I went to Lake Kallar Kahar a while ago over the weekend with my wife, on a friend's recommendation. I was very disappointed by the experience. It is situated about 350 kilometers from Lahore on the Lahore Islamabad motorway. We boated in the lake full of dirty water. It wasnt worth all the travel. We wanted to touch Khewra mines, too, but scrapped the idea. CNG stations along the way were low on pressure and I drove consider amount of the time on petrol. My recommendation, dont go there.
We lost miththu a month or so back. He was sitting on top of his cage (we dont lock him in), and we were upstairs. The door was open. When we came down, miththu was nowhere to be found. Several weeks later, we were returning home and in the street we saw miththu perched on top of a kid's shoulder. He said that he brought it from his village 7 months earlier. But we tested miththu out and sure enough miththu exhibited all individualistic characteristics. My brother took miththu back.
Just ran into a student of mine in the PDC (Pepsi Dining Center) at LUMS. He has joined the MBA program here. It was good to see him after a long time. He worked at a software development company in Karachi for two years after his graduation from NED University before joining LUMS. He was appreciating the very tough studies here and mentioning the nighters that he is doing. I agreed with him and said that while we did nighters at the end of the year at NED, here we do it throughout the year. It'll be good to have a familiar face from the past at LUMS.
Well, he said he'd change the city's fate. You gotta give credit to the man, he's done it in admirable time. He said he'd change it into Paris. Well, maybe he didnt exactly make it Paris, but Venice isnt too far from Paris, is it. You have to give him credit for that. I guess we should rename to something like I. I. Chundrigar Canal, or M. A. Jinnah River.
The other day, I was watching a program on TV which was addressing the concerns of overseas Pakistanis wanting to invest in real estate back home. Give me a break! As if the pseudo-investment from within wasnt enough to blow things out of proportion. Property prices have increased to at least 4 times what they were about five years ago. House rents have sky rocketed. Anyone renting a house is obviously a salaried class person. In my opinion seven or eight years ago, any salaried person renting a house could never hope to own a house. Now, it's even worse. I am seriously wondering if we'll be able to rent a house one or two years later. What the hell is this? I dont buy any such thing as investment in real estate. It's the most selfish thing I ever heard, which is benefiting one person and hurting millions of others. If it were investment in real estate in the form of hotels and stuff in the tourist districts, I'd understand, because that would give tourists better facilities and create employment. But no, I dont see people going that way. All they want to do is to buy a piece of land in a housing society somewhere, keep it till its price is three times its buying price (which, imho is at least six times what it reasonably should be), or erect a house and rent it out. No one cares! And how about the masoor key daal selling at Rs. 70 per kg. To my overseas friends who think the present regime is good: Yea, sure. If they'd only leave us able to live. We might not be able to sustain livelihood for more than two years if these trends continue. OK, so the price trends are the same everywhere in the world, there's a slum, but we're getting subsidies, and aid, and still not getting it. Our oil prices are decided based on international market prices even though we are sold oil at much lower rates. But who cares, right! Not until you find the chokehold too tight for you to breath. Await that moment, my countrymen. I can only pray that at that moment, we depart as less painfully as possible.
So the "in dependence" day is drawing close. I just cant get myself to be happy on this day. It pains me greatly to see the very plight of us. 59 years we've been banging our heads on the walls. At least we should've developed some civic sense, of which we have none. We have no sense of responsibility towards the country that we live in. Nothing but selfishness abounds. I wish someone would come up with a way to set things right quickly because there's very little time left.
So, our Federal Minister for privatization said to the press guys that following the detailed judgement of the supreme court, the Pakistan Steel Mills will be re-offered for privatization. He also said that whoever is found guilty in the misdeeds of doing a bad deal in the previously held privatization process of the same indsutry will be punished. It's funny that the same people who were happily claiming the privatization as their success will have to look for people responsible for a discovered failure in the same.
Forgot to upload a site image to explain what I am talking about, when I published this post originally. Here is a pictorial view. Well, I've got an excellent business idea. I cant put it in action since I am not in Karachi. But it's yours for free, if you are up for it. Thinking of the submerged underpass turned swimming pool is right there in Clifton, and the dockyard is nearby, one might as well run a submarine service to get people and their vehicles across the underpass. Dont like that? Here's another one. Suck out a little bit more of water (if the surrounding area could use some more, so that there is some head clearance in the underpass to operate a ferry. Operate a cruise across the damned thing. From that, you can go crazy about the opportunities and value added services. Here's another free idea, throw in a few fish as well, makes for a great cruise. There's money to be made here.
