Thursday, August 17, 2006

live writer

MS has launched a new application called "live writer", a stand-alone app targetted at writing and publishing blogs (for now atleast)

There are several cool things about it is including support for blogger (and others) and a WYSIWYG version blog editor, which means you can see exactly what your blog post will end up with. There is even control for resizing and controlling embedded images! This is a far cry from Blogger's editor which makes formatting posts a real pain

One thing I can't get to work is the "Update weblog style" menu option, which should, in theory, let me update the CSS and layout of my page










live writer is definitely the first usable app to come out of MS's live effort - it is purported to be written by JJ Allaire, who wrote ColdFusion

It's a must try-out - link to app

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

khi on pot

This poster is installed somewhere in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. The poster shows a finger-pointing Amitabh in front of the national flag. And this is a really weird thing to print, put on a poster and install since Bachan is an Indian actor and the two countries are bitter and sworn enemies having fought many small and a couple of large wars. India still things the partition of British India into two countries was unjustifed and considers Pakistan as part of "Akhand (United) India"

To make the crazy matter even crazier, Bachan is pointing towards the people in the style of the US's Uncle Sam calling, "Your country needs you" - or maybe he is just saying something else like "I need your movie tickets" or "I want my Akhand Bharat" or .....

[Update: A friend informed me that this is a "Calling Card" company's billboard advert, but still....]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

zidane song

To most people, the most memorable moment from the Football World Cup of 06 was Zidane's beautiful :) headbutt - even the Italians may remember it longer than their Cup win

A day after the loss, a couple of French jingle recording artists made their own Carribean inspired song titled "Coup de Boule" or "the headbutt", recored in just half an hour and emailed to friends. A few hours later, it was a national hit and the producers received an offer from Warner Bros. for commercial rights to the song

The song goes something like:

The guido, he was hurt
Zidane hit [him]
The Italian's not doing well
Zidane slapped [him]
Zidane, he hit [him], Zidane, he slapped [him] (Headbutt!) 4x

Links to offical site (in french) and full translation here (unofficial)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

my house

my house! is a pretty cool web app where you can draw and paint a house of your own, answer a few questions and read up on your personality

It has been dugg and bbc'd and is pretty popular with quite a few houses being added every hour

I never thought drawing and painting a kiddie house on the PC would be so much fun

As far as the personality test, who does'nt like praiseworthy words like "you ought to be a leader. You are a freedom lover and a strong person" etc. but most of the comments *were* pretty close (Am I making the common blogger mistake of giving away too much about oneself?) - anyway here is the link to my house

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The Da Vinci Code, the movie has been banned in Pakistan. The ban follows similar bans in different states of neighboring India

The image states in Roman Punjabi "The Code of Vinci" (Roman means Punjabi written using Roman / English letters) - its funny in Punjabi, one of the most widely spoken languages in the subcontinent of Pakistan-India

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Googoosh is one of Iran's most popular singers. Born in 1951, she started her career as a singer in the late 60's and appeared on TV and live until the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She currently lives in Iran

Here is a video clip of one of her most famous songs "Man Amade am" which means "I am coming" (I think). The video quality is pretty bad but you can see why she was (and still is) so popular

links to official site and wikipedia article

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

always look on the bright side of life....

Did I mention I am a huge Monty Python fan? Monty Python is the name of a troupe of 6 guys who performed a weekly show on the BBC in the late 60's and early 70's. Many of today's comedians profess to derive their inspiration from MP including Trey and Matt, the creators of South Park (link to their tribute) and Shoaib Mansoor (not a comedian though) who created the iconic Fifty Fifty for Pakistan TV in the 80's

Following is a song played at the end from their 1979 film "Life of Brian" which is on many people's and polls' fave of all time lists. This is the end of the film and the protagonist, Brian Cohen (not the singer) is being crucifed, albeit softly by the Romans (link opens in new window/tab)

'Some things in life are bad,'
'They can really make you mad,'
'Other things just make you swear and curse,'
'When you're chewing on life's gristle,'
'Don't grumble, give a whistle,'
'And this'll help things turn out for the best, and...'

links to official site, wikipedia article and videos on youtube

Sunday, May 28, 2006

the cult of the fox

The Firefox logo resembles a nebula!!

