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Arsip Bulanan: Juli 2013

Kurikulum 2013: Mana Perangkat Analisis Kurikulumnya?


Sebelum tahun ajaran baru 2013-2014, saya sudah mengunduh-unduh materi Kurikulum 2013 (salah satu yang lengkap, 125 halaman pdf, sila klik sini). Ada dua hal yang saya “tangkap” dari materi resmi Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan ini yang disosialisasikan ke daerah-daerah:

1) Paparan disampaikan mulai dari SWOT analysis, yang IMHO, jika sedetail itu ada baiknya disampaikan di dokumen terpisah. Dokumen kajian SWOT itu adalah pra-penulisan kurikulum, bukan masuk dalam bagian kurikulum. Hal ini untuk menghindari pembahasan yang tidak fokus. Sebagai latar belakang cukup dirangkum dalam 3 kata: masalah internal, eksternal dan pedagogi.

2) Fokus Kurikulum 2013 itu sendiri? Salah satunya adalah SKL atau Standar Kompetensi Kelulusan satuan pendidikan yang menjadi “biang” pemikiran kerangka dasar kurikulum. SKL ini menentukan standar penilaian, isi materi dan proses. Nah, SKL ini terdiri dari 3 domain: Sikap, Keterampilan dan Pengetahuan. SIKAP? Sikap menjadi standar penilaian?

SKL

Saya tertarik mengkaji domain Sikap ini. Saya tidak akan membahas materi pedagogi Keterampilan dan Pengetahuan, yang tak menjadi fokus keilmuan saya selama ini.

Dalam paparan Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan ini, Sikap dibagi dalam elemen-elemen proses, individu, sosial, dan alam.

Proses. Menerima -> Menjalankan -> Menghargai -> Menghayati -> Mengamalkan, sebenarnya adalah proses komunikasi standar yang biasa digunakan dunia periklanan: unawareness, top of mind awareness, understanding, trusting, acting/buying as motivation result.

Individu: BERIMAN, BERAKHLAK MULIA (JUJUR, DISIPLIN, TANGGUNG JAWAB, PEDULI, SANTUN), RASA INGIN TAHU, ESTETIKA, PERCAYA DIRI, MOTIVASI INTERNAL.

Sosial: Tolerani, gotong royong, kerjasama, dan musyawarah.

Alam: Pola hidup sehat, ramah lingkungan, patriotik, dan cinta perdamaian.

Sikap Sosial dan Alam? Sungguh ironis sebenarnya kalau kita menonton TV sehari-hari dan menemukan nilai-nilai di atas yang justru berlawanan arah. Kekerasan dan intoleransi ditampilkan dalam setiap pemberitaan dan tayangan sinetron kita. Nilai-nilai pola hidup sehat tergantikan dengan derasnya iklan makanan suplemen dan instan. Goverment failure? Mungkin, tapi mari kita kaji dulu Kurikulum 2013 dalam substansi “Sikap” ini.

Fokus Sikap Individu ini menarik buat saya kritisi lebih lanjut. Dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, menilai sikap itu sangatlah subyektif. Kreativitas anak menggambar di tembok rumah bisa menjadikan orangtuanya menuduh sang anak “mengotori rumah”. Sebagai bagian dari SKL, taruhlah 30% dari bobot penilaian kelulusan murid, bagaimana akhirnya menerjemahkannya dalam proses ajar-mengajar?

ADHD adalah satu gejala perilaku anak yang mungkin tidak sesuai dengan norma-norma sikap yang dimaksud Kurikulum 2013 ini. Anak dengan ADHD kemudian tidak boleh lulus walau IQ mereka tinggi dan minat terhadap pengetahuan sangat luar biasa? (klik di sini untuk kajian ADHD dan inteligensi tinggi, dan di sini untuk artikel BBC “ADHD is not a bad behaviour”).

Saya kemudian mempelajari lagi secara cepat bagaimana negara-negara yang memiliki rating tinggi dalam dunia pendidikan global ini merumuskan dan mengkaji kurikulumnya dari periode ke periode. Beberapa negara yang dirating Pearson per 2012 dinyatakan memiliki sistem pendidikan dan kurikulum dengan “budaya belajar” yang kuat. Finlandia dan Korea Selatan menduduki tempat teratas.

