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August 25, 1998


Pre-conference forum runs unplugged

Madhuri Velegar K and Priya Ganapati at Pragati Maidan

Email this story to a friend. Back to IIW coverage index. India's first and massively organised India Internet World's pre-conference forum took off today on shaky ground as the Pragati Maidan venue in New Delhi could just not be hooked to the Web.

There were no local long-distance phone connections either. The only lucky people were those with cell phones which kept interrupting speakers who were attempting to demystify Internet technology for roughly 3,500 people in four separate conference rooms.

Though the air-conditioners were working full blast, men at work at the exhibition were sweating over the panels and floor carpets, not to mention the display areas that were all empty.

Things are expected to be in place, however, before Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu cuts the ribbon and officially inaugurates the 'Internet-enabled' exhibition and conferences. Over the next three days, development and solutions partners across the world are expected to vie with one another in an attempt to showcase their brands and products.

However, it is commendable that all the speaker-oriented conferences began on schedule.

The Foundation Forum included lectures on TCP/IP networks, the foundation of the Internet. Flamboyant Uday Pabrai, executive vice-president and CTO, Prosoft Net Solutions Inc (Net Guru Technologies) delivered one of them. He received tremendous audience response.

Pabrai was extremely articulate in providing listeners with the necessary foundation to understand the building block of the Internet, the TCP/IP. He explained TCP/IP at a protocol level then went on to the TCP/IP architecture model, how packets of information reach and fall to their destinations to finally enlighten his listeners on subjects of variable-length subnet masks.

While this was happening, the room across held a lecture on building applications with Java, Java Beans. The poorly attended esoteric conference was conducted by Lawrence Rodrigues of Rockwell Automation.

"Too basic, nothing there that we didn't know, expect for statistics," seemed to be the consensus among the participants.

Crystal Waters, author and consultant to state universities, spoke on graphic design for the Web. She touched upon the use of icons, minimal use of animated gifs, consistency and simplicity in graphic design. Later she fielded several questions and once the audience asked her to rate PhotoShop, software commonly used by Web designers. She just said, "It's great."

However, the interesting aspect of her lecture was her association with the print medium and how she successfully made the transition to Web design. She also used tools like grids and columns, the backbone of any newspaper-to bring structure in design on the Web.

She also recommends using readymade animations available instead of always creating one. Waters' Web site ( has received numerous awards including the Best Of The Net from C|net and the Project Cool Site of the Day.

William Hunt's lecture on designing information for the Web was enlivened considerably by examples of some of the best and worst sites.

He believes "customisation" is the key to building a great site. Both, Hunt and Waters delivered their lectures under the visual developer forum.

Prakash Neelankantar, CTO, Elind Computers, spoke at length on the Microsoft development platform and client-server application development.

Neelankantar has developed high-performance automated trading system for equity exchanges on the latest Windows NT platform that also has a Web-enabled version. Some of his technologies are already being used on Indian bourses.

Neelankantar's seminar was attended by technology interested professionals in the afternoon and was part of the application developer forum.

The fourth category, E-commerce, had a mix of slightly slow and boring talks compiled with a highly delightful one at the end of the afternoon delivered by K S Ganesanan, head technology, Microland.

His presentation of slides with dinosaurs and monsters and special effects spoke about encryption and decryption technologies in great detail.

The fundamentals of e-commerce seminar revised information that the audience already seemed to know. However, some statistics were very interesting. For instance, "that US would transact business projected as $220 billion in 2001 via e-commerce," said Srinivas Kulkarni, manager, systems, Tata Cosnultancy Services.

The talk given by Satish Kumar, Web technologist,, was highly technical, dealing with enabling technologies for e-commerce, cataloguing mechanisms, transactions monitoring technique and state maintenance techniques were discussed in a way that befuddled even the ordinary it manger.

Lunch was fresh cottage cheese, gravy, pulao and chicken. These were topped with steaming gulab jamuns.

Back to IIW coverage index. There was Jagjit Singh humming though the speakers near the halls, sounding quite out of place in the clinically, empowering grey IT environment.

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