Monday, March 28, 2005

This is Pakistan

In blog directories {(1), (2), (3), (4) }, services, rankings, we do not see tangible evidence of blogs by Pakistanis. However, during my hunt, I have seen Pakistan blogsphere growing exponentially. Blogging is also not an economic hobbyhorse here yet but one can see some business blogs, sponsored ads at some. Though, English is a predominant language at the Web but look for it and you may find blogs in all languages including Urdu.
Light Within intends compiling a list of blogs by resident and non-resident Pakistanis. This does not imply that these are the best or busiest blogs published by Pakistanis, although in some instances, they might be, nor is the list conclusive. The list is intended to showcase blogs by Pakistanis. Moreover, blog worth attention will be reviewed here.
Leave your blog URL in comments here. Also, add any other Pakistani blog that you might have noticed.

Friday, March 18, 2005

PTCL considering yet another relief package

The PTCL in January this year announced cut in international calls by over 20 percent - a second major relief offered by the state-owned telecom after July 2004.

The PTCL in July 2004 announced a relief package for domestic and commercial consumers including free-of-cost local calls during late night hours, reduced international and domestic tariffs and telephone installation fee and cuts in Internet bandwidth rates and other related services.

Is PTCL running a business or a refugee camp? It's things like these which shows they still just don't get it. At first I thought it was this particular newsreport, but on the PTCL website the words major relief package is plastered all over the place.

For those wondering what the it is that they don't get, it is the fact that all PTCL seems to do is charge till it bleeds and introduce nothing at all till they absolutely have to, and that too only with kicks from the govt. Relief packages!! PTCL has much lower costs than the cellular companies yet they still charge more. Their internet bandwidth costs are criminally high, and they regularly shaft the companies who're using their exhanges for DSL. So now they're going around providing relief - will someone wake them up and tell them the 21st century has been around for a while now? While I'm bashing PTCL, here is a must read rant by Shakir Husain: The customer strikes back:
Today is a brilliant day for me as I get to deprive my (at the time of print ex) cellular service provider of my hard earned money. Ladies and gentlemen, I just voted with my wallet. Mistreated, overcharged, ripped off, treated without an ounce of respect, and utterly exasperated; we, the customers, get to hit back for the first time. I have personally waited for about two years to dump my existing cellular company. For two years I have fumed every month when I've had to pay my ten grand plus to my service provider though I don't know if I can even call it that, because service is hardly what I've got for the past two years.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

XP Starter Edition: Cheap and Poor

Microsoft has launched the XP started edition in India with the Hindi language interface. The XPSE is slated to match the Windows XPPE (the pirated edition).

I wonder when the Pakistan launch will happen? WinXP is about 8000 Pakistani Rs. here, which is just too expensive, especially considering a complete pc with a pirated OS is available for Rs. 20,000.
XP Starter Edition will allow users to execute only three programs at any given time and will display lower resolution graphics. The OS will lack multiple user accounts and home networking options.
...The company is also expects that cheaper software will discourage piracy, where the ratio of unlicensed software is five times greater than that of licensed copies.

Crippled? No networking options? Good luck to MS on this. Cheaper is one thing, but crippled?


An Irish blogger is organizing a Blog Maraton - registered bloggers will have to put up a post every 30 minutes for 26.2 hours. The date is 1st April 2005, which has caused many people to term it as an April Fool's joke. However, since the lady is looking to the Guinness Book of World Records, I have a feeling that this Blogathon is very genuine. Check out the latest at Blog Marathon.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

E-mail scans

Just when one thinks that the government can do nothing more to shock you or make you want to bang your head against the world, especially regarding their decisions for the IT sector, they go around and do something like this.

What does this mean in terms of internet security in Pakistan? Does the government really think that tracking e-mail accounts (and that too for a month) will help solve e-crimes? Dear God, is there no end to this madness?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Yahoo Launches Mobile RSS News Feed

Yahoo Inc. on Thursday launched a service that allows mobile phone users to access news and other information either from the portal's personalized news and information service or from websites that offer RSS content syndication.

How to Access Yahoo RSS feeds on Mobiles :

First navigate to in your phone's WAP 2.0 minibrowser and navigate down to the News link. From there click on My Headlines, log in with your Yahoo! ID and all the RSS headlines that you've added to your My Yahoo! page are listed, ready to be read on the go. Clicking on the individual feed links will let you read a summary of the stories (about 1024 characters, which is actually more than appears on the My Yahoo! Web version) and if you've got a phone which has a browser that supports full HTML web pages, each of the headlines will be live links to the original article.