For education and learning:Why Finland is #1 ?
“Finland's school kids enjoy a laid-back and 
inclusive learning environment where shoes are optional, 
all teachers have master's degrees, and 
extra help is the norm: every year about one 
in three students gets individual time with a tutor” 
(Newsweek).
OECD (2014) bahkan mengkaji Finlandia lebih mendalam lagi. Finlandia mampu mengangkat kesejahteraan guru seiring dengan fokus murid per individu. Finlandia bahkan mengkaji hasil setiap murid dengan merancang penggunaan bahasa yang digunakan sehari-hari. Kecerdasan berbahasa dan berkomunikasi bisa menghasilkan pemahaman yang mendalam bagi anak.
***
Pendidikan dan pengajaran anak-anak di usia dini hingga remaja seharusnya memang mengkaji berbagai dimensi untuk memudahkan “troubleshooting” yang khas di setiap daerah, hingga setiap individu murid dan guru. Saya mencoba merunut dimensi-dimensi pendidikan-pengajaran selayaknya sebagai berikut:
  1. Murid (bahasa, minat, psikologi, suasana rumah)
  2. Guru (fokus keahlian dan kemampuan, kreativitas)
  3. Alat perangkat (buku manual hingga jaringan wifi, komputer, TV)
  4. Geografi (lokasi sekolah, infrastruktur jalan, transportasi)
  5. Kekhasan Materi (eksakta, non-eksakta, hiburan dan kinetik/gerak anak)

Saya tidak memasukkan dimensi “pemerintah” baik pusat atau daerah, karena obyek dari kebijakan ini hanyalah 5 (lima) dimensi di atas. Pemerintah adalah pembuat kebijakan, dan kajian terkait kurikulumnya harus dipisahkan dari pembuat kebijakannya (baca: “policy analysis” bukan “curriculum analysis”). Paparan Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan masih melihat kendala-kendala pemerintah (anggaran dan pelaksanaan programnya) sebagai bagian kurikulum.

Saran saya sekali lagi: fokus pada kurikulum dan 5 Dimensi Pendidikan-Pengajaran di atas. Dengan fokus pada paradigma “reformasi” bukan SWOT, hasil yang lebih komprehensif dari pelaksanaan kurikulum dari periode ke periode bisa lebih terukur. Untuk itu pula diperlukan alat analisis dari setiap dimensi. Klik sini untuk contoh Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tools di Amerika Serikat, dan klik sini untuk contoh kajian pakar sebagai masukan kurikulum yang transparan di Inggris. Untuk kajian dari Finlandia (berbahasa Inggris), silakan klik sini untuk pendidikan early childhood, dan klik sini untuk upper secondary, dan klik sini untuk tertiary school. Lebih luas lagi, ada beberapa kajian Uni Eropa terkait school reform atau reformasi sekolah di negara-negara anggota Uni Eropa tahun 2010 (Dokumen “100 Years of Educational Reforms in Europe: a contextual database”, klik sini).

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Ditulis oleh pada Juli 27, 2013 in education, public policy

 

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Gambar

My Old Article (7): The sky’s the limit: The broadcasting law


faconnable
JAKARTA (JP): Every month a new type of cellular phone is released to the public. The latest would be the one with an attachable digital camera. We are getting closer and closer to the next generation: 3G. When the world talks about new technology, we join the crowd. While they have a good plan, a solid infrastructure and the “”what next”” vision, we, unfortunately, do not have these things. Not yet.

We must hurry to catch up before digital convergence reaches its peak, but unfortunately we have less to start with. Similar in nature to the United States’ 1996 Telecommunications Act would be our Broadcast Law No. 24/1997, which has been sitting in the legislature for some time.

There is no discussion of possible technological advances there, not even a vision. The subject of discussion and debate is more similar to what was settled 100 years ago in the U.S. Here are some of the issues:

First, the Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI). KPI may likely resemble the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. However, the KPI will not, or must not, have the same authority as the FCC.

Some of the FCC’s tasks were outlined in Section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, which led to the birth of the FCC: “”(T)o classify [radio] stations and prescribe services, assign frequencies and power, approve equipment and mandate standards for levels of interference, make regulations for stations with network affiliations, prescribe qualifications for station owners and operators, levy fines and forfeitures and issue cease and desist orders.””

Additional comprehensive tasks were added as new technologies appeared — television, satellite and microwave communication, cable TV, cellular phones, wireless applications and the Internet.

In Indonesia, the KPI’s powers will be limited. The House of Representatives has suggested that frequency allocation should go to the KPI, but the government, in this case the ministry of communications and information, did not agree to this. Until now, frequency spectrum allocation has been under the Ministry of Transportation, which is also concerned with frequencies for transportation.

It is tough to decide who gets what frequency in what location. Indonesia already has 10 private TV stations (RCTI, SCTV, TPI, ANteve,Indosiar, Metro TV, TV7, Lativi, TransTV, and TV-G), and one government-owned station (TVRI). All the stations have gone national, and already reach more than 50 percent of all areas.

More repeat stations will be established in the years to come, and, if possible, new licenses will be issued for more TV stations.

However, if the KPI cannot “”assign frequencies and power”” for stations (radio or TV), how will they perform? Technological advancements in broadcasting and telecommunications are moving faster than ever. In other parts of the world, the digital compression has eased off allocations. Has the government foreseen this?

