Tag Archives Technology

I hate that WWW thing

After years of having the internet, why the hell do people still use www in front of every domain name?

Traditionally, the www – world wide web (or world wide wait depending on where you are) represents a shortcut to where the website is, so people would do www.mahmood.tv for instance, but now that that is established, shouldn’t we just drop that? After all, we all know that website root should be redirected automatically to the site. That is, mahmood.tv should automatically and transparently go to where ever you set the website server to be.

That’s not so if you are Batelco of course! They’re STILL hung on the www thing. Try to get inet.com.bh without the www and you won’t get anywhere. The same with most websites with the .bh (Bahrain) domain, especially government. WHY?

I can accept (and use) the mail.mahmood.tv, ftp.mahmood.tv to get to certain services, and if I need them I would configure them, to my mind that is the only time I would use a prefix, but with the prevalence of websites, that’s like saying Mr. every time you open your mouth. Aren’t we familiar with the web that we can now use first-name basis as an address?

Another thing that peeves me off about Batelco’s interpretation for this minute island is their insistence on the .com.bh, .org.bh and .net.bh. I guess to them it’s another way of raking it in, but I hope that with the Bahrain Internet Exchange coming online, they would drop all those silly things and just go with domain.bh without the com, org and net.


3rd session of parliament shaping up very nicely…

MPs seek clamp on phone pornography


MPs are calling for a new law to combat untraceable pornographic broadcasts between mobile phones.

Girls are reportedly being harassed by youths misusing the Bluetooth technology now available in some mobiles.

Bluetooth can trace any similar receiver phone within 10 metres and transmit to it without dialling up the number.

These means pictures can be broadcast without leaving any trace of who sent them, said parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and national economy committee vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossari.

He is proposing a new law to combat the misuse of such facilities, which can also operate from personal computers.

Mr Al Dossari is planning to submit the proposal next week to parliament chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani.

Mr Al Dossari, who is also Independent Bloc spokesman, told the GDN yesterday that the wording of the proposal was being carefully studied by the bloc’s legal adviser and would be hopefully ready by tomorrow.

“I have come up with the idea after receiving several complaints from families saying that their daughters were being harassed by young men who send them pornographic material using Bluetooth,” he said.

“Others have also complained about pictures and clips of their daughters being spread through mobile phones, without any trace of their origin.

“It is hard to know who sends these picture and clip messages, since dialling up the receiver isn’t needed.

“Most cases have been reported to have happened in malls, restaurants and event at Bahrain University.” Mr Al Dossari said that he was not proposing banning Bluetooth, just regulating its use.

“Everyone acknowledges the vital role technology plays in people’s lives today, but it needs to be monitored to ensure people don’t misuse it,” he said.

“Batelco has thankfully helped trace many people who were misusing the Internet, by identifying the location of the transmission, since it is being done through a phone number.”

But he said it was hard to catch those who misuse Bluetooth, since no one knows who is sending the information, or from where.

“Bluetooth is now available amongst half of Bahrain’s population and its use has become so common,” said Mr Al Dossari.

He said he hoped the proposed law would help protect people’s privacy and combat indecency.

“A similar law has been introduced last week in Kuwait and we hope that our government will do the same,” said Mr Al Dossari.

GDN Aug 31st, 2004

Ah what fun… trying to control technology, trying to control the untraceable, and adding a veneer of religiousity to it as well. Very nice. Can we expect anything from these carpetbaggers other than what has happened in the last two sessions?

I for one can’t wait for the next elections.


Let’s all stick with Microsoft because this is what we know…

One of the leading “opposition” newspapers[arabic] published today two big pieces on Linux on page 14 which deals with “technology” and what you get from those articles is the a clear smell that Microsoft or one of its agents has actually written or inspired those articles.

The issue is that the Bahraini government, specifically the Central Informatics Directorate has decided to use Linux for their central servers[arabic] rather than Microsoft’s products. It is possible that they will even use MySQL to hold the data rather than one of the big names – but I cannot confirm that. What the articles are doing is completely attacking that choice and pointing the finger (more like blackmailing) the government under the guise of that we do not have any Linux expertise on the island so that we will have to depend on “untrustworthy foreigners who do not love Bahrain as we the locals do to handle very sensitive information.”

Well, I don’t agree with the government’s steps on introducing a smart card that will hold all of our private information, I’ve detailed my objections on this issue on these pages. However blackmailing the government to do away with Linux because we don’t have “experts” hence we must use Microsoft only is just down right ugly.

What the writer fails to realize is that we have to start somewhere, and if this is the first step the government takes on the road of Microsoft independence, then I am fully behind them.

The articles also stress that the university and government training institutes do not have Linux training in their curriculum. I say “wake up and smell the humus!”

I’m not sure what the writer wants as he just criticizes the government’s choice of Linux without offering solutions other that “stay with our friends Microsoft.” The irony is an article on the very same page which clearly states that Germany, Brazil and other countries have adopted Linux and its solution to run their countries and/or cities. What he should have concentrated on is to support the government’s move because this is one thing that is done in the national interest and encourage the government to sponsor Linux training and creating job opportunities relating to Linux.

A few weeks ago, the IBM training centre in Bahrain has received Red Hat certification, so they can certainly be commissioned to train young Bahrainis in Linux system administration, programming and support.

