Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pakistan cruising?

I dont need this! The country's petroleum reserves are extremely low and sufficient (for most products) for at most 6 days. Three bumpers crops every year, three years in a row and each year, we saw a shortage of the bumper crop. PIA is going down the drain, as are so many other valuable assets. Too much going on to list. All we get are successful test? We dont need that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Phenkta hay salaa

Phenkta hay salaa! Konsa loss? They're buying most of their oil on subsidised prices from Saudi Arabia. They're not suffering any loss. Oil companies and government is earning huge chunks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Badal raha punjab

Whether or not "badal raha Punjab" which means "Punjab is changing" is an accurate statement or not, the boring, on screen all day publicity campaign of Ch. Pervez Elahi and GPM, who gives a crap if Punjab is changing? We're more intersted in whether Pakistan is changing or not. It's a stupid sectrian advertisement campaign.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Respect

Such is our establishment. Such is our country. Such is the respect we pay to our teachers. Such is the treatment metted out to people who left comfortable job offers abroad to seek to do some good to education in our homeland. Two LUMS faculty members were arrested by police during a peaceful protest outside HRCP.
Look at www.dawn.com, look at www.geo.tv/geonews. My source of daily authentic news are gone. Will Benazir pull string in DC to do something about this? Perhaps, only if the wrath falls on her.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Master pages

I delivered a brief talk about ASP.NET 2.0 Master pages, and Membership controls at MS Faculty Meet 2007 at Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore recently. There was a question directed towards me during the Q&A session, which I was advised to take offline. However, I had to split after the Q&A session while the audience had dinner. Perhaps the person who asked the question would read this blog and get the answer.
His question was that pages based on Master pages are very slow to load, which is troublesome over dialup connections. Slower compared to perhaps frames based pages. Then, the other part of the question was that "Microsoft" stores a small 6-9kB configuration file on the client computer which is again a slow operation.
First, my talk was targeted for an academic setting in which speed efficiency of development is more critical than speed efficiency during use. There are comparisons of Master Pages and Frames on the web so I wouldnt replicate them here. You can google them out. Plus, there are ways to improve your webpage load times. An ASP.NET MVP would be better positioned to answer that question for you. Also, the answers are out there on MSDN and the web. About the configuration file, perhaps the reference was to session management, and that is a necessary evil. Once again, I'm sure there are ways to improve the size of that file, as well as the duration between transfers of that file.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Infant stimulation



I put together a small infant stimulation toy for Fatma from BabyStrology.com. My nephew Waaiz used to have a toy like this in Dallas. So, inspired by that, I developed my own, based on card, printouts and some thread. I'm posting a couple of photos of the toy. Fatma seemed really fascinated with it. During the first few months of the infancy, she can see only high contrast such as black on white. Putting shapes in such high contrast helps her learn to focus, and perhaps even learn to differentiate between shapes. Later on, she will learn to recognize colors and we should have toys for her accordingly.
I think the design of this toy could've been a lot simpler if I started with a cardboard circle, placed holes at six equidistant points and hung down the stimulation patterns from these holes. Three of these holes could be used to host the suspension strings to the roof. I did this toy without any rulers and this better design would've required a ruler for equidistant point placement. Plus, I'd have had to make extra efforts to ensure that the threads that the stimulation patterns hung from were equal length so that the toy wouldnt tilt to one side. Anyway, a little bit of engineering mechanics for Fatma there. If you need some schematics for this design, just drop me an email.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mobile payment

Yup, bring it to Karachi. ASAP.

Forex

.Yet another forex source for the UK.

Knows something

This guy obviously knows something we dont. How can pardoning criminals from a selected period of time put an end to politics of revenge?

Worthless

These two have done nothing of note in their career except one or two occassions. They're complete wastes of time. Only good at one thing: modeling. Quit cricket already, both of you morons.

Live up to my expectations

I had bet my friend that Inzamam wasnt getting the 22 he needs to break Miandad's highest score in test cricket by a Pakistani batsmen. Not only did Inzi live up to my expectations, so did the rest of the team. Good work boys! I wonder what Inzi will do in the second innings. Hmmm, I hope he does live up to my expectations again. Whatever the case, I can picture his dismissal. He'll stand there for a long time, starting at nothing, wondering why he got out, and then in the applause of the SA team, and perhaps that of the crowd as well, make his way to the pavilion. I doubt that he'll be able to end not out in the second innings. That's too much to expect from Pakistan team in test cricket for a long time to come.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Who gives a shit?

Well, someone's angry at the Sindh CM's remarks. Come on, name me one person in the present setup who hasnt committed contempt of court. Take this one, for example. Between Durrani, Qusuri, Rasheed, and Sher Afgan, I cant decide who is the biggest joker.

Justice

One man is taking intiative. A friend of mine told me more than an year ago that a person who had bought these farm lands had gifted one to the President. I'm sure, looking at the above mentioned news item, there were several other gifts. The benefit to be had from these gifts was that an immaculate road was built to these luxury farm houses, thereby increasing the prices. How smart!