The Indonesian TV industry is different from the U.S. model. We don’t have network stations with their affiliated stations, nor independent stations. There are no cable networks with multiple channels. The TV network business model in the U.S. was rooted from the radio network, where one network can have several affiliated stations in different cities all over the country.

The FCC’s first and main task was frequency allocation for radio stations. When noncommercial organizations, such as churches and schools, pleaded to establish stations they were unable to get a frequency because most were granted to commercial stations.

Not until 1945 did the FCC clearly define frequencies for educational and nonprofit stations: 88 MHz to 92 MHz. Allocation for television was another drawn-out, conflicted issue.

Established on June 11, 1934, the FCC, whose members were appointed by the President and approved by the Congress, had to decide whether licenses could be passed to network or local stations.

Similarly, in Indonesia the government cannot decide whether allocations should be national or local. The spirit of Indonesian Law No. 22/1999 on provincial autonomy has supported frequency allocation at the provincial level.

On the other hand, the ministries of transportation and information still want to regulate it at the national level. Unfortunately, this means that provincial or community television could be limited or even banned — if it interferes in national TV frequencies.

The case of East Java’s JTV has proven this; one of its transmitting towers was shut down by the police due to interference with Indosiar.

And regarding community or public television, say goodbye to public TV. Instead welcome a new hybrid station: TVRI. State-owned but commercial television has given way to public TV, which was a title that TVRI once saw as a burden.

Many applauded the effort by Sumita Tobing, TVRI‘s president director, to make this change, while many others condemned it. Now, we must redefine the business model of public TV.

In the U.S. and many developed countries, public TV is fully funded by the government and appreciative contributors, and there are no commercials between programs. Unfortunately, TVRI has to support too many employees spread across the country, and has less money for good programs.

On the contrary, community TV, broadcasting locally or provincially, has bloomed everywhere. From the campus (Ganesha TV, ITB, Bandung) to corporate offices (Caltex, Kalimantan Timur) to JTV (East Java province), most of them are able to finance their own programs, even for one to two-hour broadcast operations. The problem arises when they use up the frequency, but only if they are not using cable for distribution.

Both public and community television station should clearly “”characterize”” the public and community they represent. The new broadcast law must consider them, not “”terminate”” them. What would happen if all mass media went commercial? The government provides no room for education and knowledge, again?

Then there are the overlooked issues. Many issues could hit the deck in time. Sex and violence must be supervised, while home taping could be copyright infringement. Overexposed children, program-length commercials, abuse of language, court TV, digital transition and convergence could be left out. Broadcast Law No. 24/1997 must clearly define and regulate these things beforehand, not afterward in the form of amendments.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 08/01/2002 7:29 AM | Opinion

 
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Ditulis oleh pada Juli 21, 2013 in public policy, SCTV, technology

 

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My Old Article (6): Fun with cyber jargon


jargon

JAKARTA (JP): Have you ever browsed hardrockfm.com to listen to the radio program? It is real time! What is not real about the time? No millennium bug has plagued the world. This must be a pretty big bug. Millennium bug and real time along with many other new words, phrases, and terms are the product of the digital era, the new economy era.

English is very fluid, both in absorbing words from other languages and in creating new words. English is the easiest language to learn, yet for some people like me, English can be difficult to master.

With the help of an eccentric novelist, William Gibson, the word cyberspace was coined in 1984 and was then popularized. We are now familiar with many words started with the suffix cyber: cybercity, cybercafe, cyberworld, cyberpunk, cybernaut, cybersquatting, cyberwoozling, cybrarian, and many more.

The suffix cyber may have been picked from the word cybernetics, the science of communication and control theory.

How could it have been adapted from the word cybernetics? First of all, cybernetics (1960s) came before cyberspace (1980s). Cybernetics is the control systems study (of aircraft guns) designed by Nobert Wiener of MIT during the World War II. It helped pave the way for the electronic brains that we call computers. The word cyberspace (Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984) came afterwards.

Once a prominent person or a best-selling novel uses an unusual word or phrase, it seems that everyone rushes to learn and use it. Cybernetics was not as famous as cyberspace. The latter is used widely on the Net and mass media has endorsed the usage of the word. Cyberspace is only more famous, but not the first to deal with computers.

There are some other unique phrases, terms, and words that are in current use, such as arguably (Dana Scully of the X-Files used it. With her cold expression she once smiled and said, “”They arguably call it the alien.””), or FAQ (frequently asked questions), WYSIWYG (wiz-ee-wig — what you see is what you get), and many other acronyms. Acronym (from the Greek “”acro”” — in the sense of extreme or tip, and “”onyma”” or name) is the abbreviation of several words in such a way that the abbreviation itself forms a word.