Source: Link

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Behind the Scenes

Online encyclopedia, Wikipedia has always come to the rescue whenever one needs information on any subject possible. This article pays a tribute to the people who have worked selflessly to create this encyclopedia which has 490,000 articles in its English version alone.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Google : Eye Tracking Consumer Response Study.

Two search marketing companies and an eye-tracking firm called Eyetools have produced one of the most interesting studies of consumer response to a Google results page.

By tracking eye movements, a picture emerges of the hot spots on a results pasge, outside of which a listing or sponsored listing is not likely to be noticed.

See the eye-opening (so to speak) screen shot here.

The study indicates that any listing below 7th place stands a less-than-50-percent chance of being seen. Sponsored ads become invisble to more than half of viewers if they are not in the top spot of the AdWords column. Intriguingly, most people’s eyes are glued to the left-hand side of the page, not even completing a scan of entire listings.

Read Article: Did-it, Enquiro,and Eyetools uncover Search’s Golden Triangle
Cross Posted : Link

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Those who don’t write the blogs, don’t read the blogs

Blogs on any topic under the sun have created millions of online communities. Those who have blogs read other’s blogs for ideas or simply to reciprocate – that is how bloggy fraternity is proliferating. The problem is with the overwhelming majority of Web users that don’t have blogs yet. They don’t visit the blog sites at all, exceptions and chance apart. Which is why blogosphere is smaller than the entire users’ base, though it is thriving, nonetheless? Solution: Every user should have a blog, more so in Pakistan.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Google Web Search Features

In addition to providing easy access to more than 8 billion web pages, Google has many special features to help you to find exactly what you're looking for. The "Google Web Search Features" page lists the features along with instructions how to use the features.

Apart from the latest Google Movies search feature, the (US only based) Google Weather is interesting to read and apply.

View: Google Web Search Features

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Oh boy whose happy, it's Billy boy ;)

Bill gates received an honorary knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on March 02 at Buckingham Palace, for his charity donations through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and his contribution to high-tech industries in Britain.

You can read his official statement of glee :) here.

There you go Bill Gates KBE.

FCC Fines Company for Blocking Access to VoIP

According to PCPro, the FCC has handed out a $15,000 fine to Madison River Communications Corp for blocking access to VoIP calls. The action is seen as a warning to other telcos not to prevent the growth of VoIP over their networks.

Nice to know that somewhere at least the govt. is looking out for the consumer. The Pakistan govt. in earlier times used to do the exact opposite of the above - now with the introduction off the broadband policy, does anyone know if things have changed for the better? When I got a DSL connection at home, I had to sign a paper saying I would not use VOIP. Now, I was planning to use VOIP so I asked someone at Cybernet, and they sorta jumped when I asked them about VOIP so I said fine fine I'm not going to use it and completed the paperwork. Needless to say, it works just fine, and with a good headset the voice quality is better than a mobile phone call, and sometimes as good as a landline.

At work, with our DSL connection they specifically said that VOIP is not allowed. It works, but it's illegal to use it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Windows XP Pro x64 Edition coming soon

Finally, for all those Athlon 64 owners. Microsoft will be releasing the highly anticipated 64-bit version of Win XP for the desktop by April.

The new OS will take full advantage of the 64-bit capabilities of the Athlon 64 (and the new 64-bit P4) and lead to a noticeable performance increase.

Check out the homepage for more information.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Red Couch

This I got vis Blogsphere News Box: Recently, recently, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have published a draft of the first chapter – Village Blacksmiths of the Information Age of a book they have been writing about business blogging titled The Red Couch (Though they’re contemplating changing the title). Yes, they should change the title.

Excerpt: Every few years, something comes along to change the way everything is. In the middle 1990s, it was the Internet. Previously, email, computer networks, PCs, fax machines and copiers altered our lives. The continuum of change extends all the way back through TVs, phones, trains, the telegraph, electricity, the printing press perhaps to when the wheel was first rolled out. Draft chapter of the book is here and it is very interesting.
They’re looking for feedback including reviews, comments and revisions.

Cross posted at Light Within

Telecom, telecom

Special features on telecom have appeared well before Intl Telecom Day this year. The News carried two reasonably interesting pages last Sunday while DAWN carried an advertising supplement today [not online yet]. The Nation ran three articles, two on WLL on its Business pages. PTCL has also been mass mailing an article titled 'Roti, Kapra aur Broadband' to all newspapers, with two appearances today [DAWN, Nation] and one last week [business recorder].

Read these from cover to cover in hopes of getting more than mere market indicators. A good time to ask: Are we getting dazzled by all the 'estimated' stats alone? Where's the hardcore analyses regarding what actual benefits one can obtain from a 'telecom revolution'. What does broadband boil down to in a country like Pakistan for instance?