Monday, October 17, 2005

Blogging from Pakistan

I've just arrived at the Pakistan airport in Karachi, trying to kill some time till the next flight at 7AM. Even though my search for wireless networks through kismet came up with 2 unknown essid's that seem to be unencrypted, I wasn't about to go any further with trying to hack into it just so I can get this blog out on time.

My self and Chamindra are in Pakistan on our way to Islamabad to help with the disaster efforts as a result of the Earth quake strike last week. No so much so by picking up shawals or buckets but by what we know best - Free & Opensource software.

I only got to know about our need for the visit on Thursday, when IBM requested us to join their Emergency Crisis Management Team. If your wondering why us, then the simple answer is, for building the Sahana system in a very short time when the Tsunami hit. Unfortunately as we built it very quickly, within a week or so, its far from perfect when it comes to implementing for a world wide disaster solution.

The good news is Sahana phase 2 is in full swing, and is being built by LSF as a generic system that can be use for just about any disaster. Unfotunately the new system is about 2-3 months away from being realized. That's where I come in -- as an architect (literally) of the old system :)

Our mission is to demonstrate the system as a proposition to managing the current crisis in the hope that it can ease some of the chaos and disorder usually found in such a situation.

Enough said about Sahana, my trip here was quite a company. Murphy seemed to have joined us along the way, following us secretly and popping up from time to time. From the setting up of the demo till the last minute to me loosing the ticket coupons while filling the embarkation to the tatty flight that a 1 hour stop over in Mumbai after circling the sky for about 20 minutes due to traffic! If that wasn't dizzy enough, we were forced to stay in the plane, while a cleaning crew tore plane apart. Which brings us to the present, sitting and blogging in an empty airport with another 5 hours to go.

Well I just bought a book -- "The beautiful Mind", and if its anything like the movie then I'd guess it would be a real treat.

Things can only get better....

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