Friday, September 30, 2005
Are we there yet?

While completing my latest writing for Dawn Sci-Tech, I came to know that Pakistan has been honored to be designated as a "Priority Foreign Country" because of its thriving underground business in illicit digital products by IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance). Pakistan has long suffered from piracy, and with the recent actions by our government, things has become more sophisticated. According to their report, estimate trade losses due to poor copyright laws are about 9 million dollars a year, as of 2004. After the recent raids and sealing of facilities at Rainbow center, a trade hub of illegal softwares, and different parts of the country has been very effective in promoting the piracy. Since then, the costs of each pirated disk has increased about 25% just to cover the loses faced by local shops and their copying facilites at remote locations. I wonder where it will lead us to. This ain't gonna stop like this, people are becoming more and more aware of piracy everyday, but cannot stop themselves from their ever increasing thurst for cheap copies of music, videos and softwares. We need to bring more awareness to our people as an alternative of pirated softwares available in the shape of Open Source. This is not a war between two companies and their businesses, this is infact the matter of our reputation, our image in front of the world. We never thought, even once, before using illegal softwares, that what we are bringing to our country. Are we returning the favor as a true patriot? It is the time to realize that governement is playing its role and it is upto us to adopt other alternatives in order to kill ever increasing piracy, and to stop the Pirates of the Cyberspace to sail their ships in our country forever, at least for a better tomorrow!

Download IIPA's "2005 Special 301" report from here in pdf format.


Thursday, September 22, 2005
Metal Gear Solid 4 :: Guns of the Patriots

The latest series of the most popular games of all time "Metal Gear Solid" was the center of focus for TGS (Tokyo Game Show) this year. The name of the upcoming title is Metal Gear Solid 4 : Guns of the Patriots and is set in an undefined point after the events in Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons of Liberty, where an older Snake is deployed onto a battlefield, with series regular Otacon playing a supporting role from a remote location. You must see the images, they completely took my breath away, atleast for a moment :). I have the trailer for download which is about a 34 MB file. Here are some images from the trailer shown at TGS to fill in your appetite.

For more information, images and trailer visit Kikizo, IGN, Gamespot and GamesRadar.

Visit official Metal Gear Solid 4 website here.

Quicktime maniacs can download the trailer from here. Rest of the freaks, click here. Don't have enough bandwidth, watch the trailer on stream here.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Windows Workflow Foundation

Paul Andrew has got some webcasts targeting especially Windows Workflow Foundation, which will be held during September 26-30, 2005. Make sure you drop by at his blog for the webcasts links. All of you still wondering whats Workflow is, well I have some links to kill your curosity.

Windows Workflow Foundation
Channel 9 coverage


Thursday, September 15, 2005
First look at SCADA Embedded Devices

Our group geathered at my place this afternoon for a photo session. No we didn't invite Brooke Burke for the snaps :) , our final year project has finally made into a working state so we thought we can have some really cool pictures of the system. If you are wondering what this is all about, then you can refer to my previous post on "Embedded Internet Kit - Phase 1" for the brief introduction of our project. We also published a paper at SCONEST 2005, which will also be available for download from our website (Coming Soon). The project is still in development, we'll have more pics when we are finally done. So stay tuned!


Saturday, September 10, 2005
Xbox 360 Code

IGN team has deciphered a very ingeniously hidden code in a picture of a tree released by Origen Xbox 360. After zooming into the picture, you can see the hidden message written on a tree branch to the very left side and in the bottom. Just visit the Origen Xbox 360 site and zoom in a couple of time on the picture made using Flash, and you will be revealed a hidden message written in Latin. I wonder if Da Vinchi has made some secretly hidden picture especially for Xbox :)

Visit IGN Xbox 360 for the explaination of the text and its possible relationship with the upcoming gaming console by Microsoft.

Origen Xbox 360 - Use IE, site may not be compatible with Firefox or other browsers.


Bill Gates on Channel 9

Watch a short interview of Microsoft Chief Software Architect "Bill Gates" at Channel 9.

