Tag Archives m.news

Meet the ScapegoatS of the moment :: the 2 drivelers!

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Yep, it’s that time again. I’ll be off on my travels for a couple of days, so until my return, please feel completely free to blame ALL ills in the world or your personal sphere, any bad experience, marital break-ups, horse breaking a leg, Lebanese 2nd civil war, Israel being swallowed by a huge whale, Bahrain turning completely democratic, any bad news like that, on:


The Drivel of 2 Bahrainis

have fun and don’t spare them any change, they don’t deserve the generosity! 😈


Happy 4th birthday Mahmood’s Den!

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Happy birthday Mahmood's Den!

Happy birthday Mahmood’s Den!, originally uploaded by malyousif.

The small adenium (desert rose) flowered, and I am really happy with it. It took this plant a year to get itself together, but what a fantastic show it is now.

This photograph is my present to all of you guys who made Mahmood’s Den the place it is now. I wish you all a very happy and fulfilling life, and thank you all once again my friends for enriching my life by knowing you.

Happy 4th birthday Mahmood’s Den!

The first entry in “the new era” of Mahmood’s Den was on the Xaraya platform on 23 April 2003

update 1: If you want to dig deeper and follow the progress and evolution of Mahmood’s Den, you might want to have a look at the Wayback Machine, the first it records my site is in September 2001 which shows the entries going back to 4 July 2001!

Like everyone else I think, I didn’t have my own domain when I first started. I had a site on Geocities I think, and called the site then “Kick the Dog”! You can see that I resurrected that name briefly in 2002 but reverted back to Mahmood’s Den soon thereafter.

The old-timers will remember the time even before 2001, 1986 to be exact! That’s when I ran a BBS called “Stray Cats BBS” and it was one of the first in the area, but that’s a whole different story!

Ah, memories!!

Happy birthday again.

update 2: oh man, the vault opens! I looked around the internet for mentions of my old BBS and this is what I have found so far:


The beginning

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Well, it had to happen one day, now I have to work for a living.

In the spirit of engendering tolerance, and to expose the many good things that the Bahrain Finance House has done, in not only bringing running water to the depths of Africa, building mosques in Germany and Sao Paulo and of course the various schools it has funded throughout the Third World; they have approached me to run their many philanthropic efforts with particular emphasis on spreading the idea and ideals of tolerism by utilising Mahmood’s Den to the full.

Some of you might have questioned the various technical issues we have had over the last week. These, I can now declare, were caused by BFH’s technical staff, Rackspace and myself diligently working at stabilising the Den as we believe that due to the project I have been employed to do will substantially increase the load on the site; therefore, we have bought another server from Rackspace and have now completely and successfully migrated the Den to a load balancing arrangement to ensure reliable and expeditious delivery of content to readers.

Although I cannot divulge the financial arrangements, I can tell you that the ownership of the domain mahmood.tv is in the process of being transferred to a foundation which will be the umbrella organisation for these new efforts. In doing so, I am very happy with the financial arrangements and can tell you that although money was never a motivation – doing good of course supersedes these mundane considerations – I am now financially secure.

Needless to say, this would never have happened had it not been for your help, my friends. Without your visits, readership, comments, criticism and genuine love that I felt, this would never have happened.

What can you expect from Mahmood’s Den going forward?

The same, but much richer!

Plans have been put in place to employ full-time staff (one technical to take care of the server, development and theme creation and two sales and marketing) while we intend to hire many freelancers operating in the same areas BFH concentrates on, these freelancers will file reports on activities in their areas as well as news stories and analysis. Of particular interest is the exposition of corruption in those countries and how that impacts our delivery of sustenance and education in those territories.

There should be a press release from BFH later on today which I shall repost here of course.

Thank you once again for your support and your friendship.


Maintenance in the Den

Heads up: in order to improve the performance of the site, the good people at Rackspace‘s technical support and I are looking into some problems the site has experienced off and on in the hope that we will identify the problem and enact a fix.

The first step is upgrading some components on the server, which means that you might find the site down off and on over the next 24 hours. I’ll let you know when the maintenance concludes and share any discoveries – if any – here too.

Thanks for your support and I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE 29 March, ’07: Installed PHP 5.2 and the latest APC accelerator. There are some issues still that need to be resolved. Generally it works fine and so far the site has not crashed as often as it has previously (touch wood!). Will keep you updated, if you notice something weird, please confirm it and then let me know about it. Thanks.

UPDATE 2 29/3/[email protected]: There are various incompatibilities between PHP 5.2 and various PHP programs, WordPress included. I’ve asked tech support to downgrade to 5.1.6 as soon as possible. You might notice strange behaviour until then (most of the tabs and the pages are gone for instance). Bear with us a bit longer please.

UPDATE 3 29/3/[email protected]: PHP downgraded to 5.1.6, sites appear to work normally now but will keep monitors (let me know if you stumble upon something) but please clear your browser cache in order to ensure that you’re seeing the correct version of the site.

UPDATE 4 30/3/[email protected]: reliability is still not as good as I expect and as you have seen there are still some incompatibilities (pages not displaying and the tabs at the top of the page have disappeared) to resolve. So Rackspace tech are now downgrading to PHP 4.4.6 (better compatibility with APC). Let’s hope that at least the pages make another appearance!


server load

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Guys, sorry for the various downtimes the server has been experiencing. The biggest culprit is the amount of comments being pulled all the time from the database which is overwhelming it.

In the words of tech support:

SELECT comment_post_ID, post_title
FROM (wp_comments LEFT JOIN wp_posts ON (comment_post_ID = ID))
WHERE comment_approved = ‘1’
AND (wp_posts.post_status=’publish’
OR wp_posts.post_status=’static’)
ORDER BY comment_date DESC;

This is returning about 30k rows each time it is run and it appears to be run fairly often.

