Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Internet

I know I've blogged about how we can't live without all the technologies we have today but this post is dedicated to the Internet.

It's amazing how many things you can't do when you don't have access to the Internet.

You can't check your email, you can't play Tinker, you can't work on the software you're writing 'cause the documentation of the framework are online, you can't get the story you're reading--Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--because you can't find out what lynch means, you can't find a solution to the problem your phone is having, you can't find a background for the website you're designing, you can't check your Facebook account, and you can't remove the tag from the photo of you your friend just uploaded.

It is scary how dependent we are on a single fragile technology. With Google Chrome OS coming, moving everything to the web, one can't help but wonder what will happen if ever something happens to the Internet, will our lives ever be the same again?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seek the Truth

Why is it so hard for us to seek the truth about what we believe in?

This is how a typical person's belief goes: That person is born, his parents teach him what they believe, once he's old enough he starts to question his belief, but convinces himself that what he believes is right, even though he's not fully convinced with that.

Why do we do that? So we won't have to accept the fact that we've been wrong for so long. That and because we are taught that you should believe blindly.

I don't know about you but I think that is wrong!

If you're taking a test, you write your answers, and before you give your answer sheet, you review your answers and you find a mistake, do you correct it or do you just submit it as it is because you don't want to accept that you were wrong? Sounds silly, doesn't it?

Which is better? Dying believing the wrong thing or correcting yourself and dying believing the right thing?

'So Jesus said to those who believed in him, "If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciple, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'
John 8:31-32

Seek the truth damn it! Question your faith, if it is right you can never prove it wrong, and if anyone can prove it wrong then it's wrong, so you might as well not believe it.

Take Christianity for example, it's been around for over 2000 years so far and no one has been able to prove it wrong, no one can say "It couldn't have happened because if it has actually happened XXXXXXX would have been impossible". No one can say that.

On the other hand, certain Christian beliefs are obviously wrong: Kneeling and praying before statues. COME ON! It's mentioned in so many places:

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Matthew 6:6


"Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 26:1

There you go! A belief proven wrong.

Some might argue that not all Christian teachings can be found in the bible and that many things were started after the bible was written. That raises a lot of questions, one of which is: How do you know who is credible enough to tell people what to do? The pope?

"You shouldn't wear black all the time!", that is one of such teachings, there are many wrong things about this: It's either OK or not OK to wear black, how often is not relevant; it's not in the bible; the reason they claim you shouldn't do that is because black is assosicated with evil, but that is in humans' eyes only, not God's for God looks at the heart.

And don't even get me started on Hail Mary and the rosary!

You know what I think? I think people keep coming up with such rules so they'll feel good about themselves and feel they are righteous and worthy of God's forgiveness, but you know what? Read your bible!

"...I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousess that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith."
Philippians 3:9

Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Still Missing Something

So there's this guy who lives in another country that I ask for advice, usually, I leave him an offline message on his Yahoo Messenger and he IMs me when he goes online.

This time, it's urgent, leaving him an offline message and hoping he checks it sometime soon is not an option so I sent an SMS to a guy that probably knows his phone number so I cab send him an SMS asking him to go online but I didn't get a reply.

My next attempt was to ask his friends in that country for his number but I didn't find any of those online either.

I left him an offline message and I sent him an email hoping he'll see one of them somehow.

I checked his Facebook profile for his phone number but he doesn't have it there.

I asked mutual friends from other countries if they have his number but they don't.

So I tweeted asking people to tell him that I need to talk to him. My twitter is linked to my Facebook status so it'll show there too.

With all that done, I still haven't talked to him and I don't know when I'll get to.

It's really frustrating knowing that we have all this technology and we still can't get in touch with someone we know if we need to do so fast.

We're still missing something that allows us to get in touch with anyone anywhere.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Precious Comfort

So I'm sitting in Dubai International Airport and I see all those people either getting on their airplanes or waiting for their flights--like me--and I look around me and notice all the stuff we have that are there just for our comfort: chairs for people to sleep on, charging stations to charge people's phones, ready-to-eat food, fligts on which you can sleep and wake up when you arrive, and the list goes on!

Considering we're just evolved animals, this is way too much; we've invented way so many things for our comfort, maybe even too much!

