09
Feb
11

SIPA and Astoria, I love thou both!

SIPA is the coolest school in Columbia!
Astoria is the coolest place in NY.
No, I don’t study in SIPA.
And I don’t live in Astoria.
But every week I find myself sitting in a class or auditorium at SIPA.
And every weekend I roam the streets of Astoria.
Why?
SIPA gives me a window to understand the thoughts and dreams of people from other nations.
And Astoria makes me nostalgic.

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25
Jan
11

Search Engine Hacktivism

For a course, we are experimenting with search engine hacktivism. Here’s an example page on my professional blog, introducing definition for a new technical word.

07
Jan
11

Happy New Year

I had a wonderful winter break and a happy new year. And I got 4.0 gpa in my first semester at Columbia (alhamdolillah). It was one of the best times ever. My fulbrighter friends visited me. We went to see a lot of places in New York, ate a lot of good Pakistani food. I learned using chopsticks and tried sushi for first time. The new year eve countdown in Times Square was amazing, and so was the ferry ride to liberty island. I am very happy and hope that I (and everyone else) have a wonderful new year ahead 🙂

24
Dec
10

My professional website and blog :)

I am really happy because I have bought a new domain for my professional profile. I have uploaded the webpages. Moreover, I have also setup a blog called “w0rms & sh3lls”. This blog will be about my views on computer security related news and issues. The first post is already online: Digital Protection against counterfeiting: Will it work?… Happy professional blogging to me 🙂

20
Dec
10

Amazing Day in New York – Visit to NYPL and MoMA

I had an amazing afternoon in New York today. I went out to Times Square to meet a friend from Cornell. We had a good discussion over coffee which revolved around studies and entrepreneurship. Then I went to New York public library to visit the three faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) exhibition. This exhibit is a must see for anyone willing to understand the similarity of beliefs and practices among more than half the human race, who sadly, despite of all these similarities, still manage to treat each other as hostile aliens from another planet. 😦

This verse on the library wall best described the spirit of the exhibition:
“We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in what was given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them.” — Qur’an 3:84

And I saw a beautiful 14th century Arabic manuscript of Quran from Turkey, and a thirteenth century Hebrew Bible; which were artistic 🙂

Then I went to the Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA). It was about to close (only 20 minutes left), but as I got a free ticket on my student ID, so I decided to give it a shot. It turned out to be breath-taking and inspiring. Due to shortage of time, I could only see one of the four floors, but it really made my day. A paper ring was balanced floating in air between two fans at the entrance of stairs. There was a helicopter hanging across the void between the floors! A computer program was attempting to visualize paths of thousands of planes, thus giving an amazing sight of the flight patterns. And another one provided a wonderful bubbles based intuitive match making interface containing profiles of users collected from the internet over years. There were amazing artistic evolutionary designs of objects of common use like recliners, chairs and dutbins etc. i saw a few of the photos and paintings by women artists which were on display before time ran out. On my way out, I went to the museum shop. It has great little gifts of objects of everyday use with artistic designs. I hope to go back one day to see the rest of the museum and buy some souvenirs too 🙂

On my way back home, I visited Rockefeller center to see the Christmas tree, the ice skating rink, and above all the hustling crowd. In fact, it was so crowded that the police had to stop more people from entering the area. There was a great positive energy in the crowd and everyone seemed so happy. I really loved this day. 🙂

14
Dec
10

My First Snowfall in NY

People tell me it’s snowing outside… I don’t know… I feel hot… I have been hiding my real thoughts for so many days… whenever my broken pieces start to fly apart, I go online and set a funny or cool status on facebook… and then I watch people liking it, it seems as if I am laughing at myself.. It all seems so unreal… Sometimes I fear that I will wake up from this dream.. sometimes I fear I will get stuck in this dream forever and will never make it back to the real world… I am afraid… but I am resigned too.. and that means no more fear… what should I think of this contradiction? May be I am going mad? haha, that is no secret considering I updated my funny status four times today! I wonder what will happen to me when the exams finish and I have all the time in the world and nothing to do… I don’t even have a friend… May be that’s my worst failure in all this time… failing to mingle, and making friend… I know I tried hard, but maybe somethings are not to be…

Anyways, happy first snow to me 🙂

22
Nov
10

Appreciation

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.
 
He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.
 
The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.
 
The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” the youth answered “none”.
 
The director asked, ” Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.”
 
The director asked, ” Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.
 
The director asked, ” Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”
 
The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”
 
The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.
 
The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.
 
This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.
 
After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.
 
That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.
 
Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.
 
The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: ” Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”
 
The youth answered, ” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes”
 
The Director asked, ” please tell me your feelings.”
 
The youth said, Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.
 
The director said, ” This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”
 
A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?
 
You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

// An anonymous email