Friday, May 29, 2009

Redefining my online presence

Since most cyberspace inhabitants would like me to keep my opinions to myself (apparently they don’t like my ass or what comes out of it, well hardy harr harr! I know people who enjoy wiping my crap but they’re found only in the meatworld!). I’ve decided to go back to the basics. Little old saqibby as I was nicknamed by much stronger bigger guys in high school ventured into the wild and wooly world of networked computers, dubbed the Information Super Highway by industry pundits during the late 90’s. We had gotten a PC for the house and at school the librarians would let you go online if your ID card had a star punched through it indicating that your parents had given you permission to surf the net. Of course those looking for porn were out of luck. In those days public use of the internet was filtered by installing curtailing software on the client PC. Much more sophisticated techniques are employed these days but the end results are essentially the same.

I took my first step into this brave new world by opening a hotmail account in the US. Many UCFers may be familiar with saqib82 at hotmail dot com. That account has been serving me well for the past decade. For the most part it’s relatively secure it’s been spoofed every now and then but the folks at hotmail are worth their mettle and manage to re establish my control over my inbox. Me being a CS major I also take a keen interest in safeguarding my online presence. A few years later I opened a yahoo email account I was attracted by the greater amount of storage space they offered. Then Google got into the act and starting offering Gmail. They took a novel marketing approach and only allowed users to sign up if they had an invitation from a current user. I remember feeling absolutely ecstatic when I got my invitation and happily sent out a half a dozen more to some of my undergrad classmates.

Gmail quickly proliferated the world wide web and the popularity of Google products cemented its share of the Cyberion market. Of course once the revenues started pouring in, thanks to innovative algorithms which made context sensitive advertisement that more effective, the other two giants namely Microsoft and Yahoo smelt blood. What followed will go down in the annals of nerd history. The founding member of the Yahoo behemoth and the CEO of the board of directors was sacked for repeatedly refusing Microsoft’s generous offer to buy out the company. The software leviathan hoped to forge a staging ground to take on Google and conquer its lucrative market share. Of course with any clunky apparatus that reeks of the evil empire its popularity goes way down and Microsoft’s ambition were snubbed by the maxi pad of flower power.

And that’s just me getting worked up about email!!!

Let’s not forget to mention websites. I remember taking HTML classes with my big sis at her uni (Hofstra out in L.I. Gooooooo Jets!). The instructor took us through the ins and outs of this simple yet vital markup language (XML on the other hand is a totally different ball game, Yikes!!!). I was messing around with my own website on geocities in no time. I even had a few clients (this was before the dot com burst I was also taking AP CS courses while in the 12th grade I know major dweeb alert is in order!). Of course I didn’t have any project management skills at the time and those initial initiatives went bust pretty quickly.

Now a days I use FrontPage to streamline my web developing endeavors. It’s sad to report that geocities will be decommissioned this summer. Yahoo is no longer willing to finance these free websites, which went a long way in defining what an online community could be. I’ve already shifted my operations to office live. Which is great because I get to tie in my newly inculcated project management capabilities with a really upbeat and professional looking website plus the “All Rights Reserved” banner at the bottom of the page makes me feel spiffy (take a look by clicking on the transformer icon, also check out my buddies book! His work has helped to clear up misconceptions between Muslims born and raised in western societies with people of other faiths and cultures. Plus he’s been assigned the post of Muslim chaplain at Yale, Squeeeeeee!!!) And also give it up for chatting software, they let you make an ass of yourself in real-time with your co-workers on hand to document how chubby your cheeks really are!!!!

However when it comes to serious work that involves your money, time and expertise we haven’t been able to break out of the Desi market. My dad is a CPA and is licensed to practice in the state of New York. This is the same state from which I earned my High School diploma with honors. The thing I like about the Farmingdale Public School District (which encompasses a large part of Nassau County, trendy!) is how they manage to instill well rounded views into their students. Those that are willing to put in the effort get a top notch education. Plus if you take AP level courses and take CLEP exams you’re able to shave off a year or two from your college education. Most of my classmates continued on in this vain. My family and I decided to take a different approach. We packed up our house, handed the keys to my youngest uncle and his family and shipped ourselves to Karachi. I had a blast studying software development at a preppy private Uni run by the folks at the University of Huddersfield (the vice chancellor is Patrick Stewart, no less, yay trekkies!) based in the UK. With my New England background coupled with the upper echelons of Sindhi elites I felt right at home. I was even made VP of the student body due to popular demand!

Of course there is a heart of a true nerd that beats within my chest. I had to find out more about my newly adopted profession and decided to go for my Masters in science. I approached one of the top Universities in the land to help me with this task. I was quickly inducted and made to perform in some very rigorous and challenging course work. Which I nailed every time. However my student leader years beckoned me and I had to do something outrageous in my final year. I decided to do opt for a thesis. Now for most Americans this is standard procedure when doing your masters. But unfortunately those students coming up from the local secondary schools and unis lack the research skills required to pull something like this off. There given two other alternatives, one is to do a research survey to hone their research skills, the other is a practicum which gives them the opportunity to manage a final year project by the undergrad students.

They typically perform in a group of four students, we love giving them a tough time just to see them sweat! But a thesis is mostly an isolated incident that starts off as a good idea but ends in an international disaster! (I couldn’t help getting worked up about US politics, for me a minority from the US, I had finally found my voice, sorry for bothering anyone that wasn’t my intention)
I coupled my research with some actual field work with regard to my industry experience all within the realm of Corporate Pakistan (take a look at where we stand CIOPakistan). Of course my findings are confidential because thanks to my Pakistani heritage I was able to garner some really moving SOB stories which I managed to put into my final report. Shhh this is a very depressing matter, no one must know! Let’s just say with the current humanitarian crisis, the worst in Pakistani history and a buckling economy this year just ain’t ours. Maybe we can play a round of shuttle cock next year? That’s the spirit! Pip, pip cheerio!

Me personally I would like to stop filming and work on my writing I am working on a sequel to my novel. I understand my writing skills are not up to par with other UCFers and I don’t mind being rejected by some of the biggest publishers of Science Fiction and Fantasy that’s why I am self publishing as a way to keep my skills fresh and up to date. Plus I am emotionally exhausted these days and have reverted back to my High School days paper or plastic, sir? Neither we want it digitized!!!!

UPDATE:
We the people...
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