Friends

Friends indeed!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oh, the games they play

This goes to show that the real priority is playing games, achieving own agenda, and not securing public interests. Part of the game is this statement. While the poor cant even buy essentials to eat, the rich who couldnt secure enough profit in bank deposits or estate business traded and stock-piled wheat in their warehouses to decrease supply and increase prices, the criminal class abounds in the society, they are the least concerned.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Akhtar

Maybe Shoaib Akhtar should also be included in the national indemnity package.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You bet

I bet every criminal in the country is wishing how they'd been a political worker.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Inzamam goes

Inzamam goes for Rs. 10 M. When he retired from one-day cricket, I opined that he was being silly. If he wanted to retire, he should've retired from both one-day and test cricket. I wonder why he didnt realize that himself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Only one place to go

Looks like there's only one place to go whatever your need be. Read this. What's next? Children fight cases in SC?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More fiction

(Just some more fiction. Similarities to reality are purely and merely coincidental).

I watch dazed as you walk away. I dont know what I'm feeling. Maybe I'm thinking, "Why me?" Maybe I'm pittying myself. Maybe it's what they call hurt. Maybe it's heartbreak. It's like being numb after anaesthesia. Only, I'm fully conscious and able to move my body. But I dont move. Just stare emptily at your silhouette as you drift away.
I cant help but ponder on where'd I go wrong. Deep inside, I hope that you'd come back soon. Sooner than I might think. Right now. But your mind is made up. You know what you're doing. I can feel it. Yes, I can read your mind. We bonded, I can feel what you're thinking. I can actually hear your voice when you whisper my name in your thoughts.

Hurt aint gonna last forever

When love puts you through the fire
When love puts you to the test
Nothing cures a broken heart like
Time, love and tenderness

You think your world is over
Baby, just remember this
Nothing heals a broken heart better than
Time, love and tenderness

Friday, September 28, 2007

Only Hope

There's a song that's inside of my soul.
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold.
But you sing to me over and over and over again.

So, I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope.

Sing to me the song of the stars.
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now, you're my only hope.

I give you my destiny.
I'm giving you all of me.
I want your symphony, singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs, I'm giving it back.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I pray, to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fiction

Some of my students have been asking me to write, but I've always shrugged it off. Here's just some aimless scribbling with very little editing and no second looks. Please dont use this in one of your novels or whatever.

I spotted a vaccant parking slot to my left and quickly turned my car into it. Bringing the gear into neutral, I switched off the engine. I drew the windscreen reflector from the console near the gear lever. The powdery substance falling off the edges of the reflector had been reminding me for weeks that it needed replacement. The suction cups on the reflector didnt work either, but they had given up on me a long time ago. I put the reflector against the windscreen and pulled down the sun shades over it to keep it in place. Looking over my shoulder to check the backseat, I found my backpack lying there. It'd be safe there for a while.
I opened the door and stepped outside. A pleasant breeze greeted me. Having been parked under the sun for hours, the car's interior was hot. Wiping the sweat off my face and neck, I slammed the door and armed the car security system with the remote keyless entry, paying attention to the sound of the door lock actuators to make sure my backpack would be safe inside the car, and that I'd have a good chance of finding my car still here when I got back.
I walked through the park entrance and onto the jogging track. I wasnt going to do jogging, just take a walk. As I walked I pondered on the day's events, and found myself satisfied with what I had accomplished that day. I had prepared a progress report for the latest project my team was undertaking, with which my manager was thoroughly satisfied, but I wasnt. The progress I mean. But I decided to shrug it off. A walk in the park isnt the time to think about work.
I watched people walk by me. All kinds of people. Young people holding hands, ageing people trying desperately to loose those extra pounds with the brisk walk, kids playing with their air-inflated footballs. Trying not to think of anything, I made a lap around the track and went back to my car. Unlocking the car as I approached it, I got in. It started quickly on the first ignition. As I turned the key in the ignition, I always paid attention to the temperature gauge as it slid upwards slowly. The petrol tank indicator wasnt working. I need to get that fixed. I also need to get some petrol, to be a safety net in case I run out of CNG some time.

Threaten me

History does repeat itself.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Topi

