Friday, October 29, 2004

Digital Pakistan News Aggregator Launched

Hello, I have recently put out my news aggregator for beta testing. Users can quickly add ATOM feeds of their blogs and then generate code to add live content to their blogs.

Please give me your comments on the service. The URL is

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Has BLUETOOTH replaced the Singles' Bar in Europe?

There is a trend these days in Britain to find a date using BLUETOOTH. BLUETOOTH technology allows people to send anonymous messages to people in a close vicinity. Read this article to find out more. It's quite interesting.

Who is the Culprit: MSN or GMAIL?

For the past few days I have been receiving strange emails from a known email address with a domain! What happened was that a person contacted me on my GMAIL account via an email address with a Pakistani SMTP and IP address. I added this person to my MSN. After about an hour of adding this person, I received a sex email with an attachment that my hotmail account detected as infected. The ID was that of the person whom I had added - what differed was the domain. HOTMAL.COM, instead of (notice the I missing).

I was a bit surprised at having received such an email for my eye had interpreted the address as HOTMAIL's rather than HOTMAL's. It was only after a long and hard stare at my monitor that I managed to notice the mal.

It's kinda strange receiving an email soon after I have added someone on my contact. I wonder who could be the culprit. Was it MSN that somehow manages to leak addresses or was it GMAIL that patronizes such activities. Or could it be the Pakistani ISP?

Got any ideas guys? I, for one, am quite perplexed.

Congratulations LUMS!

An international panel of experts has selected the work of the students of Lahore University of Management Sciences who made it to the top ten of the IEEE Computer Society's 5th Annual International Design Competition (CSIDC), 2004 held at Washington DC- USA. Their project was titled "SensUS Structure Security System." The system is actually a sensor based for security purposes. It can detect deviations in real time.

The LUMS team included Dr. Zartash Afzal Uzmi (Project Consultant), Tashfeen Suleman, Zaheer-ul-Qamar Khan, Muhammed Azfar Khan and Ahsan Akhlaq Mughal (students).

The theme of this year's competition ws "Making the World a Safer Place."
Congratulations LUMS!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

CBR Plans Reference Value Database

According to the DAWN Business, Friday Oct. 22, 2004, CBR has decided to establish a database with the intent "for maintaining uniformity in assessment of imported goods at all custom stations." The effort is worth a pat on the back.

How manu custom officials would actually consult such a database is anybody's guess. Unless the plague of corruption is carefully diagnosed and eradicated, such projects would fail to deliver and end up as losses showing up on the national income statement.

I wonder whether a feasibility study was conducted for this.

Federal Govt Data Center and Intranet

The federal government has decided to setup a data center and an intranet. The strategy is to construct a data warehouse and automate the federal government operations. Seems encouraging.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Spam Mail on Rise

Spam Mail is at it again! The back to school season and the US Presidential Elections in November were subjects of about 82 percent of spam mail sent this August.

India under the Spotlight Again

Offshore outsourcing has come under the spotlight as an antagonist because of stolen code. According to Computer World Pakistan, Australian companies have began to rethink their corporate IT strategies while outsourcing projects to India. According to Ajoy Ghosh, a IT security consultant at Jolly Technologies in Mumbai, jacked code is partly due to the lack of strict laws relating to intellectual property rights.

Would foreign confidence in India decline due to such stories, and consequently, is our industry also about to face some serious consequences? Although Pakistan has never been high on the "foreign confidence manifesto" and has always been subjected to a lethargic attitude, the recent code jacking issue in India could work in favor of Pakistan.

Added Live Content Syndication to Digital Pakistan

I have recently added a content syndication for this blog. You can see it right above the shoutbox.

If you would like to add content syndication to your blogs, please email me at I am also working on a script for a membership based site that would automatically allow people to create content syndication individually. Wish me Luck! I need all that I can get :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Use Blogs to Earn Money

Ever wondered how to make money using your blog? Stop wondering and start clicking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

FREE Internet Access in Pakistan

Are there any possibilities of FREE INTERNET ACCESS in Pakistan? Even if an advertisement supported ISP model is adopted, there is much too corruption for this to become reality.
What do you guys think?

