Monday, December 31, 2007

Gr33nData: 2007 Blog Review

The year 2007 is almost over, so I think it's a good chance to refer to the good blog posts I wrote this year. Especially after deciding to continue writing non technical posts here instead of in Gr33nData.

Political Topics
My first political post this year was about Saddam Hussein's Execution and Sectarian Stupidity. Then I wrote a post about the Spanish Inquisition and Double Standards. In May 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy was elected as the president of France so I had to write a post about him. Later on I wrote about Egypt and if it's still a Regional Leader.

Socio-Technical Topics
Egyptian bloggers are obsessed with Tags, so I decided to write about Tags Etiquette, which I may not agree with now. Later on I added parts two and three to the "MSN Personal Messages" series. Then Facebook and social softwares inspired me to write about Social Vulnerability, and if the Blogging Hype is over. And in Ramadan I wrote two posts about Office Ethics, one about abusing the Internet connection at offices, and the other one about abusing company resources.

Global Voices Online
I also started to write for Global Voices Online, and my first post there was a review of the Egyptian Blogosphere in October.

Saddam vs Bhutto

Come on, I think I need to pay the shrink a visit. Saddam was a dictator who ruled Iraq after a coup, while Bhutto became the prime minister of Pakistan after democratic elections. Saddam killed thousands of people and was executed after being tried by an Iraqi court, while none of Bhutto's husband corruption charges were proved and then she was killed by a suicide bomber. Yet many people here are calling Saddam a martyr while they think Bhutto deserved to die because they accuse her of being an American puppet.

My historic and political knowledge are not that good, but for the love of God ... Saddam a martyr and Bhutto deserved to die!! Excuse me, I don't think so.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Luxor, Egypt: A French Priest is Needed

The Egyptians sometimes insist to react in a really funny way. There is some kind of rule here in Egypt that prevent men and women from staying in the same room in hotels unless they are married.

But as you all know, the Egyptian economy depends on tourism as a source of foreign currency, and many westerns now live with their girlfriends without marriage. So the rule was tweaked to prevent Egyptian men and women only from staying in the same room in hotels unless they are married, and allow foreigners to do so.

And now the Frenchy president, Sarkozy, decided to spend his vacation here in Egypt with his Italian girlfriend, Carla Bruni. And here we go, some Egyptian bloggers are arguing if we are supposed to prevent Sarko and his girlfriend from staying in the same room. They are considering the Egyptian people to be Horned if they allow them to stay in the same room. The funny thing here is that it is not only the Egyptian bloggers, but also the Parliament here [Link, Ar] is discussing the same issue.

I really want to know, why are they discussing this issue now and ignoring the thousands of unmarried couples who visit Egypt every year. And, is it the government's role to make sure people are married before fucking each other? Or shall we hire a priest for Sarko, and you sure know the famous Egyptian proverb:

"ya bakht men waffa'a raseen fel 7alal", ie. "God bless the one who helps a man and a women get married".

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Golden Cage

Last week I went to my manager to sign a Vacation Form in order to travel with my friends for few days. My married colleagues gave me that envy look and kept telling me about how poor they are, they cannot travel with their friends any more and cannot even go out with them for a couple of hours. And you know, it's not only them, but almost all of my married friends keep ranting about the same stuff.

It's really normal to see married people here telling you how miserable they are ...
  • They cannot go out without their wives and even when they go to work they have to get back in time. They make you feel as if they live in cages, and their wives are the only ones who have the keys of those cages.
  • Whatever their salary is, their wives waste every penny of it. I never saw anyone who is satisfied with his salary. I am sure that Sawiris will tell me the same thing if I met him someday.
  • Their wives are jealous, and they cannot make any decisions in their loves because their wives are control freaks.
  • Their children are a real pain in the ass. They cannot sleep because they cry, they spend most of their lives at the clinic because their children are always sick.
I am really confused now, either marriage is real shit, but why do people get married if marriage is that bad. Or, people just like to say so, because ... hmmm ... may be it is funny just like old Arabic movies, or may be they are afraid that others may see them happy and envy them, or ... hmmm ... you know what, I really don't know the reason for this behaviour, and I wish you can tell me if you really know it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reading for our minds

I am now on my way to Sharm, finally I found a use for the Blackberry other than sending and receiving business mails. It's really interesting to be able to blog from anywhere.

I read once that some authors wrote novels on their mobile phones. In Japan there is a hype of reading eBooks on the mobile phones and hand-helds. They prefer to read while they are in the metro going to their work. In fact it's not just the Japanese who prefer to read in public transportations, my grandfather told me once that when he visited France, he used to see people there reading in the metro too.

As for the Japanese people, I know that they like Manga (Japanese Comics). I guess people in other countries read Novels and Stories mainly. But for sure this doesn't mean that they don't read other kinds of books too.

But the question now, what about the Arabs and Egyptians? Do they read too? I don't think so. May be this is because of our education system. During my school years as well as in the University I was never given an assignment to find some info from a book other than the school text-books. May be the only time I did a research was during my graduation project. It was really fun then. To tell you the truth, I almost forgot everything I studied in the University, and the only thing I still remember till now is the stuff I learned in that graduation project.

