Archive for the ‘Bloggers’ Category

OMG… Kuch Khaas.

There has been a constant debate over how the critically acclaimed city of the dead is actually living up to its name as far as performing arts (mainly music) are concerned. The overall security situation of the country amongst many numerable reasons contributed to this sad state of affairs. But as they say, all hope is not lost for 2010 saw KUCH KHAAS (A community space for discourse, learning, meaningful entertainment and participation in Islamabad) break into the scene. I recently caught up with the KUCH KHAAS program team to discuss their new venture called Open Mic Gig (OMG).

1) For starters, tell a little bit about the program team at KUCH KHAAS and what it actually does.

The Kuch Khaas Program Team has Program Managers, Assistant Program Managers, Interns and extended Kuch Khaas Family Members. There is a whole lot of collaboration between the team on how to execute various ideas into programs such as events or classes/workshops.

2) How much in your view has KUCH KHAAS affected the arts/music scene in the capital?

Islamabad happens to be a place where previously being self-taught was the norm for most artists and musicians. Kuch Khaas hopes to have instructors who now can impart their knowledge and skill to eager learners. These learners have a relationship with their Instructors and Kuch Khaas, which later becomes a source of confidence for them to show their talent in events such as OMG.

3) You people have various music courses going on, tell a little about them.

We have previously hosted classes and workshops by Singing Instructors, Natasha Ejaz and Ahmed Ali.

Our ongoing classes include:

“Singing Success” instructed by Shahbaz Zaidi which has been one of our longest running classes alongside “Guitar Lessons – Beginners and Intermediates” instructed by Syed Salman Haider Zaidi.

“Classical Vocal Training and Tabla Classes” by Ustaad Umeed Ali Khan, student of Barey Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab, while Ustaad Naimat Ali Khan Sahab accompanies him on tabla have been a great source of inspiration for all of us.

We also have “Percussion Training” with Asfendyar Ahmed. Rawal Shadab Ahmad is our instructor for “Basic Keyboard and Piano Lessons”.

A weekly facilitated drum circle conducted by Ammar Latif also takes place at Kuch Khaas, open to anyone who would like to participate and get together to make music, the purpose of this activity is solely recreational.

4) Do you think KUCH KHAAS caters to particular strata of society or is it inherently universal in its approach?

Kuch Khaas does not prescribe to a formulaic approach in building its community. We are here to mobilize not only the youth but also reaching out to adults in order for them to redefine their notions of everyday life in Islamabad. Kuch Khaas is an idea impacting society physically and theoretically.

5) When did you people decide to hold open mic nights and how has the response been thus far?

The Open Mic Night was to ensure a platform for local enthusiasts and musicians, a gathering that is intimate and casual enough for different genres to come together creating a diverse program for the audiences.

Kuch Khaas hoped to bring together acoustic playing singers, solo acts and local bands. To balance out the night we now ask for submissions a week before the event. These processes lead us to rename the Open Mic Night to Oh My Gig! Or OMG as Kuch Khaas manages the entire program. This does not in any way shape or form mean we dismiss or undermine some talent over the other.

The program each time leads to new realizations for the next OMG. As the Kuch Khaas Team we want to set out an example for local youth to come out and perform not because OMG is an official musical gig but a night to celebrate local talent.

6) A lot of noteworthy musicians have played at this venue; do you think it’s slowly becoming the GEN-Y Civil Junction?

Absolutely not, Kuch Khaas is not catering to solely musicians but multitalented individuals, who have potential and want to perform.

7) Are there any facilities/programs except the Open Mic Gig platform to facilitate budding musicians at KUCH KHAAS?

We now have started Karaoke Nights for those who might just want to sing out loud to their favorite tunes in a relaxed and informal environment. It is not about OMG the event but about the people who go through the experience with us.

8) Why did the chicken cross the road?

To go to Kuch Khaas.

9) Do you people plan on expanding further, if yes, then what avenues are you people looking to explore?

We have an extensive video library in the making of all our previous programs and events. We hope that having an archival process will enable Kuch Khaas to go a step further in delivering constructive dialog beyond its four walls.

