BAICT – Brunei Awareness of Information and Communication Technology

Another technology centric event another technology (which means computer) fair at the Mall in Gadong.
Take a look at the schedule (thanks Brunei Daily Diary)

Thursday, June 7
9.30am: Registration & arrival of invited guests & media.
10.00am: Arrival of guest of honour Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (R) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Awang Mohammad bin haji Daud, Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports.
10.00am: Recital of Doa
10.45am: Opening Speech by BAICT 2007 Event Manager / Official launch & Traditional performances
11.00am: End of opening ceremony
8.00pm to 10pm: The Mall Treasure Hunt

Friday, June 8
3.30pm to 5.30pm: Colouring Contest for Kids
8.00pm to 10.00pm: Fineworks Studio Local Artiste Performances

Saturday, June 9
1.30pm to 5.30pm: Fineworks Studio Local Artiste Performances
8.00pm to 10.00pm: Musical Shows by Students & Teachers from PJC Virtuoso Music School

Sunday, June 10
3.30pm to 5.30pm: Musical Shows by Students from Expression Music School
8.00pm to 8.30pm: Lucky Draw for all Customers
8.30pm to 10.00pm: Musical Shows by Students & Teachers from Expression Music School

Now tell me how the events such as Musical Shows fit in with being aware of ICT. From what I saw just now (them bringing in the equipment) it was just a normal musical performance not some Gameboy wielding music making guy. I went there looking for a couple of SD cards, but not the typical cheap generic slow SD cards but the type with faster read and write speeds. They didn’t have any at all. They are just selling the cheapest stuff to attract people and get some cash. I want to see something different. I want to see something different like how to have proper document standards that are interoperable. Speaking about interoperability I ran into an issue today. A logo was sent from to my dear today and it was in an Excel file. She opens it with Excel for Mac (not sure which version) and it displays nothing, just a blank spreadsheet. Another person tried it and couldn’t view it either (not sure what OS or application used, but I think it would be safe to say some version of Excel on Windows). So I try Open Office Calc on my Linux box and viola, there the logo is in all it’s glory. So on she goes to create the handbook and when all is done she saves it as a Word document. She asks me to keep a backup so I do and try opening it in Word 2003 on Windows XP and in place of all the images (except 1) is the text “QuickTime and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. In Open Office it just shows a black block.

If Microsoft has problems trying to get it’s own applications to view the file properly how can you ever be sure that any document you pass around can be viewed by the receiving party?

  • What happens if you can’t get QuickTime and the TIFF decompressor?
  • What if you don’t know what the heck QuickTime or a TIFF decompressor is?
  • What if you don’t have Microsoft Office?
  • What if you don’t have that particular version of Microsoft Office which the document works with?
  • What if I don’t have the money to buy the software needed to open the document? (okay honestly in places like Brunei where software piracy is all too common, this is a non-issue for those who don’t think it’s wrong to go down to the local pirate store and pick up a copy not caring whether the proper people are getting the cash)

Why can’t I just have a single document format that I can read with an I don’t have to worry about?
Well you can with the OpenDocument format. OpenOffice.org is a free office suite that supports ODF as well as Microsoft Office formats. Though it may not be perfect for viewing documents created in Microsoft Office, it is a tool that should be more widely adopted. In steps to bridge the digital divide this should be one of the first taken so as not to make technology only for those who can afford to buy an office suite that costs more than an operating system. That’s another reason to love projects like the OLPC.

Start living a Free and Open Source Software life with Open Standards today (ok that sounds corny but I’m too tired to think of something else right now). Well at least its not as weird as the host of Go_Open (those who have seen it will know, and if you havent go download a few episodes, though a bit old it’s interesting and informative). Think I should go find some of those episodes on the CD/DVDs that I burnt it on and be a little nostalgic remembering my University days….

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