Archive for November, 2008

Know Your Speed

Many a times when I am driving I do not realise that I have gone a notch (ok several notches) up the speed limit. As soon as I realise this (or see the Islamabad Traffic Police sitting at a distance with their speed detection gadgetry) I step on the brakes a little to slow myself down. At times like these I wish for a programmable speedometer that would yell whenever I would break the speed limits. I will have to keep wishing till such a thing is invented and I get my hands on it.

Till that time I am amusing myself with the speed detection meters installed on the 7th Avenue. People who travel on that road must have seen the elevated detectors that tell your speed when you pass by them (you have to be in the right most row to get full benefits of the detector).

When I am driving, I usually take that lane and jump with joy as soon as ‘my’ speed is glorified (displayed on the board that is). My father likes to drive in the centre lane. Everyday when we are heading home at night from work and passing through 7th Avenue, I literally force him to switch to the fast lane well in time for the detector to detect our speed. It is so much fun to see the glowing numbers change on the board! Yuppie! I hope others also enjoy this small ‘treat’ as much as I do.

I would also like to make a note here that speed limits are made for our safety as well as the safety of others. So no matter how compelled we are to break it and speed away, we should try to restrain ourselves. We should at least care for the life and safety of others if not our own.

Happy driving and detecting your speed on 7th Avenue you all! :-)

Matrimony and lights

With the arrival of winters comes the arrival of the “much awaited” wedding season. People get married, people dance, the dulha-dulhan connections are made, relatives get to make new clothes, hotels and marriage halls welcome people with open arms. Loads of food also happens get thrown away (this is another blog post in itself). But although the “important” factors of weddings have already been mentioned, certain “little” things never really catch our eye. Take the “kum kumas” for instance. They illuminate houses so people walking from far can say ” oye, aithay koi shadi horee hei?”. But like I said, they are categorized into “minor expenses”. Today I happened to talk to one kum kumay walay bhai as he was putting up the lights on our house (the landlords son is getting married). And as EASY as it may SEEM. It took him 3 1/2 hours to get the job done. And in that meanwhile, I got to see for myself how these people make a living. It’s hard sitting in the dark with a torch in your hand in the chilly winter getting lights to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Irfan bhai at work)

 

Meet Irfan bhai. He’s been doing this for the past 3 years before which he was employed in a company which had a lot of contract work at the Parliament house. He pretty much had an opinion on everything. The army, Musharraf, Zardari, Khanay walay log, corrupt police walay, corrupt judge, the weather, movies, religion. It was a treat talking to this person. I always stress on the fact that if we want to “evaluate” democracy we need to go down the heirarchy, not up it. We need to look at the common man, not the minister of finance or the minister of pretty much nothing (the pace at which ministers are being recruited, we might have one for pretty much nothing soon). This guy, he was actually happy with the rozi he made, though it IS natural human nature to want more, but here is something that made me smile he said:-

ameer insaan kay paas paisay hotay hein, itnay ilaaj karata hei, phir bhee takleef mein hota hei, ghareeb insaan mar to jaldi jata hei kiyun jee?”

It was interesting, and the end product was amazing. This guy knew what he was doing. Street smart person did everything from connecting circuits to alternating the current to making proper connections. Things that we used to study in physics. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Exhibit A)

 

My point in writing this was firstly to appreciate the hard work these people do, and secondly to promote Irfan bhai. His shops in Peshawar more, so if you guys want some Kum kumification done at your place, look him up. He left, and I don’t know if i’ll see him for quite some time now but before he left he asked me :-

“Bhai decoration fit hei na?”

Such simplicity. very inspiring =)

Usability: CEOs speak

Quite some time since the technology sector in Islamabad witnessed some events like Startup Insiders. Worry not. A similar interactive-session on the newest hype in software industry … Usability is here.

If it describes your sufferings … probably you wantto know what CEOs of Islamabad are saying ;-)

Green & White tells more:

“Usability – Why should you care?” is the theme of a unique, interactive event similar to the Startup Insiders ones of old that Zigron and Green & White are holding at NUST this Tuesday, Dec 2, 2008 from 5pm to 8pm.

The importance of having user experience design skills are being felt by companies in the entire industry today as they see the world evolve and explode into an abundance of software systems.

There are a number of IT companies within Islamabad who are already transitioning their processes and teams into a usability-focused disciplines, whose products are valued and heralded because of their attention to HCI, and whose teams must be a deep mix of fantastic engineers who also happen to have great aesthetic taste.

Who is coming?

  • Haris Khan, CEO, Zigron, makers of daremycompany.com and pingmycompany.com – their firm differentiates their services on usability
  • Osama A. Hashmi, CEO, CDF Software and founder of Green&White – their product has been largely lauded for its uniquely usable way of solving an age-old problem
  • Babar Khan – Country Manager, iKonami – ikonami’s flagship product “AT-Work” is the worlds largest single SAAS installation at the worlds fourth largest employer, and the company promotes the idea of “Common Sense Usability”
  • Kubair Shirazee, CEO, iKonami
  • Atif Mumtaz, co-founder, or Faisal Chohan, CEO Brightspyre – their products were accepted by the biggest blogs in the world and praised for their simplicity of use in comparison to competitors.
  • Faizan Buzdar, CEO, ScrybeLook at this – enough said.
  • Murad Akhtar, CEO, TinTash – their company focuses on casual game development
  • Dr. Khalid Latif, Assistant Professor, NUST – His PhD and research focus is on semantic web and focuses on usability within his advanced courses at NUST.

