HealthCare Magic – Get your Medical Queries Answered in a jiffy

health care magic helpline

The beauty of internet is that it connects the haves and have nots. Its connects the knowledge seeker with the knowledge provider. Anything that can be delivered in zeroes and ones is being transformed by this magic of internet. Education has been revolutionized by MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Healthcare is the next big frontier. Telemedicine was the first foray to transform physical boundaries to provide medical care. Today doctors are consulted routinely using email, web cam and chat.

70% of U.S. adults got information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional. Not finding right information and the mental stress may lead to “cyberchondria”  – a state of anxiety related to health research on the Internet, it can get worse as reliable information is sought, but not necessarily found. On the other hand searching for medical information can make you sick.

Getting right information from right source is a critical gap addressed by this service. HealthCare Magic service helps you ask a and get your queries answered by doctors from around the world, with medically correct information. This Ask-a-doctor service even covers special areas like cardiology, urology, neurology and oncology. While anyone is free to make a query that will be answered by willing doctors some type of consultations need to be paid.

A single query to a General Physician costs Rs 199 and a single query to a Specialist costs Rs 599.

An unlimited General Physician package costs Rs 799 a month and an unlimited Specialist package costs Rs 1,499 a month.


4 Mobile Apps to Prevent Indian Women from Getting Raped

The Government is taking serious legal steps to provide improve women safety in the country by providing for death penalty and minimum 20 years punishment. While it is yet to see the light of the day, you take your safety literally in your hands. These mobile apps can help you send alerts in case of untoward happenings, at the push of a button. Go ahead and install and app and delete fear.


EyeWatch App

eye watch app

Sends SOS alerts even if you are not connected to GPRS

Immediately captures audio-visual information of the situation to share with your Emergency Contacts

Tracks your family in case of emergency

Confirms your safety to your loved ones without raising SOS alert

Provides back-up when you’re out of coverage reach and sends SOS alerts finding the nearest network*

Automatically alerts your contacts in case of your car crash, medical fall by sensing sudden drop of your phone*

Automatically sends emergency alerts even if you are incapacitated*

Eyewatch mobile app works with different mobile platforms such as BlackBerry, Android and selected Nokia Symbian S60.


Download EyeWatch App Now  You need to register on their website to provide personal details.


Me Against Rape

me against rape app

Me Against Rape app is available for Android-based smartphones for free.
The app features a one-touch helpline facility, recording facility, and can send location and time details every 10 minutes — including latitude, longitude, address and Google Maps link.

Download Me Against Rape App

Fightback App

fightback app

The ‘Fight Back’ app allows user to send SOS message via SMS, e-mail and Facebook at the press of a single key.

The Fight Back app is designed to work with Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Blackberry

Download Fightback App now

Nirbhaya App

nirbhaya app

Nirbhaya is a Smartphone application, which can send a distress call or message to a specified contact or group in an emergency situation faced by a woman or any person in general.

It sends an alert by way of an SMS or phone call or Facebook Post with the woman’s/person’s location to the configured group through the Global Positioning System (GPS).

It can also be used in case of attempted molestation, accident, family emergency or any other ‘customizable’ emergency alert called ‘Scream’ through pre-defined text messages. The application is compatible at present with Android mobile phones. The user is also required to submit personal details such as residential address, blood group and emergency contact numbers.

Download Nirbhaya App now



Airtel provides emergency alert service

Bharti Airtel has launched its emergency alert service in the eastern region of the country. The service, aimed at the women subscribers, allows one to send an alert with their geographical location to their 10 contacts. The service is priced at Rs. 30 with a validity of 30 days. To send the alert via SMS, users need to type HELP in the message box and send it to 55100, which will be then sent to all 10 contacts. Read more at

Government of India is working on a Wrist Watch with GPS capabilities

The wristwatch contains a GPS chip that will keep a track of the wearer’s location and, at the press of a button, send those details, through an SMS, to the nearest police station and pre-selected mobile numbers. The watch will also have an in-built video camera that can capture video for thirty minutes, once the button is pushed.

Read more

Technology behind the Next Generation WebApps for Government

The next generation web applications for Governments are using frameworks like Ruby of app development. Server scalability using the Amazon Cloud and other services Amazon RDS and Amazon SES. Here is latest list published by the UK Government which is working on the Gov.Uk Portal as a one place for all data. Now the scope has also been expanded to include private data sources also and is made available in an API. Licensing is an factor to think about in this emerging area. The more open the better. Here is the technology stack for Gov.Uk portal reproduced from Cabinet Office Blog, UK.

Hosting and Infrastructure
  • DNS hosted by
  • Servers are Amazon EC2 instances running Ubuntu 10.04LTS
  • Email (internal alerts) sending via Amazon SES and Gmail
  • Miscellaneous file storage on Amazon S3
  • Jetty application server
  • Nginx, Apache and mod_passenger
  • Jenkins continuous integration server
  • Caching by Varnish
  • Configuration management using Puppet
Languages, Frameworks and Plugins
  • Most of the application code is written in Ruby, running on a mixture of Rails and Sinatra
    Rails and Sinatra gave us the right balance of productivity and clean code, and were well known to the team we’ve assembled. We’ve used a range of gems along with these, full details of which can be found in the Gemfiles at
  • The router is written in Scala and uses Scalatra for its internal API
    The router distributes requests to the appropriate backend apps, allowing us to keep individual apps very focussed on a particular problem without exposing that to visitors. We did a bake-off between a ruby implementation and a scala implementation and were convinced that the scala version was better able to handle the high level of concurrency this app will require.
  • MongoDB
    We started out building everything using MySQL but moved to MongoDB as we realised how much of our content fitted its document-centric approach. Over time we’ve been more and more impressed with it and expect to increase our usage of it in the future.
  • MySQL hosted using Amazon’s RDS platform
    Some of the data we need to store is still essentially relational and we use MySQL to store that. Amazon RDS takes away many of the scaling and resilience concerns we had with that without requiring changes to our application code.
  • MaPit geocoding and information service from mySociety
    MaPit not only does conventional geocoding (what’s the lon/lat for a postcode) but also gives us details of all the local government areas a postcode is in, which lets us point visitors to relevant local services
  • HTML & CSS (naturally), with elements from HTML5 & CSS3 where appropriate
  • Javascript uses jQuery, jQuery UI, Chosen, and a variety of other plugins
  • Gill Sans provided by
  • Google web font loader



