May, 2012 | Issue 1 | www.fastcomputingsociety.org/magazine
What HTML5 brings to the table?
PAC-PAD Adeel Omer Malik
KINGDOM OF AMALUR Mannan Ahmed Abbasi
NASCON 2012 ALL PAKISTAN ELECTRONIX OLYMPIAD
LOW COST EMBEDED SYSTEMS...
ANDROID WORKSHOP MAGAZINE BY FAST COMPUTING SOCIETY. FAST-NU, ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN.
Muhammad bin Tahir
MASS EFFECT 3. Ammar Zahid
FAST BYTES Supervisors
Dr. Uzair Khan
Editor Hassaan Anjum
Editorial Board Maria Khan Zaraq Khan Momina Irshad
News and Events Amna Khan
Apps & Tools Navera Waheed
Designing & Imaging Muhammad Awais Ashraf
Assistant Designer Faheem Alam Rao Moeed
Publishing & Marketing Anas Siddiqi Imraheem Tasneem
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We are pleased to present to you the first ever E-Magazine of FASTNU, Islamabad Campus. This magazine is aimed at providing a platform where students can share their views about the world and also keep themselves updated with the latest news in the tech world. Initially we started this magazine as a small project with a scope limited to the CS department only. However, seeing the enthusiasm of the students, we have decided to make this magazine a university wide project by extending its scope to all departments. We aim to make this magazine a monthly e-magazine with lots of fun and information for all sorts of readers. We urge you to write for this magazine and help us make it a successful project. Please send your comments, questions, tips, articles and anything you would like to say to us at our email address firstname.lastname@example.org Hassaan Anjum
CONTENTS May, 2012 04 05 08 16 SOPA could mean the death of Internet as we know it! Maria Syed
What is HTML5 & Why it would save the Web! Khizar bin Aamir
Low Cost Embeded Systems Muhammad Bin Tahir
NASCON 2012 Sameed Ahmed
Mass effect 3 Ammar Zahid
19 20 22 23 24 28 29 36 36 37 38 38 39
Will Tablets Replace Laptops? Microsoft is Not The Limit! Fastians and Raghra Gadgets Nokia 808 Pureview Htc One X Lg Optimus 4x HD Motorola Droid 4 Motorloa Droid Xyboard 10.1 Apps WebWorld Entrepreneurship an Emerging Trend! The Story of Capital Gains Tax Assassins Creed 3 Kingdoms of Amalur IT Humor PACPAD Open House Android Workshop IBM Technical Workshop All Pakistan Electronix Olympiad Softech
May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 03
WILL TABLETS REPLACE LAPTOPS?
ith the number of tablet sales increasing day by day, we often raise the question. Are tablets replacing laptop computers? Will laptop computers be out of the scene in the next 10 years? Well there are no factual answers to these questions except for the fact that tablet sales are going insanely high. But the interesting thing to note here is that the people who are buying tablets are not (in large numbers) those who use computers for productivity applications. Most of the people who buy tablets are those users for whom computers are just for entertainment (games, movies, Facebook and YouTube). According to research survey, about 68% of all tablet users use tablets for news and entertainment. There is a very small percentage of people who actually use tablets for anything productive. Reason? Well, simply because it is insanely hard to use tablets for productivity applications also there are very few powerful productivity applications (hardly any). If any of you have owned tablets, you would agree that typing a 2-3 page letter or a 20 page report on an iPad or Android tablet is insanely hard using the onscreen keyboard. Sure there are external keyboard which you can attach to the device but there are two reasons why they don’t go well with the tablets. One they are mostly expensive which increases the overall cost of a tablet and two they don’t still quite give the feel of using a standard keyboard. Tablet sales are surely increasing but for people who need to write lots of emails every day or work with content creation, they would surely till prefer to use a Laptop over a Tablet. So what could change they dynamics of the market? Hybrid tablets! Yeah! Hybrid tablets are the future of computing industry. Why? Well, they are mobile just like any other tablet, they pack a nice punch in computing performance (core i5 processor) and they are almost like laptops. Some of them even come with clamshell keyboard dockings which give them the same look and feel of a small laptop. In my personal opinion, where netbooks failed, hybrid tablets will succeed because they offer high end computing power and complete flexibility to use just it as a mobile tablet or as a full computer using a docking station. The high price of these hybrid computers might be a point of concern for most users for the moment. However, we are hoping that once these devices start rolling out their price points will improve. Come to think of it, for people who own both tablets and laptops, these hybrid computers might actually be a very good option even with the high price point because the price they would pay for a hybrid laptop (Samsung 7 series starting at $1,099 and Lenovo X series at $1,149) is less than or equal to the combined price of a separate laptop and tablet device. The major factor in converting people from laptop users to tablet users is the operating system of tablets. So far the only two major OS available are iOS and Android with the latter being used on a large number of devices and the former having large number of sales and public appeal. However, a windows version designed specifically for tablets is yet to hit the stores but a consumer preview has been launched by Microsoft. When Windows rolls out on tablets, we might see a shift in usage statistics since the windows OS would support most applications many people currently use on laptops. For example, for people who love to use Microsoft Office and are accustomed to its features, the Windows tablet would be an awesome choice since it will give them their favorite application on a mobile device. So the big question, will tablets replace laptops? I’d say, people who use laptops for fun, casual gaming, internet surfing and watching videos will definitely love the handiness of a tablet. But for people who have to deal with intensive productivity software and use laptops for work will stick to laptops because a tablet, no matter how awesome it is, is not a laptop!
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Where notebooks failed, hybrid tablets will succeed because they offer high end computing power and complete flexibility to use just it as a mobile tablet or as a full computer using a docking station. FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO DEAL WITH INTENSIVE PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE AND USE LAPTOPS FOR WORK WILL STICK TO LAPTOPS BECAUSE A TABLET, NO MATTER HOW AWESOME IT IS, IS NOT A LAPTOP!
MICROSOFT IS NOT THE LIMIT. n my childhood, I was told by my elders that if you’re going to live in Pakistan, you must set your aim to either be a Doctor or an engineer. So like many of my other fellows I also set my aim that when I grow up, I would become a Doctor. When I entered my matriculation level I didn’t find myself adjustable for this noble profession (mainly because of my teacher who suggests the only key through this is RATT’AA). At my FSC level I opted for Engineering and found myself quite suitable for it. But who knows the future!
“OUR PEOPLE, OUR SHAREHOLDERS , ME, BILL GATES, WE EXPECT TO CHANGE THE WORLD IN EVERY WAY, TO SUCCEED WILDLY AT EVERYTHING WE TOUCH, TO HAVE THE BROADEST IMPACT OF ANY COMPANY IN THE WORLD.”Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft
As many other FASTIANS, I myself got admitted over here with the feeling of deep sorrows and upset minds. Obviously what else are you going to expect when you got admission in none of the top Universities on your list (I am here talking about GIK and UET) and aiding this torment further, if you chose computer science department and you don’t even know what the hell this COMPUTER is and then COMPUTER PROGRAMMING! (Obviously this whole stuff related to me to the extent of playing games and watching the same movie again and again) But now I had no other option so stayed here dealing with the unusual and abnormal (probably supernormal) machine to which I was advised to be a friend or enemy, either way you have to deal with it. With the feeling of “DO OR DIE”, I finally started this programming stuff and finally found this DO OR DIE as a keyword of studying in FAST! Amazingly, as the semesters progressed I finally found this programming as a keyword to my own life and later on I sometimes thought that why I didn’t think for this field ever before but with the passage of time a feeling of self contentment was developed somewhere inside my heart and I proudly spoke out to everyone: “I am in the right field!”
the time and knowledge that he invested in this field). His company’s name, Microsoft, (I know he resigned now, after all I am a FASTIAN, I should know that) is the word that is all in all in this field. The software you use daily, 92% of them are being developed by this company and this fact really makes me wonder that how Mr. Gates developed this Gigantic Company! During my research driven by my curiosity, as I came to know about the rise and fall of his life, I really started feeling that the toughest and hardest time of our life in FAST is quite reasonable and rather a blessing! FAST really wants us to be something great like Mr. Gates! But unfortunately, I found many of the FASTIANS here aim just for good jobs they can get owing to reputation of the Institute and quite frankly, this is totally unfair! No doubt, the day you graduate from FAST, there are loads of job opportunities that lie in front of you (unless you don’t have the talent that FASTIANS are supposed to have). So why just aim for the stuff that is there for you whether you aim for it or not, why not aim for higher goals like establishing their very own software houses from the beginning? (extremely few FASTIANS actually do). They only place this innovative step (entrepreneurship) on luck and chance, that if they ever get the opportunity to have their own software house they will probably do this but they don’t really aim for it!! It’s obvious that as you enter FAST, YOU ENTER A LAND OF OPPURTUNITIES! So I guess FASTIANS should move ahead and avail this opportunity rather than waiting for it to hit them in the head (which hardly ever happens)! And the only suggestion that I found in this regard is that FAST should make it their motto: “MICROSOFT IS NOT THE LIMIT!!”
