Friday, October 31, 2003

Those trying to tamper with blog template should look at this as well. It helps

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Dot plea

Came across this while Blogger was experiencing “planned” but without prior notice outage. (You too? I though outages are only for us!)

Mufti Sadar ud Din Azurda was Judge during period of last Mughal King Bahadar Shah Zafar. War of Independence 1857 activists forced every religious leader to sign a decree declaring war as an obligation for Muslims. Any body refusing was put to death. Last of all the religious order was presented before Azurda for his signatures. Every one had written fatwa bil kher (order for good) and signed. Azurda also had to do it and he did it.

After victory in the War, British started punishing those who had been fighting or helping the freedom fighters (British called them mutineers). Azurda was also summoned in the court because he too had signed the decree favouring the War. The signatures on decree are yours,” asked the Judge. “Yes, but the words written on the decree should be scrutinized carefully,” Azurda requested. It was revealed that there was no dot on the words fatwa bil kher making then fatwa bil jabar (meaning order by force). Azurda was quitted on the plea.

Sometime it feels good to read things that are not on the Internet.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

shakir warned me a week back about this. have a look:

"Pakistan's electronic data becomes insecure as Indian company acquires
Flag Telecom"
Imran Ayub writes in today's The News [Business pages]
"KARACHI: An Indian company, Reliance Gateway's acquisition of Flag
Telecom, undersea fibre link provider to which Pakistan subscribes, has
rendered insecure electronic data as it will enable the arch rival to
eavesdrop on the country's communications, Internet service providers

This is followed by Ansar ul Haque's (CyberNet + ISPAK man) comments stating they have requested PTA, PTCL to look into it. What I find interesting is that this dead horse Flag Telecom was pitted as a solution to Pakistan's net connectivity problems by our young minister Awais Laghari when I met him in April. Some thinking!

anyone looking for the link to the excellent article Shirazi mentions, its here:
The Tale of the Promiscuous Software by Katheryn Potterf.
I didnt know about Profit -- this is good! :~)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Ramazan Mubarak to everyone!
Let us pray that this Ramazan brings more blessings and fortunes to all of us!
Happy holy month of Ramzan to every one.

BTW, has any one thought of commonalities between IT and Literature. Oracle e-business magazine Profit in August 2003 issue has published a story entitled ‘The Tale of the Promiscuous Software Application’ drawing technological lessons from ancient philosophers and literary classics to contemporary literature. The writer Katheryn Potterf, Senior editor for Oracle Publishing, PhD in Comparative Literature, starts with Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi (circa fourth century BC) and comes down to Madam Bovary fame French writer Gustave Flaubert.
Like I said, our cable wallas know better and they dont go to MIT ;P

Though seriously, does this mean campuses all over the world [with high speed cable connections] are likely to follow suit? what fun!

Monday, October 27, 2003

Two students from MIT find a loophole in the music copyright legalities, and start streaming music on campus, over cable wires.

With Cable TV at M.I.T., Who Needs Napster?

Sunday, October 26, 2003

As the dust settles, may be we agree here for an exclusive platform for closely knit community; sharing what is found in more obscure corners of the Web, in local Web contents, and also what is not on the Web – over 95 percent of the knowledge still is not. Why consider ‘the 5 percent’ as a whole.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Online Music battle continues...
12-year-old Brianna LaHara and 71-year-old Durwood Pickle were sued by the RIAA about a month ago for sharing music via P2P. They are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, and all because the record industry won't adapt to advances in technology and a changing culture. This is a gross injustice and their plight is a clear indication that the laws are rusty, the landscape is changing, and multi-billion dollar corporations are unwilling to adapt. is a new organization that advocates for the rights of people who use digital technology. Among other things, we believe Congress should legalize P2P music sharing that rewards creators and we are inviting people to join us in this cause. Suing children and grandfathers are real life examples of how technology has moved ahead of the law and we want our representatives in Washington DC to address the problem.

The movement is also supported by the biggest community of online artists - Dig out more!

Or maybe we can have a few suggestions....:)

Here are some things I would like to see in Spider (I have subscribed only in June 2003 so I have no clue if these have already been covered):

Interview with an O’Level/A’Level high achiever: to what extent did they use the Internet for their studies (if they did at all); what do they feel about the Internet as a study guide, did they look up the websites in the syllabus? – Something on those lines to make it relevant to SPIDER. There are quite a few people this year who have received a world-highest distinction – how about getting their numbers from British Council and going about it?

