Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Taking a dip in high octane energy at the NED Alumni Convention 2017





Taking a dip in high octane energy at the NED Alumni Convention 2017


Yes there were challenges—a group of alumni not in agreement with the decisions of the main organizers decided to boycott the program--and yes there was a cancellation by the keynote speaker, but the 13th Annual NED Alumni Convention, riding on the momentum generated in the last twelve years and through the sheer dedication of the key members of the organization still went through, and it proved to be a very successful event.

You still look the same
The Friday night reception of the 13th Annual NED Alumni Convention was about reconnecting with old friends—observing the alluding passage of time on faces and bodies--and meeting new people.  And what a wonderful feeling it is to be among people you spent the most carefree period of your life with! Let’s see if all the regulars are here. Rashid Ali Baig, Amirul Islam, Abul Islam from Tristate, check; Syed Mehdi Kamal, Arif Sattar, Dr. Asma Ali from the DC area, check; Ali Ahmed Minai from Cincinnati, check; Tanweer Alam Mallick (aka Tanvir Alam Mohammadi), Anis Paya from the greater Chicago area, check; Safwan Shah and Mike Zaidi from the Silicon Valley, check; Arif Mansouri from Southern California, check; Muhammad Haseen from Vancouver, check; Sharif Ahmed from Calgary, check; Mazhar Ali from Houston, check; Khurshid Qureshi is local this time, check.  There are many other familiar faces--it is hard to remember everyone’s name.  There is excitement in the air!  It is hard for these middle-aged men to sit down and listen to the program.  People keep coming in and everyone wants to meet everyone.  
The reception dinner of the NED Alumni Convention 2017 took place at the Troy Community Center.  An entertainment program featuring local singers followed a full course dinner.

Which road did you take and where has it taken you?
Saturday proceedings of the 13th annual international convention took place at the Detroit Marriott Troy Hotel.
The Saturday morning session of the NED Convention was about recent past and upcoming future; there were presentations and knowledge exchange, and future plans: what needs to be done and how to do it right.
The lives of the NED alumni are ongoing stories. And every year they meet each other, each one of them has written another exciting chapter of it. These are high-energy people wanting to explore new horizons. Their quest for a meaningful life, for adventure is contagious.  Our friend, Arif Mansuri is here, with his associates. He is a multi-talented businessman. Besides running a metal company he owns the Pakistan Link newspaper. His latest venture is his TV show, The Mansuri Show, on ARY Digital. The show covers newsmakers among the Pakistanis living in the West.

There are presentations by individual chapters of NED alumni associations from all over North America.

Dr. Sarosh Lodhi, the current Vice Chancellor of the NED University is roughly the same age as many of the organizers of the annual conventions in North America.  Dr. Lodhi has come from Pakistan to attend the 2017 NED Alumni Convention.  He gives a detailed report of the status of the NED University.  Murad Ali Shah, the current Chief Minister of Sindh, is Dr. Lodhi’s batchmate.  Lodhi tells the crowd how the Chief Minister went out of his way to help NED University come out of the financial crisis the university was in, just a couple of years ago.  Dr. Lodhi can feel the energy of the NED alumni.  To create a stronger bond between the alumni and their alma mater, he wants to establish an alumni secretariat at the university.

There is also a presentation on “Muslims Engagement and Empowerment at State and Local Levels” by Akber Ansari and Anwar Hasan.  The authors’ argument is powerful: since most of the attendees of the convention call US their new home, they should be worried about the recent developments in the political landscape and the rise of the alternate right in the US. The presenters want their children to grow up understanding who they are, along with the understanding of their rights given to them by the constitution of the United States. Immigrants and children of recent immigrants must understand that whereas they belong to a particular group of people, followers of a religion, they are not responsible for things done by other members of the group. They are individuals with their own lives and rights and aspirations. There is no reason to bear a guilt of association.
How to bring this immigrant community in the folds of the mainstream?  By active participation in local and national politics, and through works of humanity and charity, the two presenters tell the audience.

There is also a presentation about Alef, an endowment created by the NED alumni active in organizing the annual conventions—the money is already being used for projects at the NED University.

NED alumni with respect to the wider world
As always, the program with the highest attendance at the annual assembly of the NED University alumni was the Saturday night dinner. The speakers at the evening program included Congressman John Robert Moolenaar, technologist Naveed Sherwani, and entrepreneur Safwan Shah.

Congressman John Moolenaar recalled Pakistan's role in bringing the US and China closer, in a bid to isolate the Soviet Union during the cold war. He also applauded the work of Pakistani engineers in in the US.

Three decades ago Safwan Shah was a name every Karachi debater hated to see in a declamation contest.  If Safwan Shah was there, the grand prize was his.  That yesterday’s student leader has done a lot of stuff between then and now, and is still redefining himself every day. After successfully selling his last company, Infonox, Safwan Shah’s latest venture, PayActiv, has a social mission. PayActiv wants employees to have access to the wages they have already earned-- before the payday.  PayActiv has been enrolling large employers to use PayActiv’s services in making cash advances to the employees.  Safwan Shah believes such an access, enjoyed by a large number of wage-earners, will ease the cash flow situation of a big chunk of the population, and will help in reducing the economic disparity in the US.  He told the audience that Walmart, with over 2 million employees, had recently joined PayActiv’s program for employees’ access to the earned wages.

