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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 27, 2012, , links to this post

Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan

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Abbas Khan is a celebrated writer of our time. His other published work includes three novels and seven short story books (Zakham Gawah Hain, Tu Aur Tu and Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada (novels), Dharti Binam Akash, Tensikh-e-Insan, Qalam, Kursi Aur Wardi, Us Adalat Men, Jism Ka Johar (short story books) and Reza Reza Keenat and Pal Pal (afsancha -- shortest story books) and a philosophical compilation Din Mein Charagh.

Living now in serene and rustic environment of Bhakar, Abbas Khan has completed another shortest story book Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan. I have the pleasure to translate the book into English while the Urdu version goes to the press. Stay tuned, I will soon start posting the short stories at Logic is Variable.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 27, 2012, , links to this post

How bad your workspace can be?

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Contest Factory for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have spent most of my life in office. Honest! Not only that, I have had a chance to set up a few from scratch while raising new outfits during my color service. That is why I know a thing or two about offices and office environment and how it helps to unleash creativity and productivity. But Contest Factory Pimp My Cube Contest idea is new and unique for me. They are ‘searching for the worst, most pathetic and messy cubicle or office that may have bad furniture, old technology, messy, unorganized, noisy, dirty, dark and or any other attributes that make it a bad space to work in.'

Have a look at your own office. Do you qualify to enter? It is simple. Just upload a video showing your work place and describe a bit as to why you think it is ‘horrible’ and yes you can be a little creative as to why Contest Factory should ‘Pimp’ your cube. Then ask your family and friends (what are online communities for?) to vote for your video. See the site for more details. And if you get most votes, best (really worst) video and most compelling story you may be in for a total grand prize value of approximately $1200. You can spend that money to update your office space with one of three prize packages including new high end computer system, new desk, chair and decorations and new entertainment package with high end stereo or espresso machine.

I suggest everyone should enter to win. Hurry because the contest is ending on Jan 31, 2012. It is fun and prize money is not bad either.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 27, 2012, , links to this post

Light Within

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012, , links to this post

Proud parents at Lahore School convocation 2012

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 24, 2012, , links to this post

Home

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Sajini Chandrasekera


Life is a miracle in this universe
And the engine of life is linkage
Water, air and nature are united
To make a perfect living sculpture

Earth is a miracle, while life remains a mystery
United by customs and rituals hindered down
And great adventure of life on earth
That every living being plays it's role

Humans shape the land with patience and devotion
Energy of sun captured by rays of clouds
Pocket of sunshine chase away the scars of drought
This has become the new magmare of time

The energy puts up a fantastic show
The days seems to be no more than reflection
Nights have turned the city into starry lights
The pieces of stars buried in it's own creation

We haven't understood what nature provides
So enjoy the circle of life that's given to us
Giving birth to sparkle cities and many more
Not understanding that earth cant take it any more

We are destroying a cycle of life that's given to us
We have forgotten that resources are scares
Factory ships emptying the oceans day by day
And once mighty rivers no longer flaws today

Hunger spreading more and more
Effecting all human beings
Population is most catastrophic
Increasing the thirst for energy

Little by little we have upset the earth's balance
Nature is already being disrupted
Our eco systems don't have borders
Every thing has become unstable

Change is ticking in this magnificent landscape
We have created a phenomena where we cannot control
All we have seen is a reflection of human behaviour
We have shape the earth to our image

So look around and see that we have very little time to change
The cost of our action is high above others
Every one pays their price without actively involved
And generations to come will have nothing left to loved

Let us be stronger than the soldiery selfishness
Lets built harmony between humans and nature
Lets be responsible for our every action
Lets care for the riches of our earth......

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 22, 2012, , links to this post

How to stay safe online when everyone is going to have a laptop

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Last evening (Jan 12, 2012), on the invitation of Google Country Representative Badar Khushnood, I was with the army of geeks from Lahore including Chief Minister Punjab Shahbas Sharif,  Jehan Ara (@P@sha), Umar Saif Usman Latif, Memokh, Saad and many more, in the spanking new Software Technology Park (346-B, Ferozpur Road, Lahore) to learn a thing or two about one of the most critical subjects these days: how to stay safe online.

