Blog about the Net, Pakistan and more

Tuesday 30th December 2008

Islamabad bloggers

Islamabad Blogging
Islamabad bloggers panel

Last night's meetup of Islamabad bloggers went splendidly well. I really wasn't expecting such a large turnout for a blogging event in Islamabad and it was great to see so many bloggers and people interested in blogging. There must have been at least 70-80 people attending the event which is a pretty impressive number for something that hasn't quite reached the mainstream Pakistani public yet.

A pleasant surprise was finding out that one of my former employers is also an avid blogger and another, who was once quite critical of my blogging, actually forwarded me the invite and accompanied me there. I finally got to meet Mansoor (of Word of Mansoor fame) as well as a number of other people that so far, I have only known online.

My worn-out laptop isn't too happy to be away from my home or office for long so I hadn't planned on doing any live blogging, but there were others who had. The All Rounder has an excellent live coverage of the event. Here's a Slide show, courtesy of Abdul Wahid, and also a few more write-ups at Pro Pakistan and Future BElls.

Islamabad bloggers redbull

We have Badar, Bahria Uni and the rest to thank for organizing and hosting the event (and to Red Bull for the free supply of drinks). Though the focus of this particular meetup was earning money through blogging and Google Adsense, I think there should be more such events for those that do it as a passion. After all, you are more likely to succeed in getting traffic and readers if your motive is more than simply to make money.

The most successful bloggers usually do it because they love it and that's the mindset we should be aiming to cultivate. I hope we can get together on a more regular basis, in a less formal atmosphere, and develop a closely-knit community of bloggers. Let's plan one for January.

 

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Monday 29th December 2008

Recommendations for blog template

Blogging

A number of readers have expressed dissatisfaction with sajjadzaidi.com's design (or the lack of it, to be more precise) which has been around for a couple of years now (check out the Wayback Machine for older layouts).

I have been pretty much satisfied by the site's functionality, but even I am now put off by the template. Also, sajjadzaidi.com is starting to lag behind in terms of features (AJAX, proper moderation etc.). It could be one of the reasons I don't blog here as often as I used to.

Admitting my lack of design skills, and also with Zeb absent from the scene ever since he got married, I'd like you, yes you there, to recommend some good, simple yet elegant CSS design. I'm looking for something trendy, though light on graphics. Preferably a unique design that sets this blog apart from the rest.

I'll take care of customizing it to my scripts (or updating my scripts to work with it) and optimizing the graphics and load times. All you have to do is recommend a good design. Am willing to pay a little for an original and worthwhile work, though apart from that, all I can offer is my gratitude and a mention on my blog.

Thank you all. Hope to have a new template for the new year.

 

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Sunday 28th December 2008

A year since Benazir assassination

Pakistan
Benazir Bhutto

December 27th, 2007, was a fateful day in the history of this country. Whether you were a supporter of the Pakistan People's Party or not, the death of its charismatic leader, Benazir Bhutto, has no doubt changed the fate of this nation.

A number of her followers mourned her death and the PPP government, which came to power mainly due to sympathy votes after the assassination, has declared the day as a national holiday. This honor was not even given to Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first Prime Minister who was gunned down at the exact same spot that Benazir was. Even the State Bank has announced that it is issuing a 10 rupee coin in her name with her image on it.

Teeth Maestro has posted an interesting and detailed article about the circumstances surrounding Benazir's death and why we still have no clue as to who was responsible for it. One day we may know, but for now all one can do is witness the consequences.

 

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Saturday 27th December 2008

Islamabad Bloggers Meetup

Blogging Islamabad

After successful sessions in Karachi and Lahore, a bloggers meetup is being arranged in Islamabad on Monday, 29th December, 2008. It has been quite a while since I got together with other bloggers so am definitely planning to attend this.

Below is the info posted on Facebook and other blogs. Hope to see more of you there.

Register Here:

Since we have limited seats, PLEASE register here (registration is FREE!):
http://tinyurl.com/isloo-bloggers-meetup OR
https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pw33ACoJeTaVhhpXGnt4vMA&hl=en

Who Can Benefit From Blogging?

Students: Discover how you can earn your own pocket money
Housewives: Learn how you can earn & support your family while staying at home
Professionals: See how you can enjoy a second income while still doing a full-time job
Everybody: Other than the monetary perspective, learn how to share your thoughts/opinions with the world

Would you like to be featured?

Are u based in Islamabad and do u feel an avg Internet user can learn from your online success? Have you made a mark online by generating high traffic, creating an influential blog, make a living online, etc.

If u r the one we are hunting for — wait no more and email us with ur success story NOW!

