Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hasta La Vista, Karachi!

My bags are only just finished packing and I have half an hour before I leave for the airport. Probably my last blog from this desktop PC, unless we transport it over to Lahore later on. So much has been happening and so little time to blog. I'll blog in back date once I get to Lahore and get some online time.
Hasta la vista, Karachi!

Bye bye!

Today, I firs to NED University to print, seal and submit the question papers for the courses I taught this year to the Chairman, said a final good bye to all the teachers and staff. I went to final year, to see Sir Shahab. In that round, some other students also saw me go by. After that, I went from one lab to another saying good bye to whoever was there. I was glad that Ali Ismail wasnt there because he is very passionate and it would've been a real tear jerker. When I met Anis, the technician, he hugged me with strength and for a long time. He is also very very nice and passionate and I'll miss his straightforward nature.
I then said good bye to Dean ECE and drove over to Hawksbay Road to give my wife (my car) to the transporter for being sent to Lahore. My father was coming on our bike from home. The traffic was very bad as most roads are being constructed. The only relief were the big trailers, otherwise everyone else was driving like a moron.
Once I saw the transporters places at Hawksbay Road, you can not imagine my joy to realize that I was there.
I left the car at the transporter's place. Took one last look at it, saying a silent good bye and then rode back home with my father on the motor bike. Getting home, we had lunch. My mother had cooked my favorite mutton rice. After having done that, I packed the rest of my stuff and got ready to leave for the airport.
There was a surprise there, as I was told that the 20 kg excess baggage that was approved for me being an Awards+ member was not available to my class of Awards+ members. I was surprised and explained that I had made a call a few minutes ago to the call center and they had confirmed that it was approved. The shift incharge however, let go of 14 kg excess baggage as good will and I paid for 10 kg which was Rs. 800, and I didnt mind as long as it got there.
So, now, here I am in Lahore. With so many possibilities, uncertainties, fears and happiness all through my mind. Let's see what tomorrow holds.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I went to the HQ of ACLC (Anti Car Lifting Cell) near Gujjar Nala yesterday around 5 pm and the cops told me that I should get the NOC to transport my vehicle to Lahore between 10 am and 2 pm. I went there today at that time and had my vehicle inspected for accuracy of engine and chassis numbers and history. I paid Rs. 100 fees, deposited copies of car documents, and my NIC and was advised to collect the NOC at 3 pm. I went back to the University to attend SCONEST 2005 and a person from O&A was also waiting with my Toshiba Tecra S2 laptop for me.
I opened the seals on the packing and inspected the laptop. He upgraded the RAM to 1 GB in front of me and then I made him the payment. Then, we went to the conference lunch. It was good. While we were having lunch, some students from some unknown department came and intentionally broke some plates and bottles. That is so unfortunate! Such misbehavior from the most educated lot of the country! We had plenty of food by the way.
Then, I returned to the lab to hand over IEEE Student Branch stuff to Ahmed Faraz, INETA Pakistan stuff to Fahad Abdel Kader and Lab Coordination stuff to Shazia Bano.
Having done that, I went to SCONEST for some minutes and had photographs with a few students and then left to collect my ACLC.
I took my NOC and drove to Tariq Road to the shop where I had purchased my car's security system to have the horn replaced which was malfunctioning after a car service.
Then, I took the car to the place where I had purchased the CNG kit and had it tuned. Then went back home for five or ten minutes before going to Lal Qila for the dinner with INETA Pakistan folks. It was unfortunate that the person who master minded that dinner, Hammad Rajjoub didnt show up and his cell phone was not responding. Me, Fahad and Adnan had a very nice dinner there, and took a few photos. Then, we left with Adnan standing in front of my car trying to stop me from going away to Lahore. He is really sad to see me go.
I then returned for a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


On anger management, I forgot to mention one more point, smiling. In the US, people have the good habit of smiling at the other person if eye contact is made whether you know the other person or not. They say that a smile is contagious, and the other person also smiles at you. Just a harmless smile brightens the mood, diffuses tension and what not.
I try to follow that. Whenever someone says assalamo alaikum, I try not to just say walaikum assalam but I try to say it with a smile. It never hurts, makes the pther person feel valued and happier, and brightens my mood, too. In our society, maybe smiling at the opposite sex would give wrong ideas to the other preson, so maybe this is not very universal, however, as far as why I dont get angry is concerned, I think this is probably another one of the reasons, so if you want to be cool minded, try to do this. Smile!

Of anger and me

Hmm, on the repeated asking of why I dont get angry, how do I manage it, which was asked by my sophomore class, both sections, I thought I'd post an entry on my blog.
Some people are clam by nature, some are not. I guess I'm more in the former than in the latter. I do get angry at times, which I'll explain later. But the students have said on their blogs, and in the questions they asked me in class that I dont get angry at them when they do stuff that other teachers get infuriated at, one of them even said, I'd just smile at them in return. As far as these sophomore kids are concerned, they mean something else to me, so except for, I think one time when I sent three or four of them to see their class advisor from the class, and even that, very calmly and then one asked them to be quiet and stuff, I havent really shown any anger towards them. I guess it's because I love them all so much for some reason. Even the so called back benchers. The first batch I've taught for two years straight. Maybe that has something to do with it. Even if I only did labs with them in first year. But you get angry at someone you care about, you dont get angry at someone you dont know, and I just love these kids, so at times I did get angry at them, but the reason was that I wanted the best for them.
Other than that, I think you get angry when you think you're something, and I dont. I'm just an ordinary guy. No matter how good you are, there's always someone better, so dont be proud of yourself. At the same time, look below you. There are so many less privileged than you and you did nothing to deserve to be more privileged than them. It's just Allah's scheme of things that we are who we are. One day, driving back from University on a Friday afternoon, I saw a man, with his wife and three small school kids walking along the road, apparently taking his kids back home from school. He had some fault with his leg and he was limping. His motor bike also appeared to have broken down and he was dragging it along, too. That scene is still in front of my eyes and I can see him vividly limping along right now, as I saw him that day, and the tears come to my eyes just as much as the tears had dropped on that day. Think about it. A father who loves his children so much, wants to comfort them, with a ride on the motor bike back from school at least. Imagine his agony to know that his little boys and girls are walking the dirt track with their little legs and backs tiring from the heft weights of their school bags and there's nothing he can do about it. I felt so strongly for him and I feel so strongly for him today. I thanked Allah then and I thank him every second that I dont limp, I have a car bigger than I need, I have a house bigger than I need, I have every luxury that I could imagine, and do I have anything to do with all that? No, it's all blessings. I could've been born in his place and he could've been born in mine. We cant change that, but at least we can thank Allah for that.
As insignificant as we are, we can not change who we are, we can not dictate what or who we are, then do we have a right to be angry? I dont think so. Well, sometimes you get angry, everyone does, but beyond that, having the anger on your nose, so to speak, I dont agree with that.
I guess that's how I would answer that question.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pakistan railways