Something on email hoaxes: common email hoaxes, about all those things which will supposedly happen if you do not forward it, where to go and search whether the email is legitimately from Microsoft or AOL (it hardly ever is) and it would be interesting to actually ask some people and print their responses: why do they forward such mails? Do they really believe in them or the threats? Even the webmasters of the websites about email hoaxes can be approached for their opinion. (In fact, I’d like to do this one, if it hasn’t been covered).

This I guess will have to come from an expert in the field. How about a piece of career advice for those looking to join the IT field? Something on how to gauge whether or not one has the aptitude or right attitude to go in this field, pre-requisite subjects, how to choose the area to specialize in (hardware engineering, software designing, website development etc.). How to make the right choice of the IT institution to join, what is the scope of the different fields of specialization, and which are the areas in which our country actually needs experts.
Bull's eye! I agree with nikhat (with all due respect!). I'll only add more to her suggestions - we can actually do some positive work here; I remember Let's Talk Tech magazine from Sir Hatim. It was a pretty good effort until the last couple of months.
1) The one section in SPIDER which I thought always lacked some way was Signals. There's so much happening around and so quickly that it's hard to remember it after a month. That's where this blog can come in.
2) We can run test sections before adding them to the actual print. My 2 cents!
3) Excuse me for being too geek-ish; we can have series of topics and have experts say what they want - i.e. like that Microsoft offering discounts to Government and those all-dead-now Linux initiatives. Anything we couldn't before.
It's just a few...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Zunaira, you brought back so many memories when you sent me the link to this blogsite. I used to have a blog up here that I kept for a month and then never went back to visit (having since moved to desiplanet and put up a regular journal there!). So I copy/pasted my old blog from Nov 2002 (circa London times). Tres excellent.

I find blogging to be at once a therapeutic and cathartic exercise for angst-ridden artists; a space for intellectual exhibitionists to flash themselves; an exercise in community building; a space to build knowledge and share information. So I'll ask you, what's the point of the Spider blog (when it goes public?) -- what is it trying to achieve?

I'll refer you to our fave site -- the guardian -- where they've archived hundreds of personal and work related blogs and they even held the Best British Blog Contest no. 2 recently (or they're about to) as I'm sure you know. So I'd recommend, that if Spider puts up a special blogspot, that you have a number of them themed accordingly e.g. TechBlog (various ones under that); CyberDate (will end up being the most popular); CyberLoveAdvice... basically transferring the various things that you're trying to achieve in the magazine onto the internet, to build up a community of die-hard blogger Spider fans. Maybe even a section on what they'd like to cover (in terms of tech) in upcoming issues. And over time you'll get more ideas from this brainstorm exchange.

Having said that, if this takes off, you'll have to employ someone to read through all of this on a daily basis (or you can set up something maybe whereby certain words get highlighted -- like a search engine -- and you can definitely read those blogs). Then again, you could get die-hard volunteer bloggers who could read through blogs and offer their 10 best suggestions for the month or something. Just shooting arrows here.
Here's the background about the incident I was talking about earlier. There's a fair probability that you would have heard about NR3C, may be not. National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (aka NR3C) is a department of Federal Investigation Authority, formed to curb computer and Internet crimes. It's not until last August that they got first real incident to deal with. Reported in many cities of the country, many Western Union transactions were manipulated and given to the persons with fake identities. Initially four suspects were held and case was over to FIA (NR3C actually, as they had the self-proclaimed expertise (of God knows what!) to deal with such things). Fortunately, the moment the case was reported, I was sitting right in the office of NR3C Project Director in FIA HQ, Islamabad. The investigation (all conducted by conventional means to tell you the truth) revealed more members of the gang from Karachi and Lahore namely, later on. Later, they were remanded and shifted to Islamabad even for investigations. I was just pursuing thing closely just to present the real picture of the situation. Without any offense to anyone related to media/journalism here, everyone was reporting what was told to them by NR3C/FIA. They never had the real taste of the situation. I don't realize off course, why even they were covering these issues. The real atmosphere at the most celebrated department of FIA today is just like any other Gov office you can find in the country. Their motto seems to be "Jesus is coming, look busy!" I can't help but think when we're actually going to take things seriuosly.

