Thursday, March 31, 2005

Welcome to the UKP lane

Welcome to the UKP lane, I am sure you wouldnt enjoy your stay in it!!
What is the UKP lane you ask? Here goes.
March 18, 2005, 6 pm, Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, two MVPs, myself and Adnan Farooq getting ready to travel to Lahore for delivering their presentations during Microsoft's ISV Community Days. When we get to the point where you get your bags strapped for "added security," a guy comes up from behind us and places his bag on the machine before we can move. Why did that happen? Because we were in the UKP lane. What's the UKP lane you ask again? Here's another one.
Two MVPs standing at the Daewoo bus station for reservation of a ticket for one to Islamabad. We were a little late to recognize that we were again in the UKP lane, as people kept coming ahead of us in the "queue" asking when the bus from Islamabad is going to arrive. There are buses every thirty minutes Einstein, which freaking bus are you asking for. @#%^$# morons. A young lady walks up behind us and asks us to move because she wants to get ahead of us. Yea, sure, why not, it's our duty because we're in the UKP lane. Have you guessed what the UKP lane is yet?
UKP stands for Ulloo Ka Paththa. Pardon my french, but apparently, anyone being courteous or rule following down here is definitely a UKP. It's not easy to get out of the UKP lane once you are in it, so while I "enjoy" my stay in the UKP lane, you have fun.

Husein Textile

It's not my job, only a question of reputation, sense of responsibility.
Me and Ejaz were at Husein Textile today, after yesterdays body-wrecking search for a reflective optical sensor to detect RPM of the loom motor. Having fixed a few minor problems on the veroboard, we went to Husein about two hours later than expected.
While we were getting ready to deploy the monitoring system on the loom, we discovered that the cable which was supposed to connect the monitoring unit to the remote PC was several meters away. There was a lot of fireworks as people debated as to why the cable was terminated there, when the loom being prepared was several meters away.
Anyway, it was decided that the mounting would be moved to another loom close to the cable and we would work on it tomorrow afternoon. Let's hope for the best.
I've invested too much time and energy on this and am getting fatigued. My body has been shouting for mercy for the last three days. Every night I am so tired that I can not sleep for hours. Once this is over, and it is far from over, believe me, I will be able to concentrate on something else.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Youngest MCP

I was invited alongwith fellow MVP Adnan Farooq Hashmi to the MKR (Mir Khalilur Rehman) Foundation Shabash award program for Arfa, the youngest MCP in the world at 9 years of age. She's from Multan. The program might be aired on Geo. I dont watch Geo. I aint got cable. Heck, I dont even watch PTV, if you ask me. No time dude! So if you see me on TV, dont blame me for looking awful, I've had very hard working days all this week and when I got there, I was way past dead tired.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Steganography! The art of concealing information in various forms of media: writing, typed text, image files, audio files, video files, you name it. How to do it? Flipping the LSB of the media information elements (e.g., pixel in an image) does not cause noticeable changes in the original, but successfully embeds a message, one bit at a time in each media element. Read about it.
Here is a sample .NET application and a good introduction to steganography.
Here's another one that does it with wav files. This author may have other articles on the same topic with other file formats.
Yup, sure enough, she does. Here's another one. I'd expect you could edit the URL visiting steganodotnet1.asp through steganodotnet9.asp on that website.
Here's a library alongwith Stegano samples.
Here's yet another article on steganography and how to do it.
This one has more than I could read.
I guess just reading and using these should be sufficient for starters.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Map it!

Havinving been asked about building an application using Mappoint web service, I started searching the web. Here's a sample that I got from a google search.
There's this website, which offers a free trial. NACGeo
Mappoint Demo
Mapquest has a free service for maps and driving directions at Mapquest API
It is not an XML Web Service, but it could be a possible solution.
Yahoo! Maps can also be used as described on Yahoo! Maps

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

mono installer

Abubakar pointed out to me that there is an installer for mono 1.0.5 at this location. All you have to do is download that .bin file, copy it to some location on your Linux system, chmod +x the file and then run it. That will launch an installer for mono which does all the dirty work for you.
It was reported working on RH9, Fedora Core 1/2/3, Suse Enteprise 9, Novell Linux Desktop, and Suse Linux 9 in this posting
Take care

