Novel Attempt #1: Another Ordinary Day

July 9th, 2012 No comments

This is attempt number 1 on writing a story:

No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny nor glimpse his part of the great story that is about to unfold. A hard worker that is about to take part of a great history that will change the fate of Esio. He lives an ordinary life but he had no idea that everything is going to change… That young man is Alanis son of Guida, but he is known by the name of Alan among the people who knows him.

As Alanis’s mother says: “He owns his property, but can he manage it himself?!” He had an issue on managing his own firm, the Zulu Farms. See, the firm has lots of farms scattered all around the Thurain Rim which is basically the kingdom’s western border as the town is located in the farthest west side of the Kindom of Ijulia. And each farm is huge and being managed by a farm manager. Those managers sometimes lose interest of going by the company’s rules and so the corruption has lingered through the company’s top staffs. So not long ago, he let his brother Judiah to grasp the top management of the firm on his stead for his good managerial experience.

Alanis was a thin brunette man and short, but not very. He had lived a normal life just like anyone else. Known to be kind and compassionate, however, he does have few friends. He spends his time in the town’s library and visits his farms regularly.

Alanis live in a small simple home in the middle of Avgil Street next to their favorite tavern, the Glossip Inn. Most of their money goes to charity work and some of it goes to savings and contribution in building their town.

One morning sat Alanis and Judiah eating crumpets with tea on a rounded wooden table by a large window next to them sending some morning sun rays into the small kitchen of theirs. “It seems that we are advancing in our northern front,” says Alanis one day while having his breakfast with his brother, “Even though we have lost Numenion village last week, but it looks like we will get it back soon!”. “Not likely,” grimed Judiah after a while. “We might have the will to defend our kingdom, but certainly we don’t have the manpower to beat our enemy. All we can hope is that we can score up enough losses from those filthy orcs to stop them from advancing… or maybe even do enough damage to them so they’ll somehow stop the war. Having faith on our army is all what we can do right now.”

“Anyhow, I don’t think they will be able to go further than they have already done. The narrow hollow between Mount Kazham and Mount Rogan is well defended” says Judiah as he holds a tomato that is just about to be eaten. “Not to mention that the whole Durian passage is covered by archers and trebuchets in which were lately mounted on the sides of both mountains. It will bleed the orcs army if they dared to cross the passage!”

After a long conversation, Judiah went to his work like every morning and Alanis decided to go and check the host of refugees who came from the lost village. He went upstairs to his bedroom which was just beside his brother’s bedroom. He picked up his green jacket from his dress cabinet and went out. He noticed his neighbor Mr. Shabby as he shuts the door.

“Good morning Mr. Alanis. It is a lovely day” Says Mr. Shabby. “Yes it is. Spring indeed and I hope it lasts longer than usual.”

Categories: Unnamed World 1 Tags: ,

Encode your JSON data before sending it

January 18th, 2012 No comments

A problem I was facing recently, that the JSON was being receive properly on Firefox 3.6 my work development machine. Finished the project and deployed it. I haven’t tested it on other machines, how clever am I?! I opened my laptop to see how it would appear on other browsers, and shockingly, it wasn’t working at all!

After spending hours trying to locate the line where the error occurs and find out what’s the problem it turned out that I have to decode the JSON output before sending it. I wasn’t using any PHP built-in functionality for JSON, that’s because at work, we are still using PHP4 which has none. I was basically writing the JSON output explicitly. The text output can contain some special characters that need to be encoded and escaped before sending it. After digging around a bit I found out a solution from this post. Everything is pretty much explained there.

In a nutshell, you’ll have to use json_encode() to encode the data from an array and then output it. A JSON library is provided along with that post. There is also a decoding function, but I haven’t use it since I’m receiving my data on a javascript.

Carpathian Region Trip: Day 1 – The Arrival

October 30th, 2011 No comments

Me and my friend had decided to take the Ukrainian Carpathian Region as our vacation exile since he was on a low budget period due to change of job. The main goal of our trip is to enjoy nature away from the stress of city life and do some adrenaline rush activities. Doing some research I found out that the Carpathian region of Ukraine is a natural heaven so I decided to spend some time there.

One of the problems of going to Ukraine is language barrier. The majority of Ukrainians do not speak English and I’ve noticed that some of them do understand English but they can’t speak it. So we decided to look for a Ukrainian tourist company in the Carpathian region. After some Googling, I stumbled upon a website called Green Ukraine that organize trips to the Carpathian region and provide a personal guide throughout the whole trip all day long. After some emailing with the company, we came up with a schedule to spend 5 days on the Carpathian region. I was fascinated on how fast their email reply is. Heck, we had around 7 emails a day going back and forth. The guy I was corresponding was Andriy and it turned out that he is also also our guide.

 

Train to Ivano-Frankivsk

I went to Ivano-Frankivsk by a train from Kiev. The meeting point with our guide Andriy was the railway station in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Word of advice: Never ever travel in Ukraine by train. Keep reading to know why.

