Thursday, December 15, 2011

YouTube introduces 'YouTube For Schools'

YouTube is launching a learning tool 'YouTube for Schools'. It is a learning portal for students and teachers.

A blog post on YouTube explains:

When I was in school during the 90s, watching videos in the classroom was a highlight of any week. The teacher would roll in a television on a cart, pop in a VHS tape, and then we’d enjoy whatever scratchy science video my teacher had checked out from the school video library that week. Sight, sound and motion have always had the power to engage students and complement classroom instruction by bringing educational topics to life.

We’ve been hearing from teachers that they want to use the vast array of educational videos on YouTube in their classrooms, but are concerned that students will be distracted by the latest music video or a video of a cute cat, or a video that might not be appropriate for students. While schools that completely restrict access to YouTube may solve this distraction concern, they also limit access to hundreds of thousands of educational videos on YouTube that can help bring photosynthesis to life, or show what life was like in ancient Greece.

To address this issue, we’ve developed YouTube for Schools, a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.

We know how busy teachers are, and that searching through thousands of videos sounds like a daunting visit to the world’s largest library, so we’ve also worked with teachers to put together more than 300 playlists broken out by subject -- Math, Science, Social Studies, and English Language Arts -- and by grade level. Teachers can find them listed out at Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without your input -- teachers, what videos do you use in your classroom? Suggest your own education playlist here.

YouTube for Schools is just the latest initiative in our ongoing efforts to make YouTube a truly valuable educational resource, and to inspire learners around the world with programs like YouTube Space Lab. So how do you get started? To join YouTube for Schools or learn more about the program, head on over to

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My concerns after attending Microsoft Open Door event today at 11th ITCN Asia

Went to attend Microsoft Open Door event at the 11th ITCN Asia held at Karachi Expo Centre. The content was not that impressive because as a developer’s point of view most of the technologies discussed are already adopted by the developers community and are into the market for quite some time. And I strongly have this opinion after viewing videos of some of the sessions at Microsoft Build conference (

But my post is not about the technology and event feedback. Its about my concern over the collective turnout of ITCN and Microsoft event. I remember some previous ITCN events when there were delegations coming to Pakistan from all over the world to attend this event. The event being attended by the President, Prime Minister and top officials of the country. Presence of top giants of the technology world. To sum it up, an obvious excitement was seen in the town about the event.

I also remember some past Microsoft’s PDC events, used to held at multiple hotels in Karachi and Lahore at the same time, having all their conference rooms filled with attendees. Whereas, today both events being held together (I understand that Open Door is not as big as PDC but still it’s a Microsoft event) could not produce a noticeable crowd.

What is the reason behind this disappointing fact? Is global recession is responsible for this as companies like Microsoft does not have enough budget to spend on big events in countries like Pakistan? Is our security issues to blamed for this? let us find out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to install Windows 8 (Developer Preview version) with Windows 7, side by side (Dual Boot)

Microsoft has just released a developer preview of their upcoming operating system Windows 8 (download here). Users can download the preview and install it on their systems.

Windows 8 has following System Requirements:
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
  • To run Metro style Apps, you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater
If you want to install the Windows Developer Preview without any DVD or USB then follow the steps below:
  1. Download the ISO file from Microsoft (download here).
  2. Mount the ISO using any mounting tool. Virtual CloneDrive in my case.
  3. Do not use the autorun installer. The autorun installer only allows you to upgrade your existing Windows installation and does not allow you to install on a separate partition.
  4. Navigate to the virtual disc and go to the folder "sources".
  5. Run setup.exe and proceed.
To make Windows 7 the default:

You will notice upon first boot of Windows 8 you are presented with a graphical boot menu that will let you choose between your Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems. Windows 8 will be the default, meaning if you don't manually choose Windows 7 from the menu, your computer will boot with Windows 8 after three seconds of inactivity.

If you don't want to make Windows 8 the default, here's how to make Windows 7 the default:
  1. On the boot menu, click on the button at the bottom that says "Change Defaults or Choose Other Options".
  2. Hit "Choose the Default Operating System".
  3. Pick Windows 7 from the menu.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Melbourne most suitable for accommodation


The Economist magazine's Intelligence Unit Liveability Ranking Report August 2011survey ranked Melbourne first, Vienna second  and Vancouver as third.

For the first time in almost a decade the Australian city of Melbourne has become the best city to live in the world after replacing Vancouver city of Canada.

Vancouver was on top since 2002 in this survey. However, after this year's survey it is at the third position.

Overall, seven cities of Australia and Canada are in the top 10 positions and Zimbabwe's capital Harare, Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka are on the bottom.

These cities were sampled at five points including stability, medical facilities, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Melbourne and Vancouver were on joint top position in 2002 survey.

Britain's capital London is ranked 53rd among one hundred and forty cities. Honolulu is at the top among American cities.

