Saturday, October 30, 2004

Cybernet Home DSL

Cybernet has finally started it's home DSL service.

64K ...Rs 1570 or $26
128K ...Rs 2270 or $37
256K ...Rs 3770 or $62
Setup: Rs. 6500 including installation and modem.

They say this bandwith is shared between 4 users. It is uncapped, I specifically asked them about this. 64K will give 8kbps downloads, 128k 16kbps and 256 32kbps.

I told them I am currently using WorldCall, and why should I switch to Cybernet, he asked me to please not to compare cybernet to Worldcall. He did say Cybernet is a lot faster. About quality of service, he said cybernet will email at least one week before any planned downtime, which is currently only once a year, and will also email if due to ther factors the internet will be slow for a while. They also have 24hr phone support and home support also.

I don't know about the coverage area, but they are giving connections in some parts of Karachi. I am getting one, so will have both WorldCall and Cybernet for 2-3 months (as I've paid WC in advance) so will compare/contrast these two services and post my findings here. My one concern is my phone lines, both of which were not working for 9 straight months, but a few hundred complaints later they finally started working a week back. The bad thing about DSL is that it goes through PTCL, who are not to bothered about noisy or non-working lines. At least with cable the network is in the hands of the provider. Regardless, on Monday (1st Nov) I'm signing up for a 128K DSL connection - will post about the process here. Does anyone know if Supernet or anyone else is also about to start home DSL services? If I sign up to Cybernet and later on want to switch to another (cheaper) dsl provider then will I have to pay the full installation amount again?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Gmail Galore

All gmail users will definitely benefit from this website. It collects news from around the Internet on Gmail. Issues like privacy, new gmail features and their analysis and opinions and editorials on gmail are all discussed in detail. But I don't think all the fuss about privacy will actually put off people hunting around for an invite. Heck, some are even selling gmail invites on Orkut.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tame a Geek?

Here is how to do it

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

India: Broadband, Indo Mail and Open Sky

Last time I heard, Pakistan's broadband policy was to be announced two weeks ago. But what do PR managers for the Minister of IT know, eh? ;~) If you've seen any news confirming anything about the policy, do comment.

Meanwhile, the Indian broadband policy is serious about spreading the 'always-on' bug and getting 'Indo-Mail' back to India. Thanks to my friend Murali for the pointer.

From The Hindu news item of Saturday: "The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will monitor the speed offered by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and consumers can cite the broadband policy and take the ISPs to court if the speed is less than the minimum of 256 kbps. 'There was no broadband and no classification. We were stuck at the dial-up network stage. My feeling is that people using dial-up will migrate to the `always-on' 256 kbps. They are paying Rs. 1,000 per month for low Internet speeds. Our initiatives will bring higher speeds for less than Rs. 500 per month.' The broadband policy has also attempted to cut through red tape. VSAT dish owners can start operations one month after all the documents are submitted for approval."

Friday, October 15, 2004

Google's newest tool!

Google's newest tool is out for beta testin!. Its called Google Desktop. Its like having Google search engine for your local drives. Its a tiny 400kb application which sits in the system tray. Here, google explains it better:

In case somebody is wondering, the indexes are kept at:
/documents and settings/USERNAME/Local Settings/Application Data/Google/Google Desktop

No data from your PC is ever sent to Google! The listing you see on for your local drive is a feature of the desktop tray application. Read the privacy policy for more info.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Blogging to Learn

This is a very interesting paper detailing how blogging can be used in the educational process to enhance learning. Its abstract reads:

"There are claims of over 500,000 blogs published on the Internet. What is a blog and how could it be integrated into pedagogical practices to enhance learning? This paper will introduce the blogging phenomenon and present some options for educators. Some theoretical principles and guidelines for practice will be presented, along with some
further resources for exploring the blog-o-sphere and creating a blog for either personal publishing or to be integrated into pedagogical strategies."

Digital Dialogues

Exploring blogosphere, I came accross this thought for today ....

"When you say you're going online - where exactly are you going???"

Monday, October 11, 2004

Twist in the tale!

If any of you had a chance to use the illegaly leaked MSN 7.0 Beta, than you might have probably degraded to MSN 6.2 by force.

After security vulnerabilities being posted on the Internet and its availability to end-users has prompted MS to postpone its release to testers.

There is no way you will be able to sign-in with it as of now.

Spyware deemed illegal

The US government has passed a bill that would make spyware illegal.

This was long over due considering that most of the spyware/adware... on the Internet originate from US!

Victory at last (or is it?).

Saturday, October 09, 2004

New Google Services

Still under Beta testing (and not officially launched), Google is about to launch two new services.

