Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End Year Blues...2010

So the year is approaching to its end finally...and it is freezing too...A dry freezing December to cap all the warmth and buzz of 2010. A strange cap indeed. But the year has been phenomenal to say the least for me and those surrounding me. Phenomenal but not always positively phenomenal. So a recap of year from my lenses.
Professionally year was quite good. A lot of friends graduated with their PhD degrees in the year. Universities gave a very warm reception to all of us. Almost everyone is engaged in some kind of positive work to contribute towards betterment of the nation. Mercifully none of us proved to be greedy to choose greener pastures and stayed back home happily. We got some wonderful colleagues and students who will be our pride for all our lives. First of our friends headed for his next big achievement as Dr. Arfan Jaffar is now pursuing his Post-Doc in South Korea.
The relationships started scattering with elders, colleagues and friends drifting away and away as their careers and lives led them to different paths. As the tide turns smoother and we look back at how 2010 started and ended...the nostalgia become immense to bear. Lives became less about interaction and more about inter-connectivity. That is funny indeed...
Nationally, the chaos prevailed which has become our hallmark. Here in Pakistan, we have started to wonder if we will be able to survive one non-chaotic, routine and peaceful day? As mentioned 3 months ago, time to bet on Pakistani politics is on and is gaining momentum. More and more fault lines are appearing with mainstream political establishments losing ground, meaningless populist activism taking hold and corruption becoming norm rather than exception.
On the front of arts, Coke Studio this year was disappointment for many but in my case, it was again instrumental in reinventing Arif Lohar, Tina Sani and Karavan...I will be uploading my three best recordings of this year's Coke Studio on 31st December so keep looking for that. And yes...SYMT was an encouraging find of the year in my personal opinion. Internationally, music also seemed in a sort of hibernation to me as no major attractions appeared at least for me there. About theater and cinema...the least said the better. Except for Inception, I don't think anything worth mentioning appeared. On local front Dabangg was noteworthy as it changed the whole equation despite its totally idiotic script and more idiotic acting. Times are becoming more and more strange.
And the biggest of all was not Mark Zuckerberg and the face book...It was also not the oil spills of America and Eurofreeze...It was also not the commonwealth games in India or Football world cup in South Africa...In my opinion, the year will be remembered for all times to come as the one that changed our whole perception about media, diplomacy and LEAKS. WIKILEAKS is perhaps the most significant event of 2010. And as the decade is coming to an end... I will rate WIKILEAKS aming the five greatest things of this past decade. Perhaps very close to the history changing event of 9/11 bombings of WTC that happened in 2001. Julian Assange and WIKILEAKS have made 2010 an immortal year in history.
So the year is coming to its end...decade is coming to its end and it is a freezing December. Enjoy the year end blues. Enjoy the top 10 lists of everything in 2010 published by Time magazine on the following link (Courtesy Time Magazine) :


 





Thursday, December 23, 2010

My only leader...My Jinnah on his 134th Birthday

Who else can be a leader like him?
I like to think that I am a history buff...and frankly I am someone who gets fascinated by a lot of people quite frequently. I adore a lot of people but there is a strange twist to this fact as well. When it comes to leadership then there are only two men from twentieth century whom I consider leader in true sense. And quite strangely, both exploded on their respective horizons at the same time. Churchill and Jinnah are those two names. 
Churchill becuase he was too ordinary a man to fascinate and inspire the imagination of his people and those of other allied nations in second world war. He seemed to have no charsima, no distinction, no honors. He seemed like a minnow among his allies and enemies...the likes of Roosevelt, Stalin, Kai Shek, Hitler, Missoulini etc. They were the names, inspiration, fascination of their respective nations while Churchill was seemingly  just a fat drunkard who knew nothing about how to fight a war. Yet, it was only this one fat drunkard, who designed the whole war. Who made all the schemes and arrangements. It was he who kept on traveling in broken planes, freezing, but determined to win the war in which he so much believed. He seemed like fighting a war which he could not even inspire his nation for. Yet he was determined, unafraid and brave enough to believe and finally made everyone else believe in him. He is still under rated yet he was the true architect in my opinion.
And there was Jinnah. A man so charismatic, so enlightened, so educated that he seemed totally lost to his nation. His nation could never relate to the manners and language Jinnah used. He talked but noone amongst his constituency understood. He behaved totally opposite to how his people behaved. He lived an alien life and followed alien traditions. He was no Gnadhi, Sabhash Chandar Bose, AbulKalama Azad etc. He never believed in political manoeuvrings that were norm of his times. He never violated law despite he being totally against it. He never went to jail to become popular. He despised favors and never tolerated any personal endorsements. A strict disciplinarian who was always mocked by his contemporaries for his principles. He also had a war in which there was no hope for him. But just like Churchill, he overcame all of this and won his war. The war that he fought was not for himself. He was diagnosed with last stage of cancer while he was in the middle of his fight yet noone knew it till his death. He was not fighting it for riches and claims. He was already amongst the richest and most affluent and most charming amongst Indian elite. He was also not fighting it just for those who call themselves Pakistanis today. He was fighting it for all of those who believed that oppressed have a right to speak and make their decisions. He was fighting it for all of those who believed in rule of law and its abidance. He was fighting it for all of those who believed in power of people. He was fighting this war for those who believed that all men and women have equal rights which need to be respected. He was a leader of all nations and all people of this world. The sad fact is that we Pakistanis have proved to be so inept inheritors of such legacy that instead of spreading his message properly, we have even made him an alien in our own society. A democratic nation based on principles of equality, respect and tolerance as visualized by him has been transformed into crowd ruled by mob and military, intolerant and ignorant, corrupted by greed and blinded by hate towards each other. It is sad fact of this day when I am trying to remember who my leader actually was.
Jinnah (or Qiaid-E-Azam), the great leader as we call him was great because he was not pretentious. He was great because he was honest and always spoke truth. He was leader because he stood with what was right. He was inspiration because he thought of himself as a human with weaknesses. He was never proud of his weaknesses but he never attempted to gloss over them. He never pretended to be demigod with all the solutions in his pocket. He was loved because he loved everyone...irrespective of his status, creed, race or religion. He was respected because he respected everyone...friends and enemies alike. Jinnah was a Muslim, a constitutionalist, a democrat, a pragmatist, a realist in the true sense of words. I remember him today, on his birthday as my only leader of twentieth century. May his teachings, his legacy and his traits spread amongst all the mankind and his soul rest in peace till eternity.
A few of his landmark pictures...an asset left with us to cherish and remember...








Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dr. Aftab A. Maroof...my Teacher, my Mentor, my Role Model

Dr. Aftab A. Maroof
Dr. Aftab A. Maroof is not just my teacher and my mentor. He has been so to undoubtedly thousands of young and not so young (like me) who frequented the corridors of National University, FAST, Islamabad campus. He has been associated with this institute for approximately fifteen years now and still is. He has also been director of this campus for past ten years. And today, this is the point of this blog. Some such news are circulating that Dr. Waseem Ikram (another most distinguished and very kind of my teachers) has replaced him as director FAST, Islamabad campus. If it is true, it is the most fitting conclusion of a very traumatic week for me when I am greatly missing the company of a few of my friends and a few of my most respected teachers. It seems odd to listen from someone as old (and supposedly mature) a person as myself but the fact is that for me, it is difficult to visualize FAST, Islamabad campus without thinking of Dr. Aftab sitting in director's office. Just the thought of his presence in that prestigious seat filled our hearts with comfort. Respected Dr. was the sole force behind fulfilling the dream of FAST Islamabad campus. He literally built it with his affection, love and toil. Dr. Aftab oversaw the conceptualization, formation and maturity of a very successful PhD program at FAST. He truly was among the three architects of PhD program (the other two being my most respected sir Dr. Rauf Baig and sir Dr. Anwar M. Mirza). So many battles have been won under his guidance, so much wisdom has been learnt through his words. So much respect has been earned because of his teachings.
Dr. Aftab will always be my role model. And role model of many others like me. His humbleness, his humility, his grace, his wisdom and his straightforwardness...wishing all the very best to new director FAST, our most respectable Dr. Waseem Ikram and bidding a very sad farewell to Dr. Aftab as director (thanks god he will be with us in Islamabad...).
Lastly to sir Dr. Aftab...I hope now we shall have ample time to sit together and discuss so many things under the sun about which, we, your students are curious and about which, only you have answers...I still regret my chance of traveling with you when you went on that famous trip to India. May you live long and happy amongst us Dr. Aftab...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What do you do when start losing hold of people who cared about you?

  These days are quite tense days for me on a personal note and I wished to record it as many others may relate to it as well. The dilemma is quite strange but equally difficult to grasp. I am talking about losing hold of people who are quite well and healthy and happy in their lives and who are as best my friends and family now as they always were. Yet the feeling of losing hold of them is quite intense.
I have always been considered as someone who has been blessed with great company. I have wonderful family and some of the greatest people as peers and friends anyone can ever imagine. I was blessed with greatest of my memories in past ten years. These have been my most blessed years of life. More so because I had my family, my teachers and my friends around me. The thought of ever being without such great companions never struck me....
But then, it started happening...the family started to take its logical course of action as siblings started to move out as they grew in age. Younger sisters and brothers who grew up before me started looking so mature that at one time it pleased and at another it saddened with the realization that another thread with my own childhood has collapsed. We, were children a few years back and we were becoming parents now. The feeling was both of accomplishment and of nostalgia.
And now, another transition is taking place. The problem for me is that transitions are so quick that my mind is unable to grasp it. The circle of peers and friends that we (and I in particular) cultivated with so much love started to disperse. In the words of another friend "Our swarm has started whirling". It started with departure of our respected teachers, Dr. Anwar M. Mirza and Dr. Rauf Baig departing for Saudi Arabia in quick succesion. It was followed by departure of Dr. Amjad to Lahore which suddenly started feeling like another country. And now, Dr. Arfan Jaffar is about to leave for South Korea. Despite wishing all of these great and lovely comrades every happiness in the world, somewhere inside my heart, I wish the time to roll back and some how grab all of them again within my circle of loved ones.

