Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ask Boaz (K2 #1)

Last month, a few remote villages in Laya gewog were added to the B-mobile network (just in time for the Miss Bhutan SMS voting!). When I read the news, it struck me that life has now changed forever for the Layaps.
Obviously, they can now reach and be reached by a mobile phone, which is an incredible achievement by itself. However, mobile connectivity is much more than phone calls and SMS. Wherever there is mobile coverage in Bhutan, GPRS is also available. GPRS, which stands for "General Packet Radio Service", is one of those acronyms that engineers invent to scare away ordinary people. But wait, don't leave! I'm here to help, and so I'll tell you what it means: The availability of GPRS means that if you have a laptop with a data card, or a compatible phone, you can connect to the Internet using the mobile network. Thus, the Internet has reached Laya: The remote gewog has now officially joined the information age.

It's not only Layaps or the Facebook-chatting Thimphu office-dwellers who are experiencing the changes that come with exposure to the Internet. As the reach of information and communication technologies expands, the entire Bhutanese society will be affected. Technology is a double-edged sword. The potential is enormous, but so are the dangers. On the one hand, mindless, ignorant or inappropriate use can and will cause harm. Computer viruses, Internet scams, social isolation and cyber-bullying are just a few examples. On the other hand, mindful use benefits individuals and society in a GNH-compatible way.

This new tech column is for you, the reader. I will answer questions and share knowledge about various Internet, computer, and other information technologies. What does the "4GB" on my pen-drive means? Will the new iPhone work in Bhutan? How do I control my Facebook account? Should I get rid of my fixed-line? How can I provide free WiFi at my business? Upcoming columns will answer your submitted questions.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com