Besides many other new and exciting things that I have almost discovered in FAST I also got to know about the pioneers of this field (as all students do in whatever field they go) and one of them I like the most is our dear, great, Mr. Bill Gates (We all are really grateful to him for May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 05
ince the two bills that have been presented in the House and the Senate (United States of America), the Stop Online Piracy Act or commonly known as SOPA and the Protect IP [Intellectual Property] Act or commonly known as PIPA respectively, there has been quite a stir among our famous and favorite billionaires. It is quite common to have an opposition to some bill that has been presented in the Senate or the House but why are people like Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (cofounders of Google), Steve Ballmer (CEO at Microsoft) opposing the bill to an extent that they are actually forcing the Congress by any means necessary? Majority of the people in Pakistan, I’m sure, aren’t even aware of what SOPA and PIPA are let alone their significance in the functioning of the Internet. So let’s start off with what are SOPA and PIPA? They are actually two bills designed by the US Congress to put a stop or rather to control the problem of piracy, copyright infringement, online trafficking etc. so in layman terms, if this bill is passed we won’t be able to have free access to all the trailers of unreleased movies, torrents, no more sneak peeks of our favorite movies and shows, no more access to all the software’s etc. I’m not saying it’s “OK” to watch pirated movies and use pirated software and games. But the truth is that a majority of the population in 3rd World countries relies on these pirated software because they can’t afford to buy high priced copies of them. Now, the billionaires and top giants are not on the side of pirates, so what’s their stake in the bills? Well, for companies like YouTube, if any one of its members posts something pirated, it will be YouTube that will have to pay the price. This means that all content providers must make sure that their members never put anything infringing copy rights on their websites which makes it extremely hard for them to allow fast share services which they provide and would also incur them extra costs for checking each and everything that is shared through their services.
SOPA COULD MEAN THE DEATH OF INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT!
For us, our easy access to the search engines like Google YouTube etc will be on stake. Now I guess you people might be able to find the connection to the names of some people I men
tioned above to these two bills. Social websites like Facebook totally work on what people frequently upload, the main reason of attraction for people was how easy it is upload and share stuff with family and friends by just copy pasting a link but this indirectly falls in the category of piracy. Every website that even has a slightest of the copyrighted material will be closed down if these bills are passed it will be a kind of a censorship on piracy that will eventually lead to the deletion of stuff that goes against the will of the government, meaning people won’t be able to have access to the blogs, articles, hubs and that’s the reason people call it the bill against the “freedom of speech”. This law will put an end to the creativity innovation availability of “free flowing” information through websites. The United States of America talks about democracy and yet they are passing such bills, in the name of monetary profit. The same kind of censorship is regularly practiced in repressive dictatorships like Syria, Iran and China and Malaysia.
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SOPA AND PIPA MAY HAVE MET THEIR DEMISE SINCE THE VOTE WAS POSTPONED UNTIL A CONSENSUS IS REACHED, BUT THE ATTEMPT TO PASS SUCH A BILL HAS STIRRED UP THE WORLD
I quote Mark Zuckerberg, “The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of Internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA and will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet” the post alone got 499,897 “likes” and 93,793 “shares”.
We also witnessed a protest by Wikipedia, Google and about 7,000 others on 18 January 2012, demonstrating the worldwide blackout in opposition to SOPA and PIPA. Wikipedia said “Imagine a world without free knowledge. For over a decade we have spent millions of hours building the
lar gest encycloped ia in human history. Right now, the U.S Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.” At that time I wasn’t aware of what bill were they talking about and my reaction to it was that “how am I going to get the information for my presentation the next day?” and I’m pretty much sure that many people around the world did face some kind of difficulty even for those 24 hours. Larry Page posted on his page “Two PROTEST BY WIKIPEDIA, bills before Congress, known as the GOOGLE AND ABOUT Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate 7,000 OTHERS ON 18 and the Stop Online Piracy Act JANUARY 2012, (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful DEMONSTRATING THE regulations on American business. WORLDWIDE BLACKOUT Millions of Internet users and IN OPPOSITION TO SOPA entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA AND PIPA. and PIPA. The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.”
And last but not the least Hosting and domain registrar company Go Daddy has lost more than 37,000 domains in two days due to the company’s wishy-washy stance on the Stop Online Piracy Act. Due to this huge reaction by the entire world, the Congress was forced to withdraw the bills. Now, SOPA and PIPA may have met their demise since the vote was postponed until a consensus is reached, but the attempt to pass such a bill has stirred up the world. The bills may have been postponed for now but the threat to Internet and content sharing still remains eminent. So now let’s talk about some of the billionaires that support this bill Ronald Perelman Revlon, David Geffen DreamWorks, Ray Dolby Dolby Stereo, Darwin Deason Xerox and Rupert Murdoch Newscorp one of the greatest supporters of the bill. The way I see it, what’s wrong if we are getting free of cost information and sharing it with others the way we like it? What’s wrong if the people owning these social websites are offering us free stuff on internet? Of course piracy is an issue but putting an end to all these websites is not a solution to it. After passing the bills like SOPA I think that the government will then need to worry about a bigger issue of social unrest from everyday internet user. May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 07
F A S T IT IS GOOD TO HAVE AN END IN A JOURNEY BUT IT IS THE JOURNEY THAT MATTERS IN THE END!
ven though students have to bear only the burden of education, they have always remained one of the most pitiable creatures in this world! Their life passes through different phases of education. The most important happening in a student’s life is the transition from college life to university life i.e. to enter a phase where they have to finally prepare themselves for professional lives. It does seem difficult but its importance is undeniable. So the better university you choose the better future you can expect!
“TRUE FASTIAN” is nothing more or less than this. All those people who have some connections with FAST or used to have in the past, believe that a “FASTIAN” is meant for a “RAGRAA“, or a “RAGRAA” is meant to be for a “FASTIAN” (whatever way you take as input, return of the function that is FAST is the same!) There are many ways that are used in order to give a FASTIAN a better RAGRAA. The new year batch is given this RAGRAA with a little concession (freshmen should be thankful for this!). With just placing the classes on the third floor (if you start your count from ground floor), the junior most FASTIANS are supposed to be like “Flash” in moving upstairs within a minute (in my experience the more students try their best to wake up in the morning, the late they are and are thus often found hurrying for the classes (my advice to FASTIANS is to spare time for this long route or else be an expert in stair climbing!). The senior batches suffer the worse of this RAGRAA. Although they make themselves used to the unavailing quizzes and perplexing assignments. Four or five assignments at a time really makes FASTIANs feel like saying: ”What the hell am I stuck in!” Aiding it further are the big, shocking, terribly mind terrifying and dismaying projects, three or four at a time with few days deadlines! Oh, my God! This really makes them pull their hair. Semesters in FAST are like a great uphill battle for getting good grades, making your presence in lectures (physically is important to avoid being Debarred) and
A “FASTIAN” IS MEANT FOR A “RAGRAA“, OR A “ R AG R A A ” I S MEANT TO BE FOR A “ FA S T I A N ”
FAST – a widely known and recognized university, its students proudly hold the label of FASTIANS. FASTIAN — A student you can easily find with untidy clothes (for fashion or whatever purpose), long spikes (most have this hairstyle) and if you see him working on a computer, you can easily identify him as a CS student by his swift, fast and blind typing with eyes focused on the monitor screen and sitting leisurely on a PC chair. Quite often he gets exhausted with the heavy burden of challenging and difficult assignments, regular quizzes (often two or three in a single class) and nerve twisting, irritating projects but still he manages to live in one way or the other—may be by means of that great events like TAMSHA and NASCON etc. (I personally feel FASTIANS arrange these events to energize themselves and use it as their refreshments in the tough routine of FAST). Yeah! I know it might sound odd to many of you but believe me a 08 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
I A N S above all and the most important for some unusual and notorious FASTIANS is the constant struggle to hide themselves from the eyes of the ghastly Discipline Committee (which is a good aid for the faculty and the worse for a FASTIAN) often headed by some good old faculty members who know very well how to maintain the standards of FAST and FASTIANS! But this is not all, the most difficult task that a FASTIAN has to face is to get a good GPA and then maintain it. This is what pinches all FASTIANs somewhere deep inside their hearts and keeps their minds struggling. Inside the fast world of FAST, the special ‘RAGRAA’ is meant to train a FASTIAN for his professional life. As the saying goes: “There is always a reason behind every situation” So is there a reason behind all this ’RAGRAA’? Certainly there is, it prevents a FASTIAN from the ‘RAGRAA’ of professional life. This whole ‘RAGRAA’ is itself sufficient enough to explain why there is a HUGE DEMAND of FASTIANs especially in IT industry!
