Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yahoo Geocities closing its free service - a saga comes to end

Yahoo is closing its free web hosting service Geocities. It will, however, continue providing paid web hosting services. I don't remember when I started using Geocities service, but it was a long time ago. I really utilized it extensively when I became my batch's representative (2001), I put all information about my university on it. Later I put my teaching materials on it (2003). I also registered a domain www.yasirniaz.com and pointed it to it.

There were some good points in it and some bad. Good point was that it was one of the earliest and most reliable free web hosting. Bad point was uploading of html pages, which I had to do file-by-file, and since I used a desktop tool to make pages, I always had to upload many files related to its theme. One bad thing was also, that they were not increasing their webspace, unlike their email. Still it was the best solution available then and it served its purpose good. Even now I still come across many private websites using this free service. I guess the finanical problem is the reason for this closing. They also closed Yahoo Briefcase earlier, which was a free online storage service since a long time. It also had the same problems, but was the best service available and I also used it for a long time.

Now the question is: where to get free web hosting? The first name coming to mind is of course, Google. Google's web hosting is different, as it lets host multiple sites. However, they strip the html that is imported into a page, so much that most of the good dynamic features are gone. Is there any other reliable free web hosting service?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gujranwala Light Rail Project

Here I propose a light rail project for the city I spent my childhood in. It is not as good as a tram system, but it would certainly ease mass transit until a tram system is built. In western and central Europe, cities with more than 200,000 people have trams. Gujranwala has at least 8 times that population (2009 estimate 1.6 million).
Blue markers indicate existing stations, while yellow markers indicate new proposed stations:

View Gujranwala Light Rail in a larger map

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nationalism in Germany

Yesterday I went to a foreign language class at the university packed with more than 50 students. The teacher required everybody to state their names and the country they come from in that language. Most of the students came from Germany so they said this. However, one of the German students said "I come from Bavaria". (Bavaria=Bayern, a Southern state in Germany). This was followed by a laughter from the class. Next time around, he stated that he came from Germany.

I heard before that people from Bayern are very proud of themselves and consider themselves to be true (or the only) Germans. I thought that was a thing of the past. But still, even the youth has that mindset. In Pakistan too, some people from some provinces think that way :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Moving to another city in germany

I had to shift to another city this summer. It seemed like a very big task, but two of my friends helped in packing. The city where I was to shift was about 2 hours away by car and 4 hours by train. The first option was to hire a small truck and ask someone to drive it with my luggage. This was very expensive. Second option was to pack all the stuff in boxes and post it through a packet service (Hermes Packetservice). This option was cheaper so I chose this one. I collected some packing boxes. But later, a close friend suggested that some of my friends can travel with me on train to deliver my luggage. Although I was reluctant to bother my friends, they agreed. So we started packing stuff into suitcases. We pack everything inside clothes and put them in suitcases. I collected a couple of suitcases from friends, as there was not much stuff to pack. But as soon as we started packing, we needed more and more suitcases. I kept running to friends to borrow their suitcases. When we finished packing, we had 9 suitcases and 2-3 boxes. We decided to leave the boxes and big items like microwave at a friend's and then contacted 8 friends to go along.

So our journey started with 10 persons, 9 suitcases and a pram. We had to change trains 2-3 times. It was really funny watching people stare at us. My friends ate lunch at the destination and then departed back. Thanks a lot to all of them.

btw, when we reached the departure train station with all the suitcases in two rounds of a big taxi, the taxi driver, an Arab friend, asked me why I didn't contact them before planning. They would easily transport all my luggage to the other city in a small truck. Tough (late) luck!!