So, a very warm happy birthday to myself which is looking so lonely and so sad this year...without my very loved friends and well wishers around me...A personal nostalgia

Sunday, November 28, 2010

For abida Parveen and Shameem Aaraa...Dhoondo ge Agar

Two icons of Pakistan are lying in hospital and my heart doesn't want to write more obituaries. Our own national treasure, legendary singer Abida Parveen had a heart problem in the early hours of Saturday morning and was admitted to hospital where mercifully her condition is stable now. And our beautiful screen icon, Shameem Aara of 60s is also critically ill. Please pray for health of both of our national assets. Presenting here one of the famous works of Abida Parveen...Dhoondo ge Agar Mulkon Mulkon (Search the whole world and you won't be able to find another like us)...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Presenting you work of The Cheapmunks....Say My Name/O Humdum

The Cheapmunks: Looking for more from them

The Cheapmunks are an amazing amazing band of two cousins Suhana and Mehak with great voices and great potential at fusion. One of their recent recording is making rounds on Internet in which they have fusioned O Humdum by A. R. Rahman and Say My Name by Destiny's Child. The fusion is mesmerisingly beautiful and their voices are a treat to listen. Accompanied by some wonderful background music, here is another living proof that talent in Pakistan is never gonna end. The question still remains whether there is an institutionalized effort to project and nurture this talent into a national asset? Listen, Watch and Enjoy....

Pakistan Hockey team wins ASIAD making us all proud...after 20 painful years

Resolute like their nation

It was perhaps 1994 and the event was champions trophy, when Pakistan hockey actually did something good for Pakistani nation. 1994 was a fateful year for Pakistan hockey...much like the reign of great Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb...just as Aurangzeb became the last emperor in the history of India to bring almost all of India under his reign but also proved to be the one who was the last established Emperor of India. In 1994, Pakistan was the proud winner of World Cup in Sydney and Champions Trophy in Lahore but this was also the year after which nation just saw with barren eyes for any major success in international field hockey events. Hockey, which is national support of Pakistan. 1994 gave us the last of our hockey legends as well...Shahbaz Ahmad Senior.
1990 was the last time, Pakistan hockey team won Asian Games hockey tournaments. By that time, Pakistan hockey team had won this on 8 occasions (that roughly means Asian hockey champion for 32 out of 43 years of its existence till then). Such was the excellence, mastery and glory of our national hockey team. 
Proud like their nation
And then, there was 2010, another fateful year which the depths of hopelessness experienced when team finished 12th out of 12 teams in Hockey world and the joy experienced today when...after a lapse of 20 long agonizing years, the Pakistan Hockey Team made the whole nation proud again by winning gold in Asian Games Hockey event. May the success always be yours by the grace of the almighty and may this even prove watershed for bringing more and more laurels for a nation starved for good news. A proud capable nation that needs more and more for the effort that it carries every day. In my opinion, this title should be in the name of proud and resilient nation that dwells in this part of the world called OUR PAKISTAN...A happy Asian games hockey triumph for all of Pakistan...

Aasia Bibi: Some questions that need answers now...


Aasia Bibi: Needs fair trial...NOT sympathy
Where is our nation headed to? This is a question that I kept hearing all through my childhood and adolescence and the answer has not yet been found. The only difference is that previously the question used to come from religious zealots and we felt secure that mercifully, we are living in a tolerant society built on high Islamic moral grounds of justice and equality along with the beautiful foundation principles of tolerance laid down by our father of the nation. We never realized that the QUESTION is slowly creating an army of faithful sympathizers who will one day wreck havoc with the basic fiber of our society. I realized this on the eve of tragic razing of Babari Mosque when soon after I witnessed that we were actually doing the same by demolishing Hindu temples, Sick shrines and christian churches as a symbol of revenge against what Hindu fanatics did in India. On that day, I lost something very precious and perhaps many others did experience the same loss. My generation did not experience the traumatic moments of 1971 when East Pakistan was lost so this was all the Pakistan we had. On that day, I felt like I had lost my Pakistan as what we were doing with Hindus and Christians here was exactly what Hindu zealots were doing to Muslims in India. So where was the difference? Why did we create Pakistan if we wanted to become same bigots?
And the rot never ceased. Attacks on Ahmadi minority, Christians and their worship places, Hindus only increased. And the started coming the news of forced conversions from interior sindh and Punjab. The Talibanization was accomplishing its agenda. Soon these matters ceased to be news. People like me and my fellows cried ourselves hoarse saying this is not the way of our beautiful religion which established itself on the principles of Tolerance, forgiveness, wisdom and intelligence. But, we all realized that we were fighting an already lost battle. A battle that minds like us had lost even before it began because of our surrendering mentality.
Is this the way to spread our faith?
But why am I talking about Aasia Bibi case. The details are yet sketchy but somethings have emerged thanks to investigations made by people like Rauf Klasra and Fasi Zaka. It is not because the case has got a huge publicity. I am writing because when I read the case of Aasia Bibi, it makes me realize she is being treated just the way we as a nation are being treated. She mirrors our state of affairs. Ridiculed because of their beliefs, prosecuted and judged without bothering to get any evidence, sentenced to a life of misery....it is how our nation is treated and it is how Aasia Bibi is being treated.
I don't know whether Aasia Bibi committed the crime or not and I am no jurist or religious scholar to venture my opinion in this regard. Yet, there are some questions in my mind which need answer. Questions like (1) If she was being forced to convert and she was not willing to? Was this not a crime? Our religion is very strict about forced conversions. Islam always spread through good teachings and practices. Were those trying to forcefully convert her not liable to be arrested and prosecuted? (2) If she was being subjected to derogatory comments because of her faith and subjected to humiliation? Was not it also a crime in the eyes of our judicial system and Islam which for the first time declared that "All men are equal and free"? Should not those who humiliated her be brought to justice? (3) If she actually suffered all of this and exclaimed some sentences which were wrong, should not she be examined for psychological trauma afflicted on her which made her say so? Or she should be sent to gallows and finally be hanged? (4) What about the cleric Qari Salam who is the main force behind this case and who actually never was witness to it? What about the principal of "Shahadah"? Islam is so careful about prosecution and emphasizes so much on careful scrutiny of evidence and yet here we are putting one to her death bed based on a case registered by someone who actually never saw it happening? My single most significant question is to the cleric that he was given the knowledge of our faith and yet he so arrogantly used it to get publicity and satisfy his bigot lust for human blood? Did he feel no fear in committing such a crime in the name of our peaceful religion? and (5) My last question is to us...We, the followers of the Holy Prophet (may all my generations be sacrificed for his honor) who was so tolerant that he forgave those who insulted him, mocked him, tortured him, threw stones at him, martyred his dearest among the family and made life a living hell for his and his companions for 23 years. fought bloody wars against him and made evil plans against him. Yet, the only words uttered by our Holy prophet were of peace and forgiveness...both in times of sorrow ad well as in the times of victory. We call ourselves Muslims and yet this is how we follow the practices of our holy prophet?
As I said earlier that I am no witness to the events and neither am I any religious scholar to comment on such matters. I believe that Aasia Bibi should be punished if she actually committed this crime in true state of mind and we have correct evidence in this matter both from our Islamic and well as national judicial point of view. But (and this is a big bit) if whatever has come into media is true, should not we take a closer look at what we, the Muslims and the Pakistanis have actually become? I am not someone who advocated repeal of Blasphemy Law. If someone has actually committed blasphemy, one should be punished. Not just blasphemy against our prophet and our religious symbols but against all other prophets and their symbols and believing in all prophets is part of our faith. But the use and mode of application of this law needs strong reviews. But most of all, as a nation, as an Ummah, we need to take control of our religion in our own hands. We need to go back and study the Holy Quran and the life of our holy prophet again and try to follow those teachings. We have made enough mockery of ourselves and pained those noble souls as much as the crusaders and bigots of other religions have pained the. Because, we have become just like them. If the 14 centuries history of Islam tells us something...it is that Islam never spread through forced retaliations and forced conversions. It only spread through the message and practices of our holy Prophet. Is it time for us to do that?
Post Script: A very thought provoking article by Fasi Zaka for all of you to read and ponder some more is linked below. Please read it too...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What never got published when it was supposed to be...laisser la joie de nos enfants à nous

Prelude: I wrote this blog before heading off for my long due vacations and wanted to share my thoughts with my friends...yet due to state of affairs which we are accustomed to in Pakistan....technology didn't let me publish it throughout vacations...so here it is now...just as a reminder..
Sure...Time are tough....Streets are no more safe....There is a lot of stress....We are gonna be taxed even more...Children don't listen to anymore....and Elders don't understand anything anymore....There is bad television and even worse movies coming out...Life is not easy....But hey when was it easy????...and when did you opt for it cuz of it being easy????

So before going on my vacations of this festive season let me remind you of somethings which are still beautiful...Winter and fall are setting in...Leaves are about to fall from trees...A warm cup of tea or coffee might be waiting for you....Your children, your parents and all their smiles and tensions which are such a treasure of your lives...These pathetic politicians whom we can't bear for a minute but cant live without watching their idiot moves everyday...That totally psycho kind of anchor whom you love and hate at the same time...The evening, the mornings, the nights....Life was never easy but gosh do we have anything better than life at THE MOMENT for us to cherish?
So on the eve of my vacations to start as I look forward to be with my family for a few precious days...Be safe, be happy and be precious for all that matters...Whoever you are and whatever religion you practice and whatever part of this beautiful earth you inhibit...enjoy these days...take yourself for a ride...laugh....grab some of your long anticipated books and DVDs and devour them..Listen to your elders for those few precious pieces of wisdom which are due on you for this whole long year.....take your wife and children for a stroll...listen to music...and PRAY...pray to thank whatever is bestowed on you and pray to beg for whatever is lacking...Pray for safety and betterment of yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your country...and also pray for us living in this absolutely beautiful, loving, hospitable and yet troubled part of your earth...PAKISTAN...
Enjoy...laisser la joie de nos enfants à nous

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remembering Humphrey Watts: Father of Capability Maturity Model and a Man of "Outrageous Commitment"

Humphrey Watts, the founder of Capability Maturity Model (CMM) at Software Engineering Institute, CMU, died on 28th October 2010. The following are excerpts from a memorial article that appeared on the site of Software Engineering Institute in his memory....

