Echo

Baby Taxi (Autorickshaw)  

Posted by Rezwan

Cartoon by Rakibul Hasan 

Auto rickshaws (locally called "baby taxis" or "CNGs") are one of the most popular modes of transport in Bangladesh. They are best suited to narrow, crowded streets, and are thus the principal means of covering longer distances within urban areas.  In Dhaka they should run on a meter system but due to price hike in their rent from the owners, the Baby taxi drivers are charging extra from the passengers. They ask exorbitant prices and you have to negotiate the price. Usually when you are in a hurry you end up paying extra with a bitter experience. Sadly the authorities are least bothered. I try to avid them now and look for other options of transport.

How To Activate DISQUS Commenting System in Blogger instead of Haloscan Echo  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

When I first started my blog in blogger in 2003 its comment system was not great. Haloscan (est. in 2002) was one of the third-party blog comment hosting services available in those days and I guess in 2005 I started using Haloscan. Haloscan was acquired by JS-Kit in 2008 and was renamed Echo in 2009. The users of Haloscan were forced to switch to JS-Kit Echo paying a fee. I could go back to blogger's own commenting system which became mature by then. But one problem was how to retain the hundreds of comments I had received back then. So I decided to switch to Echo.

In April 2012 Echo announced that Echo would discontinue JS-Kit, Haloscan and Echo comment modules from October 1, 2012 in favor of social media applications.
As many of you know, in late 2010, Echo decided to shift our product strategy and start offering a real-time platform as opposed to strictly a commenting application. Since then, Echo has evolved our original commenting solution into a new business model that provides a real-time platform for social tv, social news, social music and social commerce. As such, we unfortunately can no longer commit to the level of support that you have come to expect on our original commenting product.

 Now the challenge for me was to find a new commenting service or go back to the blogger's own commenting system. And the previous concern was there too that whether I can retain all previous comments on my blog. A great savior was DISQUS which I first saw embedded in Global Voices site. It has a lot to offer.
Disqus (est. in 2007) is an online discussion and commenting service for websites and online communities that uses a networked platform. The company’s platform includes various features, such as social integration, social networking, user profiles, spam and moderation tools, analytics, email notifications, and mobile commenting. (Wikipedia)
Disqus is written in JavaScript and is powered by a back end primarily written in Django. It is supported by all major webbrowsers. So how to switch to Disqus, if you are a Haloscan user in Blogger? First read this quick start guide and create an account in Disqus, register your site and create a short name for your site. Then install Disqus in your site according to platform specific instructions.

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Now the best part - here is a step by step guide for importing previous comments from JS-Kit (first you have to export them from JS-Kit and yes within September 30, 2012). After uploading Disqus will take upto 24 hours to process all your previous comments. I am yet to see the result of the import. But here is to hoping that I don't lose much.

p.s. If you want to do it manually in Blogger then this may help.

Pictures Lie Sometimes  

Posted by Rezwan

I was browsing through the Google Maps and noticed this at the Naval Air Station Alameda, in the City of Alameda, California:

A Boeing airliner was used as the mock-up of a crashed plane (2009)
I was curious about this plane crash. So I googled and found this:

Google Maps aerial view has got some great shots of a simulated plane crash that was created for the television series Trauma. The mock airliner crash was filmed on the runway of the former Navy base at Alameda Point.

Waiting waiting....  

Posted by Rezwan

There is a growing trend of anarchy in Bangladesh regarding doctors appointment. In most of the cases the appointments are not timely kept. Its a regular phenomenon that the patient has to wait for hours to see a doctor. The doctors tend to disregard the patient's comfort and availability of time.