Back to my rants for a while. Is it just me or there's a reason why there are frequent railway accidents conspriatoriously close to Pakistan Railways' privatization?
Also, if the local body elections were non-party basis as the government was claiming again and again and again, why did the pres and pm make foreign congratulation calls?

Limb detached from the body

No you wouldnt even understand what I mean here. It is not a physical detachment of a limb from a human or animal body, it is just a matter of describing an event, that I'll just have haunting me when I return to this blog entry.
A limb has been detached from the body. The body is sad, but the detachment was necessary because the limb was infected. The infection and the limb are still together, happily, they might think. But I'm sure the limb and the infection are not going to be happy for long. Too bad for them.

What a day! Remaining

Well, well, it aint over till its over. After the class, I went back to the lab to touch up the sessional marks excel worksheets to fix a few errors. Sabrina had given me an autograph book for an autograph, so I wrote a few words in it after getting back from the class, on priority. Then, I went to see Dean ECE about Monday's seminar, which now stands cancelled. We discussed what was to be done and all the while my cell phone (on meeting profile) was beeping with Mr. Khawar from Microsoft Pakistan looking for me on campus. I begged my leave after finalizing the arrangements discussion, and went to meet Mr. Khawar and took him to see the lecture theatre. We discussed where the banners would be placed. I got a message from a peon to talk to Dean ECE urgently. I called him up and he told me that he was very upset by the way Mr. Vaqar of Microsoft was taking things and he wanted me to send him a two liner and cancel Monday's event. Still seeing some hope, I took Mr. Khawar around the classrooms corridor, Research Lab, Parallel Processing Lab, AI and Robotics Lab and then to the staff center where we were supposed to have refreshments with Dr. Kentaro on Monday. In the end, I told him about what the Dean had said and we decided that Mr. Vaqar should talk to Dean ECE. Later I got a call from Vaqar and I suggested that he talk to Dean ECE. Unfortunately, however, nothing seems to have worked out and the seminar is now cancelled. It was unfortunate, as I had spent a lot of energy and time coordinating this thing, and this thing had affected our plans for SCONEST, as well as .NET Day. I feel sad that nothing materialized in the end.
So, after seeing Mr. Khawar back, I sat down to finalize the sessional marks on the printed proforma, edging the sessional marks up for almost everyone. I hope I did justice to everyone. I dispatched the sheets quickly because the Chairman was under pressure to display the sessional marks urgently for at least one week.
All this while, there was a group of students from Electronics Engineering that was stuck on NS-2 simulations because their advisor who was supposed to help them get ZRP running on NS-2 had left the country and they found me somehow. Unfortunately, I have no schedule, my schedule is dictated by the arrival distribution of students, phone calls, vendors, and employees. While they installed NS-2, all of the above and more was going on.
Then, there were a couple of groups from third year working on their software engineering projects on ASP.NET who needed some help. I felt committed to help them because I was the one who encouraged them to do it and gave them ideas about how to organize code etc. One of them had a missing pair of quotation marks in a query, and the machine was so slow and I was kind of stressed by all the activity and confusion arising from the canceled seminar.
The other group had all items in a selection list set to selected, we changed that and discovered that one of the list's contents that they were trying to convert to integer was a string that could not be converted to integer. While I was trying to help them, a final year student, Imran, came with his trouble. I gave him a few hints, my visiting card, and had him on his way. Then, the electronics engineering student came back complaining and seeking a different appointment. I explained to them that I had no schedule at all, and if I would give them an appointment, I might not be able to meet it again. So, I advised them to just drop by on Monday and try to catch me some time. He said that they just wanted me to run a simulation and generate a nam trace. That's a piece of cake. I told him that if they had NS-2 running, I could do it for them in a minute, but it would take me 15 minutes before I was free.
Meanwhile, the lab staff had requested a farewell lunch with me and had already set the tables with the food ready, and were trying to get my out of the students mouths. I told the ladies the solution and went with them, and discovered that they were for some reason, all stuck on a phone. We soon went to the prepared area, where a bouquet and a gift was presented to me. We took a video and snaps of it with my camera and then we sat down to eat the already cold food. Well, I'm not complaining. With the kind of work day that I have mentioned above, it is rare that I even get to eat lunch at all. On Thursday, all me and Farhan had after our breakfasts was a broast at 7 pm. So, after eating, we opened the gift, and it was a lovely painting of Ayat al Kursi. I love it, and we took it back to my office. Already, there were final year students waiting outside for me. They were to take me to the classroom. I went with them, they tried to catch Sir Shahab, but he was busy preparing for his evening class and excused himself. So, it was me, the final year section B students, a really long knife and a delicious coffee cake that I loved at first bite. While I was escorted by the students to the venue, there were people with cameras at the other end of the corridor capturing videos of us approaching amidst applause. After the cake was cut, one student fed me a piece of it and then I encouraged them all to eat it quickly. A bouquet was presented to me and photos and videos were being taken continuously. We then went out to the lawn to have group photos and videos taken of us. We had a splendid time. Then they asked me for a few departing words of advice. I just advised them to practice professional ethics once in practical life and went back to my office.
I met Adnan who was waiting for me to arrive before he left for Sir Syed University for the INETA seminar on Project Ideas. He did not take what I wanted to give him and Fahad didnt want to go there instead of me, so he went on his way deciding that we should meet on Monday or Tuesday.
After that, I collected my stuff, thinking of all that remained to be done, and headed back home. Still, several occurrences I have left out, such as the returning of the books at the library.