"When Watts Humphrey arrived at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in 1986, he made what he called an “outrageous commitment to change the world of software engineering.”
By all accounts, he succeeded.
During his tenure at the SEI, he established the Software Process Program, led development of the Software Capability Maturity Model, and introduced the Software Process Assessment and Software Capability Evaluation methods. These later became the basis for the development of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), a framework of software engineering best practices that has been adopted by thousands or organizations throughout the world. Humphrey also led the development of the Personal Software Process (PSP) and the Team Software Process (TSP). In 2005 Humphrey received the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States to America’s leading innovators.
Humphrey, 83, died Thursday, October 28, 2010 at his home in Sarasota, Florida.   
“Watts Humphrey was one of the icons of software engineering--one of a handful of engineers like Barry Boehm, Fred Brooks, and Vic Basili who have helped define this young field," said SEI director and CEO Dr. Paul Nielsen.  "Watts brought engineering to software engineering.  His work has had immeasurable impact on the global software community, tirelessly urging the community to emphasize quality, measurement, and performance."

Known as the “Father of Software Quality” Humphrey dedicated the majority of his career to addressing problems in software development including schedule delays, cost increases, performance problems, and defects. 
“He was a wonderful leader and a wonderful man. He set forth an energizing goal and an inspiring mission that we all wanted to be a part of,” said Anita Carleton, director of the SEI’s Software Engineering Process Management (SEPM) Program, who was initially hired by Humphrey. “He was my lifelong mentor and my boss.” 
When he arrived at the SEI, Humphrey worked to clarify that process. 
“Changing the world of anything is an outrageous personal commitment. That’s what makes it outrageous. I felt it needed to be done. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, and I wanted an environment where I could work with folks and do that,” Humphrey explained in the 2010 interview.
Larry Druffel, SEI director and CEO from 1986 to 1996, said that when Humphrey arrived at the SEI, he came with a vision based on his work at IBM; software could be managed by process.
“We all understood the importance of things like version control, configuration management and methodology, but I don’t think anyone knew how to put those into a transferable form,” Druffel said. “Not everybody thought that it was a good idea at the time, but he was persistent, and he was proven right. It could have died easily after several iterations. There were enough people out there criticizing it. But he stayed with it and he made it work.”
Working with a team, Humphrey identified characteristics of best practices in software engineering that began to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the Software Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and, eventually, CMMI.
Druffel nominated Humphrey to be the first ever SEI Fellow, a designation awarded to people who have made an outstanding commitment to the work of the SEI, and who continue to advise SEI leadership on key issues.
“After we named him fellow, I said ‘Watts, you can work on anything that you want to.’ He said ‘I’ve always believed we can provide statistical control to what the individual software engineer does,’” Druffel explained. "

Remembering him for his ingenious, insight, and his passion to develop excellent software...A very heartfelt farewell to the great Watts...

Breaking News: Another Air tragedy strikes Pakistan

According to latest unconfirmed reports, a plane has crashed in the industrial hub of Pakistan, Karachi with at least 12 casualties. The plane was carrying employees of a private oil company when it crashed after reporting engine failures. The details are coming as yet.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PCB considering legal action against tabloid

They say some never understand and there is a fair amount of truth to it. But let us not hesitate in appreciating the doggedness with which PCB is hell bent on following the SUN newspaper and its allegations about spot fixing in third ODI of Pak-England series. Ejaz Butt had to do a lot of face saving afetr he accused ICC and ECB of trying to defame Pakistan's cricket, he is again ready to plunge after getting a clearance from ICC. This time PCB is considering legal action again the newspaper who tried to play the role of "whistle blower". Well, for SUN, it will not be a new story as they fought a bitter case against another Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan, and lost. Let us see what happens this time if the legal wranglings start. The detailed news is given below....
PCB considering legal action against tabloid

Monday, October 25, 2010

Major Geoffrey Langlands gets honored from his motherland at last

Remembering the often ignored Pakistanis at the start of this week, first with Agha Hassan Abedi and now with Major Geoffrey Langlands, we continue with offer efforts to bring hope in often hopeless scenarios being painted around us...
Mr. Geoffrey Langlands
Geoffrey Langlands was a young man fond of studies but IInd world war threw him right in the middle of the action and he was posted in the part of India which now makes Pakistan in 1944. He fell in a sort of charm with this land and stayed back after war. Stayed back even when British left subcontinent at the time of independence/partition in 1947. Even when most of his countrymen were leaving for England or opting for better prospects in India, he decided to live amongst us.
And he stayed all through this time...he stayed like a loyal patriotic Pakistani imparting quality knowledge to young minds of Pakistani students at various schools of repute such as Aitchison College. He taught to several of Pakistani bright minds who were destined to write a few chapters in our national history down the road. Even after retirement from Aitchison College, he not only stayed but went to head a cadet college in Razmak, Waziristan. After that, he thought of a novel way to contribute towards Pakistan. He went to one of the most difficult areas of Pakistan, Chitral and opened a school of such high quality that became an envy of several established ones "Langlands School and College".
Langlands School
His life has not been easy though. He was kidnapped by tribesmen, advised by one ruler to go back to England, lost his dear ones and suffered heart stroke. But he is staying put. At 93, he is still running his college. He is no doubt looking for a replacement so that he may lead a retired life but who can blame him at the age of 93. He has done much more than 3 people of his caliber might have done combined. But unless and until, he finds a suitable replacement, he is not giving up. A true embodiment to our great Quaid's words "work, work and work"
Soon his achievements will be celebrated with a reception at the British High Commission in Islamabad, including a presentation to mark his elevation to Companion of the Order of St Michael and St. George in the overseas honors list this year. None deserved it more than him.
We salute you sir Geoffrey Langlands for your continuous and devoted commitment to our nation and knowledge. We are a better nation because of you. We hope you find an appropriate replacement for yourself very soon though it is very difficult to find someone of matching commitment and devotion.Your retirement home in Aitchison College awaits you and we pray for your long life, beautiful memories and continuous achievements.

Pakistan’s forgotten hero – Agha Hasan Abedi

Guest article by Samir Anwar Butt

Agha was one of the finest minds the country has ever produced, an exemplary patriot and a legendary banker. In the mess that exists today, the youth of Pakistan desperately needs inspiring personalities to look up to. I cannot think of a better person to quote. He proved that politics is not the only form of service to the nation. He suffered various scandals towards the end of his life, but none can deny his contributions towards building a stronger Pakistan. It is a shame we let our youth forget a man like Agha Hasan Abedi.

Thousands graduate every year from FAST National University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute. Only a handful of those proud degree holders know who laid the foundations of these prestigious institutes. It was one man’s vision that delivered tremendously to Pakistan’s development.

Agha started his banking career from Habib Bank in the late 1940’s and enjoyed instant promotions. He went on to join the United Bank Ltd (UBL) in 1959 and shot through the ranks again. Under his leadership, UBL changed the banking culture in Pakistan and it became the second largest bank in the country. But this is just a small highlight of his résumé.

When banks in Pakistan were nationalized in 1972, Agha went on to start the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). He persuaded the Arabs to invest into this bank, which turned into one of the largest banks in the world, spreading its influence through offices in 72 countries around the world. It employed some 16, 000 people and Agha made sure that a majority of the employees were Pakistani nationals. Such was his spirit towards his homeland. Over 80% of the top executives of the bank were Pakistani. BCCI’s influence went beyond everyone’s expectations. It became a big player throughout the world and was expanding at a great pace, making BCCI a dominant force worldwide. Hence, it was decided that it was time for the BCCI to go. BCCI was accused of funding Pakistan’s nuclear program, Palestinian fighters, money launder and various other charges. Agha became a wanted man internationally. Pakistan’s government gave him full protection and refused to hand him over. Agha was maligned in the international media and the bank was alleged to have links with international intelligence agencies. It was blurred in all the mystery and torn apart.

The focus of this article is to bring Agha Sahabs contributions to Pakistan in the limelight. His contribution is of such magnitude that it is safe to say he shaped the modern Pakistan. Pakistan’s banking industry is often considered extremely competent. Most emerging banks in the Middle East are using expertise from Pakistan to set up their banking and financial sectors. If we dig to the roots of this accomplishment, it was Agha Hasan who deserves all the credit. BCCI trained thousands of Pakistanis to become successful banking professionals. The stable structure and modern infrastructure of banking in Pakistan comes from Agha.

Agha was a visionary. He introduced computer science in Pakistan when few knew what it meant. He donated Rs. 100 million to form the BCCI Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) in 1980 to promote computer science in Pakistan. The year 2000 saw this foundation create FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Pakistan’s premier multi-campus university with campuses in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. Moreover, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) was also a brainchild of the same man. Both these schools have produced tons of scientists and engineers that are contributing heavily towards Pakistan’s economy.

