March 2, 2007

Dear oh dear where have I been for so long. Well I’ve been trying to blog and there was so much to write about but well its all gone :). Why? Well I was so caught up in pretty much everything professional stuff, personal stuff, social stuff … ah the list goes on. But well lets hope I maintain the continuity for my own sake 😀


Be a Geek but not a Freak

November 9, 2006

I’ve had some interesting discussions about the importance of socialization for developers with some really interesting people. Some people really think that being a developer is just about sitting in front of your computer and coding all day long. And I’m not talking about only the hardcore developers. I have talked to Management people, Business men, and some Industrialist as well. Most of them (specially the non-technical people) think this is what a developer is all about.

I think this mindset needs to change for the good of developers themselves. We need to realize that everything does not come on your computer screens. Now I’m not ignoring the importance of time we spend coding, the more time we spend coding, the better we get. But the equation that sums up a good and *effective* developer is not that simple. There are other factors involved as well.

Being a good developer is not only being a good coder, which we all are. I think having an active social life and taking time out to enjoy life contributes towards your success as well. You grow in experience as you meet more people. As you grow in experience, your vision enhances. As your vision enhances, you start seeing things other can’t. When that starts happening your personality matures and so does your work. With the enhanced vision the software you develop will have more life, will be more flexible and more adapt to unseen changes because you have the vision to foresee what others can’t :).

But with all that said, it’s really important to manage your time well. There should be a balance between the time you spend doing the *geek work* and the time you need to socialize and relax. Our mind needs time to relax that’s the natural way it works. Not letting it relax would be like over driving your car. It will only reduce its capabilities and life. Sometimes we need to give our mind a break to use it effectively for doing what we love doing the most *CODE*.

5 Yrs ago

November 2, 2006

Jeff Atwood has an interesting post about taking a look at what you did 5 years ago the comments are really interesting. Reading through them you can clearly see that most of the programmers start of scripting.

Anyway 5 years ago I just started my graduation. I started by programming in C in my first semester. I developed an IDE to mimic Borland’s IDE and I developed an Employee Database system in C (using txt files as the database 🙂 and without any knowledge what so ever about databases). Yea all of that was in first semester :). But the code was as messy as it gets. I used mouse handling and Borland’s Graphics library for creating menus etc. But they were Drawn and re-drawn in the worst possible way :). Perhaps I didn’t know about program structure coz there wasn’t any.

I actually remember writing a ~50 page documentation for it as well which included all sorts of flow charts etc. But that was crappy as well. I think I agree that looking back at your old code is the best way to get scared and perhaps learn from it as well.

Miain Fahim-ul-Haq gave us his own farewell treat last night:). Yup! that sounds quite odd but not that odd if you know us. But everything apart, it was one of the most memorable dinner. Well for me at least; specially because it was perhaps my last dinner for a long time with one of my most trusted and most reliable friend as Fahim is leaving for Microsoft tomorrow. BEST OF LUCK to him. I’ll write more about us guys in my next blogs.

Here’s a pic of us all (well almost since Rehan is behind the camera:))

Here is a pic of Fahim (in White) and me (the other one:) )

Adding Rehan’s pic on his request 🙂


Bio Hazard?

September 15, 2006

I always thought that kashif was one of those rare people who have a good taste for humor. He just recovered from Hepatitis A and this is his ploy to protect his drink from others.

The Reunion

September 11, 2006

It took a long time coming and some serious efforts from Fahim and Rehan, but it finally happened. It certainly was one of the best get-together’s I have recently had. It refreshed the memories of the great days we had in our university. I hope this proves to be a trend setter and we get more and more PUCIT students to participate every year.

My recruiter at Mentor Graphics, my Technical Lead in my very early days at Mentor, a very good friend and a really nice counter strike player 🙂 Khurram is leaving for England tomorrow (28th Aug 2006) on an HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Program) visa. He worked of RTOS group for a couple of months before he joined Compilers group. He had a 4 year long stay with Mentor. He is one of the most technically sound guys I know perhaps that’s why he was the tech lead :). It was really fun and a great pleasure to work with him. We will all miss him and his Suzuki-FX. It wouldn’t be same working without him in the team. I wish him luck and hope he succeeds in achieving his goals like he always has.

Second time lucky

August 27, 2006

A couple of days back (on Thursday 24th August) I went to purchase a laptop from Shah Almi market (Lahore). I stood under an 8 story tall building as I confirmed the shop’s address from my brother over the phone. I didn’t buy the computer because I didn’t like it but when I came out of the shop (which was not more than ~50-60 yards away from where I called my brother), I saw that the top four floors of that very building had collapsed. It was a terrible scene. Certainly the most tragic scene I’ve witnessed. People were trapped under the rubble, injured people were lying on the road, cars under that building were smashed, and even worst there were some people (possibly labors) trapped in another building whose exits were blocked by the debris. The rescue workers took 10 agonizing minutes to come but still considering that particular locality, I’d say that it was a very good response time.

This was my second narrow escape. Some 5 months earlier, I was working out in the gym when a powerful storm struck Lahore. When it was relatively calm outside, I thought this would be the perfect time to go home because I just needed 10 minutes window to reach home. Suddenly when I came out, the wind picked up again. I put my helmet on as I reassessed the situation, and the next second, a huge window glass smashed right on top of my head. I could think of nothing else to do but to go back inside the gym. I went back there in the morning and saw a window (~8-10 yards away) missing a 4′ square glass. I could tell that it was something big because of the intensity of the impact. It flew all that way to smash top of my head. My helmet proved life saving after all 🙂

Microsoft will release a test version of its XNA Game studio on Aug 30th. This will be a trial version of the product and full version will come sometime later this year. Even with this free/trial version, developers will be able to develop games for their PCs. They require a $99 subscription fee however to develop games for Xbox 360. The professional version will be available next year.

Microsoft is working with 10 universities which will integrate the tool in their course work. Ahh I so wish this sort of work could start here in Pakistan as well :(. I wonder how long will it take for our universities to become research partners of such companies.

This is certainly good news for me and some people I know (kashif for instance). We have been trying to develop simple multi-player games but we always lacked the right tools. Looking at what XNA Game Studio has to offer, I think we might just have found the right tool set 🙂

Independence Day

August 14, 2006

Heavens opened up today like they did 59 years back blessing us with this great country which we are all very proud of. Different people have different memories related to this day specially those very few who were actually present at that historical moment. To me, well it just reminds me of a great struggle beautifully lead by a great man.

Happy Birthday “Pakistan”.