Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Night vigil with 'gaali' music

Just came across this interesting article at the times of india site: "HYDERABAD: Apart from the snazzy accent, confident diction and good communication skills, call centre executives can do with an ability to endure an earful of swear words every day at work.For customers can give free rein to their vocabulary from their secure distance. And Indophobia inching higher in the west over the loss of jobs, call centre conversations can turn nasty once the caller discerns from the accent that he is talking to an Indian. "Hearing gaalis (abuse) are part of our job. If you cannot handle them, you can't work here," says the HR manager of a call centre. Agents say four-letter words are casually flung by many US customers. Some of the abuses are not part of what they teach you in accent training classes. Not being familiar with the street language of Tacoma, Texas, call centre executive can be left baffled by some of their conversations, sometimes not even knowing whether one has been sworn at. " read full article here. Anyone here in pk got nasty stories to share with us from a call center?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Claim of 10.5m cellphone subscribers misleading

DAWN reports today: "The number of mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan is much lesser than 10.5 million as being claimed by cell phone companies and relevant quarters. The figure, in fact, reflects the collective sale of SIMs (connections) and not the number of subscribers. Analysts in the cellphone industry, while talking to APP, also questioned the claim of phenomenal growth of 110 per cent over the past 10 months."

Friday, May 20, 2005


Just came across this news item in a news agency: "KARACHI, May 20 (APP): International film, music and software producers on Friday commended the Pakistan government for taking urgently-needed actions to curb the mass-scale violation of copyright. "Pakistan is showing that it takes seriously the need to address its severe levels of copyright piracy," said a joint press statement issued here by the senior representatives of International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Motion Picture Association (MPA). "We applaud the Pakistan government efforts for strongly protecting the intellectual property of the musicians, film makers and software developers and believe these will benefit the country," the three international groups unanimously said. The response follows administrative reforms and strict enforcement actions announced by the government in recent weeks. Pakistan Intellectual Property Rights Organization (PIPRO) has been created to oversee copyright, trademark and patent protection issues, while the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested nine persons and confiscated more than 400,000 pirated CDs, DVDs and audio cassettes, besides 10,000 Master Discs (stampers) and closing down six illegal optical disc plants around Karachi."
How come I'm still able to buy the pirated goodies from the shops right across the streets in Karachi even now?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Let's talk telecom...or so they say

Attended a 'dialogue' about Telecom in Islamabad today. True to tradition, the organizers had no clue about the need for AN agenda.

It was as bland as the title suggested: A Dialogue on Telecom Scenario. So much information, so much hype, so much money and so many talking heads yet there is no concept of orchestrating a public speaking forum. The panel consisted of our IT Minister, mighty IT secretary, a cell company CEO, MD PTV and the sponsor newspaper's editors. Each guest spoke for 10-20 minutes starting with "history of telecom"--the editors majorly mixed up their IT with their telecom [always a BIG blunder!] and moving on to issues cellular companies are facing today.

Telecom in Pakistan? I see lots: PTCL, poor customer service, lack of superb HR, regulatory issues, landlines, wirless, cellular [and not only cellular], VoIP, the Internet....so why was the discussion so narrow and cliched?

Questions from the audience? Miserable. Gentleman to Minister, "I have a specific question for the Minister....[breaks into 10 minute monologue about how soon we will push a button to transport from Pakistan to America since this is the 'e' age]....and the specific question is this, there is so much emphasis on 'e', so why isn't the goverment recognizing e newspapers?" The question met with stunned [numb, dumb] silence all around until the poor Minister said he would put this before the Minister of Information. Yee ha, I say!

Secretary IT quotes: Internet is universally accessible in OVER 2000 cities in the country.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Internet Cafes Told To Remove Covered Cabins

From Dawn

Sindh Home Minister Rauf Siddiqui has warned the internet cafe owners that they are allowed cabin partitions in their cafes up to the height of 4.5 feet only. These should be open cabins and covered ones will not be allowed, the minister said. Rauf Siddiqui said that he had been continuously receiving complaints that the internet cafes were so designed that these had totally covered cabins wherein videos were taken of the people inside with the help of cameras which was totally an illegal and immoral act.