If, for one reason or another--God forbid--we lost all these things: No comfy chairs, back to sitting on rigid uncomfortable chairs; no airplanes, back to traveling on ships and busses; no cell phones, back to using land lines. I know I can't live like that. And I doubt anyone can. We got used to living in a civilized manner that it became impossible for us to live on our own, hunt for food, and al the other things our ancestors used to do.

Don't get me wrong, all these things are nice, but in case anything happens and we have to give them up we're doomed!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Story That Touched Me

Today in church, after the worship, before the speaker starts his talk, a woman wanted to share something, she's from Iraq, it was related to the last hymn we sang which had to do with God breaking the chains.

Her son, an architect, after graduating from college, got excited so he started working on these big projects to make big profit, of course, that also means big risk.

His father and uncles advised him not to do that but he still did it anyway, he ended up losing a lot of money and borrowing money.

One day, one person he'd borrowed from wanted his money back, since he couldn't pay, he was arrested until he could pay.

Now, cells in Iraq aren't up to par, they're small with lots of people jammed into them, there are so many people that they can't sit so they'll fit, they have to stand. The toilet is in the cell itself. It's hot and dirty.

He was put in a police station in an area where there are no Christians.

His father and uncles didn't do anything 'cause they'd advised him and he didn't listen. But his mom went to the police station every day, once in the morning and once in the evening bringing him food and stuff, she even brought bibles and distributed to the people there, though they are Muslims.

Every time she asks her son to pray to God to get him out of trouble and every time he says to her "Don't tell me that, find me money!" and she'd tell him "Son! If only you pray! God can do anything, he can shake the foundations of this cell and set you free!"

After two weeks she said to him "If you want me to keep visiting you have to pray!" so he promised her he will."

Next morning, on her way there, when she was near the police station she saw a big crowd gathered.

When she went closer, one of the guards that knows her 'cause she goes there everyday told her "Saddam ordered that all prisoners are set free"--I remember the day that's happened.

It's really amazing.
Hallelujah! :D

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


While browsing Lifehacker today I stumbled upon a post that features a simple application called Procrastination Killer.

The idea behind it is explained on the page, simply put, you work for 10 minutes then you take a break for 2 minutes, thus the 10+2, you repeat that for 5 times (12*5=60) and you get a full hour.

I've been using it the whole day now and it seems to be working; I'm finally getting some work done! But it's so annoying, you HAVE to take a break, and it's just 2 minutes long, by the time you have something fun and interesting to do the break is over. Like, just when I started to type this post the message popped up saying that my break is over, luckily, it doesn't start counting until you press the button so I'm taking a 5-minute break instead!

Let's see how this goes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Windows 7

Just recently, I downloaded and installed Windows 7 RC and I've gotta say I'm impressed.

All my laptop's Vista drivers worked just fine, Windows installed most of the drivers through updates.

Everything just works, which is something I really missed in Linux, the closest it got was with Ubuntu but even then it wasn't as easy as it is with Windows 7.

It's fast, it's light, no unwanted features and an amazing new UI.

I'm a big fan of the changes they made to their UI, I like how you can keep only one window open by dragging it and shaking it, and all the other windows will be minimized, do that again and they're back.

And I like the new taskbar I don't know why no one's thought of it before.

I can safely say that M$ has officially outdone itself and that I am actually willing to pay for Windows 7 when it's released.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Playing .3gp and .mp4 files on Ubunut

I know, I know, I've been posting lots of how-tos but that's basically for me to find them and share a method that works with others.

The codec works for mplayer (not totem) so you need mplayer, and, if you want, gnome-mplayer so run the following command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-mplayer

It'll pull some dependencies, including mplayer itself.

Then you need to go here and download the tarball for your architecture.

It has a README file, just follow the instructions there, copy the files and your videos should play.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Getting Prism firefox 3 extension working on Ubuntu

I've been trying to get it to work for quite some time now but never really bothered to look for a solution... Just now I decided to google a bit, and I found a solution.

To fix the problem, all you have to do is to open the .desktop file that the plug-in creates on your desktop and change “/usr/bin/firefox-3.0.3/firefox” to /usr/bin/xulrunner .