Yet another grub restore tutorial

This must exist on millions of websites, but I just decided to blog it for easy reference.
Story: I installed dual boot Fedora Core 3 to test out Mono and stuff. I isntall Win XP Professional because I needed IIS and voila, grub is bye-bye. Cant boot into FC3. I did a google on "grub restore" and got the following procedure:
1- Since I didnt have a boot floppy, I boot with the FC3 installation disk 1
2- Type "linux rescue" at the first screen, where we usually just hit enter when installing or upgrading. A dialog asks you whether it should find and mount the Linux partition, agree to it. It will be mounted on /mount/sysinstall
3- Type "grub" and hit enter
4- Type "find /boot/grub/stage1" and note the partition where the boot stage 1 files are
5- If the above had shown (hd0,1), type "root (hd0,1) or whatever else was shown in the last command output
6- Type "setup (hd0)" and hit enter. You are done.
7- Type "quit" and hit enter.
8- Type "exit" and hit enter. The system reboots. You have your grub menu back.
Credit Grub Restore
Now, I am off to recompiling the kernel, or building a kernel module for NTFS. Take care

Monday, March 21, 2005


Abubaker gave me his blog address on a slip after my ISV Community Days, Lahore presentation and I found his blog to be quite interesting. He's got some very nice stuff on it.


It is a pleasure for me to mention that all three speakers for INETA Pakistan have been approved as Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVP).
Hammad Rajjoub has the C# competency, Adnan Farooq has Windows Server, and I with C++. This should act as motivation to others to volunteer speaking for INETA Pakistan. Did I mention that we can advise on who should be nominated for MVP? Approval, of course, has to go through several stages.

Back in Karachi

I have returned to Karachi now and am back to the life as it used to be. Have a class in the evening, have to finish grading the mid term papers and have to drop the proximity sensors at Hussein Textile Industries in between. I also have to call at least a couple of people. Impossible schedule. Dont worry, there'll be some surprise last minute "do it right now" things coming up as well as a few requests for "recommendation letters" that either "need to be shipped today" or "my mother has to carry it in her baggage to USA tomorrow."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

ISV Community Days, Lahore

Got to Lahore at about 9 pm, with all other delegates. Vaqas from BBCL (Big Bang Communication) rented a Honda Civic from Avis and we drove to LUMS and checked in at the Rausing Executive Development Center. It was a nice enough place. I had to go out and buy converters for the charger plugs for our laptops.
The next day, we finalized the demos and presentations, went out, got the photo film developed, got a new one in the camera. Adnan Farooq got a shave and I got a trim. We had a Coke as well. ;-P
On returning, we ironed out clothes, took a shower, got ready and went to the presentation hall. Nasser Khan Ghazi was touching on XML Web Services when we got there. We then had lunch and tested our laptops with the equipment. I got Visual Studio and the presentation fired up ready to go. Oh, by the way, did I mention we were wearing our brand new INETA Pakistan logo shirts. They looked amazing.
The attendance was thin at Lahore as at Karachi, but the audience seemed much more knowledgable and asked very good questions. The audience was very eager about INETA Pakistan coming to Lahore. We informed them about the FAST Lahore User Group and asked them to drop us an email to discuss what can be done.
We gave away 7 Webcasts CDs.
I gave Adnan Farooq a hand by holding a microphone up to his laptop speakers so that the audience could hear the playback of the prompts and responses of his speech enabled FlightEnquiry.NET application.
Between our presentations, Nasser Khan Ghazi talked about Bioinformatics. I was very interested. After ISV community days, what's next?

Friday, March 18, 2005

ISV Community Days, Karachi

Got to Shertaon Hotel at 1:45 pm with my session at 2 pm. The session started 5 minutes late to allow people to return from lunch and prayers. The session went very well. Met one of my NED class fellows, Tabassum. I couldnt recognize her at first because she used to wear glasses when she was at NED. She didnt sit through my presentation. :-(
Distributed Computing with XML Web Service using .NET was the topic and I gave a demo of fetching customer records from the NorthWind database through a web service from an ASP.NET client. The demo idea was borrowed heavily from Hammad Rajjoub's demo at SCONEST 2004 on December 30, 2004, at PAF KIET.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

ISV Days

Have to go to the university in a few hours to prepare presentations for the Microsoft ISV Days program in which myself and Adnan Farooq are speaking on Distributed Computing with XML Web Services and Speech Applications with Microsoft Speech Application SDK, respectively.

MySQL on monoppix

By the way, before I forget, monoppix CD also includes a MySQL server that you can run. Which is nice to demonstrate the XSP ASP.NET clone web server. I have to solve a few problems related to ADO.NET using ByteFX runtime on mono. The samples are not working.


I got my share of monoppix yesterday from Zeeshan Muhammad. I liked it very much, because mainly, it contains NTFS file system read capability and I could switch to my Windows XP partition and demonstrate running of .NET programs over mono without any preliminaries.
I still havent tested whether or not it includes monodevelop.