Government of Punjab (PITB), Google Pakistan and P@sha are doing series of sessions about how to make sure that your online data stay safe while moving around in cyber space. Badar Khushnoon is a man in the real know of the matter and talked about hardware and software security, web security and much more. I thought ‘I know it all’ but to my surprise, there is so much more than normal computer users like me think is enough. Thanks Badar for this very interactive and useful session.

Best thing is that governments are now realizing, though a bit late, the importance of IT and the power of blogging and social media. Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister Punjab (who is personally at Facebook now) was there and he also let us in on his IT vision including how he responds to people on facebook in the wee hours of the morning. Shahbaz Sharif also announced that the Government of Punjab is establishing a world-class IT University in Punjab in partnership with top universities in the world, including Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), USA and Middle-east Technical University (METU), Turkey. The university will be initially housed in the newly built Lahore Technology Park and will later move to a purpose-built campus in knowledge city in the heart of Lahore. This will usher in a new era of IT education, research and development and entrepreneurship in Pakistan.


Shahbaz Sharif also told the audience about his vision of laptop his government is offering to students. That reminded me of two initiatives (one laptop per child and $100 Laptop). What happened to those projects? Some geeks questions about the criteria for giving laptops but I personally strongly recommend laptop schemes. Go ahead Mr. CM, this will help in the long as well as short run.

At the end, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif also presented shields to Pakistan Blog Award 2011 winners.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 18, 2012, , links to this post

New domains

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Penetrating new IT domains appeared in Profit, Pakistan Today, Jan 11, 2012 issue.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is about to expand general Top Level Domaown names (gTLDs). The applications have already been invited from January 11, 2012 through April 11, 2012. During the first round, ICANN will accept only 500 applications, while the subsequent rounds will be limited to 400 applications. The gTLDs expansion program has the potential to add countless new names to the existing twenty one available top-level domains (.com, .net, .edu, .biz, .org) and over 100 suffices (.pk - Pakistan, .ly - Libya) by permitting brands, businesses, geographical regions and even individuals to apply for a virtually unlimited list of new gTLDs in different scripts including Arabic. It is expected that the first gTLDs will come online by 2013.

This news has initiated a debate amongst the various stakeholders since May 2008, when ICANN first came up with the idea of expanding gTLDs “to unleash the global human imagination. The decision to expand respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” says Rod Beckstrom, the CEO ICANN.

Businesses and governments are analyzing the impact of proposed expansion of gTLDs on the internet with caution and concern. The focus for many brand owners has been to argue against the expansion of the name space, or at least to postpone it till the internet really needs such a change and till a more efficient brand right protection system is in place. But ICANN is going ahead with the program. A global awareness campaign to educate the world about the expected changes in the in the cyber space is in the air and will be launched anytime.

The decisions will vary from industry to industry and business to business but one thing is for sure; new gTLDs are not for everyone. The option is costly; $185,000 initial application fee plus $25,000 a year to run the registry. If someone else wants the same domain, bidding will determine the winner. And another fee will crop up when a registry is setting up secondary domains on a top-level domain. One wonders what might be the rationale for the proposed fee structure by ICANN - a nonprofit entity. The price tag alone leaves small and medium sized businesses out of the big name games.

Owning a “.sports” TLD for anyone in the industry manufacturing sports goods sounds like a good idea provided the business can afford outbidding other sports goods manufacturers and the fee. The opening up of new gTLDs is certain to set off a wave of new activities on the internet domain space that could fundamentally change existing practices related to domain name use and search engine optimization, and more broadly impact internet based advertising, promotion and ecommerce. Unless it happens, no one can say how? Big businesses have already started research to judge the impact to their businesses of this impending change, and are reviewing the recently revised and published ICANN draft guidebook closely for insights. Some companies (like Canon) have already announced that they will apply for custom suffixes (.canon).