So I’ve got to think of solutions to alleviate this problem. The first is that I will change all the feeds to be served by Feedburner, including the comment feeds and close the possibility of commenting on any article which is over 6 months old (older articles will be cached, and this will improve the performance too – if a user really needs to comment on an older article, I’m sure they will find a way to do so, like publishing something on their blog and linking back maybe?) Another thing is reducing the size of the “Recent Comments” block which I think is the biggest culprit, as there is no caching mechanism in that module and it is the single thing that is impacting the database mostly (I think) as it is pulling those 30,000 comments every time a page is reloaded.

I’m not an expert at this, so I will continue to find ways to improve the service, so please bear with me in the various technical ups and downs. I promise to minimise them as much as possible and seek professional help too!

If you have any technical suggestions, please let me know.


New AJAX Comments module installed


Quick admin stuff:

I’ve installed a new Ajax-Comments plugin, that means that the comment is posted when you click submit without it having to reload the whole page to show it. Did you not notice that sexy drawer effect when you hit submit? That lessens the load on the server a lot (I hope).

I don’t know why it doesn’t display the proper comment number though on that instant, but if you do reload the page (I know, defeats the purpose) you will notice that the numbering is correct.

I’ll try this comment module for a few days and see how it goes. If you have an feedback on this, please let me know.

And I am researching ways to optimise the server, ie, getting the pages to load faster. So bear with me. I’ll tell you when I’m done. The first I’m going to do is install APC (Alternative PHP Cache) and other stuff to kick the server into a higher gear.

I’ll let you know when I’m done playing…

update 18:12 -> ALL DONE!
I’ve finished the optimisation of the site:

I hope you will find that the site loads faster now. Let me know your experiences please if you don’t mind.

There is one more thing I can do, and that is disallow commenting on any article past a certain timeframe; for instance, I can bar commenting on articles over 6 months old, or 3 months old or one year old. This will allow those articles to almost be permanently cached and they will load (theoretically) like greased lightening as they will remain static by definition, hence will only be cached once and be ready for display (only) always.

Would you be okay with that? Let me put up poll and see what you guys think…

Thanks for your patience.

UPDATE 2: 3 Feb, ’07, disabled the Ajax Comments as it was timing out and creating problems.


Say hello to Ella

I’ve upgraded the blog this afternoon to the latest release of WordPress, 2.1, code-named Ella for Ella Fitzgerald. There are many fixes, security enhancements and improvements on the previous release (obviously) and it should also be faster and leaner. I think the actual upgrade went well and as far as I can tell nothing is broken. Mind you, I upgraded all my other sites to this new version first yesterday and tested them before attempting to upgrade the Den.

I’ve also just finished installing the latest release of the theme I’m using, and moved over my modifications from the previous release to this one. You will probably notice the changes in the theme much more than what you would notice in the system itself, which is only natural. I love the small changes and improvements in the theme; for instance: every comment is numbered and the the number of the comment itself is the permanent link to that comment, that is, you can “copy link location” and bookmark it or use that link in your own comment. The comments now are alternately coloured for easier reading, and the “Share This” link now actually works! Try it. There are various other bits and pieces, see if you can identify them.

Most important of all, if you do notice something broken or you think is broken, no matter how small, I would appreciate you letting me know so I can attempt to fix it.

I would like to thank the good folks at WordPress for their excellent efforts, and Sadish for this excellent theme.



Private Messages plugin installed

I know you guys want to connect with each other, but don’t want to bother with spam and all that good stuff, so I installed a new “Private Messaging” plugin which you can use to send quick notes to each other if you wish. And if you are logged in, you can quickly see how many messages are waiting for you; look at the sidebar below the “Meta” block and you will see something like this:


Click the “go” link to take you to your inbox.

You can send a private message (pm) to another use by clicking on the “send pm” link next to his or her name in the header of their comment; this link will only appear if the user was actually logged in when commenting. If you do not log in, then obviously the system will not be able to track who you are or claim to be, so this is an added incentive for you to actually create an account for yourself here. The way that things are being developed, more and more member-only services will be rolled out. Registering and logging in are; however, completely voluntary, so please do not feel pressured to register if you don’t want to.

This is what the “send pm” link looks like in real life (so far anyway):


And finally, this is what the PM composition page looks like (click for a larger view):


Thanks go to Fred for creating such a plug in. As always, I look forward to receiving your comments on this if you have any.


Mahmood’s Den Scapegoat of the Moment –> Esra’a!

The tradition continues… I’m off on my travels again, and that means that someone’s got to be the Scapegoat on whom the ills of the world shall be blamed!

If you’re not familiar with this, the most ancient of traditions in the Bahraini blogosphere, then hearken unto me and looksee here for your edification. ’tis the Hall of Scapegoat Fame!

So the scapegoat of the moment is none other than:


Blame everything on her! If a plane crashes, it’s because of her; if you miss an appointment, it’s Esra’a; if you fight with your spouce, again, it’s her; if Israel decides to invade Bahrain to avenge Mucheru’s honour, it’s most definitely Esra’a’s fault, if the coffee walla gives you (horror of horrors) latte instead of your designer white-chocolate-mocha-frapachino-extra-hot-extra-foam-with-cream, then it most definitely is Esra’a’s fault!

That is, until I come back to Bahrain… so this is your open space, rant, rave, blame, castigate Bush, or beat about the bush here… have fun, be nice and polite too, that will add to the fun part too.

See you in a week.