What a day!

What a day! I didnt get a breather. What a start to it, as I loaded lots of stuff into my car to drop off at the University, filled the gas up on the fuel station and got to the campus, dropped the bag off in the lab, picked up the course file, a piece of chalk and went straight to class. Second year, section B. The venue of the expected toughest good bye. Before I could even start, Shehzina rushed up to me and gave me the most beautiful card I've ever seen. Such a pretty little card, hand made, just for me. I didnt read it there, but thanked her and went on to erase the green board. The card had such nice words in it. I'm going to blog all the wishes I have received till now. And it'll take a while to do that.
Again, I bored them with a bit of OOP, and then I opened the floor for any rants or questions, giving them my word that the question paper had been made, and made real easy, the sessional marks and anything else would not be affected by anything they say, and invited them to say whatever they want, personal, professional.
First off, I answered the frequently asked questions, that were asked in the other classes as well. I am very happy that our youth in second year are so confident and vocal about everything. I am happy to see them that way. I try to edge them on in this, by trying to encourage them to say whatever they feel. To correct me if I'm wrong and stuff.
So, there was this question from Shehzina as to how am I so calm? Why dont I get angry? Such a nice and innocent question. I just smiled and said, well, yea, I do get angry sometimes, but it generally doesnt last long. Perhaps the reason I dont get angry at her class is because they are the first batch that I have taught for two years, even though I only taught them in the labs last year. This leads to an affinity, and they have no idea what they mean to me. I often wish I could remove all thorns from the paths of each one of these kids, but I know that there's no practical way to do that. Nonetheless, I dont think there's anything I wouldnt do for anyone of them. They're "my" students. The ones I am truly proud of. The ones I feel so, well, fatherly, towards. The ones that I wish I would teach, and have them grow professionally, personally to strengths that I could never reach. Once again, guys and girls, you mean more to me than you could ever imagine, more than I could ever say. I wish there was a way to show it. And if ever an opportunity arrives, insha Allah, I will show it. You are more to me than any other student I have ever taught. And I love all the others very dearly, so try imagining what I feel for you.
I guess that's the "dangerous" good bye that I'm saying here, instead of the class, and the good bye in class that I thought would be the toughest was so easy. Even though letting go isnt easy, but saying good bye felt so easy with these kids. I guess when you're amongst your own people, your own family, surrounded by that enormous, invincible shield of love and respect that these kids somehow have for me, there wasnt a chance a teardrop would fall. Perhaps the fear that I would break other dams of tears if I show moisture on my face emerging from my eyes was what kept me going strong. I'm a gemini, and gemini are supposed to be good with words. Give me the right amount of motivation and I will give you the likes of the words above, and I'm sold to these kids, for all the love and respect they have given me. I just cant describe it. If I had to teach them every single course in an year, I would do it and never tire, even though I would have to learn so many strange subjects, I would do it for them.
Then, Sarfaraz asked me why I had returned from the US and I told him why. Since it had to do with my brothers' weddings, someone immediately asked me when I was getting married, and I told them it was expected in December, and told them about the arranged nature of it, too. Then Preeya asked whether they should go for masters after graduation and I gave her the (I hope) comprehensive answer.
I took a bit longer than was alotted to the lecture. If I would've stayed the whole day, we would've talked and never tired of each other, but there were things to take care of, so I reluctantly took leave and wished them all the best.
55 minutes of pure joy. They joy of giving and being loved. They joy of being exposed and probed so, well, I dont know, intimately by people that I could perhaps trust to operate on me, even though I know they are not trained to operate on people. I salute you all! I salute section A, I salute final year, I salure third year students. I salute you for being the saviours of tomorrow, the champions of the nation, the enablers of change to come, those who will do what I could not, those who will succeed where I have failed, those who will surely, rule the world. I salute you all, the great students. A salute from someone you might think to be a great teacher, but who does not consider himself to be one, for I have so many faults in me, so many ways to correct myself in, so many defects to remove, so much more to learn before I can even consider myself fit to teach people of your stature. More than anything else, I salute you for accepting one with so many faults and considering me as what you see as a good teacher. I wish I could some day look at myself in the mirror and say, there's a good teacher. Until that day, or until the air continues to enter and leave my lungs, until the day that the blood is still rushing through my arteries and veins, as long as the RAM in my grey cells is working, as long as my nerves enable to as much as twitch a finger, I promise on our admirable, wonderful, cherishable times together, that I shall not rest the desire to improve and to correct myself. With tears literally flowing from my eyes, I pray Allah bless you all. I love you more than life itself.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Good Year