Biggest advantage to ask for a new gTLD is to have a key generic term in any industry. The new internet domain space may open the potential for new ideas to improve an online presence in the marketplace. It can also open new opportunities for communities, cities and regions who would like to have more powerful presence on the internet.

But who really needs a new gTLD? Analysts say that proposed gTLDs expansion will solve problems that do not exist. The current dot-com structure works fine as it is. The expansion of the gTLDs will only challenge existing online branding and brand protection and marketing strategies at all levels adding more noise. The businesses will feel forced to spend huge sums in fees to ICANN and legal firms in order to reserve names to protect their trademarks from cyber squatters who could use them for spam and criminal activities.

The only winner in this program seems ICANN that will reap millions in fees for domain names that are not needed in the first place and the United States that intends to retain control on the Web's critical naming system.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 11, 2012, , links to this post

Omelet Recipe'

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Owais Mughal

We proudly own a copy of Hafeez Inayatullah's famous book 'khaana pakaana' (cooking meals). At first we thought the book was written by a male author named Mr Hafeez who was breaking grounds in the field of culinary arts, but after reading the preface it dawned on us that author is infact a lady. She wrote the word 'raqma'(female writer) before her name and thats how we came to know that author is actually Ms Hafeez.

The book itself is great. It is an encyclopedia of recipes. There are 19 recipes of cooking chicken, 17 for rice dishes, 33 for 'qeema' (minced meat), 31 for regular meat, 26 for fish and the list goes on and on.

After the first edition of the book was published, a dejected single male complained to Ms Hafeez that her book doesn't tell him how to cook eggs. Ms Hafeez immediately paid heed to this important need of single population of the country and 2nd edition of the book now contains 11 priceless recipes on how to cook eggs. Below is an excerpt from the preface where Ms Hafeez explains the reasons of including egg recipes.
(1) Simple Omelet Number One:
To conserve space and to keep our readership's suspense intact I'll share with you only 2 out of 11 egg recipes. First one is titled: 'Simple Omelet Number One'. Points to be noted are underlined in Urdu text below. Ingredients include 2 big spoons full of oil besides the two eggs needed for the omelet. To beat the egg into omelet, author is instructing us to use a fork instead of a spoon. She has also used a word 'kaR-kaR-aayeN' which I've never heard in Urdu before. It means the oil needs to be heated until it starts sounding like 'kaR kaR aayeN aayeN' or just 'kaR kaR kaR kaR'. This is such a phoenitc invention of a word that I must say this book not only caters to ones stomach needs but also to linguistic thirst.
In the last line author gives us a choice to make this omelet in the shape of a fish by flip-flopping it continuously. Now this must be something special. I've never eaten an omelet shaped like a fish before. Enjoy :)

(2) Omelet Number Three:
The recipe' below is titled as 'Omelet Number Three'. Ingredients include a little bit of Soda, besides the 4 eggs needed for this type of omelet i.e. the Omelet number three.

Under recipe' instructions, the author asks us to 'Open the eggs'. Don't break them ok. Just carefully open them. Drain the egg white into a plate but make sure to keep the yolk inside the opened eggs. Now beat the egg-white so much that it turns into an unsettling foam. Make sure the foam is permanent and does not settle down. It should retain its foam texture even after the beating is stopped. Now add Soda (the one that is suitable to eat. none other please) to it and blah blah blah. The word 'kaR-kaR-aayeN' is used in this recipe' also.
The last couple of lines instruct us to try to make this omelet round as a ball and use low heat. As the heat will start going into the egg it will start getting rounder and rounder. If you want you can make 2 separate round omeletes by repeating the same recipe' 2 times. The last line reads that the resulting omelet will look very beautiful. Enjoy :)

Please feel free to share with us anyother great egg recipes that you may know. The End
Tags: Recipe, Society,

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 09, 2012, , links to this post

Google PageRank 2012

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No one is sure but the most likely dates for Google PageRank Updates for year 2012 are:

First Google PageRank 2012 Update: 30 Jan, 2012 – 2 Feb, 2012

Second Google PageRank 2012 Update: 30 Jun – 2 July, 2012

Third Google PageRank 2012 Update: 30 Sep – 2 Oct, 2012

Fourth Google  PageRank 2012 Update: 31 Dec – 3 Jan 2012

There may be some smaller PR updates in between.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 08, 2012, , links to this post

Hajj and Eid Greetings to All

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Adil Najam


Congratulations for the over 2 million Muslims - including the nearly 200,000 Pakistanis - who performed Hajj yesterday.


