Wikis

Wiki’s are fascinating. They are the first major advance in the written word since the invention of the typewriter, or possibly ever since the invention of the printing press. All previous forms of written communication, whether over the Internet, in magazines, books or encyclopedias present one point of view, generally written by one, or at the most a small collection of individuals. These are sometimes revised to reflect new developments as needed – the encyclopedia Britannica issues a new version every year, and webpages are updated at the discretion of the webmaster.

Continue reading Wikis

Karrachay never sounded bettaaaah

FM 103

“Hello Krachayyy!! DJ Craaasssalaaaaaa here on this lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely lovely… lllovvely..(pauses here for an eternity), dark Sunday evening!! Hahahahaha!”

This is radio sachal, now called Mast radio and has the most amazing DJ ever. She interrupts in the middle start, beginning, end and everything which comes in between, of every song, and often times I think her producers have to literally press the kill switch on her as she just doesn’t stop talking.

Continue reading Karrachay never sounded bettaaaah

Cricket

The UK gave up on cricket a long time ago, but sadly this so called sport still persists in the Empire’s former colonies. Its a terribly elitist and clubby sport. For the British army officers posted to the middle of just about every forever back during the days of the Empire, cricket served a vital purpose. They could form their little cliques and clubs and spend whole -days- weeks just passing the time away. It can be argued that there is nothing like a mind numbingly boring and totally pointless activity to while away the times, and cricket fitted the bill so well that someone would have had to invent it during the days of the Empire if it hadn’t already existed.

Continue reading Cricket

India Pakistan Cricket Series

I just got back from watching my first ever cricket match live. Words don’t do justice to the emotions going about the stadium and the hopes fluctuating with every shot. One has to be there to experience it. I dislike cricket, but the emotions surging in the crowd are so powerful that everyone gets swept up in the game – every good shot is cheered and the bad ones regretted.

Continue reading India Pakistan Cricket Series

Information overload

An edited version of this article was published in the February 2004 issue of Spider Magazine.

It’s nothing new and it’s been around ever since mankind first started to speak. Here in Pakistan, where technology is almost a form of magic for many, the very word information doesn’t have much meaning. Like most third world countries, the Internet and the usage of computers is not widespread. The total number of internet users is 1.4 million according to a recent estimate, while government estimates over the years put it anywhere from 2 to 5 million.

Continue reading Information overload

Software Piracy in Pakistan

A few days ago I was at the local computer store to buy some hardware, when I noticed that all the software shops were absent any software. It turned out that Microsoft and their local lackeys are back on the warpath chasing after software piracy. *Again*. This has happened so many times in the past that it’s laughable. Still, maybe because of these constant raids, software piracy has slowed down to some extent. We no longer have the latest and greatest software’s available here soon as they get released for manufacturing abroad. Often times, one has to wait for months before software is finally available over here. Still, with the advent of Windows XP and Office XP, people are basically satisfied with what they have, and there are no longer hordes of people looking for the latest software releases. Games of course are available here well before their release dates abroad.

For those who shudder in horror at all the rampant piracy around here, please take note that it is *impossible* to actually buy a legal copy of any software around here. I have tried over the years, but I have never been able to track down anyplace which sells legal copies of Windows and Office. When it comes to digging out computer stuff in Karachi, I consider myself quite resourceful, so if I (and a large number of other people and hardware retailers) can’t find a legal copy even after a good ten years of effort, I have to conclude that Microsoft doesn’t care about this market and so can’t be bothered to actually sell any copies.

The most likely explanation is that whoever it is whom Microsoft has authorized to look after the Pakistan market is happy making money by raiding small offices and slapping hefty fines on them. I have gotten a number of threatening faxes from this (Dubai based) organization over the years, and while most have gone into the dustbin straightaway, I did contact them a number of times about acquiring/purchasing Windows. Each time they said they’re in the business of stopping software piracy, not selling software. And no, they did not send along any contact numbers/places where I could purchase the software from.

Continue reading Software Piracy in Pakistan

History of the Indian Subcontinent

I’ve read many, many books on the history of the Indian subcontinent by now. In school, every year we had a mandatory subject called Pakistan Studies in which we went through the history of the subcontinent in its gory details. The books were prescribed by the government, and had to be approved by some education committee or the other. Half of them seemed to have been written by blindly patriotic old men, embittered with old age and even those who knew the subject well did not know how to write. On top of that, it seemed that Pakistan Studies was hated by the teachers as well, and assigned to the ones incapable of teaching a ‘real’ subject. There were a few good teachers now and then, but the majority were drones who reduced the fascinating story of the subcontinent into a incomprehensible muddle. In class four, the earliest history class I can remember, the class would consist of reading from the book, then the teacher would ask questions verbatim from the book. Even at that time, I remember thinking that this is no way to go about teaching a subject.

Continue reading History of the Indian Subcontinent