Pakistan but outside the country as well. If you talk about Telecom sector or IT industry, there are a great number of alumni of FAST serving and helping the nation in achieving its goal in advancement in technology. Few days back I was reading an interview of an alumni of FAST, Mr. Malik who has been working for CIBER (A US$1 Billion American company in Denver Colorado, USA) for the past eleven years as Director of IS Applications. When he was asked about his experience in FAST, he said that FAST helped him discovered himself. “At FAST, we worked with very limited resources and to this date that experience helped me find optimal IT solutions for my customers based on the available resources”. Besides him there are several other FASTIANS who are currently working as of CEOs of reputable companies in Pakistan and in other countries as well.
THE MOST DIFFICULT TASK THAT A FASTIAN HAS TO FACE IS FIRST TO GET A GOOD GPA AND T H E N T O MAINTAIN IT.
There is huge number of graduates of FAST who soon after completing their graduation are welcomed for a large number of excellent jobs in different companies not only in Pakistan but abroad as well. Microsoft is the biggest target that majority of the FASTIANS hope for. According to a recent survey there are a good number of graduates of FAST who are currently working in Microsoft. Every year Microsoft selects a number of students from South Asia on limited basis and major portion of these limited seats are being taken by FASTIANS. To my own observation, almost all the FASTIANS are working on well paid jobs not only in
Alumni of FAST are making name of their Institute and country very successfully in various leading organizations throughout the world. They are a great source of inspiration for the youth. FAST – is proud to have such outstanding alumni. Today, this University, stands recognized as the leader and trend-setter in Information Technology in Pakistan and abroad. The journey is tough, but through these hardships and continuous struggle, FASTIANS learn the art of survival and in the end, they emerge as victors in the high paced world of tough competition. So if FAST, ever remained a part of your journey than you must say: I Am Proud to Be a FASTIAN! May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 09
What is Html5 and Why it would save the web! U
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SEE HTML5 FEATURES IN ACTION Chrome Experiments offers developers with the opportunity to test latest browser features. The website contains several HTML5 experiments which are definitely worth a look. http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ YouTube offers an opt-in-trial for YouTube video playback using HTML5. Obviously its far from perfect but its still worth having a look at. http://www.youtube.com/html5
May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 11
user interactions as well so the same content would be completely interactive on all platforms. Books and magazines, pretty boring stuff (neglecting the fact that you are reading one!), you must be thinking what about games then? Well, don’t take html5 too lightly; it can be used to build entire applications that include full-on productivity applications as well as state of the art games. Tools provided by html5 that can support game developers, start with canvases, which is quite a powerful tool in its own right. The <canvas> tag lets applications draw directly onto a web page using the same commands it would use in a native application. More than any other feature that html5 possesses this canvas tag places it in direct competition to replace Flash where developers are looking for alternate options that don’t require them to use a proprietary runtime. Surprisingly enough, the <canvas> has a built-in 3D version which makes use of a language called WebGL that can be executed directly in a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) on systems that have one. This essentially means with html5 it is now possible to create a web page with a basic 3D environment by writing just a few lines of code. Even more so, Adobe has offered to provide, what it calls CSS Shaders, to allow 3D effects to be applied to any content of the webpage and not just canvases. In a race to close its gap with Flash, it even allows animation to be done with keyframes, another quality that is crucial to quality gaming. A bunch of great examples of html5’s capability in the gaming arena can be found at sites like html5games.com with some interactive and interesting games that can keep you glued to them for hours. It’s only a matter of time before some of the best-selling games end-up in html5 just because of the convenience it provides to create a single edition that can then run on multiple platforms.
lets you store data such as settings, caches, databases on the local device with great convenience. Also with proper permissions a web application is now finally allowed to directly access the local file system of the device being used. To further alleviate the storage capability it also includes a fully functional relational database which supports SQL. But what use would it be if you can’t use the app because it requires an active connection just to run the application? As an answer to this, html5 provides the facility of caching such applications offline that may update themselves from time to time whenever newer versions are available, hence making it a hassle free experience to use the application in offline mode. Although one may point out that such functionality is already available with some mobile environments and there is nothing new about it, well my friend, implementing such a functionality into web applications is a huge leap forward for the usability of web apps and nothing of this sort was doable before to such an extent of convenience and reliability.
THE FIFTH ITERATION OF THIS MOST POPULAR LANGUAGE OF THE WORLD COMES AS AN IMMENSELY OVERHAULED UPDATE TO ITS
WITH HTML5 IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO CREATE A WEB PAGE WITH A BASIC 3D ENVIRONMENT BY WRITING JUST A FEW LINES OF CODE
Html5 is also big on the multitasking frontier as well. Retrieving data from remote sites while working on the web can be a frustrating experience at times, especially when it takes painstakingly long to display even a single piece of retrieved information. Html5 resolves this issue with what it calls ‘web workers’. There are some browsers and applications that currently perform multi-tasking to improve the user experience but with ‘web workers’ it’s like child’s play, for instance it is easier to have web workers fill in search results in the background while the user interacts with the first ones as they keep on arriving.
ONE OF THE KEY FEATURES OF HTML5 THAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD FULLY FUNCTIONAL APPLICATIONS IS THE CAPABILITY OF LOCAL STORAGE
One of the key features of html5 that makes it possible to build fully functional applications is the capability of local storage. Previously web applications had to either store their data in a cloud or in clumsy cookies which were extremely limited. Html5
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One major issue with web pages till date is user interactivity. Keeping it simple like a few text boxes and clicks is no game changer but doing something beyond this is not simple at all. In order to allow fancy user interactions on a web page developers always have to resort to native coding but with html5 its rather fun to provide seemingly smooth user interactions such as drag and drop capability provided by html5 allows users to place files on the web page by
GOOGLE WOULD RETURN A WEB PAGE IT CAN PROVIDE A BETTER LIVE PREVIEW OF IT BY LOOKING AT THE RICH SNIPPETS THAT GIVE HINTS TO THE SEARCH ENGINE OF WHAT TO DISPLAY IN ITS LIVE PREVIEW. May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 13
MUHAMMAD BIN TAHIR
ankind always considered technology as the fundamental requirement of its living in this very earth. Today if we put a vivid eye over the world of today, we would realize that we are surrounded with high tech gadgets and accessories. Man's life has become much easier by improving the quality of technology and by enhancing the boundaries of its usage. Business moguls, Multinationals, Gigantic Software Brands and IT professionals are extremely busy in feeding the technology hungry public of today. On daily basis the stock market of the world are swinging which can be attributed to the drastic changes in the high tech devices of today. Statistics prove that tech-manufacturers and innovators are so busy that every second the world is being blessed with a new gadget or technology. It is indeed natural to adhere that with enormous increase in consumer requirements, these technologies are being sold at exorbitant rates. From Laptops to the basic electronic devices, embedded systems have gained extreme importance. No sophisticated device could run without the embedded systems being put into it. Every device including laptops, 3G mobile phones, high tech automatic weapons, surveillance systems in latest jets, automatic switching in telephone exchanges supporting DSL as well as telephony and many others use embedded systems extensively. But now-a-days it
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LOW COST EMBEDDED SYSTEMS AND THEIR FUTURE IN PAKISTAN!
h a s b e e n observed that the bas ic requirement is not only adopting and deploying these high techs but also to make them available at reasonable costs. This problem is mostly surfaced by the underdeveloped countries which majorly includes those countries which lack their personnel infrastructure of the IT â€“ Sector. Pakistan has been involved in the IT- Sector for few years now and has been progressing at a reasonable rate. Being an underdeveloped country Pakistan doesn't contain any significant infrastructure and vendors for embedded systems. Therefore it really needs such embedded systems which are available at reasonable costs and contain significant applications such that despite the economic crises, Pakistan would progress in the IT- Sector thereby enhancing its foreign revenues in this area. Embedded systems contain varying types and specifications and the most promising are Raspberry Pi and Allwinner a10. RASPBERRY PI: Raspberry Pi foundation developed the Raspberry Pi computer as a cheap System on Chip (SoC) for use in multiple applications and gadgets. It can be seen as a development board which will help developers create creative solutions and applications using embedded technology. The Foundation's goal is to offer two versions, priced at US$25 and $35 with slight variations between the two products. The Foundation started accepting orders for the $35 model on 29 February 2012 and currently is using 3rd party manufacturers to produce and sell the systems.
