Archive for November, 2006

Car Repair…

// November 29th, 2006 // 2 Comments » // me

I’ve had some trouble with my car for about 4 months now. The problem is that when I take it to a repair shop the engineers tell me that my car seems ok, and when I take the engineer for a ride in my car it works perfectly! I hate it when that happens…

A friend of mine studies Auto Mechanics at a college here in Riyadh. So, I called him and he stopped by to check it out, BUT IT WORKED FINE. We drove my car at 170 km/h and it wouldn’t overheat. I thought that maybe we need to stop a few minutes to get it to overheat, so we went to Quiznoz for dinner (we went to the farthest branch hoping that it would overheat on the way), but it still wouldn’t overheat!

The next day as I was coming back from the university, it overheated!! I called my friend and told him that my car overheated. He suggested that I take it to a very good mechanic that he knew. I took it to the mechanic and he told me what the problem was at last…

The mechanic was really funny, he was indian but he had a saudi accent. When he saw me he said:”

هلا و الله بالقصمان

“. So I asked him where he was from and he said:”Ana Qusmanji min alhind”…

I just hope he is as good a mechanic as he is a comedian (I think it would be hilarious if he did stand-up comedy)…

Google TechTalks

// November 25th, 2006 // 2 Comments » // tech

Google TechTalks are designed to disseminate a wide spectrum of views on topics including current affairs, science, medicine, engineering, business, humanities, law, entertainment, and the arts…

I liked this talk in particular, it was on July 26, 2006 by Luis von Ahn who is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. The talk is about “Human Computation“.

His research includes CAPTCHAs and Human-based computation. His work has appeared in over 100 news outlets including The New York Times, CNN, USA Today, The BBC, and The Discovery Channel.

Test the ESP Game he talks about in his talk.

update: Isn’t it weird and funny at the same time, that he drinks coke while he is answering questions (skip to 44:14). Isn’t it kind of rude?

Gold Printer at Gitex…

// November 24th, 2006 // Comments Off // uncategorized

I didn’t go to Gitex this year because I was kind of busy. I was interested in the Zune, so I asked a friend of mine to ask when we can expect it in Riyadh, but he couldn’t find an answer there.

I was reading reviews on this years Gitex and I found this interesting picture.

This 24ct Gold HP Laserjet Printer was up for auction at Gitex for a starting price at 299$!! Why did they choose a middling LaserJet and not an HP-35 or other HP product more worthy of such opulence?
via engadget

I was reading about this printer on engadget and the first comment to this post was: “I bet it still gets paper jams” ;)

Riyadh Traffic… Any Solutions?

// November 21st, 2006 // 8 Comments » // Information, me

Since I’ve been away from the university for a couple of months I never used the highway early in the morning (since I graduated last June). Now, that I have become a TA in the university I use the highway every morning. I forgot how crowded it could be. It took me about 30 minutes just to go between 2 exits (less than 5 kilometers).

If there is one thing that I hate it’s negativity, some people just like to talk about the negatives in everything they see for the sake of complaining. These people sometimes criticize a certain behavior or action, just to tell people indirectly that they don’t have these flaws and that they are simply perfect!! It’s easy to find flaws and complain about the bad job others are doing, but what we need are solutions and ways to solve these problems.

I thought I would write down a few suggestions that might solve this problem, and if you have any better idea just write them down as comments to this post.

– One thing you might notice when driving on the highway in the morning, is about 90% or more of the cars only have one person riding. Which means that almost all people go to work alone in their own cars. A few days ago I decided to count the number of sedans with 3 people, and I only found about 6 cars.

Imagine what it would be like if every car had 3 people riding instead of just one person. That would logically lead to a decrease in the number of cars on the highway by one third!! One of my classmates and best friends lived about 2 kilometers away from my house and my house was on his way to the university, and never thought of carpooling (i’m not saying that it’s a good thing).

So, carpooling frees the highways so you can get to work on time, and it saves you gas money since you don’t use your car everyday.

– One of the reasons why the traffic is so high in the morning, is that everyone uses their own car to get to work. Why do people use their own cars to get to work? well, because we don’t have public transportation. Yes, we don’t have trains and we don’t have buses that have an organized daily route.

Ok, now lets see. How many students go to King saud university? How many student go to Imam university? thats more than 30000 students!! Which means more than 20000 student use the own cars on highway to get their colleges everyday (assuming that some may carpool). So why not have official bus routes that can pass by every exit on the highway every 20 minutes?

So, using public transportation frees the highway, saves gas money, and makes transportation companies alot of profit!!

– When I used to be in the states, I remember that the number of lanes on each side of the road would change depending on what time of day it is. The would be a huge truck that would move the cement barriers between the 2 sides of the road to make the side entering washington with more lanes than the other side. And at 12:00 I guess the truck moves the barriers to make the side leaving washington with more lanes.

It makes me really angry to see one side of the road is full while the other side is virtually empty. I’m not saying make the entire highway with movable cement barriers. It’s enough to do it between exits that have very high traffic.

It’s cleave, easy to implement, and its helps solve the problem.

– They have done a very great job solving the traffic problems at exits 9, 10, 15, and 16. I just hope that they will find a solution to the traffic on the highway as soon as possible.