NOTE: And I hope nobody has seen Johny English yet! ;)
LOL Zunaira, yeah I was (and still am) waiting for intelligent thoughts to strike before I write something here.
A new CERT in the making...
After the much raved PakCERT and stuff, there's another Computer Emergency Response Team in the making. It is lead by one of the biggest newsmaker in the security field from Pakistan. Well, you guess the name now! Will it provide any better for the current situation? Nobody is sure, not even me. But let's have our fingers crossed once again.

Actually ZeD, this is something you can't find in any newspaper or online news sources -- that's why I've posted it here. You can always expect from me something that is not told anywhere on this planet! ;)

New, notable and hilarious:
NTK says: "HAVEN'T THESE PEOPLE SUFFERED ENOUGH?" to the UN's ICT program in Afghanistan [top most entry].

Also: Amazon's now searching full text of books as reported on Slashdot.

Thanks Azeem. I intend to clean out anything that might look out of place [read: abuse/offensive terminology which doesnt fall under breach of free speech ;) ].

The goal: To create the immediacy I feel Spider lacks. We have a platform and connections with a lot of voices that drown out in the media storm. I've passed invites to a number of people and hoping to see a direction emerge here when relevant observations and news get posted. Its too soon now. Anyone disagree? Please do.

Obviously, relevant snatches will make it to the print version [always looking for content you know ;)].

Dont worry too much about the test phase. I used that phrase so people dont get too intimated -- why are so many people waiting to post "something intelligent" [revealed over email to me] ? Cmon, this is a BLOG!

As-Salaam Alaikum Zunaira,

Nice idea for Spider. Can get some good ideas from this. Not too mention all the 'not so useful' points which will also have to be read and filtered.

What is the eventual goal of this? Will it be linked up to Spider in terms of content passing over to the print version? Assume the goal is also then to open up to the general public? Once we know what this test phase is attempting to test we can then participate accordingly.

Take care.
E-mail is incredible. We've just had a breakthrough in a story we have been mulling over for weeks. I could shout for glee! Good suggestion Salman.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bienvenue. Sabeen has raised an important question, one I was anticipating. Before hammering out a focus for this blog, I'd like everyone to offer their 2 pennys on it. This place can be used to ponder over anything we feel deserves a public hearing. It is a spider forum of sorts so lets keep thinking.

Gosh, that sounds posh. Anyways, we can keep it 'free for all' [members only] until we realise its getting chaotic or narrow it down to defining the boundaries of cyberspace? Lets hear what every one thinks.

Meanwhile, post any rants and raves. Yasir not every one is sitting happy at the cyber crime's unit so we dont hear anything. What is this all about? Mind posting a link to the news story -- as per blog tradition -- mate ;) ?
Zunaira! I never miss a chance to post the link to my blogs:)

This is my personal one: Life is Full of Little Surprises

Daily Dose of Articles
Well ppl let me start. There's an update from my side. I don't know exactly that it would be real good to talk about this here; but let it be. One of the guys, Samir from Karachi, involved in that Western Union fraud has been released. I don't know why or what's going on but just as I was working on some Cyber Crimes stories recently I had to put up with these things. What exactly comes to your mind?
Hello all ...

Spider: just curious about whether you plan to categorise this blog or whether it's a free-for-all ... there's so much to talk about ranging from whether the Internet should be regulated to interface design to hardware/software vendor consipiracies - and a colossally wide world in between ...

Perhaps you just want people to start posting and see how the blog evolves before you make a decision?

Irrespective, blogging platform providers are some of my favorite people these days as they have brought some much needed simplicity back to software offerings. They don't try to do everything and the kitchen sink, which is such a refreshing change from the bloatware that clogs our hard-drives. Content Management for the "rest of us" ...

Cheers and Peace
Sabeen >>
assalam ualaikum everyone!!!
Just the other day a guy was so vocal that you guys still don't have a forum where I can actually pour my thoughts. Good to see some thinking activity afterall. And yes, thanks for the free world story! I missed that earlier.
Great to see you here. If anyone has a blog I can add to the modest bunch of links on the right, send away!
Very welcome idea. Will hear more, soon!
Speaking of grumps, note how the spider website is getting boring - again! okay, my five secs are up.
It sure is a great idea. Why go to Chowk when we have our own right here. Atleast now I know where to turn to when I am being grumpy about my work and need a channel to communicate.
Begin blogging
So I'm rolling the first ball here (after having dreamt about it for a few weeks). Anyone seen WIRED this month? Linus Trovalds is the new age geek, moussed up hair, tux on a t-shirt and hailed as the leader of the 'free world'. All I can say is, it took Wired an aweful lot of time seeing this one. ;)