Event Summary:

The idea is to encourage Internet users & bloggers to meet offline as well. Senior bloggers get a chance to share knowledge & experience. New wanna-be bloggers can learn from the local success stories and network with leaders & professionals in this field.

Another perspective is to introduce blogging as one of the simplest ways to make a living online in these tough times.

Organizers:

CIO Pakistan [ http://www.ciopakistan.com/ ]
in association with Google Pakistan [ http://www.google.com.pk/ ]

Host:

IEEE Chapter, Bahria University, Islamabad

Supporting Bodies:

PASHA
TIE
Bloggers.Pk

Event Partners:

Wateen

Official Drink:

Red Bull

Requests:
  • Please help spread the word in any way you can
  • Islamabad Bloggers: please help post about it on your blogs, twitter, FB, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc.
  • You may bring your laptops as we hope to have WiFi connectivity there; Enjoy live blogging, Tweeting, etc.
  • Please DON’T be shy to ask questions; the idea is to learn & share!

 

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Tuesday 23rd December 2008

Severed cables cut off Asia

Internet

Just under a year ago, multiple undersea cable cuts around the Middle East left a number of countries in this region without adequate connectivity to Europe and the Americas.

Sea Me We and other cable systems

On Friday, the cuts struck again and this time the damage is to three different cable systems. This has crippled the bandwidth for countries spanning the Middle East and a large part of Asia. The Maldives appear to be the worst affected with a total Internet outage. India is suffering from a 82 percent loss of connectivity while Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are only slightly better at 73 and 68 percent respectively.

On a positive note, Pakistan has only lost about half of its connectivity, though it is still devastating for businesses that are unable to function with degraded bandwidth. The call center industry must be in ruins and the rest of us just have enough connectivity to do some blogging.

Repairs have started on the cables, and the article goes into details of the possible causes and what is involved in the repairs. Sea Me We4 is expected to be operational as early as 25th December while Sea Me We3 may take longer.

As someone suggested, we should be using the eastern corridor to reach the Americas and the rest of Asia, especially in times like these. However, a network trace that I ran showed that just to get to a nearby Asian country such as Singapore, my request first goes to Europe, then to the States and after circling almost the entire globe, finally reaches the destination.

 

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Sunday 21st December 2008

Gakhar plaza collapses after fire

Pakistan

Severely damaged by a fire that started late Friday night, Gakhar Plaza, one of Rawalpindi's iconic shopping places, has collapsed.

Gakkar plaza on fire

I had only been to Gakkar plaza a couple of times in the past, but my last visit was just around a week ago and I quite enjoyed eating at the rooftop restaurant. Sad to see it destroyed.

More on The News and Pro Pakistan.

 

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Wednesday 17th December 2008

Free Muntadar al Zaidi

General

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi TV journalist who aimed his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, is still in custody. There are reports that he has been beaten and is suffering from a number of injuries.

Both of the shoes that Zaidi threw missed their intended target, but for many, the symbolism marked a befitting end to a presidency that leaves behind a legacy of aggression, deceit and carnage.

Ever since the incident, the blogosphere has been abuzz with details of the throw and those involved. I first learned about the whole affair from Teeth Maestro and rumors that the shoes were made in Lahore or Gujrat, right here in Pakistan, have spawned some interesting conspiracy theories.

Just to put the above rumors to rest (sorry to burst the bubble), from the above BBC article:

Dargham al-Zaidi told the BBC that his brother deliberately bought Iraqi-made shoes, which were dark brown with laces. They were bought from a shop on al-Khyam street, a well-known shopping street in central Baghdad.

There's also this Facebook event that aims to support Zaidi and have people send their old boots to the White House as a parting gift for dubya.

Quite inspiring to see what a Zaidi armed only with a pair of shoes can achieve. I pray that he is released soon without further harm inflicted on him.

 

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Wednesday 3rd December 2008

Peace vigil in Islamabad

Islamabad

I'm hoping to make it to this event tonight. Even if you can't, do try and spread the word. We really need to stand up against terrorism in all forms and do what we must to spread the message of peace.

Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Time: 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Location: Civil Junction cafe, Street 8, F-7/3, Islamabad

Please join a peace vigil. Stand up against aggression of all kinds, stand up for Pakistan, condemn terrorism in Karachi and Mumbai, pay respect to innocent victims of these shameful incidences of violence. Please bring your own candles, it is December 3, 2008, at 6:30 onwards. Civil Junction cafe, Street 8, F-7/3, Islamabad. Numbers are important. Lets show the world its not us, and we do stand against it, we are one for Pakistan!

 

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