Archive for the ‘IT’ Category

The Man Who Will Save the Internet

Monday, November 14th, 2005

From the register comes the story of the Pakistani who will save the internet and the politics behind it. For those living under a rock, it’s related to the World Summit on the Information Society being held in Tunisia and primarily the controversies behind Internet Governance.

It’s been four years since the issue of how the internet should be run, and by whom, became an official United Nations topic.

And yet despite hundreds of hours of talks, three preparatory meetings and a world summit, there is only one thing that the world’s governments can agree on: Masood Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador.

If a certain US senator and a certain EU commissioner are to be believed, the internet is five days away from total collapse as governments are finally forced into a corner and told to agree on a framework for future Internet governance.

Both are wrong, but there is a very real risk that an enormous political argument resulting in lifelong ill-will centred around the internet could developed unchecked at the WSIS Summit.

The fact that it hasn’t already is effectively down to one man: Mr Khan. He was chosen as chair of Sub-Committee A during the WSIS process, and his remit includes all the most difficult and contentious elements - not just internet governance but also how the world will deal with issues such as spam and cybercrime.

Even though press attention has focussed on the undecided question of control of the internet, at the start of the process there were widely varying views on just about every aspect of the internet.

And yet through a mixture of careful, respectful and open dialogue, occasional prodding and a dry sense of humour, Masood Khan has turned what could easily have become a bar-room brawl into a gradual formation of agreement.

Read the rest of the article here.

WLL operators move to shutdown operations

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

The Daily Times reports that Etisalat aren’t the only ones disgruntled with Pakistan’s telecom sector. DVCOM along with other wireless local loop operators have moved a petition before the Lahore High Court demanding PTA return their license fees due to breach of contract.
“As per the defined regulation in the policy, at least 25-kilometre area should be provided to the WLL operators, but due to pressure from cellular operators, the PTA is not allowing this range,” said the source. He said DVCOM and other companies had challenged this strategy of the PTA and pleaded if the authority did not review its policy, the amount deposited by operators as license fee should be paid back.

Earlier this year the International 450 Association warned PTA about the repercussions of changing the terms of contract.
“The IA 450 believes that the current determination by the PTA severely limits the introduction of advanced wireless technology and is not in the long-term interest of country, by impacting the economic growth in rural areas where the objective of increasing teledensity will be restricted,” said the letter.

It said no inter-cell handovers and roaming on other networks would be allowed. The handover, which is restricted under the policy, is an event in radio network in which the control of a call in progress is transferred from one cell to another cell of one frequency to another frequency.

But the operators and international organizations fear the PTA policy may force small operators to wrap up their operations and this will hit the image of the country’s growing telecom sector.

“WLL operators restricted to offering only fixed wireless access with no mobility are at a significant competitive disadvantage due to limited availability of affordable terminals and inability to offer attractive communications solutions competitive with those offerings from current fixed and mobile operators,” said the IA 450.

Survey: Internet Usage Trends in Pakistan

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

I am working on a small project to statistically establish likes, dislikes & preferences of fellow resident Pakistanis regarding their choice of online search engine, free web-based email service & instant messaging (IM) software.

I had to conduct this online survey myself as there are no detailed official statistics available regarding ‘internet usage & its trends in Pakistan’. I have already contacted MoITT, PTA, ISPAK, PSEB & PASHA but there has been no significant feedback.

You can participate in this online survey @

Your participation & support would certainly help get a better insight. Thanks in advance for your precious input.

Paknet offers free DSL installation and subscription(?)

Monday, August 15th, 2005

Things are starting to heat up in the broadband space. This has to be a first: Business Recorder reports that PakNet, as of 14th Aug is offering free DSL installation on their ‘Rage’ plan — For a Rs 899/month scratch-card they are offering a 256kbps, 1-Gb/month volume capped pipe. All most all broadband companies such as Cybernet and Multinet charge as much as Rs5,000-Rs15,000 for installation and purchase of the dsl modem upfront. This offer looks quite attractive for someone who wants to get up and running without having to worry about too much inital investment.

Rs320 million system for measuring Indus Waterflow fails to function

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

Dawn reports that the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) is demanding “design re-engineering” for the system installed to monitor inflows and outflows at dams, costing Rs320 million and 2 years to develop under contract from Siemens of Germany which was rehired for a further 6 months for Rs8.4 million to fix the problem in vain.

Irsa wants nothing to do with the system and wants WAPDA to get the issue resolved under warranty (if the working system is not even delivered yet it should not even be an issue of warranty). The ministry says that WADPA, Nespak (National Engineering Services Pakistan), Siemens and Supernet should see the issue to completion while Irsa and provincial deparments monitor the progress. Appears that eveyrone wants to delegate or transfer responsibility.

Microsoft is Recruiting in Pakistan

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Microsoft will be recruiting candidates from Pakistan (as of late, an increasing number of candidates are being considered from Pakistan and the number of hires has been growing). From the internal mail.

Soon Microsoft will be interviewing people from Pakistan, including interested and qualified candidates for software development positions here in the USA at our corporate headquarters working on our major products.

If you know of anyone that might be interested, or a bulletin board where it would be appropriate to post this, please forward this email. There are multiple positions open and candidates will be in competition with themselves, not each other.

What is a qualified candidate?
* Someone who has (or will be completing this year) a bachelor’s (four year or more) degree in Computer Science or a related field
* Someone that has very strong abilities to write code in C/C++
* Someone that is very driven and passionate about technology, desiring to make software products that will go all over the world
* Someone with fluent English speaking skills

The reason so many people from various disciplines come to Microsoft is because we provide the most exciting challenges in the industry. Since our inception in 1975, Microsoft’s mission has been to create software for the personal computer that empowers and enriches people in the workplace, at school and at home. Microsoft’s early vision of a computer on every desk and in every home is coupled today with a strong commitment to Internet -related technologies that expand the power and reach of the PC and its users. You can help shape the industry in nearly countless ways, all while gaining invaluable experience. Our casual environment lends itself to freer thinking and therefore, creative problem-solving. However, the coolest part of all is the diversity of jobs. You’re guaranteed not to be bored.

