Sajjad Zaidi's Blog
Friday 25th November 2005
Creative Commons License
I've been blogging for over 3 years now and have had my own website for even longer, yet have never cared about licensing issues related to my site or work. I didn't think it was very important and didn't have much interest in these issues anyway. Not even after attending a talk by Lawrence Lessig at a Tokyo university a few years back.
Licenses regarding electronic media or even free speech don't mean much in the aged Pakistani legal system, but the increasing traffic I'm getting prompted me to take this matter a bit more seriously. Was just going through the various Creative Commons licenses (which, by the way, remind me of the GNU GPL license that a lot of open source softwares use) and have decided to use one of them for this site.
The CC licenses are designed to promote free speech while protecting your rights and freedoms and you have a choice of different licenses that you can use. I chose the Attribution 2.5 license license which allows you to (in layman's terms):
- "copy, distribute, display, and perform the work"
- "make derivative works"
- "make commercial use of the work"
provided that the following conditions are met (again in layman's terms):
- "Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor."
- "For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work."
- "Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder."
For attribution, a simple mention of my name and a link to this site will suffice.
Wednesday 23rd November 2005
UN introduces 100 dollar laptop for the poor
The UN is planning on introducing a cheap and robust laptop for pupils in poorer nations which will cost very little and last much longer. It will use flash memory instead of a hard drive which should help extend its life a lot.
"The laptops are powered with a wind-up crank, have very low power consumption and will let children interact with each other while learning."
Big names, including Google are behind the project and it will use open-source software. Though the article doesn't mention it, I am pretty sure it will come with Linux as the operating system.
It's about time that something like this has happened. Though open source has spread to a number of places, both rich and poor, it hasn't seen mass acceptance yet and its full potential is yet to be utilized. A laptop like this should provide an opportunity for open source to grow even more.
Saturday 19th November 2005
Yes, I know. I'm a couple of years late to the party, but it's only now that I have really had a chance to look at del.icio.us and what it can do. Here is my del.icio.us page:http://del.icio.us/sajjadz
In a way, it does discourage me from blogging about other sites since I can just bookmark the site there with my own description, but it just means I am more likely to blog about my thoughts and ideas instead of regurgitating existing ones.
del.icio.us is cool. If you want to bookmark something, just click a button on your browser's toolbar and enter the description and keywords or "tags" that you think the page belongs to. Clicking 'save' will save the bookmark and bring you back to the page you were visiting.
You can also group tags into "bundles". For example, I have bundles such as "systems" containing the tags linux, networking etc., while another bundle "business" contains tags such as business and productivity.
There are many other features which I'll let you find out yourself. Definitely worth a look.
Friday 18th November 2005
Mr.Ito one of top 10 women
Japanese-born activist/entrepreneur/venture capitalist/fellow blogger Joi Ito has made it to the 10 Most Powerful Women in Blogging list.
"8. Joi Ito of Technorati (http://joi.ito.com ) has her hands in a lot of Web 2.0 companies, some you might not even know about yet. This makes her damn powerful. Often times the one you don't know that well is the most powerful. My personal favorite because she seems to help people get shit done."
Here is his response:http://joi.ito.com/archives/2005/11/12/i_made_the_10_most_powerful_women_in_blogging_list.html
Congratulations Joi. :)
Tuesday 15th November 2005
The closing window for quake victims
It's been just about a month and one week since the earthquake struck northern Pakistan. Long enough for people to start becoming desensitized and lose interest. The earlier failures in getting aid to the right people have also compounded this problem. But frankly, there is little ordinary people can do at this point since the areas accessible by road or a short hike have mostly already been covered.
At this point, it is mostly a matter of how efficiently the helicopters can transport aid, and they are doing that really well. From 7 o'clock sharp each morning, they can be heard flying from Islamabad airport and the flights continue throughout the day till sunset. Pairs of the twin-rotored Chinooks can be seen at virtually all times of the day, flying back and forth between Islamabad and the Kashmir region. As I saw on the BBC, they try to stay only for a few minutes in each village while the goods are unloaded and immediately fly back for more. In this way, they have provided the bulk of aid goods in the remote areas. This however, is an expensive flight. If I heard correctly, each Chinook costs about 14,000 pounds per hour to operate.
As of last night, the mild weather Islamabad was enjoying for the past couple of months suddenly took a cold turn. Even during the day, warm clothing was required to go outside and I think I saw frost in the morning. When the Capital's temperature suddenly drops like this, it is a sign of snow in the nearby mountainous areas. Areas like Murree or Muzaffarabad. I don't know how many people and places are still short of aid, but this could mark the end for most of them.
Thursday 10th November 2005
3 Years of Blogging
I just realized that this blog has been up for 3 years (in a shape that can be considered a blog) and the 3 year mark passed about 2 weeks ago. 25th October 2002 was my earliest recorded blog entry. Not surprising that I missed the birthday, considering the circumstances, but it does feel weird looking back at my earliest posts.
It's good to say that the blog has many more features than it used to, but there's still a lot missing. I'd really like to add categories and even modified the scripts to support them a few days back, but the feature will equire some testing before going live. Also need to change the RSS feed to 2.0 and a few changes that came to mind earlier, but which I can't recall now.
Since I'm using my own homegrown software, this is harder than it sounds. And whenever I sit down to work on it, I end up rewriting everything which gets nowhere. My best bet is probably to use the existing code and just add features to it and try to improve it along the way.
Any other suggestions welcome.
Friday 4th November 2005
Most Muslims around the world celebrated the Eid festival, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, yesterday. The new moon was sighted in Pakistan last night so we are celebrating it today.
The eve of Eid is quite special and large crowds of people can be seen everywhere, shopping and just enjoying with friends and family. We were out and noticed the crowd was much more than usual. Most people posponed this year's Eid shopping because of the earthquake and only just came out.
Though the situation in the quake-affected regions is still quite bad, let's hope and pray that they have at least something to be thankful for on this occasion and that it marks a new beginning for everyone. Let it be a sign of better things to come.
Wednesday 2nd November 2005
Phone line problems
Sorry readers, the phone line I use for my DSL connection, the one hosting this site. went dead on Monday so my site was offline for more than 48 hours. Typical of PTCL, the national carrier that Etisalat won the bid for, but which has now backed out of the deal, dashing all hopes of improvement in the service.
After a lot of effort, the connection is up though very shaky and connecting on average at 32kbps downstream (browsing is almost impossible) and 256kbps upstream (not too bad for a server). With Eid holidays until Monday, I doubt it'll get sorted out soon so please bear with it. Thank you.