Punjabi, Sindhi and Urdu as Locale Languages in Windows 8

At a time when the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs rejected a bill to grant regional/native languages the status of national languages, and one of the committee members called the move ‘an act against the national interest’, Microsoft Windows has extended its support to Punjabi and Sindhi as locale languages in its new operating system, Windows 8.

In the Windows operating systems, a locale is a set of user preference information related to the user’s language, environment and/or cultural conventions.

Ironically, Punjabi and Sindhi are national languages in India, and Windows already supports Punjabi (India) Gurmukhi script. The newly added Punjabi (Pakistan) is based on Arabic/Shahmukhi script.

Before Windows 8, Urdu was the only Pakistani locale language, which was introduced from Widows 2000. Pashto (Afghanistan), also widely used in Pakistan, was added from Windows XP.

Windows 8 offers 109 display languages, including a new United Kingdom version of English, and the locale support to 13 other languages, including Punjabi (Pakistan), Sindhi (Pakistan), Central Kurdish (Iraq), Uyghur (China), Belarusian (Belarus), Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Tigrinya (Ethiopia), Tajik (Tajikistan), Wolof (Senegal), K’iche’ (Guatemala), Scottish Gaelic (United Kingdom), Cherokee (United States) and Valencian (Spain).

This is indeed a historic moment for language lovers, especially, veteran campaigners like Abdul-Majid Bhurgri – a computer software professional from Larkana, Sindh, and now settled in Seattle, USA – who had written a white paper for Microsoft in 2002 titled Enabling Pakistani Languages Through Unicode.

Referring to Mr Bhurgri’s paper, Microsoft’s Michael S. Kaplan commented in his blog: “This is pretty exciting, since at one point Sindhi was being considered for Vista (but was ultimately not done). I suspect that Abdul-Majid Bhurgri (who I was in contact with back in 2007 talking about Urdu and Sindhi) will be pleased to see Sindhi finally being added to Windows 8”.

Although Windows 8 is expected to be released in October this year, its features can be tried free by installing Windows 8 Release Preview and language interface packs. To avoid any inconvenience, some people may like to experiment it in a virtual PC, like, Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Keyboard Layouts

Since Windows 8 official keyboard layouts for Punjabi and Sindhi are not available yet, customised layouts can be searched in download.com or in a search engine, and downloaded for free.

Punjabi and Sindhi

Like Seraiki and Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi belong to Indo-Aryan subdivision of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Both the languages are widely spoken in India and Pakistan, and are very rich in literature, news media, music and film. Punjabi is considered one of the most spoken languages in the world. Sindhi is also taught as a first language in the government schools of Sindh, including some schools in Karachi.

Punjabi emerged as an independent language in the 11th century. Many ancient Sufi mystics and later Guru Nanak Dev ji, the first Guru of the Sikhism, started the literary tradition in Punjabi. The early Punjabi literature has had a very rich oral tradition and was principally spiritual in nature. Muslim, Sikh and Hindu writers composed many works in Punjabi between 1600 and 1850. Baba Bulleh Shah was the most famous Punjabi Sufi poet.

The first translation of the Quran into Sindhi was completed in 883 in Mansura, Sindh. Sindhi became a popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries, when mystics like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast narrated their theosophical poetry. During the British rule in the late 19th century, an Arabic-based orthography was decreed standard, after much controversy, as the Devanagari script had also been considered.

What lies in future?

Looking at the Microsoft team’s excitement to bring powerful, easy-to-use language features to more users than ever in Windows 8, we can expect much more in future, like, support to more Pakistani languages, especially, Pashto (Pakistan), Balochi and Seraiki.


Porter’s Five Forces of Media Industry in Pakistan

Media industry in Pakistan earned a revenue of Rupees 32.06 billion in 2011. There are approximately 250 active newspapers, 90 TV and 100 FM radio channels (including 25 campus radio stations) and 17,000 journalists in the industry (there were only 2,000 in 2001).

I have tried to analyse the industry through Porter’s Five Forces. The results are given below. Please feel free to share your feedback.

Threat of New Competition

  • Entry barriers (medium)
  • Exit barriers (low)
  • Capital requirement (high)
  • Switching or sunk costs (high)
  • Access to distribution (high)
  • Customer loyalty (low)
  • Industry profitability (high)

Threat of Substitutes

  • Internet (medium)
  • Mobile (low)

Bargaining Power of Customers

  • Customers can easily switch (high)
  • Customers have easy access to the world media (low)
  • Substitutes, like, internet and mobile, are available (medium)

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

  • Power of suppliers (low)
  • Power of content providers (low)

Competitive Rivalry

  • Costly and perishable products (high)
  • Diversified and influential rivals (high)

Porter’s Five Forces analysis reveals:

  • Threat of new competition is medium to high
  • Threat of substitutes is low to medium
  • Power of customers is medium to high
  • Power of suppliers is low
  • Competition in the industry is high

Overall, profitability of media industry in Pakistan lies between medium and high.