Next month there will be the annual international book fair here in Cairo. I want you to go there and tell me what kind of books do people normally buy from there. I'll give you a hint, most of the books there are Religious Books. Hundreds years old books. Do you want to know the reason? It's because they will be rewarded and sent to heaven if they read and practice what is written there. And the sad truth is that even after reading these books people still don't know their religion well. And back to the metro reading habits, yes there are few ones who read there. And almost all of them read the Quraan, but most of them mainly read it looking for heaven reward. I believe that God promised people to be rewarded for reading every letter in the Quraan, but the goal here was to understand and learn, and not just reading the letters one after the other.

But you know, I feel that there is some change in the air. I liked the idea of Beano's Cafe where you can grab a book to read while you're there. The Internet on the other hand is helping in promoting books and reading in general. Some bloggers write review for books they read, and there are applications and widgets on Facebook and other sites where people can share with other a list of the books they are currently reading. Globalization is not pure evil as people like to believe. Sometimes it helps in changing people's habits that are sometimes bad ones. I myself used to limit myself to reading technical books only, but blogging made me change this. I became more into Social and Humanitarian issues. I also was introduced to other subjects such as Photography, thanks to Flickr. Sometimes you don't need to read a book to learn about new issues, articles in Wikipedia and on other Blogs can sometimes be considered micro-books. I never liked reading novels, I prefer to watch them as movies instead. I bought "The Da Vinci Code", but couldn't read more than a chapter and half of it.

Finally, excuse me if there are many spelling mistakes in this post, but I am one of those people who can't live without spell-checkers and it seems that there is no checker here on the Blackberry.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Facebook is Dying

I have many bloggers as friends on Facebook. Some of them I've never seen before and some others I hardly know. And every now and then I used to receive invitations to weird Facebook applications and, sometimes I forward the good ones to my "so called" friends. But one day I received the following message from one of those bloggers after sending him an invitation.
Sorry I had to remove you as a friend because you have spammed me with an application invitation.
To tell you the truth, I considered his message really rude, but since I hardly know him, I didn't care much. But you know, after logging to my Facebook account today and seeing bzillions of invitations to useless applications there, I realized that what he did was reasonable.

In fact, I've noticed that I don't login to Facebook frequently, as I used to do before. And the main reason is those continuous messages I receive everyday asking me to join a certain group or to donate my kidney to a poor child in Honduras. I also receive invitations to applications in order to find out my favourite colour and other to help people searching for needles in haystack and fighting zombies in football arenas. I am sure Facebook is going to die if they didn't get rid of this Spammy environment.

Update - 28 October 2008,

Ok, people behind facebook were smart enough and they have succeeded in lowering the applications signal to noise level. The filters, notifications categories, and the Facebook's new design which is ugly, but helped in putting the applications noise aside. One more thing I think they have to work on, is to prevent people from sending mass messages easily, especially events admins. Sometimes I receive an invitation to a certain event, and even before accepting the invitation, the event admins start spamming my inbox with their nonsense.

So finally, I can say that Facebook is not dying anymore.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Annapolis Adieu

It's been more than 50 years, since the Israelis occupied Palestine. And during those long decades all the Arabs participated in different wars, negotiations, summits, and conferences. Everyday in the newspapers and on TV people keep talking about the Arab-Israeli conflict. But you know what, I prefer to call it Palestinian-, Syrian-, or even Lebanese-Israeli conflict instead.

Now a days there is a Peace Conference held in Annapolis in USA, and many Arab countries are participating in it. But let me ask you, why do countries such as Egypt, Saudi, or Jordan have to participate in such conference. Why are we supposed to care about the Palestinian-Israeli endless conflict. Let them manage their own business. In face, sometimes poking our noses all the time in this issue, may be one of the reasons that it was never solved. Let them try to fix it themselves and see what will happen. And let's concentrate on more useful issues instead of wasting our valuable time talking and talking and doing nothing.

I know, Israel is our enemy, it's a bastard country, and holds many negative world records. But I really don't care, let them go to hell. I don't want to love, or hate them. I don't want to buy anything from them, nor sell anything to them. And for sure, I don't want to waste my time negotiating with them. And for me listening to a boring song like Mireille Mathieu's Acropolis Adieu is more useful than watching the Arab and Israeli clowns performing in the International Circus of Annapolis.

Elevators for Dummies

We all know those "For Dummies" series of instructional books, but you know, I guess they have to add "Elevators for Dummies" to this series. And trust me they will be sold like magic here in Egypt.

When you are in a certain floor, you can see two buttons with arrows on them, and I guess you all know that these buttons are used for calling the Elevator. But what people miss here, is that you have to press on arrow pointing upwards only if you are going upstairs, and the same thing for the one pointing downwards. A couple of days ago I was going to the 20th floor, when one of those idiots in the 8th floor pressed on both buttons, so the elevator stopped there. After he came in, he realized that it is going upwards, and guess what, he pressed on the stop button, the one used in emergency cases, in order to reset the elevator and go downstairs, as if he is the only one in there. Believe me, I was about to kill him then.

I also met two Khalijy guys in the elevator, who I think believe that there is a mind reader in there that can read your mind and takes you wherever you want to go without pressing on any buttons. When I pressed on the ground's floor button, I saw one of them telling the other, "Then we have to press on one of those buttons".