According to The Economist magazine's Intelligence Unit, the financial crisis has affected the European countries, while Arab countries have been affected by the revolution. This can be witnessed from the fact that Libya's capital Tripoli on 135 from 107.

Top Ten cities

  1. Melbourne
  2. Vienna
  3. Vancouver
  4. Toronto
  5. Calgary
  6. Sydney
  7. Helsinki
  8. Perth
  9. Adelaide
  10. Auckland

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tokyo is world’s most expensive city while Karachi is the least

A survey released from the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub is world’s least expensive city while Tokyo, Japan is world’s most expensive.

India’s Mumbai and New Delhi are also among the bottom 5 cities.

Worldwide Cost of Living 2011

European cities covers almost half of the top 50 having 4 of them in the top 10 including Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt and Geneva.

As Australian dollar is getting stronger, the cost of living in Australian cities is raising day by day. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane are among the top 15 most expensive cities.

American cities rankings are generally on the drop with New York at 49th position among world’s most expensive cities.

Top 10 cities

1. Tokyo
2. Oslo
3. Osaka
4. Paris
5. Zurich
6. Sydney
7. Melbourne
8. Frankfurt
9. Geneva
10. Singapore

Bottom 5 cities

129. New Delhi
130. Tehran
131. Mumbai
132. Tunis
133. Karachi

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Facebook launches video chat with Skype


The world’s number 1 social networking giant Facebook has introduced video chatting feature in partnership with Skype (an internet calling service) on Wednesday. The feature is introduced a week after Google introduced a video chatting tool called ‘Hangouts’ with its social networking service Google+ . Google has limited the number of users at the moment.

The agreement, announced by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg at the company's Palo Alto, California, headquarters on Wednesday which also unveils the company's relationship with Microsoft Corporation as Microsoft in the process of buying Skype.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive said, “The new feature allows users a way to connect with friends other than just posting messages”. Zuckerberg said, “Facebook has hit a record 750 million users. The new service, rolling out from Wednesday, could be a huge boost for Skype, which currently has about 145 million regular users”.

The feature will display a "call" button at the top of users' profile pages. By clicking that, Facebook users can talk to each other as long as they have webcams. The company began turning that service on for millions of users on Wednesday and will add it to more accounts over time, a Facebook spokesperson said.

Facebook also added a group messaging function to its existing one-to-one text chat but Google+ has an edge over Facebook’s video chatting facility as ‘Hangouts’ let users video chat with several friends at a time. Zuckerberg hinted that video chat for multiple people could eventually be available on Facebook. But he said that most video chats today occur between two people.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google introduces Google+, enters social networking battle

Google launched its social networking service called Google+ which is available at but is currently available to limited users. Google has promised to make this product available to everyone soon.

"Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it," Google's senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. Gundotra further explained, "We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," he said. "We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships and your interests".

"Not all relationships are created equal," Gundotra said. "The problem is that today's online services turn friendship into fast food -- wrapping everyone in 'friend' paper -- and sharing really suffers," he continued. 

Features available in Google+ includes Hangouts, Circles, Sparks and Huddle. ‘Hangout’ is a tool for video chatting among friends while ‘Spark’ is a sharing engine to share content from the web. 

‘Circles’ is another key tool and considered as Google’s enhanced form of Facebook’s ‘Friends’. it gives users to separate online friends and family into different "circles," or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle. Google+ describes the feature on the member’s homepage as “The easiest way to share some things with college buddies, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss.”  

Google+ is considered as a rival of social networking giant ‘Facebook’ which nearly has 700 million users worldwide.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Port Grand - Karachi

Port Grand is a food, shopping and entertainment complex which has been built with over Rs. 1 billion investment by Grand Leisure Corporation. Port Grand project is a 13-acre world-class facility that has been designed and built in collaboration with top international architects / designers who employed the latest technology and building techniques to deliver a state of the art facility. About 40 outlets are being made operational at this stage while more outlets would be opened soon. 

The place is not just linked with food, it has several entertainment concepts that includes free WiFi, shopping, bookstore, florist, Art Lane, gifts and antiques etc.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Facebook Changes Privacy Settings to Enable Facial Recognition

Facebook will soon be able to recognize familiar faces. Facebook will automatically enable this feature for Facebook users but it can be disabled in the privacy settings on the Web site. Facebook initially introduced this feature for its North American users, but now it is rolling out to most countries.

This feature uses facial recognition technology and will suggest labeling friends that appear in photos posted on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t give users the option to avoid being tagged in a photo, people who don’t want to be tagged may untag themselves afterwards. Manual tagging system will still be available.

The company's rollout strategy has raised concerns over users’ privacy. Many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the facial recognition option without giving users any notice. In response to an inquiry, Facebook replied, “We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them. We launched Tag Suggestions to help people add tags of their friends in photos; something that’s currently done more than 100 million times a day. Tag Suggestions are only made to people when they add new photos to the site, and only friends are suggested. If for any reason someone doesn’t want their name to be suggested, they can disable the feature in their Privacy Settings.”

