Bring on ICL franchise to Pakistan

Indian Cricket League

Indian Cricket League

The cricket community generally belonging to the Australian and the European continent are reluctant to travel to Pakistan due to their absurd security concerns (as discussed earlier in my blog). Thus, depriving the fans here in Pakistan of much sought after cricket extravaganza. In fact, 2008 will go down in history as one of the “dead” years when no Test Cricket is played in Pakistan. Barring a few one day matches, the year has been a barren for Pakistan Cricket and a game-less season for the fans.

Meanwhile, just across the border, in India, a rebel cricket league is keeping the fans here in Pakistan glued to the Television screens. Indian Cricket League, or ICL is currently playing 20/20 style of cricket with some of the best talent from across the world  led by some of the greats of International cricket including Inzimam ul Haq, Abdul Razak, Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan), Damien Martin, Jason Gillespie (Australia), Brian Lara (West Indies), Marvin Attaputu (Sri Lanka), Murray Goodwin (Zimbabwe), Andrew Hall (South Africa) among many others. In fact, there is now a team from Pakistan called Lahore Badshahs and one from Bangladesh as well.

Now here is an idea. Let’s invite the teams from ICL to come and play competitive cricket here in Pakistan. In fact, let’s extend the tournament to include venues in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi among other cities and give us fans the chance to see some of the biggest cricket stars slug it out in the middle. Just because ICC sanctioned teams do not want to play cricket in Pakistan does not mean the ICL teams will not travel here. I bet, all of them will be here the moment they get a chance.

So let’s not wait and make this request immediately to Kapil Dev, the foremost Indian cricketer of yester-years and now CEO of ICL. So Mr. Kapil Dev, if you ever get to read this blog, then make it a point to discuss this option with the players and teams and expand your franchise right here inside Pakistan. We will welcome you with open arms. Heck, I am even ready to help organize it. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) may raise a few objections to such an event, but then again, when did ICL ever needed to ask anyone for permission to organize matches. Besides, PCB has failed to organize any serious cricket this year in Pakistan so their objections have no meat.

The second question is whether the sponsors will join in the bandwagon to make it a financial success? Of course! Already, Lahore Badshahs have Telenor (Pakistan’s second largest mobile operator) splattered all across their jerseys. And almost all major brands are advertising heavily on television (and any other medium possible) during the tournament as they all know and understand quite clearly, that Pakistani cricket fans love cricket and ICL is providing them with the a great opportunity to watch some competitive matches.

Cricket a great spectator sport with a following of over a billion worldwide. Every living person has a right to organize, play and watch this great game as they please regardless of any board, any country or any person.

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What happens when Google goes bust!

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With the US economy tanking and its ill effects being felt right across the globe, many silicon valley startups and stars of today may not see the light at the end of the gloomy dark tunnel. And one of the biggest shining stars coming out of the rubble of the bubble bust has been Google. What if it tanked? Already its stock options crashed over 60% in recent days, what if it cannot see through the tough times ahead. Techcrunch, the foremost authority on the technology based enterprises, is predicting the death of web 2.0 and the related startups.
Today, we rely upon Google for almost about everything. Google Search, Youtube, Picasa Blogger, and Gmail are some common ones, but corporate world is increasingly switching to Google Apps which provides us with in integrated space for email, docs, collaborative calendar, company specific chat, collaborative wiki and even web hosting (for static sites). Ah heck, how would we feel without Google Analytics, or Adsense?

Now consider this, what if Google goes out of business and closes its doors during the current downturn. What happens to many blogs hosted on blogger (including this one) or the photos that we upload and share using picasaweb or our gmail that we use to store and send thousands of messages since whenever. What happens to search and other cool things that we take for granted from Google?

Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little by foretelling their downfall, even though Microsoft has been predicting and planning it for years. Having said that, still many startups would be shaken up by the current bust in the US economy and Wall Street excesses. No matter how great the idea, or how successful the company, many are likely to breath their last in the coming months. And hence the need for the alarm. We need to be careful of where we store our critical and personal data and use those snazzy online services. Many Software As a Service (SaaS) companies may not survive nor would web 2.0 social networking portals.