Raspberry Pi includes a reasonable 700 MHz processor with a VideoCore IV GPU which can deliver significant performance for creating standard 3D applications and running 1080p videos. The system has 256 Megabytes of RAM which might sound a little less considering the current market trends. However, it is sufficient for developing most applications and considering the low cost of the device, it sounds like a good bargain. Raspberry Pi does not include a Hard Disk controller but rather makes use of SD Card storage for storing operating system and user data files.
major war is not on enhancing the size of the armed forces but the size of technology oriented environment. World is moving towards a future dominated by technology where lives have become much easier and supportive. If Pakistan would pay due attention in creating a sound infrastructure supporting innovations in embedded systems and technology then it surely would have the capacity to increase its foreign investments in IT thereby enhancing the boundaries of the educated environment. Raspberry Pi and Allwinner a10 are the few products among many such low cost embedded systems which, if utilized properly, would allow Pakistan to attain an enlightened future in the ITSector. In the 21st Century, mobile applications and games have gained an enormous success rate. If Pakistan would pay attention on the low cost embedded systems and create its own high tech tablets and other applications like its neighbor China, then we can revolutionize the whole ITSector and give it the much needed boom required to leap towards a prosperous future. Such embedded systems are easily available and tons of useful applications can be developed for them with ease which can bring healthy foreign investments in our country and would put the future of the Pakistani Students into the lime light. The Universities in Pakistan should provide students with the facilities to experiment on and develop applications for embedded systems and thus create a learning atmosphere which might result in some much needed research output from these univ ersities. H e n c e w i t h reasonabl e progress rate in the IT- Sector, the future of low cost embedded systems is bright for Pakistan if directed properly.
IF Raspberry Pi will be able to use Windows PAKISTAN WOULD CE, Linux variants and Android as PAY ATTENTION ON THE an operating system and will LOW COST EMBEDDED also provide miniHDMI port for SYSTEMS AND CREATE ITS OWN connecting the device to HIGH TECH TABLETS AND OTHER external video output APPLICATIONS LIKE ITS terminal such as TV or LCD screen. NEIGHBOR CHINA, THEN WE A L LW I N N E R CAN REVOLUTIONIZE THE A10: The Allwinner A10 WHOLE IT-SECTOR. CPU is an incredibly cheap CPU developed and produced by China which is expected to be sold at $7 resulting in an SoC cost of about $15. The system design includes a stunning 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor MALI400 graphic chip which provides ample 3D performance for developing a large number of applications as well as running 2160p videos at high frame rates. The company, Rhombus-Tech aims at creating a cheap product which can be used to create a variety of end products such as touch screen tablets, smart devices and remote systems. FUTURE OF PAKISTAN: Technology at an affordable cost is sheer need of the hour for countries like Pakistan. Today the
May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 15
GADG NOKIA 800 PUREVIEW
The Nokia 808 Pureview with a 41MP camera and 1080p video recording came as a surprise from Nokia, One could have never imagined it to be a picture taking beast.
The 41MP (effective 38MP) camera takes photos that you can zoom into to dizzying levels
The phone operates on the end of Symbian OS – Belle and we don’t expect it to move to windows (which is a sad news) The interface is more finger friendly and quick than the previous Nokia touch phone (although not as fast as the likes of top end Android phones or the iPhone 4S). The build of the phone isn't impressive at all if we're honest – the plastic build of the case and the plastic hard keys on the front are a little cheap-feeling.
camera. It looks to be pretty darn good. The 41MP (effective 38MP) camera takes photos that you can zoom into to dizzying levels. It offers a decent range of setting you can play with like ISO level settings up to 1600. The picture quality is fantastic as well, with zooming in showing a decent level of detail with very little in the way of noise or pixilation. There are two camera modes: The “full resolution” setting letting you shoot at 34MP in 16:9 and 38MP in 4:3 mode or Pureview mode which takes 8MP shots but with the finest of details. On a serious and critical note I am more looking forward to seeing similar things on Windows Phones rather than lauding this as t h e ultimate camera phone just yet.
However, let's talk about the real selling point here; the
HTC X ONE HTC has rebranded their mobile phone lineup. Gone are the hyperbolic product names and the quiet brilliance: instead now it's all about a new one family of phones with the HTC One X the daddy of them all. A quad-core processor (1500 MHz) as well as Ice Cream Sandwich (Android (4.0) Sense 4 UI) and 32GB of internal
memory (as well as some cloud storage thanks to a new partnership with Dropbox). The HTC One X isn't a million miles from the HTC Sensation range, sharing most aesthetic mannerisms with the Sensation XL. High glossy plastic slide panels – a unibody design which feels a bit cheap and weird to touch. A 4.7-inch Super LCD touchscreen which is comfortable to use. Sense software takes advantage of the screen tech too. Rocking optical lamination to improve the viewing angles – easily viewable from the sides. Light weighted but extremely user friendly with a microUSB slot and 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as pogo pins for docking. The camera on the reverse is an 8MP snapper, which has an updated lens (good for low-light photography) and a smart flash. The Camcorder records at 1080p HD video and supports video calling feature. The phone comes with Improved Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Compass. Undoubtedly HTC One X has opened up a new platform in mobile development, raising user expectation to another level in their yet to come models.
16 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
GETS LG OPTIMUS 4X HD
LG has signaled the arrival of LG Optimus 4X HD hitting the scene with quad-core processor technology at 2012Barcelona.
Designed to go against the Huawei Ascend D1 Q, and HTC One X, Optimus 4X HD boasts NVidia’s powerful 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor with 4-PLUS-1 technology, 1GB of RAM, 4.7-inch (1280 x 720) True HD IPS display, 16GB of internal memory, NFC, 8MP camera with full HD video recording and Android 4.0Ice Cream Sandwich. LG confirmed that the Optimus 4X HD price range would be £500. LG Optimus 4X HD feels like a premium phone with the dual metal rims running around the circumference. The textured back sits nicely in the hand with the tapered sides making the slim phone feel even thinner.
THE NEW MOTOROLA DROID 4 It has been only two years since the Motorola DROID came into market. After that, its two successors, the DROID 2 and the DROID 3, came to maintain the reputation of the DROID family, but, no one of them was as admirable as the original starter. Hence there was a steady decline on droid line in terms of appeal and reputation, especially when the DROID 2 and 3 didn’t quite have the same impact like the original. The biggest botheration with DROID 3 was the fact that it lacked 4g LTE connectivity and it relied on 3g network. Now, here is a new born in the family of DROIDS, the Motorola DROID 4 which is a complete package. The DROIDS are well known for their landscape QWERTY form factor. And keeping it up, the Motorola DROID 4 has a much better and fascinating
The touchscreen is very responsive and had no trouble picking up even our lighter gestures. The power of the quad-core processor is obvious as you skip through the home screens and app trays with absolutely no slow down, juddering or lag. Ice Cream Sandwich provides seven home screens and they are easy to update with whatever widgets, apps and backgrounds you prefer. Watch full HD video with ease on the Optimus 4X HD thanks to that large True HD IPS screen with feature to easily zoom in and out of video and speed up and slow down the rate of video playback, again on the fly as the footage plays and the processor was able to cope with it no problem. The LG Optimus 4X HD will allow you to convert 2D games into 3D, as long as the handset is plugged into a 3D capable TV.
