Fayaz Anwardeen's Blog

Technology, environment, poetry, and anything random.

Screwdriver

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I have been built with a purpose,
Where appearance is secondary
And accessories my closest companion,
Without which I feel so naked and lost.

Specially designed for precision and comfort,
I am allowed to hang around;
To be used when the need arises,
But at the end of the day, I am all alone.

Feeling claustrophobic in my room with no windows
I begin to wonder if anyone would give a second look
And appreciate my craftsmanship or personality
If I served them no purpose or not needed anymore.

I am just a humble tool with a purpose
To make you happy when you need me,
Hoping to find another meaning for my existence,
But collecting dust, waiting to be picked up again.

The Oval Window

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Walking through the isle with the ticket in hand,

I Looked up to count the numbers one by one

Until it was mine to settle down.

With the sounds of travelers and engines

Everything was bustling with life all around,

Eager to complete the tasks at hand.

When it was time to move on,

The outside became lifeless

With concrete and asphalt left behind.

Looking through the oval window

Everything became smaller

And I felt I could see the world entire.

With the clouds passing by

And cities like maps on paper,

Everything seemed so peaceful outside.

There was no sign of pain and suffering,

Neither sorrow nor grief,

And the troubles of man were far from sight.

If this was the view from up above,

Does he think it’s always peaceful down below?

Or is he just a character from our imagination?

The reality is that upon landing

Life is everything it has always been

A disproportionate mix of everything.

The Need For An Open Internet

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The internet has become a prominent part of our lives. Sending an email, visiting a social networking site, online shopping, and online gaming have become part of our daily routine. It almost seems like anything is possible with the internet, but then what seems to be the issue?

Integration of Services:

The internet is an infinite source of information, entertainment, productivity, and networking but the major missing link between all these features is integration. There are companies like Google which offers great search, email, productivity, and social networking services but the integration between them is not exactly complete and in some cases the only thing that’s common between these services is the Gmail ID.

Data Portability:

The key issue here is data portability. Most data stored in the company servers are under lockdown, as in it cannot be accessed, moved, or duplicated by another internet service. Some services do offer data portability but it’s either not completely portable between the various services available on the internet or the portability is restricted to services offered by the parent company offering them or just that the data that can be ported from one service is not compatible with another service.

Data Transparency:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was seamless integration between any service of your choice? What I’m trying to say here is not a tightly coupled integration where a bunch of services are tightly integrated with each other but an open framework where the user can add services of his choice to one location (Framework). Similar to a bookshelf where books of different types and topics can be added depending on the readers choice except unlike books in a bookshelf what happens to services added to the framework is that they can seamlessly share data between them. Of course the user must have control over their information and how much information is available to the different services added to the framework is completely their choice.

Home Pages:

The home pages like Pageflakes and iGoogle are just façades that brings many services to the same page but there is no actual sharing of data between the different services.

Closed Internet:

Coming back to what the title actually means, do you really think that the internet is an open platform when most of your data is locked with their respective service providers?

Open Internet Framework:

Creating an open framework may be next to impossible because of the different terms and conditions imposed by the different (similar and non-similar) companies causing various problems to the users including termination of service with loss of data and/or may be legal issues. There are many obstacles in the way to making “Open Internet” a reality and it probably will remain a dream with may be partial implementations towards the right direction, but one aspect is very clear; this is a necessity and hopefully there would be internet standards and laws that causes a shift towards the direction of openness because after all the user has the right to own their information and has the right to do what ever they are willing to do with it; the only problem is that there is no easy way, if any, to do things like moving or sharing data/information between different services of choice.

There are a few services like OpenId that have taken steps to move in the right direction like offering portability of identity, but internet wide implementation of such a service is still to be seen. Hence it’s a proof that acceptance of similar services can be painstakingly slow and with popularity might accelerate but it is a necessity that needs to see the light some day.

Low Emission Cars vs. Electric / Hydrogen Powered Cars Are They Really Eco-Friendly?

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We live in a time period where technological changes take place on a daily basis. On one hand there is the introduction of new technology and on the other hand there is an upgrade on existing technology. The changes take place at such a rapid pace that it’s easy to get distracted by the achievements of a certain sector while turning a blind eye to the other.

This post will highlight the environmental issues caused due to automobiles based on known facts, theories, and predictions, showing that sometimes what seems to be independent industrial sector actually needs the help of another in order to make this world more sustainable and pollution free.

Business as a whole is like an entity with many arms. Each arm is fully capable of working independently but certain tasks require the use of all the arms in order to efficiently execute it.

