When The Morning Newspaper is Already so Yesterday’s

Fast follow (a service by Twitter) has picked up extremely fast at the grass root level. The bad law and order situation in Karachi was a strong secondary driver for this. The primary one being the ease of use. Just type ‘F account_name’ and send it off to 40404. All cellular networks are supporting it now and you don’t even need to sign up for Twitter with your own ID to do this step. Hence, the name, Fast Follow.

I have a huge collection of all sorts of IDs that deliver text (I don’t call the news for reasons of my own) updates that I have built over the time. Here is the quick partial list:


Following some or all of the above accounts using Fast Follow will deliver you updates on the city situation but there are high chances that you’d be overwhelmed soon. Most of the stuff is copied between these accounts but subscribing to more than one ensures that you get the stuff most of the times.

The accuracy of these news is also pretty high given the fact that most of them are either amateurs (except a few that are personal accounts). Some of them are reporters of newspaper who comb the police stations daily for reports and hence you get the next day newspaper story before the paper gets published with a lead time of at least 18 hours.

A bonus with following these accounts is the funny English spellings used (again, consider the type of people running these services) in the reports. Very often, you’d find scratching your head as to what is being reffered only to realize a few second laters what is meant. A smile often creeps in though the news are mostly sad.

1. Send ‘f account_name’ to 40404

There are no charges except when you sign up and that is Rs 1. Basically, you’re following the twitter account of newskhi via sms without actually signing up for twitter from your cell phone.

When you’re fed up (or leaving), send ‘Off’ to 40404 to close all accounts. Old/lowend cell phones will be quickly overcapacity for their text messaging inbox if you don’t turn them off.

You can always send ‘off @accountname’ to close that particular one off.



I am contributing blogs on Karachi at Karachi Metroblog these days. See you there.

Death on Move


This snap was taken today, July 13, 2006 – a cloudy monsoon morning.

This is a typical trailers you can see on the roads of Karachi, Pakistan. In this case, an APL container is being driven on this trailer and the way it has been placed on the deck, it can easily scare you if you happen to be on the left side of the vehicle.

Recently, in July 2006, we had two major accidents in Karachi where such trailers couldn’t keep their balance and their loads came to ground.