I took the 3rd class ticket because there were no seats on the second and first class cabin. The train trip from Kiev to Ivano-Frankivsk was the crappiest trip I’ve ever been to in my life. There was no air-conditioner and it was summer so the whole compartment stinks and smells like underwear and socks! Heck I felt like throwing up and I was disgusted the whole freaking time. There are no windows to open and the toilet is crap and dirty. People do no know English so we couldn’t talk to anyone in there. Luckily, at the last moment before the train leaves, a guy came by listening to me and my friend talking in Arabic language, so he greeted us. It turned out that he is a nice guy from Jordan in his senior year studying medical in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Days later, we went back also by train but on second class. It is better than the 3rd but it still stinks. There were no tickets for the 1st class.

Anyway, at least I ended up experiencing soviet union era trains.

 

The Arrival

After about 12 hours on the railway, we finally arrived to Ivano-Frankivsk railway station at 9am. As soon as I stepped out the train, it felt like joy of life is coming back to me again. Of course, I still stink after spending 12 hours in there, but the delightful and fresh air outside the cage has risen up my mood.

 

Ivano-Frankivsk walkway

 

After spending about 2 hours waiting for a restaurant to open, pick up some groceries, and looking for bank to withdraw Euro currencies from my bank account, then it start raining and we finally hit the road to go to our cottage in Verkhovyna. That’s another 2 hours until we reached the cottage to take big awesome shower and feel clean!

 

Side view of the cottageOur cottageThe view from our cottage

 

As you can see above, that’s where we spent our nights. In a super cool cottage out in the country. We are surrounded by farm houses and a nice view to a mountain nearby.

 

Quadricycle

Our first activity was Quadricycling (ATV). We spent around 30 minutes riding on various locations and tracks. Ascending and descending heights, between woods, on the street, on muddy tracks… etc. It also rained for few minutes. It was fun and enjoyable and the instructor allowed me to drive fast because he said I’m a good driver. That was a good complement for someone who had never drove an ATV before!

I’ll leave you with a picture of how the view was when we were doing Quadricycling.

 

The view while doing quadricycle

 

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and lying down on the farm. The night was cold and misty and we went to bed early because we were exhausted.

Solution to getURL not working

February 22nd, 2011 No comments

A security enhancement was added to Flash Player sometime ago that disables getURL to function properly in Actionscript 2.0 of Adobe Flash. This could be an issue for some as in my situation when I created a banner for MET to celebrate the independence & liberation day of Kuwait.

The issue occurs if you are targeting a different domain than the current domain where the SWF/HTML file is hosted. I’ve also heard reports that it can occur if the SWF and HTML file are located at different location even if at the same domain host. I haven’t tested the latter so I can’t confirm or deny it.

Anyhow, to resolve this issue, all you have to do is change the allowScriptAccess attribute on the <object> tag to have the value “always”. You also have to add <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /> or edit it to match it if it’s already there.

So at the end, your code has to look like this:

<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=10,0,0,0" width="955" height="88" id="SWFID" align="middle">
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="false" />
<param name="movie" value="FILE.SWF" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /> <embed src="FILE.SWF" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="955" height="88" name="SWFID" align="middle" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer" />
</object>

This issue is explained in more detail at the official knowledge base of Adobe here and here.

Releasing a New WordPress Plugin – WP Academic People List

October 12th, 2010 1 comment

My first WordPress plugin goes public. I’ve developed it for a research group in Kuwait University. Check out the WP Academic People List page for more information about this plugin. This plugin was built in a way that you can customize it for school alumni website.

BarCamp Kuwait 2010

October 5th, 2010 No comments

The first ever BarCamp in Kuwait.

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees, usually centered around design & technology topics.

For registration and more information check out the official BarCamp Kuwait 2010 website.

Funniest forum post ever! (Arabic)

September 30th, 2010 No comments

I got this by an email from a friend. It’s a forum post in Arabic but it’s hilarious.

1

Read more…

Categories: Fun Stuffs Tags: , ,

Windows Phone 7 – A deal breaker or just another desperate attempt?

September 18th, 2010 No comments

windowsphone-everything-top-1 
It’s been a nightmare for Microsoft in the last few years with their mobile operating system, Windows Mobile. The real battle began back in 2007 when iPhone was released to public and despite the popularity of Windows Mobile, Steve Jobs (CEO, Apple) has outwitted Steve Ballmer (CEO, Microsoft) and Windows Mobile has started to lose ground quickly. iPhone was taking the lead and outselled Windows Mobile almost immediately.

 

Just a year later (2008 A.D.) another bomb shell was dropped on the smartphone arena with the release of Google’s Android operating system and the intensity of the battle begun to rise. Google was working hard on improving Android as updates were being released more frequent on Android than iPhone. By the first quarter of 2010, the tide of war has shifted towards Android and for the first time it managed to outsell iPhone. By June of the same year, iPhone 4 went public but it failed to gain popularity like its predecessor.

 

But wait! Microsoft was holding ground under radio-silence and planning to counter-attack with the latest technologies their engineers have managed to develop. The preemptive strike has begun when Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7 in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and technologist around the globe got excited about this upcoming revolutionary mobile operating system. Some went as far as saying that that’s a deal breaker!

