Monday, August 30, 2004

Video Conference Systems for the Judiciary in Pak

Here is an interesting article that suggests how a video conference system can improve the judiciary process in Pakistan.

IT minister or crooks?

the Daily Times reports: "Member of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Kashmala Tariq alleged that Punjab Minister for Information Technology (IT) Abdul Aleem Khan was involved in land grabbing for his Park View Housing Society."

PML Website Launched

When you read this press release you get the impression that something really flashy awaits at the PML site. However on reaching there you get to know that none of the PML members at the site have their profiles listed there-infact on opening the profile section the Pakistani flag is found fluttering there instead.The headlines in the current affairs section are in an annoyingly very large font of size 30 plus. This lousy site is actually supposed to give a 'modern' look to the PML, according to the Party's mouthpiece Mushahid Hussain.

ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain Saturday inaugurated the Website of Pakistan Muslim League that contains the 98-years history record of the PML."

Ericsson pulls the plug on bluetooth devices

Just the production, not affecting support.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

DAP is a pest!!!

Be warned.

There was something fishy going on as one of the systems I was working on went bizarre and both online and Norton AV scan came up with nothing.

However an online scan for pests from www.pestscan.com detected Download Accelerator Plus (DAP) as the culprit, even after uninstalling it from the system! Spybot –S&D was able to take care of it.

Read more about it and what it does at:
http://pestpatrol.com/pestinfo/D/Download_Accelerator_Plus.asp

I suggest Meta Express Download Manager (www.metaproducts.com/), its small, fast and to the point.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Next Six Big Ideas

Yahoo! and Forbes.com outline the next six great ideas for Internet technology in this article. None of the ideas are brand new -- they've been around for a while. But I'm guessing that some of these ideas will take off in the next few years. My money is on "Voice Over The Internet".

Anyone care to counter?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Pakistan 'Type' open source community

Thanks to Irfan K for pointing this one out. More from his email: "Other than Nafees Nastaleeq font of CRULP, other decorative Urdu unicode fonts are available here.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

InfoThelas in India

No more Walls-Ice-Cream-wala with the famous jingle outside your house. "InfoThelas" are taking over in India. Conceived at none other than IIT, CNN reports in this article that "it aims to use technology to improve education, health care and access to agricultural information in India's villages, where most of the country's 1.06 billion people live."

Instead of investing in IT Parks, maybe the government should invest in InfoThelas?

Monday, August 23, 2004

1.8 Billion Rupees Only!!!

The daily times reports that: "The state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited %28PTCL%29 has hired a Chinese firm to computerise its billing and customer care operations at the cost of Rs 1.8 billion. Officials at the company said the Chinese firm %97 ZTE Technologies %96 will be responsible to automate the whole system within 18 months and complete the task in accordance with international telecom standards."

Cheaper Bandwidth Rates For Pern Universities

According to this report: "Higher Education Commission has negotiated a special package with National Telecommunication Corporation %28NTC%29 and Pakistan Telecommunication Company %28PTCL%29 for provision of broadband internet services to Pakistan Educational Research Network %28PERN%29 connected universities. %0D%0AUnder this new arrangement universities connected with PERN will get at least 2MB of international bandwidth at the rate of US%24 2500 per month"

Urdu email without sign up hassles

From Spider's marketing whizz Mir Abbas comes this cool find: Urdu email No need to sign up. Just type it out and send away. It works!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Argo, Argonauts and IT Projects

Once upon a time, there lived a Jason, son of King Aeson of Lolcus.

Before Jason was born, King Aeson’s half brother Pelias, overthrew Jason’s father. When Jason was full-grown he returned to Lolcus to regain the thrown. Pelias agreed to give up the thrown if Jason brought back the Golden Fleece from the kingdom of Colchis. Jason asked Argus, a master shipbuilder, to build him a great ship with fifty oars. Then he sent envoys to every palace in Greece, asking for volunteers to help capture the Golden Fleece. The ship was called Argo, and the fifty volunteers, the Argonauts.

What has Argo, Argonauts have to do with IT project management, find out in CIPS across CANADA Summer 2004 issue (that will be online any time now).

Post Amazers work on the new Exorcist

Asif Iqbal of Post Amazers has sent in this news: "Post Amazers did visual effects for a hollywood block buster releasing today across united states 'Exorcist the begining'.This i think is historical as the first ever pakistan company to work for Hollywood, we are also finishing few shots on another blockbuster, I will give you details once it will be released."

Eight names from the company appear in the credits, including one of the chief technical designers. Very, very interesting :)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Spectrum Auction Results

Okay. So the final picture of the spectrum auction is now clear. Position of the seventeen companies that ran for the various frequency spectrum blocks in the 14 Telecommunication Regions is as follows:



The good thing to note here is that we have at least five strong contenders for the liberated telecom market besides PTCL. Also, the popularity of the 3.5 GHz band indicates a bright future for Broadband Wireless Access in Pakistan.