"It wasnt our fault. It wasnt the drainage problem. It wasnt rain water. It was a sewage line nearby that burst." The sewage line is someone else's problem. They probably beat the shit out of the person asking the question. Go figure!
I was watching Spider Man 2 (again) this morning, and as Mary Jane Watson ran away to Peter Parker's apartment and vowed to be his, and Peter's friend Harry was being prepared to become a vilain, it was fun noting how we'd see M J in Spider Man 3, ironing the spider man costume for her beloved husband cursing who the hell came up with the idea of the heavily ribbed suit. On a more serious note, it was worth grasping that we shouldnt be disappointed by how people hate us even though we're doing the right thing. There are people who think highly of us, it's just that we dont see that when others say bad things about us or treat us badly. When you fall trying to stop a train headed for disaster, you will find people who will lift you on their shoulder and stand by you.
Surprisingly, some sense has gone into the brains of the powers that be controlling the Internet connectivity tap to Pakistan, and the blogspot.com domain is viewable again in Pakistan. Better late than never, I guess.
I have a technical blog at http://idevelop.spaces.msn.com/PersonalSpace.aspx. Please do visit it. I also have an MSN group called IDevelop and have uploaded the presentation in the files section of that group. The message is posted on my technical blog. I am sorry about the delay, I was caught up with a research project. I was hoping to upload it to my webserver so I can offer you a simple URL to download instead of the "join my MSN group" marketing crap, but there are some complications with the upload and I'll get it fixed asap. Thanks for the appreciation and keep in touch.
OK. So, I've got several complaints that I've not been blogging, which is pretty well placed, too. I was pretty busy with life in general and a research project in particular. I came down to PDC 2006 with minimal preparation for my session, which I feel didnt go too well. It's not that my demo didnt work or anything, but I wasnt satisfied with how I did in presenting the material. Maybe a bit rusty, but I'm sure I can work on that and fix it. Unfortunately, this had to be at the mega event such as PDC. The community lounge was pretty bad this year. The volunteers were not interested in anything but each other. There were issues everywhere. "I told him not to do that, and still he was doing it" type of material. Pretty immature stuff. The event overall, didnt come out to me as good as last year's. Let's hope for the best next time around.
The Americans have landed in Karachi! No, its not the FBI or the Marine Corpes. It's my sister, her husband and my nephew. They are here after about five years. Long time no see. They came down as a surprise. They werent supposed to come in another week or so, but they did and called home from the Karachi airport.
I guess that the positive side about blocking of blogspot.com is that some people high up have noticed "blogs." That's a quantum leap in bureaucracy. Which is also bad news for me, because if I keep blogging what I blog, I'd be picked up by some secret service one of these days. I'm just glad they werent smart enough to ban blogger.com. Or maybe they wanted to leave us write only access. I thank them if it is the latter.
Last quarter results are out for all three courses. This time I hit fours in all three courses! Yeaaaaaaaaaa! A+, A, A. In the first quarter I had A+, A, B. This will improve my CGPA and help me in retaining my scholarship here at LUMS.
I love the LUMS campus. Especially when it rains. The lush green grass, and the red buildings look so cute. It's downright, out of this world. It's at times like this that I wish I had brought my camera. Its raining right now and been raining for several hours. I feel like taking a dip in the rain. I have to see my advisor to decided on some resources for my term project for the course Topics in Internet Research right now before I go home.
I've been unable to read my blog for quite some time. At first, there was a report of a distributed denial of service attacks against popular blogging sites, so I thought, OK. But DDoS attacks shouldnt last weeks. So, there was another report that some ISPs have banned some blogging websites because one blogger posted a blasphemous cartoon to his blog. So, I thought, OK. You're challenging me with something even a school kid could bypass. Have a look at the following snapshot dated a few minutes ago. (I havent uploaded it to my webserver yet, but I'll do it tonight insha Allah).
Anonymous HTTP proxies can easily bypass these trivial, childish, and foolish bans. You cant sensor stuff anymore. You block one medium, it'll pop up on another. Even if you ban HTTP traffic completely, I can view web pages through email. So much for your sensorship. Grow up! Some ISPs havent banned it. Let's be frank here. How many ISPs block pornography? They know that it is the number one thing that people are after. They are in a business of making money, not losing it.
I hope everyone at PAF KIET including their staff, faculty members, current and ex students read this so that I dont get bombarded for any future "racist" remarks. Here's a letter from an ex faculty member at NED. I personally knew her through email contact and must say that it is another great loss to the student community at NED. Read her letter to the editor of dawn.
