Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Top Tech Stories of the Week – April 8th, 2018

April 15th, 2018 No comments
  • NASA Will Soon Launch Their State-of-the-Art TESS Telescope to Find Habitable Exoplanets | Link
  • Google launches digital skills training for Arabic speakers | Link
  • Samsung Jumps on the Blockchain Bandwagon – Bloomberg | Link
  • SpaceX to build Mars rocket at the Port of Los Angeles – CNN | Link
  • Netflix programming binge pays off with subscriber surge | Link
  • Amazon is making it easier for international customers to order from abroad | Link
  • 34 major tech companies are uniting to fight cyberattacks | Link
  • Facebook facial recognition faces class-action suit – BBC News | Link
  • Amazon reveals it has more than 100 million Prime members | Link
  • Google might let Chromebook users boot into Windows with AltOS – MSPoweruser | Link
  • Intel closes New Devices Group that built Vaunt smart glasses | Link

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Top Tech Stories of the Week – April 8th, 2018

April 8th, 2018 No comments
  • Feds Seize and Affiliated Websites in Crackdown – Time | Link
  • Amazon Makes Hiring Push in Riyadh After Saudi Prince’s Visit – Bloomberg | Link
  • Apple’s Global Operations Now Powered by 100% Renewable Energy – CleanTechnica | Link
  • Amazon spent close to $23B on R&D in 2017, outpacing fellow tech giants – GeekWire | Link
  • Vevo’s channel was hacked, not YouTube — there’s a difference – Polygon | Link
  • Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before – Planet Stories – Medium | Link
  • Steam tweaks privacy settings, will soon let you be invisible while online – Polygon | Link
  • Why Facebook’s 2011 Promises Haven’t Protected Users – WIRED | Link
  • UAE Government Launches Blockchain Strategy 2021 – Cointelegraph | Link
  • Gmail is getting a brand new look — take a peek – Business Insider Nordic | Link

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Extreme Home Network Makeover – Part 2 – Core Devices

April 3rd, 2018 No comments

So now let’s dive-in and talk more about the implementation.

So I need the network to cover two and a half floors (roof is a half floor because it has two rooms). Each floor has around ten Ethernet wall plug and two/three access points. There’s also few cameras around the house, nine on the ground floor and four for the other floors.

To have a good network and wireless speed I have to pay careful attention to the backbone implementation of the network. So while I’m upgrading my home network infrastructure I’ve decided to also upgrade my current in-wall cables from Cat 6 to Cat 6A for future proofing. I have plans for purchasing a server and a separate SAN in the near future to expand and upgrade my home lab and media servers.

So next how many core switches do I need? With the number of required ports and because of having small size in-wall cable pipes, I have settled with two 24 ports switches (US-24-250W) for each floor except the roof. I would’ve preferred the US-48-500W with 10 gaigabit SPF+ ports for a backbone network switches but those 48 ports are more than twice what can be fitted through the cable pipes.

All cable pipes end up on the stairwell and they’re distributed in a such a way that each floor pipes ends up on the stairwell of the floor above. So ground floor cable pipes end up on the first floor stairwell. Therefore, core-switches are placed on the stairwell for each floor.

I couldn’t replace all Cat 6 cables because cable pipes are too small so for some points we couldn’t fit in another Cat 6A cables. Also I’ve decided to connect two cables between each core switches and home lab for Link Aggregation and faster speed.

A month later I’ve decided to add UPS to my home switches and gateway which in turn provides power to all my PoE devices (small Unifi switches, AP, and cameras). Should provide at least 40mins of backup power with my latest test. I bought also another bigger UPS for my NVR/Media server to keep everything running and recording when there’s a power outage. I’m planning to increase the UPS run-time in the future when I can budget for it.

First floor core switch


Ground floor core-switch


UPS for first floor core-switch


As you can see on the pictures above I’m using patch panel for two reasons; to keep the cables tidy and minimize touching any core cables to increase longevity. Maybe it’s an overkill for a home network but at least it feels more professional and I’m proud of it.

Top Tech Stories of the Week – April 1st, 2018

April 1st, 2018 No comments
  • China says Tiangong-1 space station to enter Earth’s atmosphere on Monday | Link
  • Cloudflare launches consumer DNS service to speed up the internet | Link
  • UberRush Is No More As Uber Kills Its On-demand Delivery Service – Digital Trends | Link
  • China’s Tiangong-1 space lab breaks up over Pacific Ocean – CNN | Link
  • DARPA is Open to Ideas For New Types of Drone Swarm Technology | Link
  • Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel | Link
  • Watch a Russian postal drone crash on it first flight — Quartz | Link
  • YouTube HQ shooting: ‘Not terrorism at this point’ authorities tell NBC News – Euronews | Link
  • Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress next week – Ars Technica | Link
  • Google Now Matches 100% Of Its Power With Clean Energy – Fortune | Link
  • Google Employees “Outraged” Their Tech Is Being Used to Build Better Killing Machines – Vanity Fair | Link
  • SpaceX cut its latest Falcon 9 stream because it didn’t get a license | Link
  • Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space company launches first rocket since fatal 2014 crash – ABC News | Link
  • Best Buy says it was hit by same data breach as Sears and Delta | Link

