Stories about technology

Electric Avenue: Sky high bills getting higher

What I pay for electricity of my apartment is almost half the rent itself. There is only one room, with a fan and two tube-lights, other than that I only have a laptop, a toaster, a microwave oven and a 0.75-ton split air-conditioner. As if the price of electricity is not high enough, donor agencies usually demand that the government address inter-corporate debt which has grown to Rs426 billion. And no matter how much money the government tries to inject into the system to get it running again, making it sustainable will require huge increases in electricity prices as well as ...

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X2-00: Nokia gets the price right

Choosing a new cell phone is a hard decision. The market seems to be flooded with all kinds of phones that claim to suit your needs. The perfect handset all depends on what you use your phone for. There are users who only want to make and receive calls. Then there are smart phone users whose set can perform every possible task in the world. Or maybe you are looking for a decent medium-range phone which fulfills your needs and doesn’t leave your pocket empty. If you happen to fall in the this category, then Nokia X2-00 may be your answer. For quite ...

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The secret of Western domination

When the United States attacked Iraq in 2003, the three main reasons given were the possession of weapons of mass destruction, the absence of democracy and the harbouring of terrorist groups and elements. The only country fulfilling in fact these three criteria at that time was Pakistan, which at the time was being ruled by an army general, possessed a huge stockpile of nuclear arms and was not only harbouring terrorists but allegedly sending them out as well to destabilise other democratic regimes. As if all this was not enough,  some in Pakistan started smuggling secrets of nuclear technology illegally to ...

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Are you an SMS junkie?

As I look around, I see everyone firing away at the keys of their mobile phones at supersonic speed. It’s unnerving, and sometimes I feel that we really have been invaded by these miniscule hand-held devices. Sure, it’s great technology and life has definitely become easier, convenient and faster in a lot of ways but they say excess of anything is bad. It is quite correct about incessant text messaging as well which, in my opinion, is not only an addictive nuisance but also causes repetitive strain injury. In the past few years, I have almost become allergic to text messaging ...

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Bye bye Walkman?

Leading British newspapers have announced the death of cultural symbols born of technology, that signal values of an era obsolete as if saying goodbye to dear friends. Nostalgia plays a huge part in this, for both the British and American cultures often find themselves mourning for times bygone. The current obsession with the show Mad Men in every sphere including fashion has, for example, been described in this way. One such an announcement was made on the front pages of almost all the major publications recently, one variation read: “Walkman RIP, farewell to a cultural icon.” Sony, a Japanese company, has made the ...

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You know you are a nerd when…

Forever depressed, suppressed, and oppressed, the nerd inside me finally woke up one fine day and decided enough was enough! It was about time I raised a voice for my kind. Who are we? Walking through a mall, you find us staring at the latest gadgets rather than the really cute girl passing nearby. We have watched all the latest Hollywood movies and take out time to write a review for each and every one of them at imdb.com. If you lend us as much as a type-writer, you will see our blog the very next day on the website of The ...

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Chinese cell phones: The pros and cons of buying cheap

Whether we like the idea or not almost all appliances we use are made in China. The country is currently the world’s manufacturing base, churning out cheap products ranging from common pins to automobiles. They may be cheap but sometimes these products can be of very good quality. But not often. Normally, Chinese goods are what we like to call, expendable. The term “China” or “Chinese” has almost become interchangeable with third-rate – especially in the cellphone market.  So, are fake “Chinese” cellphones as good as the real thing? Trust me, I am uniquely qualified to answer this question.  I have lost ...

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Pakistani fiction hijacked by English language writers

Why is it that I can access Francis W. Pritchet’s English translation of Intizar Hussain’s Basti on the net but find nothing about the original Urdu novel? The only Pakistani fiction that is making its way on the internet is either written in English or is translated into English from Urdu. Thus a majority of Urdu fiction stays locked in the black and white pages of books – out of the reach of potential readers. The world now knows contemporary writers like Nadeem Aslam, Muhammad Hanif, Kamila Shamsi and Daniyal Moeenuddin as representative Pakistani writers because English books can easily ...

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My adventures on Shaadi dot com

Dear Diary, It is day one of my attempt to get married online, which as you may know is quite unconventional for a male to undertake on his own. However, I have decided to pursue this online adventure as I feel the need to settle down, and what the hell, I met my first girlfriend in an IRC chat room so I know there is a good chance this might work out. Shaadi.com tells me the odds are totally in my favour. The website claims to be the internet’s largest matrimonial service which has ‘touched over 20 million people’. They also ...

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Robots with guns (and morals?)

Robotic warfare is here. US soldiers are killing insurgents across the world with remote controlled drones. A worried UN investigator Christof Heyns has urged the UN to set up a panel on the ethics of robot weapons. We in Pakistan are fighting faceless machines now, they appear out of nowhere, shoot us down and disappear. The right kind of war Would you want a war where your sole existence depends on the decision of a machine which cannot see, hear or feel? War is supposed to have consequences that may be lost if the current trend of robotic warfare continues. When war is dehumanized and ...

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