Archive for the ‘Science and Technology’ Category

Intro to Google Business Solutions

About the Presentation/Talk:
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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:
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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:
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Monday, Feb 09, 2009 (6~8pm)

Host/Venue:
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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):
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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:
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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:
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1- CIO Pakistan [ http://ciopakistan.com/ ]
2- Cogilent Solutions [ http://cogilent.com/ ]
3- Brightspyre [ http://brightspyre.com/ ]

Usability – my take, my perspective…

I went to the Usability CEO speak-up session arranged at the brand new, glorious campus of NUST.

First of all – I want to say that I have the exact opposite of a Photographic memory. Infact, the movie memento is based on my life (just kidding), so – don’t take my account of the event too religiously.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

First of all, the attendance of the speakers was not 100 percent.

Osama Hashmi of Green&White fame, Murad Akhtar of TinTash and Atif Mumtaz of Brightspyre did not come.

Frankly, I went because I really wanted to meet Osama as the two technical blogs from Pakistan that I absolutely adore are his Green&White and the Tech Lahore. Obviously there are many others like Mohtashim’s IT blog but the choice of these two blogs is a strictly biased selection totally thrashing any merit of any sort.

Haris Khan, the CEO of Zigron was the host and the moderator of the talk. And like any host of any good talk show, he did a splendid and a marvelous job. He never let the talk go astray in either the pits of boredom or to the heights of excitement. I would say attaboy, well done.

The talk was a well diversified talk show kind of a thing. Babar Khan, the Country Manager of iKonami went on an extra mile to tell how his company invested in making the product they have for hospitals in the Uk easy to use for disabled people. Faizan Buzdar, the dude from Scrybe quite interestingly told of his affiliation with the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway project from his GIKI days and how there were flaws in some areas with regards to usability from a users perspective. He also seemed pretty nostalgic about his days at Elixir when he spoke very high of the Usability practices at Elixir.

That reminds me that most of the audience were the employees of iKonami and Elixir technologies.

Dr. Khalid Latif gave the academic perspective of usability and gave specific examples of functional vs non-functional requirements in usability. He talked about how usability differed in different products. He said that how regression is a more important thing in mission critical systems and how aesthetics are a more important aspect of an entertainment related web site.

An employee from elixir technologies pointed out the fact that how different kind of viewers should be catered to when making color schemes for a web site, like different color combinations that can not be distinguished from each other by color blind people. At that point in time, an employee of iKonami technologies who was in the audience too mentioned the fact that these kind of requirements are specially catered to in the medical support system by them.

Dr. Arshad Sahab, who is a personal mentor of mine since university days very wisely pointed out the paradox that like ethics, it’s extremely difficult for the right kind of people to be found for teaching usability. Since most of the people who are academically qualified to teach such subjects do not practice the concepts themselves. He also pointed out the fact that usability can’t be totally taught right out of text books, it should be an amalgam of textbook stuff with the latest findings and practices that are freshly cooked out of the oven.

The crux of the matter is that albeit it was not totally the kind of a talk I went to attend and Helvetica is definitely not the kind of film I would chose to show in a Usability talk, but nevertheless it was a treat to be there. The event was gourmet material. And was indeed very aesthetically arranged in one of the very beautiful classes of the newly made campus of NUST-SEECS.

The Chinese saying goes like “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step”. And I absolutely loved the amalgam of industry-academia in this talk.

Three cheers to the organizers, the participants and the audience.

I hope such events continue in the future!!!

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‚Äôs 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 ;-)

Watch: Dawn News

Seems like the live streams are going up and down too ….!!

Nevertheless, you can now watch Dawn News Live too.

Happy Watching & Welcome to the New Era !!

Mobile Text Spamming

Mobilnk Jazz has just recently introduced credit sharing facility; inviting spammers (or should i say opportunists)??

Since, Mobilink people are, luckily, not in a habit of spamming their customers with this offer and that offer messages like UFone. Many may not be knowing of this credit offer just introduced.

This morning I got a message from a UFone number (+92-330-6368507) stating;

Mobilink is celebrating his 11th birthday, get Mobilink Gift. Dialing this code *100*923076682451*66# your balance will double.

from www.mobilink.com

Exactly in the same fashion a month or so back, I got this call(telenor number) from a person speaking Punjabi-tinted Urdu. First he narrated some kahani claiming I’ve won a 100,000 Rs lottery. I just have to confirm my SIM number’s last few digits. He’ll call me again to take my whereabouts info. I gave him a cold shoulder; he never called again – the SIM number didn’t match either ;-)

Is PTA taking any steps to shun this activity?? I wonder how many follies fell prey to these gimmicks everyday??

