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Thursday, 22 December 2011

CVT Technology In New PROTON Cars

SUBANG JAYA, 4 JULY 2011 – PROTON Holdings Berhad announced today that it will be introducing Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) technology to its upcoming range of cars. “We have been conducting comprehensive development and integration tests of the CVT with our CamPro engines and we are happy to be able to provide this option to future buyers soon,” said Dato' Sri Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, Group Managing Director of PROTON Holdings Berhad.
CVT technology has been growing in popularity amongst high-end auto manufacturers globally as it provides a smoother drive and more efficient performance to their cars. This technology, though not new, has only recently made its way into cars on a large scale with many major automotive companies successfully developing advanced CVT mechanisms that are able to take heavier drive loads compared to earlier variations. 

“In the near future, CVT will be mated to our CamPro engines as an option to our range of cars along with the conventional four speed automatic gear transmission that is currently being used,” Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal said. “This feature will not only provide more than just a smoother drive but it will also contribute towards fuel efficiency and savings to the user,” he added. 

In comparison to traditional automatic gear transmissions, the utilization of CVT in an engine system reduces transmission weight by up to 20 percent without compromising output capabilities. It allows the car to change gear ratios seamlessly, eliminating transmission shock, facilitating greater responsiveness and smooth, consistent power delivery. CVT also offers various driving modes to suit the driver’s preference and feel. 

“In view of fuel price pressure on consumers, we know that the introduction of CVT will contribute significantly to improving their lives as it not only provides them with a smoother drive but also helps reduce fuel consumption.” 

Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal highlighted that PROTON tests show that the utilization of CVT in a car can reduce fuel consumption by up to 4% with regards to urban driving and almost up to 10% for highway driving. 

“Lower fuel consumption also impacts the environment significantly by reducing CO2 emissions,” he said, elaborating that the efficiency of the CVT technology integrated into Proton engines has resulted in a 5% emissions improvement. 

“PROTON is consistently improving its cars; from build quality to the introduction of various technologies to enhance its engine and driving capabilities,” said Dato’ Sri Haji Syed Zainal. “The inclusion of CVT to our next generation of cars will not only keep us on a technological par with major automakers but will also contribute positively towards providing Malaysians with greater value for their money.”

Biomass Energy Technology in Malaysia – Issues and Challenges

Hoi W.K. and Koh M.P.
Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kepong, 52109 Kuala Lumpur

Biomass energy is highly emphasized in the 9th Malaysian Plan. There are currently many incentives given to the promotion on the use of renewable energy from biomass in Malaysia. The biomass technologies ranged from the conversion of biomass into solid fuel such as briquettes and charcoal production to the direct combustion of biomass for use in the palm oil, rubber and brick making industries and the commercial use of biomass energy through the Small Renewable Energy Program.

Certain amount of biomass is converted into liquid fuel by pyrolytic process to manufacture bio oil. Part of this paper is allocated to the development of bio diesel in Malaysia. For gaseous fuel, some biomass is converted into biogas through fermentation and also through gasification.

This paper reviewed the current status of the technologies used in Malaysia, with special emphasis given to environmentally clean and economically viable systems. A number of environmental issues related to volatile emissions were highlighted together with numerous industrial applications of biomass energy.

A detail techno-economic analysis of the technology were highlighted. Issues related to labor cost and availability of raw material were also given prominence. Cogeneration technologies from biomass energy were given special focus in the paper especially towards an environment friendly system that will produce high quality fuel from a number of different types of biomass (with special emphasis to the use of waste from the oil palm industries) as well as producing high grade fuel from low quality waste such as feedstock.

A lot of emphasis were given a cost efficient preventive pre-treatment of these low-grade solid multi fuels by low temperature pyrolysis in downsized reductive environment for removal of hazardous air pollutants prior burning to improvement of burning efficiency of the revitalized solid fuel power plant-CHP up to 300 MW capacities.

This technology has been developed to meet the open – liberalized energy and cogeneration market demands. The paper concluded with the need for a good commercialization plan that will decrease the risk and maximize the chances for success for biomass energy in Malaysia. A model framework to develop suitable commercialization programs will also be highlighted.

For more information on this paper, please contact the author at the contact details above.

