Sajjad Zaidi's Blog
Thursday 27th April 2006
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Has anyone else noticed a sudden spike in Japanese spam or is it just me? Can't be just me since I'm seeing it on other addresses that have nothing to do with Japan.
Monday 3rd April 2006
Stuart sent this link to the messiest datacenter ever. It actually looks pretty organized considering that there aren't proper racks or housings for the motherboards. I've seen worse.
Though I have no pictures, a server room I once managed only had one air conditioner and that too on one side of the room, near the door. We had to improvise a ventilation system based on powerful small fans and a duct made out of garbage bags to get rid of the heat.
On another note, I was up in the Margalla hills a few nights back with some friends and someone commented on how much Islamabad resembles a server/router room from up there. It really is an awesome sight since the city is a well-lit, almost geometrical grid of roads and buildings.
Banks and consumer rights
Last week, a friend of mine had his leased car repossessed by a local bank, supposedly due to missed payments on his part. In fact, he had just paid his dues the same day well within the 90-day allowed grace period. It seems the actual issue was quite different.
A few days ago, my friend got a call from a very rude lady from the bank threatening him with action if he didn't pay up immediately. She also (mis)informed him that he had missed 2 payments which we later found out was only one. The rude woman went on to call his house and harass his family and when my friend refused to talk to this particular rep, he got a call from her superior. Not one of apology, but one accusing him of harassment. Harassment laws aren't very strong here so there wasn't much legal action either could take.
What did the bank do? Seemingly sent out people to find the car in such a spread out city and bring it in to their compound. It took many hours of negotiation to settle the dispute and get the car back, but we did see a glimpse of how much power these banks hold. Delving into the lease agreement, it was found that the bank has the right to repo the car at its own will, even if you've been a good customer. If you haven't, then you won't even get any of your paid amount back. Though my experiences with local banks are much more limited, I myself am having a hard time coping with them.
Now, a lot of us have agreed to do our best to avoid these banks altogether and some are even selling their leased cars, preferring a less costly one bought with hard-earned cash or even willing to brave the abysmal public transport system.
Sunday 2nd April 2006
Balakot being moved?
Balakot, the city that suffered the most devastation from last year's quake and situated right on top of a dangerous fault line, is being moved to a safer location, according to this news article.
How do you move a whole city of 300,000 people? I guess the fact that it was almost entirely destroyed by the quake would make it much easier and affordable than cleaning up the existing rubble and then rebuilding. Still, it sounds like an impossibly daunting task for an already burdened establishment.
Saturday 1st April 2006
April Fool's Day
Woke up this morning totally oblivious to what day it was. It was while watching a local show on the subject that I realized it was April Fool's Day though so far, I haven't been victim to any prank. Two things were quite disturbing. First was a myth about the day's origin that the show and people calling in stated as fact and something I decided to research. Second was the way it is celebrated here.
For any western event celebrated here, people come up with all kinds of origins, with Muslims or Asians portrayed as victims. April Fool's was apparantly a result of the killing of a huge number of Muslims by trickery in some event that wasn't made clear.
That didn't sound right so I headed over to Wikipedia and got the answer I expected. Though disputed, none of the possible origins seem to be connected to Islam and most are from before the advent of Islam (in its final form).
Though I'm used to living with these myths, it is the difference in how this day is treated that is cause for concern. While in most parts of the world the pranks are harmless and amusing, here they can be quite cruel and insensitive. I find it quite amusing to read some of the annual prank emails, supposedly sent by Linus himself, to the Linux Kernel Mailing List. Even the news items posted by Slashdot are sometimes funny and I remember the BBC show I once saw about how pasta grows on trees.
I still remember the anonymous call we got, some years back, about my uncle being in the hospital as a result of an accident. My mother, auntie and myself immediately rushed there while everyone else at the house was in a state of shock and praying for him, including my aged grandmother. It was quite relieving, as well as very infuriating, to find him well at his work place. We never found out who made the call. Most other pranks here border along the same lines and off course, it is the Jewish and white conspirators that get blamed for the consequences.