Optimus 4X can easily zoom in and out of video and speed up and slow down the rate of video playback
QWERTY keypad. And also, it features water-repellant technology which enables it to endure a few splashes of water, but it is not water proof completely. The Motorola DROID 4 features a tweaked design. But this one is actually nifty. Talking about the specifications, it features a faster 1.2 GHz dual core Cortex A9 processor, 1 Gigabyte of Ram, 540 x 960 TFT capacitive touch screen display, 8 MP camera featuring full HD video capturing and of course 4g LTE connectivity over Verizon. It also features a 1.3 MP front facing camera and comes with Android v2.3.5(Gingerbre ad). Overall, it is a good phone, especially the QWERTY keypad which is excellent. May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 17
DROID XYBOARD comes with a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of Ram, a 5MP camera with LED flash and 720p video capturing capability
18 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
PSP is gone. Now it is time for NGP, Next Generation Portable, by Sony, which is also known as PS vita. The PS vita is the most powerful and impressive portable gaming device in the market. It does not only have a collection of buttons and joystick for the controls, but got two impressive, touch surfaces, one of which is its amazing 5 inch OLED 960x544 capacitive touch screen LCD while the other is its touch sensitive back which reads the gestures of the fingers and brings the respective response on the screen in a fabulous way. The PS vita comes in two models. One is the WIFI/3G model while the other is only WIFI model. Hence this amazing gadget can also be used of as a phone if you pay a little more to buy the WIFI/3G model. The PS vita does not features a 3D screen as the brick like Nintendo 3ds does, but still the 3ds canâ€™t compete with PS vita in terms of graphical fidelity.
Motorola DROID XYBOARD 10.1 A number of android tablets are arriving in the market these days. Talking about Motorola, the first tablet launched, was The Motorola XOOM running on Android Honeycomb but it didnâ€™t go over well because it lacked the LTE connectivity which was delayed for several months. In December 2011, Motorola launched 2 new android tablets, the DROID XYBOARD 8.2 and the DROID XYBOARD 10.1. These two tablets have LTE right out of the box. So one must be eager to find out what is the difference between these two tablets? It is exactly what their name suggests which is the screen size. The DROID XYBOARD 8.2 and 10.1 are 8.2 and 10.1 inch tablets respectively. Here we are talking about the XYBOARD 10.1 which is available in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models. This one feels a
The whole design of PS vita is sleek and stylish including its volume control buttons, the joystick and the classic X, triangle, square and circle buttons. It also features Bluetooth and the classic Six Axis gyroscope/accelerometer as in Ps3 Dualshock 3. The specs are amazing for such a small device. It features ARM cortex A9 core( 4 core) processor and 128 MB of memory and 512MB of internal memory. It has front and rear facing cameras as well which are not great, but still good enough for catching many beautiful moments. Hence so many
fea t u r e s packed in a small device, the PS vita really is a wondrous gadget on the planet.
bit heavy. Its body is built with premium material giving it a hefty feel. Its corners are angled just like the DROID RAZR smartphone giving it a stylish look. The soft coating on the back edges makes it easy to hold. Its 10.1 IPS-enhanced HD Display with 1280x800 resolution, leaves an admirable impact on anyone, using the XYBOARD. The viewing angle is also agreeable. It comes with a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor and 1GB of Ram. The 5MP camera with LED flash and 720p video capturing is also capable. It also has a 1.3MP front facing camera for video calling. It comes with Android OS, v3.2 (Honeycomb) upgradable to v4.0. XYBOARD 10.1 is an amiable tablet and it is capable of competing with other Android tablets arriving in the market.
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP (Android, iOS) Adobe Photoshop Express is an android and iPhone app that allows users to edit their photos with just a swipe of a finger. It allows crop, rotate and color adjustment features in a simple and easy to use Interface. This software facilitates to use simple gestures to quickly edit and share photos from the mobile. Users can also access their photos directly from their Photoshop.com account and add artistic effects to them or edit them the way they want.
TOUCH RETOUCH (Android, iOS) Touch retouch allows you to remove unwanted content or objects from any photo, using just your finger and your phone. All what you have to do is to mark the items you want to take out of the snapshot and hit 'Go'. The photo editing has never been so quick, easy and convenient. Touch Retouch can be used on any kind of objects, like remove those wires that are in the way of an otherwise wonderful view, take banners off of buildings, get rid of people, eliminate spots and other imperfections, all without distorting the final image.
ANDROID TERMINAL EMULATOR (Android) Android Terminal Emulator allows you to run Linux commands on your android phones. What that means is that you can write your custom scripts and patches which can add functionality to your phone or simply mess with it! This app is not for everybody, but for developers and enthusiasts, this app is a dream come true.
BURN THE ROPE (Android, iOS)
ANGRY BIRDS SPACE (Android, iOS)
You have played “cut the rope” now it's time to burn it! Yup Burn the rope is a new cool game which is based on the idea of burning the rope by rotating your phone to guide the direction of the fire. Burn it completely to advance in levels. You have to figure out the right way to burn to rope to burn it completely and avoid the obstacles. Overall a very good game with nice graphics. The adds in the free version might be a bit troublesome though. The app is available on both Android and iPhone.
Yup “Angry birds” is back and with new features and a cool new gameplay concept. The game is based in Space where the birds are again facing their arch enemies, the pigs! The new game involves the concept of gravity circles to make the gameplay fun on a whole new level. There are some new birds as well and many entertaining levels to get you going on the “angry birds” craze again. The Rovio team has also introduced a trajectory marker which shows the path the birds are going to follow once fired from the sling shot. A truly great new addition to the “angry birds” series! May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 19
http://www.mono-1.com/monoface/main.html is an
online Flash interactive animation which allows users to
innovative and new website. This website creates
explore the various settings for the Outer Zone. It was a
different faces by combining features from different
promotional animation for the 2007 sci-fi channel
pictures of people. Fun to play with and definitely worth
miniseries Tin Man.
http://www.syfy.com/tinman/oz is an
http://www.gotmilk.com Enjoy Get the Glass online
http://bootb.com/en. Creatives get unique
game for free and play other Crime free games. Your
opportunities to capitalize on their talent running no
mission is to help the milk-deprived Adachi family
risks of not getting paid for their work. BOOTB is the
navigate/survive all five regions of the board. Funny
World's Best Creative Department, bringing to life
innovative ideas for business growth.
20 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
http://omnitech-inc.com is a website of leading repair
www.flixster.com is a social movie site allowing users to
specialist for GSM,CDMA and 3G mobile phones. Able
share movie ratings, discover new movies, learn about
to unlock, unblock and fix water damaged mobile
movies, and meet others with similar taste in movies.
www.widgetbox.com is a San Francisco, California
http://www.theonion.com is an entertainment
based company that enables businesses to create and
newspaper and a website featuring satirical articles
deliver applications to their customers.
reporting on international, national, and local news, in addition to a non-satirical entertainment section known as The A.V. Club
May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 21
Entrepreneurship An emerging trend! Thanks to social networking sites (for once!)
ith many negatives that social networking websites bring with them, there is also a wave of
positive activities that are generated due to the emergence and amplified usage of these
social networking pages such as facebook and twitter. If we take a closer look around us, we
will see that many people have taken steps to initiate small entrepreneurial ventures which are successfully running and expanding with time. A few examples of flourishing new businesses that are seen all around us include food and confectionary that operate online through e-mail and facebook, Handmade Jewelry, customized gift items and accessories which appears as another thriving opportunity nowadays, handmade shoes and bags as well as many other interesting endeavors going on around us. The emergence of entrepreneurship and small business opportunities for youngsters like us is a positive sign, for it produces job creators instead of job seekers! The primary reason for this positive change that we see around us is that the internet with these social networking websites helps bridge the gap between businesses and potential consumers. It is an amazing way to conduct appropriate market research and provide products and services following the just-in-time principal of mass customization to suit the needs of each consumer. This raises the chances of the success of a business. Moreover, this medium also provides a source of free promotion and advertisement of products and services to thousands of people at the same time. This ultimately reduces costs of inventory, transport and marketing hence improving efficiency. Even though this medium of social networking is blamed for wasting time and raising many other social issues, it is true that these websites have greatly helped people initiate and establish their businesses which have been seen to grow and develop with time. This would not only increase spending and consumption in the economy but would also create more virtual jobs and motivate more people to come up with unique and viable ideas to establish businesses which will help improve the economy to the highest degree.
22 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
What's the fuss all about; The story of Capital Gains Tax.
henever one happens to open a page of business reviews, we can easily locate an article or two about
capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is levied when an asset is held for more than a year and when the cash is
realized by a cash inflow. It is paid when a person sells his property at a higher value. This tax is to be paid
on the 'gain' that a person earns on the capital asset he sells such as stocks and mutual funds. Capital gains tax was introduced in Pakistan's stock market in 2010. Around the world, Capital gains tax is levied on the sale of different types of assets but in Pakistan this tax was just introduced in the stock market. People believe that this tax further plunged the dying stock market in to darkness. A few months ago SECP proposed the freezing of capital gains tax till 2014 and a few amendments in the current CGT regime. Experts believe that this proposal, coupled with the new law of not disclosing the source of income invested in stock market till 2014, has somehow revitalized the stock market. If we examine Capital gains tax closely, the law of capital gains tax states that tax should be imposed on the basis of equity, simplicity and efficiency. Efficiency calls for taxation of different types of income in the same ways and equity requires people to pay taxes according to their abilities. According to vertical equity, people with higher income should pay higher taxes. Capital gains tax is consistent with the vertical equity, people who make a lot of money by selling a product and earning capital gain should be taxed according to ability. In nations where low tax rates are prevalent CGT can be imposed to finance government expenditures. Some people consider CGT to be unfair. Many countries across the world impose CGT at lower rates than other taxes. Some countries such as Netherlands and Belgium don't levy CGT on an asset held for a long time period. Others such as UK and Australia levy high taxes on capital gains. People who don't endorse CGT argue that CGT is a way of penalizing savings; it discourages entrepreneurship and encourages tax avoiding strategies. There are many advantages and disadvantages of implementing capital gains tax. For first, it promotes fairness in the taxation system by making sure capital gains do not go untaxed. By not taxing capital gains, the income tax system is made less complex and tax payers' morale could be improved by introducing capital gains tax. Moreover, CGT generates information that can be cross-checked with other information that revenue collection authorities possess. On the other hand, critics think it has more of disadvantages than benefits. It involves administrative difficulties in terms of disclosure of information accurately. Numbers can be window dressed and discrepancies in valuation can arise. Costs of information collection and management are high and procedures are complex. How CGT effects an economy varies from country to country. We can just wait and watch how the new tax regime turns out. May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 23
MANNAN AHMED ABBASI
ssassins creed franchise has 4 games released so far, these include Assassins Creed; a story of the assassin named Altair and his accomplishments. Then came Assassins creed 2 with which the story of a new assassin Ezio Auditore, was told and lived by the players. The players experienced Ezio in his youth and how he grew up. Then came Assassins creed Brotherhood; a story still focusing on Ezio and his heroic fights. Finally came the end to Ezio's story with Assassins creed Revelations. All these were spectacular games having every release with improvement in different aspects of the game especially gameplay, but the players had developed a feeling that the game had a repetition of the environments, with the same city walls and roofs to climb on. But they won't have to worry about that any longer as Assassins creed 3 offers much more than its predecessors.
Assassins Creed 3 is now set in the newer era; one featuring the armies with cannons and rifles. You will mostly be travelling through thick forests while climbing trees like never before. Whether they are snowy forests or ones with swamps, you will often be blazing through the trees, while armies fight each other underneath. It is not that there are no cities now but the game mostly features these forests as battlegrounds. In Assassins creed 3, you now play as an assassin named Connor and are fighting in the era of American Revolution. You are an outsider and are not particular meant to help in revolution but you do get to play a part. Controlling Connor will feel new to you as his movements are very diverse. Ubisoft has revealed that it has introduced many new mechanisms including how the 24 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
sprint system now grants you the choice for either running and jumping across branches or climbing even higher. The action performed is now much smooth and an average player can hit a combo of six kills in a row with a few misbalances but with leaning combos for different weapons, one can do even more, as now both your hands carry a weapon giving you mixed and innovative combos which make you look even more badass. You can now use new weapons such as a Tomahawk, which is much similar to a small axe. Apart from that, you have at your arsenal, very useful weapons like duel pistols, Bow and arrow, hidden blade etc. Conner has his unique style of fighting. He has a mixed style of both; feral (climbing and running across branches) and guerrilla warrior. Now the atmosphere around you plays a great role. How your enemies and crowd react to you in each scenario is different. The scenarios are distinguished by the presence of rain, snow and fog; which affect your movements as well. Ubisoft has done it again. They have come up with variety and something innovative. Assassins creed 3 looks like another leap forward for the franchise and is promising the fans something to look forward to. It is set to release on 30th October, 2012 for Xbox 360, PC and PS3. Fans will definitely be eager to get this one and so am I.
ass Effect 3 abandons Mass Effect 2's
Effect 3 keeps that trait. The player can import a
approach of building personal
saved game from Mass Effect 2, so choices made in
relationships and gradually taking on
previous games will have effects in surprising ways.
the enemy, by dropping the player right into the
Sometimes the player will be reminded of them
middle of a galaxy at war. This time however the
through a simple note found on a dead body, and
theme of the game is desperate survival. The game
sometimes in the shape of new foes. Bioware's
does an excellent job of making sure that the player
morality system allows the player to either play as a
feels that this is not the usual story with a happy
hero with a heart (Paragon), or a badass hardened
ending where everyone lives happily ever after. The
veteran(Renegade). Choosing between the two does
cost of success will be high. Lives will be lost. A lot of
not change the whole story but does affect the
relationships with NPCs. It is unwise to go too much
into the details, spoiling the story and game for the The missions have the player going from planet to
players, so we'll just discuss how the game feels like.
planet, in the hope to get help of the other alien races for the defense of Earth. Things are not as simple as
Mass Effect 3 isn't a technical wonder but that
they seem however - Reapers are not the only
shouldn't matter, because the art and design of the
enemies that Shepard now faces - Cerberus, the pro-
game is so good. The environments are rich with
human terrorist group as it turns out has its own
details and character. Each different world the player
twisted agenda and is using violence to achieve it. The
encounters has its own unique atmosphere.
surviving members of Shepard's 'Suicide Mission'
Character details have taken a slight hit since Mass
squad make appearances throughout the game and it
Effect 2 and the low resolution weapon textures do
feels nice to see familiar faces all doing their best in
not impress but these are small marks on an
the fight against the Reapers. Interacting with them
otherwise highly polished game.
is a nice diversion and thanks to the brilliant voiceacting, it is a pleasure to listen to what they have to
The overall experience of the game is smooth and
trouble-free but there are the occasional glitches. For example in some conversations the camera might
The franchise is known for the freedom it gives to
show a wall while it really should be focusing on a
players on shaping their own experience and Mass
character; or sometimes during combat the game
26 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
completely freezes for a couple of seconds. And there
intelligent enemies that now close on the player's
are rare moments when an event is not triggered
location or flush him out with grenades. Over all the
correctly so the player is forced to reload the last
combat is really involving and fun, and made for
saved state of the game, which is supremely
some memorable battles, particularly the last one,
which is nigh-impossible to win at the â€œInsanityâ€? difficulty setting.
The Reapers are on head and they are ruthless in making sure no living being survives, Shepard really
But it seems being better at combat is not enough,
does need to be in top form. Happily, Shepard is
Shepard can now choose from a large Arsenal of
better at combat than ever. Thanks to a vastly
weapons and they can be customized with
improved combat system that makes Shepard feel
accessories like magnification scopes, damage-
alive and more like an action-hero rather than a
increasing larger barrels and so on. Mass Effect 2 had
heavy and cumbersome brick as in the previous games. Shepard is now able to do combat rolls in all
a severely limited choice of guns. Every class could choose from a set of pre-selected weapon types which was supposed to
directions for enhanced
balance out the game for
agility. There are instantkill melee attacks that
every class. In Mass
reward the player for
Effect 3 however every
leaving cover and getting
class can choose to
up-close with the enemy.
have any type of
The player is able to
weapon, but adding
choose from several
weapons to your load-
character classes to suit
out comes at the price of decreasing the recharge
their play-style. Each class
time of your powers. The
has a unique way of tackling foes. The infiltrator, for example, is for players who like to face their enemies from a distance using sniper rifles;
more weapons you have, the less frequently you get to use your powers. Simple!
whereas the Vanguard Class is more suited towards players who favor an up-and-close battle. The
Mass Effect 3 is a brilliant game. It features a deep,
combat-mechanics try to emulate a Gears of War
engaging story. The focus on narrative and plot is so
experience with varying levels of success. The run
great that the fantastic combat feels like an added
and take cover buttons are the same, for example,
bonus. Sure it may have a few flaws here and there
and it is less than pleasing when the player might
with the occasional graphical bug and minor control
want to dive into cover only to find Shepard running
annoyances but all of them fade away in comparison
straight into enemy fire. BioWare has stated that this
to its merits. It's an easy game to recommend and
game is much harder than its predecessors. While
must be played by every game enthusiast.