We invite you to join us as we move toward the .NET age, the next generation of our products. You could create a world of change in one of these pivotal, Redmond, Washington USA area positions in the Microsoft product groups. Here is a list of the core positions we will be looking to fill.

Software Design Engineer in Development
Design and implement various new components of the next release of the Windows operating system, Office, Visual Studio, .NET, MSN, SQL Server or other key Microsoft Products. Specific areas of expertise include COM/DCOM, ActiveX, Java, Graphics, Networking, and Base/Kernel. The candidate should have BS or MS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Informatics, Physics or Mathematics. Strong C/C++ skills, sound knowledge of operating system fundamentals and server development, and preferably more than 3 years of programming experience.

Software Design Engineer in Test
Design and develop test plans/test suites to test various components of one of our primary products- Windows , Office, Visual Studio, .NET, etc. Work closely with the developers and other test team members to isolate and resolve problems. The candidate should have BS or MS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Informatics, Physics or Mathematics. Strong C/C++ skills, sound knowledge of operating system fundamentals and server development and preferably more than 3 years of programming experience.

There are multiple positions open, so please share the information with someone as good as you are.

All positions are at our corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA. We do require functional level English language skills, written and spoken.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer.

If you are interested, reply on this site.

P@SHA Job Fair 2005 - Careers in Pakistan - In Partnership with

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) has teamed up with Pakistan’s leading job site,, to organize a job fair of proportions never before seen in Pakistan. The job fair will feature company booths, exposure to high quality professionals and workshops that will give you the edge you want.

Over 500 companies have been invited. This is a once in a life time opportunity to test your career’s marketability. This fair will be advertised to more than 80,000 job seekers. Companies can find the best available talent from a huge pool of mid-level and high-level employees.

The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 is scheduled for August 16, 2005 at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. The job fair will feature company booths, workshops, and counseling sessions. The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 will be advertised to over 80,000 professionals and executives in Pakistan.

The workshops are aimed at improving local human resource skills such as resume writing, interviewing and professional development. These workshops will provide valuable practical insights to help enhance Pakistan’s talent pool.

Please follow the link (P@SHA Job Fair - In Partnership with ) for more details.

Ed: We covered PASHA’s previous June 2005 job fair here. It was disappointing in terms of turnout due to lack of advertising, looks like this time it will be better.

Compensation demanded for internet losses

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dawn reports that the ISPs, Long Distance and International (LDIs) call centres are seeking compensation of $43 million for the 10 day internet outage, while PTCL claims that legally they are not obliged to pay anything at all. The LDIs which bring on average 10 million minutes of international traffic per month claimed losses of $7.35 million, ISPs claimed $7 million and the IT industry $3.6 million (although these figures don’t add up to $43 million).

The enraged also claimed that PTCL, instead of spending $10 million on satellite backup every year could have simply invested $20 million in an alternative fibre-optic cable.

Sucks to be a call centre in Pakistan.

PTA pushes to introduce 3G for cell phones

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority [] is ramping up efforts to introduce 3G technology [] for mobile phones in Pakistan. The PTA recently gave a presentation [] on moving current networks from 2G to 3G technology to PTA officials, representatives of PTCL, mobile and fixed line operators, telecom experts and students.

While explaining the importance of 3G technology, Gen. Shahzada (ed - Chairman PTA) said that PTA was putting every endeavor to bring home latest cellular mobile technologies including the 3rd Generation. He said that it has always been difficult to introduce new telecommunication methods and technologies but like in the past, PTA would facilitate all operators to switch over to the latest technologies.

Pakistan currently has 2.5G based networks and according to the PTA and this [] the switch to 3G will require a lot of effort and money because of the underlying infrastructure change. The main benefit in moving to a 3G network is higher data transmission rates. The increase in bandwidth is substantial, from a maximum of 128kpbs in existing 2.5G networks to up to 2mpbs-10mpbs in 3G networks.

Damage from internet outage

Monday, July 4th, 2005

A story running on NewKerala estimates some figures on the impact of the internet outage in the range of 40-60 million dollars (revised to 1.5 million dollars). There are 40 call centres with 3000-3500 people in their employ. One of the call centres claimed they had complete outage for 3 days and 10% bandwidth on the fourth day. The best bit:

The paper quoted Wahaj-us-Siraj, an IT and Telecom expert, as saying: “It has been a criminal negligence on part of the PTCL as well as the government. They knew about the likelihood of such a fault in the cable that was the sole provider for the entire country’s linkage to the outside world.”

A class action lawsuit seems to be in order here.

The current status is that the repair work has started. The repair is being performed by a Etisalat which won the PTCL bid (overbid actually by more than $1 billion, coming out ~80% on top of next highest bidder) for a 26% profit sharing stake and 58% voting rights just 9 days before the outage. Wierd coincidence. Could Etisalat have something to gain from this outage? Doesn’t a bid topping the competitor by more than 1 billion dollars seem conspicuous?

Update (5 Jul, 2005): Dawn reports that the actual repairs have not yet started. Currently the repair crew aboard Niva are still trying to localize the faults (initially localized to a 5 kilometre using sonic testing and electroding). India, Djibouti, Oman and the United Arab Emirates will be affected by the repairs and have agreed to a 2 hour downtime during repairs.