Talking about spendings, following is the overall expense that each of the companies have made in terms of the spectrum they have obtained in the auction:



With all the cash in the world at their disposal, the spendings by PTCL seems trivial but for the rest of the three companies, the stakes are defintely high.

It would be exciting to see how these opportunities and challenges are handled by the new telecom operators in the coming days.

Messenger on-the go

Finally a web based MSN messenger. No need to install the client software.

Just the thing I needed to run on my Symbain OS. Great way to keep in touch as long as you have access to the Internet from anywhere on the Earth :)

http://www.e-messenger.net/

Friday, August 20, 2004

South Asia Tribune blocked--again!

Access to South Asia Tribune is blocked once again. Can anyone confirm this?

Telecom Deregulation Process Ends with Spectrum Bidding

Spectrum bidding was concluded with the highest offers being shouted for KTR (Karachi Telecommunication Region) where PTCL gave the highest bid of 1.2 billion for the 1.9 GHz band. The bid was matched by Telecard & DV Com to get the two remaining blocks in the same frequency.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

PTA Site Inaccessible

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority website is down for the straight forth day. Seems like they need some good advice on how to run a reliable website. However, since National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), the entity responsible for providing such services to PTA has troubles with its own site, this indicates some bigger outage. A large number of interested people must be hitting the URL of the PTA website in order to get the latest on the spectrum auction results just to find that the main source of this information has a malfunctioning website.

Let us just hope that the idea of having a state-of-the-art data center for such (and other governmental requirements) catches on which will separate the administration of such websites from the respective departments and puts it in the hands of dedicated professionals.

Till then, HTTP Error 404.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Something's fishy on Yahoo!

Nauman Afzal, our open source writer, sends this warning for Yahoo! users. "I just received an e-mail from someone claiming to be from Yahoo Administration. On close observation, I found it to be a phishy email as it required me to follow a link and enter my username and password in order to reconfirm that I will be using this account in future. If I entered those details, it will be captured! The pretext given was that since Yahoo! has upgraded to 100 MB and a lot of accounts are lying dormant therefore, a reconfirmation is required. How did I find out that this was a "phishing" attempt? Well I guess Peter Lavin was kind enough to warn us about this menace (many thanks to him) simply because the link address was: http://yahooadmin.8m.com/yahoopage.html Anyone with a little knowledge of the Web would ask “Why would yahoo use 8m to host its own webpage?" I just want to share this with everyone and warn them to be careful in case they receive a similar mail."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

New look

Nice new look. Blog really seems to be moving and growing with time.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Guess what percentage of our GDP is spent on IT?

At present: ", a little over 5 per cent of Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP) consists of the services sector out of which 2.5 per cent is the financial services sector, while 3 per cent is the information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector. To measure how far Pakistan has to travel as a comparison benchmark, it must be understood that USA's ICT Sector alone is over 50 per cent of that country's GDP. "

Friday, August 13, 2004

Teledensity in Pakistan?

Local discounted call provider: "REDtone International Bhd said it has been awarded a long distance and international licence from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the first such licence for the group since its listing on Mesdaq in January.
With the licence, valid for 20 years, REDtone (www.redtone.com) will be able to offer voice telephone, data and IT services in Pakistan, the company said in a press statement today.
REDtone said the country has tremendous potential, with a teledensity penetration of only 3% and a population of 150 million. " Doesn't the Ministy of IT&T claim a much higher tele-denisty in Pakistan than the one as claimed by REDtone? Would anyone know the teledenisty in pk according to government figures? Tee Emm?

Spectrum Auction Results Start Pouring In

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has started putting up the results of the on-going Frequency Spectrum Auction Results on its website.

World Call and Telecard are the only two companies besides PTCL that are actively bidding in the juicy 1.9 GHz Frequency which is used in the Wireless Local Loop for voice services. Results so far show that four companies that are actively bidding (and winning) the auctions in the four Telecom Regions for which the bidding has taken place so far have placed Rs 3,582 million in the bag of PTA. Winning price (for each of the party, at each of the region) is as follows:

GTR: 295m (TCL/PTC/WC)LTR: 353m (PTC/WC/DVC)CTR: 121m (PTC/WC/DVC)FTR: 425m (PTC/TCL/WC)

[TCL: Telecard Limited, PTC: Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd, WC: World Call Limited, DVC: DV Com Limited]

3.5 GHz slots are going relatively cheap but it is good to see that the slot is being actively pursued by the various smaller players such as Internet Service Providers and startup Data Communication providers. This spectrum will play a very important role in furthering the cause of BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) across Pakistan as most WiMax (802.16) systems can use this licensed band to deliver interference free wireless services to large geographical areas.