To me, the Hajj is an amazing and powerful symbol of equality and unity in a world distraught with frictions and factions.

It is not just a symbol of 'Muslim brotherhood' but of human oneness. It is not simply a connection - in its rituals and its meanings - amongst the Abrahamic faiths; it is also a spiritually moving and visually powerful symbol of the unity of all humankind. There are those who wish to reduce the meaning of the message to merely one religion, or even one sect. I, at least, have always found it a more universal message and moved by the symbolism of unity and harmony of all.


On this day, even as one reads comments on blogs such as this, reads the newspaper, or simply tunes into television news, one finds conversations that highlight differences: between rich and poor, East and West, 'gooras' and 'kaalas', between shias and sunnis, between ethnicities, between sects, between races, between political parties, between 'liberals' and 'mullahs', between 'us' and 'them'.

It seems that everywhere and always we are not just divided but we take pride in our divisions. Our language, our vocabulary, our thought processes are geared to highlight our differences with others. We take a perverse pride in these differences, whether we consider ourselves to be 'superior' to others or we believe ourselves to be victims of differentiation.

Today, as I see pictures of Hajj I am moved - as I always am - by the sea of humanity and the oneness of that humanity. Today, on what is Eid day for me here in Boston, I pray that the message we take is one of humility; that the feeling we have are of universal humanity and fraternity, and the vows we make are of peace and goodwill for all and everywhere.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 08, 2012, , links to this post

Wheels of Empire

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Download Wheels of Empire by Salman Rashid

Salman Rashid is clearly Pakistan’s most notable and erudite travel writer. His work is informed not only by deep insight but an even deeper love of his subject. A signature Salman piece welds impressive knowledge of geography, history, ethnography and ingenious and tradition with a writing style that quivers with life.


Salman Rashid is also an accomplished lensman with a sensitive eye for landscape photography that further enriches his travelogues.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 05, 2012, , links to this post

‘Blogocracy’: Tri-city UnConference Lahore Camp

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Pakistan blogosphere is growing fast. Thanks to the Second the Annual Pakistan Blog Awards and the series of tri-city UnConferences aimed to bring leadership to Pakistan’s New Media voices that the awareness is also growing. Pakistani bloggers now have a very loud voice in this din.

Latest, presentation of awards and UnConference session (last of the series ths year) held in Lahore on Jan 4, 2012 in FAST is a testimony to how blogs have become mainstream. In the UnConference, the group of able panelists, who seemed to be in know if the new opportunities being presented by social media - highlighted the role of blogs in all fields of human activities while most of the audience live streamed every thing discussed there. Here are my suggestions for effective and intelligent blogocracy (read democracy) in a very local context:
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 05, 2012, , links to this post

About

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S A J Shirazi is a Lahore based writer. His writing on diverse subjects appear in Pakistan Today, Dawn, the News, Nation, Spider, BootsnAll and other A list publications. Shirazi holds an MPA (University of the Punjab) and Linguistics (Russian Language from National University of Modern Languages) degrees and is working at one of the leading universities. He has authored two books (Izhar, Ret Pe Tehreer) and translated Din Mein Charagh by Abbas Khan into Light Within.
 
Okay, now that we've gotten that referring-to-myself-in-the-third-person part out of the way, here's the more human, less quantifiable description. I am trying to make sense of blogging and other, still new, forms of social media [Facebook, Twitter and more]. I'm always looking for friends. You can always contact me at sajshirazi@gmail.com. I also blog at Doodh Patti and Logic is Variable (and some more).

Updates: No, I am not trying to change the world. I am only changing myself!

Follow on Facebook, follow me on Twitter for much more.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 01, 2012, , links to this post


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