No, we're not talking about GoodYear Tyres. First, let me tell you today's account. Today, was another one of those unbelievable days. This time, it was Second Year, section A. They had the green board with some nice word art of good byes when I went to class. I bored them for a while with Object Oriented Design and then opened the floor for any rants, comments or questions.
They asked questions, I went around, answered them. There were all sorts of questions ranging from my date of birth, to why I wasnt going abroad for PhD, to how I would like being in Lahore etc. Then, they announced, that there was something stuck at the gate and it would take a little while. I was fine with waiting for a few more minutes, with the suspense of what was about to happen. So, we kept talking.
Then, they presented me with several greeting cards, and a lovely bouquet. It was just as good as the one the other section had given me. Once again, I have taken photographs of it and will upload them soon, I promise.
They took photos of me, too, with Gosphy and her class fellow (I keep forgetting her name, I'll edit this blog once I remember it. Sorry if you're reading it yourself). There was lots of clapping, too. They thanked me and wished me luck etc. Nice, wonderful words that anyone would wish for. I was touched and lost for words. There was another gift for me, too. Unfortunately, I didnt have enough carrying arms for everything, and there was no way I was going to leave the bouquet behind, so the gift is still sitting wrapped on my desk. I'll open it tomorrow and blog about it.
Anyway, after that, they requested a photograph, and I was all for it. They said they had a frame already and would place the photo in the frame and give it to me tomorrow. That'll be so nice of them. We went outside to the lawn and line up, ladies standing, the gentlemen sitting down, and me (do I fit into any of those categories ;-p) standing behind the sitting boys, the ladies behind me. There were photos. Then I went in to collect my gifts and several students wanted me to write something for them in their notebooks, and autographbooks. I wrote some in Urdu, some in English.
When I was going back to my laboratory, some boys for some other department passing by whispered to each other to look at the pretty flowers. It was truly an incredible bouquet, and its not the only one I have received, each one just as good, each time, the same amount of love with it, each time the whispers of appreciation for the bouquet in the hands of a guy with an identity card hanging around his neck indicating that he is a teacher.
It was all so incredible. So much love, for so little that I have done for them. That's why I say that this has been an incredible year. So much travel, so much honor, so much love. Turkey, India, PDC 2005, admission at LUMS, such love at NED. I'm lost for words. There's more coming up tomorrow. There's a good bye to be said to Second Year, section B. It'll probably be the toughest one. Then, some ladies from final year have requested my company for some informal refreshments any time tomorrow, so we'll have that, too.

Second instalment in Lahore

The second instalment of myself has arrived in Lahore today. It was 65 kg worth of mostly books, a few CDs containing backups of all the junk I've been collecting or authoring over the past two or three years, and some clothes. I'll start packing my clothes and stuff soon, leaving only the bare essentials for the few days left.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Another good bye

Well, today there was another farewell for me. It was lunch at Pizza Hut thrown by some students from BE(CIS) A. I feel very sorry that I couldnt attend a lunch that was thrown by some of their class fellows purely because I had forgotten that I had a meeting at Microsoft Pakistan that afternoon. It was a coincidence and no prejudice.
The event was fantastic, and I had a very good time with the students. The environment was very light and we talked about all sorts of things ranging from doing MS, doing PhD, doing job, doing MBA to what kind of music I like.
Before the lunch, they presented to me a very beautiful bouquet, and I promise I'll post photos of that bouquet soon. I have put it in the vase on my desk. The feelings of the students are present in that bouquet in the form of color and scent that is independent of time. The flowers may fade in the vase, but the memory will remain.
In the end there were lots of photographs, too. I'm just an ordinary man, but they treat me as if I'm some kind of a celebrity or something. I just want them to know that they are my heros, the leaders and builders of tomorrow. Looking at them, I feel relieved that the future is in good hands.
Then, we said good bye and four of them dropped me off on campus because I hadnt brought my wife (read, my car) along today, as she was getting some rubbing polish job. She looks very good, by the way.
So, when they dropped me off, they wish me all the best, thanked me very much, while it was all my pleasure. One of them, Farhan, said something that was enough to blow anyone away. He said, "Sir, waqaee aisa lug raha hay jaisay koi cheese chin rahee hay." or so I remember, meaning, "Sir, it really feels as if something is being snatched from me/us." Very touching words. I'm sure he saw the moisture in my eyes at that moment, which I did my best to hold back, wished them all the best and went back to my office.
Then, there was a Masters Student from SSUET who was supposed to come see me regarding her thesis and she was expected to arrive at 4:00 pm. It was past 5:15 pm when I got back, so obviously, she had already left. She wasnt me, after all, who waited two hours outside Dr. Irfan Haider's office on appointment and didnt utter a word because it was for my good that I was there. ;-P


Just ran into this nice litte thing that is so cherishable. Fond memories! It's good to know that you're loved so much by so many people.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The end of it

Well, as the moment draws closer, the thoughts of endless possibilities, the unknown that may lie ahead, of what might come, for instance, what will they offer for the meal on the aircraft keeps me on the edge.
I've been put on 26L on PK 306, so if you're reading this, and they try to put you in an adjacent seat, take my advice, decline, revolt, call the terminal manager, whatever. Otherwise, I'll bore you to death on the hour and thirty minute flight. I wouldnt tell you the date, though. It's next week, so let there be travel advisories and stuff.

Independence Day

Yea, well, Independence day is long gone now. I know that, but a naughty thought just came to my mind. So, here goes:
We were not celebrating "Indepence Day", we were celebrating "In Dependence Day."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Nicest little thing

It was the nicest, cutest little thing. I went to my sophomore section B class at 12 noon. They were waiting for the arrival of some key elements. Shahab Saheb also dropped in, and so did Mr. Zafar Qasim. Students gathered around as we chatted very informally and cordially. Some other faculty members couldnt or didnt come. They missed it. Then the cake arrived which was stopped at the gate by security (no surprises). There was comment about the security person at the gate boasting about being a special services group guy while my fellow faculty member Anita asked them to clear it in.
All this while, there was a knife in front of me, and we were joking about hypothetical scenarios about it. Then, the knife was put to the cake and I cut out two pieces from it. The students were impressed by my expertise. Well, two and a half years, cooking and what not, in the US didnt go to waste. I still remember those days and I loved cooking. I just hope no one tells my in-laws to be, whoever and wherever they are, otherwise, my wife to be would have frequent headaches asking her better half to cook instead.
Anyway, the ladies did the rest of the honors to the cake. Oh, and it was also the birthday for one of my students, and she sliced the cake, too while we wished her happy birthday. We ate the cake, there were photos taken. Then the biggest and sweetest bouquet that I have ever been given was presented to me and I was touched. Then another nice and pretty bouquet was given to me by some other students and I appreciated their gesture, too. As I carried them over to my lab, I was spotted by many people, I'm sure they'd been envious, and why shouldnt they, as not everyone gets so much loving and caring. As for me, I dont know what I did to deserve it. I wonder what I ever did to deserve a lot of other things I've earned in life, and the pointer always points to the never ending prayers that my parents, my friends and my students give to me selflessly.
I brought the bouquets back to my place and photographed them to save and cherish the memory forever. I'll upload them soon. So, thank you everyone for this gesture of your love. I couldnt repay you for your feelings, actions and words for me.
Oh, and I was also asked to say how I felt, but I had already decided to save the emotional speech for the last class. I just hope teardops dont break the dam. So, my students, wait till Saturday morning. I love you all, and pray and await for your successes in life.