That's all folks!

Connectiyo, again!

Yes, I have worked on Connectiyo before... This time it's not going to be an all-in-one website, in fact, it's going to be exactly the opposite of that; It'll barely store any data, here's how it'll work (I think I've blogged about this before):
There are so many social websites today, each has its own profile, status, info, etc... There are websites that try to put them all in one place but they end up adding to the mess rather than fix it; they all have "what are you doing" and their own profile.
Connectiyo is different; it won't store any data of its own, it won't even have its own accounts: It'll use facebook connect.
It will allow you to gather all your contacts from everywhere (Yahoo, Google, facebook, twitter, etc) all in one place, merge the same contacts, eventually, you'll everything you need to communicate with your friends in one place, and the cool thing is that, unlike similar services, they don't have to use the site for you to see their updates.
I really think this'll work out 'cause I actually have a problem to solve unlike before.
I started designing the interface, and I started reading about using facebook's API with Flex, however, I still need to finish my final project (final changes), after that I'll be free to work on Connectiyo, I might even start a blog about it (Yey!).

PS: I had to choose between this project and another crazy idea I have. I might blog about that one soon.

God bless you all!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Linux's Desktop Environments are Failing It

Don't get me wrong, the current one (at least GNOME) is fine. Here's the whole thing:

Around a week ago I was thinking about Windows 7 and how much improvements to the UI it has and how innovative it is and I started wondering why Linux isn't as innovative. I was about to blog about it but good thing I didn't.

Just a few days back I came across an article about GNOME 3.0 and it said that they'll have a major UI change, it said they'll make GNOME Shell the main interface, I got excited 'cause I really like revolutionary stuff, so I started googling GNOME Shell, sadly, it looked awful and pretty weird!

That's when I realized that Linux developers ARE innovative, just not in the right path, there are some cool stuff (rather, a lot), but they're really screwing it with their desktop environments.

Don't get me wrong, GNOME now is awesome, just yesterday I was playing a video at the back, chatting on FB in firefox, and chatting with another friend in Pidgin, all at the same time; I reduced the opacity of both Firefox and Pidgin so I could still watch the video. Now that's cool!

The thing is that both KDE and GNOEME are failing, I used to use KDE 3.x and I was very happy with it (I used to even despise GNOME a bit), but after KDE 4 was released and I tried it, I just didn't like it, and after all major distros shifted to KDE 4, I had to shift to GNOME, now I like GNOME, it's fine.. But it looks like GNOME will screw things up with version 3.. At the same Windows 7 comes with a lot of improvements to its interface, I'm seriously considering shifting back to Windows once Windows 7 is released.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Productivity Script

I've seen the productivity script on Lifehacker for both Mac and Windows, so I decided to make a Linux version of it, here it is:

zenity --question --text "Consider if this is really how I need to be spending my time. Continue?" --ok-label=Yes --cancel-label=No

while [ "$?" == "0" ] # while test "$var1" != "end"
sleep 12
zenity --question --text "Consider if this is really how I need to be spending my time. Continue?" --ok-label=Yes --cancel-label=No

Make sure you make it executable.

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What are you doing?

That sentence is starting to annoy me, every single website I join asks me what I'm doing, why on earth do they care?

Why can't they all just sync their status with facebook or twitter? Well, very few do but the majority just have their own field with no way of synchronising it with any other site.

As I've said before, the least thing the web needs today is another place to store your data and no site out there that aims at gathering all your information in one place does just that.

Every website that promises to "put all your social networks in one place" or "centralises your on-line identity", they all end up adding at least one thing: the net work part; they all ask you to add friends...

While I was thinking of this problem, I did come up with a solution that doesn't involve making friends to share things with your friends without having to make different friends... as a matter of fact, it even helps organize your contacts from the different places.

I might go for it one day, but I'm still working on Deskiyo and it's still interesting. So this is just a thought.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stretching Images in Flex

I needed to do this today and I had to search a lot before I found the right article that explained it so I decided to share it.

If you need to put an image in your application and you want it to stretch/shrink to the size of the Image component, just change the image's 'maintainAspectRatio' property to false.

You can see the article where I learned this along with an explanation here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Watchmen Sucks!