For more information on FRIM and the CFFPR Meeting, please contact Dr Mohd. Nor Mohd. Yusoff, Senior Director, Forest Products Division, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). Email:


Malaysia: The next ICT hub?

The Malaysian government agency  with the responsibility for progressing the country’s ICT-driven transformation is the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).
MDeC is mandated to drive the development of the ICT sector via the national ICT initiative MSC Malaysia (formerly known as the Multi-media Super Corridor). Developed in 1996, MSC Malaysia recognises companies involved with multimedia and communications products, solutions, services, research and development.
Key player
“As the custodian of MSC Malaysia, MDeC oversees the development of the ICT sector which takes place on many different levels, involving the government, industries and with socio-economic impact,” says MDeC’s chief executive officer, Dato’ Badlisham Ghazali.
“The goal is to ultimately position Malaysia as a global ICT hub and a key player in a knowledge economy.”
Together with the softening economy, Badlisham sees other challenges in the way of Malaysia’s ambition. These include the variance in ICT adoption between urban and rural areas, raising community awareness of the benefits of using technology in everyday life and business, plus the need to address the shortage of local IT skills.
“As the government agency driving ICT development in this country, we facilitate initiatives and recommend policies to address these challenges,” he says. 
Malaysia has hosted international ICT events and has a determined strategy to offer government services online.
WCIT 2008
Badlisham says the 16th World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2008, sometimes referred to as the ‘Olympics of IT’, held in Kuala Lumpur from 18–22 May, was a notable ICT achievement. “WCIT involved 12 other related events, the largest ever group of ICT meetings. The congress garnered more than US$10 million of sponsorship in cash and in kind, which signifies the level of commitment from both the public and private sectors in driving development for the local Malaysian ICT sector.”
Level of interest
The WCIT also registered the largest-ever number of registered delegates and participants in the global event’s history, demonstrating, says Badlisham, the significant level of interest and support of ICT by Malaysians and the general community. “The 16th WCIT 2008 has, without a doubt, successfully placed Malaysia on the global ICT map, enabling local companies to showcase their capabilities in producing world-class solutions and accepted by global corporations,” the MDeC CEO says.
“Furthermore the event exhibits the government’s continued support for growing the ICT industry and to continuously bring improvements to the society.”
E-government plans
Badlisham says Malaysia’s world e-government (EG) ranking has “improved immensely” this year. Out of 198 countries, Malaysia has progressed in the Global E-Government Report, which is produced annually by US-based Brown University, from the position of 157 (2005), 36 (2006), 25 (2007) to 11 (2008), steady and progressive improvement.
The MDeC CEO cites Malaysia’s human resource management information system (HRMIS), as a good example of the government’s use of IT.
“HRMIS is an integrated, technology-enabled HR system for the Malaysian public service, incorporating global best practices in HR,” says Badlisham. “This enables the public service to successfully deal with the challenges of today’s knowledge economy.”
Green future
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi spoke recently of the need for us to look into the ways ICT can facilitate progress in the agricultural sector and also management of energy resources,” Badlisham says.
“Two new MSC Malaysia flagship applications will be considered in agriculture and in managing energy resources, taking a  lead role in promoting innovation, which is set to become part of our national culture with support from the Malaysian government through investments in key infrastructure.”
E-government services and plans
Electronic Services: Aimed at providing quality efficient services for citizens. The key e-services portal is
Electronic Labour Exchange: For labour market information, as supervised by the Ministry of Human Resource.
E-Syariah: A case-management system integrates the processes related to management of cases for the Syariah Courts, the religious legal system.
MyKad: The Malaysian national ID smart card allows the use of various software applications on a single platform.
Telehealth: Allows the national healthcare system to become more integrated and accessible. The Telehealth Flagship Application comprises Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Lifetime Health Record (LHR), the MyHEALTH portal, and Teleconsultation (TC).


