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20/11: The Orkut Experience

by Shane Leavy

Gaining notoriety recently when an Indian court served them notice over a hate campaign against India that featured on the social network service, the virtual community on the internet has hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis taking part in a vast array of discussions with people from around the world. Some of them though seem to be conveying the kind of image that may not be representative of the nation at large

orkut logo

Shortly after joining Orkut I posted a topic on the International Relations community for fun: imagine you were sent back in time to Germany in the 1920s and you bumped into a young Adolf Hitler. If you only had time to either kill him or let him go, what would you do?

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18/11: 2nd International Conference on Emerging Technologies 2006 (ICET 2006)

I recently attended the 2nd International Conference on Emerging Technologies (13th and 14th of November, 2006) where I met quite a few people, including but not limited to various UET Peshawar students and conference speakers.

icet 2006 logo

This has been the second international conference which I have attended as a volunteer organizer. I left Islamabad, for Peshawar, on Sunday the 12h of November and reached the UET Peshawar Engineering campus at around 5 PM. From there we proceeded to Peshawar Services Garrison Club where we got a general tour and some instructions regarding our tasks the next day. I enjoyed this conference a lot but the tiredness was something I could have done without.

There were three volunteers from my university and our accommodations were at the UET faculty hostels which were quite good. Furthermore, our hosts made us feel very much at home.

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11/11: Indian Electronic Voting Machine compared with Diebold (US Voting System)

Amongst all the hoopla over the US senate elections, I got an email which compares the electronic voting system of the US with that of India. I don't know how factual this information is but it makes for an interesting read.

Last few months have brought very serious discussions on the Net regarding the use of Electronic Voting, and the security of it. In the USA, the saga related to Diebold and its opposition is well known. I do not know the electoral process in the United States, but I attempt here to compare the Technology used by the Indian Election commission and the Diebold AccuVote system. I present here the Information I have about the Indian system, and the information about Diebold I got from the web.

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11/11: 11 Year Old Boy Genius

I just came across an article about an 11 year old boy from Pakistan who has completed his matriculation exams at such a young age. The article is below:

Eleven-year- old Mohammad Affan Yasin who studied at home because his poor parents could not afford to send him to school became the youngest student to pass matriculation exam last August.

His feat was recognised by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who received him on Thursday and awarded him Rs20,000 and announced that the government would finance his education up to B.A.

The young boy from Lahore is currently doing his I Com at a college in Lahore.

Affan, born on March 3, 1995, belongs to a family with modest income. He quit school after grade III due to the family's financial problems and did his matriculation as a private student in August 2006.

Affan told the prime minister that he wished to join the armed forces when he reaches the required age. He said he devoted eight to 10 hours daily to his studies, watched cricket occasionally and had other hobbies.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Affan had set an example for other children that "if you really put an effort and do your best, you can achieve your goals".

The prime minister congratulated his parents on encouraging him to pursue education. "Education is the most important asset for the young generation and only education can help them meet the challenges of the future and help them participate in the development of the country," he said.

The father of the boy appreciated the government's gesture in financing his son's college education. Affan has six brothers and sisters who are all studying. His father said he was doing his best to provide education to the whole family for their better future.


I was a bit surprised as to why I hadn't already heard of this news. It is a shame that the country's media hasn't given this news the attention it deserves. I would much rather hear about such achievements by brilliant Pakistanis than some monologue about the president or the prime minister going about their job.

This is indeed a great achievement by Mohammad Affan Yasin. It seems like a long time back when I went through O Levels and this brings back memories of studying; head bent over a book and reading the same line again and again until my eyes crossed out. The lad must have worked really hard to achieve this and I am proud of him for his hard work and devotion. We need more people like Mohammad Affan who work hard and succeed where others just sit back and lament the problems in the system.

I wish Mohammad Affan great success in his life.

08/11: DVD playback lacks audio

Sometimes, when trying to watch a DVD on your computer, you can see the video but there is no audio.

This has happened to me sometimes in the past after which I used the standard 're-install Windows' technique when it became too annoying. Recently, a friend of mine faced the same problem and in searching for the solution, I found one which might prove to be useful to others facing the same issue.

From what I have read, this is a common problem. The reason can be either of the following:

1 - You don't have the AC3 codec required to decode the audio part of the DVD,
2 - The application you are using isn't properly associating the required codec with the file type you are playing.

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08/11: FanFicAuthors.net Template for De-FFNet-izer

Due to the high quantity of fan fiction on fanfiction.net, commonly referred to as 'ff.net', it has become quite a popular site for fan fiction enthusiasts. There are plenty of fics there to look through, though the quality of the majority of them leaves quite a few things to be desired. Just so that you could archive your favorite fics for off-line reading and to safe guard against questionable fic deletion incidents at ff.net by the administration, Jon Rosebaugh created De-FFNet-izer; a tool to archive fics from ff.net on your PC. It is a useful tool which saves its users the time otherwise spent on manually saving each page. It is compatible with multiple platforms, including; Windows 95 to Windows XP and Mac OS X. Alternatives to this program are available for the Linux platform. The source is available under GNU GPL. You can download the program here.

Another popular fan fiction site is FanFicAuthors.net (a.k.a FFA.net) which has a very clean and nice look. I enjoy reading fics on FFA.net since the site is easy on the eyes and the fics are of a high quality. My appreciation for the look of FFA.net led me to make a FFA.net template for De-FFNetizer. Now you can enjoy reading ff.net fics in an FFA.net like environment.

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08/11: Saddam Hussein's death sentence

On the fifth of November, Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator, was sentenced to death by hanging. While I wasn't surprised by the verdict, I couldn't help but think about the timing of the verdict and the effect it will have on the currently ongoing elections in the US. This is no doubt a cheap move by President Bush to gain support, from the American public, which is diminishing day by day.

noose

I suppose I am not alone in thinking this. Many news sites have similar comments to this news. Even though Saddam deserves the harshest punishments possible, I don't consider the trial Saddam underwent to be fair or unbiased. The American interest and/or involvement in this trial needs no explanation. I would have much rather preferred that Saddam's trial was held under the International Court of Justice which would have reduced the American influence on the trial considerably.

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