Saturday, December 25, 2004

Making CDs

I had to get 700 CDs made for the conference proceedings of SCONEST 2004. I'm blogging this so it might be useful for someone else who is doing this or act as a reference for me later on.
I got the master copies from the conference chair, and took it to the notorious Rainbow Center. I ordered 700 duplicates of it. I also ordered 700 plastic sleeves with two pockets. I went to the Burns Road area near the Burns Road bus stop and visited the printing guys there and ordered a film they call "gola" for CD. He quickly composed one with the name of the conference and the sponsors for me and I got it for Rs. 100 on a film. I took that back to my vendor, Royal Corner at Rainbow Center and handed it over to them so that they could get a single color label on the CD-Rs. He said that the labelling sometimes wastes 30 to 40 CDs out of 600, so we are safe.
We'll compose and print out a paper lable to inserted with the CD, which will also contain the copyright notice. We'll get it photocopied or cyclo styled and inserted into the CD sleeves. That should get us going. The entire process of 700 CDs creation is taking 3 working days at a cost of approximately Rs. 20 per CD.

PakCon 2004

Pakistan Cyber Security Convention 2004, Dec 22 and 23, 2004, at Hotel Peal Continental. I registered for both days, but could only attend part of the first day before being pulled back into SCONEST 2004 arrangements. It was expected.
Hotel had made poor power arrangements, as there was a power breakdown in the morning on Dec 22. The volunteers were well organized, and very composed. I would have like to see more attendance. I dont know why people took such small interest in it. In my opinion, it was an important event. I also bought a PakCon 2004 T-shirt there.
Event details are available at The mastermind behind it is Mr. Faiz Ahmed Shuja, who is Sr Security Consultant, Cyber Internet Services, and Founder Pakistan Honeynet Project amongst many other things.

Kernel newbies

To develop skills at the low level Operating System details, a friend advised, where one can find things to do at the kernel level, which are not very difficult, but are a good skill development exercise. Links to other websites as well which have some ideas not specifically related to the kernel itself. One such link is, which has FreeBSD related tasks.

Monday, December 20, 2004


I had to see Mr. Abdur Rehman at Plexus, which is a sister concern of the group that runs Meezan Bank. They are an ISV. They wanted to explore the chances of finding the right manpower at various levels to develop some network security related products. They require people with some Linux Device Driver expertise, TCP/IP skills etc. I wouldnt disclose it all, since it is unethical. However, if you think this matches you, feel free to drop me a line and I'll see what we can do.

Forget me not!

I got to Bar B Q Tonight at Boat Basin at 8:05 pm according to the decided deal between four friends at the University for dinner last night. I ring up one to check where he is sitting at the restaurant. His brother answers the phone and informs that he is at his grandma's place. Bummer! I ask him to call him and tell him to get here asap. I call another one of us, and he's at home cause he thinks it was 9 pm. Double Bummer! I ask him to get here asap and ask him to call the last one. The first one arrives at 9:05 pm, the second one arrives about 10 minutes later. The last one said that since there was no confirmation the day before, he thought the dinner was off. Oh well, we had dinner and had lots of chit chat. We called for the bill at 10:40 pm. I recalled my friend's advice and looked at the bill. I asked Fahad to check it. He said it looked too high. He found some discrepencies. I looked at it and I called the waiter and the menu. Sure enough, extra items in our bill all across the board. The sons of a "you know who." We sent it back for correction, he came back, with still remaining errors. We catch them, send them back for more correction. Bam! They come back with still remaining errors. We correct them, and finally, at 11:20 pm, we pay the bill and leave. Of course, I left no tip. Damn these stealing bastards! Never trust them. I'm incredibly pissed at them. They're lucky I didnt break anything at their pretty little restaurant.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Imagine Cup

A design meeting was held at Core IT Education Center last night to talk about the ideas that can be pushed to the Imagine Cup participants for brainstorming.
I was there alongwith Hammad Rajjoub, Adnan Farooq and Jan Dost Khan (JDK). We discussed the idea of knowledge objects and agreed that it's a wonderful idea and decided to come up with a write up so that we can describe what is included and what is not and then go from there.
Moreover, the idea of using location based services for GPRS was also discussed and we also agreed to push it in a similar manner.
We're waiting for the input from Adnan. The level of commitment on part of the prospective participants in the cup is evident from the attendance at this design meeting.