Malaysian ICT to grow as economy recovers, says minister

Malaysia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector could grow by 7% if economic recovery and business confidence continues, says Malaysia’s Science, Technology and Information Minister Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili. ICT contributed as much as RM48 billion (US$15.8 billion) or 10% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2007, but only RM40 billion ($13.2 billion) last year.
Before the financial crisis ICT in Malaysia had been projected to grow 10% per year, one of Asia’s fastest, he said.
Ongkili made his comments at Mimos, a major R&D center for ‘frontier technologies’ and advisor to the Malaysian government, which focuses on technology that can be commercialized for growth. Mimos yesterday held a ceremony to transfer technology platforms to three local companies to be developed for market by the private sector: Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd, and Smart Computing Sdn Bhd.
Six other Malaysian companies also signed deals to licence and develop Mimos’ technology: Disability Solutions Sdn Bhd, Alam Teknokrat Sdn Bhd, Innovision Business Solutions Sdn Bhd, Phytofolia Sdn Bhd, Quantum Beez Sdn Bhd and Fabtronic Sdn Bhd.
131 ‘WiFi Villages’ for Sandakan
Meanwhile, in Malaysia’s far eastern city of Sandakan, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said it was halfway through a project to provide minimal-charge wireless internet access to 131 area villages, enabling urban and rural populations equal access to online services. MCMC has also distributed 49,800 netbooks to students in Sabah province on Borneo under the 1Malaysia project.


Information and communication technologies for development

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An OLPC class in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Inveneo Computing Station
Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is a general term referring to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within the fields of socioeconomic development, international development and human rights. The basic hypothesis behind the approach is that more and better information and communication furthers the development of a society (be this to improve income, education, health, security, or any other aspect of human development). In our times, the most tangible and effective way to improve information and communication flows in a society consists in fostering ICT, ergo ICT4D.
The dominant term used in this field is "ICT4D". Alternatives include ICTD ICT4Dev and development informatics.
ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) is the application of technological solutions to the problems of the developing world. In theory, it is differentiated from Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). ICT4D focuses on using digital technology to deliver specific development goals (most notably the Millennium Development Goals). ICTD looks much more broadly at use of ICTs in developing countries. This is a difference that is rarely understood or used in practice.[1]
There is a - somewhat loose - community of researchers that has grown up around the annual ICT4D conferences, the latter of which[2] took place in London, England. The main feature of this community is its integration of both technical and social science researchers working in the field.
The concept of ICT4D can be interpreted as dealing with disadvantaged populations anywhere in the world, but is more typically associated with applications in developing countries. It concerns itself with directly applying information technology approaches to poverty reduction. ICTs can be applied either in the direct sense, wherein their use directly benefits the disadvantaged population, or in an indirect sense, wherein the ICTs assist aid organisations or non-governmental organizations or governments or businesses in order to improve general socio-economic conditions.
The field is becoming recognized as an interdisciplinary research area as can be noted by the growing number of conferences, workshops and publications.[3][4][5] Such research has been spurred on in part by the need for scientifically validated benchmarks and results, which can be used to measure the efficacy of current projects.[6]


Does ICT Improve Learning?

The intuitive answer to those of us involved in ICT is “of course it does”. However, the evidence from research is not conclusive. I think the reason is that it’s actually very difficult to carry out robust research in this area. As the impact of ICT has been a topic for discussion recently in the Naace and Mirandanet mailing lists, I thought it might be useful to try and clarify the issues as I see them.
The question “Does ICT improve learning?” naturally leads on to a set of other questions that need to be addressed:

What ICT?

The question as stated is too broad. A computer is not the same as a suite of computers. It’s not even the same as a laptop, which is not the same as a handheld device. Software is not the same as hardware, and generic software, such as a spreadsheet, is not the same as specific applications, such as maths tuition software.

What other factors are present?

ICT doesn’t happen in a vacuum. What is the environment in which the technology is being used? How is the lesson being conducted? What is the level of technical expertise of the teacher? What is the level of teaching expertise of the teacher? These and other factors mentioned in this article are not stand-alone either: they interact with each other to produce a complex set of circumstances.

What is the ICT being used for?

What is being taught? There is some evidence to suggest that computers are used for low-level and boring tasks like word processing, in which case comparing technology-“rich” lessons with non-technology-rich lessons is not comparing like with like. On the other hand, technology can be, and often is, used to facilitate exploration and discussion. Since these are educationally-beneficial techniques in their own right, the matter of validity needs to be scrutinised (see below).

How is the impact of the ICT being evaluated?

