Showing posts with label English Articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English Articles. Show all posts

January 09, 2013

English Article :The Great Language Land Grab

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When tech companies engage in legal squabbles about who gets to use our everyday words, what are ordinary speakers of the language to make of it all?


Microsoft is suing Apple, and Apple is suing Amazon, all over the right to use a simple two-word phrase: “app store.” Apple got there first, introducing its App Store in July 2008 as a marketplace for mobile applications. In January, Microsoft disputed Apple’s trademark claim, arguing that “app store” had already become a generic expression. And last week, Amazon announced its own “Appstore” for Google’s Android devices, prompting an infringement suit from Apple.

It’s not the first time the tech industry has claimed commonplace language as its own.

Facebook has been notorious in this regard, filing trademarks on an array of common four-letter words: “like,” “wall,” “poke” and, naturally,“face” and “book.” Last year, two small Internet start-ups, the travel site Placebook and the educational site Teachbook, learned the danger of using “book” for online services when Facebook’s lawyers came calling. (Placebook renamed itself, while Teachbook continues to fight it out.)

Microsoft, of course, has long been playing this game by fiercely upholding prosaic brand names like Windows, Office and Word. The Linux-based operating system Lindows, for instance, agreed to change its name (to Linspire) in 2004 after years of wrangling over whether “Windows” was generic. Now, in the “app store” dispute, the shoe is on the other foot, with Microsoft taking the role of language loosener.

According to Christopher Johnson, a branding expert who runs the Web site the Name Inspector, “there’s a land grab going on” in the information economy, as “companies are trying to snatch up pieces of our cultural commons.” He lays much of the blame on the increasing scarcity of available names, whether for trademarks, domain names or Twitter handles.

Laurel Sutton, co-founder of the branding company Catchword, said she believed that the United States Patent and Trademark Office is “about five Internet years behind the times” in its willingness to allow companies like Apple to stake claims to generic words and phrases. “All kinds of stuff gets approved that probably shouldn’t have,” Ms. Sutton said. If Apple’s trademark is upheld, she reasons, it won’t harm the bottom lines of Microsoft and Amazon — but smaller companies could be hurt. “This type of appropriation of language is only going to continue unless the U.S.P.T.O. realizes the potential for damage,” she warned.

For what it’s worth, the facts in the “app store” cases don’t look terribly promising for Steve Jobs and his fellow Cupertino visionaries. “App” has been used by the computing crowd since at least 1985 as a short form of “application.” And as Microsoft lawyers were happy to point out in the January filing, Mr. Jobs himself has used “app store” in a generic manner. In a conference call with analysts last October, he was quoted as saying that “Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android.” Blithely pluralizing “app store” like that is no way to protect a trademark that is supposed to be distinctive.

Though I don’t have a dog in this fight, Microsoft also quoted me in its brief, since as chairman of the American Dialect Society’s new-words committee I was responsible for making the announcement that “app” had been selected as the society’s 2010 word of the year. That ended up being another quiver in Microsoft’s bow, demonstrating how widespread the terms “app” and “app store” have become.

No matter the outcome of this dispute, you don’t have to worry that Apple’s lawyers will pound on your door with a cease-and-desist order if you mention that you want to download Angry Birds from an “app store” lacking the Apple seal of approval. “This is not something that the general public needs to get bent out of shape about,” said Jessica Stone Levy, a Denver-based trademark lawyer. “This is really corporate maneuvering.”

The greater concern among Silicon Valley observers is the vast amount of time and money that these companies are spending in trademark proceedings that may amount to little more than gamesmanship. Rather than fighting over little words, the innovators of the Information Age could be busy, well, innovating.

January 03, 2013


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The great silence
Silence usually is understood to be something negative, something empty, an absence of sound, of noises. This misunderstanding is prevalent because few people have ever experienced silence. All that they have experienced in the name of silence is noiselessness. But silence is a totally different phenomenon. It is utterly positive. It is existential, it is not empty. It is overflowing with a music that you have never heard before, with a fragrance that is unfamiliar to you, with a light that can only be seen with your inner eyes. It is not something fictitious; it is a reality, and a reality which is already present in everyone-just we never look in. Your inner world has a taste of its own, has its own fragrance, has its own light. And it is utterly silent, immensely silent, eternally silent.

When you are not doing anything at all – bodily, mentally, on no level – when all activity has ceased & you simply are, just being, that’s what meditation is.

