the ambulance to the hospital and how the security system in the country reacted after knowing that he accompanied them.

It is not just Upadhyay’s tale but the experience of every reporters employed in Maoist affected area. The entry is in Nepali and I hope someone will translate it into English so that the world could read how hard its for a journalist in Nepal.

And Deepak wrote yesterday about his hectic schedule as a journalist.

Nepal Info has an interesting fact. Compared to the world’s richest country’s president George Bush, King Gyanendra of Nepal earned 10 times more. Our King earning is Rs. 619,100,000 annually which is 19,878 times more than the average earning of a Nepali.

I missed it but Ratnapark, another Nepali blog, is being updated regularly.

To conclude, HK Nepal published a new about suicide commited by a 14-year-old girl in Kanchanpur. The reason: she was denied living with her lesbian friend!

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Picture of True Nepal

I am undecided after seeing two pictures posted by Tajim with a question: Which is true Nepal?

Tajim Blogs

Above two pics shows the actual reality of today’s nepal . Those in ‘called Catmandu’ rock there night with high voltage sound parties and the one in villages have to face the brutality of rebels.

United We Blog! too has a photoblog with recent photos making news from around the country. Pradeep Chand writes a short entry on Nepal’s IT scenario.

Laliguras reports a Losar celebration in Saudi Arabia. I am really happy that the organizers awarded a letter of appreciation to Laliguras for its contribution in disseminating news from the Arab. Blogs are being recognized! Umesh Shrestha has a video blog of his new year celebration in Pokhara.

Deepak Adhikari has begun jogging early in the morning for health. He quotes a popular saying: Early to bed and early to rise, makes man healthy, wealthy and wise. But for someone like me who surf internet aimlessly until its at least 12:00 night, rising early in the morning is a dream. I wish I could do something for my increasing body weight.

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Wikipedia: Gratis, Brobdingnagian & Popular

WikipediaWikipedia is the free online encyclopedia. You’re free to use it, and moreover, you’re free to edit it. It’s proud to introduce itself as the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Users’ ability to add new to or edit the existing articles has not only made this five-year old project a huge success but has also drawn a lot of criticism. Since anyone can edit it, the critics of wikipedia believe the information is not as accurate as it should be. A recent article by the popular Nature magazine compared 42 science articles of wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica and found that the open-source had 143 errors whereas the hugely popular paper encyclopedia had 123. It was considered a victory for wikipedia and proof that having expert editors and specialized writers doesn’t ensure accuracy.

Criticize it or praise it, but wikipedia today is the popular online resource for many, giving the updated information free of cost. The English section contains 902,000 articles and there are more than 200 other language versions of it (of course, with fewer articles than in English). There is even a Nepali version, http://ne.wikipedia.org, which has only 55 articles with 69 registered wikipedians – the volunteer editors who write and edit the articles.

More than 83,000 users have registered for wikipedia and their contributions have made wikipedia, now run by the non-profit organization Wikimedia, the world’s largest source of encyclopedic information.

Wikipedia was founded as an offshoot of Nupedia, a now-abandoned project, to produce free encyclopedias. Nupedia hoped to use highly qualified writers to produce free encyclopedias but didn’t progress much. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Nupedia, decided to use wiki, a collaborative site allowing users to edit the contents. Nupedia used wiki on January 10, 2001 – exactly five years ago. Five days later, due to resistance on the part of Nupedia’s editors and reviewers, the wiki project was named wikipedia and launched on its own domain.

As a wiki page, wikipedia has to resist the users who “vandalize” the contents. In response to the criticism and vandalism, wikipedia has now a system that allows users to visit the earlier versions of any article, allowing reverting of the vandalism.

The nature of wikipedia makes it weak in some areas. The radical openness may mean that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state, such as in the middle of a large edit, a controversial rewrite, or recently vandalized.

The propellers of open source and free expression nevertheless see wikipedia as free from the western points of view. The critics look at articles on some controversial topics. However, wikipedia is nevertheless a valuable resource on the Internet, full with links that help users to immediately access further resources on any given topics.

(This is a piece I wrote for The Kathmandu Post‘s City Post. City publishes a cyber post every Tuesday, and I hope to contribute regularly.)

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What India Says?

United We Blog! has the transcript of the interview given by Indian Ambassdor to Nepal Shiva Shankar Murkherjee to Vijay Kumar for the Kantipur Television talk show – Frontline. Today’s main news on The Kathmandu Daily is based on the interview. Kantipur daily published Nepali version of it.

What we do not agree with is a monarchy that is political player that is competing for political powers with political parties. That role should belong in multiparty democracy to the political parties and representatives elected by the people of Nepal.

Nepal Info had an article based on an interview with popular human rights activist Krishna Pahadi. He talked about the current situation in the country. BloggerNepal says they are planning to go podcasting and has a podcast about the conflict in Rastriya Prajatantra Party.

Umesh Shrestha has an entry about how the people in Dharan used (misused?) technology to vote for a local in a television program called Nepal Star similar to the American Idol or Indian Idol. Deepak Adhikari bids adieu to his editor in Au Revoir, Sudheer!

You have probably heard about blogs as a citizen media. Here is an informative entry about four types of citizen journalism.

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