So, it turned out that it rained yesterday for a bit after the windstorm. The weather became pleasant, but only for yesterday and now we're back to the hot weather. I took out one of my kurtas declaring the start of summer as far as I am concerned.
Enter the Pakistani pedestrian! I was driving down a street and there was a guy and his goat walking on the left handside of the road. Walking on the road, not off the road. Should've been walking on the right handside, but, hey, it's Pakistan, we do exact opposites just for fun. As I approached in my car, the goat moved off the road, without even turning around to see. The goat driver, however, continued to go his merry way. He wants others to watch out for him, when he doesnt watch out for himself. If you dont care about yourself, why do you expect others to care for you? This goes to demonstrate that an animal has better road sense than an average Pakistani. Today, though, I finally spotted an animal that had an exact replica of a Pakistani pedestrian's road sense. A donkey! An abandoned donkey, to be precise. Walking right in the middle of a road with complete abandon. How ironic! A donkey who is old, worn out, good for nothing, not even worth feeding. We have a match! I guess even the donkey would've forgotten his instinctive road sense because the bigger ass driving him in the donkey cart drove him in very erratic ways. We're even corrupting the animals.
Oh, the ironic names that people give to their brain childs here in Pakistan. I guess it's the same in other non native English speaking countries, too. For example, a friend of mine showed me a "Playboy Beauty Parlor" for ladies only. Yesterday I saw a driving training school vehicle saying "Diana Driving School." To think that the most famous Diana in the world died precisely in a car crash. I guess there'll be an airline called "Plane Crash Airlines" somewhere, too. At least on paper.
I had an exam yesterday, and then the next one is on Monday followed by another one on Tuesday next week. I decided to study for the exam on Tuesday first. I thought I might need to access the Internet for some problem solutions, so I came to the campus to leach on the wifi. Meanwhile, several MSDN TV episodes are also being downloaded on a download manager. As I went to pray, there was a slight windstorm and the weather seems to have improved a bit. I'll resume studies after lunch now. It's not the kind of weather when the last thing my students would have wanted to do was study and I forced them to, for their own good, so it serves me right to sit and study now. So, here I am in the library with a beautiful view from the window behind me, and a book in front.
Mithu was attacked on last night. Now, we've got a couple of golden puff chickens. The male is very bad tameez and doesnt let the lady eat, so my brother was sitting in front of their cage when he gave them the food. When he's near, the male doesnt come close the food because he's scared he would be punished for his bad deeds. Bhai also happened to have mithu on his lap. Seeing mithu, something got into the male and he jumped at Mithu, took him by one of his wings and dragged him in. Bhai acted quickly and slapped the male on his head to let go of poor mithu. All night, poor mithu had eyes the size of golf balls. We have lodged an attempt of murder case against the golden puff and are awaiting the court's decision. Well, who knows, maybe the court would rule against the golden puff and then given them "fifteen days" off, to allow them to attack mithu during that time.
Last night, Javed Miandad was on TV on a sports commentary show. To me, Javed Miandad came across as a great batsmen and nothing else. He wasnt a great player. Just a great batsman, which is why he didnt make a great captan. He doesnt have a great understanding of the game. While the rest of the world moved on and on including Ramiz Raja and Waqar Younis and developed great understanding of the game, our hero stayed his crease. So, now when he comments, he is usually not very compelling. When he talks, he's saying "Dekhain, woh meray khayal main iss cheese ko us tarah naheen lay ker chalay jaisay chalna chahiyay tha. Aap is ko is tarah daikhain. Cheezon ko aik plan k sath lay k chalna paray ga." Now he's just speaking, without making any sense at all. It seems that he has been placed there by powers that be to have another one of "their guys" on TV. His brother called and asked a question why he was not sent an invitation card to Imran Khan's hospital innauguration. While Javed didnt answer the question, I guess that he should've given the narrow minded brother of his the answer he was looking for "Chota sooba, bara sooba." Geez, when will we every grow up. Answer: Never. At least not the Southern part of the country.