December 28, 2012

Children during the Holocaust

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Children were especially vulnerable in the era of the Holocaust. The Nazis advocated killing children of “unwanted” or “dangerous” groups in accordance with their ideological views, either as part of the “racial struggle” or as a measure of preventative security. The Germans and their collaborators killed children both for these ideological reasons and in retaliation for real or alleged partisan attacks.
The Germans and their collaborators killed as many as 1.5 million children, including over a million Jewish children and tens of thousands of Romani (Gypsy) children, German children with physical and mental disabilities living in institutions, Polish children, and children residing in the occupied Soviet Union. The chances for survival for Jewish and some non-Jewish adolescents (13-18 years old) were greater, as they could be deployed at forced labor.

October 15, 2012

M.I.R.P Holds Balochistan’s First Social Media Conference by Yousaf Ajab Baloch

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Courtesy by :

On July 7, the Mehrdar Institute of Research and Publication (M.I.R.P) conducted a one-day seminar on Social Media: Imagination to Approach. A large number of social activists , journalists including students of the University of Balochistan’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication participated in the event.
The seminar, which lasted for three hours, consisted of introduction to Mehrdar Institute, documentaries on Social Media: Imagination to Approach, social media in Balochistan prospective and discussion of senior journalists on Skype especially talked to event participants. Parven Naz, Mr. Qaisar Roonja, Eman Baloch, Adeel Ahmed, Imran Saqib, , Abid Mir and Hebathan Dashti also talked to the partakers.
The objective of the seminar was to discus importance of social media and its influencing results. The researched base documentaries of Hebathan Dashti remained very helpful to participants to understand social media from imagination to approach in Balochistan prospective.
The executive director of Mehrdar Institute of Research and Publication, Perveen Naz that the Mehrdar institution is in action to bring social change. It is platform of educated youths who work with innovative ideas and focus on research. She said that in one year the institution had published more than 12 books and Seminar on social media was its first effort. “Apart from publication, the filming and documentary are being focused.” She added.
The event remained remarkable due to the senior Wushat Ullha Khan and Malik Siraj Akbar who talked on skype to the participants.
Malik siraj Akbar, Editor In-Chief of the first online English paper of Balochistan The Baloch Hal. Malik said “The social media has ended monopoly of print media even now newspapers and news channels depend on the social media” .He said that social media was free from any censorship and people could post and upload their videos. He encouraged youths to contribute to the Baloch Hal focusing local and social problems of Balochistan.
Talking through the video link prominent Journalist and analyst Wushat Ullha khan said “social media is just like a home for us and by dint of it the world has become global village”. He explained the interactive and semi interactive media and blamed hacking of social media websites and websites as social crimes.
Mr. Wushat Ullha khan said “Progress in social media is development process of mass communication but the users of social media have to follow the ethics so the social media can be tool for change in the society.”
Social media activist and Baloch film director Imran Saqib said that social media has been a great tool to develop their Balochi films, mainly, the Youtube. Saqib said that they shared their films on Youtube and received a great feedback.
The video blogger and social activist Qasir Ronja presented his success stories as example. He said that social media is the source to break the circles in which the other people want us to be limited. The participants appreciated efforts and success of Qasir Ronja.
The host of PTV Bolan and social media activist Eman Baloch presented Social Media: Gender prospective. She also shared her experience of working with TV channel and said that hard work and sincerity are input to success.
Mr.Abid Mir, Social activist and journalist, Adeel Ahmed the admin of Hamara Quetta and Blogger and this writer also talked to the participants.
Hebathan Dasti, thanked participants and called social media free of groups and regions. He said “Social media develops through our usage and we can be part of it even with the help of a mobile, having social media tools.