At the last minute, we found that Kamran Nishat bugged out. He instead asked Zahid to go with us. We left about 45 minutes late at 4:30 pm from LUMS. We stopped at Thokar Niaz Baig to offer Asar prayers. Usman Ghani did the imamat. We then moved on and did the iftar in the bus and stopped at the next rest area to say the prayers. The iftar arrangement was plentiful for me. We bought some cold drinks and chips and the rest area. We also stopped at Bhera rest area for dinner and offered the isha prayers. There was actually taraweeh going on there. I had a cup of tea with Usman. I've rarely tasted worse tea in my life.
Topi is so far off that it seems out of this planet. The road is so pathetic that anyone who commutes to Topi regularly, I think that all his sins should be forgiven. GIKI, in my opinion, is built at a very wrong place. No easy approach and away from everything. While that makes for some calm within it, with a difficult approach, it was anyone's guess why the only teams at the competition were from Islamabad or at most Lahore.
Billions in funds were spent on this place, which might close down because the funds are not flowing in any more. The staff has been cut down and the facilities are not well managed. The hostel accomodation was double rooms for the first year students and single rooms from second year, which is useful. We were accomodated in the common room of a hostel. We got there at 1 am. I couldnt sleep because students were making noises outside the common room somewhere. We got up at 2:30 am and went for sehr at the cafeteria. It was raining lightly and a wind was blowing, making it a bit cold. We beat the cooks to the cafetaria and had to wait for a while until the food was brought to the front. The service was extremely slow as we received our sehr. After eating and having tea, we decided to get a glass of milk shake, which turned out to have a lead time of 30 minutes. We went back to the common room and tried to sleep for a while. At 6:15 am, I got up and got ready to go the AHA auditoritum. Once there, we found a couple of other teams waiting outside the locked auditorium with no one outside. After about 45 minutes of waiting, one of our team mates found a posting at a distance saying that the quiz will start at 8:30 am. We cursed the organizers and went off to get a few things done. Once back, time went by as we saw the organizers in the auditorium trying to set up the computers and projectors. The projection was done on the back walls of the auditorium, which were cream color and with some design on them, which made for extremely difficult reading. With the figures impossible to see, the anchor had to come and draw the figures on a paper for the teams every once in a while.
Several questions were repeated and after objection from participants and audience, they were changed. The planning and execution couldnt have been poorer. The questions and answers were in PowerPoint slides. Several decks of them. The computer operator would blank the projector, sift through his slide decks to find a question and then put it up on the screen, which meant a very long competition. There was absolutely no audienec, except for a few supporters that came with the teams.
The slide decks were also from previous years and you could see 2005 and 2006 occassionally. Plenty of answers were incorrect. For instance, "There can be more than one instructions executing at a given instant of time in a multiprogrammed system." We challenged this and the judges dropped our objection. Then there was "hacking is negative activity, cracking is positive." Now this is extremely controversial. Then, there was the question that resulted in our ouster from the semi finals, "Redundancy in data results in loss of integrity and consistency." We answered that it results in loss of consistency only.
We had two teams from LUMS, two teams from Military College of Signals (MCS). We ousted NIIT, MCS 1 and MCS 2 in the first two rounds and PUCIT lost in the semis, too. The LUMS 2 team gave an excellent fight, but eventually lost on sudden death to Bahria.
You could clearly see from the body language of the organizers how they were biased against LUMS teams. For instance, how the volunteers near the computers running the questions and timers, said, "Shit" when at a crucial stage, LUMS 2 had to get an answer correct to move to the next stage and got an easy question. Then, the judge started pointing his finger at us when we lost in the semis, as if asking for us to get off the stage. Then, before the finals, a volunteer stepped on the stage, to remove the sign saying "LUMS1" form our table since we had lost in the semis, saying "I'll remove this with great pleasure."
By the way, the timer and the question were on separate machines and projectors. How long does it take to build an application that operates that quiz with the timer, the questions, the scores all on one screen? GIKI claim to have excellent programmers, so it shouldnt take more than 15 minutes. I guess they were too busy to do that.
In the second stage of the competition, the teams objected to the projection on the wall, and asked the organizers to project on the regular projection screen. I wonder why the organizers hadnt thought of that themselves. That request was granted. However, it did result in the fact that now, the screen was to our left and the timer to our right. So, while thinking for an answer, we had to look from side to side.
In the end, the organizers apologized for the late start saying that they were rehearsing in the auditorium till 12 midnight. I wonder what they were rehearsing, because they set everything up in the morning hours after scheduled start time.
After collecting our speed programming and software design teams, we got in the bus and headed out. Back on the GT road, we got one of our friends on a bus for Peshawar to see his family, said asr prayers and set out for Lahore. We stopped at a truck stop and had iftar in the form of khajoor and pakoray. We then stopped at Rawalpindi to have dinner at a small roadside restaurant. I listened to the radio for the Pakistan-NewZealand T20 cricket semi finals and reported the proceedings to my friends. Pakistan won the semis and we were on our way after dinner. We dropped Zahid off at Sadar, Rawalpindi and headed off on GT road to Lahore. I slept a little on the bus. We stopped at Mall Road in Lahore at a few minutes past 12 midnight, and had the famous Chaman Ice Cream. Back at LUMS, we shook hands with each other and went to our dorms. It was about 2 am and I had to wake up again at 3:15 am for sehr. Malik Jahan woke me up and we went for sehr.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Topi

In about half an hour, I'll be leaving as part of IEEE LUMS team for the Quiz competition for SoftCom 2007 being held in GIKI at Topi. It'll be a long drive and we're expected to get there at 1 am. Soon afterwards there'll be sehri and then fajr prayers. Our competition is at 7 am, so count sleep out of the equation. I cant sleep during travel in bus/train/aircraft. No preparation for the quiz, just going there for the heck of it. See what happens. With me will be my talented student Usman Ghani and another class fellow here at LUMS Kamran Nishat. As it happens, all quiz team members came to LUMS from Karachi.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Education department

Check this out! Several Masters degree and Bachelors degree holders apply for Peon job (BPS-4).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Little Ms. Saqib





Yesterday, September 4, 2007, I was blessed by Allah with a daughter. My wife and daughter are doing well, alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do I have something against them?

Have you seen the boasting that PTV is doing with some short advetisements on itself? One of them goes like, "If we filed copyright suits, India would go bankrupt." So, what they are referring to is the copies that Indian media makes of PTV content. Ironically, the music used in these stupid advertisements can also be heard on Indian National TV in an advertisement with some marching soldiers in it. I'm sure it must have been composed by some westerner and both the Indian and Pakistani TV are copying it without permission from the music producer. Talk about copyright infringement.
Two more instances that I can give you right away on PTV. One, the drama serial "Meray dard ko jo zuban milay." I've never seen it because it sucks but watch its trailers on PTV and notice the music from Batman Begins sound track. Another drama serial "Sukhan." Same story, I dont watch it, well, to tell you the truth, all their dramas suck so I dont watch any of them, but watch its trailer. Terminator 2 sound track music. Both, I'm sure copied without permission. And they're talking about claiming copyright? Give me a break! PTV sucks.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Well-said

This was sent to me by a friend of mine, Zubair Ahmed. It is very well written. It includes a quotation that can be summarized to: moseeqee nifaq key taraf lay jatee hay.
Think about it! Read it! All the efforts by Shoaib Mansoor and his likes will be defeated insha Allah.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

PhD Annual Seminar delivered

Check this out!

