Tag Archives google

Hello Turnera subulata bushes

Hello Turnera subulata bushes

Turnera Subulata

As you know, we went out last weekend and grabbed a few things for the garden. We picked up five small bushes because their flowers and shape drew us. Unfortunately the garden nursery staff didn’t know the actual name of the plant.

This is not the first time that I got a plant that I didn’t know the name, and yes, I know it’s quite important to do so in order for you to conduct basic research to know the needs of the plant. How else do you expect something to thrive if all you know about it is that it’s green and flowers from time to time?

My go-to method of identifying a plant is to ask. Of course. But before doing that, what I’ve found pretty effective is to take a picture of the leaves or flowers (or both) and upload it to Google Image Search. Just click the camera icon in the search field, select the upload tab and upload your image. I find higher resolution bigger images work best. In most cases, I get a close enough match to help me drill down further to eventual identification.

This is what I’ve done this morning with these new bushes. I noticed that their flowers open in the morning, so I snapped a quick picture on my way to the car this morning, came to the office, uploaded it and started the search. It wasn’t very long that I was led to the plant’s Turnera subulata Wikipedia page.

Thank you very much Google for making our live’s easier!

How do you go about identifying your plants? Do you have any tips and tricks you can offer? Please share your knowledge.

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Google Translate – Another innovation for Arabic

One of my top sites which I visit constantly is Google Translate. This is a service I use extensively to translate between Arabic and English and vice versa. But although the context of the translation remains somewhat weak, the basis it provides saves me hours in getting my job done. I suspect that many of you share my experience with it.

This morning, a very quite quantum leap happened. On visiting the site, I was faced with the following new screen configuration. Expand it if you can see the details please:

google-translate

Did you notice the following help line at the top of the translation box?

Type phonetically. Example: Type “marhaban” and hit space for “مرحباً”.

This simple thing made my jaw drop! Do you realise the implications for this? Those of us who type faster in English now can officially consider the best ever Christmas arriving much sooner than hoped! Man, you can actually type Arabic with an English keyboard! No more switching, no more looking for keys in various keyboard layouts! No more heartache!

Yes, I know that we should run away with this and not get overly excited, the service needs improvement to be sure, but man, when 22 so called countries housing more than 300 million Arabs can’t even coordinate their efforts into getting the Arabic keyboards to type decimal points and numbers, let alone agreeing on a unified keyboard layout (we have the Mac, Windows with various versions, DOS, ASMO 708, and goodness knows what other obscure layouts still in existence), let alone political and economic coordination, we have a single company creating such a God-damned innovative product for a language NOT considered to be its mother tongue!

BUT what does our very own respectable Ministry of Information contribute to this fantastic effort?

It, my friends, BLOCKS Google Translate!!!

Please. Do yourself a favour and take a minute to sign the petition against Internet Censorship in Bahrain. The link is on the right.

Google, I take my ghutra off for you. You – once again – as an Arab nation, made OUR day!

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Batelco Blocked!

In a reversal of fortunes, Batelco finds its own site blocked by a much higher authority than the one it kowtows to: Google!

Several people emailed me a screen grab of Batelco’s site in the latest FireFox browser which severely warns people from having anything to do with Batelco; in fact, it offers a very expeditious get-way for would-be visitors by offering them a button which says “Get me out of here!”

While the dire warning of having anything to do with Batelco is not new, nor is it unique, it is quite germane to the company that offers us untold amount of spam, and through whose servers and collection of IP addresses our business get affected. I am sure that others have suffered from those petulant “undeliverable mail” syndromes that hurls emails back at senders like gleaming hot coals due to their association with Batelco due to its status in the black lists of almost all the major spam-detecting engines.

So thanks to the dependable Google for protected me and countless others who have the forethought to insist on using Firefox which allows for the display of such warnings:

Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content
Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content

What is the current listing status for www.batelco.com?

  • Site is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer.
  • Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

  • Of the 843 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 284 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 07/27/2008, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 07/27/2008.
  • Malicious software is hosted on 27 domain(s), including butdrv .com, chds .ru, kgj3 .ru.
  • 1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including butdrv .com.

Lackadaisical security policies? Or is it once again complete indifference on Batelco’s part?

I would err on the side of both; why should they even care if they are the de facto source of internet communications in this country? A privilege they hold on to and will continue to do so with the complete aid and support of our very own Government – being its largest shareholder, and one that does not care to put any pressure whatsoever on its child to engender creativity and competitiveness in order to allow Bahraini individuals and companies to compete in a global and much more connected marketplace?

The reason must be manifold of course, but could the chief reason amongst them is the perceived indifference that our own government holds us in by allowing the perpetuation of this situation? Robbing us of our chances of a much more creative and competitive marketspace that cheaper and unrestricted communication could very well engender?

In any case. I urge everyone who has to deal with Batelco to exercise extreme caution. You never know when (not if) you will be breached because you are beholden to them.

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Googlisation

Is this a word yet?

If not, it should be!

Judging by the number of hits on Google (of course) it is fast becoming one that dictionary editors must consider adding with its variations very soon.

What brought this thought about was a heart-warming story in Al-Wasat’s letters page [translate] where a young man was bringing to the editor’s attention that he (the editor of the paper, Al-Jamri) should not go far to prove the value of Google – as he referred to [translate] in one of his articles – but look much closer to home!

The young man – Hassan Fadhul – tells us his story with a very rare illness he has been suffering from Hypoparathyroidism and no doctor in Bahrain nor France had found a cure or even medication for. They basically told him that he’s got to just live with it. The young man googled it and found that others shared his predicament. Through his search he also identified and registered with an American society concerned with similarly afflicted persons. It was through them he was put in contact with a pioneering treatment and got to personally know a few of his fellow patients.

Googlisation

I wish Hassan Fadhul all the luck and much success in his life. I hope that now that he has the condition under control, thanks to Google, that he carries on life as normal and that ultimately a cure is found for his condition.

This brings me to a thought I have come to fully accept and encourage: one of the most important talents one can nurture now is to hone the skill of searching on the Internet; Google and other search engines in particular, and then add the skill of filtration in how to accept or reject the information gathered.

This googling (note the small letters) will become one of the most important skills one can get, and I would not be too surprised for an enterprising university offering courses on how to get better at it. I would not be further surprised if that pioneering university is located at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA either!

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No more ads… for registered users that is

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I’ve just installed a fantastic WordPress plug-in that conditionally displays ads, the conditions are set by the webmaster of course – it is that flexible and more.

I won’t bore you with the technical details, suffice it to say that if you are registered and logged-in, no ad will be displayed to you, unless you are reading an article which is older than 15 days old.

If you are a “regular visitor”, that means you have read at least 4 posts in the last 10 days, no ads will be displayed to you either, unless of course you are reading a post which is older than 15 days.

If you have come here from a search engine, Google typically, then ads will be displayed in your session. According to many sources, it is these people who come through search engines who are most likely to actually click on an ad link anyway, so why bother everyone else?

I hope this will give you another impetus to register and log-in to the Den to also be able to comment.

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