Found story here

NASA image here (rotated)

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Katherine McPhee is the 24 year old finalist of American Idol's Season 5 (ending May 2006) (links to idol and wikipedia pages)

On May 2, she sang what is now my fave performance from the show, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" which was originally sung by some singer called KT Tunstall

Youtube and Google Video are very religious about DRM so they won't let people upload the video. I found it on a new site here. There is also an audio mp3 recording here - let me know if any of these links are broken.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

bbc's messup

Recently, the BBC decided to interview Gyu Kewney (link to his blog), a technology magazine editor to talk on a court case where Apple computers is the defendant

Unfortunately for the news channel, they ended up interviewing the wrong guy, Guy Goma, an IT guy belonging to the Congo. Newspapers mistakenly reported him as being a taxi driver who had driven up Kewney and was waiting for the fare

Mr Goma is a little confused at the start but when his name and profile is announced, his surprise is priceless - link to video

Karen Bowerman: Guy Kewney is editor of the technology website Newswireless.

Mr Goma: (face of horror)

KB: Hello, good morning to you.

Mr Goma: Good morning.

KB: Were you surprised by this verdict today.

Mr Goma: I am very surprised to see... this verdict to come on me because I was not expecting that. When I came they told me something else and I am coming. So a big surprise anyway.

KB: A big surprise, yeah, yes.

Mr Goma: Exactly.

(transcript source)

Kewney writes about the incident in his blog - only he shows his racist side in it - repeated references to Goma as being black and him being "pink" - Kewney writes that he lost his 2 minutes of fame by not appearing on the BBC's show but by writing in racist tones about the incident, he has damaged his own reputation irreparably - he has been throughly berated on the comment area of his blog

Goma, meanwhile, has turned into something of an internet celebrity, (like William Hung or Mahir Cagri) with people from USA to Russia to Japan linking to him. I wonder when we will see a website dedicated to him coming up? has already been registered on the 16th of May, '06 - the interview was conducted around the 9th - already we can see "remixes" of the interview doing the rounds, you can keep account of most of them by searching for the right tags at youtube

The BBC decided to interview both Guys again and ask them about the interview which has made unexpected celebrities from both

Saturday, May 13, 2006

words usage

George Orwell, the political & cultural commentator and accomplished novelist lived from 1903 to 1950. He wrote a very interesting article on how the language is used to mollify or glorify mundane or undesirable news.

"Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."

link to full article, wikipedia summary

This is very relevent today too with the different language used by the mainstream media specially when they are reporting news w.r.t Israel vs Palestine or Iraq

George Orwell wrote many novels including the excellent 1984 and Animal Farm

Thursday, May 11, 2006

another techie idea

Someone has come up with this idea of linking buildings (and other physical locations) around the world with wikipedia articles describing them, with the help of an ISBN like machine readable tags

They have a pretty readable explanation at the site - it goes like this

1. 2. You are in Austria and you want to visit the Presidential Palace

Someone pastes the machine readable tag near the building, you read it off the page using your cell phone and voila, you get the URL on your cell phone's browser....

come to think of it, would'nt it be better just to have a tinyurl link to the wikipedia article on this piece of paper?


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What if...

This is one of those stories that newspapers keep printing just for the sake of filling up their pages - here they discuss some "moral dilemmas" which some so-called philosophers with too much time on their hands came up with

The best part of the article is the reader's comments - go through the article and then the comments - this is the first example I have seen a conventional story has been made readable through some witty comments


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

so true

This makes so much sense now - only about 10-15 years ago, I would have thought "What is Calvin's dad talking about?"

Friday, April 28, 2006

freelove highway

The Office ran on BBC from 2001 to 2003 - it was aired on a cable channel here in South Asia last year. Ricky Gervais(the guy who plays the obnoxious PHB, David Brent, the guy who sings the song in this video) created one of the funniest and most original comedy shows on TV.
[Note:There is some slight profanity in the audio]

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

mahna mahna

Warning: This song will be going on in your head for many days to come

carla khan

This is not Martina Hingis, she is Carla Khan, Pakistan's answer to, well, Martina Hingis I guess, only she plays the much tougher game of squash. Half-British, half-Pakistani and living in London, she holds a British passport but plays for Pakistan.