April Fools’

  • Google Maps needs your help finding Waldo – TechCrunch | Link
  • Carriage introduces voice controlled device to order foods online | Link
  • Google Introducing Bad Joke Detector | Link
  • Google Gboard Physical Handwriting | Link
  • Genetic Select by Lexus | Link
  • Switch from British to U.S. dialogue at the touch of a button – Introducing Interp-Brit on BritBox | Link
  • Introducing Roku Happy Streaming™ Socks | Link
  • Introducing the New T-Mobile Sidekicks: The World’s First Smartshoephone | T-Mobile | Link
  • Netflix Buys Seth Rogen’s Personal Autonomy in April 1 Announcement – Variety | Link
  • Nvidia – Geforce Academy of Gaming | Link
  • Razer’s Project Venom v2 | Link

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Extreme Home Network Makeover – Part 1 – Why & What?

March 25th, 2018 No comments

So I decided to upgrade my home network for several reasons:

  • Dodgy Wi-Fi connection
  • Wi-Fi dead spots around the house
  • Monitoring network activity and who’s using downloading a lot and impacting other’s experience

So after exploring and searching I’ve settled with the Ubiquiti Unifi ecosystem. I’ve been following the company for many years now and I’ve been a very fond of it for long time now, and the family are complaining about the dodgy Wi-Fi connection gave me a good excuse to upgrade my network infrastructure. And by choosing Unifi I get the added benefits of

  • PoE built into the switches rather than relying on PoE injector for each camera around the house
  • PoE end-point switches and AP so less cluttering and centralizing power feed for the home network so I can add a UPS in the future for powering my network and cameras in the event of power outage
  • Unify experience across devices with a single dash board

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no cons on changing my network infrastructure. In fact, because I’m using pfsense, I’m going to lose some flexibility when moving to a fully Ubiquiti Unifi solution like load balancing dual-WAN that Unifi for some reason doesn’t seem to be able to provide a workable solution for that.

So I bite the bullet and went ahead and ordered the following devices:

  • Unifi AC-Pro UAP-AC-Pro x3
  • Unifi AC Lite UAP-AC-Lite x3
  • Unifi Switch 24 Port US-24-250W x2
  • Unifi Cloud Key UC-CK
  • Unifi Mesh UAP-AC-M-US
  • Unifi Switch 8 Port US-8 x3
  • Unifi Security Gateway USG


Some might be wondering why a lot of devices. The reason is that I need to cover 2 floors and a half (the gym room), and the garden. So ground floor will get two Wi-Fi AP and the first floor will get three Wi-Fi AP because one half of the floor has many walls that one AP will not be enough to cover that half.

And because I’m upgrading the network I decided to also upgrade the network cables around the house to Cat6A for extra reliability and future compatibility for 10G speed. I bought a 100 meters roll (300 FT) and at the end only 70% of house cables were upgraded to Cat6A because 100 meters wasn’t enough. That’s an additional $300 for the cable and $500 for the handyman.

Most of my purchase came from Amazon and I couldn’t find everything on Amazon (out of stock) so I got USG, UAP-AC-Lite, and UAP-AC-M-US from BHPhotoVideo. All shipped to New York Shop&Ship office then forwarded to Kuwait. That’s around $700 just shipping the item from NY to Kuwait. If you’re wondering, there’s no Ubiquiti dealer/shop in Kuwait.

Note: This project was completed back in January 2018.

to be continued on Part 2…

Top Tech Stories of the Week – March 25th, 2018

March 25th, 2018 No comments
  • Apple’s Tim Cook Calls for More Regulations on Data Privacy | Link
  • The FTC Is Officially Investigating Facebook’s Data Practices | Link
  • Elon Musk’s next Boring Co. merch will be big Lego bricks made from tunnel rock | Link
  • Philips lighting rebrands as Signify – News – Smart Home Geeks | Link
  • Foxconn is buying Belkin and Linksys – SlashGear | Link
  • NASA Delays Launch of James Webb Space Telescope to 2020 | Link
  • Zuckerberg will reportedly appear before Congress on data privacy | Link
  • Nvidia suspends all autonomous vehicle testing – TechCrunch | Link
  • Nvidia launches self-driving simulation system, Kubernetes support – Seeking Alpha | Link
  • FCC approves SpaceX plan for 4,425-satellite broadband network – TechCrunch | Link
  • ‘PUBG’ will start testing its tiny ‘Savage’ map next week | Link
  • Google to Shut URL Shortener in Favour of Dynamic Links – Technology News | Link

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2018 Samsung TVs Unveiled in NY Event

March 8th, 2018 No comments

In yesterday’s Samsung 2018 First Look Event, new lineup of 2018 TVs were unveiled and I’m very exited of some its features including Ambient Mode, Bixy and SmartThings integration – though I would prefer Google Assistant, and One Invisible Connection which feeds the TV with A/V and power but this time it’s even thinner.

Unfortunately their TVs don’t support Dolby Vision.

Samsung TVs 2018 - Ambient Mode

Ambient Mode is one of the features coming with 2018 TVs from Samsung

More info at

Categories: Tech market, Technology 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.

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=",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="" />

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.