Video Length: 00:16:34 | Save

Click here to read more.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Software aims to catch Plagiarism

The LexisNexis data collection service has introduced CopyGuard, a program aimed at exposing plagiarists or spotting copyright infringement. According to John Barrie, chief executive of iParadigms, the company that developed the program with LexisNexis, CopyGuard can generate a report that calculates the percentage of material suspected of not being original, highlights that text and pinpoints its possible original source, all within seconds.

"We take digital fingerprints of individual documents and compare them to the digital fingerprints of existing documents," Barrie said.

Existing programs from iParadigm and others have focused on plagiarism by students, not journalists. CopyGuard, which is available by subscription (the company would not divulge the price of the service) draws on LexisNexis' database of more than six billion documents and several years' worth of Web pages archived by iParadigm. In addition to checking newspaper and magazine articles, CopyGuard can be used by publishers to scan book manuscripts.

Read the rest of the story here.


Monday, September 05, 2005
Getting to know ASP.NET 2.0

When Microsoft released the .NET Framework 1.0 Technology in July 2000, it was immediately clear that Web development was going to change. The company’s prior technology, Active Server Pages (ASP) launched hundreds of books, articles, Web sites and components, all aiming to make the development process easier than before. However, what ASP did not have, was an application framework - it was never an enterprise development tool. Everything in ASP was code oriented - but it simply wasn't possible to avoid doing work without writing codes.
ASP.NET was designed to counter this problem. Right from its initial release as a preview technology, Microsoft ASP.NET has been a huge success. For those people developing web sites using Microsoft technologies, ASP.NET provides a rich programming model, allowing sites to be easily constructed. There has been a lot of talk since its release, but ignoring all the hype and press, .NET really is a product for developers, providing a great foundation for building all types of web applications. One of the key design goals of ASP.NET was to make programming easier and quicker by reducing the amount of code that needed to be created. This phenomenon operates when one enters the era of declarative programming model, rich server controls, large class libraries, and support for development tools from the humble Notepad to the high-end Visual Studio .NET.

Yup thats an excerpt from my latest contribution for Spider Magazine. See their September 2005 issue, page 47 if you want to read more. Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005 and Smart Clients are on the list for future publications for both Spider and Dawn Sci-Tech. Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.


Saturday, September 03, 2005
Design Patterns :: Dependency Injections (DI)

Today there is a greater focus than ever on reusing existing components and wiring together disparate components to form a cohesive architecture. But this wiring can quickly become a daunting task because as application size and complexity increase, so do dependencies. One way to mitigate the proliferation of dependencies is by using Dependency Injection (DI), which allows you to inject objects into a class, rather than relying on the class to create the object itself.

Read the rest of this article and download the source code from here.


Friday, September 02, 2005
Embedded Internet Kit : Phase 1 Complete

Today was a good day for me and my project. We are working on a device that suppose to go online using any GPRS modem and allow us to communicate with our web server. This device is not only going to monitor any process from the system connected to it, but also allows operators to modify the running processes on the fly. This sounds so easy, but believe me, making this device just to go online made us sweat really hard :). I have been working since last 2 weeks just to make this device connect to internet using my Samsung SGH-C100 built-in modem. At first the cable was faulty and the pin configuration was not correct. After all it was made by China :). So I have to buy another cable and has to modify it to bypass the RS-232 circuit. Actually the cable is powered by DTR (Data Terminal Ready) pin from PC and allows transmission of data from TX line of the cable. But all original Samsung data cables are powered by Cell Phone Battery, which is unfortunately no where to be found in our beloved techno city. Therefore, I have to bypass this circuit so my device can freely communicate with the modem.

So finally tonight, just a few moments before, the device came online and allowed me to surf web sites, check my emails and open TCP sockets for Client-Server communication. Finally the hard work paid off. We are now going to move to the next phase and going to program our Microchip PIC16F877A so that it can communicate with our device and can share data.

I am using Warid GPRS service, but its way much expensive. They are charging Rs 3.80 for just initiating a GPRS connection and for a max download of 200KB. They will charge Rs. 3.80 for every 200 KB download. And their customer service is pathetic, with people having completely no idea about GPRS. What the hell are they doing. I am going to switch to Mobilink Indigo from next month. Atleast their GPRS tariff is much better then others. Rs. 500 for a month unlimited access, its is good or what :)

I will gonna post some pics and updates of our device soon... so stay tuned!