Driving 103

Good boys and girls! This time you're not running for the keys. Now you're learning. Some more points:

Ever seen those sometimes broken (dashed), sometimes solid lines on the road? They're not done to spend tax payer's money for kickbacks, well, at least that's not the only reason. Those lines mean something. Yellow lines are placed on the edges of a road. For instance, on an undivided two-way traffic road, there would be yellow lines on the sides and the middle to show drivers from both directions what their territory is.

White lines divide the road into lanes. The laning on Pakistan's roads, especially Karachi, are absolutely pathetic. I've seen lanes suddenly get created out of nowhere, and lanes ending without proper signage. Think about the (ex) intersection at Nursery, where they now have an flyover. A lane suddenly emerged on the right handside. It used to be for right turns only, but people would use it for going straight as well, which was very very wrong, because that lane was ending on that intersection and was not continuing on the road ahead at all. Being in that lane for going straight is extremely selfish, and if you're like that, read lesson number 1, driving is a responsibility, not a privilege. So, be particular about right turn and left turn lane. On almost every intersection, you'll find a guy towards your right who wants to turn left, and a guy to your left who has his hand (which should be chopped off immediately) sticking out making a gesture that he wants to turn right. You're going straight and he drives in front of you and goes around you. That is very very wrong. Dont ever do that. Petrol is expensive, but it isnt that expensive. It wouldnt cost you much more if you were to just drive courteous and safe and go straight instead, move into the fast lane when the opportunity arrives and then make a U-turn when you come to an intersection that allows right or U turns.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Driving 102

Second lesson

What? You're running for the car keys again already? Go and read the first lesson thoroughly.

Know your traffic signs. Well, we dont have many in Pakistan, so its not difficult to know that, and actually know what they mean. A few important points:

Geen light means, go, amber means, get ready, red means stop. No, no, no, RED DOES NOT MEAN GO! If you have entered the intersection and the light turns amber, go ahead and go through the intersection. If the light is already amber before you have entered the intersection, do not proceed. Stop! Read the last three sentences again and understand what they mean. If there is a car stopped at the other end of the intersection, you should not enter the intersection even if the light is green. Do not block the intersection. What if an ambulance or fire engine comes from the other road and you're in the way? We dont care, right? Let the sucker on the death bed die, right? Sigh.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Driving 101

The first lesson in driving

No, no, no, boys and girls at home, dont run off to get your car keys. Not yet, sit back down. The first lesson in driving is the toughest one, and it is this:

Driving is a responsibility, not a privilege.

What does that mean? It means that if you're driving it is not because you have a certain prestige to own (or rent) a car. It means that you have a responsibility towards other vehicles, people, protruding poles, animals etc on and around the road. So, understand "the road." The road is a road, it is not a joke, it is serious business. That goes for pedestrians, thelay walas etc as well. I'll elaborate.

If you're driving wrong way, bang, you're wrong, there is no excuse for it. You're risking life and property, you are constituting a "traffic hazard." You should be taken off the street, license suspended, and put behind bars immediately. If you're backing up on a road for a short distance, fine, otherwise, you are again becoming a traffic hazard. Trust me, it doesnt cost a lot to drive forward a kilometer or so and the take a U-turn back to where you want to go, and it will be a hell of a lot safer, will cause fewer traffic blocks and will be convenient to everyone, including you.

For pedestrians and thelay walas, being on the road is a big no no. Off the street, right now. You're not risking anyone but yourself. Think about it, you are weighing your life against a little bit of dust that will be on your pretty little shoes if you would walk on the earth off the road. What is better? A bit of dust or a few feet underground? You're lucky if you get away with it, but is it a gamble worth taking? Only a matter of time until someone comes up driving behind you, who is as reckless as you are and is lighting a cigarette and doesnt see you until it's too late, and then two days later, others will be eating biryani in front of your house, but you wouldnt be there to hear them saying "Yaar, achchee see botian to lay ker ao." Yes, the driver would be to blame, but you would be to blame more, because you were doing the first wrong, he only helped you on your way, by doing the second wrong thing. The first error is always the culprit, other errors will immediately, automatically follow.

So, be responsible, think about it, be safe. They've wasted a sh*t load of money on building walkways in NED University and everyone is still walking everywhere from one end of the road to the other. Maybe they should now just build ramps on the walkways so that at least I could drive my car on them.