Cutting our noses by Kamran Shafi Sep 28 2012

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 Cutting off our Noses ... By Kamran Shafi
When Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool was first announced for last Friday and some friends, particularly my editor, asked on Twitter if it was a good idea, I thought it was. For the reason that the holiday would keep many people at home and away from the streets for fear of the violence that could very well erupt after the sure-to-be-given fiery sermons in the mosques.
My reasoning was that those of a violent deportment or of a religious bent of mind would be prevented from leaving their homes by their mothers and sisters, wives and fathers for the reason that they would get into trouble on what would surely be a volatile day.
In addition, the holiday would keep cars and buses and taxis and other vehicular traffic off the roads: more targets to burn and destroy given the mood of our mobs that we know so well, specially in matters spiritual. In the event, I am conflicted because of the near-unanimous feeling that the act of giving a day off was actually responsible for the mayhem that we saw: by, as everyone and Charlie’s aunt is saying, giving it an official stamp of approval.
But let’s look at this another way: whilst it is the easiest thing in the world to shovel all of the blame on to the holiday announced by the federal government, we must remember that the prime minister — whether you consider the man a puppet; even a stooge — said loudly and often during his speech to commemorate the day that the protest must be peaceful to impress upon the world that Pakistani Muslims were not mindless, angry robots, but a people with warm hearts and no rancour for anyone. And that they were merely protesting the hurt they felt.
Whilst it is the easiest thing in the world to shovel all of the blame onto the federal and provincial governments for the mayhem and the looting, has anyone stopped to ask if the imams whose sermons the faithful had heard just before launching themselves on to the streets of their own country to hurt and loot their own people, had counselled restraint? I fear not, for knowing our maulvi hazraat rather well, I can bet their sermons were loaded with incendiary language meant to enrage people.
Let me here and now state for the record that as far as I am concerned, whenever blasphemous cartoons or films or writings are published I ignore them completely as the work of demented minds who would deliberately denigrate someone else’s faith. In fact, when the play ‘Corpus Christi’ depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples as homosexuals was staged in New York, I, a Muslim, was upset. Not that I am a homophobe, but only because it upset some believing Christians.
A whole lot of them were very angry and upset too: some going to court to have the play banned, only to have their pleas turned down in very short order, in the name of freedom of expression, which too grated on my good sense of respect for all religions that I was taught as a very young boy growing up in my grandmother’s loving home.
But the point is that not one car was torched in New York, or in London, or in Rome; not one shop looted; not one bank or ATM vandalised. No one even threw a rock at anyone. Going back to what happened in Pakistan, did any of the leaders of the processions say to the participants to remain calm and orderly, if for nothing else, then for the sake of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself, who was a large-hearted and big man; who, when one day the woman who threw garbage on him as he passed her house did not appear on her balcony, stopped and asked if she was well. Did even one of Their Holinesses give this message to their flock?
I fear not. And what was the result? Pakistan once more showed its increasingly ugly and contorted face to the rest of the world. By actions such as the shameless burning of a church in Mardan, a church belonging to people who, too, believe in the God we believe in, our Christian brothers and sisters, who, too, were protesting the blasphemous film. Not only that, the frenzied mob even looted Christian homes near the church. Whilst incredibly disgraceful these acts were, there were others that should put us to deep, deep shame.
An article in this newspaper spoke of a horrific experience of a first-time pregnant young lady and her terrified husband on their way to her regular check-up with her gynaecologist because she also has a blood pressure problem. A mob of about a hundred hooligans began to hit their car with fists and sticks as they were crossing the Murree Road, Rawalpindi. Was this the way to protest an act of blasphemy: by endangering the lives of a mother and unborn child? Is this our respect for women? Bloody beasts!
How heart-rending it was to see people breaking little single-shutter shops in Peshawar, surely belonging to very small, poor shopkeepers, and looting them. How distressing it was to see an old and emaciated-looking police sub-inspector shot in the side of his chest in Karachi. Bloody beasts! But as every dark cloud has a silver lining, how very heartening it was to see his comrades bravely rushing to his aid whilst firing back at their attackers. I hope they will duly be awarded for their courage and sense of duty.
I have to end by reminding my readers that most of the hooligans and thugs despoiling our streets that day were not out for any altruistic, high reason if you went by the images that were being beamed on to our TV screens: they were out to have a little fun; loot a little; set fire to other people’s property; generally have a shindig.
Give up jihad gentlemen; otherwise, you will sink this blessed country. Give up jihad immediately if not sooner lest it sweeps you and your fancy DHAs too, with it.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2012.