So 9-5 isn't Your Cup of Tea?

So you have pondered over it a bit at sehree and a little more during the iftar tea. Working 9-5 just doesn't suit your temperament and you would rather be your own boss. You heard of it, read about it and now dying to try it. The Internet entrepreneur-ship makes sense to you. You are certain that you've got what it takes to succeed in the digital economy. Good!

"Now wait a second... Don't I need an Internet merchant account to accept credit cards", you think out loud. Luckily, NO YOU DON'T! Third party processors can handle your payments. For your convenience, I have compiled a list of credible processors. Please download it at The zipped file has 1 MS-WORD document.

If the 9-5 work schedule isn't helping, then Internet just might have the solution. Don't be afraid. Give it a try!

Word of Caution: Third party processors do charge a lot per transaction. It is recommended that once your business picks up, apply for a merchant account.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

XML Standards for the Financial Sector

I am working on a XML project for the financial industry. It is my belief that the Pakistan Financial Sector should have its own XML schemas (or DTD's) so that industrial cross-communication can be easier. You can read more about this project at

If you can't beat 'em,join 'em

  • Did you know that 31% of all of Claria's sales come from Yahoo
  • Google Desktop may carry a virus. Read more about it at
  • Some search engines categorize their sites by vulnerability. This categorization is available for anyone to access. Hence, a potential source of worm attacks to web sites! According to a report in ComputerWorld Pakistan -July 1, 2004- both Google Inc., and Yahoo Inc. maintain such lists.
  • According to Jupiter Research, 12 percent of companies that advertise online utilize some form of adware marketing
  • From Jan 2004 - April 2004 EarthLink's SpyAudit has detected more than 7 million copies of adware programs and another 32 million instances of adware related cookie files.
There is no way out for the wired user, especially when trusted names like Google and Yahoo indugle in such activites. Malware is part of the digi-society much like criminals are of the real world. Learn to live with it. For IT professionals, I think we need to start developing adware of our own. At least this way we can mass advertise the local industries in the global market.
That is exactly what I am doing by endorsing malware in all its forms - of course, as long as the wares don't spread any Trojan horses or system jackers.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Integrate IT education with Business Administration

The curriculum for most computer oriented disciplines such as computer science and engineering lack one crucial ingredient: business domain studies. Consequentlym the professionals floated in the market are unable to engineer visionary solutions. The comprehension of business domain is mandatory as, eventually, the professionals have to work for some organization.

The computer experts should excel in enabling innovative markets, integrating transparent supply chains and strategizing ubiquitous relationships as they do in harnessing and delivering robust information systems.

One of the first programs to integrate the disciplines of Computer Sciences and Business Administration was started by Hamdard University, City Campus. Known as BSBI (Bachelor of Science in Business Informatics), the program:

"is a unique blend of Business Administration and Computer Science courses. The Program has been designed to develop modern managers in the application of Information Technology in business activities to bring about changes in concepts, systems and organizational structures."

Other institutes like KASBIT have also started such a program. Other universities in Pakistan should also offer such degree programs.

What Hinders E-commerce in Pakistan?

As the Internet continues to infiltrates our lives, the digitization of business processes is becoming akin to enterprise survival. While the western corporations have shifted some or all of their processes to the digital world, Pakistan has yet to trap the monster. Amongst a number of other compelling reasons for this failure, the consumers' skeptical attitude towards the electronic paradigm is the most visible hindrance. According to market research firms, over a trillion dollars in revenue would be generated through the Internet by the year-end. Clearly, Internet may just have the answer to some of our macroeconomic problems like employment and poverty.

The customer awareness is mandatory for survival of e-commerce in Pakistan. Customers must be made to understand that a transaction over the Internet is only as risky as its offline counterpart. The digital world is no different than the real world in terms of fraud and theft. On the contrary, Internet is a haven for consumers with a restricted budget that offers convenient and cost-effective access to the global markets. Building the customers' confidence should, thus, be the cornerstone of any ecommerce promotion initiative in Pakistan. The companies must take a proactive approach by educating the customers on the pros of e-commerce.