Agha was a businessman, who genuinely believed that an individual’s goal should be to help the poor. His great achievements can be proved by the fact that his philanthropic activities are bearing fruits even today, well over a decade after his death. Yet, most of the information about him on the Internet projects him as a corrupt banker only. His contributions towards Pakistan are often overlooked and ignored.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Washington Post against Pak Media, America against Extra Judicial killings, New political storms

The government seems gloating over its two new victories. The government got a very favorable ruling from Supreme Court of Pakistan (although, I doubt it had anything to do with capability of lawyers hired by government and more to do with able judiciary take due cognizance of existing state of affairs). Secondly, during strategic dialogue, government functionaries and army officials were treated with a rare treat in the form of brief meeting with President of USA, Barack Obama (I fear some of the delegates are not going to wash their hands for long lest the American charm might wash away...lolz no pun intended)Today, in our last blog for this week we present you with not just one but three emerging scenarios.
So, a wake up call is needed for fools like me who have a tendency to feel elated over such trivial matters. So, the three emerging news of interest, I shall briefly summarize:
Caution Needed
1. The Washington Post  has come up with a very scathing attack on Pakistani media. Seems like shenanigans of media are finally driving its ardent supporters away. The post was particularly critical of role played by Jang group of newspapers and GEO television. I am quite afraid that media through its over the top coverage of SC proceedings on Thursday has further marginalized itself. I think, a real soul searching by media is critically needed. You can read the detailed report on following URL:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/21/AR2010102106159.html
 
2. Despite all the euphoria over strategic dialogue, America has reportedly denied several facilities to some units of Pakistan army which are reportedly involved in extra judicial killings in Swat and Waziristan agencies. I guess it is one of the most severe rebuke to the only organized institution of Pakistan (whetehr we like it or not) and reminds me of several reports that I read about the military operation undertaken against then east Pakistan (now Bangldesh). It is very important for us in Pakistan and also in Army (in my humble opinion) to take this matter quite seriously. Otherwise, I guess, the forced bent upon undermining the sovereignty of Pakistan are agin out to achieve their goals. These acts, if actually committed are highly deplorable and should be investigated and punished in the strictest professional manner. The detailed news can be read at:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101022/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_pakistan_aid;_ylt=AntP.y3hjSwbRwE77p1K7tqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNkMXNoaXJvBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMDIyL3VzX3VzX3Bha2lzdGFuX2FpZARjY29kZQNyYW5kb20EY3BvcwMxBHBvcwMyBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawN1c2hhbHRzYWlkdG8-
3. Indians are at it again. According to Times of India, America has once again asked to know details of Sino-Pak nuclear arrangements and I guess this cat is not going to get back into its bag that easily. In the coming days, pressure is going to be more intense and perhaps, we may see a flurry of events in this regard as well....The news reports can be read at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-asks-for-Pak-China-nuke-arrangement-details/articleshow/6792300.cms




So a very happy weekend to all of you and you may be blessed in everything about your life.

Ray Ozzie Chief Software Architect departs from Microsoft

The departure of Ray Ozzie was long anticipated. The timing is curious enough for me though...He is a software engineer of great talent and foresight. Before joining Microsoft, Ray has two notable products to his credit. One, Lotus Notes which was purchased by IBM somewhere around 1995. It has a lot of following even now yet its true potential was never realized. Second was Groove, which was purchased by Microsoft along with Ray himself. Groove was later assimilated in MS Sharepoint technology which was released to users of later versions of MS Office (such as office 2007). Ray has been with microsoft since 2005.
Are they gonna miss you?
Yet, interesting for me is the way, Ozzie is being hotly debated in the technology circles. He has a fair share of devotees and hostiles amongs the community so it is not uncommon to see swords being drawn in favor or against him. For me his departure from microsoft presents two gloomy scenarios for future:
1. Ray Ozzie has been a great proponent of cloud computing and has been predicting the ultimate rise of cloud computing for a very long time. In fact Sharepoint always had a strong group of people in Microsoft devoted fanatically to the idea of cloud computing. As a consequence, Microsoft under his vision has delivered a fairly impressive portfolio of cloud-based offerings. On the consumer side, Microsoft now has a full range of Windows Live services, and it’s done an impressive job of moving Exchange and SharePoint to hosted services that aren’t just for enterprises anymore. Yet, all these achievements cant gloss over the stark failure that Ray had due to his lack of vision. And today, with his departure, the future of cloud based applications from Microsoft is also in doubt.
2. The knowledge of software architecture and its relevance has also been thrown into question. With the emergent phenomenon of end user programming and cloud, the question has been present there for a very long time whether, organizations need actual software architects anymore? Today more and more services are lacking any integral underlying architecture and instead are becoming more and more capable of evolving themselves according to user's demands.With the departure of Ray from Microsoft and no replacement being announced in his seat, it seems like Microsoft has answered in affirmative regarding software architecture becoming gradually obsolete. A sad tale of affairs indeed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Books to Read on this weekend: A hundred Years of Solitude and Udaas Naslein

Today was a blank day...with nothing to do and so much on mind, I finally have decided to dedicate the remaining days of this week to book reading...and the books I am going to revisit this week are "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez and "Udaas Naslein" by Abdullah Hussain. I read both of these books about a decade ago and the effect that both of these had on me still fascinates me. I am in no position to write any kind of review on any of these master pieces. Suffice to say is my suggestion to go grab acopy of both and enjoy your weekend.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update: Dawn News; Younis Khan returns to national squad

DAWN.COM | Cricket | Younis Khan meets Ijaz Butt, returns to national squad

Breaking News: Younis Khan expected to make a comeback as soon as UAE tour

Pakistan never ceases to surprise. Now PCB has apparrantly though of calling Younis Khan out of wilderness and into the main squad as early as UAE tour. As the news report emerging notably from Cricinfo, PCB has resolved its differences and after a lengthy meeting between Younis and Ejaz Butt, all matters have been settled.
While thanking heaven for settling of these "matters", the manner of settling is still quite questionable to me. Is it so that a person as capable as former skipper will be out of squad and then suddenly into the squad only due to not holding/holding of on meeting with PCB chairman? I believed Pakistan was a nation of 20th century and aristocracy was a matter of past. Seems like I was wrong once again. Detailed news report as given by cricinfo is following:

"The long-running battle between Younis Khan and the Pakistan board has finally been resolved, after a meeting between the former captain and Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman. Younis has, according to board officials, been cleared and is expected to return to the side, possibly as soon as the series against South Africa in the UAE later this month.
Board officials familiar with the meeting told ESPNcricinfo that the meeting took place on Wednesday morning and that all outstanding issues were resolved amicably. A resolution had been probable since the board sent a letter to Younis asking him to meet the chairman. Younis responded positively, telling reporters in Lahore he was keen to meet and play again for Pakistan.
Younis' return could be hastened by the pullout from the ODI squad of Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf has not been training over the last two days at the camp at Gaddafi Stadium and has a grade 2 abductor muscle tear. Mohsin Khan, the chief selector, is expected to make an announcement related to this at 4pm PST."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: An obituary


President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: May 29, 1940-October 20, 2010
There are a thousand ways of looking at any politician who has lived in this wilderness for so long as did Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari. Former president of Pakistan, Former PPP stalwart, one of the most competent civil servants of Pakistan, a shrewd and thinking politician, an excellent orator and a companion in of Late Benazir Bhutto in the time of trial of Zia regime are a few hallmarks of his illustrious political career. This is not to say that he was an example of everything that embodied good. He had his share of weaknesses. He was mainly responsible for the downfall of second government of Late Benazir Bhutto which he orchestrated along with military, judiciary and elements of opposition. He was also found along the side of another military regime under General Pervez Musharraf and supported that regime with all his might. A very powerful feudal lord who is often accused of blocking the path of education and better living for those dwelling under his control. So Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari was a man of thousand colors and here at second perspective But we are second perspective and we don't follow the traditional line. That's why, today, we shall remember him for those colors which made him and Pakistan proud...a president who practiced austerity, a man who could present Pakistan's case with such a masterly skill of oratory that everyone was forced to take notice, a man who defied military for 11 years and who was one of the closest to erstwhile democratic workers such as Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan...May your soul be blessed Mr. President.

Shock of 2010: Apple's profit surges 70 percent

The recession is not over yet...the rows of unemployed are ever increasing...Yellow notes (as they are commonly referred to forms of unemployment) are piling up. Yet strangely technology firms are faring better and better. First the GOOGLE announced its results, then came the profits announcements from IBM Corp. and now Apple's profits are announced to surge by a whopping whopping 70% reaching around 24 billion dollars. Seems like technology firms are not only making smart products but also making smart business moves. With Google moving into automobiles, IBM discarding PC operations and Apple focusing more on IPhone and giving less to ITablet, the product orientation is also changing. And above all, the predictions by STEVE JOBS about Android Products being DOA...Dead on Arrival....The future is exciting for technology wars folks...enjoy the read at:
Apple's profit surges 70 percent, topping IBM's results | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas Business News





Monday, October 18, 2010

ICET 2010: October 18-19, FAST-NU, Islamabad


IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies 2010 (ICET 2010) is being held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 18-19, 2010. The conference is being organized by FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NUCES) under the umbrella of IEEE Islamabad chapter. The papers published in the conference proceedings will be searchable through IEEE Xplore ®.
IEEE ICET 2010 conference is the 6th of its series, being held every year. ICET is an advanced technical conference, covering various disciplines under IEEE’s domain. The conference aims to have research presentations by researchers from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds. It also includes a series of tutorials by domain experts enabling participants to learn about the latest trends in various technologies.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Software Engineering Institute: The place that gave us CMM and CMMI has new program director

Anita Carleton
The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) recently named Anita Carleton director of its Software Engineering Process Management (SEPM) Program. As director of the SEPM Program, Carleton will oversee the SEI's software process and measurement initiatives, which include the internationally recognized Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) framework, which helps organizations increase the maturity of their processes to improve long-term business performance, and the Team Software Process (TSP), a software engineering method designed to yield high-quality software and high-performance teams. The link given below:

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute Names New Program Director

Missing people of Pakistan: An explosive coverage by Guernica Magazine on its celebration of 6 years of serious publishing