Give up Extremism, Gentlemen, and Let This Country Breathe By Kamran Shafi

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 Give up Extremism, Gentlemen, and Let This Country Breathe By Kamran Shafi
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto
As this country plumbs ever newer depths of the crap-hole, it becomes clearer to Pakistanis that those that hold it by the throat were always wrong; that they were not merely deluded, they were dishonest because they wanted a bigger share of the measly national pie; that they simply have not learnt any lessons at all, and cannot be stopped being above all accountability. (Are you listening, My Lords?).
That, critically, they have not given up the extremist plank that they have used to fuel their intervention in the country’s security and foreign policies. Ergo, Malala Yousufzai, the brave little girl who demanded an education and the right to speak out against injustice for herself and other little girls of Swat and Pakistan, was set upon by beasts in a targeted manner as she drove to school in a van, and shot in the head and neck. Two of her friends and teacher were also wounded. Now then, while we shall talk about the mindset of the murderers later, it is said that the ISI/MI with which Swat is said to be infested have equipment that can find switched-off under-surveillance mobile phones from the signals that the devices send out. It is curious, then, that those that had threatened Malala for months before the shooting, to desist from her little-girl activism were not in the sights of these highfalutin’ ‘agencies’? How is it that these brutes did their evil deed and no one had any inkling about it?
But let’s for a moment go to the perpetrators. I tweeted yesterday asking if the monster who pointed his gun at Malala’s little head and fired, was not born of a mother? Did he not have a heart beating in his chest? Did he not have sisters; aunts; a grandmother; a wife or four; a sister-in-law? Some woman in his family so that he would have some pity for a little girl he was about to shoot?
The answer was not long in coming: these are brain-washed, illiterate idiots who Imran Khan calls ‘ideologues’, and who he will separate from the tribal people who will then cleanse the tribal areas (and Swat, I suppose) of them. Little does the great man realise that the tribal leadership is dead and gone: slaughtered by these same ‘ideologues’ and their foreign handlers and paymasters. All that are left in the tribal areas are these killers and terrorists and their terrified hostages.
Indeed, if the tribes that promised the PTI safe-conduct had real leadership, would the peace march have turned back from Tank? As an aside, an old friend who is from Fata says that the worst human material possible is recruited into the Taliban: number one son to the police or army or Scouts; two to the Frontier Constabulary; three to the Levies/Khasadars, and the idiot boy to the Taliban.
Let’s go elsewhere. Who should be supervising the ‘premium agencies’ that we have spoken about if not our Rommels and Guderians? But do they have the time, going about merrily doing what they have always done, for one carving out new and ever newer housing colonies for their senior ranks on premium government lands in cantonments across the country, the newest one behind Rahat Bakery in Lahore, between Sarwar and Tufail Roads?
For the information of those who do not know, lands in the cantonments belong to the provincial and federal governments; NOT to the Services. These lands were LEASED to the Services in the year dot for use as cantonments, and would revert to these governments when no longer needed. But there they go, doing as they please while their extremely well-sprung and feared agencies are spat upon by the terrorists, and innocents like Malala are targeted.
Well, they will do as they please for they are above all the laws except those forced upon them by a brave judiciary in the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court, where there is a move afoot to quickly elevate Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan to the Supreme Court so he will stop asking hard questions about the disappeared who then appear in tortured/dead/starved/gravely ill form (thank you, Cyril). May I as a concerned citizen humbly request My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry to kindly let Justice Khan continue in Peshawar until he disposes of the cases he has courageously taken up? I am sure this will have My Lord Khan’s approval.
And now for some good news, and both from my own city of Lahore where the new DCO, Noorul Amin Mengal, has done some excellent work. Fancying myself a bit of a cook it was great to read that he is arranging a cooking competition for girls’ colleges during the Lahore Food Festival scheduled for the end of November. Why only girls, though, this contest should be thrown open to all colleges — surely some boys cook too, probably better than girls!
The other good step is that the facades of some landmark buildings such as the Shahdin; Ghulam Rasool, and Dinga Singh buildings on The Mall (oh, all right, Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam) are to be renovated and signboards along the road will be of uniform and standard format. This is great, for cities worth the name: Florence, Rome, Paris, Brussels, London simply do not allow the vandalism that goes on in this country or in India. You can do what you like on the inside of it, the facade simply cannot be touched. And the signboards cannot be of any form or colour.
We must mention that Mengal is a Baloch picked up for the most prestigious post of DCO of Punjab’s largest city for the reason that he is a good officer. Speaks volumes for the CM, for which, well done Shahbaz Sharif. The other good news is my first sight of The Mall in Lahore in Malik Riaz’s building in the cantonment. Say what you will about him, the man runs a good ship.
May the Almighty give Malala a long life despite the brutal terrorists threats to kill her if she survives this brutal attack. I immediately advise Hijrat for her and her family to a welcoming country, which will be the richer for it. We simply don’t deserve her. Shame on us.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2012.

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