As a first step, e-enabled companies should use the Internet to facilitate business processes that do not require the customer to delve out any personal information over the Internet. Since the aim is to alter the perception and the misperceptions of ecommerce, customer services and customer relationship management (CRM) programs are the optimum candidates for rudimentary digitization in Pakistan. According to Gartner Group, 68 percent of all customers switch over because of poor customer service. If this is not enough to make our IT pundits and managers listen, then what is?

CRM is the fundamental means of increasing sales. Whereas, such initiatives involved significant costs in the past, the digital era seeks to impress upon other investments such as organizational commitment to customer satisfaction. Money is no longer a stress factor. In other words, CRM via Internet comes really cheap if you consider the long-term benefits of a solid and trustworthy relationship with your customers. There are plenty of sites that offer CRM programs - just do a search on Google. You can also check out and

We have to understand that customer confidence is a function of organizational commitment to the customers. In the digital era, where there is a massive influx of quality information, customers have to be pampered and treated like royalty. Trust is the key element of any relationship and the one formed with your customers should not lack it. The goal of customer satisfaction should be communicated subliminally to smooth out the public's apprehensions about transactions on the Internet.

The e-commerce mantra also dictates an expansion of services to facilitate transactions. Currently, Citibank is the only one to offer Internet merchant accounts that accept Pakistani Rupee credit cards on the Web. It is not about growth of e-commerce in Pakistan. Rather, the question remains whether Pakistan has what it takes to capitalize on the tools of e-commerce. Just as malls and markets characterized the pre-digital era, the future is almost certain to be dominated by e-commerce.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Google Desktop in Beta Testing

Google has struck again. This time the company has launced a search engine for your desktop - much like Google pitch claims that the users' data would never be transmitted over the wires. I find it hard to believe. How does a company continue to provide free services at no cost? It goes against the corporate nature - there are COSTS involved!
Obviously, adware and spyware is the what such free software transmits. So Google pitch is a pure lie! Dont believe it.
However, I am also a stauch supporter of advertisement supported software. Therefore, as long as Google can promise that no malicious code or virus would be transmitted through its network, I am willing to give it a try. I dont mind someone snooping on my online activity because I know that the benefits of advertisement based software are ultimately passed on to me - the consumer. Free email, Free chat, Free web hosting, Free blogs, Free business cards, Free voice mail is all because of advertisements on the Net.
Pakistan Developers need to start transmitting adware of their own!

Pakistan has what it takes to be at the TOP

SPOTLIGHT: Pakistani Web Developers Community

A good attempt by Muhammed Bilal has been made to revive the dying Pakistani Web Development scene in Pakistan. The web site at is a fantastic forum based site to discuss Web Developement related issues.

Good Job Bilal !

Where do WE stand?

According to SPIDER, Oct. 2004:
  • India targets to quadruple software exports by 2010. Currently, software exports are worth US $12.5 billion!
  • X-box is about to launch in India
  • Sybase Inc. has decided to setup a development center in Pune

According to The Gartner Group:

  • About 80 percent of IT projects from major firms would have been outsourced to India by the year-end (end of 2004)

Food for Thought: Where are We?

Internet Media City for Karachi

The Government of Pakistan has signed an agreement with UAE to setup three Internet Media Cities in the country: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Good for Mr. Mustafa Kamal, IT Minister for Sindh. For the rest of us, we should wait and see how the project materializes before getting all enthusiastic about it. The Internet Parks (yes, those glossy buildings at Sharah-e-Faisal) have yet to prove their worth to the IT scene. Let us just hope that this new media city project is not a waste of the hard-earned and accumulated national exchequer.

I fail to see the logic behind opening one up in Islamabad. An Internet Media City in Sialkot, Faisalabad or even Peshawar would be feasible. Feasible in terms of spreading IT literacy amongst the masses. The only feasibility feature of Islamabad is the inflow of some real hard cash.
What do you guys think?