Where do NED’s top students go?  It does not matter where they go, but wherever they go they make a name for themselves. Naveed Sherwani has been setting up businesses ever since he was a teenager.  He was a model student at the NED, and is respected today as a technologist with a deep understanding of his field of work.
Dr. Sherwani explained to the audience that the NED University alumni living in North America owe more than 80 million US dollars to NED…if the alumni decide to pay for the real cost of the world class education they got at the NED University.

It was logical that after the speeches about the role of the NED University in producing so many useful and successful people and how well these graduates were doing in the US, there was a fundraiser to raise funds to help the university the alumni were from.

After the speeches, a lavish traditional dinner was followed by a music program featuring the troupe of Mehwish Hayat: the performers included Mehwish’s siblings Danish and Afsheen.  And as it always happens at these conventions, the entertainment session ended with a free-for-all dance, to the beat of Dama dam mast qalander--a true celebration of life, of NED, of time before Pakistan was taken into the grip of extremism.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Time Capsule Post--publish two years later

Oct. 2, 2015
Life Redefined for a Jobless Man
It appeared to be a problem faced by many: he had lost his job.  But talking to him I realized the problem was much deeper.  For the last sixteen years the only thing constant about life he knew was work.  He lived alone, got up every weekday morning and went to work--I won't be surprised if I find out he worked till late: there was nothing to come home to.  In essence, his work was his life.  Outside of his work he did not know much about the art of living.  Now that he has been laid off, they have not only taken away work from him, they have taken away his life.  So I talked to him and tried to convince him that he has to use this blessing in disguise to redefine himself, to start looking at life from a holistic point of view.  Life does not and should not be all about work.  It should be about work and play and everything in between.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Replacing laptop internal hard drive

This laptop had slowed down.  I knew I needed to replace the internal hard drive, but wondered if the Windows 8 DVD I had from before would work.  It worked last time when a new drive was installed in 2014.  But will it work again.  Won't it say that the operating system has been used before? 
I gathered all the information about this machine from old records.
Here is the whole deal:





November 26, 2011-Inspiron 14Z ordered; $757.46; 8G RAM; expected shipping date 12/6; expected delivery 12/9; computer received on Saturday, 12/3; used easy transfer cable to transfer data to the new laptop.
The laptop has Seagate Momentus 7200 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 16 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive.

Dec. 1, 2011-ordered USB enclosure for laptop hard drive $9.xx.

Dec. 5, 2011-Met with MA; visited Microsoft store; bought Windows 7, MS Office 2010, and Web Expression.

Laptop hard drive changed on Nov 7, 2012.  It is a good idea to change the internal drive in a year or two, before a catastrophic failure.  Have learned this while reviewing ISO9000.

April 28, 2913- ordered laptop battery online.

FEb. 12, 2014--Having second thoughts on buyin a new laptop, this one's LCD screen has given problem before, cannot afford a breakdown; buy new, then add 4GB RAM to make it 12GB RAM, ;at Dell.com; the top of the notch lapotops have i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD; this one has i5, 8GB, and 1 TB; no need to buy new computer; just buy new hard drive.

Feb. 26, 2014-This laptop [Dell  Inspiron 14Z, i5 processor, 8 GB RAM] is slowing down.  At Fry's; Saw 1 TB 2.5 inch 7200 rpm, 16 MB cache Seagate SATA hard drive; it is now time to change the hard drive, talked to MA [Microsoft] on the phone; later sent him email to get me Windows 8 Operating System; Getting new HGST Travelstar 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 6 GB/s 32 MB cache, price at Amazon is $84.99.


March 4,  2014-From Amazon; Seagate 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive SATA 6Gbps 64MB Cache 2.5-Inch ST1000LM014
Order Total: $103.30


March 6, 2014-Seage SSHD 1000 GB, laptop internal drive received via USPS.

March 25, 2014-Sorted out files, to facilitate putting in the new hard drive in this laptop

Mar 10, 2014--Received through UPS, Windows 8 and key for MS Office 2013.

Jan. 4, 2016--At Amazon.com, ordered Inspiron 14 Z 65 Wh laptop battery for $27.42

Jan 20, 2016--New keyboard ordered for this Dell Inspiron 14Z laptop (this laptop was bought on Nov 26, 2011, almost 5 years ago). Laptop is fine; processor (i5) is only one generation old (currently Dell selling i6), RAM of 8 GB is still double of what most laptops come with. It was just he keyboard giving me a lot of problems: top row keys, Q through P would stop working, and then start working after some time. Thought it might be a driver problem, but no yellow sign visible by the keyboard, under device manager. Finally thought of getting a new keyboard; got the best deal at ebay; ordered one (total $10.07).
Keyboard replacement worked.  Everything is fine.

