Archive for February, 2007

Programmable Water!!

// February 24th, 2007 // 1 Comment » // uncategorized

I was really amazed when I saw this project. It is a really cool project that proves that “Computation is not just about electronics“.

Paulo Blikstein (a Phd candidate at Northwestern University) implemented a project for his “How to make (almost) anything” class at the MIT Media Lab, when he was a first-year MSc. student. He was interested in ways to make the opaque transparent, to make people understand what is “under-the-hood”.

The idea of the project was to build a device that could do computation without electrons (well, not considering the electrons in water itself). So, Paulo implemented Boolean Logic with water!!

Here is a picture of Paulo with his project:

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In his project, he implemented AND and XOR logical gates, which means you can make a half-adder!!

Here is a picture of the XOR gate:

Here is a picture of the AND gate:

You might say that the the pictures above are for the same module. Well, you’re right. It is the same module, but that’s the cool thing about it. The device he built is an AND and an XOR gate at the same time!

If you consider the bottom output pipe you’ll find that it’s an XOR gate, because you will get water out of the bottom pipe “only” if one of the input pipes inserts water to the gate!

On the other hand if you consider the output pipe in the middle of the module, you’ll see that the water will come out of the middle pipe only when the two input pipes pour water at the same time, so they collide together and fall into the U shaped pouch which will only the water to come out of the middle pipe!

In other words, even if some of the theories that say that “some day we won’t have electricity” become true, we may still have calculators!!

Cleaver ha?!
for more info from Paulo’s site click here

Keep Your Friends Close, but…

// February 22nd, 2007 // 2 Comments » // uncategorized

keep your friends close, but your enemies closer…

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This photo of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was taken at the D3 conference, in May, 2005. How cool would it be to be sitting on that table with the two of them…
via[TrappedByDogMa]

Saudi Post EMS = DHL

// February 21st, 2007 // 8 Comments » // uncategorized

Applying to international universities might cost you alot of money, if you plan on sending your papers via DHL or UPS. I called DHL and asked them how much it would cost to send my admission papers to Canada. They said it would cost me about 560 Riyals (149 USD).

So, a friend of mine told me that I can send it via Saudi Post’s EMS (Express Mail Service) and my papers would be there in 3 days, and the good thing about their EMS service is that there not the ones sending the packages, they hand them to the DHL offices here in Riyadh.Which means that if I use EMS to send my package, it would arrive in 3 days via DHL.

So, why not go directly to DHL? Well, because Saudi Post charges only 130 Riyals for the package, while DHL charges 560 Riyals!!

Tip: when you give the Saudi Post your package ask for the DHL tracking number, it’s the only way to tell if your package has arrived.

Nas Airlines

// February 17th, 2007 // 11 Comments » // Personal

I guess many of you might have heard about Nas Alirlines, Saudi’s newest Airlines. I read information about them in their website and I found a few interesting things:

* Nas Airlines currently has 5 destinations:
1- Riyadh
2- Jeddah
3- Madinah
4- Jizan
5- Rafhah

* You might find this abit funny, the CEO of the company Captain Peter Griffiths flies the companies planes!! Just goes to show you…

* I read their FAQs and here were some question I thought were interesting:

Q: Can I travel with a broken leg in a cast?
A: If you have a broken leg and the plaster is above the knee of the affected limb, you will have to purchase two additional seats (three seats in total one for you and two for your leg).

Q: Would I be able to travel if I have contracted chickenpox?
A: You cannot travel until seven (7) days after the last spot has appeared, and then at that point you will also need a letter from your GP/Doctor stating that you are no longer infectious.

Q: Am I entitled for a refund if I cancel my flight?
A: No. We will not refund your money should you cancel your trip once your booking is paid for. You will be required to make a fresh booking on selected flight, date and time immediately and a new flight itinerary will be issued.

Q: Do I receive a ticket when I book a seat on a nas air flight?
A: No. nas air is a ticketless airline. We have removed tickets from our service along with the costs associated with them. These savings are passed on back to you, the Passenger, and that means we are able to offer you a better fare for our service!

Q: Can I purchase an open nas air ticket?
A: No. nas air is a ticketless airline and all flights are point to point.

Saudi Post ?! Come On …

// February 15th, 2007 // 4 Comments » // Personal

Ok, how many of you get other people’s mail put in their mailboxes. I can’t remember when the last time was when I took the mail from our mailbox without someone else’s mail put “accidentally” in our mailbox!! It’s true I only take the mail about once or twice a month, but even though one mistake every month is way too much. I truly feel sorry for this guy named ahmed ;) , his phone bill has been arriving late to his mailbox for years because they almost always put it in our mailbox. Who knows who’s getting our mail ?! :(

I thought we were the only ones with the problem, but when I asked my friends a few days ago. So many of them had the same problem! The bigger problem is that now they want us to subscribe to their new “Wasel” service, were they deliver your mail to your house. In other words, if you get someone else’s mail you have to go to the post office to return it to it’s rightful owner. It also means that if they give someone else your mail, then there is absolutely no way you’re getting your mail back!!

I really hope things get better soon…

Substitute Teacher’s Worst Nightmare

// February 6th, 2007 // 5 Comments » // tech

Have you ever faced a pop-up that wouldn’t go away? On October, 19, 2004, Amero was a substitute teacher for a seventh-grade language class at Kelly Middle School. A few students were crowded around a PC; some were giggling. She investigated and saw the kids looking at a barrage of graphic, hard-core pornographic pop-ups.

The defense said that the machine was infested with spyware and malware, and that opening the browser caused the computer to go into an endless loop of pop-ups leading to porn sites.

Amero maintains her innocence. She refused offers of a plea bargain and now faces an astounding 40 years in prison (her sentencing is on March 2).

via[PCWorld]

I never imaged malicious software could get someone in that much trouble!!

Firefox 100% CPU Usage?

// February 2nd, 2007 // 6 Comments » // uncategorized

I had this problem with firefox’s CPU usage. When I open many tabs at the same time my computer’s CPU usage rises over 90%. It totally slows down my computer, and the reason this happens is because of flash animations in some of the websites I visit. Many people have faced this problem, and some have even moved back to IE because of it…

So, Here’s a nice solution I found. Use the FlashBlock extension, it blocks all flash animations, but if you want to view the flash animation, just click on it…

Try it and you’ll notice the difference…