Automobile Industry:

The automobile industry has come a long way from steam powered engines to hybrid engines and now moving into a stage where electric powered and hydrogen powered vehicles will become a common place. Almost all vehicles seen today are all fueled by fossil fuels with a minor exception of the small percentage of electric powered cars. The reason why people have not switched to the electric powered cars yet is obviously the fact that with the technology today only prototypes and high end electric powered cars can actually perform as well as their fossil fuel burning cousins. The rest just don’t make the cut for the general population because they cannot perform nearly as well as their fuel burning counterparts. Therefore this leads to the segregation of three types of cars in production, two of which is most prevalent and the other has not caught the mass market as yet. For the purpose of keeping this article relevant to the emerging trends the reference to gas guzzlers and high emission vehicles will be ignored because of the fact that governments around the world have become more environmental conscious and have taken many steps to phase out the production of such vehicles and even the general public have become conscious of this issue due to various reasons, some being cost savings due to less gasoline consumption and some being genuinely conscious of the environment. Also the use of bio-fuels as an alternative will not be covered by this article. Getting back to the different segments of the automobile industry the two major segments include low cost low emission cars and the middle class low emission cars. The other segment is the electric powered and hydrogen powered cars which is either not yet in production stage or is not used by the mass public. This article will not be focusing on the benefits of each segment of the automobile industry but rather making the audience aware that at the current stage all cars that are produced no matter what their fuel source is let it be fossil fuels or hydrogen fuels or electric powered will cause pollution no matter the cost and at present and in the near future there is nothing the automobile industry can do to prevent this. The only observable difference is that certain segments of the market either produce more pollution or less pollution as compared to the other.

Low cost low emission cars:


Tata Nano image courtesy of wikimedia

Let’s start with the low cost low emission cars market. Consider the Nano a car produced by the Indian car company Tata Motors. It is considered to be the world’s cheapest car with price ranging from Rs. 100,000 (approximately 2,000 US$). It has passed the Bharat stage III and Euro stage IV emission standards and also has an average mileage of 5 liters per 100 kilometers (50 miles per gallon). The sheer cost factor has driven to general population to excitement which has also led to it being referred to as ‘The peoples’ car.’ The truth of the matter is that this car is going to be an environmental nightmare! The record low cost of this car will cause a large percentage of the population who before this could not even dream of owning a car to buy it. Apart from the fact that in countries like India where the car is said to be launched first the infrastructure is not quite adequate to support the huge traffic jams this would cause, the environmental impact of this car will be very high. Imagine millions of people sitting in their little Eco-friendly low emission cars contributing small amounts of green house gases each! That’s just unthinkable in the large scale. So is it really correct to consider these little cars as Eco-friendly? Upon release of these kinds of cars many environmentalists will agree on one common thing that there is going to be a huge impact on the environment.


image courtesy of skyscrapercity

Low emission middle/upper class cars:


Toyota Prius image courtesy of uwec

This sector consists of a wide range of cars that include anything between lead free low emission to hybrid cars and at least for the time being this segment can be considered as the second largest emitters of green house gases since in many countries low emission standards have not come into mainstream application yet and cars driven by majority of the middle class does not come under the low emission category which hopefully will be phased out of production by the governments around the world. Even after the world sees the release of the low cost low emission cars, assuming that a very large portion of the population will purchase it, this segment will still remain as the second largest emitter in the car industry.


Electric powered and hydrogen fueled cars:


Reva image courtesy of edmunds

We finally come down to the segment that offers so much hope for the sustainable future; a segment that would even bring smiles to school children who are studying about the environmental impacts of green house gases, global warming, and holes in the ozone layer. For those people who are not aware of the facts just yet, this would probably cause a big disappointment to them all. This segment of the car market is the most misunderstood by the general public. Zero emission cars (in the case of hydrogen fueled cars only water is exhausted) at present is nothing but a mere illusion. What did not happen in one place merely shifted to another. For those people who are thinking green power, it’s time to say hello to coal power! For those of you who are confused read on. A large percentage of the world’s electric power source comes from coal power plants. Coal is cheap and it’s available in abundance. Consider a country like India. There are approximately eighty nine coal power stations that supply over 100 megawatts of power each. Some even supply more than 1,000MW to 2,340MW of power. This number is not even considering the number of coal power plants that produce less than 100MW. There are approximately seven diesel fueled power stations that produce more than 100MW of power each and approximately thirty eight power stations that use natural gas or naphtha that produce more than 100MW of power each. All these together form the thermal-electric power plants in India. Even though there are sixty seven hydroelectric power plants that produce from 100MW to 1,920MW of power each, sixteen wind-power facilities that produce from 10MW to 259MW each, and 17 nuclear power plants generating 4,120MW with six more on the way, consider the amount of pollution caused by the thermal-electric facilities in India and in other countries. The amount of green house gases that are being pumped into the atmosphere does not justify Eco-friendly green power. All this to supply us with electricity, which means that the more electricity we use the more coal or diesel we are burning, so on that note, do you still think electric cars and hydrogen powered cars are Eco-friendly? Even to mass produce hydrogen a large amount of electricity must be applied to water in order to be able split the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Where does that energy come from? For the most part in most countries it’s either from coal, diesel, natural gas, naphtha, or all the above. That is of course without taking into account the renewable energy sources like hydroelectric and wind power stations. Even nuclear power stations do not produce green house gases; at least the amount they produce is very minuscule, even though the radioactive waste seems to be another matter altogether.