There are several ways in which this might be done, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, in-depth case studies yield rich data but may be difficult to generalise from. Also, there are three other problems. One is that it is difficult to conduct experiments using a suitable control group, because no teacher wishes to try something which may disadvantage a particular group of students. Another is the so-called “starry night” effect, in which case studies focus (naturally) on the successful projects whilst ignoring all the ones which either failed or were not believed to have deliver the same level of benefits. Finally, there is the danger of all kinds of evaluation study, that the methodology itself may affect the outcome.

What exactly is being measured?

This is the issue of validity, already touched upon. Are we measuring the ability of a teacher to conduct a technology-rich lesson, in which case it’s the effectiveness of the teacher rather than the ICT that is being weighed up? By implication, it may be the quality and quantity of professional development which is being measured. It may be students’ home environments that are inadvertently being evaluated, or student-staff relationships.

How much is ICT being used?

I suggest there may be a difference between schools in which ICT is being used more or less everywhere, and those in which it’s hardly being used at all. In the former, presumably both teachers and students would be accustomed to using it, there would be a good explicit support structure in the form of technical support and professional development, and a sound hidden support structure in the form of being able to discuss ideas with colleagues over lunch or a cup of coffee.

Is there an experimenter effect going on?

This is the phenomenon whereby the results of a study confirm or tie in with the expectations of the people or organisation responsible for the study. This is an unconscious process, not a deliberate attempt to cheat. I’ve explained it in my article called Is Plagiarism Really a Problem?


My own feeling – backed up by experience --  is that in the right set of circumstances, the use of ICT can lead to profound learning gains. However, rather than falling into the trap of arguing whether ICT is “good” or “bad”, we need to move the debate onto a much sounder intellectual basis.

Further reading

I’d highly recommend Rachel M. Pilkington, “Measuring the Impact of Information Technology on Students’ Learning”, in The International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, Springer, 2008, USA.


The importance of research for ICT teachers

How important is research for teachers in general, and ICT teachers in particular? One might be tempted to say that people learn in the same way now as they did thousands of years ago, so research, apart from keeping abreast of the latest developments in technology, is pretty redundant.
I think there are problems with that attitude.
First, we don’t know what we don’t know. Research can shed light on issues we didn’t even know existed, and can raise questions we hadn’t realised even needed asking. Second, I’m not convinced that people do learn in the same way as they did thousands of years ago. Technology has meant that we can make mistakes that would have been fatal in the past, through the use of simulations and modelling. Social media has meant that we can canvass, or be exposed to, views from a much wider range of people than would have been possible hitherto. This happens by accident almost. For example, I recently wrote an article about how school districts in the USA are spending their money on computer hardware. This led to comments by John McLear, Michael Pickett and someone called Hamish. All their views are interesting, especially as two of them (John and Michael) seem to feel the same way as I do about tablets vs netbooks (article on that subject is already in the works). Moreover, Michael has provided a couple of links to articles on his website which I am looking forward to reading, and provided a further reference in Twitter this morning. Perhaps in a sense the actual mechanisms by which stuff enters our brains, stays there and then becomes useful in a practical way really hasn’t changed for millennia – which may or may not be true, but in a sense that is irrelevant.
I’d also say that, if you discovered that your doctor hasn’t read a medical journal article since he or she qualified, you might consider changing your doctor! Hopefully, research is not a life or death issue in education, but  I do believe that what makes a professional a professional is keeping up-to-date with the issues and thinking that are pertinent to that subject. That’s why it’s quite right that the powers-that-be believe teachers should continue to do research, although I agree with Christina Preston (see below) that such research doesn’t have to be at Masters level.
What is research? On the one hand you have the highly academic stuff that universities and other institutions engage in. On the other hand you have Freda Bloggs keeping a note of what happens in her classroom when she introduces a new application into her teaching. And somewhere in the middle are people like myself, who carry out research via online surveys or in Twitter. The methodology may not be scientific in the true sense of the term, but I like to think that at the very least it can act as a catalyst for discussion and flag up issues for further exploration.
But enough of this persiflage! Take part in a free  online discussion, which takes place at 7pm UK time on Tuesday 8th February, under the auspices of Vital. Christina Preston, founder of the teacher-centred research organisation Mirandanet, and its seminar programme of Mirandamods, discusses the importance of research for ICT co-ordinators. This is important because we don’t have to rely on anecdotes to show people how important technology can be in the learning process. Join Drew Buddie and me for an online discussion here. Please note that the discussion and chat will be recorded.

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