Anti-spyware Legislation

The US has drafted an anti-spyware bill and it would soon be moved in the Senate and the House for approval. I think the whole exercise would be fruitless. How would such a law, if ever passed, be implemented across international borders? And imagine the amount of monetary committment such an act would require in the form of a new law enforcement agency, a new department to deal with it (if not given to existing department), etc.
I just hope we Pakistanis dont follow suit and try to draft our own version of the bill to demonstrate our IT awareness and committment to the world.
Allah Hafiz

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Thanks to Allah

No new post tonight. Was having a bit of rough time for the past few days and I got through them.
Allah ka lakh lakh shukar hai. Guys, dont forget to tell me what u think about my spyware post.
Allah Hafiz

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Spyware has a good side

The purpose of spyware software is not to illegally monitor your Internet activities. Rather, it is to obtain information aboutconsumer tastes, preferences and behavior on the Net that wouldhelp the merchants in providing better goods and services. It is a giventhat consumers while on the Internet have very different attributes than when offline. And, market research is an absolute necessity to figureout this behavior pattern. Spyware is just another way to conduct this marketresearch about the wired consumer.

Like other things, spyware and adware technology has been exploited bycertain individuals/groups. The provision of net-adverts is whatkeeps necessities like email, MSN, Internet (in some countries), web hosting, 1000 MB Gmail service, voice mail, etc. FREE!

I have just come to know that the US has passed an anti-spyware bill. Absurd is all that I have to say. Even if spyware was all badand had no value-strings attached, how would such a bill be enforced?Internet has no boundaries; it has no demarcations; it has nolaw enforcement of its own; it has no judiciary and neither are thereany lawyers. The bill is a waste of time and money.

And what about the spam mail? Could it ever be stopped? Hardly.So before we Pakistanis think of following suit by adopting the bullshit legislations, THINK TWICE! We hardly have the resourcesto go chasing after something like this.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Freelancers Make Money Now!

Internet presents numerous opportunities for freelancers to show off their talent and earn some serious money. There are numerous web sites that offering projects for freelancers to work on. Some good sites are:
You can register for free, and then start to bid on projects that you want to work at. You can get paid easily through Western Union, paypal and a host of other options.
There are a number of categories available - from writers to programmers and any other field that you can imagine. Try it out. Its easy and it works.
Pakistan's unemployment rate has risen to 8.7 percent. We have a large underemployment rate. Speaking for IT graduates, supply is more than what the domestic demand can swallow. If you are just out of school, trying your hand at freelancing may not be such a bad idea. All in all, these web sites are a good bet to check out.

The Other Side of Chatting

Chatting as a medium of communication has gotten loads of attention. It is, perhaps, an activity undertaken by all netizens- surpassed only by our familiar friend, the email. It is, however, unfortunate that most people in Pakistan use chat as a means to satisfy their lust or, as they say in the local lingo bachee set karna. Don't get me wrong. I have probably tried to catch a girl's attention once or twice over the chat. Personally, I feel that there is nothing wrong with trying to find that one true love over the net. However, I do desist the fact that chatting has become akin to a singles' bar to most Pakistanis.

All chatting is not bad. As the world gets digital by the second, and a Net connected PC become synonymous to owning a TV, chatting can serve as a good tool to groom the Pakistani students' communication skills. Why not teach students how to provide top-notch customer support by means of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) - afterall, the future would demand our IT graduates to know the digital etiquettes. More and more web sites now offer customer support via the chat rooms.

The problem, in my opinion, remains on the academic side. Most of the universities in Pakistan ban chatting in the computer labs. By banning something, we force the students to put on their rebel's hats and do what they shouldnt be doing in the first place. We need to change our education system to accomodate the latest Internet technologies in the curriculum. After all, in order to prepare students for the future, we need to make use of tools that are for the future. And, what better tool than the massive Internet.

Are Prime Minister Aziz, Dr. Atta-Ur-Rehman and stakeholders of major universities listening?