Camping in Lahore – tales from Lollywood

Am back in Islamabad after two very long and tiring days to Lahore and a full on Camp!  details to follow, this is abridged version for the experience!

Drupal Cam Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair, all in all a great experience, met all my objectives of promoting Drupal and the power of OS in creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity… introduced Drupal to a small army of students,  but could not quite understand the industry representatives in Lahore! of the 60 odd registered from Industry only 20 odd showed up… total count on the day was about 70+ of which the majority were students – which was great but would have been better for the industry to turn up to network and guide the local student population!

Stranger still was discovering that a perfectly normal Drupaler I know in the community in Pakistan turned out to be a bigoted, racist ignoramus! not so nice known ya fella’

We linked up with the Drupal Community in Bangalore and this guy went off on a nationalistic ignorant rant with them on Skype! of course I used my 6’3 110kg mass to push him aside and apologised for giving the podium to a bigot!

Any hoo… the Camp was great, we trained 41 newbies in Hello Drupal and expect the vast majority to keep at it… we linked up with the Faculty lead on relations with industry and convinced Bilal Arshad from UCP to introduce Drupal in their end of year projects for students.

The next camping trip for Drupal Camp Pakistan is in August to Karachi and then I am off Camping in Dubai to build links with the community in the GCC region…

As for right now… am off to host the inaugural 9others meal in Islamabad… more on that later.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

DrupalCamp Pakistan in Lahore – Build up… a wedding, submarine Cable repairs and the Mother of all DNS attacks!

An evangelist’s log: Star date – 28th March

Drupal Camp

0730 –  landed in Islamabad, 30 minutes in the immigration queue, walked to the carousel and my luggage is right there! out by 0815 – has to be a new record flying coach! Straight to the Crane’s nest, up since 0700 the day before, Bialetti on the stove, quadruple espresso and the world starts making sense again!

0930 am informed by one of our crane also a trainer for DrupalCamp that there has been a slight oversight on his part for the 30th March camp… it also happens to be the day his sister-in-law is getting married! in all the excitement of the Camp it slipped his mind that his attendance at the wedding is not optional! a key crane has to be excused, but an ex-crane steps in to save the session!

0940ish Asif our network ninja informs me that the net speed in Pakistan is not running at its best because of a damaged submarine cable! but the powers that be are working around the clock (somewhere under the Suez canal) on fixing it asap! I get online, start streaming off Vimeo and yes the speed sucks!

1000ish Fida our organiser supremo informs me that Campus at University of Central Punjab has a fantastic mega fat pipe line… the submarine cable damages comes to mind!

1200ish Atta sends me an article from the Guardian – Cyberbunker is kicking Spamhaus’s behind and the end users are paying for it with reduced speed! the Rock’s largest DNS attack is in play! and the net speed in Blighty is suffering! a three word expression come to mind!

But it would be no other way, the camp is going to Lahore home to the not so famous Lollywood, where the action movies would send Action Jackson cowering; featuring horses and Drupal Camp riders who can cover great distances in a flash… from Times Square NYC to Lahore Central in less time than it takes for a villain to pull off the distressed damsels veil, XXXL heroines doing Shakira numbers and heroes who would scare the pants of Jet Lee, guns that never need reloading, heroes who can spill more Red than the Red sea and still manage dialogues and live to fight another few dozen baddies in the next 30 seconds, actors with phenomenal stamina to shout out dialogues over 2+ hours!… and directors who evidently compete on how absurd a movie they can make!

There has to be drama involved! this is LAHORE not Sparta!

#Drupal #DrupalCamp #EmergingTechnologies

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Evangelising Drupal in a foreign land, am going Camping again!

Drupal Camp Ikonami Kubair Shirazee Drupal Camp Pakistan is in Lahore in less than 10 days! visa done, flights booked, logistics sorted, fired up and ready to GO.

The concept of a roaming Drupal Camp in Pakistan was ideated in England, is organised from Islamabad, has so far had speakers from six different countries and after the 30th of March would have had over 230 attendees over two events.

My involvement has had family, friends and networks in Blighty as well as Middle Earth curiosious.. the question used to be ‘Why?’ but has of late changed to  ‘How?.

‘The ‘Why?’ became a time black hole of a question to ask, for it is near impossible to shut me up once I get started on community building, the power of emerging tech in creating opportunities without boundaries, changing the rock, and why not!…. yadi yadi ya  and of course nowadays quoting from the incredible Fable of Iggy Bartholomew Mole!

When it comes to the HOW; I am lucky to have a super awesome team of Jedis in Islamabad (Drupal and otherwise!) and to know many Jedi masters from within the global Drupal community to call upon… but there is a lot more detail to it than just using the force! so here’s the summary.