At 24 years she is currently ranked #37. She belongs to Nawai Kalli, literally "New Village", a town near Peshawar, Pakistan. Most of Pakistan and also world champions in the world of men's squash belong to this small town. Carla's father and grandfather were champions and so was Jansher Khan, who along with Jahangir Khan ruled men's squash for over 20 years till the late '90s

She is a point of some controversy since she plays in the regulation short skirts in international tournaments and now in Pakistan too, thanks to the "moderately englightened" regime of Pakistan President Gen Musharraf. Carla belongs to the fiercely conservative area of N.W.F.P where women always wear long, looses sheets of cloth, called a "chador". Some even wear the "shuttlecock burqa". Supporters say that we should be proud of the fact that she plays for her father's country, Pakistan, inspite of the fact she can just as easily play for England

Links to Carla's homepage, an article from Dec 2005 and current world ranking - note she represents Pakistan and of course, photos :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"fraggle rocks" rocks!

Anyone remembers this from their childhood? This used to play on PTV back in the early 80's and was always a fave with all of us kids

dance your cares away (clap clap)
worries for another day
and let the music play (clap clap)
down at fraggle rock.....

Monday, April 24, 2006

aj int

[Updated 20 Nov '06]
(Have added links related to AJI):

. Al-Jazeera was launched 15 Nov 2005 at 1200 hrs GMT - the main wesbite has been revamped and there is a live stream available - it's much better than the usual mainstream news channels but it seems to be a diluted form of what most people were expecting - a major news item was the "Darfur Crisis" without going into the power game being played there by the major world powers and they kept calling it the "seperation barrier", not "the wall" as any fair and balanced individual would call it.....

. Voohoo!! Aljazeera English is scheduled to start from 15 Nov 2006, two ads on their test video broadcast have been running for a few months - thanks Faz

. News related to Al-Jazeera International

. Control Room - documentary on the channel, the one that introduced John Rushing (more on him below)

. AJI may not be the independent news channel it touts and we want it to be - link

. Friends of AJI - Blog related to AJI news - updated regularly

Al Jazeera, the Arabic language channel is going international. And this time they are pulling put all the stops. They have attracted some of the best known faces in international news from BBC, CNN, ABC and others It is supposed to start in June 2006 and test transmissions have reportedly started in March 2006. It will also offer "simultaneous translations" in Urdu, as a result of which around 500 million people in India and Pakistan will also be able to see and understand the news channel. Al Jazeera International, as it will be called, is based in Malaysia and will have bureaus around the world. Some of the most famous people are listed below:

Sir David Frost is a well known British broadcaster with over 30 years of experience. He is best known for the "Breakfast with Frost" program, broadcast by the BBC. Links to: Profile of Frost on the BBC, and wikipedia - Interview with NYT on why Frost joined Al Jazeera

Stephen Cole is the well-known anchor of BBC's ClickOnline. In Aug 2005, he announced his move to Al-Jazeera as their lead male anchor person. He claimed earlier this year that the show's popularity had made him a star abroad. "When I go abroad, I get mobbed. It's a joke but in Bangalore I can't leave the hotel. Hong Kong and Tokyo are difficult, too." Link to Cole's profile on BBC and wikipedia, - on why he moved to Al Jazeera

John Rushing is a former US Marine Captain who was one of the spokesmen for Centcom during the Iraq war. links to why Rushing moved to Al-Jazeera, radio interview on NPR, personal homepage, Al-Jazeera's global mission, an article about Rushing

Veronica Pedrosa is a well known reporter on CNN. She won the "Best News Anchor" award at the Asian Television Awards in 2004 for her work on CNN International - link to profile on CNN

Rageh Omaar was the face of BBC during the US led invasion of Iraq and became a household name during that period. link to profile and article on Omaar at BBC and UK's Times

Riz Khan was a reporter for CNN during which time he also covered the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. link to Riz Khan's homepage and an article and on why he decided to move to Al Jazeera (requires subscription), Excerpt: "Former CNN International anchor Riz Khan explains: "Al-Jazeera International provides the ideal vehicle to bridge gaps between communities in the East and West. ... I'm fully aware of the negative image of the Al Jazeera brand in the U.S., especially at the government level, but I think part of that comes from a misunderstanding of the strong cultural position the Arabic-language channel has among the average people of the Middle East. It is extremely popular for being outspoken not only about the West but also about Arab governments."" 