that is not always true, the player does need to constantly shift Shepard's position in order to avoid May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 27
MANNAN AHMED ABBASI
o you like playing RPG games having vast worlds to explore like Skyrim and Dark Souls or do you like games having awesome action gameplay like the series of God of War or Devil May Cry? Well, when it comes to Kingdoms of Amalur you can experience both those aspects because it offers immense action gameplay, in fact it is widely said that KOA has set a new benchmark for RPG games in the category of action gameplay. A great feature of this game is the work done in creating the beautiful environments and landscapes because when you are playing the game, these environments are a joy to see. In KOA there are two main factions, the mortals and the immortals. The mortals have their fate written and are bound to be doomed by the immortals. But one human dwarf (a mortal) has managed to create a well of souls which is for giving rebirth to fallen mortal soldiers. After many failed attempts there is for the first time a success in bringing a mortal back to life and here is when you come in. Yes! this is you in the game. The Tuatha, an army under the command of the immortals destroys the well of souls and comes after you because for some reason you are a very big threat to them. Well the reason is that you are now not a normal mortal, by means of the well of souls you have developed supernatural powers and most of all you have the power to make your own destiny. Yes, I mean that your fate is in your hands and you may change it as you please. So it is only you who can prevent the complete and utter destruction of the mortals. The game offers a lot of flexibility in
28 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
the attributes of your character. There are basically three classes to focus on. These are Warrior, Rogue and Mage (Wizard). If you have played World of Warcraft then you will be familiar with the attribute selection or if not then it is very simple to understand. You can change your attributes or specs anytime you want to, by visiting the fateweaver (a person specialized in fate reading). You can also add a mix of different attributes to make your character a hybrid of Warrior
and rogue or whichever you may see fit. Also there are many types of attire and weapons to choose from, you can loot the enemies you kill or lock pick chests to get good stuff. You can learn Alchemy and Blacksmithing and level your skill in them. Alchemy allows you to make potions for boosting your skills and powers, health potions usually come in handy, you can get regents for these potions from different plants scattered all over the places. Blacksmithing allows you to salvage different parts from destroying the armor and weapons you have and crafting new ones and even naming them. This is not all, as you can also make gems to fit in your armor and weapons which boost your attributes.
When you start you have to go to the villages on foot to fulfill the given quests, as you do so you encounter different creatures hindering your path so you smash your way through but once you have discovered a new location by reaching it, you can travel to it directly by first selecting the map menu then the location you want to travel to. The game offers many side quests which in return offer great rewards including cash, armor and weapons, so doing those will make your main quests easier. Some people may say that the quests are usually repetitive and there is a lot of talk and no show. But this criticism does not do justice with the game as Big Huge Games along with 30 studios has produced a title in this category for the very first time and hats off to them as they have made such a wonderful game that will take you deep into its immersive fantasy world with 10,000 years of vibrant history that chronicles the rise of great kingdoms and the lives of memorable and ionic characters. This game is so addictive that you will not even notice the time go by. The game can be completed in less than 50hrs but playing the game at its full potential by doing the side quests will take you to 80 plus hours. KOA offers a magnificent looking world to explore which is full of mystical creatures. Despite this, the game is very stable and offers a great frame rate. The glitches are very minor and not noticeable. So to all the open world action loving players out there, this is a must-buy game. For others you can always try out the demo version first. You will not regret getting this game.
COMPUTERS HAVE A THOUSAND USES, OTHER THAN COMPUTING
CD DRIVE OR A CUP HOLDER?
MOUSE FOR WOMEN
OLD HP LAPTOPS CAN BE USED AS NUTCRACKERS
H U M O R May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 29
ADEEL OMER MALIK
THE PAC PAD hen we're not busy defending the
students for whom staying up to date and in touch has
nation, we're busy building it,” proudly
become more of a necessity than a leisure,” says
said Captain Majid while introducing
the all new PAC Pad this January. “Unlike many other Pakistani industries, the PAC is
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, home to the
known for its quality due to the availability of the best
pioneers of Pakistani flight, the birthplace of the
of the best Pakistani engineers and machinery,” he
famous JF-17 combat aircraft and the K-8 Jet Trainer
has finally targeted consumer market by introducing a range of products like the PAC eBOOK, the nBOOK
The seven inch capacitive touch android 2.3 based
and most notably the PAC PAD1, a Pakistani
tablet comes with 1GHZ processor and 256MB of ram
equivalent of the famous iPAD.
and an expandable memory of anywhere between 2 and 32GB. It also boasts a full HD HDMI output, a G-
“PAC has attempted to make a fun and easy-to-use 7-
Sensor for 3D Games etc and more than five hours of
inch tablet for the masses. It's nearly as good as any other Android Tablets out there at half the price,” says Faraz Ahsaan, a proud owner of the product, “it caters my daily computing needs like checking my emails, reading the news or just as simply, some time out from my otherwise dull life in form of music or movies.” The PAC PAD1 is assembled at the aeronautical complex in Kamra in collaboration with INNAVTEC,
a Hongkong based multinational with experties in manufacturing Navigation devices, Laptops and tablet PCs.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread is a capable OS on a smaller screen, but at this point, it's becoming ancient with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich already out there
“Our major targeted audience are teachers and 30 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
for months. PAC made some very modest tweaks on
their tablet, adding eight home screens alongside
low price of around 15000 Rs make the PAC PAD1
main home screen and replacing some other icons
something worth considering while buying a tablet.
here and there. There are some pre-installed apps,
Full web browser with WIFI and VOIP is something
like a document viewer and social networking apps
that leaves the world at your fingertips - literally. Last
for facebook and twitter, which are useful, and can
but not the least, this tablet brings you something no
also be easily removed. There aren't many PAC PAD
other tablet on the planet has to offer, the sense of
specific applications out there as yet, but this is much
nationalism, pride in our engineers and most of all,
less of a problem on the tablet, where nearly all phone
hope. A hope, that our nation is progressing, albeit at
apps, including 3D games scale up well.
a snails pace.