First things first! Apart from the volunteered time and resources from Preston University (for the Islamabad Camp) and University of Central Punjab (for the Lahore Camp), the camp organisers (from team Ikonami) and student volunteers, the true credit has to go to the Global Drupal Community as always – without them none of this would have been possible. Thank y’all for making it possible, not once but twice! and for the upcoming camps too! thank you in advance!  and last but not least thank you Mrs Shirazee for letting me go camping in the first half of the easter break when we ought to be heading to Barca for a longer break!  you are awesome! but you already know that.

Ok before the ‘How’… a recap of the ‘Why’, and I promise to keep it succinct! 

Why Drupal Camp Pakistan (specially since I am in Blighty)!?

I am a fan of the platform and the community! its personal. I want to see OS adoption, Open Data, more transparency, efficiencies across the rock not just in Blighty! its responsible. I am an investor in a Drupal Development Centre in Islamabad,  it’s commercial. I am a social activist with a charity in Pakistan whose ethos is to nurture peace through prosperity;  emerging technologies such as Drupal offer a great opportunity to create jobs in a conflict affected developing economy with a youth bulge and high unemployment amongst the educated and uneducated alike! its spiritual!

Told ya’ it’l be succinct!

How Drupal Camp Pakistan was organised?

The hardest part was getting the speakers and trainers or so I’d thought! this however turned out to be a simpler task amongst the long list of things to be done! It was simple for the global Drupal Community is awesome at sharing their knowledge and being the cavalry where need be! The real hard part turned out to be securing academic venues and the almost impossible was getting co-organisers involved!

Being an active emerging tech community member convincing peers from the Drupal community has taken a few conversations, it the plain old adage, do unto others as you want others to do unto you, I am active in the community, I give back myself, via my companies and by encouraging my teams do the same; and the community recognises it and reciprocates… its a love fest!

The venue could have been easy had we not agreed on a golden rule; all Drupal Camps in Pakistan under our watch shall be held at Universities with a strong tech and creative background. Whilst the the few locals we did find willing wanted Camps to be held in hotels, tickets with a price tag and the general attitude was ‘hotels mean business’ and ‘academia means… you’re not serious’… as a collective the Drupal Jedi council of Pakistan privately reacted with two words to that notion… s*d that!

The premise of our initiative for promoting Drupal and building the local community: spread the knowledge, create jobs, keep the events free to attend; attract students, fresh graduates, people between jobs, prepare Jedis for tomorrow and the years to come, give back, nurture long term prosperity for the community that occupies that part of Middle Earth! peeps are still trying to figure out the catch! keep chasing that tail dawg!

OK, time to roast a few! the allegedly more forward thinking universities in Islamabad and Lahore…  did not get Drupal… Drew…what! and worse still did not get how Camps would lead to  creating jobs! seriously! we heard responses like yes but Drupal is not big here! Php is so has been!…. well you know what nothing other than proprietary cr*p is big there! plus they missed the point that most of the Pakistani tech sector is export focused! and guess what Drupal is huge in other parts of the rock, and there is a skills shortage for good Drupalers the world over! an opportunity missed! and of course Drupal will be huge there too, once the institutions, the government and the big corps pull their heads out…

Other institutions that apparently got it; we got passed around from person to person, department to department…. felt like a Boris bike! The line was ‘what a great idea, I have cc’ed/spoken to my colleague Sum Dood in this email and he shall take it from here…’ well you know what he didn’t take it anywhere! and our phone calls went unanswered or passed on to another leader of men!

By this time we had knocked on so many doors our knuckles were hurting and our name was getting around, as the guys who want to pitch a Camp of some kind… we  do not mind ignorant peeps ridiculing us!our persistence paid of, of the many who thought we were humour in their narrative, actually did us a favour! our name got around and reached those who digressed from the norm and saw the road ahead! For the Islamabad camp that was the IT faculty at Preston University and for the Lahore Camp the IT faculty at the University of Central Punjab.

Having secured the venues getting people through the doors was not a problem, there has been a waiting audience for Camps in both the cities we have encamped in so far, and the enquiries for Drupal Camp Pakistan’s arrival to Karachi is becoming overwhelming! Other than the existing Drupalers there has been  huge demand from the uninitiated and the plain curious…

Then there is the devilish detail that I shall share on my flight back from Drupal Camp Pakistan.

“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”. Edward Gibbon

#DCPakistan #DCPK #Drupal #Community

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

DrupalCamp Helsinki – Drupaling in Espoo and sharing experiences (to HEL and back)

Drupal Camp Helsinki The 6th official DrupaCamp in Finland was held at the Aalto University the second-oldest technical institution in Finland, based in Otaniemi in Espoo at their Open Innovation House which officially opened on 10th of September 2012. DrupalCamp had the privilege to use the venue for the first ever DrupalCamp in Finland organized together with a university and I had the privilege of Aalto University Espoo being invited to the event to speak about my experiences as a serial tech entrepreneur and a Drupal evangelist at this landmark occasion for DrupalCamp Finland.