10) Any final words of wisdom, messages, dedications or statements?

Kuch Khaas is now coming to a full circle with the completion of its first year in May. A place open to youth and adults alike, bringing forth opportunity and support for a more engaging Islamabad.

 

Photo credits: Zeeshan Jamal/Kuch Khaas

Pakistan’s First Annual Blog Awards

Pakistan Blog Awards

Blogging is becoming a popular medium of expression in Pakistan. In recognition of this fact, Google Pakistan and OIC Pakistan in partnership with Dawn News are organizing Pakistan’s First Annual Blog Awards. The news about annual blog awards was announced in Lahore and Karachi Tweetups 2009 by Mr. Badar Khushnood, Pakistan Country Consultant Google Inc. At present, a website by the name Pakistan Blog Awards is functional where Pakistani bloggers can submit or nominate their blogs under any one of the listed categories. There are three broad categories namely general categories, topic area categories, and arts & letters categories. Each of these categories is further divided into at least nine or more sub-categories. Additionally, rules of game have also been articulated as ‘entry guidelines’. Till to-date, Pakistani bloggers have either nominated / submitted 120 blogs to the first annual blog awards. However, neither the closing date of the competition has been announced yet nor there is any information available regarding the date by which blogs/bloggers for each listed category will be selected and announced as winners. But still, the competition is on. So guys and gals, if you have an active blog and you want to compete then rush and nominate yourself for the blog awards here, here and here…

“Open Frequency” on Dawn News 17th’ Jaunary’10 at 11 pm.

I was recently part of a program conducted by the British High Commission, the British Council and Dawn News called “Open Frequency”. It was an insightful discussion with David Miliband, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom and David Martin, the head of the British Council in Pakistan, and was hosted by the ever charming and gorgeous Saima Mohsin from Dawn News (News Eye anyone?! )..

The panel of students chosen were to ask David Miliband or David Martin questions that concern the youth, even though only ten were present at the moment but it was after the publication of a report by the British Council called “Pakistan.. The next generation” :-

Available Here.

milliband6

The report was published after a concise survey was done all over Pakistan.

The program will air on Dawn News on the 17th of January’10 at 11 pm and will be aired again on the 18th of January’10.

Though I would like to say that this was a good effort on part of the British Council and High Commission, our Government needs to tackle these issues themselves instead of relying on outside parties to do everything for us.


Official Facebook Page for the British High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.


Official Facebook page for Dawn News.

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

Love,
The folks at MBHQ

Bu-Bye (for now)

Anyone up for some barf ;)

Anyone up for some barf ;)

the picture suggests that heat is scorching at the moment in beautiful Islamabad.  And the girl is not so happy about having her ice lolly being shared ;)

Stay cool everyone.

As for me .. this journey at IMB was absolute fun … but I guess its bye-bye time now that I lingered on for some time ;) Will see you when hit Isloo again Inshah Allah .. and the occasional hello hi’s ^_^   2.5 years here were helluva good …  IMB will stay close to my heart  .. yup the drama queen thingy. And IMB gals and guys .. when I come back .. we’ll have a grand meet up :)

Until then ….

Goodbye for now

ps: hoping people are as active to help IDPsof swat, malakand divison and buner as they were during earthquake days.

Intro to Google Business Solutions

About the Presentation/Talk:
==================
NUST SEECS Social Entrepreneurship club (NSEC) is arranging Intro to Google Business Solutions a talk by Badar Khushnood, Google Pakistan Country Consultant and a local Google evangelist.
Although Google is generally known as a web search engine, it has many business products in various categories including internet advertising, communication & publishing, development, geo, search, statistics, etc. The idea behind this talk is to introduce these products to SMEs, corporate & professionals so that they can make the most out of Google business solutions and increase their efficiency & productivity with these cutting edge tools.