PhD Annual Seminar delivered

Today, I delivered my annual PhD Seminar on "A simulation study of GELS for Ethernet over WAN." I have uploaded the presentation on my website.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More khisyani billi

Day before yesterday, an anchor on a news program on PTV World very happily reported that "aik nijji TV channel Geo nay report dee hay k sadr-e-mumliqat kal qom say khitab karain gay, jab k sadr-e-mumliqat actually parson qom say khitab karain gay."
That explains why their programs suck and have so many mistakes in them. They are so busy finding mistakes on other channels. I dont think there's ever been a more moron PTV management.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Khisyani billi

What's going on is very unfortunate, but I cant help but laugh at the implicit acceptance of PTV anchors in various news programs about their bias. The news programs are actually "views" programs. The anchors are not giving us the news but their views (or maybe the ones given to them by the big brother). The questions that they ask of the guests ranging from politicians to religious scholars are, really, answers, not questions. What do you expect if you say to someone, "What would you say about taking several kids and women hostage inside Lal Masjid?" I think that no matter whom they asked this question, even Mr. Ghazi, they'd get the same answer. I hope, in vain, that they'd give us just the news and nothing else.
They were also asking about the religious scholars not having done enough to resolve the situation, which is absurd. PML Q parlimantarians visited the site and staged a nice drama of showing false grief over the situation. Come on, we know exactly how much you politicians care.
There was a news report on PTV a couple of days ago that the forces were not letting paramedics go to Lal Masjid for security reasons and then the next day on the same channel, they were putting the blame on those inside of not letting the paramedics come and get the corpses and the injured.
It's funny how the government gets all concerned about humanitarian stuff on this event. How about those countless hostages in the barracks of the chaudhries, vaderas and sardars, some of them (I'm sure) in the government benches, too. How about military actions there? Arent they terrorists, too? You talk about Islam's view in the foreign media, you wouldnt be satisfied with their portrayal until they are able to show that here in Pakistan we are able to gamble, drink, dance naked, do whatever we like and no one has anything to say about it. Complete independence isnt Islam. What you want is secularism, so come out and admit it.
And, they reported that an anonymous caller had reported 12 girls on hunger strike being held hostage by the alleged terrorists. That doesnt sound authentic enough to quote let alone on national TV. We believe that it is enough for someone to be considered a liar if he/she forwards something he/she heard without verification. Hence, PTV is liar.
Is it just me, or does Ch Shujaat's visit always have dire significance? He visited Balochistan just before Bugti was assasinated. He visited Lal Masjid, came out and the forces stormed in. Doesnt it seem like he's an instrument to distract the other side before the final action?
All of this irrespective of whether this was completely a staged drama or whether what was done by the Lal Masjid or Jamia Hafsa administration was right or wrong. That is not what I am debating here.

Sacrifice

Karachi sacrificed several of its citizens once again during the recent storms for the rest of the nation. I hope everyone else learns a lesson at the expense of those deceased and take action to see if the hoardings are safe in other cities and to see what measures, if any, are in place to deal with rains and floods.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Rain

OK, so many anonymouses would be happy to know that it rained cats and dogs in Lahore and many streets and roads were flooded yesterday. I was out to get a generator for my car in a rickshaw. The rain came all of a sudden, so I conveniently didnt have a camera, but if you would kindly trust my honesty, and believe me when I say that several roads and streets were flooded. I'm sorry but the rickshaw didnt happen to pass by an underpass so I cant say if any underpass was flooded to the top or not. I wonder then, if you're right, and they are spending all of Karachi's taxes over here, then where do they go if they cant stop the streets from flooding here, too?

Rule of law

I've been around a few places in Lahore. While I've seen people caught for traffic violations on Mall Road or in Cantt area, never did I see a traffic policeman stop an offending vehicle in the DHA area. I guess they're not privileged enough to stop and ticket the Defencers.
So, they've launched a new traffic police in Lahore. Time will only tell how effective they are, but my rickshaw driver yesteday was driving diagonally on an intersection with those guys all around. I guess they were concentrating more on controlling the stopping and moving of the traffic. I'll tell you what. Until people drive straight, courteously and correctly on the road, it wouldnt matter if they follow the traffic light or not. Every day I see people driving on the right handside of the road. It doesnt matter what the reason is, it's wrong. It doesnt matter if you're trying to a shop on the right handside that is 10 meters down. You're supposed to drive on the left handside, whether or not the right handside of the road is empty. But we wouldnt take anything seriously, now, would we!

Anniversary

The other night, I was watching A-TV anniversary transmission. On came Nirma in a dance performance for the late Nusrat Fateh Ali's song "Afreen Afreen." Boy, did she save cloth? When the performers put her on a sort of board and lifted it on their shoulders you could see her entire leg naked. That's quite a thing to see on national TV. What exactly are they thinking anyway? I'm surprised no one uploaded a recording of it on YouTube.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Source code and presentations uploaded

For my session at Pakistan Developer Conference 2007, I've uploaded the source code for the demo and presentation at my website. The source code and database script are in the Downloads section and the presentation is in the Presentations section.