Five! That's the number of times I looked at my phone while watching Watchmen; I was checking the time, waiting for it to be 11 so I can leave.

The movie is utterly boring! It has no point, no time line, no clear story, and no plot! What's left? Graphics and special effects, I know, they were pretty awesome but that's it!

With all the buzz it's getting, I was expecting something extraordinary like Ironman, but oh no! I thought resident evil extinction was the worst movie but obviously not as bad as Watchmen, at least I didn't just wait for it to finish.

So, why does it suck? Humm... Let's see! As I said, first, there is no point behind it. The movie ended and I still don't get what the fuzz is all about.

Second, no time line, suddenly, they're showing some memories, then they're back to the future, without any indication like fading colors or something to show that it's a memory.

Third, no clear story, I still don't get how they started, who's against whom, why some left, why the comedian hates that other dude (the one he went to cry with), and many other things that I still don't get.

Fourth, no plot, well, where is it? There is no interesting part, everything is just dull.

And what made it worse is that every nude part is cut, even though, some has conversations in them that are crucial to the "story", they could have just blurred the part, but oh no! Just removing it is much easier.

All in all, it was just a waste of money and time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The social web

I've been posting for a while about Connectiyo, which, basically, was supposed to be a social networking website and because of that, I've be abstaining from using many websites because I didn't want to make them grow and later compete against them.

Just recently, I abandoned Connectiyo so I'm starting to use a lot of websites that I didn't before.

And my fears were true: Things are messed up!

There are so many websites that do so many things, and the annoying thing is that it's hard to get them all to work together.

You'll say "There are websites like Plaxo and Mugshot that try to put everything together", that's right, they try to do that, but it's still not working; you still have your pictures scattered over flickr, facebook, and picasa, you still have your blogs posts scattered over blogger and facebook, you status is still hard to sync for every website you use has its own "What are you doing?" field and only few allow synchronising with other websites, and you still have your chat contacts scattered over yaho, msn, and gtalk.

Someone must do something about this, and one thing I'm sure of is that that someone is not going to be me; I don't want to create a website that'll end up to be another website to be merged with others rather than one that merges them all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A better solution for A2DP

I posted a way to get bluetooth headsets working with Linux but that method has some flaws (doesn't work on sound effects, doesn't work with flash, etc).

There's a better way that I used to use, it's slightly longer to switch to bluetooth with that one, but I'm trying to find a way to make the switching easier (just a mouse click) and I believe there is a way to do that.

You can find the instructions here.

I'll update you once I find a solution.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A2DP (Stereo Headsets) on Linux

I've never got it to work the first time, I always keep searching, trying, and failing until I finally find a way that works.

This time I decided to share it with people so they won't go through this, it's also easier than the rest, here's what you have to do:

First of all, pair your headset with your computer.

Create a file in your home directory called

Inside that file put the following:


state=`gconftool --get /system/gstreamer/0.10/default/musicaudiosink | cut -d\ -f1`

if [ $state = "autoaudiosink" ]; then
gconftool --type string --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/default/musicaudiosink "sbcenc ! a2dpsink device=XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX"
zenity --info --title="GStreamer" --text="Switched to BT headphones."
gconftool --type string --set /system/gstreamer/0.10/default/musicaudiosink "autoaudiosink"
zenity --info --title="GStreamer" --text="Switched to speaker output."

echo musicaudiosink set to `gconftool --get /system/gstreamer/0.10/default/musicaudiosink`

replace XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX with the address of your headphone, you can get that by setting your headphone to be visible and running

hcitool scan

That's it :)

This script toggles between your bluetooth headset and your speakers and shows you a dialog.

You can add a launcher to your panel.

Right click on the panel, add to panel, custom launcher, and for the command enter:

sh /home/ljuwaidah/

of course, replace ljuwaidah with your username.

To get your buttons (play, pause, prev, next, etc) to work, edit /etc/modules and add uinput to the end of the file.

Hope this helps :)

This is taken from this post on board4all:

PS: this is better 'cause it actually switches between the speakers and headphones unlike what's mentioned in that post where you have to go to your sound preferences to switch back to speakers (they had a bug in the script: they used == instead of =). Also, I found that you don't need the other files.