I wonder how this trend is going to change if the consumers of medical service do not protest.
[Mo blog]

5000 Miles Bicycle Ride For Climate Awareness  

Posted by Rezwan

For many people the idea of climate change is of growing concern as they are not directly threatened. The people of Bangladesh however are becoming increasingly alarmed at the potentially devastating consequences of the sea level rise and climate change. The USA has the highest consumption of plastic based product and the largest consumer market for bottled water. Each year, Americans throw away some 28 million tons of plastic waste.
Muntasir Mamun and Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal, two activists from Bangladesh are riding this summer on a tandem bike to collect and measure the amount of plastic and other waste they come across during their 5000 mile journey from Seattle to New York.

Ashrafuzzaman Ujjal and Muntasir Mamun with their tandem bike in USA. Image courtesy Trashmaniac.com
Rayhan Rashid introduces them [bn] and their efforts in Nirmaan Blog:
জলবায়ুর পরিবর্তনজনিত সংকটের দেশ বাংলাদেশের দুই তরুণ মুনতাসির মামুন এবং আশরাফুজ্জামান উজ্জ্বল। ওরা সুদূর আমেরিকার এ প্রান্ত থেকে ও প্রান্ত পর্যন্ত সাইকেলে ছুটে চলেছে। পথের মধ্যে যেখানেই পাচ্ছে ওরা খুঁজে নিচ্ছে এবং মোবাইল ফোনে রেকর্ডভুক্ত করছে ফেলে দেয়া বোতল থেকে শুরু করে পানীয়ের ছুঁড়ে দেয়া ক্যান আর এ জাতীয় যাবতীয় আবর্জনা। প্রখর রোদে মরুভূমির বুক চিরে পথ অতিক্রমণের কষ্ট, যাত্রাপথের অর্থকষ্ট, আহারের কষ্ট, পানীয়ের কষ্ট, আশ্রয়ের কষ্ট – এই সব কিছুকে বৃদ্ধাঙ্গুলী দেখিয়ে ওদের এই পথ চলার উদ্দেশ্য হল বঙ্গোপসাগরের তীরবর্তী এককালের এক সবুজ ব-দ্বীপের মানুষদের পক্ষ থেকে সহজ কিন্তু দৃঢ় একটি বার্তা বয়ে নিয়ে যাওয়া।
Bangladesh is a country riddled with the perils of climate change. Two young men from this Asian country are riding on a tandem bike from one corner of USA to the other. They are collecting trashes like empty bottles and cans on the way and are recording them on their mobile phones. They are enduring the pain of riding through the deserts, with shortage of cash, constantly worrying about food and lodging. They are forging ahead overcoming all these obstacles to carry a simple but strong message on behalf of the people from a green delta near the Bay of Bengal.