 

The mobile OS battle is not a fight between evil and good, like republic and separatist, Jedi and the Sith Lord, Batman and Joker. People will not go and choose sides; it’s more like a survival of the fittest were people will pick up the best smartphone out there, and the one that sell the most is the winner. So I’m quite convinced that all three companies have worked hard and squeezed their juicy expertise at best, although I’m having my doubts about Apple as they tend to release new iPhones and other products but not with the latest technologies – yes, the press exaggerates all the time with “latest technology”!

 

Without further ado, let’s compare the three mobile operating systems:

 

iPhone OS 4.0

Android 2.2

Windows Phone 7

Multitouch

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multitasking

Yes + Push

Yes

Yes but not third-party applications + Push

Copy Paste

Yes

Yes

No (Initially)

Keyboard

Virtual

Virtual + Physical

Virtual + Physical

Music Store

Yes, iTunes

Third party

Yes, Zune

Music Streaming

Third-party apps

Yes

Yes

Navigation

Third-party

Google Maps

Bing

Games

Tons on the App Store

Not as good as iPhone

Xbox Live

Gamers Social Network

Yes

No

Yes

Office Suite

Yes

Yes

Yes

Flash

No

Yes

No (Initially)

Silverlight

No

Yes

Yes

Customization Home Screen

Yes, third-party

Yes

Yes

Applications

170,000 +

50,000 +

Not launched yet

User friendliness

2nd best

3rd best

Best

Sync Game Online

No

No

Yes

 

windows phone 7 xboxOkay, so that’s a raw  comparison between the three players. We could dive deeper and see how Windows Phone 7 can be integrated to your Xbox set or your PC, and how with some upcoming games you can play it in your Xbox 360 and then go out and continue the game in your Windows Phone 7 device from the same point where you left the game on the Xbox 360.  And the list of features goes on…

 

But hey! Windows Phone 7 is still not out there yet, and if you’ve seen the developer framework capabilities you’d be amazed with what you can do with it. Microsoft is releasing an OS with amazing capabilities and an awesome developer tools for the developers’ community to make great applications and shine as a rock star.

 

There are still some issues remaining, as iPhone and Android has already gained solid ground, Microsoft will have to convince consumers to ditch their current technologies and immigrate to Windows Phone 7.

 

“Microsoft has a challenge in getting phone vendors to support Windows Phone 7,” said Jack Gold, the principal of J. Gold Associates, to the IT Business Edge. “Motorola is not going to do it. HP just bought Palm and the webOS, and it is very unlikely they will do it. HTC probably will make a few, but they are going down the Android path very quickly. Samsung may do Windows Phone 7, but how much effort will they put into it?”

 

Microsoft has managed to create a revolutionary simple “hub” centric interface and will definitely change the way people use smartphones as various technologies integration was achieved to some degree. Whether it will succeed or not we do not know. Only few days left until the release of the first Windows Phone 7 based device, and the decision is all up to the consumers to go for iPhone’s boring interface, Android’s openness, or the easiness of WP7. But of course, Microsoft wouldn’t want Captain Jack Sparrow (1) to repeat his own words to Windows Phone 7 “Up is down. That’s just maddingly unhelpful. Why are these things never clear?!”

 

 

 

 

 

This article will be published on next the issue of Al-Islamia Magazine.

- The writing style is intentional, to make it funny and inviting for youth readers.

My Personal Saga, The ACM Student Chapter of Kuwait University – Part (3) – The i7 Seminar and the Open Day

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

Intel i7 Processor Architecture Seminar

Intel--Poster--IMG[3]The Intel i7 seminar was another successful even conducted by the chapter at May 18th, 2009 in building 20kh in Khaldiya. The seminar was presented by Naeem Hamami from Intel talking about the i7 architecture which was not yet released yet that time. He also talked about the market availability of the i7 processor and ended the session with Q&A and some prizes were given away at the end.

Attendance was moderate with about two scores of attendees. The feedback I received from Intel is that the computer engineering students were smart and most of the questions asked during the session were technical questions that needed a specialized engineer to answer their questions.

 

Entertainment Day

OpenDayIt’s an open day with lots of entertaining activities throughout the day at March 5th, 2009. Here’s a list of some of the activities we had:

  • Playstation 3 football competition for guys
  • Missing words competition
  • Wii game for the gals
  • Barbeque lunch
  • Pottery Trappings
  • Table Tennis
  • Movie night with popcorn
  • Live football match

 

05032009143

Hundreds of students participated in some way to the event. The most excited activity was the pottery trappings were many gals participated. The picture on the left shows potteries that were completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The last activity was the movie show Bolt in building 20kh. Popcorns and soft drinks were handed out to the audience. Some students brought their families which was awesomely the first time families interacted with us.

After the movie, we handed out prizes for the winners of our activities and competitions.

Interviewed by Microsoft Feed

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

I’ve got interviewed by Microsoft Feed recently and the interview is now online at Microsoft Feed. The interview is basically about my experience as a Microsoft Student Partner in Kuwait University.

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