What’s cooking on wok? An internet boom (With Image)June 21st, 2009 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS
By Frederick Noronha
Penang (Malaysia), June 21 (IANS) An Indonesian techie is trying to bring in a quiet revolution with the wok - a large, round-bottomed Chinese cooking vessel. His “wokbolic” is a low cost technology that takes wireless connectivity places and dramatically lowers the cost of internet access.
“It’s to cook,” jokes Onno Widodo Purbo, 44, a writer on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and a former professor.
Improvising on the wok, Purbo cooks a strange meal of information and not of steamed rice or sambar.
Purbo has innovated the use of a wok and USB wifi pen drives to enable wireless travel up to three kilometres instead of the 100 metres range of a wifi pen drive. This lowers the cost of internet use, which can be shared by many using this barefoot technology.
In this way, he has managed to create a rough-and-ready and cheap tool to extend the wireless capacity of your computer. With wokbolic one could link up dozens of other rural computers while sharing a single fat pipe to the internet.
This makes internet access a whole new ball game, specially in resource-poor, talent-rich countries like in Asia, where most can’t afford the luxury of the internet.
Purbo, who has a PhD, says his current priorities include “spreading knowledge through many workshops, demos, seminars in Indonesia”.
He focuses on low cost internet access using wokbolic, neighbourhood network, open source software, internet telephony and related tools. There’s a lot of interest in his low cost technology on the internet.
“People love it because it’s so cheap,” Purbo told IANS.
There are online tips in the Indonesian language. These give a detailed design and step-by-step guide on how to create a “wokbolic and bazooka” antenna for 3G, which refers to the third generation of mobile telephony.
For getting this simple technology working, measurements have to be precise too, explains Purbo, as he literally talks in fractions.
This ensures getting the exact size and shape to reflect the wireless link and connect computers, almost magically it would seem.
By using this ingenuity, Purbo makes a USB wifi stick - which could link computers around 100 metres away - to connect over three kilometres. His work has drawn the attention of those promoting alternative technologies to bridge the digital divide.
His work can be reached online by searching for the terms “wokbolic” or “wajanbolic” (wajan is the Indonesian term for the wok). The second part of the name refers to the parabolic reflector.
(Frederick Noronha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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