There is no pleasing some people.. I hope that Al-Wasat is not going to be yet another “brown envelope newspaper!”


Linux Cluster to be established at the UoB

from Bahrain Tribune

There is a considerable gap between world information-technology literacy levels and Middle Eastern involvement in the field, said experts at a forum on industry-university collaboration on IT which was held yesterday.
The opening keynote address was made by Minister of Industry Dr Hassan Fakhro and Dr Diem Ho, IBM university relations manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
At the forum, Dr Ho announced a grant for establishing of a Linux cluster laboratory for research purposes at the University of Bahrain.

At last! They’re doing something worthwhile and teaching students real skills to benefit the community rather than just feeding them Microsoft Office crap.

I know that there is a growing Linux user base in Bahrain and the Arab world, but that needs to expand a lot more to reap the benefit Linux offers. There needs to be some forums and symposiums to discuss alternatives to the choking Microsoft prevalence in this part of the world. The government last year signed an almost exclusive contract with Microsoft to provide Office and their operating system worth at least BD1m ($2.65m), when virtually all of those products could have been replaced – even in a small part – with OpenOffice, MySQL and the various other tools available in Open Source.

The greatest deterrent of adopting open source in the Arab world I think is the absence of Arabised products, and the second is simply unfamiliarity.

If just the government of Bahrain dedicated even 10% of the Microsoft contract to fund research into Arabising some OS products, it will have not only served itself, but the whole Arab world.

OpenOffice 1.1 beta now support Arabic beautifully, so it must be evaluated by the government and private sectors as a replacement to MS Office. I’m sure too that they can easily replace MS Access with MySQL and PHP. I’m not saying that this is easily done, but it is high time that they at least seriously investigate these solutions.

Adopting and adapting open source tools will go a long way in wiping out the pirate culture we have. The thinking from “normal” people and even some businesses is if they can get Microsoft Office XP professional for next to nothing (the pirated CD package is available for about $10 or so) and our staff are already familiar with it, why bother going to even something for free that we have to spend a lot of time, effort and money to retrain them on open source tools?


Self-destructing DVDs on the way!

Disney is supposed to release DVDs for the rental market which are chemically treated to render the disks unreadable after 48 hours from opening the DVD package. The chemically coated DVD surface is red initially but changes colour to black after 48 hours. Aparently no laser can penetrate that layer, hence it will become unusable (other than a coaster) at the end of that period.

As the process is chemical, it has nothing to do with computer technology, hence is “unhackable” or “un-piratable”.

observation 1: most people who put their mind to it will copy the disk in the first hour
observation 2: this will start a new market that sells chemicals to stop or reverse the original chemical process
observation 3: in a couple of years scientists will suddently discover that the chemical is a carcinogenic
observation 4: people will sue Disney for ridiculous amounts
observation 5: it will go bankrupt because of class actions
observation 6: some other people will discover that the chemical is harmful to the environment
observation 7: they’ll sue
observation 8: more companies go broke
observation 9: the US President will declare that Bahrain is a “clear and present danger”
observation 10: “war on terrorism on Bahrain” will start
observation 11: lots of companies will start recouping the money lost in 8 above, the economy becomes okay again
observation 12: US military sources will declare that Bahrain is now free of terrorism. but they cannot produce one who was
observation 13: back to 1 with another idea!


Man that was rough!

I applied the (unreleased) Xaraya 0.901beta to the site and poof! The site dissapeared!

And of course only after this happens, did I look at the messages gathering in my inbox that said quite clearly that there are still some issues with the unreleased package on sourceforge… ah well, you know what they say: to every cloud there’s a silver lining!

I deleted everything, dropped the database, and installed the very latest “pull” direct from the repository, restored only the categories and articles tables, tinckered some more with the settings etc, and now finally we’re back online….

I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure… I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure… I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure… I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure… I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure… I promise (once again!) that I’ll try the updates on a test site first, and then apply them to live sites only when I’m sure…

but then, where the hell fun in that?

hehehe 😀
good night!


Outgrown *nuke? Come to the next era!

this is a comment I entered at http://www.dinerminor.com and I thought I would reproduce it here. I hope John doesn’t mind!

I’m sure a lot of people join me in congratulating Team Xaraya on the release of the first public beta of Xaraya, but why should they?

Is it just a new toy to play with? Another piece of code to complain about? Another piece of software that forces you to become a software developer, engineer, visionary just to publish the articles that you want to publish the way you want them published? In short, I see Xaraya as the natural next step in content management platforms. Unlike its predecessors, it is deep, intuitive, and full featured.

No longer does the publisher (rather than the webmaster) has to be completely familar with several technologies. With simple configuration options available in Xaraya, one finally could remove oneself from worrying about technicalities and concentrate on publishing content… which incedentally what we all got into this game for in the first place.

Just set up Xaraya how you want it once, and then just worry about your content, content, content and never worry about if a permission is actually going to work consistantly, or if a module is going to be incompatible with the core!

Thank you Team Xaraya for this release, and we look forward to 1. I think if we just stop here, at 0.9 this is a major milestone as it answers most if not all of the needs of those frustrated *nuke webmasters!