Coal power plant image courtesy of coal-is-dirty

What can the car companies do about this?

Now going back on the previous statement, no matter what the sources of power are, cars will continue to be a source of pollution and no matter what the automobile industry does, no matter how efficient their products are or what technologies they use to reduce emission, there will continue to be large amounts of green house gases that are pumped into the atmosphere because of automobiles.

The necessary transformation:

The only solution as of now is that governments should replace all thermal electric power plants (Nuclear plant not being one of them) with renewable and clean sources of energy. If possible even the nuclear plants must be replaced by renewable sources of energy sometime in the distant future, but for our immediate future some of these goals must be achieved. For obvious reasons this is going to be a very expensive and very time consuming task that is bound to take many years to become a reality. There will definitely be countries that would be reluctant to make the transformation, but for the sake of sustaining this planet for the future generations, let’s hope that majority of the world’s governments will take steps to move towards a new hope.

Virus Hits Google Search

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Internet users have become very accustomed to the use of Google as their primary search engine that they take it for granted that no matter what Google will always work! It has become a very important aspect of our daily lives that sometimes you have to wonder what would happen if something had to have happened to it. As a matter of fact it seems that that’s exactly what happened. Recently a friend of mine asked me to go check out Google search and perform a search, to which I replied that I had already done so and also out of curiosity I asked why he wanted me to do so out of the blue. Well at first glance I did not notice anything fishy of course since the search worked perfectly fine, but then when trying to open the search results is where the problem occurred. A malware warning message appears on the site instead. As of now there is no news as to what the virus/malware might be, what effect it has on the Google servers and whether it will infect the client computers. The only obvious fact is that Google is not working temporarily!

Days like this have come to our lives when we have to reevaluate ourselves and think how dependent we have become on the internet and its services, and how would we go about our normal life when a hiccup like this happens. None the less something minor or major like a viral infection is not going to affect my use of the internet and the world it opens us to. The same goes with Google as my primary search engine. Honestly the only search engine I do use is Google for all its glory and my loyalty towards this incredible tool. Our computers have been infected by a variety of viruses over time and no matter what measures we take, the chances are that we will be infected by viruses in the future. The reason being that the weakest link to computer security is the human element and hopefully that element will not be eliminated! Computer viruses have become more like the common cold, once infected take necessary steps to get rid of it and then continue on with our lives. That does not mean that the user must leave their system open to attacks. Necessary precautions must be taken, but during a situation like this we just have to let the experts do what they are paid for and know that everything will get better.

Update

Google automatically identifies whether a website is harmful or not, but according to telegraph and BBC there was a glitch in the system that wrongly identified all websites as harmful. According to BBC, Google still does not know about the nature of the problem, but everything has been solved and Google is making initial enquiries into the problem.

Written by Fayaz Anwardeen

January 31, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Sweetest Pink

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The purity of your heart and the passion of your smile

Creates the colour that reflects your warm inner glow.

Your very presence brings me joy and laughter

And somehow my problems seem so far away.

My hatred for the city has turned to tolerance

And my reasons to run away have been lost somewhere along the way.

Every time the best of us came together

My archives have been filled with pleasant memories.

The genuine love in your friendship defines the character of your soul,

The gentle pink everyone has come to love.

Everything you touch will feel the warmth of your heart

And the love you get will fill your life many times over.

May your love light your way to guide you through the darkness

And may you find the strength to carry on until there is brightness again.

Colour Blind

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When the heavens open and shower us with blessings,

There reveals in the morning sky a masterpiece of magnificent beauty.

Every colour radiating its unique brilliance,

Together forming a splendid work of art.

The preference of only one will render the painting very dull

Because beauty does not lie in the difference of one

But in the completeness of all.

It matters not a person’s race

Or their cultural beauty

But the magnificence of humanity.

When the colours mix, there is only one,

A light that reveals all what the eyes can see.

When humanity comes together, there is only one thing the heart can see;

Everyone is human just like you and me.

Written by Fayaz Anwardeen

January 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm