Monday, October 31, 2005

Dont read this posting!

I warned you. Not everyone has the same sense of humor, so if you think this is vulgar, I did warn you. Well, I took my wife to the car seat cushion maker, with my brother and we looked through some ready made material, that was inexpensive, but, well, not very classy. So, we decided to go for the option of having them tailor made, which was about more than twice as expensive. But the results were expected to be very promising as evident from the sample photos of the artistes work. They took out the seats from my car and I went around in an empty car with just one seat.
One great thing that came out of it was that last night me and my brother gave her interior a very very thorough wash, rinse, polish cycle. We fixed a few problems.
Tonight I went to get the seats back and I was pleased with what I saw. They look very beautiful. Very good handiwork. They did spoil all the mood, when they complemented to me that my car looked just like the new Corolla. Oh God, please, not the new Corolla! What did I do? Not the car that is running in taxis!
By the way, I went to Hush Puppies factory outlet and bought a great casual shoe and a dress shoe for steal prices. So, technically, I bought myself shoes and clothes for eid, and I bought my wife, well, judging from the placement of what I got her, undergarments. What are you upset about? I told you not to read this post.

Snail race

Finally, after I got my cheque book for my National Bank of Pakistan account here in Lahore, and submitted my filled in ATM card application, I got a letter by TCS day before yesterday, asking me to take it to the branch to claim my PIN. I went there, the old man sifted through envelopes in his drawers and then advised me to come to him in a week's time. The same fate awaited one lady who was there at the same time. Doing business at their own pace. They'll learn their lesson the hard way, I'm sure.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

INETA Pakistan farewell dinner in my honor Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Umair Khan's scream

Umair Khan, CEO of ClickMarks wrote a very nice article recently. I thought I'd share it with the readers of my blog.

Two steps behind

Last action hero was on TV last night. It's not the movie, but when the credits were on at the end, I heard, these lyrics:

Take the time
to think about it
Walk the line
you know you just cant fight it
take a look around
you'll see what you can find
like the fire
that's burnin up inside me
there's a magic running through your soul
but you cant have it all
whatever you do
I'll be two steps behind
wherever you go
and I'll be there to remind you
that it only takes a minute of your precious time
to turn around
I'll be two steps behind

Reminded me how much I loved this song and loved to listen to Def Leppard music back when I did listen to music.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wrestle mania - What the worrrrrrrrrrrld is watching

I was just watching wrestle mania. It wasnt Bret the hitman Hart, or the Rock, and it certainly wasnt on TV. It was on the street. Near a traffic light, the car in front of mine dead stopped and so did the one in front of that one. The guy on the driving seats of both vehicles in front of me popped out of their seats like springs and ran to each other. Long lost relatives? They ran to each other. But, wait, they started wrestling each other. There was no referee. A semi-hot dogess popped out from the front most car screaming, desperately trying to sooth down her driver and to avoid conflict, but she wasnt cutting it.
Both men looked like drivers. She seemed surprisingly concerned about the safety of her "driver." No, wait a minute, how can I be sure he was her driver. Maybe he was her car driver, though. Maybe she was worried about how she'd get to the market to do the late night shopping or explain to her husband the bruises on the driver's face or his torn clothes.
Anyway, people started gathering to try and separate the two fighting, to no avail. About real-life fighting, have you every noticed, that none of them kicked the other in the groin. That'd have been an early ending to the fight. ;-P
Well, the traffic light was only a short distance from me and it had turned green. I came that close to sending one of them where he belonged as the other one threw him to the asphalt as I pulled out to the fast lane and drove right past them and unfortunately, the one eating dirt dropped close to my left rear wheel. On second thought, though, I didnt want any red stains on my white car, either.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Design document submitted

OK! So, tonight at 8 pm was the submission deadline for our software engineering project's design document. That was the toughest document of them all in terms of required hardwork. The weightage of this document, though surprisingly, was amongst the lowest of all deliverables at 15%. I dont know why. Me and my group mate spent all day today and yesterday and some time day before yesterday to prepare the document. I have uploaded it for enhancing your freeloading experience. Enjoy! I am sure there'll be shortcomings and errors in it due to the hasty work done.
Hey, what am I doing online! I have a mid term day after tomorrow and there's little preparation. Off I go!

Monday, October 24, 2005

CIS Batch 2003-2004 doing me the honors on (probably) our last day together Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Project functional specifications and STP

I have uploaded the functional specifications document for online ariline reservation system project for my Software Engineering course. I have also uploaded the simulation code for Spanning Tree Protocol. The STP file contains the simulator object file, alongwith the Visual Studio 6.0 project and workspace files. It is ready to compile and run. The assignment handout which contains the description of the topology and scenario files as well as a brief of the spanning tree protocol are also included. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bumper sticker

I've seen a few cool bumper stickers lately. One at the back of a really battered ugly looking Mehran said:
This car is a status symbol: It symbolizes my status of being poor
By the way, I like the license plate numbers down here. While I drive, I am mentally making up pronounciations and acronyms out of the alphabets. Here are a few:
LOV Love
LUV Love
LRE Lahori
LRU Least Recently Used
LRA Least Recently Abused
LZB Lazy Bee
LZS Lazy Ass
LZA Lazy Ass
Too many to mention, but just a sample. Dont miss my rants about "(lost) opportunity"

Of (lost) opportunities

Disaster, if you look real close, brings with it strange opportunities. On September 11, 2001, when a certain locality of NYC was completely in rubbles, Cisco won hearts by bringing its IP telephony to life in the snap of a finger in that area which had lost all communications infrastructure. Technology, to solve human problems.
That's what technology is for. Technology is not for the sake of itself. It is there to solve human problems. That is a point we (as a nation) do not understand. We become engineers or doctors whatever the else hell we become without knowing why we're doing it.
We talk of IT, but all we have done in the name of IT, truly, in all these years, is:

  • establish shops that sell computers
  • establish shops that sell computer CDs
  • establish the so-called software houses, who are for the most part not doing so well
  • establish call centers, train jobless graduates and throw them in to take pizza orders
  • establish so-called IT "universities" in bungalows, churning out IT degrees to anyone and everyone who happens to be interested in an admission there

The reason everything is faring badly, except for the shops (well the universities are making lots of money, too, but if you look at the output they are producing, I wouldnt call it success) is that we are thinking IT for the sake of IT. Computer to play games, chat or whatever. We're not solving the real problems that we should've solved. Few banks in our country are tech savvy. Airlines and civil aviation is only so much IT enabled. We are way far behind where we should be because we are not moving at all, let alone in the wrong direction. Well, we are moving in the wrong direction on every other count, but as far as IT is concerned, we arent even doing that.
So, back to my point, the disaster, the tremors. IT could be an enabler for so many things here. IT could do wonders here. Saving lives, speeding up so many other (sometimes life) critical processes. But, look at the situation, the million dollar telecom investors are riding people's shoulders by providing telephone booths and stuff in those areas. In the end, people will remember Telenor for they enabled them to call some disaster "relief" center to find out about the well being of their loved ones. IT, on the other hand, will go unnoticed. If IT were to take the lime light, as it should, because compared to IT, even telecom takes the back seat, and telecom wouldnt be anything if it werent for the computing infrastructure, then our society would begin to give IT its proper place and see it as an enabler of sorts, and not as a laptop that seth sahib wants to buy because it's a status symbol.
But unfortunately, that is not going to happen. PASHA is running around to do something. Several other people are talking about what should be done. Zohaib Hassan talked about building a website. One person on a mailing list that I subscribe to, wanted to build a similar website. 100 different people and organizations will be interested in it. A few of them will develop unconnected, uncoordinated solutions, that no one will really use, and the golden opportunity will be lost. Hasta la vista, IT!
Too bad!

Imama-e-White House

The supreme religious spiritual leader of the muslims, George W Bush has called upon all "responsible" muslim leaders to reject terrorism. The "responsible" muslim leaders were invited to an iftar dinner at the holy white house. I'm sure the leaders would, after iftar, have praid Maghrib behind their imam, George W Bush.

Halt! You cant take that tent!

Major General Farooq Ahmad Khan said that there are 37 units in Punjab that can manufacture 75000 tents a day. Well, for a layman like me, at that rate, the requirements for tents should have been fulfilled within one or two days of the tremors. Oh, the press releases they give!

Monday, October 17, 2005

More irony

Well, well, what do you know. Pakistan is amongst the largest producers of tents, and guess what we need worst these days. And, guess what, we're short of it. Why is the stuff most badly needed always "short" in our market, RAM, tomatoes, brain cells you name it. The person who owns the company producing most of these tents is under trial for murder. And guess where all big shot Pakistanis under serious criminal trials are? Abraod. So, he's been living with his entire family for three years in Emirates. Now, our government needs his tents. He's telling our government that they'll have to buy them. Seems like he's going to bargain the trial for the tents. That's so cool!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Charyay online!

More and more dumb asses are online on TV telecasts these days. I was watching the iftar transmission yesterday and the stupid anchor on the show said about the recently earthquake orphaned children, "Yes, there are so many parents who dont have kids, (pause, when she realized her mistake) and they can adopt them." Hello Madam Curie, how can someone be a parent when one is childless? Who picks these idiots to put them on TV? There are so many great live show anchors in Pakistan and all of them have lately been sidelined. Idiots are hosting shows in their idiotic ways. One of these days, I'm going to smash the TV set. I hope I would be at someone else's place at that time.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Careful what you do!

I believe that one should be careful what one is doing. Donating drug money to the disaster relief fund, for example, is no achievement. Like, doing a striptease show for charity, like holding a concert for charity, I never could get that. One could go gambling and send the proceeds to the fund. Or, like a (in)famous political party, donate one days worth of bhatta (extortion money) to the fund. These are buildings on weak foundations and wouldnt stand for long.
Imagine the extent of naroow mindedness of some people in the so-called "city of the educated" in Pakistan. Someone called up a television show and mentioned that there was so much going on in Karachi for disaster relief, while Lahore and other cities were not doing anything. That's the same bullshit extremism that a certain party has engraved in their minds over the period of more than a decade. I pitty these narro minded people, for education doesnt seem to infect their minds.


"Rustam hostel say aya, to josh utha pitnay kay, main lay aeee, Sufi Sunflower." Excerpt from a cooking oil advertisment. Now, why does Rustam want to get beat up?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More disaster (relief)

I was watching CNN today. Last night, the big guy President (George W) Mush spoke on TV. I didnt watch it, of course. I wonder why it is immediate speech when the opposition announces a strike or when there is some importance incident related to the oh-so-important war against terrorism, but it took till last night for him to make the speech. I guess he was waiting for power to be resumed in the disaster struck areas. In that case, I think he should've waited for another month or two.
CNN told me that he acknowledged that the relief efforts (if there is such a thing) have been slow. The CNN report termed the disaster struck areas as "one of the most difficult to reach areas on the earth." Granted, but I've already spoken on that issue. The only considerable relief effort that is going on in the remot northern areas is by an NGO led by the leader of the Agha Khani community. With one chopper, they are doing whatever they can. I again say, shame on us, that we dont have the slightest of infrastructure or organization to do anything in the name of disaster recovery. The reason is obvious: People dont matter, if they die, so be it. We'd sell them off to the FBI as false suspects anyway.
All this while, they've been lying about doing their best, and the relief efforts were concentrated in the federal capital on the Margalla Towers. Why? Some foreigners used to dwell there, and, of course, it is the federal capital. The few "important" people in Pakistan live there. Now they admit that they have been slow. So, will there be any accountability? Well, keeping with the past, a few government employees might be suspended, with full pays and perks with nothing to do in the name of duties, or transferred to some remote place where they have to do even less amount of work (and they do nothing as it is already, so maybe they'll do negative work). What a punishment! I guess that explains why some people are dying for government jobs and CSS and stuff. So that they could be deputed at the so-called disaster relief hotline.
And, our beloved Chaudhary sahib was in UK to attend his son's wedding, and still is there. Of course, that's where the life is.
You know what I think we should do? I think we should take this moment to take the law into our own hands. Whoever we find as a black sheep, people selling merchandise for more than necessary, truckers charging more for the disaster relief area commute, hotline operators not receiving calls, or not doing their job right, catch these bastards, beat the living shit out of them and hang them on the roundabouts. That is the only way we will ever learn a lesson. The legal system just doesnt cut it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The dark side of disaster relief