Nothing else to do

Like last year, this year, too, some of the volunteers at Pakistan Developer Conference were engaged and interested in only one thing: getting hooked to some other volunteer. All volunteers werent like that, though, and I am not generalizing, but a lot of people in our society are hooked only to this. It's their business, but in most of the cases, these are people who are not doing the rest of their job. Most of them are just a liability on this society, their fmailies. In my neighborhood at the "naan" shop, there are a few wooden chairs and a small wooden bench where mostly laborers and not so well off people have lunch and dinner, and a few weeks back I spotted a guy finish eating there and talking to a friend of his about a mutual trip on which they picked up some girls, and about another girl whom he is able to meet only for a very brief period of time at her medical college hostel. So, you can see that it has penetrated all social classes.
They may call it their right and freedom, but the fact remains that they are not productive for the society, are creating only evil, and are a worthless liability. "Education" just doesnt seem to do anything about it.

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a Pakistani who worked at the Graduate School office at an American university as a Graduate Assistant. The job was very important because that office deals with student grades, and a lot of other confidential information. Students have the right not to disclose their grades to anyone, even friends, and they usually didnt share their grades. This fellow, shared Mr. A's grade information with Mr. B, thereby making inappropriate use of his rights over information access. Later on, Mr. A and Mr. B had a disagreement and the argument took a certain turn in which Mr. B taunted Mr. A telling him that Mr. A had claimed to have gotten a better grade in a particular course than he actually got. Mr. A was shocked to learn that Mr. B had this information and further inquiry revelated the source of that information. Learning of this, the Graduate School banned hiring of any Pakistanis to the Graduate School.
While other nations helped their fellows achieve by lending a helping hand, the son of this great nation closed the door on a wonderful opportunity to all Pakistani students who followed him to that university. What is it with us and misuse of privileges.
I thnk that the idea of allowing comments only aims at getting praised for what wonderful work of art you produced, so I am disabling it. The blog is for me to place some of what I learn or experience. I grant you the privilege to share in what I write of my own accord. I am taking away the right to comment from you, thanks to several people, because in several instances it led to unncessary arguments. I apologise if you enjoyed posting comments to my blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Toshiba Tecra S2 memory card reader driver for Windows Vista

I was unable to connect my digital camera's memory stick on my Tecra S2, so I found a post on a forum, suggesting this driver. I'm giving it a shot. Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Exams over

Well, final exams for this quarter are over now. It seems this was probably the toughest final exams period I have had yet in terms of the amount of study required. It seems we covered plenty of stuff in each course. I had a lot to cover in each exam. Then there were projects and assignments in each course. Now, ahead is Summer. I need to focus on the qualifying exam right away and prepare hard for it. Also, I need to start sharpening my research focus.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Generators

A few days ago, on ATV in the program Khwaja Online. A caller complained out power outages and how the political rallies consumed so much electrical power. Khawaja replied that rallies were powered by generators and not the national grid. That reminded me of something I learnt a couple of years back while organizing an IEEE conference.
When you invite a government official to an event, a side benefit is that the local electric supply company - KESC or LESCO, for instance - is informed about the event timings and told that they should ensure power during the event. So, the event organizers dont have to arrange generators. The electric power providing company, on the other hand, has to. So, where does the expense of that generator go if KESC/LESCO bears it?

"Main aap say kena chaata hoon...."

Read a few reports published in Pakistani newspapers referenced by BBC.
This is part of an email by Vadim Antonov on an emailing list to discuss computer networking related issues:

(BTW, one of the most popular little toys I made was a thingie which did domain name-based e-mail routing over UUCP - not by tracking global topology maps a la pathalias, but by insertion of the next hop lookup step at every transit point. No more stuck e-mail trying to get along a precomputed path which has one hop down. That thingie was a smash hit in the place where phone lines used to be so notoriously flaky that every rain caused a singificant portion of them to get so bad that modems couldn't connect.)

Notice that he is referring to a long back time and the fact that we still have that problem in Pakistan every so often, whether or not it rains. Modems fail to connect. So, what have our elders, incharge of PTCL, for instance, for so many decades been doing? Why is that despite posting revenues, despite overcharging us consumers and trunk connection customers, they were unable to deploy a useful POTS?

The mentality of a government employee, ingrained deep in the brain is how to use facilities, how to use the rules and regulations to their benefit and against the poor person on the other side of the window. If and when they are held accountable, they are suspended from duty, with full pay, and asked to do nothing all day, but sit at a certain place in the office while the inquiry is conducted. At the end, they are patted on the back and returned to active duty at the same or different place. Wouldnt that person be encouraged to continue?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Goe TV website hacked

BEWARE: Uses abusive language in Urdu
Cool, haan?
Let me know if you cant see it anymore. I might upload the snapshot of the page.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Peter doesnt answer

Go to www.peteranswers.com. It's a great scam. A wonderful way of fooling people like those who believed in the phone virus scam, which includes most people in Pakistan, so you're in luck. Go there, Type "Peter, please answer the following question:" followed by a question, such as "Who is standing to my right?" and hit enter. You'll get an answer. Now do the following: When typing "Peter, please answer the following:" type "." followed by the correct answer, followed by "." and then continue typing the rest of "Peter, please answer the following question:" Then ask the question. For example, if Atif is standing to my right, I'd do:
Peter, please.Atif.er the following question:
You would see in the textbox:
Peter, please answer the following question:
Followed by:
Who is standing to my right?
Then hit enter and see what happens. If you have quick typing speed, you can fool almost anyone.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Advertisement twists