Other photo software and online services such as Google Inc's Picasa and Apple Inc's iPhoto use facial recognition technology but they have not enabled this feature on the online versions.

Facebook is the largest photo sharing service scanning millions of pictures daily. More than 100 million photos per day are uploaded to Facebook.


HTML5 is the latest version and the fifth revision of the HTML standard. It is solution for the issues found in the previous versions of HTML and an attempt to fulfill the needs of modern web applications. It also has support for the latest multimedia features. HTML5 is still under development. The objective is to design a single markup language that can be written in either HTML or XHTML.

HTML5 has introduced many semantic elements for a more meaningful use, such as <header>, <footer>, <video>, <audio>, <article> etc. It has also introduced several new attributes to various existing elements. Some element and attributes have been dropped. However, HTML5 is designed with backward compatibility.

HTML5 introduces a number of APIs that help in creating web applications. Such as:
  • Offline web applications
  • API for playing audio and video
  • MIME type registration
  • Document editing
  • Drag and Drop API
  • Browser history API
An HTML5 enabled browser will be flexible in handling incorrect syntax. HTML5 is designed so that old browsers can safely ignore new HTML5 constructs with the intent that different compliant browsers will produce the same result in the case of incorrect syntax.

Introducing Hadoop

Today every action we perform is recorded as data with one or more locations as several web applications are integrated with each other and can share data easily. So one action can perform multiple records. We are dealing with petabytes these days. Available technologies are becoming incompatible to process large scale data.

Google was the first to introduce MapReduce, a framework to process large scale data. Doug Cutting developed an open source version of this MapReduce system called Hadoop. Today many web giants like Yahoo and Facebook are using Hadoop for large scale data processing. Large scale distributed data processing has become an essential skill for every programmer. Key universities have included Hadoop in their curriculum.

Hadoop is an open source framework for developing and running distributed applications and data. It is accessible, robust, scalable and simple. Hadoop runs on large clusters of computers including cloud computing services. It is intended to run on commodity hardware, Hadoop is architected with the assumption of frequent hardware malfunctions. It is scalable to handle large data by adding more nodes to the cluster. Hadoop allows developers to quickly write smart parallel code.

Hadoop has a separate file system known as “Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)”, which breaks data into smaller parts (64 MB by default) and distributes among several machines in the cluster.
Hadoop uses key/value pairs as its basic data unit. In Hadoop, data can originate in any form, but it eventually transforms into (key/value) pairs for the processing functions to work on. The Hadoop MapReduce platform is very flexible and works generally with scripts and codes as compared to the typical structured relational data.

The MapReduce model works with two methods named ‘map’ and ‘reduce’. The ‘map’ method processes the input data and the reducer processes all the outputs from the mapper. The ‘map’ method runs parallel and isolated which is the secret for good performance.

Once an application is written by using the MapReduce framework, it can scale to run on tens of thousands of machines in a cluster. This has attracted developers around the world towards Hadoop.

Cloud Computing and Pakistan

Cloud computing is the Buzz word these days. Why do business entities need to have their own data centers. It needs huge space, uninterrupted power supply, a big team of server administrators, network professionals and security experts. The objective is just to deal with day to day business operations. Its like generating your own electric power to run the business.
By moving to the cloud, companies just need to focus on business applications and their outcomes without having to be worried about the infrastructure and other hassles. Besides infrastructure, companies providing cloud solutions are also helping to build a business application. Google App and Microsoft Windows Azure are the examples.
Some companies providing cloud computing Solutions are:
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Amazon
Some key features of cloud computing are:
  • Flexible
  • Little or no startup fee
  • Usage based cost of services
Cloud computing is a hope for companies in Pakistan where they can setup a business and put their applications almost for free on the cloud without installing a huge IT infrastructure which at times cost more than the actual capital of the business. Secondly, it can save you from the power issues which is a major problem in Pakistan and requires its own arrangement and backup.

Google changes search algorithm to bring good quality on the top

Google made changes in search results by keeping the low quality websites down and the good quality on the top.

Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, and Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer said :

Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.

It’s worth noting that this update does not rely on the feedback we’ve received from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which we launched last week. However, we did compare the Blocklist data we gathered with the sites identified by our algorithm, and we were very pleased that the preferences our users expressed by using the extension are well represented. If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits.

So, we’re very excited about this new ranking improvement because we believe it’s a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results. We’ve been tackling these issues for more than a year, and working on this specific change for the past few months. And we’re working on many more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results.

To start with, we’re launching this change in the U.S. only; we plan to roll it out elsewhere over time. We’ll keep you posted as we roll this and other changes out, and as always please keep giving us feedback about the quality of our results because it really helps us to improve Google Search.