Summary of the event
The summer camp, held at the Abu Dhabi Indian Islamic Center on 25th July , 2001, started at 8pm on a high humid evening with around 45o C. The hot climate had a severe influence on the electronic devices to be used in the program.
However, the show began with a ‘comforting song’ displaying the exotic pictures of their homeland on the huge screen. ‘Wherefrom the Arabian leader felt the cool breeze coming, that is my homeland, that is my homeland’ – These lines made the audience forget the heat and humidity around them. It was like a cool breeze when they saw the Green Dome on the screen?
‘Before stepping ahead to demystify the web, we need to know what is Information. Information is, in the words of a mathematician, the reduction of uncertainties (as quoted by Bill Gates in The Road Ahead).
For example, if you already knew that a summer camp was being held this evening, and a friend comes telling you about this, it is no information. But if your friend tells you about the details of today’s program, which you were not aware, then that becomes information. Information eliminates all the uncertainties in your scope of awareness and offers a definite answer.’
‘Although Information technology is a vast field ranging from Pocket PCs to Satellite Systems, tonight’s focus will be on the Net, the most happening part of the IT. Never in history has such a medium benefited the common man. The net is for the common man, not the high-techs. It is for expressing and enhancing your creativity.
But the big deal is not learning technology, but using it for the betterment of humanity. The more earlier you adopt it, the better.
The first topic in the IT seminar was about the basic elements in a website. The case was explained with the aid of Jaihoon homepage.
‘The logo is the pictorial form of the brand. It speaks about the philosophy of the website and is usually placed on the top of the homepage. In case of Jaihoon, it is a globe with a river inside it. The name Jaihoon refers to a river located in Turkistan.’
‘These are the different sections within the site. In Jaihoon.com, the first of the menu are the links to the five different scholars who have shaped Jaihoon’s pattern of thought. The next are the Elegant Pearls for the women related content, Bouquet, Showcase etc.’
‘You let the fate take you when you are unsure of the destination. This is an automatic script, which chooses a random page from the multiple topics.’
Jaihoon: How do you inform the visitor that something new has come up on your site?
Audience: ‘Through email’
Jaihoon: ‘Yes, but for that you need to have the visitor’s email address. The visitor has to submit it in your site. And for such a transaction to happen, the visitor should TRUST your site’.
Web designing is essentially a process of creating trust in the minds of the visitor between him and the website. The focus should be on the right content, relevant to the philosophy of the site. The visitor should be able to form a relationship with the content on the screen and identify himself in accordance with it. This gives to rise of ‘Relationship designing’ similar to the concept of ‘Relationship marketing’.
‘For the newbies on net, it is advisable never to give your personal email on any site that you do not trust. Your email that is given freely can become a commercial property for the website.’
This is the section where visitors can leave a remark, good or bad, about the pages they have just viewed. Some sites give an option to view other’s comments as well. Commercial sites refer to Guestbook as ‘Customer comments’.
This gives an overview about the philosophy of the website. The objectives of the website are clearly stated and also the person/people behind the work.
This is the PR link of the site where visitors can know more about the site. Mostly only the email is provided. Some companies also provide fax, postal address and telephone numbers as well.
A break minus net
For the sake of a break from the technical issues, the little audience was told the story of the monkey that appeared in the desert creating havoc in the neighborhood. ‘Monkey’s Day Out’ brought out a lot of laughing faces when they were shown the photos of the tailed creature.
After the break?
Net challenges Economics
‘The net has challenged the age-old concepts of economics. In the dot-com business the four factors of production is different from the traditional business model.
Land in the traditional model had to be of ‘significant size’ whereas the Dot-com model requires the size of a table only to operate.
Labor had always been intensive in traditional economies. In the dot-com model, a single individual or a few persons can run a successful business.
Capital was always must for the companies to start. There was no question of a company being born without sufficient capital in the beginning. But in the Web-based businesses, capital can be mere ‘pea-nuts’. There is no need for heavy investments as such.
When it comes to enterprise, web-business requires only the minimum.
The net has proved very effective for companies in maintaining customer relations. B2C model has cut expenses related to mailing product catalogs and support etc.
Dreams Shattered: The end of free ride!
With the popularity of the net, many .com companies started flourishing. Everyone wanted to meet lady luck in the Internet Gold Rush. The giant portals spoiled the customers, gambling with free content. Start-ups, funded b venture capitalists, appeared on the scene without doing proper homework. They never realized that there were too little fishes in the pond.
Email accounts, greetings, search engines, message boards, software, chat, instant messaging: What else could an average visitor demand? And the dot-com irony is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to charge services that were once free. Advertisements, in the form of banners, were the only source of revenue foe these content-providers. But the industry soon woke up to the reality that the visitors’ eyeball never passed by the banners, let alone clicking them.
The very purpose of advertising was defeated. The Digital Promise failed to deliver. And what was the result? Lay-offs by big and small companies around the world like never in the industry before.
Those who bought dot-com shares realized the fallacy of the New Economy. The media reports and the success of a few Internet Millionaires had carried them away.
So the dot-coms have begun introducing subscription charges for the content. The once free Usa.Net email service is going to be a paid service as of August 1 2001. Many other sites are going to follow suit. Online music providers are also having the subscription strategy on the cards.
The net is beginning to get saturated? Although the number of Internet users has increased considerably, the amount of online minutes spent is fading down. After the mundane tasks of checking emails, reading news and stock quotes, not everyone finds time to browse through the millions of web pages.
Change. The only constant in IT
Students have to update themselves constantly keeping a close watch over market conditions. They have to safeguard the investments in education by adding value to their qualifications. The nature of net is that any significant change in any part of the world will spread like wildfire. The only option is to embrace the change.
For example if one holds a MCSE qualification, then he/she should primarily make sure that the first letter ‘M’ is relevant in the market conditions.
Questions asked at the camp by the students?
– What is a proxy
– How to clean a virus
– How to be safe from virus
– What is IP
– How long did it take for you to make Jaihoon.com
– What is LAN
– Is IT beginning to get saturated
– Does ‘Email this page’ link work automatically
– What is the benefit for a hacker by hacking into other’s computer
Questions asked by Jaihoon for the quiz
– Which city in India is named after an Internet keyword?
– Who is the IT minister of Kerala?
– What will be your request to Bill Gates if you had a chance to meet him?
– I will request him to make me his disciple
– I will ask him to please allow other companies to grow in the industry
Note: Speech photos by Shihab Abu Bakr
Syed Shihab on the Web