"Missing People of Pakistan" is a story of pain and agony that caused several heads to roll, a government to be nearly toppled, a whole supreme court of a nation to be held hostage and a whole new breed to terrorism to emerge on the false pretext of revenge. And yet, those around whom the story was spun, never returned home.
Cuba
There were different hues and colors of these missing people...Rebels craving for their rights from Baluchistan, Journalists and free minds from fiercely independent PakhtunKhawah, God fearing but absolutely sociable youth from Punjab, Human rights activists and trade unionists from Sindh...they came in all colors. But all of them had two things in common...a desire to be free and a hate for imperialism (whether in the hands of dictator, USA or Taliban)...And this caused their disappearance. No'one knows who took them away...Taliban, America or our own capable intelligence agencies.
and Pakistan
The missing people will haunt forever. Many of us might well be familiar with "Ladies in White" of Cuba who are protesting for their missing ones since early 70. I believe as long as the conscience of Pakistani nation is alive, we shall also keep protesting for "our missing people". It is better for all concerned to take heed and get the whole nation out of this agony... The report is at the following link

http://www.guernicamag.com/features/2096/garcia_10_15_10/


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End Year Blues...2010

So the year is approaching to its end finally...and it is freezing too...A dry freezing December to cap all the warmth and buzz of 2010. A strange cap indeed. But the year has been phenomenal to say the least for me and those surrounding me. Phenomenal but not always positively phenomenal. So a recap of year from my lenses.
Professionally year was quite good. A lot of friends graduated with their PhD degrees in the year. Universities gave a very warm reception to all of us. Almost everyone is engaged in some kind of positive work to contribute towards betterment of the nation. Mercifully none of us proved to be greedy to choose greener pastures and stayed back home happily. We got some wonderful colleagues and students who will be our pride for all our lives. First of our friends headed for his next big achievement as Dr. Arfan Jaffar is now pursuing his Post-Doc in South Korea.
The relationships started scattering with elders, colleagues and friends drifting away and away as their careers and lives led them to different paths. As the tide turns smoother and we look back at how 2010 started and ended...the nostalgia become immense to bear. Lives became less about interaction and more about inter-connectivity. That is funny indeed...
Nationally, the chaos prevailed which has become our hallmark. Here in Pakistan, we have started to wonder if we will be able to survive one non-chaotic, routine and peaceful day? As mentioned 3 months ago, time to bet on Pakistani politics is on and is gaining momentum. More and more fault lines are appearing with mainstream political establishments losing ground, meaningless populist activism taking hold and corruption becoming norm rather than exception.
On the front of arts, Coke Studio this year was disappointment for many but in my case, it was again instrumental in reinventing Arif Lohar, Tina Sani and Karavan...I will be uploading my three best recordings of this year's Coke Studio on 31st December so keep looking for that. And yes...SYMT was an encouraging find of the year in my personal opinion. Internationally, music also seemed in a sort of hibernation to me as no major attractions appeared at least for me there. About theater and cinema...the least said the better. Except for Inception, I don't think anything worth mentioning appeared. On local front Dabangg was noteworthy as it changed the whole equation despite its totally idiotic script and more idiotic acting. Times are becoming more and more strange.
And the biggest of all was not Mark Zuckerberg and the face book...It was also not the oil spills of America and Eurofreeze...It was also not the commonwealth games in India or Football world cup in South Africa...In my opinion, the year will be remembered for all times to come as the one that changed our whole perception about media, diplomacy and LEAKS. WIKILEAKS is perhaps the most significant event of 2010. And as the decade is coming to an end... I will rate WIKILEAKS aming the five greatest things of this past decade. Perhaps very close to the history changing event of 9/11 bombings of WTC that happened in 2001. Julian Assange and WIKILEAKS have made 2010 an immortal year in history.
So the year is coming to its end...decade is coming to its end and it is a freezing December. Enjoy the year end blues. Enjoy the top 10 lists of everything in 2010 published by Time magazine on the following link (Courtesy Time Magazine) :


 





Thursday, December 23, 2010

My only leader...My Jinnah on his 134th Birthday

Who else can be a leader like him?
I like to think that I am a history buff...and frankly I am someone who gets fascinated by a lot of people quite frequently. I adore a lot of people but there is a strange twist to this fact as well. When it comes to leadership then there are only two men from twentieth century whom I consider leader in true sense. And quite strangely, both exploded on their respective horizons at the same time. Churchill and Jinnah are those two names. 
Churchill becuase he was too ordinary a man to fascinate and inspire the imagination of his people and those of other allied nations in second world war. He seemed to have no charsima, no distinction, no honors. He seemed like a minnow among his allies and enemies...the likes of Roosevelt, Stalin, Kai Shek, Hitler, Missoulini etc. They were the names, inspiration, fascination of their respective nations while Churchill was seemingly  just a fat drunkard who knew nothing about how to fight a war. Yet, it was only this one fat drunkard, who designed the whole war. Who made all the schemes and arrangements. It was he who kept on traveling in broken planes, freezing, but determined to win the war in which he so much believed. He seemed like fighting a war which he could not even inspire his nation for. Yet he was determined, unafraid and brave enough to believe and finally made everyone else believe in him. He is still under rated yet he was the true architect in my opinion.
And there was Jinnah. A man so charismatic, so enlightened, so educated that he seemed totally lost to his nation. His nation could never relate to the manners and language Jinnah used. He talked but noone amongst his constituency understood. He behaved totally opposite to how his people behaved. He lived an alien life and followed alien traditions. He was no Gnadhi, Sabhash Chandar Bose, AbulKalama Azad etc. He never believed in political manoeuvrings that were norm of his times. He never violated law despite he being totally against it. He never went to jail to become popular. He despised favors and never tolerated any personal endorsements. A strict disciplinarian who was always mocked by his contemporaries for his principles. He also had a war in which there was no hope for him. But just like Churchill, he overcame all of this and won his war. The war that he fought was not for himself. He was diagnosed with last stage of cancer while he was in the middle of his fight yet noone knew it till his death. He was not fighting it for riches and claims. He was already amongst the richest and most affluent and most charming amongst Indian elite. He was also not fighting it just for those who call themselves Pakistanis today. He was fighting it for all of those who believed that oppressed have a right to speak and make their decisions. He was fighting it for all of those who believed in rule of law and its abidance. He was fighting it for all of those who believed in power of people. He was fighting this war for those who believed that all men and women have equal rights which need to be respected. He was a leader of all nations and all people of this world. The sad fact is that we Pakistanis have proved to be so inept inheritors of such legacy that instead of spreading his message properly, we have even made him an alien in our own society. A democratic nation based on principles of equality, respect and tolerance as visualized by him has been transformed into crowd ruled by mob and military, intolerant and ignorant, corrupted by greed and blinded by hate towards each other. It is sad fact of this day when I am trying to remember who my leader actually was.
Jinnah (or Qiaid-E-Azam), the great leader as we call him was great because he was not pretentious. He was great because he was honest and always spoke truth. He was leader because he stood with what was right. He was inspiration because he thought of himself as a human with weaknesses. He was never proud of his weaknesses but he never attempted to gloss over them. He never pretended to be demigod with all the solutions in his pocket. He was loved because he loved everyone...irrespective of his status, creed, race or religion. He was respected because he respected everyone...friends and enemies alike. Jinnah was a Muslim, a constitutionalist, a democrat, a pragmatist, a realist in the true sense of words. I remember him today, on his birthday as my only leader of twentieth century. May his teachings, his legacy and his traits spread amongst all the mankind and his soul rest in peace till eternity.
A few of his landmark pictures...an asset left with us to cherish and remember...








Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dr. Aftab A. Maroof...my Teacher, my Mentor, my Role Model

Dr. Aftab A. Maroof
Dr. Aftab A. Maroof is not just my teacher and my mentor. He has been so to undoubtedly thousands of young and not so young (like me) who frequented the corridors of National University, FAST, Islamabad campus. He has been associated with this institute for approximately fifteen years now and still is. He has also been director of this campus for past ten years. And today, this is the point of this blog. Some such news are circulating that Dr. Waseem Ikram (another most distinguished and very kind of my teachers) has replaced him as director FAST, Islamabad campus. If it is true, it is the most fitting conclusion of a very traumatic week for me when I am greatly missing the company of a few of my friends and a few of my most respected teachers. It seems odd to listen from someone as old (and supposedly mature) a person as myself but the fact is that for me, it is difficult to visualize FAST, Islamabad campus without thinking of Dr. Aftab sitting in director's office. Just the thought of his presence in that prestigious seat filled our hearts with comfort. Respected Dr. was the sole force behind fulfilling the dream of FAST Islamabad campus. He literally built it with his affection, love and toil. Dr. Aftab oversaw the conceptualization, formation and maturity of a very successful PhD program at FAST. He truly was among the three architects of PhD program (the other two being my most respected sir Dr. Rauf Baig and sir Dr. Anwar M. Mirza). So many battles have been won under his guidance, so much wisdom has been learnt through his words. So much respect has been earned because of his teachings.
Dr. Aftab will always be my role model. And role model of many others like me. His humbleness, his humility, his grace, his wisdom and his straightforwardness...wishing all the very best to new director FAST, our most respectable Dr. Waseem Ikram and bidding a very sad farewell to Dr. Aftab as director (thanks god he will be with us in Islamabad...).
Lastly to sir Dr. Aftab...I hope now we shall have ample time to sit together and discuss so many things under the sun about which, we, your students are curious and about which, only you have answers...I still regret my chance of traveling with you when you went on that famous trip to India. May you live long and happy amongst us Dr. Aftab...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What do you do when start losing hold of people who cared about you?

  These days are quite tense days for me on a personal note and I wished to record it as many others may relate to it as well. The dilemma is quite strange but equally difficult to grasp. I am talking about losing hold of people who are quite well and healthy and happy in their lives and who are as best my friends and family now as they always were. Yet the feeling of losing hold of them is quite intense.
I have always been considered as someone who has been blessed with great company. I have wonderful family and some of the greatest people as peers and friends anyone can ever imagine. I was blessed with greatest of my memories in past ten years. These have been my most blessed years of life. More so because I had my family, my teachers and my friends around me. The thought of ever being without such great companions never struck me....
But then, it started happening...the family started to take its logical course of action as siblings started to move out as they grew in age. Younger sisters and brothers who grew up before me started looking so mature that at one time it pleased and at another it saddened with the realization that another thread with my own childhood has collapsed. We, were children a few years back and we were becoming parents now. The feeling was both of accomplishment and of nostalgia.
And now, another transition is taking place. The problem for me is that transitions are so quick that my mind is unable to grasp it. The circle of peers and friends that we (and I in particular) cultivated with so much love started to disperse. In the words of another friend "Our swarm has started whirling". It started with departure of our respected teachers, Dr. Anwar M. Mirza and Dr. Rauf Baig departing for Saudi Arabia in quick succesion. It was followed by departure of Dr. Amjad to Lahore which suddenly started feeling like another country. And now, Dr. Arfan Jaffar is about to leave for South Korea. Despite wishing all of these great and lovely comrades every happiness in the world, somewhere inside my heart, I wish the time to roll back and some how grab all of them again within my circle of loved ones.