Twisting a couple of TV advertisements, one for KASB bank and the other for a tea brand. Try saying it you'll like it:
"KASB Bank! Takhleek karay aisee banking, jo laga THAAAA ker kay"
Translation: KASB Bank creates banking that hits with a bang.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

For 1%

Gone are the days of good entertaining programming on TV. Now you cant see a drama on TV that has anything but hatred, scheming, crime, depicting only the 1% of the nation's population. Other major ingredients include hijras, dresses you wouldnt see anyone wearing ordinarily in the depicted social class, and lots of other absurdity. There's this program on A-TV in which the host invites rich people to show off their fancy wheels and to tell us how much they bought them for. That' bullcrap! I used to watch a similar BBC program on PTV and they never showcased any billionaire owners, of which I'm sure they have plenty. But our 1% wouldnt be left behind. Then, there's this interior design program, again, for the 1%. Hello, how about us? The 1% can watch their own favorite foreign channels, so why dont you give us what we would like to see.
There was a host on PTV who was talking about "enlightened moderation" saying that we are not adopting western extremism, of vulgarity for instance, but are showing moderation, by balancing with our culture. Well, she got it all wrong. It's not coming down from their side, it is going up from our side. Leaving our extreme and finding a common ground. Like saying, yea, yea, that might be my religious obligation, I understand, but I have to keep the rest of the world happy, too, I'm sure Allah would understand, so I'll just skip namaz and some other stuff and be enlightened moderate. At least get your facts straight.
Talking of the media, what's with these protests against protesters? The ruling party protesting against Jamia Hafsa, protesting against those who are protesting in front of Supreme Court, and being so nice as to have their own rally stopped far from the Supreme Court, "to avoid any clashes." That's a little more bullcrap! The same people who had media people beaten up, talk about freedom for the media, and protest when "the other guys" beat up some journalist during their protests. That's even more bullcrap! Stay tuned, there's much more bullcrap than can fit on this page.

Road safety

During the 4 kilometer drive from my home to LUMS, 3 motorcyclists riding just ahead of me towards the left handside attempted to make a U-turn from in front of me. They wouldnt have cared if I'd ran them over, too, judging from their complete ignorance throughout the manouver until I slammed my hand on my horn. We dont value our lives at all. That was three incidents in just four kilometers. That's not counting the reckless car drivers coming out of streets straight onto the fast lane with complete oblivion to the approaching traffic. That's also not counting the pedestrians and bicycle riders who are more reckless than all others. Welcome to Pakistan!

(In)Justice

I used to think that justice isnt available to the weak or the poor (synonymous, arent they?) in Pakistan. That still is true. I also used to think that justice is only available to the rich and the strong (synonymous, arent they? Not really, the cops are powerful but not rich) in Pakistan. After some thought, I decided that justice isnt for anyone in Pakistan. No one gets justice. The rich and powerful have the right to commit injustice, which they may choose to avail.

Something that only works in Pakistan


Well, there are certain things that just wouldnt work anywhere except Pakistan. Here's a shot that I took from inside my car approaching Lahore-Islamabad motorway, several months back, of a tractor with only three tyres on the road. I guess they must be endangered species.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Victory of the establishment

It was proven yet again that you cant beat the establishment and that there is no such thing as justice. In the Sonia Naz case, the defendent didnt appear before the court on repeated calls, and left her home. The reason is quite obvious. The powers that be must have threatened her. The accused have been acquitted. Yes, the present regime is best for Pakistan.

What crap

I bet most of the Pakistanis reading this blog have already received what I am referring to here. An SMS requesting you to forward it to everyone you know that if you receive a call from a 12 digit number containing 0099, dont answer it. The SMS even mentioned a name for the condition it causes. Allegedly red rays are emitted and the brain is affected by the radiation, and the preson dies. 20 deaths were reported in a message. The stupid Geo network even aired this news. Someone mentioned that a person died on Mall Road, Lahore like this. A friend of mine reported that his entire village had turned off their cell phones because of this report.
What crap! This is bullshit and anyone participating in this spreading of rumours should be prosecuted.
First, Imagine the tiny battery in your cell phone. How the hell would it be capable of emitting radiation strong enough to damage your brain? You've had hundreds of X-rays, and that huge machine never damaged your brain to kill you instantly (at least not yet). So, how can your tiny cell phone battery do me this great favour? Also, the GSM standard is clearly documented, and it doesnt matter what number a call comes from, the same protocol is followed. It's downright impossible.
Grow up, people! Bullshit like forward it to everyone you know, care about, love, $1.00 for everyone you forward this email to, 10 copies kara kay distribute karain warna aap ko nuqsan ho ga, it's all nothing but bullshit. Grow up!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Men, women and violence

I've been seeing some activity on campus regarding "men for end of violence against women." We've also seen plenty of similar activity around "empowerment" of women by the government on miscellaneous platforms. I personally think that the latter is to win favor of the women half of the population for the next election. But that aside, let's get to the point.
Violence against women by men is wrong and I'm not for it at any level. It is wrong and shouldnt happen. However, most of the problems for women are created by women, not men. Often, one would find a feminine hand behind violence committed by men. But let's let that go. Every day I see women on the street and the way they look at other women is characteristics of criticism and jealousy. When you talk to them or they talk to each other, the same attitude is evident. When at home, they are jealous of each other and create problems for each other. At work, they do the same. So, I think, talking of violence against women by men is just a way to hide from the skeleton in the cupboard. Shouldnt women face the other reality and get their own act together? After that, by all means, come and kick us men, too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bangladesh vs South Africa

Bravo! If you wanna change the second half of that game, and change the result, I'd still praise Bangladesh's side for the great job that they did of reaching 251 for 8 wickets. Most teams couldnt even bat out the 50 overs, but these guys not only did that, they scored a marvelous total. What's more, they beat the competition really badly. Good job guys. I wish you'd win the cup, too, I truly do.
Of the England vs Sri Lanka game, even though England lost, I want to praise England. Especially Ravi and Nixon. They fought like men. Bravo! It doesnt matter that you lost. You played extremely well.

