Nostalgia: Me on RI-SOL Newsletter

The following text is from the September 2005 monthly newsletter of RI-SOL, written by my boss back then, Mr. Jack Welch. This is where I last worked full-time.

The Global Connections and Exchange Program wouldn’t be very global if our computers didn’t work. The program is based on the idea that students can get to know each other regardless of location through the techno-magic of the internet. Distances vanish when you can chat live anywhere in the world, view pictures from around the globe and work together with partners half a planet away. Someone has to make sure that all of the software, hardware and communications equipment work right, or the entire program would come to a jarring, whiplash-inducing halt. That someone is Russell John, the IT Officer in the Dhaka Office of Relief International – Schools Online.

Russell’s desk is next to a rack of equipment with blinking lights and a bench piled high with computer innards. Cables snake back and forth between his desk, the rack and whatever he is building at the moment for our ILCs. His desk is covered in equipment brochures, manuals and computer code. Russell sits in this middle of this chaos, multitasking between phone calls, computer chats, and email, in an effort to keep everything running smoothly.

In implementing the GCEP program in Bangladesh, we’ve run across technical problems that have required customized solutions, such as how to make everything run well using Bangla fonts. Russell has created online forms and databases for our entire operation, automating many of our routine tasks.

In addition to computers, Russell’s other interests include stamp collecting and video production. He’s a fan of Sidney Sheldon books, James Bond movies, and listens to a lot of trance music. If you want to trade stamps, or chat about double-oh-seven, you can drop him an email at: [email protected]

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After thinking, thinking, and thinking, I came up with a name for my new company: Compurius. Here’s how it’s derived:

Computer + Aquarius = Compurius


Compurius will be providing FOSS, Linux and IT security services to small to large enterprises along with provide value added services for domain registration and hosting companies in Bangladesh. Technology Ahead, that’s the slogan!

Update on June 1, 2011:

Compurius has been renamed as Trancetronic.

Trancetronic Logo

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Khulna Visit

It took eight long hours to reach Khulna, the so called industrial capital of Bangladesh. The 335 kilometers journey wouldn’t have been so boring and tiresome if the Volvo service of Green Line was better. Their AC acted weird, the TV blew up, the seats were uncomfortable, the mineral water had a bad odour, and the guide never apologised despite of so many problems. If I wasn’t carrying my iPod, then I would have surely died of boredom. A good lesson learnt, I’ll never ride on Green Line bus again.

I checked in at Hotel Royal, the best hotel in the region. Their services were of international standards, but surprisingly the room rent wasn’t too high. The room was well groomed with international standard fixtures, the bed was comfy, the room service was quick, and the room attendants appeared well trained. They have a bar too.

I roamed around the town, visited the New Market, but I wasn’t too impressed. Despite being the divisional head quarter of the division, the city was much smaller than I expected. It’s not too developed either. There were handful of cars in the road, and the buildings looked pale. Load shedding is a major problem of the city dwellers. Khulna city had nothing that can be compared to Dhaka, not even with port city Chittagong. Just imagine what kind of city it is where the shutters of shops get closed by 9 PM!

Just a few observations: 1. The dialect of Khulna people isn’t too difficult to understand. 2. The rikshaw fair is pretty cheap. 3. People of Khulna seems to be too obsessed with Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali, the 15 century Islamic religious leader and a ruler. Roads, schools, shops, buildings, companies, and a lot of installations are named after him.

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North Bengal Visit

Timeline: July 11 – July 13

It was my first trip to Joypurhat, a North Bengal district 380 km from Dhaka. It was infact my first trip to North Bengal as well, the vast region on the other side of Jamuna river.

Since there isn’t any AC bus service available on this route, I had to travel by Hanif Paribahan. I listened to my crazy collection of trance music through out the journey, so I didn’t get too bored. More over, crossing the 4.8 km Jamuna bridge (which is 110 kilometers northwest of Dhaka) was exciting. To date, it’s the longest brigde in South Asia, and 11th longest in the world.

It took 8 long hours to reach Joypurhat. My destination was further 15 kilometers from the town, a village in Pachbibi upa-zila. Pachbibi is completely an under developed rural area, with rikshaw vans as the only means of transport. It was quite surprsing for me see only a handful of real rickshaws around. The Indian border and Hili land port was near to where I stayed, I was informed that a lot of villages are involved with smuggling.

There’s a good number of indigenous population in the area, making it a heaven for a lot of local and international NGOs. A Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) mission school is also in the area, and I was told by my guide that they receives a huge funding from USA. I was told that they have their own backup generators, water supply system, air-conditioned rooms, computers lab with 50+ PCs and so on. I wanted to visit them, but couldn’t manage the time to do so.

An interesting point to mention before I end. If you go to a tea stall in Joypurhat, then this is how they’ll serve your tea: they’ll fill two-third of the cup with milk, and then one-third with tea! Should we call it it tea with milk, or milk with tea, that remains the question.

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