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Bye bye Concorde… it has been good to know you

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Air France is set to ground the Concorde next week with British Airways following suit in October.

Since it began commercial operation with its maiden flight to Bahrain, I have unfortunately never flown on the Silver Bird. I have however walked around and touched it on the ramp at Bahrain Airport some years ago while I was still an Avionix engineer with Gulf Air. That was a good feeling only surpassed by actually flying in that tube.

That chance will probably never come again, and with no one that I know of developing a replacement, it’s such a shame that this feat of engineering now passing on to museums.

Richard Branson is bidding to take over the British Airways fleet. This guy has my utmost respect, but with all that I cannot see Virgin – even if they are successful in getting the Concorde from the clutches of BA – ever making money out of it. Let’s face it, it’s old, costs too much to run and service and the environmental people are up in arms about its noise polution.

While it was still flying to and over Bahrain, everyone on the island knew that it has arrived or left because of the noise that it makes – music to me, just plain loud noise to others.

I heard a story a long time ago when the Concorde stopped coming to Bahrain that the reason given was that a Saudi beduin complained to the governmer that his pregnant goats lost their kids because of the sonic boom, so the governer just banned Concorde overflying Saudi! Kids would believe anything!

Thank you Concorde and I hope that even in museums you will continue to inspire engineers for a long time to come.


Linux gains in Munich, Microsoft loses

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Although Microsoft’s offer for desktop operating systems and applications to the city of Munich in Germany is reportedly 3 million Euros less than that offered by IBM and Suse, Munich still chose Linux over Microsoft to switch some 13,000 computers.

Now this is forward thinking and bravery, and maybe just as the article linked above says that this is like the falling of the Berlin wall as far as Microsoft is concerned. Bully to them!

Open source has several advantages over “black boxes’ provided by the like of Microsoft and Apple among others. The fallacy that “there’s no one to support you with open source solutions” just doesn’t work any more as apparently up to 15% of computer deliveries in Europe now are Linux-based, hence there is local wealth of knowledge that users can leverage, and with giants like IBM in the deal, they’re in good hands.

IBM in our area of the world is also trying mightily to convince governments and private enterprises to make the switch. I think the only thing that’s holding them back is uncertainty and Arabisation. Another factor could well be some corrupt officials.

I’ve said before that our governments have to invest time, effort and money into getting Linux and its main open source applications to work well with the Arabic language. It is doable, but requires some champion to push that message through to our governments. We have already seen one of the main government and highest profile sites in Bahrain running open source solutions receiving millions of hits a month, especially during the elections. The server here is Red Hat Linux and the CMS is PostNuke which has been fully Arabised. I would shudder to think of how much it would have cost them if they depended on Microsoft products!

We’re doing our little part in the hope that Linux will prevail, we have an effort going now to Arabise Xaraya, if nothing but to demonstrate that it can be done, at the same time potentially benefiting more than 250 million people.

I’m using Linux and open source solutions in my office on a daily basis. If the staff are unfamiliar with Linux, that’s fine, I just get them to ditch Microsoft in favour of OpenOffice and use MySQL where I migrated most of our databases.

Small businesses in Bahrain can immensely benefit from open source, at once they will become ‘legal’ by ditching pirated software they habitually use, and help future generations by getting them away from stifling closed and expensive products.


The new Al-Qaeda

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fron the NYTimes

Arab International Ministry, the Indianapolis group that led the crash course on Islam here, claims to have trained 4,500 American Christians to proselytize Muslims in the last six years, many of those since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The oratorical tone of these authors and lecturers varies, but they share the basic presumption that the world’s two largest religions are headed for a confrontation, with Christianity representing what is good, true and peaceful, and Islam what is evil, false and violent.

The criticism is coming predominantly from evangelicals, who belong to many independent churches and Christian denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention.

Evangelicals have always believed that all other religions are wrong, but what is notable now is the vituperation.

here we go again… so how different are these people from Al-Qaeda or Wahabies again?



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I picked this site up from the Xaraya mailing list, I think John Cox mentioned it first, though I can be wrong.

Anyway, want to see how YOU would read this site if you were stoned? click here and tell me how you find it! 🙂


Tina Arena

is one artist I really enjoy listening to. Ask to my daughters and they’ll categorically tell you that I’m an “old fogey” when it comes to music. But Tina is one “modern” talent that I really enjoy being with. Her music and voice has a presence that is completely lacking in the likes of Brittney Spears. None of that grating screaming or overdone mixing that is used to cover flawed performance, just pure, strong and ethereal sounds that goes directly to your soul.

To me, the “brat pack” is just a flash in the pan. But Tina on the other hand will continue mesmerize her listeners for a long time to come.

I just had a chance to listen to one of her latest singles on the radio and I must say that she continues to evolve. “In Deep” is the only album I have by her at the moment, I think I’ll go to the music store in the weekend and grab the latest one.


The negative image of Islam

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from The Washington Times
Robert Crane, a former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain who converted to Shi’ite Islam and leads the Center for Understanding Islam in Somerset, N.J., said Shi’ites should lobby in Congress, found a top-notch Islamic university in North America and take part in Washington think tanks that help draft legislation.

The above passage appeared in a report by the Washington Times of a gathering of Shi’a Muslims in Washington to address the negative image held in Western minds on the Shi’a Muslims.

I think that not just Shi’a Muslims have to correct the image they are labeled with outside of the Muslim world and even within it, but all Muslims should endeavor to remove that cloud that is perpetually hanging over them as far as all the world is concerned.

Muslims have to work diligently now more than ever to show how just, temperate and forgiving Islam really is and that most of what is happening now is cultural rather than true Islam.

Islam has always equated between men and women, set just rules for everything in daily life to inheritance. Unfortunately what is portrayed about it is just extremism, terrorism and jihad.

I hope that what the Shi’as are doing in America now will succeed and become a template for others to follow.


Now read this…

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from Ahmedabad Newsline
First textile industrialist Mohommad Saleem had a close shave when men belonging to the Anees Ibrahim gang opened fire near his residence. Then, Pankaj Agarwal of Prafful Sarees received threatening calls from underworld gangster Fazal-Ur-Rehman to settle the payment due to actress Shilpa Shetty. Bankim Desai, owner of Rangoli Dyeing and Printing Mills, received extortion calls from Saleem Kolsawala, a gangster with links to a Bahrain-based gang, an offshoot of the D-Company. He was arrested by the Surat police on Thursday.

WTF?? Bahrain-based gangs? Never heard of such a thing. I’m not saying that Bahrain is free from crime and violence, but this is the first time I hear of organized crime here.


An example of a commercial with a message

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Doug Daulton: In contrast to Mahmood’s bad TV commercials, here is a powerful example of intelligent advertising. Jerry, a fellow videophile, sent me this commercial which was banned in Canada for being too graphic. Now, I like the avante garde commercial as much as the next person, particularly when they call out the cognitive dissonace that is America’s love/hate relationship with sex. Thinking I was getting a little tongue-in-cheek dig at American sensibilities, I fired up Windows Media Player.

I encourage everyone involved in television production in the Gulf to read Doug’s post and experience how powerful commercials with a message could be done. This one does contain violence and language and has been banned in Canada, but the message is very clear and goes to the point.



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the theme you’re looking at now is completely and utterly inspired by John Cox in his excellent detailed tutorial on Xaraya theme building.

immitation is the best form of flattery I guess, so thank you very much John!