1. Google Print, which will be simliar to's "Search-Inside-the-Book" feature. This will allow you to perform a Google search on any book that has been indexed by Google (probably many thousands).

2. Google SMS, that will allow you to submit queries to Google via SMS and get your results back within a minute. This is currently only available in the US.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Rich Archives

Young scholars, explore science and humanitarian subjects here. No time wasting clearinghouses

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Local goodies.....

Ata kirmani has developed an Urdu desktop for Windows XP. That is having a start menu in Urdu (left to right), having desktop icon names in Urdu.....

For more details and those interested can contact him at

Yayha Noor has developed an interactive training for Win 98 in Balochi language. He can be contacted at Good for those institutes giving basic computer training to the totally new.

Hats off to both of them for their efforts.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Gmail updates

Gmail has updated. Gmailers using Window 2000, XP or more recent version can download Gmail Notifier. Google could have done a better job. They say more is to come . . .

SMW3 Outage - Monday 11th October 2004

PTCL has informed its customers that there will be an outage of four (4) hours on the SMW-3 submarine optical fiber system on 11th October, 2004 from 0300 hrs to 0700 hrs. The outage, conveyed on 5th October 2004, has been attributed to an emergency repair work that must be carried out.

FLAG customers (another service sold by PTCL) will additionally face an outage on 7th October 2004 from 0300 hrs to 0330 hrs as announced by PTCL.

The last major planned outage was in October 2003 which lasted for days (but luckily, alternate satellite bandwidth was procured and we were saved from a complete blackout). This, however, renews the urge for having more satellite gateways in Pakistan, preferably in the private sector. Commissioning of the SMW-4 cable (which will be an alternate path for International connectivity) would also contribute towards adding to the stability of the system.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Posting on this blog

So far, the number of entries I've deleted from this blog = 1. It was irrelevant to this blog.

The number of comments deleted from this blog = 4 out of which 1 was a mistake.

I respect your point of view and expect you to respect mine. This is the only way to encourage discussion, simply put. If at any point I feel a comment is out of place and aimed at generating a bad vibe towards a person or an organization [including Spider], I will delete it.

ONLY healthy criticsm is welcome. Not all of us will find everything on this blog useful but plenty of us do. As an informed and aware visitor, you are free to say anything sans throw verbal punches at or abuse anyone. Thank you for stopping by.

Donations required....

After the success of SpaceShipOne and winning the US $10 million Ansari X prize, Sir Richard Branson new company Virgin Galactic ventures into a new market of space tourism, registration is open.

Flights expected as early as 2007 will allow you to gaze the stars for about US $200,000 per person (at least we don't need to apply for a visa :P) for a two-hours trip and three days pre-flight training.

Donations accepted, send in your US $1 bank drafts (minimum) to me.

Your favourite Spider Magazine is also in contact with Virgin Galactic for an agreement or sorts to give a complimentary copy to each tourist on-board the trip. Plans also underway to release a few issues of them into space. Going global in style.

Yipee, SPIDER Alien edition ;)

Gates: Microsoft to offer anti-spyware

It's about time. Hope they build it in IE by defualt just like the much need pop-up blocker given to IE 6.2 (XP SP2).

And may be, we might some day hear of Microsoft Anti-Virus 2007.....

Ansari X-Prize Won, Space Travel To Start

News Media around the world, including BBC and CNN, had lead stories about SpaceShipOne's second flight into space this week -- making the team the winner of the $10 million Ansari X-Prize. Even Google's Logo today features SpaceShipOne making contact with aliens.

Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways (and the Virgin Group) has recently set up Virgin Galactic, a company promising flights into space (aboard SpaceShipOne) for $200,000 by the end of the decade!

It is a historic day, indeed.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Clusty searching

I am begining to like looking at search results in clusters. It is far more organized than Google's gazillion pages. You too should give, a brand new search engine from a Carnegie Mellon computer scientist, a spin!

MSN 7.0 Beta on the way....

MS might have released to testers the beta version, by the time you read this.

What's new:
- Contact cards
- New Display Pictures
- Set status before signing-in (appear offline while signing-in).
- MSN Search Bar at the bottom (has been there with YM 6.0)
- Search words within conversation in chat window
- Maybe Avatars and emoticon packs (YM 6.0 ???)

No More Spam

AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Earthlink and Comcast have agreed to adopt some technical standards that will significantly reduce the amount of spam emails received. Their plan is to authenticate the sender's email address for bulk emails. Other ISPs will probably follow suit. But the question is, how long before the spammers find a workaround...?