One of our family friends has a relative who works in the bank that was set on fire in Lahore during the protest on the day of the nationwide strike against the cartoon issue. He described what was completely different from what was reported on the media. He told us that the rally of people came to the bank as the bank was open. Some leaders of the rally asked them why the bank was open when they knew it was a day of strike. The bank staff agreed to shut the bank down and started wrapping up. The rally went on. A while later, the bank security guard saw a few young men standing near the entrance to the basement which housed the locker where the currency bills were kept. The guard thought that the young men were robbers and he shot at them. That's when the rally returned and thinking they had been fired upon, did all the damage. Nothing justifies setting things ablaze or breaking things. Heck, such a thing doesnt even justify a strike, we're only hurting ourselves. But this goes to show how the media is doing. By the way, if you've seen the photograph of the guard pointing his gun at someone, which was published in the newspapers, he's got really big moustache. We were joking that "guard nay moonchain naheen rakheen, monchon nay guard rakha hay."
Our khateeb talked about the issue of the cartoons. He also addressed my uncomfort with the issues that I had pointed out in an earlier post about forgiveness. He said that that feeling is not true and pointed out that when Abu Lahab said Tabb alaika ya Muhammad, Allah responded with the verses, Tabban yada Abee Lahabin wa tabb, in effect saying tabb twice in response to his once. Allah took great exception in matters of disrespect to the prophet. There was one such person who would be disregardful to the Prophet and the Prophet to Allah for forgiveness for that person and in response Allah said, Allah will not forgive him even if you pray seventy times for forgiveness for him. At another occassion, when the Prophet and his companions had gone to the battle of Badr, a blind companion, Muazz bin Adee was in Madina because of his lack of eyesight. A woman who used to say disrespectful verses against the Prophet came on the streets and said some such verses. Muaaz was very upset at this and promised Allah that if the Prophet and his companions would return from Badr, he will finish that woman. When they did return victorious, Allah knows how Muaaz, withtout eyesight managed to get to that woman and executed her. He then went to the Prophet and asked him if there was any punishment for his act. The Prophet told him no and that on that matter, even two goats wouldnt lock their horns, which is an Arabic proverb meaning that even animals wouldnt disagree on this, what to talk of men. Now, since this present act is not a chance incident occurring out of ignorance, but a planned one, as you can see the Italian Prime Minister on TV saying that he will not only wear a T-shirt with that logo, but also distribute such T-shirts, and he was wearing it, it should not go unnoticed. The means of taking action against this are definitely not the ones seen in Lahore, though. The khateeb also pointed out Allam Iqbal's work titled "Ibless ka paygham apnay syasee farzandon k naam." He mentioned a verse that said something to the effect "yeh moat say naheen dartay. In k badan say rooh-e-Muhammad nikal do."
So, you're thinking, why's this Mr. Big Mouth silent when all the country is in riots over the issue of cartoons. Well, notice how we associate Allah with punishment more than with mercy. We use Allah (perhaps only) to scare children and each other from sins, or to comment on calamities, whereas Allah's mercy far exceeds the punishment. Remember that the Prophet never retaliated or take revenge even after people had severely injured him from stoning or killed his loved ones. Is the cartoon worse than that? The issue of claiming to be a false prophet is something that the sahaba after the Prophet's death did act strictly upon, but other than that, I'll need to seek learned guidance. I'm not talking about anyone telling me of his/her knowledge, but that of a good alim. Other than that, I dont think anyone gives a damn as to what we do down here, protest, take out rallies, set property on fire, set ourselves on fire, do whatever you like. You're only doing what you do all year: harming yourself or your brothers depending on how you want to look at it, and enjoying it. I cant forget the broad smile on the faces of the school kids jumping up and down with joy and some of them dancing as they destroyed property during these riots. That's not protests, that's realization of hidden anarchic desires.
In last night's presentation, I had forgotten to mention that when you have created a master page with a content placeholder in it and inherit a page from a master page, you right click on the content control in the inherited page, and select "create custom content." That should be easy to remember CCC (Create Custom Content).
Alright, the LUMS Microsoft Launch event last night went very well. The audience was quite good despite the cricket game on the TV. The event was started with a short welcome by Jaffar Haider, MS Student Ambassador at LUMS.
Then, there was recitation from the Holy Quran and I believe that the recitation should be kept a litte bit shorter, with no offense to the person in picture here. I appreciate him doing a very nice recitation.
Then, Rai Yawar, delivered his presentation on SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence.
He started with an overview of SQL Server 2005, and the need for Business Intelligence. He talked about SSIS architecture and OVAL.
He also talked about scalability, optimization, parallelism, security and extensibility.
And then, I took the stage and introduced myself.
I first talked about Imagine Cup 2006.
I talked about Web Developer features in Visual Studio 2005. I fired up magnifier to let the audience take a closer look as I created a website.
The first thing I talked about was the background of the demo application, "Online airline reservation sytem" which was the cornerstone of the entire presentation.
I showed the audience what the finished demo application looked like and gave them the URL where they could download it from.
I then talked about the need for consisten look and feel in a web application and how it has been accomplished in the past. I talked about the role of Master pages in this context and created a master page and copied and pasted some layout markup into it. I also created a couple of pages that inherited from it to demonstrate the idea.
I then showed the audience how to use the new contentplaceholder control to provide page specific content.
Someone asked about the possibility of developing a web application in Visual Studio 2005 that could run on ASP.NET 1.1.
I answered that question.
I next talked about membership and how easy it is to setup it up using aspnet_regsql wizard.
I then explained the choices that exist for the backend of the membership data.
I dragged and dropped some login realted controls onto the forms and showed the audience how easy to use, yet customizable they are.
I showed them how easily we could use the loginview control to customize what is displayed based on who is logged in.
I summarized the login related functionality.
I then talked about data access. Before I did that, I talked to the audience about the necessity of a good design and architecture. I talked about the layered architecture and shared with them my choices in the design and development of the demo application.
I gave them a look at my business logic layer and what it meant.
I kept this part of the presentation short, as we were almost running out of time and the last thing I want to do is to drag the presentation to bore the audience.
After the presentation, I reminded the audience about Imagine Cup and the lucky draw. People submitted their feedback forms into a carton and then I drew 25 of them randomly and Jaffar handed out the goodies to the winners. We really went crazy at this time, as the audience really got into it and we had all sorts of suggestions on how to turn the carton upside down to best shuffle the feedback forms inside, and suggesting that we should draw the folded feedback forms or the unfolded feedback forms. We had lots of fun and some people from the audience came up to me asking interesting questions and I addressed most of them and asked a couple of them to email me so that I can look into their issues. One of these was about the availability of Licensed software at LUMS. LUMS is a member of MSDNAA so all students and faculty get licensed MS software for free, but the student community is unaware of how to avail it. It was a very good launch event and I enjoyed being part of it. I hope that the audience was also happy.
There's another launch event tonight at LUMS. I'll again be talking about ASP.NET master pages, login controls and data controls. The other presenter is Rai Yawar. Let's see how the event goes. The demo source code is already uploaded.
Well, the SCP has lifted ban of kite flying (if any such thing was in effect) for 15 days. So, killing people has been made legal for 15 days. Thank you, so much. Indian sugar mills have raised the prices of sugar after news of Pakistan importing sugar from India. Well, I guess they're not much different from us.
A few weeks ago, while my car was at the automotive mechanic workshops, I went to buy some gear oil from a nearby shop. The shop owner is a seemingly nice person, has a long beard, always carries a tasbeeh and never misses a prayer in the mosque, which I notice whenever I have been to the workshop. I gave the oil to the mechanic and went to the university. A while later, when I returned to the workshop, the workshop owner asked me where I had bought the oil from. I told him I bought it at the neighboring shop. I had bought those cans for Rs. 190 each. The owner told me that he had learnt from the mechanic how much I had bought them for and he bought the same oil at the gas station for Rs. 120 each for me and asked me to return the cans to the shop owner if possible. What a shock! Something that is retailing for Rs. 120 carries sufficient margin for the shopkeeper, yet he'd love to sell it for as much as possible. Cant trust anything in Pakistan, can you. And to think that he seems so religious, and is selling something for about 50% more than necessary. What is all his religious practice teaching him? At least in the land of the infidel, I could go to WalMart and rest assured that whatever I buy, I buy it for what it is worth. I can find things of various quality on the same shelf, and the best quality is expensive and the compromise is cheaper. The choice is mine. But here, I am confused. I buy expensive, yet low quality.
Well, well, strange things happen, dont they. I was coming from the masjid a few minutes ago when I saw my algo teacher approaching. Just as I was about to say salam to him, he said, "Tumhari first assignment achchee thee." Now that's a very interesting course and with the size of the class, it is not easy to impress him. I am so excited! The fun part is that he recognized and rememberd me by face, name and roll number, which in such a class is remarkable.
Two things. First, I saw PM Shortcut on TV today as he was supposedly condemning the cartoon affair. Well, his body language didnt look like it. He looked more to be apologizing than condemning. I guess it is justified with the kind of economic and moral debts that we are under, we are basically sold. And slaves dont complain. See how the condemnation from the government has come almost a week after the incident. Second, there's news of reforms in jails on, like, not putting restraints in the feet and stuff. Lots of reforms. Well, those who are planning and executing it belong there, so I call it spring cleaning. Starting at the home, so to speak.
Alright, so here I am at Khorsheed Mahal Avari Towers, Lahore, yet again. This time around, I am at the other end of the hall in the speakers' area, where I will be giving a presentation on VSTS 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0. I had a class at 2 pm, which ended at 3:20 pm and getting to Avari before 4 pm was almost impossible given the traffic and the traffic lights. Fortunately, I got here a couple of minutes before 4 pm. Also, Vaqar Khamisani is still giving his presentation, so my presentation will start a few minutes late, which will given me time to catch my breath after almost running all the way from the car parking to the hall. Wish me luck. As I mentioned, the presentation and demo source code are already uploaded here. Enjoy! Now, after the presentation I have run back to LUMS because I have another class at 6:40 pm in which I also have a quiz.
I just updated my website. The special occasion is Microsoft ISV Community Days, 2006 tomorrow. Since I'd like to offer the source code and presentations on the website for download during the presentation, I decided to do the much delayed update to the website. Now, the thing here is that I have a quiz tomorrow afternoon in the class from 2 pm to 3:30 pm, then I have to rush to the presentation which is scheduled to start at 4 pm, and then I rush back to another class where there is another quiz. The best part is, I havent prepared for either quiz and I also have to do some work on the demo for tomorrow's presentation. Let's hope for the best.
Many students asked me at various times on how to integrate their own application with MSN Messenger or to import the contacts from the MSN Addressbook. My answer was that this would need to be done on the socket level, connecting to the MSN Messenger Service and a lot of hacking would be needed to figure out the request response possibilities. Well, there is a sample application that does IM through MSN. Check it out. I hope you find that useful. It is a command line based application and there is a link to another application developed using the same code but is richer. I had been wanting to blog about this for months, so I finally succeeded in doing it tonight.
If someone (such as a random number generator) claims a set of numbers to be random numbers, following some probability distribution, most commonly, uniform, there are certain tests that can be performed on these random numbers to ascertain or deny this claim. Such tests include Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Chi-square test, Poker test, Gap test, Runs test. There are also some batteries of tests such as the Diehard battery of tests, that can be performed on the set of random numbers. The results of these tests can be analyzed to accept or deny the claim. We were asked to perform these tests on the random numbers generated through Microsoft Excel and Matlab. Here is everything, including the Excel workbook to perform the tests on Excel random numbers as welll as a workbook to perform the tests on Matlab random numbers. Different worksheets correspond to each test. Macros have been written to perform and repeat these tests on 100 sets of 100 random numbers. Matlab includes a command called xlswrite() to export some Matlab variable to excel. Also included is the C# program to export random numbers from Excel to a binary mode file for the DieHard battery of tests using Office Interop. Apart from that, there is a Visual C++ program to export random numbers from Matlab into a binary mode file for the same purpose. Test results from the Diehard battery are also included, as is an MS Word document that summarises and analyzes the results.
"I didn't know shepherds knew how to read," said a girl's voice behind him. "Well, usually I learn more from my sheep than from books," he answered. The shepherd told her of the Andalusian countryside, and related the news from the other towns where he had stopped. It was a pleasant change from talking to his sheep.
But when he thought to complain about the burden of its weight (his jacket), he remembered that, because he had the jacket, he had withstood the cold of the dawn. We have to be prepared for change, he thought, and he was grateful for the jacket's weight and warmth. The jacket had a purpose, and so did the boy. His purpose in life was to travel, and, after two years of walking the Andalusian terrain, he knew all the cities of the region.
Once again we let our masters down. If we had bombed the shit out of that house in Bajor agency ourselves, they wouldnt have been troubled to do it themselves. What are here for anyway? And dont you go talking about violation of sovereignty. Sovereignty is violated when one armed force attacks another country's territory. In this case, the attackers were conducting an operation within their own land. Never forget: we'd sell our mother if the price were right.
So, they've set up a new Police force for the federal capital. My argument is, can any police force act against Brigadier Blah Blah, or Secretary Blah Blah, or son of Minister for Waste Management? When the so-called elite considers itself above the law, and the police has no abiliy to enforce the law, you can continue inventing new police forces, which we've been seeing non stop in Karachi for two decades, without any results. Bottom line is, they're spending the tax payers money to get better looking protocol.
He swept the floor with his jacket and lay down, using the book he had just finished reading as a pillow. He told himself that he would have to start reading thicker books: they lasted longer, and made more comfortable pillows. He arose and, taking up his crook, began to awaken the sheep that still slept. He had noticed that, as soon as he awoke, most of his animals also began to stir. It was as if some mysterious energy bound his life to that of the sheep, with whom he had spent the past two years, leading them through the countryside in search of food and water. "They are so used to me that they know my schedule," he muttered. Thinking about that for a moment, he realized that it could be the other way around: that it was he who had become accustomed to their schedule. He had always believed that the sheep were able to understand what he said. So there were times when he read them parts of his books that had made an impression on him, or when he would tell them of the loneliness or happiness of a shepherd in the fields. Sometimes he would comment to them on the things he had seen in the villages they passed. Quoted from The alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A while ago I was watching the movie Stepmom on TV. I've seen it before, but I hadnt noticed that old boy Bryan Adams' song was in there, too. And a smashing one at that. Bryan Adams is definitely reputed to be the world's best ever live singer. I've listened to him studio recorded, I've listened to him MTV Unplugged, and I've listened to him recorded from a live performance. He's truly awesome. Summer of 69 is so amazing, it never misses hitting the spot whenever you listen to it. But then I quite listening to music a long time ago. This particular song that I heard in this movie, brought back old fond memories. The song is called When you love someone. It's one of my favorites and I absolutely loved the MTV unplugged version of it. Here are its lyrics.
When you love someone - you’ll do anything You’ll do all the crazy things that you can’t explain You’ll shoot the moon - put out the sun When you love someone
You’ll deny the truth - believe a lie There’ll be times that you’ll believe you can really fly But your lonely nights - have just begun When you love someone
When you love someone - you’ll feel it deep inside And nothin else can ever change your mind When you want someone - when you need someone When you love someone...
When you love someone - you’ll sacrifice You’d give it everything you got and you won’t think twice You’d risk it all - no matter what may come When you love someone You’ll shoot the moon - put out the sun When you love someone
And then there's Jon Bon Jovi that I like very much. They had a soundtrack for a movie, which I think was called Young guns. That soundtrack, by the way, was the first thing I ever listened to on a compact disc on our first ever Aiwa CD player. It belonged to a friend of mine and he leant it to me. Billy get your guns, Blaze of glory, Blood money, absolutely awesome songs. I also used to enjoy Def Leppard. These guys were great. I was also watching The terminal starring Tom Hanks and I loved it very much. Tom Hanks is truly the best actor ever born. I've seen him do all sorts of characters and he does them like no other and leaves you feeling short of nothing. Mel Gibson is cool, too, with his emotional scenes, but this guy, Tom Hanks is a maestro. In this movie, towards the end (advance apologies to the ladies), when Tom Hanks is about to kiss Catherine Zeta Jones (cant blame him for that, by the way), my brother switched the channels to Geo, where nothing short of pornography was being played in terms of a hindi song, but that channel stayed put. I wonder why more is acceptable in a more recognizable language.
This might be a surprise to some of the readers, but this is no news and there's a lot more going on in our society than meets the eye. Now, though, it has started to meet the eye a lot more and those who dont like it have been ordered vide what you could call an ordinance to keep their eyes shut if they dont like what they see. Daily Times published a feature article recently, a reference to which was made at this blog. I wouldnt comment on the contents of the article, you can form your own opinions.
Now, our big guy is really proud of himself. And how can one get to the top of the (not so) pak foj without having good propaganda and public dealing skills. A couple of days ago we saw him pitted against Karan, an Indian origin journalist on a CNN interview. Karan won hands down. He flattened our big guy very quickly, who wasnt able to get up. Our big guy started talking to him as if he were talking to the Indian government. DUH, even if he were an Indian, he was representing an American (friend?) news channel. Karan, why dont you take over? Our big guy was teaching everyone about leadership and how the leader should dictate his "ideas" onto others and not be dominated by theirs, yet, somehow mysteriously enough, be open to their ideas. Now, I'm an engineer, basically, and I like precise stuff, and this sounds a self-contradictory statement. Karan kept calling him quite rightly, like all other foreign visitors by his military rank instead of Mr. Pres or something. One analyst earlier on pointed out on the topic of public consensus on Kalabagh that the consensus was not sought on issues like LFO and District Governments, steps that changed everything, and are supposedly in the greater national (we know which nation we are talking about) interests. Kalabagh also being in national (in this case, this nation, if there is such a thing) interests, why do you need consensus now? Yea, Mush boy, lay down the foundation stone baby. Or should I say, cast the stone?
There is a battery of tests that assess the randomness of a sequence of (pseudo-)random numbers, called the Diehard battery of tests. We have been assigned a task to run this battery of tests on random numbers generated by MS Excel and Matlab. It's a strange set of tests in the sense that it requires an input file of 10 to 11 MB, containing nothing but random numbers and the file needs to be in binary format. I used C++ to generate such a number (2867200 to be precise) of random numbers and dumped it to a binary file of 11.2 MB. I'll upload the code to do that soon. The squeeze test always failed. I tried to increase and decrease the size of the file but to no avail. Ultimately, I stumbled onto the fact that the random numbers were not in the range from 0 to 2^32 - 1. What I was generating were 0 to 2^16 - 1. This is just so if someone stumbles into this problem and does a search, hopefully they would bump into this. Now I am working to generate such a file from within Excel.
OK, so we've been pointing out deficiencies, and we've been saying how Pakistanis behave abroad and make it a point to misbehave when not. Why is that? Well, if I were to talk of the US, if I were to skip a red light, or stop at a traffic light beyond the zebra crossing, or stop in the middle of two lanes and the list goes on, it is entered to my record by the policeman whom I can not bribe. The result is not merely a few dollars fine, the result replicates itself into my houserent, my loan interest rates, my insurance premiums (which are mandatory by law) and so many other things, that you can not even imagine doing any of that stuff. So, it is fear of punishment that makes us behave. Down here, though, there is no fear. When President of the United States of Pakistan, General George W. Mush took over, I thought that he has an opportunity at a critical point in the nation's lifetime. It's now or never. If he puts just a few thousand corrupt people in front of the firing squad, without courts, without lawyers, just shoot, then a few hundred good men would die, but their blood would not go in vain and everyone else would learn the lesson they defie. But no, he wasnt there for that. He is there for other reasons, which are becoming obvious with time. So, who or what, if ever, will erect those hangman's in the roundabouts of our towns?
I was reading a novel by Paulo Coelho titled, "The Devil and Miss Prym." It is a story of a small town in the mountains which, being remote, is inhabited mostly by criminals, who go there because they know no one would catch them there. A priest also lives there in a small church. The strongest of those criminals is Aheb. The priest, sick of living alone in the church wants to get a good night's sleep in a proper bed, for once. He goes to town and over to Aheb's place. Aheb is astonished how come this guy is sleeping at a killer's place. He gives him a bed and sits close by sharpening his knife while talking to the priest. Soon, the priest goes to sleep, waking up to the sound of Aheb crying. He asks Aheb what is wrong, and Aheb says that his whole life is changed. Aheb is amazed how a person could be so calm to go to sleep knowing that death is on his bed post. Aheb then tells all the criminals to mend their ways and to find a legal line of work otherwise, Aheb would punish them. Everyone is apprehensive and talking amongst themselves of what to do. Aheb gives the design of a wooden structure to the carpenters and has them build a big structure in the middle of the town's square. He unveils it. It is a sort of hanging place. Now, the criminals are always crafting their crimes, but whenever they do their planning, the wooden structure comes to their mind and being scared, they give it up. The wooden structure is up for years, but no crime is committed. Then when everyone is righteous, whether they like it or not, Aheb has the carpenters take the structure down and replace it with a cross made of the same wood. We need such wooden structures in our streets. We have no real punishment system. We know that even if we commit wrong, we'll let ourselves off by bribing or by influence. We need a few of those wooden structures and we need a few million people or so hanged or put to firing squads. That's the only way to survival. We need a Mao Ze Tung.
Our lane is currently under maintenance as a new sewerage line is being laid. Half of the lane is dug up in the middle. Now, that means that half of the residents are unable to get their vehicles to their car porches or to park them outside their own homes. The lane being not too wide, means, that our half of the lane is loaded with twice the load. Even with half the load, sometimes, some Einstein would park their vehicle in a creative fashion such that entire empty piece of land where I'm sure we can park six vehicles, is able to house only one. Even if it is shared, no one wants to park their vehicle inside the plot and would like to park on the outside edge. The situation, now is more severe. No sense of sharing. Everyone's going through a difficult time, can being cooperative be so bad? But I'm living amongst Pakistanis.
Last year I went to Islamabad with technical collaboration of South Korea (Daewoo Express Bus Service) to attend my friend's wedding, which was finally held yesterday. Why the hell did I have to go one year earlier than the marriage? No, I'm not a wedding counselor or consultant, I went there on December 31, 2005 and the wedding was on January 1, 2006.