Wasim Akram

Well, the other day, I was thinking, and I decided that I havent seen any bowler of the calliber of Wasim Akram. Others came with a bang, Waqar Younis for instance, but gradually reduced in effectiveness. This guy, Wasim Akram, on the other hand, matured and matured and never stopped improving. He would run five steps and still bowl as fast as he wanted to, and the bowl would whizzzz past a dazzled Sachin Tendulkar's nose on a day when Sachin would be in prime form. Truly a great bowler.
I've seen captains, but I havent seen better than Imran Khan. He was a true leader, a firm believer. The team that he led to a world cup victory was probably the worst team Pakistan ever took to any world cup tournaments. I mean, look at it, Ramiz Raja in his last few days not batting too well at all, Javed Miandad not what he once was (though still was pretty effective and key), Wasim Akram, the top bowler in really poor form, Inzamam failing every time, and he still led them to beat Australia in Australia and win the cup. When I look at the match reports now, I say to myself, there's no way this team could make it to the semi finals even, and it had actually won. A guy who walks into the dressing room to a gloomy team and tells them that he's not telling them that they'd win the league match on that day, but that they'll win the world cup, which they eventually did.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What to do now?

OK, enough has been said about this already by plenty of people. It seems vogue to criticize after defeat, but here's my two cents.
We've said and re-said that Pakistan's cricket team is unpredictable for plenty of years. We know why! We know that the batsmen cant stand fast wickets where the ball bounces and seams. Yet nothing has been done about it. And if Aqib Javed was right in one of his TV reviews lately, then use of Gray's ball, which allegedly doesnt wear out, in the domestic cricket scene is spoiling even our strenght, the fast bowling.
OK, we went in with a weak bowling attack into the world cup, missing our top two pacemen. But did Ireland have a better bowling attack? Yikes, that hurt!
Inzee bhai, media everywhere does the same thing. They criticize when you play bad. That's the truth, and they say it. I mean, come on, except for Shoaib Malik, who delivered consistently? That's been the scene for quite some time. Sure, no one pointed it out earlier on, but that doesnt mean they are wrong now. They were wrong before, but you saw it, others saw it, and didnt react. I think they shouldnt have dropped kamran butt from the side like they did a long time ago. I think he had plenty of promise.
I mean, come on, my eldest brother played club cricket for a few months in Karachi, and I knew that his coach punished people if the ball didnt go all along the ground when they were batting. I saw that his foot landed next to his bat where the ball pitched without exception. If they teach that in club cricket, then beats me as to where the national team players learn their bit.
I think, now, that they should do away with anyone who doesnt have the potential to make it to the next world cup, and start with a fresh team. Start building now, and not only the team, but wickets. The cricket board gets plenty of funding from sponsors, where does it go?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Renewed

I've been renewed as MVP this year. I want to speed up my activities, but I am tied up with increasing academic load at the same time. Let's see.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Woolmer no more

I guess he was the only sensitive person on the plane leaving from Pakistan to West Indies. It appears that he did what the others should (more importantly) have done. Several people criticized him, but I always though that he was a good coach.

Microsoft IT Community Day

On Friday, March 16, 2007. Microsoft Pakistan held Microsoft IT Community Day at GCU Lahore. The main objective was to build a synergy amongst the various Microsoft communities. Another objective was to help the particants of Imagine Cup 2007 to compete more effectively by telling them about the tools and techniques available.
Being an MVP I was requested to give a welcome address at the occassion, and I happily did that. One of the speakers reported a couple of days before the event that he'd have a night duty at the office and might be unable to deliver his presentation. So, I was requested to do it in his place. I agreed.
It wouldnt look good, though, to see too much of me on the stage, so alternate arrangements were made. Unfortunately, the backup speaker couldnt make it either due to late night at the office, so I was requested at the last minute to do the session. I noticed that the only other speaker who was present was delivering a session on SOA using Web Services. The session I was supposed to backup for was on Web Services, too. So, I decided to make late breaking adjustments and delivered a session on Windows Vista, XAML and WPF instead.
We started more than an hour late due to late arrival of the coaster from Islamabad which was bringing some Imagine Cup 2007 participants and the other speaker. I made a quick welcome address, invited the Dean Faculty of Sciences to the stage for a few quick words. Followed by that, I delivered a very quick presentation on Imagine Cup 2007 so that we finished in time for juma prayers.
After the prayers, Rizwan Ahmed delivered a session on SOA, followed by my own on Windows Vista, XAML and WPF. Vaqar Khamisani from Microsoft Pakistan was there close to the end of my presentaiton and had a few quick words with the participants. This was followed by lunch and departure to the Bowling Alley at Fortress Stadium. I followed in my car but before reaching the Alley, I had to divert because I had to go to LUMS.
In the end, it all worked out, OK. I helped bring a delayed event back on schedule. I gave out some giveaways to the audience and joked with them to ease them out a little. Overall, they had been very quiet all day.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What's up!