David Marash is the well known and well respected co-presenter of Nightline on ABC, the US TV channel. He faced a lot of criticism for the switch since he is also Jewish. link to Marash's profile on ABC and on why he joined Al Jazeera

Barbara Serra is a former reporter with Sky News, Five News, CNN and the BBC. She is of Italian origin and lived most of her early life in Denmark. She is also a former Miss Italy, so that may help attracting many more viewers to her weekend newscast :) - link to wikipedia profile

Shahnaz Pakravan is a journalist who is a prominent figure in Middle Eastern and British media circles through her work with the BBC and ITN, including Arab World Direct and Tomorrow's World. She will be hosting "Everywoman", where "Shahnaz and her team will bring viewers around the world stories that have universal appeal with subjects as diverse and sensitive as religion, society, sex, education and arts, all from women's perspectives." - link to story

Richard Gizbert is a well-known face on ABC News where he is a correspondent in the London bureau since 1993. Since then Gizbert has reported abroad on many of the major international stories such as the conflicts in Iraq and the continuing unrest in the Middle East. Gizbert was dismissed by ABC for refusing to cover the war in Iraq; he fought the dismissal in court and won. link to profile on ABC, link to court story

Felicity Barr, a specialist sports journalist had been working with ITV before moving to AlJazeera - link to ITV profile and wikipedia article

Amanda Palmer, hottie/journalist :), presents the "48" show/programme for AJI. "Through the personal stories of local guides, intrepid reporter Amanda Palmer and the crew have just 48 hours to find the beating heart of their chosen city." Amanda Palmer has worked for CNN, APTV and others. Links to a news item on her announcement to join AJI, her profile on AJI and the programme 48

Meanwhile, suspected Al Jazeera reporters have repeatedly been beaten up by the "Allied forces" in Iraq, Tareq Ayyoub was killed by a missile in 2003 and Taseer Allouni was sentenced in Spain for "collaboration with the 9/11 hijackers" but their news was mostly ignored by the international media. Now with a roster of news stars like these, most news channels will have a hard time hiding the "other side of the story"

Friday, April 21, 2006

There is a Secret World.....

not sure about the source, reminds of The Alchemist

"The lives we lead, and the lives we wish we led.

This world, the so-called “real world,” is just a front. Pull back the curtain and you’ll see the libraries are all filled with runaways writing novels, the highways are humming with escapees and sympathizers, all the receptionists and sensible mothers are straining at the leash for a chance to show how alive they still are. . . and all that talk of practicality and responsibility is just threats and bluffing to keep us from reaching out our hands to find that heaven lies in reach before us.

You can taste it in the shock and roar of a first, unexpected kiss, or in the blood in your mouth that instant after an accident when you realize you’re still alive. It blows in the wind you feel on the rooftops of a really reckless night of adventure. You hear it in the magic of your favorite songs, how they lift and transport you in ways that no science or psychology could ever account for. It might be you’ve seen evidence of it scratched into bathroom walls in a code without a key, or you’ve been able to make out a pale reflection of it in the movies they make to keep us entertained. It’s in between the words when we speak of our desires and aspirations, still lurking somewhere beneath the limitations of being “practical” and “realistic.”

When poets and radicals stay up until sunrise, wracking their brains for the perfect sequence of words or deeds to fill hearts (or cities) with fire, they’re trying to find a hidden entrance to it. When children escape out the window to go wandering late at night, or freedom fighters search for a weakness in government fortifications, they’re trying to sneak into it—for they know better than us where the doors are hidden. When teenagers vandalize a billboard to provoke all-night chases with the police, or anarchists interrupt an orderly demonstration to smash the windows of a corporate chain store, they’re trying to storm its gates.

When you’re making love and you discover a new sensation or region of your lover’s body, and the two of you feel like explorers discovering a new part of the world on a par with a desert oasis or the coast of an unknown continent, as if you are the first ones to reach the north pole or the moon, you are charting its frontiers.

It’s not a safer place than this one—on the contrary, it is the sensation of danger there that brings us back to life: the feeling that for once, for one moment that seems to eclipse the past and future, there is something real at stake.