Auto filling or auto populating MS Access fields in a form

Download sample database

Required: MS Access 2010

Desktop database:

1. Create the required fields in your main table (tblTable2) similar to the data type of other table (tblTable1), where from you want to extract data for auto filling (text fields, numbers fields, etc). You may also keep the field names similar.

2. In tblTable2 design mood, click the tab ‘Lookup’ and select ‘Combo Box’. Go to ‘Row Source’ and click the three eclipses to switch to query mood. Select tblTable1 and double click the matching field; save and close. Repeat the same procedure for all the other fields.

3. Prepare a form based on tblTable2. Among the auto filling fields, select the main field (e.g., MediaOrganisation). Go to the tab ‘Design’ > ‘Properties’ > Data > open ‘Row Source’ and select all the fields in the query that you want to auto fill. Close and go to ‘Properties’ > ‘Format’ and fill in ‘Column Count’ and ‘Column Widths’ (e.g. Column Count: 3; Column Width: 1”,1”,1”).

4. Go to the tab ‘Event’, ‘After Update’, open ‘code builder’ and type the following code:

Option Compare Database
Private Sub [combo box name with the prefix cbo]_AfterUpdate()
End Sub

Private Sub [main filed name]_AfterUpdate() [this is column 0]
Me.[field 1 of tblTable2] = Me.[ main filed name].Column(1)
Me. [field 2 of tblTable2] = Me. [main filed name].Column(2)
End Sub

Or copy the following code:

Option Compare Database
Private Sub cboMediaOrganisation_AfterUpdate()
End Sub

Private Sub MediaOrganisation_AfterUpdate()
Me.Medium = Me.MediaOrganisation.Column(1)
Me.Language = Me.MediaOrganisation.Column(2)
End Sub

5. Now try the form by selecting a name in the field MediaOrganisation. You will notice that ‘Medium’ and ‘Language’ fields are auto filled.

Web database:

Drag joined query fields in your main table (tblTable2) query and create a form to display them.

Managing Press Releases

Managing post-event press releases

What could be the best way to manage post-event press releases? Options could be: (1) collect content, including speakers’ quotes in advance, prepare a draft, get it reviewed and release it timely on the event day; or (2) take notes during the sessions on the event day and then incorporate changes into the draft. If we follow the latter procedure, we may not be able to meet our deadlines (editing, review, approval, translating into local language(s) and releasing to media). Usually, late releases do not get a good coverage.

I posed these questions to PR experts on Linkedin:

Cristina Falcão, Creative Problem Solver – I DO IT – Pharmaceutical Manager – Change Management:

“Option one is the only possible one (of the two) if you want to have an event; all the people will be expecting it, it is standard procedure.”

Maria Marsala, CEO/Strategic Planning Business Coach; Building 6 & 7-figure financial sector businesses; Int’l Speaker:

“Before creating a PR, I would add:
Determine the best pitch and story to weave through the PR
Make sure that you’re not creating an ad in disguise.

But if instead you’re creating an event’s announcement, that’s not a PR.”

Faculty and staff articles for media

A few basic questions arise here:

How an organisation’s PR department should manage faculty and staff articles for media, if organisation is acknowledged? If they need to review them, what should be the criteria: just check (i) if anything against organisational policies; and (ii) typing and grammatical mistakes? Does reviewing an article require rewriting, if needed? Should the PR accept a badly written piece for a review? Should the faculty and staff release their articles to media directly or through the PR department?

I posed above questions to the PR experts available on Linkedin:

Sally Hems, Managing Director at Oakleaf Communications:

“Given the amount of articles and IP now required from the HE sector, I suggest empowering them to take responsibility for their articles. Otherwise this will add an extra layer of bureaucracy.

The PR dept would be best used focusing on reputation management and identifying influencers to seed articles to – rather than spending time writing articles.

To nip any problems in the bud, you could provide explicit (but not overly wordy) guidelines for articles. This could cover suggested structure, tone of voice and of course, spell check! And if there is still concern, writing training may help.”

Andy M Turner, Founder, Six Sigma Public Relations Ltd, expert B2B communications consultant:

“Anything badly written will be rejected by the destination, which will not reflect well on the author. So you should find writers are only too willing to take up a review and sense check offer from your team – provided you are adding value.”

Related Links:
Op-Ed Articles: How to Write and Place Them

Using social media as a PR tool

No doubt, Public Relations (PR) is not a direct selling or marketing. But when it comes to media relations, PR is a very low-cost and effective tool. Most of the media personnel are connected through social media. They prefer visiting Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, rather then opening hundreds of their emails.

PR may trigger a campaign/service or keep it alive in public and media even after a marketing campaign/budget is over.

Marketing is not just selling. A negative news in media could spoil everything. I remember Lays chips had to run a huge campaign to counteract a news published in some low circulated newspapers in Pakistan that it was using a haram (not eatable as per the Islamic law) ingredient.

Let me share with you, nowadays, some media personnel even don’t like an association with a direct selling/marketing person.

Leaders of a company have every right to make a policy as per their professional judgment, but I would humbly advise them to spend some time reading about Marketing and PR to understand the new trends.

Related links: