Blog about the Net, Pakistan and more

Thursday 7th May 2009

Pakistani shops in protest against Microsoft

Software Pakistan
Protest against Microsoft

I had gone to Islamabad's Blue Area today to buy a new power supply for my PC and was surprised to find a number of shops displaying signs such as this one. This sign says:

we strongly protest against Microsoft's abuses

Though I can't find much info on what this could be in response to, it is likely that Microsoft, through the Business Software Alliance (BSA), has been aggressive in going after businesses and individuals that use its software without purchasing a license.

Given that most Pakistanis are used to buying all the software they require for almost the price of a blank CD, this must be hitting the PC market pretty hard. Maybe that's why I couldn't find a decent PSU and there wasn't much of other gadgets and accessories either.

If software licensing really is being strictly enforced now, it may look like the end to cheap computers technology in Pakistan, but I see it as a positive sign. Only today, a chartered accountant friend of mine was curious about installing Ubuntu just to try it out and have a second operating system around.

Though a growing number of students these days have some level of passion and respect for Linux and open source, now is probably the time for average Pakistanis to realize the true value of these as alternatives to more traditional software.


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Posted at 02:12am PKST  Comments(225) |

Sunday 3rd May 2009

Searching with images

Herb with pink flower

I've come across a unique and interesting problem. I have this image of a plant (found on the hiking trail) that I think is a useful herb, yet I am unable to search and identify what it is.

Have tried Google's image search with numerous search terms such as "herb with pink flower" and "herb with pink flower and thin petals", but haven't gotten anywhere so far.

It would be so very useful to be able to upload an image and search for anything similar to it. Identify the species of snake that just bit you. Search for that cute girl on the opposite table. Find out if the mushroom is an edible one.

I'm sure Yahoo, the big G and Microsoft each have technology that can do some level of image matching, although at a high processing cost. Maybe they should offer such a service on an experimental basis.


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Posted at 15:00pm PKST  Comments(214) |

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