The Net has introduced many other acronyms to support and speed up communication via the non-F2F (face-to-face) medium: the computer. With the expression on the face concealed behind the laptop screen, would not be easily communicated to your opponent thousand of miles away from Jakarta. Before you could touch-type the keyboard, you found it even harder to express what you needed to say promptly. “”Find the [a] on my left, and the [l] on my right, and hit [enter], then go back with [esc]””. Too complicated.

Speed is one characteristic of today’s Internet. If I can type words and as fast as my head tells me to, this would really help my interaction with others on the Net. Things have changed at the speed of light, and are changing. Anyone waiting for anything technological to be perfected into a new improved model would wait forever and be left behind.

Moore’s Law, coined by Gordon Moore (1965), states that microchips double their power (speed and overall capability) and get twice as cheap every 18 months. Back in the early 1990s, the first Internet era in Indonesia, I remember I saw “”baud rate”” on my black and white screen — now the term to measure data transmission speed is bps, bits per second.

My first and expensive Internet connection was so slow that I could sit in front of my computer while watching TV, brushing my hair, and making a cup of coffee — all at the same time. Suddenly “”NO CARRIER”” appeared as I gazed at the screen in front of me! I had been disconnected. Talk about speed!

That was then, and this is now. Many abbreviations, acronyms, words, and phrases are rushing into our everyday’s life. At the click of mouse, every time I browse the Net, I find at least five new technical words and I store them to my local kooky brain afterwards. Some of them are original, funny or weird, some of them are just derived from common English.

I have sorted these new words into several boxes. Besides acronyms and abbreviations, there are combined words, such as: Microsoft (micro from tiny and soft, short for software) or abandonware (a computer software that is no longer in favor nor is marketed by its original creator). Pixel came from picture element. Other easy-to-guess words share the root of an already common word. From the word broadcast, look out for narrowcast, multicast, unicast, and anycast.

Other technical irksome words are just the extension of an existing version. Words like these are mostly numbered or are added to with another letter. IPv6 is definitely the sequel of IP the first version and so forth. Byte grows to kilobyte, megabyte, and beyond. MP3 is not the third generation of the standard technology for compressing a sound sequence. It actually stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. MPEG itself stands for Moving Picture Experts Group.

Some words have different meanings to the original one. When I scream “”Mouse!””, I am not referring to the squeaking animal with a funny nose. This device used with most computers apparently got its name due to being about the same size and color as a toy mouse. Today, a colorful ergonomic mouse can really be fun to grip. Cookie is the mechanism for rotating the banner ads of a website. Not as yummy as its baked version, cupcakes is a name of one application program. Java, not the island nor the coffee, is a computer programming language.

I suspect these types of words were created by some computer geeks — they who sleep when necessary, dedicate 21 hours-a-day at a computer, spend another three hours reading about it or trying to locate a configuration of numbers on pieces of post-it scattered somewhere. Surrounded by many edible and non-edible items, one guy probably just spilled his coffee and eureka! he just baptized the programming language known as Java Plus. As strong as could be, Java has made him stay awake for 10 days already.

While I am still figuring out the semantics of cyberspace, virtual reality and hyperreality, many more eerie words, phrases, and terms have taken birth. No matter what the future holds for e-linguistics, I adore Bill Gates, the guy who invented many versions of geeky words and lame monopoly-ware.

I also praise Timothy Leary, the late professor who said PC is the LSD of the 1990s. He is a ding-a-ling man who has enlightened many people with his amazing Chaos and Cyberculture. Both Bill and Tim are the originators of the new economy — as we call it today. New economy, what is new about it? Oh, don’t you get it?

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, December 31 2000, 7:21 AM

 
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Ditulis oleh pada Juli 21, 2013 in wiki journalism

 

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My Old Article (5): The vital need to protect privacy on the Internet


JAKARTA (JP): Ever recall giving away information that could be used to pry into your life? Maybe your wife gave birth in a well-known hospital and the next thing you knew she received a call from an insurance company to discuss your child’s life insurance.

Or perhaps when you subscribed to a health magazine you got junk mail offering high-calcium milk, or various other subscription opportunities?

Even worse still, you may have received a letter stating that you have won thousands of Australian dollars, but in the end it was just an invitation to gamble: send your money to a PO Box address and you could win the lotto jackpot!

As you already know, you have become a target. You are the captive market. No marketing spiel is ever created if it isn’t smart. Living in the digital era, you are captured in a world where anyone could easily identify you, find out where you live and how you lead your life.

Why should you worry about losing your privacy?

Privacy has only become a significant issue, to the majority of people, in recent years. In this digital world any form of data can be transferred as digital information. From your home address, telephone number, credit card number to birthdate. From how many phone calls you made today to what Web sites you log into and for how many hours. It is just statistics, though. Don’t worry, it won’t kill you. Well, for now at least.