So, a very warm happy birthday to myself which is looking so lonely and so sad this year...without my very loved friends and well wishers around me...A personal nostalgia

Sunday, November 28, 2010

For abida Parveen and Shameem Aaraa...Dhoondo ge Agar

Two icons of Pakistan are lying in hospital and my heart doesn't want to write more obituaries. Our own national treasure, legendary singer Abida Parveen had a heart problem in the early hours of Saturday morning and was admitted to hospital where mercifully her condition is stable now. And our beautiful screen icon, Shameem Aara of 60s is also critically ill. Please pray for health of both of our national assets. Presenting here one of the famous works of Abida Parveen...Dhoondo ge Agar Mulkon Mulkon (Search the whole world and you won't be able to find another like us)...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Presenting you work of The Cheapmunks....Say My Name/O Humdum

The Cheapmunks: Looking for more from them

The Cheapmunks are an amazing amazing band of two cousins Suhana and Mehak with great voices and great potential at fusion. One of their recent recording is making rounds on Internet in which they have fusioned O Humdum by A. R. Rahman and Say My Name by Destiny's Child. The fusion is mesmerisingly beautiful and their voices are a treat to listen. Accompanied by some wonderful background music, here is another living proof that talent in Pakistan is never gonna end. The question still remains whether there is an institutionalized effort to project and nurture this talent into a national asset? Listen, Watch and Enjoy....

Pakistan Hockey team wins ASIAD making us all proud...after 20 painful years

Resolute like their nation

It was perhaps 1994 and the event was champions trophy, when Pakistan hockey actually did something good for Pakistani nation. 1994 was a fateful year for Pakistan hockey...much like the reign of great Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb...just as Aurangzeb became the last emperor in the history of India to bring almost all of India under his reign but also proved to be the one who was the last established Emperor of India. In 1994, Pakistan was the proud winner of World Cup in Sydney and Champions Trophy in Lahore but this was also the year after which nation just saw with barren eyes for any major success in international field hockey events. Hockey, which is national support of Pakistan. 1994 gave us the last of our hockey legends as well...Shahbaz Ahmad Senior.
1990 was the last time, Pakistan hockey team won Asian Games hockey tournaments. By that time, Pakistan hockey team had won this on 8 occasions (that roughly means Asian hockey champion for 32 out of 43 years of its existence till then). Such was the excellence, mastery and glory of our national hockey team. 
Proud like their nation
And then, there was 2010, another fateful year which the depths of hopelessness experienced when team finished 12th out of 12 teams in Hockey world and the joy experienced today when...after a lapse of 20 long agonizing years, the Pakistan Hockey Team made the whole nation proud again by winning gold in Asian Games Hockey event. May the success always be yours by the grace of the almighty and may this even prove watershed for bringing more and more laurels for a nation starved for good news. A proud capable nation that needs more and more for the effort that it carries every day. In my opinion, this title should be in the name of proud and resilient nation that dwells in this part of the world called OUR PAKISTAN...A happy Asian games hockey triumph for all of Pakistan...

Aasia Bibi: Some questions that need answers now...


Aasia Bibi: Needs fair trial...NOT sympathy
Where is our nation headed to? This is a question that I kept hearing all through my childhood and adolescence and the answer has not yet been found. The only difference is that previously the question used to come from religious zealots and we felt secure that mercifully, we are living in a tolerant society built on high Islamic moral grounds of justice and equality along with the beautiful foundation principles of tolerance laid down by our father of the nation. We never realized that the QUESTION is slowly creating an army of faithful sympathizers who will one day wreck havoc with the basic fiber of our society. I realized this on the eve of tragic razing of Babari Mosque when soon after I witnessed that we were actually doing the same by demolishing Hindu temples, Sick shrines and christian churches as a symbol of revenge against what Hindu fanatics did in India. On that day, I lost something very precious and perhaps many others did experience the same loss. My generation did not experience the traumatic moments of 1971 when East Pakistan was lost so this was all the Pakistan we had. On that day, I felt like I had lost my Pakistan as what we were doing with Hindus and Christians here was exactly what Hindu zealots were doing to Muslims in India. So where was the difference? Why did we create Pakistan if we wanted to become same bigots?
And the rot never ceased. Attacks on Ahmadi minority, Christians and their worship places, Hindus only increased. And the started coming the news of forced conversions from interior sindh and Punjab. The Talibanization was accomplishing its agenda. Soon these matters ceased to be news. People like me and my fellows cried ourselves hoarse saying this is not the way of our beautiful religion which established itself on the principles of Tolerance, forgiveness, wisdom and intelligence. But, we all realized that we were fighting an already lost battle. A battle that minds like us had lost even before it began because of our surrendering mentality.
Is this the way to spread our faith?
But why am I talking about Aasia Bibi case. The details are yet sketchy but somethings have emerged thanks to investigations made by people like Rauf Klasra and Fasi Zaka. It is not because the case has got a huge publicity. I am writing because when I read the case of Aasia Bibi, it makes me realize she is being treated just the way we as a nation are being treated. She mirrors our state of affairs. Ridiculed because of their beliefs, prosecuted and judged without bothering to get any evidence, sentenced to a life of misery....it is how our nation is treated and it is how Aasia Bibi is being treated.
I don't know whether Aasia Bibi committed the crime or not and I am no jurist or religious scholar to venture my opinion in this regard. Yet, there are some questions in my mind which need answer. Questions like (1) If she was being forced to convert and she was not willing to? Was this not a crime? Our religion is very strict about forced conversions. Islam always spread through good teachings and practices. Were those trying to forcefully convert her not liable to be arrested and prosecuted? (2) If she was being subjected to derogatory comments because of her faith and subjected to humiliation? Was not it also a crime in the eyes of our judicial system and Islam which for the first time declared that "All men are equal and free"? Should not those who humiliated her be brought to justice? (3) If she actually suffered all of this and exclaimed some sentences which were wrong, should not she be examined for psychological trauma afflicted on her which made her say so? Or she should be sent to gallows and finally be hanged? (4) What about the cleric Qari Salam who is the main force behind this case and who actually never was witness to it? What about the principal of "Shahadah"? Islam is so careful about prosecution and emphasizes so much on careful scrutiny of evidence and yet here we are putting one to her death bed based on a case registered by someone who actually never saw it happening? My single most significant question is to the cleric that he was given the knowledge of our faith and yet he so arrogantly used it to get publicity and satisfy his bigot lust for human blood? Did he feel no fear in committing such a crime in the name of our peaceful religion? and (5) My last question is to us...We, the followers of the Holy Prophet (may all my generations be sacrificed for his honor) who was so tolerant that he forgave those who insulted him, mocked him, tortured him, threw stones at him, martyred his dearest among the family and made life a living hell for his and his companions for 23 years. fought bloody wars against him and made evil plans against him. Yet, the only words uttered by our Holy prophet were of peace and forgiveness...both in times of sorrow ad well as in the times of victory. We call ourselves Muslims and yet this is how we follow the practices of our holy prophet?
As I said earlier that I am no witness to the events and neither am I any religious scholar to comment on such matters. I believe that Aasia Bibi should be punished if she actually committed this crime in true state of mind and we have correct evidence in this matter both from our Islamic and well as national judicial point of view. But (and this is a big bit) if whatever has come into media is true, should not we take a closer look at what we, the Muslims and the Pakistanis have actually become? I am not someone who advocated repeal of Blasphemy Law. If someone has actually committed blasphemy, one should be punished. Not just blasphemy against our prophet and our religious symbols but against all other prophets and their symbols and believing in all prophets is part of our faith. But the use and mode of application of this law needs strong reviews. But most of all, as a nation, as an Ummah, we need to take control of our religion in our own hands. We need to go back and study the Holy Quran and the life of our holy prophet again and try to follow those teachings. We have made enough mockery of ourselves and pained those noble souls as much as the crusaders and bigots of other religions have pained the. Because, we have become just like them. If the 14 centuries history of Islam tells us something...it is that Islam never spread through forced retaliations and forced conversions. It only spread through the message and practices of our holy Prophet. Is it time for us to do that?
Post Script: A very thought provoking article by Fasi Zaka for all of you to read and ponder some more is linked below. Please read it too...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What never got published when it was supposed to be...laisser la joie de nos enfants à nous

Prelude: I wrote this blog before heading off for my long due vacations and wanted to share my thoughts with my friends...yet due to state of affairs which we are accustomed to in Pakistan....technology didn't let me publish it throughout vacations...so here it is now...just as a reminder..
Sure...Time are tough....Streets are no more safe....There is a lot of stress....We are gonna be taxed even more...Children don't listen to anymore....and Elders don't understand anything anymore....There is bad television and even worse movies coming out...Life is not easy....But hey when was it easy????...and when did you opt for it cuz of it being easy????

So before going on my vacations of this festive season let me remind you of somethings which are still beautiful...Winter and fall are setting in...Leaves are about to fall from trees...A warm cup of tea or coffee might be waiting for you....Your children, your parents and all their smiles and tensions which are such a treasure of your lives...These pathetic politicians whom we can't bear for a minute but cant live without watching their idiot moves everyday...That totally psycho kind of anchor whom you love and hate at the same time...The evening, the mornings, the nights....Life was never easy but gosh do we have anything better than life at THE MOMENT for us to cherish?
So on the eve of my vacations to start as I look forward to be with my family for a few precious days...Be safe, be happy and be precious for all that matters...Whoever you are and whatever religion you practice and whatever part of this beautiful earth you inhibit...enjoy these days...take yourself for a ride...laugh....grab some of your long anticipated books and DVDs and devour them..Listen to your elders for those few precious pieces of wisdom which are due on you for this whole long year.....take your wife and children for a stroll...listen to music...and PRAY...pray to thank whatever is bestowed on you and pray to beg for whatever is lacking...Pray for safety and betterment of yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your country...and also pray for us living in this absolutely beautiful, loving, hospitable and yet troubled part of your earth...PAKISTAN...
Enjoy...laisser la joie de nos enfants à nous

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remembering Humphrey Watts: Father of Capability Maturity Model and a Man of "Outrageous Commitment"

Humphrey Watts, the founder of Capability Maturity Model (CMM) at Software Engineering Institute, CMU, died on 28th October 2010. The following are excerpts from a memorial article that appeared on the site of Software Engineering Institute in his memory....