Maybe you stumbled into it by accident, once, amazed at what you found. The old world splintered behind and inside you, and no physician or metaphysician could put it back together again. Everything before became trivial, irrelevant, ridiculous as the horizons suddenly telescoped out around you and undreamt-of new paths offered themselves. And perhaps you swore that you would never return, that you would live out the rest of your life electrified by that urgency, in the thrill of discovery and transformation—but return you did.

Common sense dictates that this world can only be experienced temporarily, that it is just the shock of transition, and no more; but the myths we share around our fires tell a different story: we hear of women and men who stayed there for weeks, years, who never returned, who lived and died there as heroes. We know, because we feel it in that atavistic chamber of our hearts that holds the memory of freedom from a time before time, that this secret world is near, waiting for us. You can see it in the flash in our eyes, in the abandon of our dances and love affairs, in the protest or party that gets out of hand.

You’re not the only one trying to find it. We’re out here, too . . . some of us are even waiting there for you. And you should know that anything you’ve ever done or considered doing to get there is not crazy, but beautiful, noble, necessary.

Revolution is simply the idea we could enter that secret world and never return; or, better, that we could burn away this one, to reveal the one beneath entirely."


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


This is a really interesting game - it was launched by Pringles, the chips makers for a promotion campaign but it's still very playable

(You need a high speed connection to play it though)

Monday, April 17, 2006

siachen story

I heard this story a long time ago from my uncle who served as an SSG (Special Services Group) officer at Siachen Glacier in the '80s and '90s. The SSG is the equivalent of US's Navy Seals or Britan's SAS, commonly called Commandos. Siachen Glacier is the highest (~5400m high) and most inhospitable fighting ground in the world, located in North Pakistan & India. More soldiers have died there from frostbite than conflict since the battle for the Glacier erupted between Pakistan and India in 1984.

I was reminded today again by another ex-SSG soldier who had served in Siachen immediately after the incident occured in 1986. The story is of one of the greatest soldiers to fight and die in Siachen, remembered and honored by both sides, Lance Subedar Ata Mohammed, Shaheed. "Shaheed" means "martyred" and is commonly suffixed to the name of any man or woman who has died in the line of duty, usually while fighting. (The facts of the story may be slightly incorrect, if any reader spots any mistakes, please let me know)

In 1986, India launched an offensive to occupy a strategic post called controlled by Pakistan called Quaid post, named after the founder of the latter country. The massive offensive managed to dislodge all soldiers, leaving only Ata Mohammed and two other soldiers under his command to fight it out. Ata Mohammed managed to convey to the local commander, a General reportedly, the need for ammunation. The General declined, citing logistical problems. Ata Mohammed ordered the other two soldiers to leave. They refused initially but he ordered them to obey. Ata Mohammed was left to fend for himself and with a broken arm and leg, and inspite of an offer of surrender, decided to fight it to the last.

The Indian Army took his body and alongwith his few belongings, including rings etc. transported his body in a coffin to the Wagah border in South-East Pakistan. When handing over the body only, they insisted that Ata Mohammed be awarded the Nihsan-e-Haider, Pakistan's highest military gallantry award, in recognition of his tremendous bravery.

The Pakistan government, however, gave him a lower award, probably preferring not to politicize the defeat in Siachen.


Photoblogger Sam Jevanrouh has posted another great pic, this time of a friend Sandra - click the pic to see a bigger image

"the subject of this photo is Sandra, and this is a surprise birthday present for her best frined Masa who lives in Italy and is a daily visitor of ddoi. Sandra contacted me with this idea and I found it very unusual and unique so I accepeted. The day we went shooting it started raining and I was lucky to have a plastic bag on me to protect my camera while shooting. so this is what I came up with. She's inside the bus shelter and I'm shooting from outside." - link

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

maya nurbs modeling tutorial

My google video on 3D modeling a wine glass in Maya is FINALLY online. Tip: Follow the rules, render the video in the format google specifies in the upload page

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

fastest century

Afridi does Pakistan proud by scoring the fastest one-day cricket century in history in just 37 balls, beating Sri Lanka's Jayasuriya's 48 ball record and that too in his maiden innings. This is 1996 and Afridi is 16 years old