Driving me crazy

Yesterday when I was driving back from the INETA Pakistan Executive Committee's meeting, at NIPA intersection, I was in the fast lane, and there was a white Civic to my left and slightly ahead of me, being driven by (in Adnan's words) a dogess, such that my car's hood was flush level with the tip of her nose. Thrice in five seconds she drifted her vehicle towards mine, each time I honked at her. And then she's staring at me as if I was doing something wrong. To hell with you, dogess! You may be cute, you may have a nicer car, but that doesnt change traffic rules, princess! One day, when I have lots of filthy money, I'll buy me a big, bad, mean, Dodge Ram truck. Their slogan is, "If you cant dodge it, ram it!" And then, I'll ram into and drive over all these idiots, and they couldnt ever catch up with my ride! Eeeeee haaaaawwwww, cowboy! Those who wrong others will pay!
I've decided that I'll blog a few entries about how to drive, on my blog. Why not, right? I've blogged about everything but the kitchen sink. So, stay tuned for some driving lessons.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Some people never learn

Friday afternoon, some students (boys and girls both) from final year came down to the ground floor corridor, made some noise gathering their friends, and then reportedly the lady accomplices went to first year section A and asked a few girl students out during the Pakistan Studies lecture. All the noise disrupted my lecture and I stepped out to see what was going on. There was chaos and students were leaving the class and hurrying away while the students from final year taunted the first year students.
The entire episode reflected how they were brought up and what happens in their homes every day. Such a sorry lot. Some people never learn, no matter how you preach them to tell right from wrong.
If that's their idea of enjoyment, then enjoyment befits those who do their job full well, and not to those who rely on twenty sessional marks just to pass the exam. And then, enjoyment does not mean behaving like idiots. Oh, but wait! I forgot that they were muslims and Pakistanis on top of that. Their satisfaction lies in hurting others. My mistake.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Huge resource on web services security

A huge resource on web services security. Lots of papers and stuff.

Elliptic curve cryptography

Mr. Athar Mahboob, a very respected name in computer networking in Pakistan was working towards his PhD with interest in Elliptic curve cryptography. I reckon he would've finished by now, but no confirmation. I checked what elliptic curve cryptography is. I quote from Microsoft Research's website:
Ever notice when you're shopping online how as you enter that secure cash register zone where you give the merchant your credit card, your connection to the Internet seems to slow down? That's because the information you're sending back and forth is encrypted using public-key cryptography.

Now a modern computer can perform the several complicated mathematical operations on 128-digit numbers necessary for ordinary public-key cryptography in about 1/100th of a second. That seems fast, but a server computer on a busy merchant's site has to reply to thousands of requests every minute. Those hundredths of a second add up pretty quick when you're waiting for your real-time stock quotes.

The merchant can't compromise the security of the transaction. He either has to buy more servers or let the customers wait. So the challenge for the cryptographers at Microsoft Research is to strike a balance between speed and security. The fewer steps in an algorithm, the faster it works. The question then becomes, does a fast encryption message provide enough security for the data? That's always a judgment call.

Here we go again!

Right outside my window is a loud speaker. The loud speaker is connected to a music player of some sort. The music player is inside a canopy (shamyani). Someone is getting married in my neighborhood. It's 9:50 pm, and they've started test playing the player now. The speaker sure is loud. There is no one but a few kids in the canopy. I'm sure people would start arriving for the ceremony of "hina" after 11 pm. I'm an early sleeper and early waker, so its sleeplessness tonight. It's not my fault that she is getting married. Nor is it that of the other human inhabitants of the neighborhood. Some of them would be ill. But even though I can't hear them say it, the bride's family is saying "To hell with you all." to us all. Well, actually, they're saying something much more nasty than that, but I cant post verbal abuses on this blog. See, I wasnt kidding when I said there should be a ban on loud speakers in residential areas.
I'm sure the bride is only about to be taken to the beautician now and the celebrations will continue way past midnight. If it wouldnt mean that I would be sleeping without a fan, I would wish there were a power breakdown. But even then, I am sure they wouldnt spare us and would fire up their power generator.
When you do something good, base it on solid and good foundations. Starting something good (such as married life) by subjecting dozens of people to unrest?
When I get married, I'll specifically arrange for a voice over IP link all the way down from the city where I get married to Karachi in my street and have the loudest available speakers bang the shit out of my soon to be ex-neighbors. Revenge! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More on the nation of shortcuts

Well, we are a nation of shortcuts, (which basically translates to the word "corrupt", but I wouldnt use exactly that word to save some of your ego), and I was watching an interesting show on TV last night. I hate talk shows, but this one was nice. There were three learned people and a jerk of a host (who reminds me of that stupid, idiot, stubborn O'Reilly from Fox), who was behaving for once. They talked about the way our youth celebrates Independence Day by riding bikes without silencers etc. I'm glad that unlike other talk shows they didnt catch every tom dick and harry from the streets, because we love to talk, and try to sound intellectual when we actually dont even know what we are saying, and dont mean what we are saying, dont follow/implement what we are saying. Adnan Farooq was pointing out a show a while ago on TV in which a lady on the street was urging everyone to come out and "cast as many votes as possible." That is stupid!
Anyway, the discussion on last night's talk show was quite intellectual as there actually were learned people talking (for a change). They cited a number of reasons for this behavior, one of which is lack of healthy or constructive release of energies, which in turn goes out negatively. I agree. For instance, an Islamabad Police Psychiatry Doctor suggested that we build racing tracks for cars and bikes and give an opportunity to our skilled riders and drivers the opportunity to try out their skills and prove that they are the best. Maybe someone would actually get international recognition. He cited that less deaths occur on the international racing tracks in an year than on Lahore streets due to wheeling in one day. Also suggested were other competitions of theatre, sports etc, and roadside arts galleries.
They pointed out the lack of organization amongst us. The police is not going to provide that, we should have it in us. Let's be fair, what would you do, if you had an adolescent son, who was caught by the police doing something nasty like snatching a lady's purse or wheeling (I'm not saying the actually nasty things through self sensorship)? Wouldnt you call up everyone of your "influential" relatives and friends? Wouldnt you try to get the sucker out of the lockup asap? Why? Are you above the law? Like the Federal Law Minister? See, it's in us all. You cant blame the Law Minister. You would've done the same thing if you were him, so if he's a criminal, so are you. (And me, too.) What do we complain of then? We have no right to complain. We are the wrong doers ourselves. Why not let the sucker stay in the lockup for a change amongst the sewer stuff. It'll do him/her some good. What do we do when we are stopped after a traffic violation? We try to avoid the proper punishment and try to escape by greasing the palm of the traffic cop. Once again I say, we are a nation of shortcuts, and what stinks is that the shortcut is always longer than the regular route. Wake up, we've slept way too long.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Data (objects) between ASP.NET web forms

I dont know if you've noticed or not, but I stink at web forms. A group of students were asking me how to pass object data between web forms, and I showed them one way of doing it. I found another one on this page. Feel free to comment.