PTCL offers Net Now

PTCL at last offers Phone n’ Net for all …The specifications of this service for all PTCL phone users goes like this:

Presenting phone n net the most convenient landline internet solution that converts your phone into a basic internet connection. Features:

* Direct internet Access
* No scratch card needed
* Balance never finishes
* No Expiry or forced usage
* Don’t have to pay up-front
* Flat rate of Rs. 0.10/min. (conditions apply)
* Code barring to restrict internet access
* Available on all landlines. Currently available in Khi, Lhr, Isb.

Also check out the latest Revised Phone Rates …!

So finally Etisalat’s showing off … steps taking place … hopefully will improve with time.

I must also add here, in past few years, prices of everythin hiked up But at least calling nationally or internationally is not expensive any more. I still remember the days in early 90’s when calling Karachi for 3-6 minutes used to cost from Rs. 70-100 (and those were the days when Rs. 100 had some value).

Happy Surfing, Happy Connecting !!!

Meanwhile Tee Emm on Pakistan’s Next Gen Issues blog has something to say regarding PTCL’s plagiarizing act.
(more…)

Entrepreneur Rises …

WHEN he started his software company, Faizan Buzdar and three friends worked from a spare bedroom in the home of another friend. Their view was inspiring: the lovely house of an entrepreneur who had made a mint from his own start-up. “We would look at it and say we would buy it when we succeeded,” Mr. Buzdar said last week.

We may have read similar tales, again and again, in forwarded emails and various articles. The success stories of Gates and Jobs aspires me and many alike amongst us … around us. But what makes you actually proud? Yes, when you achieve something sound, after reading the success lines of great names, whether it is a step towards major life goal or firmness of faith on thy capabilities. There’s one another thing, we Pakistanis, take pride in. YES, when the mere alphabets P.A.K.I.S.T.A.N get associated with the high fliers of this world – giving an identity to the country and rejuvenating the aims and targets of our youth. Moe Importantly, when the words get into real action.

Faizan Buzdar is the CEO of much heard Scrybe Corporation (Blog), which developed a personal information manager. Nurtured in soil of Islamabad, just recently it has received venture funding from Adobe Systems and L.M.K.R., an information technology services company based in Dubai and Pakistan.

Scrybe might have seemed a long shot to get even this far. Mr. Buzdar, 31, is based in Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, hardly known as a haven for software entrepreneurs. And Scrybe is trying to enter a well-established market dominated by Microsoft Outlook in the business world and by Google, Yahoo and a host of smaller companies on the Web. But Mr. Buzdar’s product, which is also called Scrybe and made its debut in a seven-minute YouTube video in October 2006, has drawn sustained interest. The reasons suggest he has figured out something fundamental about how we want access to schedules and related information.

I hereby finish off, en anticipation to find more and more Pakistani names crossing the threshold of pre-dominant western world. All skills and hard work; success written eternally.

Thanks to New York Times for the post summary. And Arsalan Haleem for suggesting the story.

To puke or to celebrate the achievement…

That is the question.

This post does not have anything to do with Islamabad.

But Now scientists create a sheep that’s 15% human.

Unexpected DRIP

Many Offices in Islamabad faced an unexpected Internet drip for an hour from 12 to 1 pm.

A possible connection with the protests and congregational staging already in progress on Constitution Avenue. You can already witness the Men in Black.

Quality Of Internet Service In The Capital

Internet.bmpDeregulation regime coupled with investment worth billions of rupees notwithstanding, high speed (broadband) internet has failed to earn the same market appeal as has been witnessed in the case of mobile telephony.Slow-speed dial connection still captures predominant size of the market share while the subscribers continue be ripped off due to total absence of customer support, lack of accountability and transparency in the Internet service providers own financial statements.

The poor subscribers have to rely predominantly on the Internet cards ranging from Rs10 to Rs250 or more. With limited and rather slow penetration of wireless local loop phones (WLL), the dependence on low-quality dial-up Internet seems to become a fate of the swelling cyber savvy population of the people. Isn’t it strange that most of us in Islamabad have to still rely on connections over phone lines, which is a primitive method if compared with the rest of developed world. On top of it we also have unreliable services even to the broad band and DSL users due to in efficent policies, methods and procedures adopted by PTCL.

Cost of a broadband connection is around Rs1,000 per month for a volume limited connection but this budget is too much for a middle class family to be spent on Internet.

In a recent interactive workshop on broadband issues, organised by the Ministry of IT&T, the speakers and subscribers severely criticised lack of seriousness of the government to make broadband affordable for masses.

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