http://www.trashmaniac.com/
জলবায়ু অবনতির জন্য উন্নত বিশ্বের যে দেশগুলোর কনজিউমারিজম এবং অপচয় দায়ী তার মধ্যে মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র অন্যতম, তাই সেই দেশের সাধারণ মানুষদেরই ওরা বেছে নিয়েছে এই গুরুত্বপূর্ণ বার্তাটির প্রাপক হিসেবে। যাতে তারা আরও সচেতন হতে পারেন নিজেদের জীবনযাপনে অপচয়গুলোর ব্যাপারে, এবং সেইসাথে অনুধাবন করতে পারেন পৃথিবীর এক প্রান্তের মানুষের চিন্তাহীন অপচয়ী জীবনধারার মূল্য পৃথিবীর অন্য প্রান্তের মানুষদেরও কখনো কখনো দিতে হয় জলবায়ুর অমোঘ এবং অন্ধ বিচারে। অথচ পৃথিবীটা ছিল আমাদের সবারই, এর ওপর অধিকার কারো থেকে কারও কম ছিল না কোনো অংশে!
The consumerism and waste of the developed countries are among the reasons for climate change and USA is one of those responsible countries. They have chosen the citizens of USA as the target audience of their message so that they can be more aware how their lifestyles are causing wastes. Also these citizens will be able to realize how these wasteful lifestyle can be fatal for the people on the other side of the world as they are subjected to the effects of climate change. This planet was ours, everybody had the same right in it, this we forgot.
Muntasir has developed a an Android App to count the number of plastic based debris within eye sight. The data is being continuously uploaded to an website named www.trashmaniac.com where people can see their progress.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal.on Bike. Image courtesy Trashmaniac.com
Muntasir & Ujjal are also updating their own travel blogs (in Bengali). Here are a few quotes fromMuntasir Mamun's blog:
ট্র্যাশম্যানিয়াক রাইড চলছে ভালোই, দ্রুততম ৮৭ মাইল ছিলো এটা এবং দুপুর ১২.০০ টার পর বেশ গরম পরেছিলো। কিছুক্ষন অপেক্ষা করে আবারো এগিয়ে চলেছি যদিও আরো অনেকটা পথ পাড়ি দিতে হবে। ইন্ডিয়ানা আমার কলেজের ফাদার পিক্সিটো এর কথা মনে করিয়ে দিচ্ছে, তিনি এখানকারই ছিলেন। রাস্তা বেশ সমতল, অপেক্ষায় আছি গরম কমার, যেনো একদিনে আরো বেশী পথ পাড়ি দিতে পারি ——- ক্রফোর্ডসভ্যালি, ইন্ডিয়ানা। (৬ই আগষ্ট, ২০১২)
The Trashmaniac ride is going great. It was the quickest 87 miles and after 12:00PM it was a bit warm. We rested a bit but had to go ahead as still there is a long way to go. Indiana is reminding me of Pixito, the father of my college, he was from here. The roads are plain, waiting for the temperature to fall so that we can go ahead one more day…. Crawfords Valley, Indiana. (6th of August, 2012)
ইলিনইস এর রাস্তাগুলো আমাকে প্রতিনিয়ত বাংলাদেশের কথা মনে করিয়ে দিচ্ছে, রাস্তার ধারে দাড়িয়ে থাকা গরুগুলো, গাছের ছায়া এবং মানুষের বন্ধুত্বপূর্ণ আচরন সবই দেশকে মনে করানোর প্রচেষ্টায় রত। যত তাড়াতাড়ি সম্ভব দেশে যেতে চাই।—– নর্মাল, ইলিনইস (১লা আগষ্ট, ২০১২)
The roads of Illinois are reminding me of Bangladesh every time. The cows on the streetside, the shadows of the trees and the friendly people, all are reminding me of home. I want to go home as soon as possible. …. Normal, Illinois. (1 August, 2012)

Caring hosts for strangers from another country. Image courtesy Muntasir Mamun

যখন একজন গোড়া খ্রিষ্টান মহিলা মাতৃসম স্নেহে আপনার নিরাপত্তার জন্য ইশ্বরের কাছে প্রার্থনা করেন তখন আমি আসলে জানিনা ইশ্বর আর কি চাইতে পারেন আমাদের যাত্রা শুভ করার জন্য। এছাড়াও আমাদের জন্য তিনি স্যান্ডউইচ এবং বড় প্যানকেক দিয়ে করা ব্রেকফাস্ট মনে থাকবে অনেকদিন। .. ক্লিনটন ইলিনইস (২৯ জুলাই, ২০১২)
When a christian conservative lady prays for you to God with motherly love then I don't know whether God needs anything more to make our travel safe. Also we will never forget her sandwiches and pancakes for breakfast. … Clinton, Illinois (29 July, 2012)
He is also posting photos in his blog, Facebook and in Flickr.
Patrick Runkel at the Minitab blog is inspired by what the Trashmaniac team is doing. He acknowledges that simple acts like avoiding the use of plastic grocery bags and choosing products with minimal packaging can make a lot of difference. Patrick writes:
We just all need to get on a bike together—one built for about 9 billion people.
Follow the Trashmaniac team on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Images courtesy Muntasir Mamun and Trashmaniac.com
. Also published in Global Voices Online.