These were a few of the ideas I though of to solve the traffic problem. If you have any suggestion add comment…

My Name in Kanji

// November 16th, 2006 // 6 Comments » // Personal

A few months ago I was looking for a website that can help me write my name in Kanji (Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese writing). Kanji just looks so beautiful, and thats why so many people use it for tattoos(but thats not why I wanted my name in Kanji ;)). I found a website that charged about 60 USD just to write your name in kanji.

Then I found a personal arabic website of a guy named Haroon Alsawalqah. In his website he writes about Japanese forms of writing. I sent him an email asking him how my name is written in Kanji. He replied a few days saying:

عادة لا تكتب الأسماء الأجنبية بمقاطع الكانجي بل يتم كتابتها بحروف الكاتاكانا، وإن حاولت أن تكتبها بمقاطع الكانجي فإنه يكون لديك مئات الخيارات لأنه يوجد مئات الأصوات التي تعبر عن نفس الأصوات…

على كل حال، ها هي محاولة وإن كان عندك برنامج IME فإنك تستطيع أن تجد الكثير من التوليفات من مقاطع الكانجي التي يمكنك عن طريقها كتابة أسمك، مع ملاحظة بأنه لا يوجد مقطع في اللغة اليابانية يعبر عن الصوت Fe الموجود في إسمك لذلك لا خيار أمامنا سوى إستخدام الصوت Fu. وكذلك ينطبق الأمر على حرف السين في إسمك، كما تعرف كل صوت في اللغة اليابانية يجب أن يتبعه صوت علة لذلك لن تجد حرف السين وحيداً وأفضل الخيارات هي أستخدام SU.


وكما تلاحظ فإن كتابة إسمك بمقاطع الكانجي يغير الكثير من طريقة كتابته، لذلك أنصحك بإستخدام الكاتاكانا حيث يكتب إسمك هكذا : フイラス أو   フェラス.

It was so nice of him to go through all that trouble for me. I rewrote my name on Adobe Illustrator. I think it looks really nice, but i’m not sure if it’s 100% correct. So, were should I have it tattooed ;)…

Canadian Universities in Riyadh

// November 15th, 2006 // Comments Off // uncategorized

Last Sunday the australian universities had a little workshop at the Marriot here in Riyadh. University representatives from various universities sit and take question from students who plan on getting their education there. Most of the students where applying for undergraduate studies I suppose. I didn’t see any of the first tier universities approved by our college.

Last Monday there was another little workshop for the canadian universities. It was much more organized than the australian one, maybe it was because the canadian embassy was hosting it. There were many first tier and second tier universities like Alberta, Carleton, Calgary, and Memorial University of Newfoundland . The university representatives were very helpful, and they answered all our questions. I was surprised by the number of pakistani highschool students that came to apply to Canadian universities. On the other hand, many pakistani’s are into medical school.

One of the best ways to apply to a canadian university is by visiting CEN‘s website. One of their representatives was at the workshop. He said that the take all your papers (transcript, TOEFL scores, GRE scores) and they apply for you at four universities which are accepted my the ministry of higher education. They also tell you which universities might accept you and which might not. The best thing of all is that all their services are for free. They get their profit from canadian universities.

There will also be another workshop for Universities in the UK, the workshop as I understood will be hosted by the British embassy here in Riyadh. To participate you have to get an invitation for the embassy.

Adorable Child…

// November 15th, 2006 // Comments Off // uncategorized

I saw this video of a child reciting a few suras from the holy quran (I think he is Italian, or so I was told). May Allah help him memorize the rest of the holy quran…

it’s only 2MB…

مقطع رائع لطفل يرتل بعض سور القرآن أسأل الله أن يعينه على اتمام حفظ كتابه العزيز

H-Racer Video

// November 14th, 2006 // Comments Off // tech

I wrote a few months back about H-Racer, which is a hydrogen toy car. It basically uses hydrogen cells for fuel, it also comes with a hydrogen refueling station. Anyways, I saw this video of a guy testing it:

كتبت قبل عدة أشهر عن H-Racer و هي عبارة عن سيارة تستخدم خلايا الهيدروجين للوقود، كما أنها تأتي مع محطة هيدوجينية لعبئة السيارة بالوقود. و هذا مقطع لشخص يقوم بتجربة السيارة.

Coffee Art Video

// November 12th, 2006 // 3 Comments » // Information, me

When you mix two things you love, you might get something even better. I love art and I also love coffee. That’s why I think coffee art is so cool. I saw this video a few weeks ago and I really liked it. You’ll have to wait a bit for it to download, it’s about 10MB…

هذا مقطع فيديو جميل جدا للرسم على القهوة، قد تطول فترة التحميل لأن حجم الملف 10 ميغابايت

New Theme

// November 10th, 2006 // 3 Comments » // uncategorized

I just finished changing the theme of my blog. I changed it yesterday and it worked great with firefox, but it looked all mixed-up when I tried it with Internet Explorer. It was because of the CSS, when I removed text-align:justify; it worked alright…

Update: I added an image authentication plug-in. The plug-in is called captcha!, and to make it less hard for you. All you have to do is authenticate ONE character from the image…

Let me know what you think. Any suggestions?