Agenda:
=====
5:30 ~ 6:00pm : Registration
6:00 ~ 6:15pm : Prayer Break
6:15 ~ 7:35pm : Presentation / Talk by Badar Khushnood [ http://tinyurl.com/badar-khushnood ]
7:40 ~ 8:00pm : Q&A Session
8:00 ~ 8:30pm : Refreshments

Date/Time:
=======
Monday, Feb 09, 2009 (6~8pm)

Host/Venue:
========
Organized by: NUST SEECS [ http://www.nseecs.edu.pk/ ]
Venue: SEECS Seminar Hall [ http://tinyurl.com/nust-seecs-map ; Login with ur Gmail to see the street map ]

Registration (Mandatory):
================
We have limited seats so please register here:
http://tinyurl.com/google-biz-sol-nust OR
https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cHczM0FDb0plVGFWMkV2TWU2dE13QXc6MA..

Event Page:
=========
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=64845731412

NOTE:
1- Registration will close on Friday, Feb 06 at 3pm
2- Only pre-registered participants will be allowed to enter NUST-SEECS campus
–> (as per university security protocol)
3- Please DO NOT forget to bring your ID card with you

Supporting Bodies:
===========
1- CIO Pakistan [ http://ciopakistan.com/ ]
2- Cogilent Solutions [ http://cogilent.com/ ]
3- Brightspyre [ http://brightspyre.com/ ]

Meet:Greet:Eat

Today i.e the 4th of January’2009 was my first Metblog meetup. It was cold, rainy, but it was fun. Nice people and lots of knowledge going around here and there.

The Food

The Metblog Family



Money, so much Money!!!

Islamabad blogger meetup – my take…

Yesterday’s event was a nice one.

If you don’t know, I’m talking about the Blogger meetup session.

It was live-blogged over here. And it covers the crux of the event, so I will just put in my two cents and my takeaway points.

I don’t remember the names of the people from IEEE Bahria university, but they did a marvelous job handling the event. Three cheers for them.

Badar, the country representative of Google gave a pretty informative introduction to blogging for newbies and introduced how blogging can be used as a means to make both ends meet. He introduced a couple of case-studies from Pakistan which were pretty interesting to hear about. Those including pinkwool.com, sizlopedia.com, paperpk.com and some more.

There were six panelist speakers.

1) Atif from Brightspyre
2) Shehzad from bytesforall
3) Nadir from Naqsha.net
4) Faheem from paperpk.com
5) Saad from Sizlopedia.com
6) Me from right here :)

It was a very inspiring talk.

My take-away point was that all of the people took their passion and gathered the right kind of audience and then made money though it. The way everyone was talking about their projects made an aura in the atmosphere that was pretty much addictive.

Atif from Brightspyre proudly presented the fact that those guys used HR as a SAAS(Software AS A Service), probably the first in the globe to be doing that. And they very successfully are deployed at many clients. Shehzad from Bytesforall was pretty much eloquent about the wrongdoings that have been happening w.r.t the blockage of blogs in Pakistan. Nadir told about how much facilitative their website is, check out their site – you’ll be thrilled.

I was very much excited to hear from Fahim of paperpk.com and Saad from sizlopedia.com, because both of them are earning (masha’Allah) a lot from their online presence through programs like Google adsense.

Google sponsored give-away gifts for the audience and the panelist (Yo, I got a brand-new ferrari-red colored Google mug as well, hehe) Red bull gave away free Red bulls to keep us awake during the session, and Wateen provided the wireless connectivity during the event.

The event was a very entertaining one and more soever, an educative one in a peer-to-peer Socratic kind of a way. As the saying goes that when one teaches, two learn. I was extremely thrilled to meet some bloggers who I probably would never have had the chance to meet if it wasn’t for this beautiful world of blogging.

I hope that such events continue in the future and that by next time we have much more real-time case-studies.

Hey, I almost forgot.

CIO Magazine was one of the organizers as well.

Three cheers for them too.

If I’ve missed up someone, my memory is to be blamed, not my sincerity.

Thanks!

    Update:

there are pics available as well!

Islamabad blogger meetup…

There’s this meet-up planned tomorrow.

Register & Come

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