For video, the PAC PAD is able to play 3GP, DivX, H.264, M4V, MP4, and WMV video at resolutions up to 1080p. The screen, however, made even 1080p video look just mediocre, lacking vibrant colors and sharp details found on higher-quality screens that, again, come at a price. The tablet supports supports AAC, OGG, WAV, and WMA audio files that can be played for as long as ten hours straight. The 0.3MP camera is anything but perfect, however it is good enough to serve respectable video conferencing when used with Skype etc.The tablet also boasts a USB port alongside a 3.5mm audio output and mini HDMI. Other user inputs include, three control buttons at the front, volume control at the right closely followed by the hardware ON/OFF button. Ali Usman, a sales outlet owner for the PAC PAD in Blue Area explains, â€œ being built in Pakistan, our product is easier to repair as we have the all the parts available at the distance of a phone call with qualified experts - trained specifically with the product at hand, the PAC PAD1.â€? The ease of availability, build quality and and an open source OS combined with the May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 31
ascon' 2012 with the theme “Together for the Better” came with a 10 year legacy and promised to be a funfilled premier technology event held at FAST National University Islamabad from 20th-22nd April' 2012. This year NaScon has been revitalized and has been renamed as the National Solutions Convention. The event will focus on participants deliberating on technologically feasible solutions for the betterment of Pakistan. Here is a roundup of the entire NASCON 2012 event; THE BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION The Business Plan Competition aimed to encourage students to become job creators instead of job seekers which is one major factor missing in the youth today. Competition Winner: University of Gujrat Runner Up: SKANS
Runner Up: IQRA University, Islamabad PROG-A-THON The contest consisted of teams of three university students in each team against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors raced against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance. Competition Winner: Dr. AQ Khan Institution Runner UP: FAST-NU, Lahore EXTREME GAMMING Gaming has already become a valid profession in many parts of the world. The purpose of the competition was to provide
THE MARKETING PLAN COMPETITION The marketing plan competition was designed to allow the students of different universities to share their business ideas related to the Services industry and present unique and creative solutions to the problems related to Service sector. Competition Winner: NUST Runner Up: Preston University CASE SIMULATION The competition was designed to allow the students to use thier own creativity and cognitive ability to come up with solutions to “real world problems‟ and this is exactly what the corporate world of today requires. Competition Winner: NUST Runner Up: NUST
ANDROID APP JAM The aim of the competition is to develop high-quality mobile applications built on the Android platform. Competition Winner: IQRA University, Islamabad
34 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
gamers within the institutes/cafes of Pakistan, a fun and healthy platform wherein they can compete in their respective games, and try to earn reputation and fame along with a cash prize.CompetitionWinnerRunner UpFIFA 2009 1vs1 or NFSAli Kaif-Torando Gaming CaféSir Syed Science Coll Karachi FIFA 2012 1vs1 – XBOX 360Umar Tariq-FAST IslLUMSCounter Strike SS UET KarachiANARCHYMOHA BananaBunkerzDOTA Knight riderz Taken 6AIR Uni-HashimNUCES Pesh-TayyabCOD-4 boss. POSTER COMPETITION For a perfect poster, teammates needed to accurately understand the statement and to make their best idea of designing it. More skills competitors showed in their work more benefit will you get. Competition Winner: NCA
Runner Up: COMSATS ROLL THE REEL Lights, Camera…Action! The movie competition aimed at providing a platform for teams to express their thoughts and emotions and compete with others along the same lines. This form of artistic expression has been dormant for the past few years but this competition intended to spark a revolution and give it a positive direction by encouraging young students in this field. The theme of the Whole Movie Competition was “The Solution for the betterment of PAKISTAN”. Competition Winner: Bahria University Runner Up: Lahore College Of Women
hardware. Competitors were provided with Atmel 89C51 microcontroller and hardware which was required for problems. Competition Winner: Islamic University, Islamabad Runner Up: MAJU, Islamabad ROBOTICS The robotics competition includes three different events. · Robo Sprint · Battle of Bots · Light Follower
SOFTWARE PROJECT COMPETITION The Software Competition served the purpose of exposing young software developers to a wider audience, to encourage and bring their latest talents to the fore it allows IT Professionals to gauge the quality of software development being attained at the academic level. Competition Winner: Sir Syed University, Karachi Runner Up: NUST SEECS RAPID WIRE Event consisted of two rounds. First round contained certain real life problems which students had to implement on
Battle of Bots Competition Winner: PAF Kiet Robo Sprint Competition Winner: FAST-NU, Islamabad Runner Up: COMSATS Robo Spring (Lego Category) Competition Winner: Headstart Light follower Competition Winner: Islamic University, Islamabad
breadboard using lots of IC's, transistors and resistors. Second round was software based. Participant had to simulate the problem on Multisim, Lab VIEW or Proteus according to the problem. Competition Winner: Islamic University, Islamabad Runner Up: IQRA University, Islamabad INTERFACE-A-THON There were real life problem which competitors had to interface using microcontroller along with supportive
ENGINEERING PROJECT COMPETITION This contest aimed at inviting students from different universities to bring and display their real world hardware projects. Competition Winner: FAST-NU, Lahore Runner Up: UET Mehran ISLOVE Three team members against a real world problem that would challenge their skills and electrify their nerve cells. Competition Winner: FAST-NU, Islamabad Runner Up: Air University
May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 35
ABDUL SAMAD SAHID
OPEN HOUSE 2012 F
AST-NU organizes an Open House every year. This is basically a whole day devoted for the benefit of the graduating batches from every department as well as the students who are in their 3rd year. On this day, representatives of companies from all over the world come to see the final year projects of graduating students and also to take interviews for jobs. This year, the Open House was organized on 25/04/12. Representatives from many different companies showed up, including some famous names like Bentley, Huawei, Wi-Tribe, Techlogix, Telenor, Mobilink, Ovex and Elixir. Some newly established companies also attended the Open House of '12. Two of such companies were Blue Monsters and Addictive Tips. A new addition to this year's Open House was the internship interviews. Not only did the reps take interview from the graduating batches, but this time they also shortlisted candidates for summer internships. Students interviewed for internships were mostly from the 3rd year. The overall feedback from companies was great. They looked quite happy with the work of the students of FAST and appreciated the projects very much. We hope that like every year, the graduating students of FAST will manage to sweep the job vacancies in all the prominent companies and would be a source of inspiration for the junior batches.
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ndroid is in the air these days. It is the only innovation which can challenge the IPhone legacy. Being a Linux based operating system; android provides its users the accessibility of freeware and customization. Considering the ever growing importance of Android Application Development and it's never ending career opportunities, FCS (FAST Computing Society) in collaboration with FAST mobile application development club arranged a two day (from 10-11Mar2012) android workshop for its computer scientists. The main purpose of the workshop was to increase the awareness of Android's usage and enhance the development skills of students under professional trainers. The workshop was a profound experience for the 26 students who attended it. Out of those 26, 7 were not Fastians and attended the workshop as it was an opportunity not to be missed. The workshop consisted of four sessions each having its own importance. In the first session, an overview of Android and its architecture was shed light upon. The second session was all about Android Apps, coding and debugging activities. In the third session, students were given the opportunity to get their hands dirty with Android mania and practice the skills they have learnt. The fourth session was extension of these activities at a more detailed level. In the end the attendees were awarded with certificates and internship opportunities. All in all it was an opportunity of a lifetime for computer scientists of tomorrow. May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 37
IBM TECHNICAL WORKSHOP By the joint efforts FAST NU Information System Division and IBM, two technical workshop sessions named “DB2(R) 9.7 Boot Camp”, from March 5 to march 8 and “DB2(R) Performance Tuning and Monitoring Clinic” from 9th March to 10th March, 2012 were held at FAST NU-Islamabad campus. The first one was aimed at “Introduction of the enhancements and features in Latest Version of DB2 in Linux, Unix and Windows” while the second one was intended to learn “How to maintain a healthy Management Information System on Db2” This training session was attended by 30 professionals from different Companies like IBM, Ufone, PTCL, LMKR, Warid, TechAccess etc. and 9 faculty and R&D members. The training was led by Instructor Ms. Ayesha Zaka from IBM Toronto Lab (Canada). Certification Exams were held after the sessions for the Attendees. Mr. Yasir, Ms. Saba, Ms. Mahrukh, Ms. Wardah, Ms. Naira and Mr. Farrukh from FAST- NU have successfully passed the certification exam and became IBM Certified DB2 professionals. At the end of the Boot Camp, Director of FAST NU, Islamabad Campus Dr. Waseem Ikram gave certificates to all the participants. 38 | FASTBYTES May, 2012
ALL PAKISTAN ELECTRONIX OLYMPIAD AT GIKI 4th ALL Pakistan Electro nix Olympiad, a three day event, was held at GIKI, Topi. Different competitions like ROBOTHON, LINE TRACKING, MAZE TRACKING, MIC GEEK FREAK (microcontroller interfacing), ANTENNA DESIGN, SIMULATION LABVIEW, EXPLORE A VISION, RACE TO INNOVATION etc related to Electrical, Electronics & other Engineering disciplines were held at the event. Teams from FAST-NU Islamabad Campus participated and won first prize in three and runner up awards in five competitions. A team consisting of “Asad Liaqat, Omer Naeem and Sanwal Muneer” won the Race to Innovation (Electronic quiz and Problem Solving). Another team consisting of “Taimoor Naveed, Mujahid Daud and Bilawal Zia” won the first prize in Microcontroller Interfacing Contest and last but not the least, Ahmed Faraz and Maryam Shahid secured first prize in Lab View Contest.
16th National and 7th International software exhibition and competition 'SOFTEC-2012' was held at FAST-NU Lahore campus from March 10 to 11, 2012. Softec provides a platform for students to present their creativity by showing their talent in different competitions for the past fourteen years this event is all about innovation and exchange of creative ideas . An environment that is full of learning experience and enlighten the hopes to make the impossible possible .The competition bring together student from different universities to display their software projects and prove what they are capable of their actual strengths and the desire to go beyond. The IT industry professionals are looking for talent among participants.
FAST-NU Karachi campus defend their title by securing first position in the speed programming competition held at fastâ€“NU Lahore campus and won a check of RS 35,000. The Team consisted of Asad Ali Memon, Imab Asghar and Musa Ali was declared winner of the competition. Many students from fast-NU Islamabad campus also participated in Softec from cs'09 batch Ali Ahmed Malik ,Uzair farooq ,Bilal Asif ,Muhammad Umer Aslam and Ali Sindhu .There were 90 teams from different Universities including FAST -NU Islamabad ,LUMS, GIKI and FAST-NU Lahore campus . Goals of Softec : To provide a forum for CS and IT people , a platform of innovative thoughts where innovation is the key to success and encouragement of software development .
In Softec 2012 ,Students of May, 2012 FASTBYTES | 39
0 8 - B A T C H May you all have successful lives...
Published on May 6, 2012