State of the computer in the Developing World

You’ve probably notice two trends in the developed world. The first is toward web or cloud based software and the second is a move toward mobile devices and content in both cases the trend is toward greater network connectivity. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I haven’t seen anything that compelling in desktop software design recently.  Sure the apps look nicer, but there hasn’t been that much added in terms of daily functionality.  The causes for that which maybe aren’t that important, but the reality is that the paradigm of the desktop is increasingly becoming irrelevant. The interesting things are happening on the web and on mobile devices.  In general I think this is good for consumers, but there are some practical issues when it comes to the developing world. Bangladesh is what I know about, so let’s look there. Practically Bangladesh has one internet connection, Sea-me-we 4 which is an undersea cable and the primary internet backbone between South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Europe. For a lot of reasons, Bangladesh currently doesn’t have much in the way of content creation and content distribution so all traffic needs to go out of Bangladesh. This means that bandwidth costs are slow and expensive. The result being that I probably didn’t watch the youtube video you emailed me. At the end of the day these issues slow knowledge transfer. Access to knowledge has always been a barrier to development and even in an internet age, the content created in the developed world is still difficult to access in the developing world.

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