Archive for June, 2005

Tech Behind A Chuck!

Friday, June 10th, 2005

This guy seems pretty mad that Pakistan beat the WI partially thanks to Shabbirs chucking action. This raises an interesting question. We all see half naked images of cricketers with cotton balls stuck on them on TV and apparently this is some sort of a “chucking” action test. Does anyone really know what this test measures? Does it have anything to do with biometrics?

It is clear that as long as a certain unnamed Sri Lankan spinner is allowed to ball, there is no reason to accuse anyone else of chucking. Also, what guarantee is there that a bowler would use the same chucking action under these “tests” conduction in Australia? Apparently Shoaib Malik is the only honest person in the world seeing how his action was apparently a THIRTY DEGREE chuck! ICC has revised their chucking rule stating that 15 degrees is not acceptable. I guess this was to be expected considering research showed that under the rules 99% of bowlers in cricket history had illegal action

What would be the best way to take away this controversy? we clearly need technology to step in during the matches to tell us when a bowler is chucking, or at least record enough data during the matches to be able to judge after the matches if a ball was a chuck or not. Something in the order of what the MLB does to judge if a pitch was a ball or not! (sorry can’t find link to what they actually do)

Microsoft Sets Value Of Pirated Windows: $1

Friday, June 10th, 2005

From Slashdot:

The BBC is reporting that Microsoft has reached a deal with the Indonesian government on pirated software - which is believed to affect around 50,000 government PCs. Under the deal, Indonesia will pay $1 per copy and agree to buy legally in the future. Indonesia’s information minister, Sofyan Djalil, said, “Microsoft is being realistic. They can’t force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can’t afford it. They want us to gradually reduce our use of it.”

Where is the Pakistan govt.? How much do they pay for their software? Legalizing Windows for all govt. computers even for a dollar apiece means buying licenses for MS Office, and all the other programs the govt. is using.

I can imagaine the local Microsoft rep. asking Indonesia a few days after this deal: “So, what do u guys use on these shiny legal windows you just bought?”

Of course, in Pakistan the answer would be somewhere along these lines:
Bureacrat: “Solitaire? oye Aftab, what else do we use?”
Aftab, scratching his head wakes up from his slumber: “ummm… Boss, what computer are you talking about?”
Boss: “The ten computers alloted to us by the Ministry! What are we doing with them???”
Aftab: “But Boss, they never sent us the power leads so we haven’t turned them on yet!”

NetSol Technologies gets approval for trading on KSE

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Market Wire reports Netsol is launching a $6 million IPO (which includes $1.6 million of private placement) with AKD Securities as the lead underwriter and 4 other banks participating. The listing is expected to finalize end of its 2005 fiscal year (when is this?).

NetSol recently launched its IT Village which can accomodate 600 employees, in a 5 story building. More here.

The parent company NetSol Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: NTWK) has a market cap of 25 million. What’s the outlook for this company?

NADRA uncovers car scam

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

A report published in the The News claims that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has uncovered a car scam that involves carmakers producing more cars than they actually declare to evade taxes.

… the 2003 computerization of just 1,000 vehicles’ record, registered with the Islamabad excise and taxation department, has unveiled that several cars have the same chassis and engine numbers allotted already to other cars of the same make … It is believed that the automobile industry is apparently producing more cars than what they declare to evade tax. And to show their actual production matching their declared production, it is said, sets of cars with same chassis and engine numbers are rolled out.

NADRA has proposed a hi-tech (smart chips!) computerized system for storing motor vehicle registration data. They claim that the system will help counter thefts, detect frauds and help with collecting taxes/dues. The project was proposed in 2003 but according to the The News, the car mafia has blocked NADRA’s attempts to launch the project nationally.

Worldcall launches WLL service in Lahore, hopes to raise funds through IPO

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

Business Recorder reports that WorldCall is hoping to raise Rs 690 million by holding an IPO end of June. This is a good time for the offering because of the recent launch of it’s Wireless Local Loop service in Lahore (links anyone?). The service features limited mobility (limited to a 6 km zone in urban areas as dictated by PTA), ability to send and receive SMS and internet access at fixed line prices. Worldcall currently has only one competitor in the WLL market, Telecard’s GO CDMA which opened shop in the beginning of this year.