"When Watts Humphrey arrived at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in 1986, he made what he called an “outrageous commitment to change the world of software engineering.”
By all accounts, he succeeded.
During his tenure at the SEI, he established the Software Process Program, led development of the Software Capability Maturity Model, and introduced the Software Process Assessment and Software Capability Evaluation methods. These later became the basis for the development of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), a framework of software engineering best practices that has been adopted by thousands or organizations throughout the world. Humphrey also led the development of the Personal Software Process (PSP) and the Team Software Process (TSP). In 2005 Humphrey received the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States to America’s leading innovators.
Humphrey, 83, died Thursday, October 28, 2010 at his home in Sarasota, Florida.   
“Watts Humphrey was one of the icons of software engineering--one of a handful of engineers like Barry Boehm, Fred Brooks, and Vic Basili who have helped define this young field," said SEI director and CEO Dr. Paul Nielsen.  "Watts brought engineering to software engineering.  His work has had immeasurable impact on the global software community, tirelessly urging the community to emphasize quality, measurement, and performance."

Known as the “Father of Software Quality” Humphrey dedicated the majority of his career to addressing problems in software development including schedule delays, cost increases, performance problems, and defects. 
“He was a wonderful leader and a wonderful man. He set forth an energizing goal and an inspiring mission that we all wanted to be a part of,” said Anita Carleton, director of the SEI’s Software Engineering Process Management (SEPM) Program, who was initially hired by Humphrey. “He was my lifelong mentor and my boss.” 
When he arrived at the SEI, Humphrey worked to clarify that process. 
“Changing the world of anything is an outrageous personal commitment. That’s what makes it outrageous. I felt it needed to be done. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, and I wanted an environment where I could work with folks and do that,” Humphrey explained in the 2010 interview.
Larry Druffel, SEI director and CEO from 1986 to 1996, said that when Humphrey arrived at the SEI, he came with a vision based on his work at IBM; software could be managed by process.
“We all understood the importance of things like version control, configuration management and methodology, but I don’t think anyone knew how to put those into a transferable form,” Druffel said. “Not everybody thought that it was a good idea at the time, but he was persistent, and he was proven right. It could have died easily after several iterations. There were enough people out there criticizing it. But he stayed with it and he made it work.”
Working with a team, Humphrey identified characteristics of best practices in software engineering that began to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the Software Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and, eventually, CMMI.
Druffel nominated Humphrey to be the first ever SEI Fellow, a designation awarded to people who have made an outstanding commitment to the work of the SEI, and who continue to advise SEI leadership on key issues.
“After we named him fellow, I said ‘Watts, you can work on anything that you want to.’ He said ‘I’ve always believed we can provide statistical control to what the individual software engineer does,’” Druffel explained. "

Remembering him for his ingenious, insight, and his passion to develop excellent software...A very heartfelt farewell to the great Watts...

Breaking News: Another Air tragedy strikes Pakistan

According to latest unconfirmed reports, a plane has crashed in the industrial hub of Pakistan, Karachi with at least 12 casualties. The plane was carrying employees of a private oil company when it crashed after reporting engine failures. The details are coming as yet.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PCB considering legal action against tabloid

They say some never understand and there is a fair amount of truth to it. But let us not hesitate in appreciating the doggedness with which PCB is hell bent on following the SUN newspaper and its allegations about spot fixing in third ODI of Pak-England series. Ejaz Butt had to do a lot of face saving afetr he accused ICC and ECB of trying to defame Pakistan's cricket, he is again ready to plunge after getting a clearance from ICC. This time PCB is considering legal action again the newspaper who tried to play the role of "whistle blower". Well, for SUN, it will not be a new story as they fought a bitter case against another Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan, and lost. Let us see what happens this time if the legal wranglings start. The detailed news is given below....
PCB considering legal action against tabloid

Monday, October 25, 2010

Major Geoffrey Langlands gets honored from his motherland at last

Remembering the often ignored Pakistanis at the start of this week, first with Agha Hassan Abedi and now with Major Geoffrey Langlands, we continue with offer efforts to bring hope in often hopeless scenarios being painted around us...
Mr. Geoffrey Langlands
Geoffrey Langlands was a young man fond of studies but IInd world war threw him right in the middle of the action and he was posted in the part of India which now makes Pakistan in 1944. He fell in a sort of charm with this land and stayed back after war. Stayed back even when British left subcontinent at the time of independence/partition in 1947. Even when most of his countrymen were leaving for England or opting for better prospects in India, he decided to live amongst us.
And he stayed all through this time...he stayed like a loyal patriotic Pakistani imparting quality knowledge to young minds of Pakistani students at various schools of repute such as Aitchison College. He taught to several of Pakistani bright minds who were destined to write a few chapters in our national history down the road. Even after retirement from Aitchison College, he not only stayed but went to head a cadet college in Razmak, Waziristan. After that, he thought of a novel way to contribute towards Pakistan. He went to one of the most difficult areas of Pakistan, Chitral and opened a school of such high quality that became an envy of several established ones "Langlands School and College".
Langlands School
His life has not been easy though. He was kidnapped by tribesmen, advised by one ruler to go back to England, lost his dear ones and suffered heart stroke. But he is staying put. At 93, he is still running his college. He is no doubt looking for a replacement so that he may lead a retired life but who can blame him at the age of 93. He has done much more than 3 people of his caliber might have done combined. But unless and until, he finds a suitable replacement, he is not giving up. A true embodiment to our great Quaid's words "work, work and work"
Soon his achievements will be celebrated with a reception at the British High Commission in Islamabad, including a presentation to mark his elevation to Companion of the Order of St Michael and St. George in the overseas honors list this year. None deserved it more than him.
We salute you sir Geoffrey Langlands for your continuous and devoted commitment to our nation and knowledge. We are a better nation because of you. We hope you find an appropriate replacement for yourself very soon though it is very difficult to find someone of matching commitment and devotion.Your retirement home in Aitchison College awaits you and we pray for your long life, beautiful memories and continuous achievements.

Pakistan’s forgotten hero – Agha Hasan Abedi

Guest article by Samir Anwar Butt

Agha was one of the finest minds the country has ever produced, an exemplary patriot and a legendary banker. In the mess that exists today, the youth of Pakistan desperately needs inspiring personalities to look up to. I cannot think of a better person to quote. He proved that politics is not the only form of service to the nation. He suffered various scandals towards the end of his life, but none can deny his contributions towards building a stronger Pakistan. It is a shame we let our youth forget a man like Agha Hasan Abedi.

Thousands graduate every year from FAST National University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute. Only a handful of those proud degree holders know who laid the foundations of these prestigious institutes. It was one man’s vision that delivered tremendously to Pakistan’s development.

Agha started his banking career from Habib Bank in the late 1940’s and enjoyed instant promotions. He went on to join the United Bank Ltd (UBL) in 1959 and shot through the ranks again. Under his leadership, UBL changed the banking culture in Pakistan and it became the second largest bank in the country. But this is just a small highlight of his résumé.

When banks in Pakistan were nationalized in 1972, Agha went on to start the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). He persuaded the Arabs to invest into this bank, which turned into one of the largest banks in the world, spreading its influence through offices in 72 countries around the world. It employed some 16, 000 people and Agha made sure that a majority of the employees were Pakistani nationals. Such was his spirit towards his homeland. Over 80% of the top executives of the bank were Pakistani. BCCI’s influence went beyond everyone’s expectations. It became a big player throughout the world and was expanding at a great pace, making BCCI a dominant force worldwide. Hence, it was decided that it was time for the BCCI to go. BCCI was accused of funding Pakistan’s nuclear program, Palestinian fighters, money launder and various other charges. Agha became a wanted man internationally. Pakistan’s government gave him full protection and refused to hand him over. Agha was maligned in the international media and the bank was alleged to have links with international intelligence agencies. It was blurred in all the mystery and torn apart.

The focus of this article is to bring Agha Sahabs contributions to Pakistan in the limelight. His contribution is of such magnitude that it is safe to say he shaped the modern Pakistan. Pakistan’s banking industry is often considered extremely competent. Most emerging banks in the Middle East are using expertise from Pakistan to set up their banking and financial sectors. If we dig to the roots of this accomplishment, it was Agha Hasan who deserves all the credit. BCCI trained thousands of Pakistanis to become successful banking professionals. The stable structure and modern infrastructure of banking in Pakistan comes from Agha.

Agha was a visionary. He introduced computer science in Pakistan when few knew what it meant. He donated Rs. 100 million to form the BCCI Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) in 1980 to promote computer science in Pakistan. The year 2000 saw this foundation create FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Pakistan’s premier multi-campus university with campuses in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. Moreover, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) was also a brainchild of the same man. Both these schools have produced tons of scientists and engineers that are contributing heavily towards Pakistan’s economy.