Rail Radar: Tracking trains on a Google Map

A few years ago I stumbled upon a live flight tracking system called Casper which later evolved into a full fledged commercial service to get real time flight tracking data called Casper Flights. I have worked for the Indian Railways and answered a million queries about train arrivals/departures to passengers. I always fancied how it would be to get a live data of train movements and now the dream has come into reality. The Rail Radar marks a major milestone on the Digital Governance highway the Indian Railways is cruising in.


Now you can spot almost any train on a Google Map and color coded to distinguish the ones running on-time(blue) and those delayed(red). On the left side is the search button, where you can search for a train number or by name and it will show you the train position on the Google Map. On the right top corner a tiny bar shows the percentage of train running on-time and delayed and also the total trains active at present. At present the data is updated every five minutes. The Rail Radar is the logical evolution of the National Train Enquiry System which was able to show the running status of a train and the arrival/departure time at stations.

How is the data generated for this mapping? In simplistic terms consider that Indian Railways has train passing monitoring points around the country at more than 6000 locations. These monitoring points in real-time mode communicate updates on train arrival, departure, or passing to a central headquarter server. In substantial cases these updates are automated however there are places/situations where this reporting is also done manually. The data is generated and officially held by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). The Rail Radar shows only passenger trains.

Here is a comparison chart I made between Casper and Rail Radar. Though it means comparing the earth and the sky(literally) you may find it interesting.



Rail Radar

Delay in Update Approx. 40 seconds Minimum 5 mins.
Data Capture method Flights fitted with mode-s transponder  broadcast their position Data collection points at more than 6000 locations most of it is automated.
Cost Free and Paid options Free and in Beta.
Geography Across Europe Indian Railway Network
Data Source Data sourced from receivers. You can offer yours too. Proprietary


Rail Radar: Official CV (from their FAQ)

RailRadar™ is a live tracker of Indian Railways passenger trains traffic in real time. This live tracker is shown on an interactive map and allows users to watch the movements of trains which are currently running in entire India. RailRadar™ is an outcome of innovation where Indian Railways Center for Railway Information System (CRIS) and joined hands.

The core motivation behind building RailRadar™ was an age-old saying – “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Today we believe that it can be more! Over the last decade, train network and traffic in India have grown tremendously. Indian Railways expects this trend to continue over the next few decades.

There is also an yellow icon which represents a train which is currently expected to reach its next stop on time (typically with delays of 15 mins or less).


The Rail Radar project has been shelved and presently the link forwards to . As per this news the new interface is developed by CRIS and is touted to be more user friendly. However this seems a very regressive step by CRIS to maintain its monopoly of Railway information. Just have a look. The project moved from

Rail Radar


and this

Rail Radar features


to this bland interface




This is a very regressive step taken by CRIS without much explanation. However such monopoly can be held for long. Citizens need data that can make their life easier. And i hope that the step will reversed soon. What do you think could be reason for shelving such a good project. Share your comments below.

Potholes-Why send a tweet this iPhone app will report it

streetbumpapp street-bump-app

Street Bump helps residents improve their neighborhood streets. As they drive, the mobile app collects data about the smoothness of the ride; that data provides the City with real-time information it uses to fix problems and plan long term investments.

Residents use Street Bump to record “bumps” which are identified using the device’s accelerometer and located using its GPS. Bumps are uploaded to the server for analysis. Likely road problems are submitted to the City via Open311, so they get fixed (e.g. potholes) or classified as known obstacles (e.g. speed bumps).

Street Bump is different from Boston’s first app, Citizen Connect, which required users to actively send a text of tweet, visit a website or call a 24-hour hotline to report a pothole or other nuisances. Other cities, including Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio, have encouraged residents to report potholes using Facebook, Twitter, or special apps that allow residents to request city services using their smartphones.

Street Bump App – How it works:

Download from iTunes Now

Before they even start their trip, drivers using Street Bump fire up the app, then set their smartphones either on the dashboard or in a cup holder. The app takes care of the rest, using the phone’s accelerometer – a motion-detector – to sense when a bump is hit. GPS records the location, and the phone transmits it to a remote servers hosted by Amazon Inc.’s Web services division.

The system filters out things like manhole covers and speed bump using a series of algorithms – including one that can tell if the initial motion is up over a speed bump, as opposed to down into a pothole. If at least three people hit a bump in the same spot, the system recognizes it as a pothole.

How did they do it:

Costing  $45000 and jointly funded by Boston City and Liberty mutual, the first prototype returned high false positives. Then the creators organized a competition with a prize money of $25000 and integrated ideas received in it.