OK. I am back with my nagging. I've been watching, listening and hating things for several days now. Let's talk about the present disaster relief effort in Pakistan, if there's such a thing. Here are a few observations:
1- Coffin cloth that was being sold for Rs. 150 is being sold for Rs. 300 per head
2- Want to rent a truck to send relief goods to the affected areas? Guess what, the rent just went up!
3- People are offering their private aircraft for rent. Damn these bastards! If they can afford to buy an aircraft, they can certainly afford to operate it on a few relieft flights
Yes, I know you're thinking, look at the bright side. There are people who are actually giving reasonable profit margin prices to those buying relief goods. Yes, most of the nation is out to help, to do what they can. So many volunteers! But all these volunteers are not going to be effective, as they havent been as effective as they could. Why? Because:
1- They are not trained. There's such a thing as boy scouts. In this country, the boy scouts movement (and anything but the armed forces) was never given any importance. I bet if just the boy scouts were put to motion in Pakistan, given the number of boy scouts in Pakistan, we would be in a much better position today in the disaster relief operation. Trained boy scouts know first aid, stretcher making, tent pitching, cooking, you name it.
2- No coordination. There are more than necessary logistics at certain places and nothing at others. No coordination, no control. Exactly, what the fuck was the major general assigned chief relief commissioner for anyway? How difficult is it to track who's going where in terms of volunteer relief workers? There is only one highway through Pakistan. There are only a limited number of roads heading towards the affected areas.
3- We were not prepared for this. All the above should be able to give you a hint, that we dont mean shit to our regime, and we dont mean shit to each other either, if you would read my earlier blogs about our nature and ethics (or lack thereof). So, dont expect anything from the regime. They havent been able to restore power to the affected areas. I know the terrain is difficult, but in times of crisis, man is supposed to do the impossible. It's been five God damned days, for heaven's sakes! The civilians are too caught up in themselves to be prepared for a disaster condition. Where can you buy a gas mask? Where can you buy a helmet with a torch? Where would you buy something to ensure uniterrupted, restorable, sustainable light on consecutive nights of rescue missions.
We've got Edhi foundation and the like for every day accidents, but nothing at all for something like this. We were asleep. Almost 60 years now.
Look at the disaster relief help lines. They were exposed today on local television. The anchor person called the disaster relief numbers and got the following responses:
1- No response, no one picks up
2- Someone picks up and puts the phone back on hook
3- Person answering the phone gives you another number to dial
4- Some other stupid response
What the hell else do you expect. I've been saying this for years, it's the same God damned bullshit people, as the traffic cop, as the doctor, as the enterpreneur, as the teacher, as the telephone operator, you name it. If they're this way, the reason is, we are this way. If we want this put right, wake up. From now on, we have to mobilize an NGO/volunteer organization that specializes in disaster relief. They need to have multiple aircraft at different locations in the country. They need to have light and heavy automobiles. They need to have other forms of transportation when the weather is rough for the aircraft and road transportation is impossible, like, boats, skis etc. They need to have fuel and ways to transport it safely to other places, too. They need to have skilled doctors on their list their for the beckoning 24 hours a day on the relief center within 15 minutes to be transported to the hot spot. They need trained volunteers or paid workers, again there for the beckoning all over the country. These guys must have people management skills, how to handle distressed people and to have them work productively to your benefit. These guys must have skills to use available resouces to do miracles. They must be skilled in the use of hand and machine tools. They must be skilled in vehicle repair etc. I'm not saying everyone knows all these trades, but the people management skill must be common, and then first aid. The rest can be coped by different people.
Do you think that is too expensive? Look at the filthy rich people of this country. They sign a million rupee cheque just to get it off their table without caring what it is for. Money is not the issue. Are we motivated? Do we want to do this? The real question is: Do we care about ourselves? I dont think so. Go back in time and recall the befitting comment by an American about us, "Pakistanis! They'd sell their mother if the price was right." Shame on us.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


"While I was fighting, I heard other people speaking in the name of freedom, and the more they defended this unique right, the more enslaved they seemed to be to their parents' wishes, to a marriage in which they had promised to stay with the other person 'for the rest of their lives', to the bathroom scales, to their diet, to half-finished projects, to lovers to whom they were incapable of saying 'No' or 'It's over', to weekends when they were obliged to have lunch with people they didn't even like. Slaves to luxury, to the appearance of luxury, to the appearance of the appearance of luxury. Slaves to a life they had not chosen, but which they had decided to live because someone had managed to convince them that it was all for the best. And so their identical days and nights passed, days and nights in which adventure was just a word in a book or an image on the television that was always on, and whenever a door opened, they would say: 'I'm not interested. I'm not in the mood.'"

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I've got stuff to blog about but not enough time right now. I am making this entry so that those who heard of the tremors in Lahore and other parts of the country know that I am well. No damage at our side. One or two buildings in some areas of Lahore were allegedly reported damaged.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Good question paper

So, my first mid term at LUMS for software engineering went OK. I was very impressed with the question paper. While we were all expecting definitions and description, there was nothing of that sort at all in the question paper. A couple of case studies and decision makings of what process model we would choose in which scenario, drawing of DFDs and ERDs. The timing assigned to the exam was so accurate that I was clearly impressed. This being the first exam for me, I was unable to finish in the alloted time, and in the end, no one else was, either, so the teacher assigned 10 minutes extra, which was wrong, but I'll talk about that later. So, if you ask me, if we were in flow, we would have finished the thing in exact allotted time. I am clearly impressed by the paper setting. She's not an experienced teacher, but she has done what even I cant do with five years of teaching experience under my belt. I'll make it a point to tell her how highly I think of her paper setting skills. Now, as for the extra ten minutes, someone might have been able to finish in time, which would mean that he was ahead of the rest of the class, which he would deserve given that he had finished early. Now ten extra minutes, wouldnt do him any good, but would enable at least two or three others to catch up to him. That is unfair. I wouldnt have given extra time. Maybe one minute for the darkness while the power was switched from LESCO to generator and back, but not more.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Software Requirements Specification (SRS) submitted

We hurriedly put this thing together and submitted it. Comments are welcome. I myself am not very satisfied with it, but it's a starting point.