Tautology of everything

There was a time when you would go to a library and manually search the catalogs. It sometimes could take hours to find the required book. After finding the catalog reference, you then had to decipher what was written in the catalog — and, of course, what was written in the book.

Today, at your fingertips, details about any book can be sent instantly to you. You are not wasting time looking for it, but instead on locating the most reliable and suitable info. Browsing the Net can be wearisome if you don’t know where to start. Sometimes you get lost in the jungle of information, or the blasphemous acts you may encounter. Yet, you are still wasting time.

Technically, there is an easy way, proving that the magic performed by computers has developed more than anyone could possibly imagine. Because all of the data is processed and stored digitally, on the Net you can save time by using a search engine. Type in the keyword and relevant data will appear on your monitor.

By going to a local search engine like yahoo.com.sg you can find out which Singaporean food stalls serve the cheapest meals. You can also search Indonesian sites with catcha.co.id to examine many interesting topics delivered by our fellow countrymen.

All of this is possible with the assistance of a large, high-speed data storage server. A data storage server may or may not be connected to other storage servers. One of the most utilized systems today is the storage area network (SAN).

SAN is a high-speed, special-purpose network that interconnects different types of data storage server with associated servers, on behalf of a larger network of users. Due to its extensive network of data servers it becomes an enormous worldwide electronic data bank. And it is getting bigger, better and faster every day. It is more accessible, too.

SAN contains five major elements: optic fiber cable networking; high accessibility; remote manageability; scalability; as well as software for network and information management, and applications.

The fiber networking the is hub, or center’s, interconnection via fiber cabling. Since the storage is centralized, the storage systems must be extremely reliable and highly accessible. This includes continued operation while undergoing servicing.

Ideally, the SAN is managed through LAN (local area network) and WAN (wide area network) ports which minimize operating failures and create easy accessibility.

Scalability relates to the ability of accommodating the ever-growing data residents within the network.

Finally, software must support both central or remote management over the network. Most of the leading application vendors, who create the application software, are supporting the SANs. There are no industry standards for application software, just make sure the storage subsystems and networking hardware are compatible.

With such organized data storage systems, imagine the potential wealth of information at your fingertips if you were working as a data-entry clerk in a hospital that is part of a worldwide computer network. For the heck of it, you search for information on anyone who has an incurable disease. Scrolling through the data in a Singapore branch you could discover that your next-door neighbor, or your most adored actress, has been hospitalized since last Monday with such a condition. You have never heard or seen this before. How would you react to the findings of your electronic eavesdropping? Would you feel sad? Would you immediately tell someone else? Or worse still, what if the dying person were you?

Eye of the Beholder

So what’s the problem? Privacy, or something you want to keep to yourself, must be highly respected. In commercial offices, such as hospitals, patients’ personal data is highly protected, with access prohibited to lower-ranked personnel. In government offices here in Indonesia, individual citizens’ data are not all stored on computer yet. But once it is stored electronically and easily accessible, anything could happen.

It has become obvious that the Internet has changed the way people store and access information. We must be alert to any potential intruder, in whatever form, who could disturb our lives. From junk mail to prank calls, to something you may not be able to imagine, your privacy is like a time bomb waiting to explode and shatter.

Privacy on the Internet is a major issue that can be divided into three primary concerns: what personal information is available to whom; whether messages or data can be transmitted without anyone else seeing them; or if and how one can send messages anonymously.

In order to control your personal information when communicating with people or companies on the Net, make sure you do not disclose all of your details. You might reveal the city and country you are logging in from, but choose to conceal your address and phone number.

There is no real need to conceal your date of birth, since marketers cannot send you a birthday greeting if they don’t know your address or phone number. Think about your other details that cannot be used to disturb your privacy, yet may be useful for the Web site to tabulate. After all, you might be getting free information from the site, so revealing a small amount of information about yourself might not hurt, and could support the site’s existence.

Another privacy issue over the Net relating to data storage concerns your personal mail, whether talk of business or even love. This information is yours alone to keep and read. The problem arises if your employer snoops around to see if you are involved in fishy business that could have implications on the company. Also, you wouldn’t like others reading and making fun of your electronic love letters.

Regarding how to send messages anonymously, comprehensive instructions exist at http://www.anonymizer.com. There, you can find this introduction: “”With an Anonymous Surfing subscription, you have total privacy online. Nobody — from marketers to ID thieves to your coworkers — can see where you surf.””

You can subscribe to Anonymous Web Surfing at a cost of $14.99 for three months. This service is devoted to protecting your movements on the Net and works in partnership with anonymous email and newsgroup access. It could blocks Cookies, Java, JavaScript, and other tracking methods. It can also encrypt Cookies and URL as your resources.