More books

Went to the book market again yesterday, and bought yet more books. This time mostly on .Net. Here's a list:
1. .NET Patterns - Architecture, Design and Process by Christian Thilmany
2. Programming in the .NET environment by Damien Watkins, Mark Hammond, Brad Abrams. Damien Watkins has considerable work in the area of distributed computing. He has worked on the development of the .NET framework. I have taken several of his talks. He's an excellent person and an excellent scholar. That's why I bought this book. I'm sure it's a well written book. Next time I see him, I can tell him that I have read his book.
3. Component Software - Beyond object-oriented programming by Clemens Szyperski. When Clemens wrote this book, Microsoft hired him immediately. It's a gem of a book and the best reference on component software. It discusses the theory and principles and also discusses the implementation in DCOM and CORBA.
4. Compiling for the .NET Common Language Runtime by John Gough.
I hope I'll read them soon enough. Got a lot of books to read.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Books and more

I got my copy of Packet magazine Fourth Quarter 2004 Vol 16, No. 4. I havent read it yet. I'm crazy when it comes to buying books. I went with a colleague to buy books and bought the following:
1. Bridges, routers and switches for CCIEs by Caslow, Second Edition. This I bought for the next time I teach CS 523 Routing and Switching
2. Wireless Communications Prcinciples and Practices by Rappaport, Second Edition. This I bought to quench my curiosity about CDMA 2000 after the training course in Islamabad.
3. Wireless Network Evolution by Garg. This one looks more practical than the one above.
4. Designing Network Securit by Kaeo, second edition. This I bought for my upcoming course on Computer Network Security.
5. Hackers Beware by Eric Cole. This is for the same as above.
I'm considering drawing some more money to buy more tomorrow. This time, I'd like to buy some books on .NET.

Monday, December 13, 2004

CDMA 2000 Seminar at Islamabad, Pakistan

I am at Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, attending a seminar hosted at Air University, by Higher Education Commission,
The seminar started on Dec 6 and will run till Dec 16. Since my Chairman had told me I was nominated for Dec 13 and 14 only, I had a trip through Lahore. I arrived at Islamabad on Friday, Dec 10, 2004 afternoon. I came straight to the seminar and was greeted by a Chinese speaker who was sitting on a chair with a laptop in front of him staring at the laptop and speaking that way. The guy is very strong technically, but I must say that he is not an effective teacher. I was also greeted to a quiz the same day. Since it was open book, I was able to attempt 39 or so questions.
This guy works for QualComm, the producer of CDMA chips and probably owns the IP to the CDMA specs. Some execs from QualComm USA were also there.
I guess, we're getting all the literature and we'll have to spend time on it to see what we can do about it. The idea is that since CDMA is going to be the basis for 3G services, there is need to develop engineers well-versed with CDMA.
Today was supposed to be Wireless Internnet Optimization, but I think the schedule was changed, and it was Network Planning. Same tomorrow. I'm flying back to Karachi tomorrow night, so I'll miss Wireless Internet Optimization, but at least I have the course material.
The course material is very badly structured as well, and I am still unable to get the big picture out of it. I guess there's no replacement for a book. I'll see if I can find a good book on CDMA in the local market.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Forgot a couple of things about UMT event

Oh yea, a couple more things. I gave Mr. Ahmad Abdullah, Corporate Liaison Managerm University of Management and Technology, Lahore, a copy of MSDN Webcast Archive Vol I. Anyone in Lahore or adjoining areas is welcome to ask him for a copy. If you have any difficulties, email me and I'll help you out.
Also, the Dean at UMT was of the opinion that vendor products such as .NET should not be part of the curriculum but should be taken as seminars and workshops. I agree with him that the curriculum should be vendor neutral in the classroom, but one must have something specific in the labs and workshops and seminars. All of these can contain multiple vendor products if logistically possible.

INETA Pakistan event at University of Management and Technology

Today, my seminar at University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan started at 2:30 pm 15 minutes behind schedule, owing to the fact that I was unfamiliar with the route and we got confused about directions.
The event went well. Even though it was the last day before exams, about 50 students attended the event. The topic was Introduction to .NET framework and Non-commercial .NET implementations. The response was good and a few students asked some good questions. Some students also caught hold of me after the event to ask some questions.
Apart from encouraging the audience to form an INETA User Group, I also appraised the audience about Imagine Cup and encouraged them to participate in it. Let's see what the impact turns out to be.