Decoupling ASP.NET UI and BOL

Found that a lot of people are usually doing it wrong, especially when it comes to web applications. Here's an interesting article that we could perhaps learn a bit from. I know there are many more articles better than this one, but I think it's not a bad place to start. Seems compact enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Irony, if you dont know what the word means, first read this definition of the word. Then, read this editorial from the Daily Dawn of Sunday, August 14, 2005. We are a nation full of irony. The son of the Federal Minister for Law, is above the law. The brat beat up a citizen that asked ASF personnel to searched the Minister and his son. What a shame! What is happening to us! The ASF people should have shot that citizen first. Why did the Minister's son had to be troubled to beat the stupid idiot. I think that a standing committee should be formed immediately to review the training process for ASF personnel.

Words of wisdom

"Go Kiss the World" by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting, India contribution copied from Syed Azhar Hussain on a mailing list.

Welcome Address by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree
Consulting to the Class of 2006 on July 2, 2004 at the Indian Institute
of Management, Bangalore, India on defining success.

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of
five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District
Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of
beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school
nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to
school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to
get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of
a jeep
- so the family moved from place to place and, without any trouble, my
Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a
widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a
matriculate when she married my Father. My parents set the foundation
of my life and the value system which makes me what I am today and
largely defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the
government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked
in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He
told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government
- he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's
jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he
would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we
never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was
stationary. That was our early childhood lesson in governance - a
lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.

The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member
of my Father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call
him by his name. We had to use the suffix 'dada' whenever we were to
refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a
driver by the name of Raju was appointed - I repeated the lesson to my
two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju,
'Raju Uncle' - very different from many of their friends who refer to
their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a
school- or college-going person, I cringe. To me, the lesson was
significant - you treat small people with more respect than how you
treat big people. It is more important to respect your subordinates
than your superiors.

Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's
chulha - an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting
where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical
stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served,
Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's
'muffosil' edition
- delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were
reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was
larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite
having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine.
After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly.
Father taught us a simple lesson. He used to say, "You should leave
your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it".

That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins
and ends with that simple precept.

Being small children, we were always enamored with advertisements in
the newspaper for transistor radios - we did not have one. We saw other
people having radios in their homes and each time there was an
advertisement of Philips, Murphy or Bush radios, we would ask Father
when we could get one. Each time, my Father would reply that we did not
need one because he already had five radios - alluding to his five
sons. We also did not have a house of our own and would occasionally ask
Father as to when, like others, we would live in our own house. He
would give a similar reply, "We do not need a house of our own. I
already own five houses". His replies did not gladden our hearts in
that instant. Nonetheless, we learnt that it is important not to
measure personal success and sense of well being through material

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs
and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She
would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the
rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The
white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and
mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This
time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came. A
few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to
beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only
benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to
her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have
to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I
must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited". That was my
first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself,
it is what you leave behind that defines success.

My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very
small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at
the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services
examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for
him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my
life, I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was
around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother
was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not
know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was
to read her the local newspaper - end to end. That created in me a
sense of connectedness with a larger world. I began taking interest in
many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt
that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news
and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a
larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense
of larger connectedness.

Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal
Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term "Jai Jawan,
Jai Kishan" and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than
reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could
be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I
would land up near the University's water tank, which served the
community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be
spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I
would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be
featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war
ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to
catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination. Imagination
is everything. If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can
create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of

Over the next few years, my mother's eyesight dimmed but in me she
created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the
world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next
few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for
cataract. I remember, when she returned after her operation and she saw
my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, "Oh
my God, I did not know you were so fair". I remain mighty pleased with
that adulation even till date. Within weeks of getting her sight back,
she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both

That was 1969. She died in 2002. In all those 32 years of living with
blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to
know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees
darkness. She replied, "No, I do not see darkness. I only see light
even with my eyes closed". Until she was eighty years of age, she did
her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own
clothes. To me, success is about the sense of independence; it is about
not seeing the world but seeing the light.

Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the
industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a
clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee
with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT
industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life
took me places - I worked with outstanding people, challenging
assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was
posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with
my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was
admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to
him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck
to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman
place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are
both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One
morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle
was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the
attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In
that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and
anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes
and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on
his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own
state. I was stunned at his stoic self. There I learnt that there is no
limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what is
the limit of inclusion you can create. My father died the next day.

He was a man whose success was defined by his principles, his
frugality, his universalism and his sense of inclusion. Above all, he
taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort,
whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your
consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about
building material comforts - the transistor that he never could buy or
the house that he never owned. His success was about the legacy he left,
the mimetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of
a ill-paid, unrecognized government servant's world.

My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely
doubted the capability of the post-independence Indian political
parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack
was a sad event. My Mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Bose
quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a
schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an
underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords.
Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of
the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old
Lady had differing opinions. In them, we learnt the power of
disagreements, of dialogue and the essence of living with diversity in
thinking. Success is not about the ability to create a definitive
dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of
dialogue and continuum.

Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke
and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from
the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two
weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state.
She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return
to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic
state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss
the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of
life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a
widowed Mother, no more educated than high school, married to an
anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three
Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was
telling me to go and kiss the world!

Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the
immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to
small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness
to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about
giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating
extra-ordinary success with ordinary lives.

Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed. Go, kiss the


For everyone out there, all the advisors and teachers who sign things without readin them, the advisors who willingly become co-authors on reports and papers to get "yet another publication" with out reading it and verifying it, and I know that few are exceptions in Pakistan, read this.
Shame on these idiots. Just read Schneier's comments there. We bring disgrace to our country and to our nation so shamelessly. Reading that piece, I feel confused whether I should be celebrating our independence or not. Yet another case of restriction in freedom and freedom in restriction. When will we become self policing.
For all advisors out there, for God's sake, read anything that you sign, anything that has your name on it. Maybe (God forbid) you will be someone famous, some day, then when you look at your CV, you would feel proud until you come to that line with the plagiarized publication. You couldnt escape it. Even if you remove it by selecting and deleting from MS Word, you can note erase history. The web will be evidence to your crime.
Multiple cases have been caught, of plagiarism from SSUET and IIU recently. I'm sure other institutions are no exceptions. For God's sake, please be responsible. With the HEC stressing on "numbers" of PhDs and papers, I am afraid we might see a rising trend in this rat race.

A free nation!

A free nation celebrating its independence day! To me, there is freedom in restriction and restriction in freedom. When little chickens are with the mother hen, they pick food from the ground, bathe themselves in the sand and the sun and play around with freedom while the mother hen restricts them from wandering off too far. When the chickens grow up, they become free to go wherever they please, but at the same time, become responsible for their own safety, for facing the consequences of their own decisions. The same thing holds for nations of the world as well. We are no exception.
How long will we blame all the shortcomings on either our country or on the proverbial corrupt politician or bureaucracy? They are all a mirror of us all. They are form amongst us, they are one of us. They represent us, our thinking, our actions. If anyone of us would get a chance to be in their place, would we be any different? Yes? Easier said, than done.
Let's face it, today more than ever. We are either to blame, me and you, my friend, for all the shortcomings, or even if we arent, we are responsible for setting things right. Little deeds, little corrections in our actions, in our words, in our thoughts, in our surroundings, can go a long way.
Who's that guy that just cut me off in traffic like a lunatic? He's a guy like me and you. I cant stop him and have him correct himself for the wrong that he just did, but I can use this as an enforcer of the resolve that I will not behave that way, because it is wrong. No matter how many people do it and proclaim it, wrong stays wrong and right stays right.
A while ago, I posted on an orkut group for students at CIS NED to come forward and plan on doing something different, something good, like, I dont know, maybe clean a barren field of rocks and stones, like planting a few plants, like painting an ugly, dirty wall, like placing a clock on a wall that needs it, anything. I dont have much ideas, because I havent done much good in life, but I promised that I would love to be the first one to pick up the broom if the occassion arrives, but the initiative must come from the students, because the students will always be here, in spirit, by setting an example to their juniors, forever, their memories, their deeds engraved invisibly and visibly in the walls, the floors, the environment, but I am just a leaf floating in the wind, here one day, dont know where I'll be the next. I had eagerness from one student only. I dont have much time left, I hope something materializes in the remaining time. Anyone can hoist a flag and ride a bike without silencers and fire gun shots in jubiliation, but few will try to make a difference. Let's make a difference, let's be the enablers instead of the spectators.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My first instalment in Lahore

The first instalment of me has arrived in Lahore in the form of 21 kg of books. I've started moving.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spoke at SZABIST

Koshish Foundation had organized a seminar on "Computer Network Security Basics" at SZABIST, Karachi, today at 5:30 pm. Yours truly was the speaker. Since the classes there start at 6:30 pm, we started a little late to let the students come in. For a change, I discussed cryptography, cryptography, and cryptography. It was a risky proposition to talk about something that can be so boring at times. I did try to keep it as light and easy to grasp as possible. Of course, I cant tell whether I was successful or not. I dont think there were any feedback forms. I hope some people took my email address from the slides and send feedback. The presentation slides are now uploaded.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I have a bad habit. I answer most of the questions I get by using google. So, I thought I'd blog for everyone this one. Practice! Try google with different search strings. It comes with practice. In the end you'll be able to find anything you want from an authentic source effortlessly. If you are looking for something from a specific website, try site search on google which is quite easy. For instance, if I am looking for delegates tutorial on microsoft's website I would type in the search textbox on google: delegate tutorial and hit enter. That'll search all of and, etc. Get the idea?

Spoken today

I spoke today at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology from 4:05 pm to 5:40 pm about Introduction to .NET Framework. I tried to keep cracking people up with funny comments here and there. Most people seemed straight faced. I hope they got the jokes. There was a not very lively, but an interesting question and answers session at the end. We gave away VS 2005 Beta 2 DVDs and Code Zone magazines courtesy of SSUET .NET User Group. The presentation for the session is uploaded on my website.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

our psyche

I'm back with my famous rants. I'll tell you about the psyche of an average Pakistani, which I'm sure you would find so fitting and true. And the average Pakistani fits all but a handful of Pakistanis, the ones that the average ones call "charya" or knuckleheads.
Imagine a Pakistani crowd, whether it is us driving on the road, or shopping in the market, or at the airport, or at a lunch/dinner buffet. Take an imaginary photo of that event in your mind. Here is how the average Paki looks at that picture: subtract everyone except yourself.
Now I dont have to wonder why we drive that way, or disregard everyone else the way we do, but what exactly causes us to think that way?

How to ask a question

As myself and Adnan Farooq have been whining about people asking questions the wrong way or with the wrong attitude, Mr. Kamran Sorathia nailed it by emailing on INETA Pakistan's mailing list, this page from Microsoft's website which is quite well written and guides one on how best to ask a question on a forum so that you would get an answer, too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Someone brought up this situation where they wanted to build a rich frontend using C# for something they were developing in Matlab. I suggested that one way they could go is use file I/O to write variable values that they can then pull from a C# program and display in whatever way they find appropriate. If you know of a better way, feel free to comment on this post. I found this page that describes writing XML files from Matlab.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Enough countdown!

Enough annoying countdown. Hush for now.