Cached profile

First of ramadan, and I am in one of the comptuer labs at LUMS to submit my software engineering SRS, here. I'll post it on the web,too. The machines were refusing login complaining that the roaming profile couldnt be loaded. I spotted the error and immediately moved to one of the machines that I had logged on to earlier and bingo, I was able to log in immediately. Others kept wondering and struggling. One lady sat on the chair next to me wondering what was going on, I told her to try a machine that she's logged on to earlier. She walked out of the lab. Another lady came up and asked how come mine was working, I described the scenario to her. Two others came and tried the machines next to mine, faced difficulties. When they talked to each other about it, I told one of them to try logging in on one of the machines they had used earlier. They walked out of the lab.
What? Is that too difficult to grasp? Or are the scared of why I am suggesting them to go to a certain machine. I dont know which, they do. Are they scared I've got something installed there? I dont know, but I dont care either. It was my good will to try and make them aware of what to do about the problem. If they wouldnt take the advice in good faith, they can suit themselves.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

May I help you?

One evening back in summer of 2001, I was coming back from my TA office at Wichita State University going to the mosque well in time for Maghrib prayers. On my way, I saw a young lady trying to post a poster onto a pillar. She was struggling with the size of the poster, the wind, and trying to paste the tape at the same time as cutting it. Not humanly possible. I stopped by and held the poster for her and she was easily able to accomplish her task. She might've been scared with my eastern looks and the post 9/11 era, but I did what I did.
Today, I was coming out of the Pepsi Dining Center when I saw another young lady, trying to post a poster at a notice board or bulletin board of sorts. She was struggling just like the lady I mentioned earlier. I walked up and held the poster for her to find any pushpings from the board and put the poster in place. In the end, she couldnt find sufficient number of thumb pins to hold it in place. I recalled that I had just bought a stapler which was in my bag. I offered that to her and I stapled the poster in place for her. After that, I walked away, neither of us, said anything. I guess I did my scout's good deed of the day. If I had a scout's scarf, I would've put a reaf knot on it.
Deja vu.

WARNING: This entry for adult males only

Dont sneak in here if you're not a responsible adult male. I've done my part by warning you, so dont call me obscene or anything.
I've been blogging about my wife here. For those of you who think there's not much to the similarity between a car and a wife, I have this golden saying from a friend of mine. Give your wife or your car to someone else, and you will get both of them back in similar condition. I know this sounds obscene, but there is a very important lesson in it for those who ponder.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

New pair of shoes for the wife

Anyone who knows anything about women would know that it doesnt matter what shoes you're wearing, but you must ensure that she's wearing good ones. That rule is modified slightly if you're married to her, because, then, whatever you're wearing is her problem. People look at you and either appreciate the handiwork of your wife, or pitty you for having married a "you know what."
So, I discovered last night that the rear right shoe (tyre) of my wife (car) was deflating. I took it to the mechanic who fixed it and made that remark about worn out shoes that I've been hearing and ignoring for so long. But last night, I decided, oh OK, OK, already! She's been very nice to me and has given great service. At least she deserves two pairs of nice shoes. So, tonight I went and got her two pairs of radial tubeless shoes. I can tell she likes them very much, by the way she's hugging me and the road.
Talking of wives, 2 Fast 2 Furious was on HBO today. I liked the stupid motor stunts and the cars were fun. How that car spitted fumes from near its front wheels was nice. I wanna do that some day, but with a different car. But that's wishful thinking based on the inflation and the way oil prices have already gone absolutely absurd and continuing the northward climb.
But one thing I noted with a smile was how much they were showing the drivers changing gears continuously. That was fake, only for creating a drammatic adrenaline feeling in the beholder. It was unreal given the situations on the road. And it made it seem as if there were 12 gears in the cars. I dont think so.
So, if you have a wife, or a girlfriend, be nice to her. Keep checking her oil and radiator water. And dont miss that brake fluid unless you wanna bump into some thelay wala, like the motor biker keep running into your rear bumper multiple times every day. Geez, why dont they get their brakes fixed? The only thing working on these motorbikes is the horn.

Be Pakistani! May be

Here's an article in a local newspaper about how depraved we are as a nation. There are few rare exceptions. Otherwise, you can see how those of us within and abroad looted this individual.
I am way past pitty for us. We will change. We definitely will. But not for the better. Count on that.