Agha was a businessman, who genuinely believed that an individual’s goal should be to help the poor. His great achievements can be proved by the fact that his philanthropic activities are bearing fruits even today, well over a decade after his death. Yet, most of the information about him on the Internet projects him as a corrupt banker only. His contributions towards Pakistan are often overlooked and ignored.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Washington Post against Pak Media, America against Extra Judicial killings, New political storms

The government seems gloating over its two new victories. The government got a very favorable ruling from Supreme Court of Pakistan (although, I doubt it had anything to do with capability of lawyers hired by government and more to do with able judiciary take due cognizance of existing state of affairs). Secondly, during strategic dialogue, government functionaries and army officials were treated with a rare treat in the form of brief meeting with President of USA, Barack Obama (I fear some of the delegates are not going to wash their hands for long lest the American charm might wash away...lolz no pun intended)Today, in our last blog for this week we present you with not just one but three emerging scenarios.
So, a wake up call is needed for fools like me who have a tendency to feel elated over such trivial matters. So, the three emerging news of interest, I shall briefly summarize:
Caution Needed
1. The Washington Post  has come up with a very scathing attack on Pakistani media. Seems like shenanigans of media are finally driving its ardent supporters away. The post was particularly critical of role played by Jang group of newspapers and GEO television. I am quite afraid that media through its over the top coverage of SC proceedings on Thursday has further marginalized itself. I think, a real soul searching by media is critically needed. You can read the detailed report on following URL:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/21/AR2010102106159.html
 
2. Despite all the euphoria over strategic dialogue, America has reportedly denied several facilities to some units of Pakistan army which are reportedly involved in extra judicial killings in Swat and Waziristan agencies. I guess it is one of the most severe rebuke to the only organized institution of Pakistan (whetehr we like it or not) and reminds me of several reports that I read about the military operation undertaken against then east Pakistan (now Bangldesh). It is very important for us in Pakistan and also in Army (in my humble opinion) to take this matter quite seriously. Otherwise, I guess, the forced bent upon undermining the sovereignty of Pakistan are agin out to achieve their goals. These acts, if actually committed are highly deplorable and should be investigated and punished in the strictest professional manner. The detailed news can be read at:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101022/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_pakistan_aid;_ylt=AntP.y3hjSwbRwE77p1K7tqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNkMXNoaXJvBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMDIyL3VzX3VzX3Bha2lzdGFuX2FpZARjY29kZQNyYW5kb20EY3BvcwMxBHBvcwMyBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawN1c2hhbHRzYWlkdG8-
3. Indians are at it again. According to Times of India, America has once again asked to know details of Sino-Pak nuclear arrangements and I guess this cat is not going to get back into its bag that easily. In the coming days, pressure is going to be more intense and perhaps, we may see a flurry of events in this regard as well....The news reports can be read at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-asks-for-Pak-China-nuke-arrangement-details/articleshow/6792300.cms




So a very happy weekend to all of you and you may be blessed in everything about your life.

Ray Ozzie Chief Software Architect departs from Microsoft

The departure of Ray Ozzie was long anticipated. The timing is curious enough for me though...He is a software engineer of great talent and foresight. Before joining Microsoft, Ray has two notable products to his credit. One, Lotus Notes which was purchased by IBM somewhere around 1995. It has a lot of following even now yet its true potential was never realized. Second was Groove, which was purchased by Microsoft along with Ray himself. Groove was later assimilated in MS Sharepoint technology which was released to users of later versions of MS Office (such as office 2007). Ray has been with microsoft since 2005.
Are they gonna miss you?
Yet, interesting for me is the way, Ozzie is being hotly debated in the technology circles. He has a fair share of devotees and hostiles amongs the community so it is not uncommon to see swords being drawn in favor or against him. For me his departure from microsoft presents two gloomy scenarios for future:
1. Ray Ozzie has been a great proponent of cloud computing and has been predicting the ultimate rise of cloud computing for a very long time. In fact Sharepoint always had a strong group of people in Microsoft devoted fanatically to the idea of cloud computing. As a consequence, Microsoft under his vision has delivered a fairly impressive portfolio of cloud-based offerings. On the consumer side, Microsoft now has a full range of Windows Live services, and it’s done an impressive job of moving Exchange and SharePoint to hosted services that aren’t just for enterprises anymore. Yet, all these achievements cant gloss over the stark failure that Ray had due to his lack of vision. And today, with his departure, the future of cloud based applications from Microsoft is also in doubt.
2. The knowledge of software architecture and its relevance has also been thrown into question. With the emergent phenomenon of end user programming and cloud, the question has been present there for a very long time whether, organizations need actual software architects anymore? Today more and more services are lacking any integral underlying architecture and instead are becoming more and more capable of evolving themselves according to user's demands.With the departure of Ray from Microsoft and no replacement being announced in his seat, it seems like Microsoft has answered in affirmative regarding software architecture becoming gradually obsolete. A sad tale of affairs indeed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Books to Read on this weekend: A hundred Years of Solitude and Udaas Naslein

Today was a blank day...with nothing to do and so much on mind, I finally have decided to dedicate the remaining days of this week to book reading...and the books I am going to revisit this week are "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez and "Udaas Naslein" by Abdullah Hussain. I read both of these books about a decade ago and the effect that both of these had on me still fascinates me. I am in no position to write any kind of review on any of these master pieces. Suffice to say is my suggestion to go grab acopy of both and enjoy your weekend.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update: Dawn News; Younis Khan returns to national squad

DAWN.COM | Cricket | Younis Khan meets Ijaz Butt, returns to national squad

Breaking News: Younis Khan expected to make a comeback as soon as UAE tour

Pakistan never ceases to surprise. Now PCB has apparrantly though of calling Younis Khan out of wilderness and into the main squad as early as UAE tour. As the news report emerging notably from Cricinfo, PCB has resolved its differences and after a lengthy meeting between Younis and Ejaz Butt, all matters have been settled.
While thanking heaven for settling of these "matters", the manner of settling is still quite questionable to me. Is it so that a person as capable as former skipper will be out of squad and then suddenly into the squad only due to not holding/holding of on meeting with PCB chairman? I believed Pakistan was a nation of 20th century and aristocracy was a matter of past. Seems like I was wrong once again. Detailed news report as given by cricinfo is following:

"The long-running battle between Younis Khan and the Pakistan board has finally been resolved, after a meeting between the former captain and Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman. Younis has, according to board officials, been cleared and is expected to return to the side, possibly as soon as the series against South Africa in the UAE later this month.
Board officials familiar with the meeting told ESPNcricinfo that the meeting took place on Wednesday morning and that all outstanding issues were resolved amicably. A resolution had been probable since the board sent a letter to Younis asking him to meet the chairman. Younis responded positively, telling reporters in Lahore he was keen to meet and play again for Pakistan.
Younis' return could be hastened by the pullout from the ODI squad of Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf has not been training over the last two days at the camp at Gaddafi Stadium and has a grade 2 abductor muscle tear. Mohsin Khan, the chief selector, is expected to make an announcement related to this at 4pm PST."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: An obituary


President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: May 29, 1940-October 20, 2010
There are a thousand ways of looking at any politician who has lived in this wilderness for so long as did Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari. Former president of Pakistan, Former PPP stalwart, one of the most competent civil servants of Pakistan, a shrewd and thinking politician, an excellent orator and a companion in of Late Benazir Bhutto in the time of trial of Zia regime are a few hallmarks of his illustrious political career. This is not to say that he was an example of everything that embodied good. He had his share of weaknesses. He was mainly responsible for the downfall of second government of Late Benazir Bhutto which he orchestrated along with military, judiciary and elements of opposition. He was also found along the side of another military regime under General Pervez Musharraf and supported that regime with all his might. A very powerful feudal lord who is often accused of blocking the path of education and better living for those dwelling under his control. So Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari was a man of thousand colors and here at second perspective But we are second perspective and we don't follow the traditional line. That's why, today, we shall remember him for those colors which made him and Pakistan proud...a president who practiced austerity, a man who could present Pakistan's case with such a masterly skill of oratory that everyone was forced to take notice, a man who defied military for 11 years and who was one of the closest to erstwhile democratic workers such as Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan...May your soul be blessed Mr. President.

Shock of 2010: Apple's profit surges 70 percent

The recession is not over yet...the rows of unemployed are ever increasing...Yellow notes (as they are commonly referred to forms of unemployment) are piling up. Yet strangely technology firms are faring better and better. First the GOOGLE announced its results, then came the profits announcements from IBM Corp. and now Apple's profits are announced to surge by a whopping whopping 70% reaching around 24 billion dollars. Seems like technology firms are not only making smart products but also making smart business moves. With Google moving into automobiles, IBM discarding PC operations and Apple focusing more on IPhone and giving less to ITablet, the product orientation is also changing. And above all, the predictions by STEVE JOBS about Android Products being DOA...Dead on Arrival....The future is exciting for technology wars folks...enjoy the read at:
Apple's profit surges 70 percent, topping IBM's results | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas Business News





Monday, October 18, 2010

ICET 2010: October 18-19, FAST-NU, Islamabad


IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies 2010 (ICET 2010) is being held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 18-19, 2010. The conference is being organized by FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NUCES) under the umbrella of IEEE Islamabad chapter. The papers published in the conference proceedings will be searchable through IEEE Xplore ®.
IEEE ICET 2010 conference is the 6th of its series, being held every year. ICET is an advanced technical conference, covering various disciplines under IEEE’s domain. The conference aims to have research presentations by researchers from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds. It also includes a series of tutorials by domain experts enabling participants to learn about the latest trends in various technologies.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Software Engineering Institute: The place that gave us CMM and CMMI has new program director

Anita Carleton
The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) recently named Anita Carleton director of its Software Engineering Process Management (SEPM) Program. As director of the SEPM Program, Carleton will oversee the SEI's software process and measurement initiatives, which include the internationally recognized Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) framework, which helps organizations increase the maturity of their processes to improve long-term business performance, and the Team Software Process (TSP), a software engineering method designed to yield high-quality software and high-performance teams. The link given below:

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute Names New Program Director

Missing people of Pakistan: An explosive coverage by Guernica Magazine on its celebration of 6 years of serious publishing

"Missing People of Pakistan" is a story of pain and agony that caused several heads to roll, a government to be nearly toppled, a whole supreme court of a nation to be held hostage and a whole new breed to terrorism to emerge on the false pretext of revenge. And yet, those around whom the story was spun, never returned home.
Cuba
There were different hues and colors of these missing people...Rebels craving for their rights from Baluchistan, Journalists and free minds from fiercely independent PakhtunKhawah, God fearing but absolutely sociable youth from Punjab, Human rights activists and trade unionists from Sindh...they came in all colors. But all of them had two things in common...a desire to be free and a hate for imperialism (whether in the hands of dictator, USA or Taliban)...And this caused their disappearance. No'one knows who took them away...Taliban, America or our own capable intelligence agencies.
and Pakistan
The missing people will haunt forever. Many of us might well be familiar with "Ladies in White" of Cuba who are protesting for their missing ones since early 70. I believe as long as the conscience of Pakistani nation is alive, we shall also keep protesting for "our missing people". It is better for all concerned to take heed and get the whole nation out of this agony... The report is at the following link

http://www.guernicamag.com/features/2096/garcia_10_15_10/


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