Last of all, you could seek the protection through a Secure Tunneling subscription for $29.99 per three months. Stated on their site: “”It creates a virtually impregnable tunnel from your computer to our servers.”” To your servers, Sir? There is no privacy after all.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, April 01 2001, 7:28 AM

 
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Ditulis oleh pada Juli 21, 2013 in public policy

 

My Old Article (4): Krisdayanti joins famous people by building her personal website


KD

JAKARTA (JP): She sings well, dresses elegantly and also knows how to act. Krisdayanti is probably an Indonesian 21st century icon. And yes, she is on the Net, too, with her “”still-under-construction”” personal website. Check out http://www.krisdayanti.com if you are curious.

Often, a site with a domain name that uses one’s own name, personal site for short, is sometimes not established by the owner of the name. It could be established by a fan or a group of fans. The beautiful Malaysian singer Siti Nurhaliza, for example, has a site (www.sitinurhaliza.net) established by a geek fan.

The site http://www.leary.com was constructed by young people who had met or adored the deceased Timothy Leary. He was the fascinating ex-Harvard lecturer who wrote Chaos and Cyberculture and whose ashes were scattered in outer space.

The site http://www.leary.com was picked as the Net’s Best Site in 1996. By that time, there were not so many marvelous web designs: no sound, no video and no Flash technology. Flash, by Macromedia (www.macromedia.com for a free software download), creates animated vector-based websites.

Speaking of Flash technology, there is one local personal site supported by Flash: a site set up by techno-fiend media mogul Peter F. Gontha (www.gontha.com).

Okay, Krisdayanti and Siti Nurhaliza are pretty. Leary was a guru who envisioned cyberspace far before the Internet hype took root in the 1990s. If a businessman as great as Peter Fritz Gontha establishes his personal site with amazing vision, does this mean that he really keeps track of new technology in all media?

To find the answer, I logged onto http://www.gontha.com. With the so-called sophisticated Flash technology, I had to stare at a very long and boring “”loading”” tag. After that, I registered in out of curiosity. Unfortunately, nothing happened when I logged in again after registration. Ah, this is either a ghost site, a website that is no longer maintained but that remains available for viewing, or the owner just wants to keep the domain name. No vision yet.

Get a domain name

There are two ways to get a personal site. You can purchase a domain name (see http://www.netsol.com), or you can join a provider of free space, (e.g. http://www.geocities.com). Gontha’s site takes the first route. Many recreational users take the second.

Joining the second group, I used to have one at http://www.xoom.com before http://www.NBCi.com bought xoom.com. Soon afterward, there were none. By the way, it was really fun designing, typing and posting it. For someone like me — who cannot sing beautifully or envision the Net radically — I needed to give an intro of who I was. I pasted up a picture of myself. I also mentioned what I liked and did not like.

I really felt great about it until one day a friend of mine stopped by my site. He was a computer nerd who lived in San Francisco, USA. He said, “”It’s too naive””. I didn’t understand at the time. As I found out more about Internet security and privacy, I began to understand. I was just too naive to type my real name, age and address. This could be critical.

Back when there was only a small number of people logging onto the Net, online crime and information abuse was zilch. Today, even a college student like Steven Haryanto can say “”nothing personal”” explaining his dubious sites (e.g. http://www.kilkbca.com, http://www.klikbac.com, and so forth) that snared customers who mistyped Bank Central Asia (BCA)’s web address http://www.klikbca.com. The crime stops there though: he did not take advantage of people who mistakenly typed in their passwords. BCA accepted an apology before the matter was sent to court.

Madonna has fought for her domain name in court. The last time I logged in, her site http://www.madonna.com was a retired or invisible site (one which doesn’t exist anymore and results in a “”not found”” message when you type the address). Her domain name is her trademark. She has, of course, many bodyguards to protect her privacy.

Personal sites

You may want to look around for personal sites in your leisure time. There are millions of other personal sites you can look at besides the ones I mentioned above. Log in to http://www.yahoo.com and click “”members”” to view some. Or click geocities, which is owned by yahoo, for a browse. You may want to check out some other search engines, too.

Alternatively, you can randomly type in anyone’s name with .com or .net, for example http://www.miladay.com, which is not mine. Sometimes, typing a name may lead to a different site than the one I expected to find. I typed http://www.clinton.com to find out more about Bill Clinton, yet I found a registered investment advisor firm.

If you are interested in having your own personal site, please consider some rules. Rule No. 1: know how to design well and efficiently. Let the visitors enjoy it page by page. A bit of knowledge about web technology is Rule No. 2. Actually you can upload anything with a simple program like Microsoft Word. Last of all, Rule No. 3: beware of what and how to reveal information about yourself on the web. See but not touch. Touch but … keep it for yourself. It can be a cruel cyberworld out there.