So how would we feel when the likes of Google, Facebook, Flickr, or Youtube disappear from the horizon?

gOS 3 – the most beautiful Linux

gOS is the best Linux offering

gOS is the best Linux offering

A few months ago Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, called upon open source developers to surpass Apple and their wonderful MacOS-X based user experience. Well, gOS release 3 could be close to doing just that. They have taken the best of Mac OS-X and Linux to a level that the user experience of using it is, well, exceptional!

I decided to give my three year old HP Livestrong laptop an OS upgrade. It has been running the default Windows XP Home edition all these years (with an occasional dose of Fedora every now and then). But this time round, I have downloaded the latest version of gOS live CD and used it to install it on the laptop. The installation went smoothly and I was able to install the OS in less than an hour. But as usual (as experienced with earlier Linux installs on this machine), it failed to recognize the broadcom wifi drivers. No sweat. I just plugged it into a LAN network and then used Synaptic Package Manager to find B43xx drivers. Which once installed, the card began working perfectly.

The Mac users will notice the familiar dashboard at the bottom of the page. This critical and important feature replaces the navigation through cumbersome menus (found on Linux and windows) to find programs and applications and also takes care of the clutter of have multiple shortcuts (or launchers) on the desktop. The dashboard bar is completely customizable and I have already changed a few applications around to suite my needs using the Wbar configuration utility (that came pre-installed).

gOS runs on top of Ubuntu 8.04, which is great as Ubuntu is already the best desktop experience available on Linux platform. Ubuntu claims to offer over 18,000 applications ready to install through its various repositories. I therefore, decided to install all the apps that I usually use on my regular Toshiba Ubuntu laptop and see if there are any glitches. The last time I tried doing that with gOS 2 (that I tested earlier this year), I encountered weird errors and some apps did not function too well. But this time around, the gOS team seems to have put in extra effort into integrating this OS with Ubuntu. The results are just spectacular as I seem to have no issues installing or running any app.

My HP livestrong has an AMD 1.8 GHz Turion processor with 512 MB of RAM and 160GB of Hard disk (which I upgraded from 80GB recently for multimedia space). For Windows XP, the RAM is a bit of a drag and sometimes even the processor feels slow to run programs. But gOS takes less than 200MB of memory and usually never exceeds 300MB (when browser, openoffice, and other apps are simultaneously open). Thus the need to upgrade the laptop with more memory is not required. It has also taken about 3GB hard disk space for installing the OS which is quite efficient use of hard disk. My old machine has received a new life and I am utterly enjoying using it without any speed, or memory issues that I get from Windows XP. I do recommend that older machines should just switch to gOS rather than spending that money upgrading them.

It also comes with two more innovations which I am beginning to enjoy. The first is Google Gadgets. By default, it lets users install and play with over 100,000 such gadgets that were so far available only to Windows users. I randomly installed over a dozen such gadgets to see if there were any integration issues. But so far, everything is working smoothly. Google Gadgets make it possible to personalize gOS so that it no longer looks threatening (to a novice computer user) as a Linux machine.

The second innovation is the app called Prism. This application lets web applications run off the desktop. In fact, I am writing this blog using Prism on Google Docs from my desktop. This is a great experience. Prism lets us use all our favorite web apps off our desktop. Apps like Youtube, Blogger, Gmail, Google Docs among others.

My gOS desktop

gOS is the best Linux offering

Even though gOS has no affiliation with Google, yet it seems to be eerily aligning itself to Google. All the Google apps (Google Docs, Youtube, Google Gadgets, Gmail, Blogger, News, Picasa etc) are natively supported and seem to point towards a complete Google experience.

Over all, I give it a complete thumbs up and I recommend that everyone who is interested to use something other than Microsoft should give it a try. Especially those who cannot afford to buy licenced windows.

You can download your free copy from their website at http://www.thinkgos.com