So I am back to Hel after spending three weeks in Pakistan. Here is a short summary of the details:
1st two weeks
The trip to Karachi wasn't a long one and i quite enjoyed it by watching nice movies and tv-shows during the flight. In karachi i met my mom and my sisters and stayed with them the whole time. I also told them about Ansku. They seem to be slowly accepting it as 'reality' but they don't like the fact that I would want to spend my life with a western non-muslim woman. My mother didn't have as much objections as my sister saima had as she has become a very big religious bigot for the last few years. This reminded me of the reactions from Ansku's family but those reactions were extremely mild compared to the reaction of my family. Saima was continuously dealing with only and only one question: would Ansku become a muslim? All that was quite enough to keep me frustrated but besides that i was facing the typical problems of karachi: Extreme heat, no electricity for most of the day, pollution and lack of water to count a few.
One good thing about the stay at karachi was that I saw the ATM machine software (a project that i started and worked on alone during my last year in pk) in action on a real ATM machine. I was told that there are some 8-9 ATMs already out, serving people. Note that I am talking about linux+gtk-based ATMs here, something that is quite unheard of and this is happening in Pakistan. There are times when i taste the fruit of pure satisfaction and perhaps these are the moments that keep one going.
A week in Peshawar
On 15th of June, I flew to Peshawar were I stayed in a nice Guest House in the middle of the University. Most of my time was spent with Waheed and other friends but I was also supposed to have two presentation at the CS department of Peshawar University and the Kohat University. Here is an edited version of the email i sent to the mailing-list of our class-mates which tells the story:
I (and Hansain) informed Dr. Abid and Aqeel 1.5 months before my arrival at Peshawar about such a possibility and after a few days i received a welcoming email from Aqeel. The reason i wanted to inform them so soon was that i knew that the students might be on vacation by the time i do my presentation there so they could be notified of the presentation in time and the interested students could attend. But Aqeel told me that we can fix a date for it later when i arrive in pk. I assumed that he must know what he is doing and deferred to his judgment.
Despite the fact that getting internet access in karachi wasn't that easy, i managed to send aqeel an email about my arrival but he didn't reply for 3 days so i asked for his number which Hasnain provided to me. I called him and asked him why he doesn't reply to my email and he told me something i wouldn't normally believe if said by a teacher of CS: "I haven't checked my email for few days". He also told me what i feared: "The students are on vacation so it would only be the faculty members", the way he said it, it seemed like it will be some 8 people at least.
After i arrived in Peshawar, I got in touch with Aqeel by trying to call him for 1-2 days. He and Dr. Abid seemed to be having a lunch together at that time so i got a chance to talk to Abid directly. He gave me a specific date/time, that Aqeel also agreed to. So i went to the department at that date/time and when i arrived at the department, it turned out that Aqeel and Abid were missing themselves. I called Aqeel and he told me that he had to go somewhere all of sudden so he has informed some other new teacher about the presentation (can't recall his name). I met that guy and it turned out that he was the only person who was informed about this presentation, no other faculty member knew about it at all. The 4 teachers who were there were happy to be in the presentation but then after a while it seemed like they were not so interested either so i told one of the teachers that I should probably just cancel the presentation and she agreed that that would be a reasonable thing to do under these circumstances.
I must say that i felt quite embarrassed that i was invited by both Abid and Aqeel and then they not only were missing but they didn't care to inform anyone at all. Many students do visit the department even during the vacation so if Aqeel had cared to put a small notice on the board only a week (or even a day) before, interested people (both students and faculty members) would have attended.
Seems to me that the Department is just becoming another victim of members of Jamiat (a nick for Jamat-e-Islami) who spend the whole day trying to benefit their filthy political aims rather than improving the department itself. I still remember Abid trying recruit all the members of his party whenever we needed a teacher from outside the department. I went for the presentation despite the fact that I personally extremely hate Jamiat and my friends told me not to go as the department is now just another center of Jamiat politics. Now i regret not listening to them."
OTOH, the presentation at the Kohat University went quite well and all the teachers in there knew me as 'the video-wall guy'. The topic of the presentation was "OSSO at Nokia and Internet Tablets". At the end of the presentation, they had quite some questions, which demonstrated that they were quite interested.
The trip back
Since I had booked my tickets to Dubai and onward using different websites, I was to spend 8 hours in Dubai and 6 hours in Amsterdam. Since i don't have a UAE visa, I spent the whole day in the lounge there, sleeping. At Amsterdam, I intended to go out and get into the Canal Cruise (which takes an hour) but thats not what happened. First i got into some problem with my credit-card and the ATM there. The ATM told me to contact my bank and when i called the number on my credit card, there was an automated message telling me the timing of the help-line. People in here told me later that the whole country was on holiday because of the mid-summer. Reminded me of that joke from "The Hitchhicker's guide to the galaxy" which was something like "Sorry but our whole planet is temporarily closed, please leave a message...". Anyway, I got into the train to the center and since it was supposed to take twenty minutes, i thought a little nap wont hurt. When i woke-up, it said something centrum so i got off but i asked some lady before getting off if this is the city center and she said "yes". Then all i saw was a small town and there was no sign of any canals so i asked people where i can find the Canal Cruise. They used to give me strange looks and just say "Canal, those are in Amsterdam" and i was like "yeah! so?" and then finally someone informed me that i have travelled to another town outside Amsterdam so i go into the train back but when i reached the city, it was too late. All i did was to look at the happy people in boats. Well, maybe some other time.
I did some work on the introspection but I just can't test it because gmediaserver have started to crash on me after i last updated libupnp and gmediarenderer doesn't provide valid URLs in it's description document. Any other easily installable UPnP software i can try it against? Anyway, it seems to be quite in shape now and it shouldn't take a lot more time now that i am back into a productive environment. :)