Success at last

I have finally managed to get the complete set of Mono running on my FC 3 laptop, which is where I am blogging from right now, by the way.
Building mono was no sweat. Monodoc took some time in dependency resolution. gtksharp, gtksourceview and gtksourceview-sharp were problematic due to interlinked dependencies and monodevelop depended on those. xsp was a piece of cake. What I had to do was to build monodevelop 0.4, gtksourceview-sharp 0.5, gtksourceview-1.0.1, gecko-sharp-0.6 from the source tarballs downloaded from the mono website or the gnome FTP server.
Hope you have a great time building and running mono, especially monodevelop.

LUMS LGAT test scores

Test score sheet arrived in the mail. Quantitative portion 810, Analytical 750. Yea, I accept it, I'm not very good at the analytical thing. I guess an average engineer is happier crunching numbers with known formulae and techniques than with analytical reasoning. I'll have to get in that mindset, though.
The funny part of it is, that the test sections were graded on a maximum of 800. So, how come I got 810 on quantitative? Have to figure that out somehow.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

More AAA open source and free products

Found several AAA projects.

Wireless LAN AAA

These articles would be useful for the Wireless LAN project.

FL Code Camp 2005

This page should be helpful to us for planning our Day of .NET event later this year.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mess up!

What a loss! I downloaded Fedora Core 3 from Redhat in the Research Lab on my laptop. It downloaded at around 190kBps. In the end, when IE was copying the file from its cache to the destination folder on my hard disk drive, another window came up, I pressed Enter, however, the window backgrounded and the keystroke was routed to the copy process, and the entire downloaded went down the drain. Oh well! I'll just do it again.

IEEEP 20th International Symposium

I was the session secretary at the third technical session of IEEEP 20th International Sysmposium sitting next to the session chair, Engr. Abul Kalam, Vice Chancellor, NED University. He's witty and it was a nice experience to be with him on stage.
Several interesting points were raised by the audience not related to the papers but about education, brain drain etc, and Mr. Kalam addressed them with confidence and authority.
The papers that were presented were one each from NED University, NUST Institute of IT, and PNS Jauhar, which were gold medalists. Having secured the highest points, NED University's paper secured a special trophy in addition to the cash prize and gold medals for the paper authors.

Mixed success

I was successful in building Mono 1.0.2 on FreeBSD 4.7, but was unable to get it to make install. Apparently from google searches, many people have faced the same problem. Since the only reason for using FreeBSD for me was to use NCTUns which now is available for Fedora, I guess, I'll go for Linux. I'll keep looking for a fix for the problem on BSD.

Mono 1.0.2 configure on FreeBSD 4.7

OK, early morning try for the hints I found last night. Built libiconv from source. Built pkgconfig from source, went to mono 1.0.2 and did ./configure, successful. I will run make on mono later so that I can time it. Right now, I must get breakfast and get ready to go to Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, where we have a symposium by the misleadingly named IEEEP, which has absolutely nothing to do with IEEE Inc. USA. I'll be the session secretary for the first session, and Engr. Abul Kalam, Vice Chancelor of NED University will be the session chair.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Found some stuff at
It says build pkg-config from source. Gonna do that. Maybe tomorrow.

glib-2.0 compiled

glib-2.0 compilation gave a lot of problems. Myabe I should've been using some sort of switch to ./configure but I couldnt locate one.
Compiling gettext-0.14, after downloading it from the web, it complained about missing CSharp and .net and suggested to get pnet. Well, I am compiling .net so that's chicken and egg problem.
I just removed all references to anything that contained "csharp" in all the Makefiles and then it went fine.
Then went back to glib-2.0 and had to define the symbol -DUSE_LIBICONV_GNU in the Makefile in the directory glib. Also, in gobject, tests, and glib had to modify the Makefile to include -lintl -L/usr/local/lib and -I/usr/local/include. In docs and subdirectories, I had to insert dummy and empty all-local: target in the Makefiles.
Now went back to Mono, and it is still complaining about glib-2.0 version thing. I tried pkg-config and it said gnome-config missing. I am now installing gnome and packages and will see where we go from there.

glib 2.0

Correction! I had glib 1.2 not 2.0. Downloading it from


Bison built and installed. Now it is complaining that glib-2.0 is needed. I already have the source code, so I am going to try and build it.

Mono 1.0.2 on FreeBSD

Started to try and compile Mono 1.0.2 on my department's laptop running FreeBSD 4.7. Configure script said bison not found. Searched and found that bison is a general purpose parser builder. Download v 2.0 of it from About to give it a shot.