Lots of things happening. Pretty busy for a long time. One quarter ended, another one about to start. Tough courses ahead. Conference deadline also fast approaching and need to work on a paper to submit to it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The day

Kal mulk bhar main lakhon farzandanay tauheed nay well-in-time-day/laaltain-day manaya. Is moqay per tamam chotee baree masajid main khusoosi duain mangee gaain. Is moqay per sadr-e-mumlikat nay qom k naam apnay khusoosee paigham main kaha kay Pakistan key jarhain well-in-time-day or basant mananay say or mazboot hon gee, lihaza hamain chahiyay k burh churh ker is naik kam main hissa lain. Is moqay per sadr-e-mumlikat nay apnee beshumar well-in-times ko gulab k phool bhaijay.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Critique

On comments made by anonymous in an earlier email:
thanks for the wish
if by standing and delivering you meant to ACTUALLY brought a change, I would like to know what you have delivered ..
No disucssion here. Neither you, nor I am a judge to this. Time will only tell.
i guess in order to deliver you need to stand-up and lead from the front, sorry for personal comments but ....
for how many times you were in the class ON-TIME for lectures
Zero. I was never on time. I was always late and always left earlier than the scheduled finish time.
how can you talk about bringing a change when you DID NOT EVEN CHANGE the few ROTED questions during viva
No I didnt change the questions.
talk about change, and I would like to know what changes had you made to the style of examination paper (asking for chunks from your notes)...
No, I didnt change that either.
i would like to know what you had delivered, and if you do not have the moral courage to face criticism and are eager to delete comments BECAUSE I DO NOT KNOW THE CIRCUMSTANCES , I wish you stop criticizing others as well because similar can be said for you as well
Yes, you're right. Me and my friend are both crooks. I was never on time, and didnt change anything that you mentioned. My friend is a greedy person who ceased the opportunity to earn some big bucks when he couldnt find anything to earn here in Pakistan anymore. You're right, we're both crooks who just talk about righteousness and dont practice it.
At least I changed one thing. I gave guys like you the ability and opportunity to criticize me, so yea, sure, go ahead and do it.

I would, however, like to mention a few things. Changing the examination style is beyond my control, and delivering involves doing whatever is in your power. I tried to do that. I guess a guy who got out for a duck is better than a guy who didnt show up for the games because he thought the game was lost before it was played. Sure, the ducker will be criticized, but this little ducker is happy that he did what he possibly could.
It makes me wish, though, that I should've been selfish, too. All those times when I was late to class because some ex-student was there, off from his job for an hour, to seek a recommendation letter, pleading that it had to be done right then, I should've refused then and there. And that department gardener and electrician who would catch me all the time, going to class to plead their cases of possible bonuses or other opprotunities to augment their otherwise meager salaries to support their poor families, I should've told them to shut up and talk to them later. I always thought, people dont understand when I say I have a class to take. I should've disregarded their not understanding, and been off with them nonetheless.
As for exams, there's no argument, that given the greater experience that I had than my students, I could've beaten them with challenging questions any day, just like my teachers did, for the sake of satisfaction to see them do poorly. But I dont believe that there's a point in doing that, we're not equals. It's a tricky bit, I'd get criticized if I ask tough questions, and I'd get criticized if I ask easy ones.
That said, what you've said is right, and as said earlier, I accept it all. Dont forget to write once you've brought some cool changes to your surroundings, because I will truly be pleased to see that, and not jealous, only inspired. Doesnt matter where good comes from. It should keep coming. It didnt come from me, there's an opportunity from everyone else. With that, I hope that with my confession, this discussion would be over, unless, of course, you want to deliver a sentence, too, which I'll have to serve since I have made the confession. The other entry was supposed to be from a friend to another friend. It got taken into an entirely other, unfortunate dimension.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

One less number in my phone book

In a couple of days, I'll be deleting a number from my cell phone's phone book, with a heavy heart. There'll be one less number of dial once in a while. One less number to receive calls from. One less pleasant face to see. There'll be another friend gone away. I dont even know if I'd be able to delete that number. It's tough, I can feel it. My trustworthy friend, one with whom I gave sweat and blood to the cause of INETA, one with whom I shared thoughts in social and technical issues, one with whom I shared my car, one who shared his car with me quite often, one for whom I always made time despite busy schedules, is going abroad. Adnan, adios, my dear friend.
Our hopes and dreams of doing a .NET session together one last time for sake of old times didnt materialize, alas. Maybe we'll be able to do that in the future. Maybe I'll see you sometime when I am at some conference in the US or you are at a conference in Pakistan as an honourable visiting speaker, or on a land where we're both foreign visitors.
I hope that you have a pleasant flight all the way to the US. I hope that you have a pleasant walk through the airports, a pleasant drive to your new home, exciting wonderful assignments on your new job and that life treats you well. I wish you would make great friends there. May all the thorns in all your paths vanish.
Keep smiling my friend! I will try to do the same, even though it'll be difficult knowing that you're not closeby anymore.

Hummer at bhatta chowk

Talk about seeing a Hummer at a location like Bhatta Chowk in Lahore. Well, here's a photograph of what was seen, if you dont know what I am talking about.

The location photograph is not there, but it's a pretty low area. The only reason I saw it there, perhaps is that it is between DHA Lahore and the Lahore Airport, so the owener or his dirver was going to the airport from his DHA residence, perhaps.
This piece of steel, rubber, glass and plastic costs about US$54000.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New girl in town


Yea, he's happy to have become a big brother, for sure and she's my niece, born Jan 17, 2007.