Archive for December, 2008

Bhutto Coin?

*screams*

So Quaid’s on a Re. 1 coin and Ms. Bhutto will get a Re.10 one. Yup that’s the news.

BBC reports:

Pakistan is to issue a commemorative coin to mark the first anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The State Bank of Pakistan will issue about 300,000 special 10-rupee (16 US cents) coins.

The coin will read in Urdu, “Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto“.

Ms Bhutto was killed in a suicide bomb and gun attack in Rawalpindi on 27 December last year after an election rally for her Pakistan People’s Party.

The coin will be issued on 27 December, the bank announced.

Ms Bhutto has already had Islamabad’s international airport named after her, along with a hospital in Rawalpindi and a key road.

Argh.

Planting a Tree in Honor of ….

After a deep sleep, valour of Muntazir Zaidi is awakening the Muslim world. It’s time to honour our real heroes who’re not our celebrity leaders but ordinary people like most of us.

Muntazir Zaidi, the Iraqi Journalist by throwing his shoes at Bush, has written a new chapter of courage and resistance in these depressed times.

To pay tributes to Muntazir Zaidi a tree will be planted on his name by the citizens of Islamabad at Car Parking of Savour Foods, Blue Area, Islamabad, 2:00 p.m. (sharp) Thursday, 18 December 2008.

Come one – come all.

Whooops … missed by good 40 minutes :s

The board reflects


(An empty classroom)

What I am about to write is how I look at the education system as a whole. Coming from a Matric to FSC background I have had hands on experience regarding what the education system portrays. I’m going to lay it down over here, the education system does NOT encourage creativity, diversity or anything remotely associated with the word ” unique”. They expect us to cram a few books that have been in the curriculum for as long as anyone can remember and reinact the same exact words in the exams and then get good marks. So to be successful, all you have to do is, take a book, read it from start to finish around 7-8 times, and make sure you write all of it in the exam *a few extra answer sheets ALWAYS help*. So if you write ” This said paragraph depicts apathy” you probably will get say 1/10 and if you write “this paragraph is the poets view written in the text  book” chances are you’d get 8/10.

Such is the difference between someone who uses his mind and someone who just uses it for the sole purpose of learning by heart, a few things, preferably from the “guide books”. Apparent books written by the masters in the field. I don’t know WHY this happens but then again, it’s the system as a whole. A syllabus revision usually consists of :-

1) Change the color of the cover
2) Instead of black and white pictures, use colored ones usually copied from some O-levels or A-levels textbook.
3) Examples with wrong answers (Apparently incorrectly copied off)

And then the education people feel pride that they ” REVISED THE SYLLABUS SO THAT PAKISTAN TOO CAN BE IN THE LINE OF COUNTRIES WORKING TOWARDS PROGRESS“.
If you people have had the chance to see the video for the Pink Floyd song “Another brick in the wall”, there’s a scene in which all the students are lined up on a manufacture tail going inside a chopper and they come out as minced meat. If you openly look at it, unless you work on personal grooming, you end up being just like your class fellows. The same opinions, the same objectives, the same motives, nothing creative. Clones so to speak, robots speaking what they’ve been taught to speak. Speak something else and you get a spark. With an education system that promotes cramming rather than creative thinking, how can we expect to “progress”.

Now I being an ACCA student, see that they encourage creative thinking A LOT. Say, if you have to reduce the cost of a product, what would you do?! Use plastic instead of metal? Instead of an alarm clock just have a clock that displays time. It opens your mind, I’m not saying Accounting is interesting, but the people at ACCA time and time again emphasise on the point that “knowledge should be APPLIED rather than just written”. And that’s the way it should be. People coming from an FSC background have a lot of problems applying knowledge. And I’m not blaming the students, I blame the system. I blame the teachers who shove students down who have a point of view that is different from his or from the book.

We don’t need no education,
We don’t need no thought control,
no dark sarcasm in the classroom,

Hey teacher, leave them kids alone.

(Another brick in the wall- Pink Floyd)

Fall from Grace…

Raza Rumi writes casually but very seriously about Culture, Society, Politics, History and many other topics. He is a great writer.

Sadly, I found this article of his very true, and wanted to share here (without his permission). So am just putting the URL.

Of cool sad evenings

Allah-u-Akbar, originally uploaded by [ I ].

Happiness at the new day
Eyes open from slumber
Bodies made of memories
Of cool sad evenings

Strange medley of feelings
I am light as a bird
In spacious dreams of stone
Serene yet reserved smile
On my face

In the dark’s absurdity
Among snatches of dream
Silence in the dread
We weary of everything
We weary of thinking
Of thinking!

End of June

Input, Output…

Two of the most repetitive action that any human ever does are, well, eating/drinking and you know … excreting.

Well, if you’re into traveling between Lahore and Islamabad through the motorway and are huge fans of cleanliness in eating areas and public toilets, then Sukhekhi is the place for you to stop over on way from Lahore to Islamabad.

Their KFC have the finest zinger in Pakistan (Yes, I HAVE eaten zingers from most of the cities of Pakistan), and their Public toilets are very very neat and clean.

So yes – spread the news!

Odour-e Me!

(Fake perfume Man)

It’s natural human nature to want to feel good. Feel fresh. Hygiene is the word they give it. In the quest to be hygienic a human being uses the help of many a things. Water, soap, face-wash, and last but never the least important thing, perfumes. They apparently come in all shapes and sizes. Some are cheap, some are not.

Here is the tale of a person selling these very perfumes claiming they are “100 % original”. You may come across this table in the picture above if you stroll around the “Gol Market” in Jinnah super and go towards the parking area. Attractive table I tell you. Loads of different colorful bottles, posters, the whole nine-yards. Everything you’d want in a good perfume/fragrance store, right at your disposal. The reason I am writing this is to let all who read know that these perfumes/fragrances, that the seller dude claims as being original, are sadly NOT original. You may find a “daniel hill desire” instead of a “dunhill desire” and be told by the seller that it infact is ” a misprint”. Many people in the quest for cheap fragrances that seemingly look “good” get ripped off here. He will tell you that this is ‘custom ka maal” which some “Pia dude” bought. The story as it stands, is not authentic because he tells one person something else, and one person something else. Cunning salesman. But then again, people would argue “this man needs to make a living too”. But then again, he could tell people they are fake, and earn a living too. He charges 1200 rs for a cologne to one person and for the same cologne, he charges someone 1500. The tricks of being a salesman, look for people who WANT something badly and rip them off as bad as you possibly can. I have passed by this table many times, even stopped to listen to what he tells his customers. But then again, if someone from the PIA brings them in, however he does, i’m sure he tips people off too so that they don’t get caught. I am not aware of the custom repurcussions for bringing in stuff from outside and selling it telling people it’s from the customs but this person right here, this person in the picture, is just a poor salesman who tells people what his cunning senior salesman tells him to say.

So people, the next time you want to buy a “branded” perfume for a loved one or for yourself, in order to save yourself a few hundred rupees, don’t get ripped off and buy stuff from here. It’s fake, it starts to smell weird after a while, and the bottle does break.

Hooray for daniel hill.. ermm dunhill!!! *waves hands*

Sense of Pride

Saw this pic on Duffer’s blog:

(Taxi driver Bilal Mehmood told that a person bought a goat and booked his taxi for going to Islamabad. He was following on his motorbike. At the decided place, the taxi driver couldn’t find the person.  Owner of goat can plz contact at the given number)

And I felt so proud.

He said a loud No to corruption, innit?

Originally the Ad was published in Jang.

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!!!

Islamabad in 2010

A view drafted by CDA … !


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