What More:

Yup … they are screening HELVETICA too. As if you want to miss it now !

Register:

Yourself now. Visit Zigron’s web-presence for details.

ps: Thanks to Osama for writing it so well at his blog that I had to do not much ;-)

Guess what?

They are coming … ;)

the season is arriving ....

Waiting to go to Bakra mandi :o)

Image Courtesy: Daily Aajkal

The Colonels Atrium

 

 (The Colonels atrium, the only good thing about KFC, atleast to me)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure all of you have had the “good” fortune of going to KFC. Well I won’t call myself a huge fan because the year before the last after an awful “all you can eat” episode, I vowed never to go there again. Sadly today, I had to go for some reason BUT something totally caught my eye. Yes, the atrium. I was like hmm, let’s go see what it is, and it’s peaceful, it’s green, it’s nicely made, and I liked it. Not saying I loved the food, because zingers are too weird, and the chicken is weird-er and I can get better fries from the Afghani chips walas. But this atrium was gorgeous. So in came my “metro-blogging instinct” and I snapped a few. 

My advice and KFC lovers please don’t kill me (^_^), get a double shami from munchies and get a coke and go sit here and enjoy the meal. Totally worth it. KFC may be huge as a brand name, that I am NOT denying, but to uphold a brand, customer services need to be top notch, and sadly, the F-6 KFC is the exact opposite of good customer services because of the following reasons:-

1) The counter people DONOT know how to operate a credit card.
2) The order to getting the order time lag is usually high. 
3) The food is awful.
4) The food is awful.
5) Did I mention, the food IS AWFUL 

Disclaimer : No chickens were harmed during the process of writing this. And this piece reflects the authors personal preferences, so if anyone wants to shoot/kill/hit/beat me. Appointments would be encouraged :)

Tree-t me nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hello, I am an ordinary tree. You use me to put up banners, you sit in my shade, you throw banana peels all around me but I don’t complain. You use knives to cut me, so your lover can come see and be “oh so happy”. You pick up stones and throw them at me so your aim can be perfect. But I never say a thing. I protect you from the sun, I take all dust on me so you don’t get any nasal infections. I am green, green means peace, I am peace.

“Yet when you feel the need, you cut me, turn me into furniture and sit on me. Yet when you feel the need you cut off my leaves and there I am, standing stark naked, but you don’t see that do you?. You never think twice that I live, I breathe, and I feel. Fine I know my folks were cut because they were old, but hey, don’t burn me to feel warm. Don’t cut me for the sake of making a road to facilitate some important persons security. Don’t cut me and throw me away. I am me. TREE-T ME NICELY”

 

Save the trees, SAVE THE PEACE, SAVE THE GREEN, SAVE IT….

Let the Beautification Remain Beautiful

Just when I was still admiring the lovely shot of the Kulsoom Chowk clock by Sohail Akhar, posted by A for [pine]Apple in her post Autumn Time (and was still secretly visiting the post to look at the picture again and again) it happened. The beauty of the whole scene was ruined by nothing other than an advertisement of ‘Ittehad Steel’. *sob sob* :’(

Kulsoom Chowk Clock (Now Branded with an Ad)

Kulsoom Chowk Clock (Now Branded with an Ad)

No complaints to them, as they must be paying loads of money for the advertisement. But I did feel flabbergasted on seeing this spectacle. I just wondered, can we let any of the beautification remain beautiful?

Art and Activism: NO to Violence

Nomad Gallery & UNIFEM-Pakistan cordially invite you to the opening reception of

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence


November 25th – December 10, 2008

Exhibition of Graphics and Photography by: K. B. Abro & Altamash Kamal

Ms Kishwar Naheed, eminent poet and activist will inaugurate the exhibition on November 25 at 5.00 pm. (sorry for delayed post :))

Venue:

Nomad Gallery
House#22, Justice Abdul Rashid Road, F/6/1, Islamabad Tel: 0512273725
Email: anhyat@hotmail.com
www.nomadartgallery.net


Seek peace, wherever you go

 

 

 

(5 seconds worth of traffic from the SKANS roof)

 

 

 

 

I just happened to buy the album “elements” by Abbas Premji, a virtuoso guitar player from Pakistan today. There’s this one song in it called “seek peace”. I took this picture a while back, and this song, and this picture go hand in hand. The song, is BEAUTIFUL. “Seek peace, wherever you go. Extinguish your desire to avenge” is taken from a Sermon by Hazrat Ali (Karam Allah wajhu).

This song, this picture, this life, this city. It’s all coming back. The times when we were naive. Kids so to speak. Playing cricket in the street, being yelled at by mom. Sneaking out when Qari Sahab used to come to go eat ice cream. Going on a family journey to Abbotabad. It’s nostalgic. And it’s peace, wherever it is :)

 

Seek Peace by Abbas Premji

Winter Nights

Just thought to jump on the Islamabad the Beautiful bandwagon and post something (so much for originality). I think I have always been a winter sort of a guy, though short in span but I’m loving the Islamabad winters for the past 20 years here ( no dear I’m not 20 ). Islamabad, with the Margalla backdrop always has been a marvel. But what I really love are the simplest things looking amazing in the cold winter nights. In other cities I don’t think you can really have a nice view just for yourself, but Islamabad nights just give you that.

So packed up my tool kit and got some HDR’s from my place :) Hit the jump for a couple of more pictures.

 

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