PTCL going once, going twice … still not gone?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

PTCL’s row with the government shows no sign of letting up. DAWN reports that the PTCL union workers have given the government 24 hours to announce a package of over 3 billion rupees for employees and have threaten to call a countrywide strike if the demand was not met. That’s not all:

The deadline was given after a meeting between the committee and the management failed to make headway because PTCL President Junaid Khan made the package conditional with privatization. The union leaders wanted the announcement of the package without any compromise on the privatization issue, members of the action committee told Dawn.

The socialist party is covering this from the union’s point of view.

One has to wonder why the government wants to privatize it’s very rare cash cow (profits were Rs21 billion for the first 9 months of this year)? If they want to do something positive wouldn’t it be better to stop offering subsidies to PTCL and deregulate the telecom market?

Microsoft Pakistan Developers Conference 2005

Sunday, June 5th, 2005

Microsoft Pakistan will host it’s annual Pakistan Developers Conference from June 13th to 15th at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi. This is the third such event for Pakistan (info about previous events here, and an independent summary of the 2003 event here). The agenda for the event includes more than 15 speakers presenting over 50 technical topics over the course of 3 days. Topics include discussions about upcoming Microsoft technologies (Yukon, Longhorn, Indigo etc) as well as general topics with titles such as ‘The Bio Informatics Revolution’ and ‘A holistic View of Enterprise Security’. Check out the agenda for more information about the topics being covered.

Registration ends June 7th.

Also, this month’s issue of Spider has an interview with one of the speakers gathering at the PDC.

Made in Pakistan: Electric motorbike

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

PakTribune reports that MS Group (can’t find their website) has successfully created Pakistan’s first, indigenous electronic motorbike. The Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Nouraiz Shakoor Khan, who incidentally also happens to be the president of the Cycling Federation of Pakistan, described the bike as a revolution for the region and a sign of Pakistan’s growing industrial stature.

Details are scarce from the article: The bike does not consume petrol, instead uses a rechargeable battery which gives it a range of upto 50kms per charge. Using electricity as a source of power lowers the bike’s running costs, which might give it an edge in the local market. Perhaps the MS Group should look into PINSTECH’s fuel cell research to increase the bike’s per-charge range.

Mobilink could be fined Rs350 million for poor service

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Dawn reports:

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has found “unsatisfactory” the reply submitted by Mobilink in response to the PTA show-cause notice issued in April.

The show-cause notice said: “The non-serious and non-cooperative attitude of the Mobilink towards the determination and directions issued by the Authority from time to time tantamount to severe violations by the Mobilink of the existing regulatory framework and is therefore not acceptable to the Authority.”

Mobilink will now be attending a hearing on June 9 at the PTA headquarters in Islamabad. If Mobilink’s argument does not hold up, they could face a levy of Rs350 million or termination of their license (highly doubt that).

This is not the first time and the last time in 2003 resulted in a fine of Rs60 million which obviously didn’t yield up any improvements. If the cost of customer support (and addressing those concerns) for 2 years is greater than Rs60 million, then they could simply write it off as an operating expense. It should be urged that they are fined the full amount this time around to have a significant impact and set a precedent.

How do they still manage to have the largest subscriber base? Why haven’t any class action lawsuits been filed?

PINSTECH develops fuel cell technology indigenously

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology lays claim to the ability to develop fuel cells indigenously. If this kind of R&D gets more funding from coprorations and industries, it could fuel (pun intended) significant growth in a nation ridden with energy problems. Fuel Cells (wikipedia) can provide an environmentally friendly, continuous source of power, fueled usually by Hydrogen with water vapor being the only by-product.

This is a commendable accomplishment. Are any other interesting R&D efforts taking place elsewhere in the country?