Auctions for other regions will continue till the third week of August, 2004. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Pakistan's First Wireless Broadband Service

NetSol Technologies, Inc: "a developer of proprietary software applications and provider of information technology services, today announced that its majority-owned subsidiary, NetSol-Akhter, has substantially completed the roll out of it wireless broadband infrastructure in Karachi, Pakistan.
The company plans to offer wireless broadband services for domestic and corporate customers at speeds up to 512KB per second for 1GB of data beginning at Rs. 500 (approximately $8.60 U.S.) per month with a maximum speed of up to 2MBs per second costing Rs. 20,000 (approximately $344.25 U. S.) per month for 32GBs of data. The wireless broadband sector in Pakistan is estimated at over $100 million. "

Just-in: Win 98 Balochi Tutorial

Yahya Noor from the fishing port town of Gwadar has sent Spider a Balochi tutorial of Win98. He says: "I used Macromedia Director to create this tutorial and now I am planning to launch it for Balochi Spoken People, and my next projects include MS-Office XP, Urdu Inpage, Software Troubleshooting and Operating and Software Installation."

Urdu version of Microsoft Windows

Urdu version of Microsoft Windows: "The Urdu version of Microsoft Windows would be introduced in Pakistan soon as a majority of its people have a problem understanding and writing English, said Information Technology Minister Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari. The move was aimed at improving the literacy rate in the country, The News quoted him as saying. According to government statistics, 50-55 per cent of the country's population was literate but only eight per cent of this population could read English. "

Spider Yahoo!Group by a fan

A fan has started a Yahoo!Group for Spider readers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Lifestyle PC

Wired carries a flashy ad for a compact computer case [PC in a cube] which targets fashionable/mobile people. According to the ad, you can carry your pet in it too.

Interestingly, Habib IT has showcased its own line called XC Cube [in red color] at the ITCN Asia. Their website doesn't carry any info on it [checking the price on the phone] so no specs available.

PC Mag carries a useful article on these X boxes. Think Geek has pics.

Give me access or give me death!

No link here, just a comment on how I was in Bahawalpur for two weeks, teaching at Sadiq Public School. Although my students knew what the Internet was, less than 30% of them had access; yet, amusingly enough, approximately 60% of the senior class was taking a course in A-level computer science, studying networking, Flash, HTML and Web design, and of course, C++.

Just found that slightly interesting. Frustrating, since I couldn't check e-mail for a week or so at a stretch, but interesting nonetheless. Any other schools in the country offer computing classes at that level (i.e. in high school)?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Porn is vital to freedom claims Rushdie

Raising yet another controversy: "Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie claims that porn is vital to freedom and supports his argument with statistics about the volume of porn traffic on the internet in Pakistan.

Rushdie argues that a free and civilized society should be judged by its willingness to accept pornography. His views are to be published alongside images of American porn stars in a book called XXX:30 Porn star "

Friday, August 06, 2004

Blogs vs. Discussion forums

Azeem asks: What is the difference between blogs and discussion forums? From all perspectives.

Zunaira says:

- Both involve publishing online.

- Blogs started out as specific to one user who invited comments. Now,
the line between group blogs and discussion forums is blurry.

- The fundamental difference between the two being, blogs are focused on hyperlinking and networking the Internet (as well as the blog world itself) at large. Why is there a market for blogs? Because people want to make sense of the information being thrown at them, edit them according to their preference and rant in cyberspace—without moderators and other 'corporate freaks' who were begining to put a password on every public platform in a supposedly free world (cyberspace).

- Discussion forums are seen as an organized platform. Blogs, despite
their dynamic subject matter and capabilities, are viewed as unorganized, informal and even anti-establishment.

- Interestingly, enough you have given me an idea for an article :)
Thank you! On the other hand, bloggers would say "yea, whatever. we
really don't care where you fit us in. we are here to stay."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Telecard Secures LDI and LL Licenses

Telecard Limited has secured the Long Distance & International (LDI) as well as Local Loop (LL) services license in all the 14 Telecommunication Regions of Pakistan. Telecard would be one of the very companies to come up with an integrated LDI & LL solution for the booming telecom market of Pakistan.

Telecard is installing an IP based Next Generation Network (NGN) using an Alcatel solution across 10 cities of Pakistan.

Earlier, to enhances its CDMA based network, Telecard has already selected Lucent for the deployment of advanced CDMA EVDO based network that provides up to 600 kbps of mobile data connectivity. This network will enable Telecard to offer next generation fixed telephony solutions to the major cities of Pakistan.

Monday, August 02, 2004

VoIP News

Nortel Wins Pakistan VOIP Contract: "Warid Telecom has awarded Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT) (TSX:NT) a four-year frame contract to provide a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) next generation network (NGN) in Pakistan. This highly efficient network will allow Warid to deliver high quality National and International Long Distance under license from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA)."