Famous sites

Local: http://www.gontha.com (Peter F. Gontha), tya.iscool.net (Tya Subiakto), http://www.krisdayanti.com, http://www.anggun.com (Anggun C. Sasmi), http://www.peggymelatisukma.com,

Overseas: http://www.rupertmurdoch.com, http://www.leary.com (Timothy Leary), http://www.tlc.com, http://www.sitinurhaliza.net.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, July 29 2001, 7:03 AM

 

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My Old Article (3): GPRS — A new technology to put you on the fast track


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JAKARTA (JP): What will happen in 2004? Some politicians aren’t prepared to wait that long to see a new president rule the country. Some of us cannot wait that long to see many changes in Indonesia.

If that year ever comes, global players in the telecommunication and information technology (IT) industry will be celebrating one billion subscribers of wireless phone services. According to Hong Kong-based consultants Strategis Group, this year alone wireless phone subscribers have reached 530 million worldwide.

Anticipating the trend, Telkomsel, one of the largest mobile phone operators in Indonesia today, is planning to enhance its telecommunications technology with general packet radio services (GPRS). Through this initiative, Telkomsel will be able to offer much improved services.

Service, or as IT people would call it QoS (Quality of Service), will become a major concern for subscribers. Who would want to have “”network search”” blinking on the phone screen all the time? In its early days, GSM (Global System for Mobiles) could also be called Geser Sedikit Mati or, move a little and the phone is dead.

On the Internet and other networks, QoS is the idea that transmission rates, error rates and other characteristics can be measured, improved and, to some extent, guaranteed in advance.

With GPRS, Telkomsel is running in the fast lane. Based on GSM communication, GPRS has higher data transmission rates which allow users to take part in video conferences and interact with multimedia web sites in any part of the world. GPRS promises data rates from 56 kilobits per second (Kbps) up to 114 Kbps, and continuous connection to the Internet for mobile phone and computer users.

Today’s plain flavored Internet dial-up connection in Jakarta can reach as high as 8 Mbps (Indosat Net connection). Soon enough, users of mobile devices will enjoy the comfort of Internet in their palms at faster speeds. As the speed is gradually improving, mobile Internet keeps its magnetic charm for most of its users.

However, with the possibility of the value-added tax being raised to 12.5% in July and the prices of consumer goods climbing off the wall, apparently the mobile phone industry in Indonesia will remain stable.

More on technology

Another trivia question: what will happen if an effective, acceptable government is finally functioning in Indonesia? Everything goes well according to market demand. Politicians and economists are wearing smiles. Then we can talk about technology advancement further.

Today’s cellular systems are mainly circuit-switched, with connections always dependent on circuit availability. Like that used by Telkom’s POTS (plain old telephone system), most cell phones use a circuit-switched network, where no one else can use the physical lines involved during a call.

In contrast, the next generation of GPRS is already coming. It is called Universal Mobile Telephone System (UMTS). It offers a consistent range of services to mobile computer and phone users no matter where they are located in the world. As with any evolving technology, worldwide deployment of UMTS may take some time.

UMTS is one of the approved standards by the International Telecommunications UnionTelecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T). Located in Geneva, ITU-T is the main international body that develops cooperative standards for telecommunications equipment and systems.

UMTS meets with the requirement of providing transmission rates of 144 Kbps when mobile, 384 Kbps when pedestrian speeds outdoor, and 2 Mbps stationary indoors.

While it becomes a little faster at each new phase, wireless technology will mature in time. Most European countries and Japan already have the facilities to utilize UMTS, which will be in service after 2002.

Something to ponder

Once UMTS is fully implemented, it will keep people connected at all times and in all places. Phone and PDA (personal digital assistant) users can be constantly connected to the Internet as they travel and have the same set of capabilities no matter where they are.

Privacy and security on the Net is something to consider. If cell phones or PDAs stay online 24 hours a day, this could tempt hackers. With fingerprint, retinal, or voice recognition systems, security is also advancing.

Some of us would like to have time for ourselves; often disconnecting the phone while on vacation. If not, the cell phone in the pocket could be spotted thousands of miles away from where we are. This is made possible by global positioning satellites.

Owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, but available for general use around the world, the global positioning system (GPS) is a constellation of 24 well-spaced satellites that orbit the Earth.

It is possible for people with ground receivers to pinpoint their geographic location. These days, GPS receivers, which can be attached to any electronic device, are becoming consumer products.