Oct. 2, 2016--This laptop has been shutting down unexpectedly.  Do this: 1. Use compressed air to blow dust, 2. Buy new hard drive and replace it (but then how to use Windows 10?).

Apr 16, 2017-Is the hard drive of this laptop going to give up?  At times it is very slow; may be because of the hard disk space used to the maximum (with only 65 GB free).

Apr 16, 2017--Have to decide.  Buy new laptop vs. keep old laptop but make updates.
New Dell Inspiron 17 5000;  i7 processor; 8 GB RAM; 1 TB HD; with Windows 10, but MS Office only 30-day trial; $549
Keep this laptop.  Change HD ($100)+ buy Windows 10 OS ($100), transfer MS Office license to the new HD

July 11, 2017--Received the laptop power supply that came through Amazon.


August 2, 2017, Wednesday. New drive ordered.
Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5-Inch Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive.
Estimated delivery: Aug. 8, 2017
$96.51
Issues: Where is the Windows 8 OS software?  Where is MS Office 2013 key? [need key after downloading from their web site.]

August 3rd 2017. Thursday. It is absolutely great that after a little effort I found all the software I need when I get the new hard drive for my laptop. All the important software including the operating system were in a blue bag. It is a Microsoft bag that I got from the Microsoft store when I visited my friend MA who was working there at that time. This blue bag has the AutoCAD 2011 software; it has the Windows 8; MS Office home and student 2013. I have the Windows 8.1 Pro which was the latest operating system at that time and it has both 64-bit and 32-bit DVDs and then there's this key which has the product key information on the back which will be used after I install it. The only problem is that this is not the latest operating system and also the one that I installed before. Will it work?  When it was installed on this drive, one day it suddenly updated to Windows 10--so now that I am using it again, will it not let me do this?  That is a very big question.  I do not have an answer.  In the same blue bag I have the Corel Video Studio CD. And then I have other information about drivers and utilities needed for the Dell laptop.  I think this will come very handy because a lot of drivers are needed once I install the new operating system. The same blue bag also has other CDs that were never used. There's one called Microsoft expression Studio; then it also has office home and student 2010 which I think was used many times. 

August 6, 2017.  Have found this great article on how to transfer Windows 10 to a new drive.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10


The information in the article says I need a high density DVD [of more than 8 GB capacity—the ones I have are 4.xx GB] or a USB drive.
Looked in my stuff and very fortunately found a 75 GB drive from around 2007 (?).  Was able to connect the drive to this laptop, but then noticed the power supply to the drive.  Looked for the right power supply but could not find one in my arsenal.  When I came back to this laptop, the drive had opened up on the screen!!!!  It is completely empty: all 75 GB of space.  Now going to do what the article is asking me to do.
The above did not work!



August 6, 2017.  Tried creating Windows 10 back on the 75 GB USB drive.  This drive when connected to the left side USB port (USB 3.0?) works fine, but when connected to the right side USB port (USB 2.0?) starts giving a repeated clicking sound as if the drive is trying to read but is unable to do so.  Used the drive in the left hand side port, but the process did not work. Got an error message.  Error code:
0x80070002-0xA0019
Read online about it; found out other people having same problem.  On one recommendation, formatted the 75 GB drive to FAT (actually xFAT), and then tried to make a backup.

August 7, 2017. Checked this morning.  The backup on the 75 GB still did not work.  What are my options?  First, Keep trying the 75 GB drive. Second, use the 1 TB Passport drive; remove data on it and use it to make up the back up drive. Third, When the new drive comes, try to install Windows 8 on it, using the CD I have. Fourth, When the new drive comes, use that as an external device and make backup on that drive, and then use the drive internally.  Fifth, Get a double layer DVD and try to burn the backup DVD.

 August 8, 2017.  Received the new drive.

Aug. 9. New 2 Tb drive installed. Two mishaps.  Screws fell down. Later, compressed air caused moisture; it had to be dried.
But good things: 0. New Drive worked fine 1. Windows 8 DVD from before worked, 2. No drivers were needed to be installed. Did the machine get the drivers directly from the MS site?
Lesson for next time. Keep the Microsoft username and password handy.  Right after Windows installation. Connect to the Internet. And then install MS Office (office.com/setup) [username and password needed; MS office key needed]; with MS Office, can open Excel file and look at the username info needed to install other things.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Pakistan Blind Centre for Braille


fyi
Learn Braille, in a week or less
Pakistan Blind Centre for Braille teaches English and Urdu Braille to the blind and sighted people.
You can learn Braille in a week or less.
At the Pakistan Blind Centre for Braille, the course is mainly taught by SM Ismail, a blind person.
We have male and female teachers--both men and women are welcome to our centre!
We are located in Gulshan e Iqbal, Karachi.
For further details and to schedule your Braille session, please give us a call at:
0321-8732-102