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.

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Internet links in Pakistan

‘SEAMEWE-3’:http://www.smw3.com/ is Pakistan’s main pipe to the global internet. Pakistan’s total internet bandwidth from this cable is about 600 mbps[1]. PTCL has 3 satellite links of about 34mbps each. So, Pakistan has a grand total of 700 mbps. ISPAK says that Pakistan was getting 600mbps of connectivity from the currently broken fibre optic cable, which sounds about correct, but PTCL says that SMW3 provides 155mbits. Now, PTCL might be controlling the bandwidth, but I don’t think their cheif executive knows what he was talking about when he said the cable provided only 155mbits. 600mbps or 155mpbs, both numbers are extremely low.

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Gmail

I had posted ‘earlier’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/computing/2004_05/gmail_and_the_google_weblog.html about Gmail’s superiority to every other email system, but now even ‘the competition’:http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/004689.html is saying the same thing:

bq.. What I’ve discovered is that GMail is rather amazing. Like Flickr, it’s on a very short list of Internet applications that are at least as good as their desktop counterparts. In the case of GMail, it’s faster and easier to use than any desktop mail application I’ve tried.

Let me say that again, to reinforce my point. *GMail is really damn fast. Faster than desktop email.* And the interface feels no more complicated than it needs to.

p. The above post is from someone with a super fast computer, and even then Gmail responds faster then a local application! If anyone still needs a Gmail invite, ‘this site’:http://isnoop.net/gmail/ has a million of them.

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Tech Forums

I’ve set up a ‘forum’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/forums/ for tech discussions – it’s more suited for discussion then posting on a weblog. Some of the posts on this weblog, especially the ones on tech and computing issues have hundreds of comments – in a sense being used as an adhoc message board. So it seems a good idea to use something more suitable for such discussions – hence these ‘forums’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/forums/.

For a long time, I’ve felt the absense of a Pakistani technology discussion site. There is one, the “Spider weblog”:http://spiderisat.blogspot.com/, but blogspot is very unsuited for discussions. Once posts move of the front page they’re impossible to find again, and all posts are given equal importance, so often times active topics suddenly move of the front page, effectively killing the discussion. With a forum, active topics are moved to the top, and one can easily go back to old topics.

I used the “WorldCall forums”:http://www.go4b.net/forums for a while, but they are very slow and limited to WC users only. Even then, despite the massive spam problem they had, those forums had a few very informative/helpful discussions.

For many months now, I had been discussing with a few other people of buying a domain and starting a Pakistani tech site. That hasn’t happened so far, but if/when it does, I’ll move these forums there. For the time being, I’m putting them on this site: “http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/forums”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/forums/

This is an experiment – I don’t suppose in the beginning these forums will be that active, but as people join, it should develop to become a viable community.

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For Whatever Reasons

bq.. New Windows updates, new anti-virus software, new ad-blocking software � regular people are starting to realize that the cycle never ends, that they are never going to successfully secure Windows, and that the easiest and best solution to the Windows security problem is not to use Windows at all.

The masses are restless.

>> “For Whatever Reasons”:http://daringfireball.net/2004/09/for_whatever_reasons

p. Windows is at a dead-end. For the majority of users these days their computers spend more time as paperweights or at a computer hospital than in use. _Most regular people don�t even realize that there exist any choices other than Windows. It�s not they haven�t heard of Apple or Linux, but that they don�t really understand what they are._

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Wimax

bq.. …WiMax, which promises fixed wireless 70 megabit-per-second data service over a distance up to 50 kilometers, *scares the phone companies* because it will be for the most part a licensed carrier-class service that is *capable of completely replacing the current local telephone network.* *If you are a bloated and conniving phone company, WiMax is bad news.*

So of course, they’ll try to kill it.

Many people think current WiFi technology also threatens the telcos, but it doesn’t. For one thing, WiFi networks are just too darned small…

>> “Robert X. Cringely: What If Wal-Mart Got in the WiMax Business?”:http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20041125.html

p. This is exactly what Pakistan needs. More on wimax:

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Cybernet Home DSL diary

Getting a decent internet connection in Pakistan is just about impossible – see my ‘past’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakistan/2003_09/worldcall_4_month_review.html ‘experiences’:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakistan/2004_09/worldcall_review_update.html with ‘Worldcall’:http://go4b.net as a shining example. So news of Cybernet starting up home dsl at affordable rates came as a great relief – finally after long last a professional company was entering the slightly-faster-than-dialup arena! But in Pakistan however, nothing comes easy – so, this here post chronicles my attempt to acquire Cybernet home dsl… read on for the gory details:

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Real Life Calling

bq. This article was written for ‘Spider Magazine’:http://spider.tm, published July 04. The following is the unedited version:

Computer gaming in Pakistan is a strange two headed beast. Gaming is a great pastime, enjoyed by millions all over the world, yet somehow that’s not the impression one gets in Pakistan. Walk into any of the numerous gaming cafe’s in Karachi – they all seem seedy, with the dim lighting and the funky furniture topped with large second hand monitors failing miserably to make the place seem ‘cool and happening’. The very same faces are visible day in and day out at these places – hey, don’t these people have other things to do? How is it that they can spend so much time at these places?

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