Some experts say that technology, bit by bit, chips away at our privacy. Is it possible to design a technology that could conceal personal information? Once we live in borderless space, expect the information explosion at any time. Make use of it, or make the best defense from it.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, June 17 2001, 7:29 AM

 

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Gambar

My Old Article (2): Unwiring the Internet blunder on the many islands of Indonesia


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JAKARTA (JP): The Internet in Indonesia is like the city of Jakarta: many activities backed up in a terrible traffic jam. “”Slowly but surely we are becoming connected to the outside world,”” says Alika Aurelia, an Internet observer and owner of several information technology (IT)-related companies in Jakarta.

Every day commuters have to face the deranged and crowded streets. So do the subscribers of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Indonesia. Data, from simple text to video streaming, travels through phone lines like cars at peak-hour, jammed and bottlenecked, Alika adds.

The infrastructure of messy streets in Jakarta is to be blame for traffic problems. And the Internet in Indonesia is facing the same problem: poor infrastructure.

With so many alleys and dead-ends, Jakarta also has three main streets: Sudirman, Thamrin and Rasuna Said. In Indonesia today, there are many ISP allies, with three major players: Indosat, Telkom and Satelindo.

The main issue limiting the number of players is the monthly spending on Internet licenses, which cost thousands of dollars per month. And if the dollar keeps floating toward the ceiling, even the main players could crash. Let’s hope not.

License to Speed

The costly license is all about bandwidth. Bandwidth, the complexity of the data for a given level of system performance, allows text (as the data) to be downloaded in a second. It is also possible to download photographs or more complicated data in a second. However, to download a photograph requires more bandwidth.

Large sound files and computer programs require even more bandwidth for acceptable system performance. More complicated data is moving pictures with sound, or movies for short. One can request a movie as a pay-per-view commodity, then the movie is transferred by streaming or downloading methods.

Ultimately, virtual reality (VR) and full-length three-dimensional audio-visual presentations require the most bandwidth of all. Today, VR and 3D movies are still undergoing trial-and-error analysis in technology labs — one of them is the University of North Carolina, where Howard Rheingold, author of Virtual Reality, has experienced early VR technology.

Technology humbuggery

In brief, from simple text to VR, all transmitted and received signals, whether analog or digital, have a certain bandwidth.

In digital cable and fiber-optic systems, the demand for ever-increasing data speeds outweighs the need for bandwidth conservation. There could be an abundance of bandwidth to go around if more and more cables are continually installed, but then again, hard wires are plentiful. Where else can solid cables be placed; under feet or above heads?

With no wires to install instantly, demand exceeds supply. However, there are always other efforts to anticipate a more dynamic, often interactive, multimedia content by “”re-arranging”” the network infrastructure.

One of the efforts could be upgrading the Internet protocol (IP) networking. It shifts from Layer 3 connectivity issues to the construction of intelligent, Layer 4 – 7 infrastructures.

Network layer upgrades

Principally, the IT industry emphasis is turning to specially tuned overlays to the Internet. They are called content delivery networks or content distribution networks (CDNs).

A CDN is a system, frequently an overlay network to the Internet, that has been built specifically for the high-performance delivery of rich multimedia content. A CDN’s raison d’etre is to make the Internet a trusted delivery network for mission-critical, content-rich CDN services.

CDNs address the severe response-time demands, mainly by minimizing the number of Internet backbones that a site requests. This results in streaming or downloadable content encounters becoming much shorter.

The CDN also contains a lookup service that steers a content request to the content surrogate that is closest (geographically or shortest travel time) to the user and/or is the least busy.

Wireless solution

To some extent, Alika remarks, the industry needs to also think of alternative ways such as “”wireless”” communication infrastructure. Either way, restructuring the network systems or building new infrastructure for wireless devices, there are some issues for consideration. Let’s look into the wireless further.

Wireless communication systems carry a signal through atmospheric space without, of course, wire. The early form of the wireless system, or wireless for short, was the “”telegraph”” that went on air in the early years of the 20th century.

Besides radio, television, facsimile and other data communication devices, perpetuating wireless progress has inspired the advent of other devices: from the most complex: full-feature cellular phones, global positioning systems (GPS), cordless mouse or keyboard; to simple baby monitors.

Wireless transceivers are available for connection to portable digital assistants (PDAs) and notebook computers, allowing Internet access without the worry of having to locate a phone jack. One of these days, it will be possible to link any computer to the Internet via satellite, wherever the computer is located on the globe.

In Europe, new high-bandwidth allocation for wireless local area networks (LANs) are expected to be installed where existing LANs are not already in place. With a wireless LAN, a mobile user can also connect to a network through a radio frequency. To some extent, this could be considered as an inexpensive way of tackling infrastructure problems.

If it were possible to introduce this development in Indonesia, with its many scattered islands, it would be a great move toward resolving the infrastructure logistics nightmare. Moreover, if the wireless LANs also communicated directly with a satellite, then this could also cut down the hierarchy of network routing. No traffic jam, no more ill-famed world wide wait.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, May 06 2001, 7:21 AM