Such complaints were causing problems of serious nature leading to creation of moral declination in society, while the fact was that a constructive and positive use of internet did serve as a source for a lot of youth in building up their academic career.

The minister gave one week time to the owners of internet cafes to modify the cafe designs as per standard rules. He said that after one week from May 23, all DPOs and TPOs would check the internet cafes in their respective areas. In case of default, not only strict legal action would be taken against such owners but the punishment would include sealing of their cafes.

And the government realizes they must take this step now, almost a year after the infamous Rawalpindi cyber cafe incident?

Console Wars

Just last week, Microsoft announced the XBox 360 -- scheduled to go on sale this Christmas. Yesterday, Sony announced the PS3. Even though the PS3 won't go on sale until sometime early next year, Sony is trying to convince gamers to hold off on buying a console this Christmas (read: XBox) and buy the PS3 when it comes out next year.

Me thinks that both consoles look surprisingly similar. Coincidence?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

TRG DC secretary works in Pakistan

Too much info, too little novelty. Here's one that forced me to say hello to the few who stop by here:

"In a chic downtown lobby across the street from the Old Executive Office Building, Saadia Musa answers phones, orders sandwiches and lets in the FedEx guy. And she does it all from Karachi, Pakistan. As receptionist for the Resource Group, Musa greets employees and visitors via a flat screen hanging on the lobby's wall. Although they are nine hours behind and nearly 7,500 miles away, her U.S.-based bosses rely on her to keep order during the traffic of calls and meetings."

Full marks for thinking cool, Zia ;-) Thanks SQ, for the tip-off.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Spider's website

Is it just my PC or is the website of Spider down at the moment? I manage to get to the homepage but then it gives me a 404 error for almost every link i click on...

Monday, May 02, 2005

9 Year Old Girl in Pakistan Is a Microsoft Certified Professional.

At just 9 years old, Arfa Karim Randhawa , of Faisalabad, Pakistan, is one of the youngest MCPs in the world.

The Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential is for technology professionals who have the skills to successfully implement a Microsoft product or technology as part of a business solution.

Arfa recently received her credentials from Emre Berkin, chairman of Microsoft's Europe, Middle East and Africa region, and Jawwad Rehman, Microsoft's country manager for Pakistan.

View: Arifa Karim Interview

Source: G3Technews via Microsoft.

Mobile number portability

Just came across this editorial in today's DAWN issue: "Mobile number portability: MOBILE phone users will find some respite thanks to the proposed introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) for which Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has constituted a supervisory board that plans to implement the scheme by January 2006. A central database administration which will house a database of mobile subscriber number references is being developed to implement this portability facility. MNP, which allows mobile phone users to switch mobile phone operators but retain their existing number, is available in many countries of the world but its proposed arrival in Pakistan was being strongly resisted by two of the largest mobile operators, perhaps because they feared a loss of the market share. However, PTA was not convinced by their arguments and has gone ahead and decided that the facility will be made available next year which it believes will boost fair competition among all mobile phone operators.This decision is one that will benefit consumers who are already frustrated by the poor service current mobile phone operators are providing. Despite certain mobile phone companies being threatened with severe legal action, not to mention heavy fines, if their quality is not improved, consumers periodically face frequent problems in connectivity, poor network services and other customer-related issues. Many who complain of such problems are hesitant to switch over to another company because they do not want to switch their number, a concern that will no longer apply once MNP comes into force. This will also force mobile phone companies to ensure better service to their customers or face losing their subscribers to better companies. Either way, it seems the customer is in a win-win situation — provided PTA is able to ensure that the implementation of MNP goes through smoothly.