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, February 15, 2014

Here, there and everywhere (K2 #81)

Question of the Week
I bought the Galaxy Grand Duos smartphone but found out that it does not work in Bhutan. What can I do? Will it help if I “root” the device?
— Samten Dhendup, Sr. Survey Engineer, NLC

Answer
The Galaxy Grand Duos model that is sold in India supports the 3G bands of 900, 1900, and 2100. The bands used for 3G by Bhutan’s operators are 850 and 2100. Thus, wherever 850 is used (Thimphu, Paro and a few other locations), your phone will not be able to use 3G. This is a limitation of the phone’s hardware, and “rooting” the phone – which means gaining complete control of the smartphone’s software – will not help. In fact, it often means voiding the manufacturer's warranty as well as running others risks, including making the phone totally unusable. Due to BICMA’s user-unfriendly decision to use the North American band of 850 instead of the standard Asian 900 band, quite a few other Bhutanese customers are in your situation and will need to buy new, expensive phones; if it’s any consolation, they say shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

Question of the Week
Is the Sherig Collection available online? How can I download it?
— Yeshi Choden

Answer
The Sherig Collection is a set of educational resources for teachers and students in Bhutan. It includes offline Wikipedia, thousands of educational videos, Dzongkha dictionaries, e-books, audio books, exam banks and more. It can be installed on any Windows computer - no Internet required. The size of the collection is pretty big - it’s about 25 GB, and it is not available online. Why? Given the speed and stability of broadband Internet in Bhutan, it would take days to download the Collection (assuming that the connection or the power did not drop half way, in which case you’d have to start all over again…). The only practical way to get the software is by copying it using an external hard drive or a 32 GB pen drive. You can get the software in many schools in Bhutan. For more information, register at sherig.rigsum-it.com.

With the new school year starting soon, let me take the opportunity and wish all teachers, students and parents a happy year of learning!

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