Blog about the Net, Pakistan and more

Thursday 23rd October 2008

Juicy mosquitoes in October

General
Mosquito

October is on its last breaths. Halloween is near. And things are peaceful and quiet for once. Yet the mosquito is still happily feasting on its helpless victims. In fact, these parasites are fatter and meaner than ever.

How utterly disgusting it is to squish one and be smeared with drops of your own precious blood. Some of these 'quitos are so bloated that there is a loud pop every time they get fried by those mosquito lamps with the eerie blue light. The thought of my blood being Dragonfly incinerated like that is quite disturbing, but then again there is some satisfaction in knowing your enemy just lost another one of its soldiers, that too without getting your hands dirty.

This may be a global phenomenon. I noticed that even some of my friends as far north as Japan are complaining. So why are these pests on an extended blood-drinking spree this year? Global warming perhaps? Or maybe they have developed immunity to cooler climes? Are they aliens that have replaced the weaker species? Who knows.

There could be a shortage of dragon flies, the natural predator of mosquitoes. It's been a while since I saw them out in the wild so maybe someone in the government should consider importing and breeding these cool-looking insects. The officials could get their kickbacks, we get to keep our blood, sleep better and stay safe from all the diseases carried by the 'quitos. Sounds good, no?

 

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Posted at 16:25pm PKST  Comments(4) |

Sunday 19th October 2008

Back to the stone age

Pakistan

Pakistan has been suffering from a severe power shortage for almost a Without Power whole year. The electricity outages subsided in September during the holy month of Ramadan, but now they are back. This time with a vengeance.

Islamabad, the capital, is probably the least troubled by the shortage, but "least" is a relative term. Even here, the load shedding is getting ridiculously lengthy while the electricity bills are pushing into the five-figure range due to the recent price hike.

Where I currently live, a relatively posh area of Islamabad, it seems there is no fixed schedule. I try to get home after the 10-11pm outage, but depending on someone's mood, the next one appears at midnight or as early as 11:30pm. Unscheduled outages lasting as long as 6 hours are common during the night or on weekends.

Businesses, especially like the one I'm in, are really suffering from the shortage of electricity and I can only imagine the losses in other cities. UPSs and petrol or diesel-powered generators can only do so much and even those are now too expensive for many people.

Stone Age

It is getting cold enough for people to cut down on their cooling, (air conditioning is where most of the watts usually go), yet the outages are increasing. In fact, I heard in the news today that the country's capacity for generating electricity has actually gone down from 4000 Megawatts to just 1800. How in God's name is that possible and isn't anything being done about it?

I miss the old days when Musharraf the Great was our leader, the economy was growing, inflation was low, cool new projects were underway and the average Jamil was somewhat happy. Oh, and there was NO LOAD SHEDDING. Most of us had forgotten there ever was such a thing.

Now I'm starting to look at alternatives to relying on WAPDA (or diesel) for electrical energy (hope to write another post about solar power soon).

 

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Posted at 19:47pm PKST  Comments(280) |

Thursday 9th October 2008

Taming the Microblogging clutter

Web Blogging

In the movie Back to the Future, the future Marty McFly loses his job and printouts of "YOU'RE FIRED" start popping up in all sorts of places around the house. One of these is seen by his wife from the past and acts as a prop later on in the movie. Maybe it was the movie's way of foretelling the microblogging scene of today where there are so many ways to convey your message that somebody is bound to notice.

Facebook GTalk Jaiku Twitter

I recently got a Twitter account and signed up for Jaiku (heard it is better than Twitter, but am still waiting for an account). Through the various instant messaging networks, we have been communicating a lot of thoughts through custom status messages and nicknames. Facebook's status updates, another form of microblogging, have really caught on as well, even with those who detest traditional blogging.

Though the frequency of my blogging has gone down noticeably, I usually post at least 1 update a day via one of the above methods. It's just so easy to do so. A simple status update via the GTalk or Facebook applications for Blackberry, or even an SMS to Twitter, will do it. With so much happening, what is required is a way to consolidate all these updates and make it simpler to keep track of what we are publishing as well as what others are writing.

Friendfeed

This is where services such as Friendfeed (and Facebook to an extent) come in. These can be configured to display various updates in a single place and can really help to organize the clutter. I recently signed up with FriendFeed and am really liking it. It even allowed me to put a sidebar on this blog which displays mini-updates from my Twitter page and GTalk status.

The next step in the microblogging evolution should be the ability to update all the competing services through a single action. That would really make it easier to disseminate information and would be especially useful in case of emergencies (something all too common these days).

 

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Posted at 16:28pm PKST  Comments(657) |

Saturday 4th October 2008

Eid Mubarak without the network

Mobile

It's been one of those controversial Eid celebrations with new announcements at the eleventh hour (literally). With so many Muslim countries relying on scientific data and avoiding the pitfalls of human error, it's frustrating to have to go through this so often. On the positive side, at least the whole country celebrated it on the same day for once.

Nonetheless, Happy Eid to all and hope you got to enjoy the best of it. Eid is usually a time of struggling to get back to the normal routine after a month of fasting (which I dearly miss at this time) and is usually spent sleeping and getting really bored. But not this time.

I hardly got enough sleep, let alone extra sleep. There were just so many friends to meet, things to do. The ever-growing list of contacts kept me quite busy with greeting SMSs and phone calls. Mobile network issues always surface at such times and I even developed a conspiracy theory about these (something about maximizing the windfall profits by confusing people and introducing unnecessary delays).

Compounding the network issues, the BlackBerry developed a weird "busy" issue that slowed the device to a crawl and kept draining the juice every couple of hours. But that wasn't all. The laptop has started to freeze up as well and won't let me finish my sent....

 

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Posted at 10:29am PKST  Comments(262) |

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