In a word DrupalCamp Helsinki was awesome, in a few it was educational, inspiring and a lot of fun. The sessions that really jumped out were Sass/compass and icon fonts by Greg Fedorov; Greg did well to remove the mystery around Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets  with a very informative, free of jargon introduction to Compass. And a word for the developers ours and all those on the third rock wondering where to use SaSS… if a theme uses CSS it can benefit from SaSS too! and some tools to explore include LiveReload, FireSass for FireBug. And if you want to use SaSS and Compass with Omega or Bootstarp take a look at Sassy.

DruplCamp The session by Kalle Varisvirta on High performance on Drupal 7 was very informative his tips included using VARNISH in front of Drupal see: Varnish HTTP Accelerator Integration, also see Cache_Control. On the optimising social networking where a small amount of personalised content to slow the whole thing down Kalle’s suggestions included loading the whole page from varnish and then refreshing the live data feed parts with javascript – which is not the ideal solution as you have to then theme everything in javascript@ keeping themes updated in two places! but to get around this see: Front_Themer.

The last session that went down a storm for me was about an open source product called Galera by CoderShip, Galera is Drupal Camp synchronous multi-master cluster for MySQL databases which in plane english translates as Galera gives your MySQL database awesome scalability capabilities without the usual headaches. And a conversation with Seppo and Sakari from CoderShip during the coffee break was a real eye opener, is coming the UK in December (3-4th) and Seppo will be speaking at the Percona Live MySQL Conference. I suggest those of us with an interest in scalability and DB performance get in touch with Seppo and if you don’t fancy the conference you can meet up with Seppo for drinks after the conference… don’t know where but I am going to be grabbing the crew from CoderShip for some drinks in London around the 4th or 5th of December.

Drupal Camp Entrepreneurship session by Kubair Shirazee


As for my session, it was fun! and Teppo Kallio from OneBro made my day but letting me know my talk inspired him! and then Jukka Paulin topped it by letting me know he’s been inspired to delve deeper into Drupal after my session… and meeting a a fellow Englander in a foreign land is always fun, Mike beers on you the next time I am in HEL or on me when you are back on the island!

The other high notes were discovering a taste for Lapin Kulta with Aaron Porter from Aberdeen Cloud… a cool dood from Nevada in Helsinki via Malta and a whole bunch of other places! looking forward to meeting up with Aaron in England. Could have been DrupalCampNW in November but am going to be out in the Eastern parts of the third rock on those dates…  and of course meeting the organiser Emma Mäkinen from Wunderkraut in person was great.

As for Helsinki/Finland, this was my second trip there and the opinion remains unchanged COLD country Super WARM people!… and looking forward to the Spring DrupalCamp in Helsinki.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Smart & Social the future of TV

Ok this is a tad bit out of date for the Social TV Summit was way back in the summer… but its been a busy summer 😉

The Social TV World Summit 2012 in London was a mixed bag! one of the downers was that the world wasn’t represented and the other being the thought leaders (bar a few) did not seem to know where it is heading or are driving it down the wrong path (in my opinion). But i’ll be fair this was the first ever Social TV event in Europe (so informa tells us) so it was testing the waters.

The talks and presentations were awash with the second and third screen experiences, but what most folks seem to have forgotten is the focus should be on the TV screen! isn’t keeping users engaged with the TV screen what the advertisers are paying broadcasters for, isn’t anticipated viewership what productions houses sell their wares for? So why is every one hell bent on disrupting that very experience that the money bods hold sacred?

Convergence is not just a buzz word people it has a definition  and by definition it means platform agnostic content and experience not distracting apps for apps sake. Take most second screen Apps.. why are they so busy and why do they work so hard to disrupt my experience of the 1st screen!… TV is already social people – what the industry thought leaders ought to be looking for is extending that sacred experience and not disrupting it!

Companion apps I get, believe in and see as the future, but this whole thing about 2nd screen experiences in tandem with the first screen though sounds very snazzy but will have little room in the future when Smart TVs are ubiquitous and our second screen of today (our smart phones) would be an extension of the 1st! so why wait till that day when we can do that today… a smart few are already doing so!

Which brings me to what I heard folks describe and demonstrate as a companion app! were not in majority companion apps… detractor apps yes (if it takes me way from the TV Screen experience how is it a companion?) the best sessions were from Jerry Kramskoy a Senior technologist at the BBC R&D labs… but then you’d expect that from the BBC. Mark Ghuneim from Trendrr was phenomenal with his big data presentation on tracking TV trends over social media and the most innovative idea in the building by far was from Vincent van Witteloostuyn from and I’ll let Vincent tell you all about it in his interview with The Next Web at IBC more recently:

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.