31 December, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!



Happy New Year Everyone!

30 December, 2007

Nintendo is the enemy of EARTH!


Greenpeace have released a Greener Electronics Guide. It measures how electronics companies deal with e-waste and pollution.
Nintendo was at the bottom of the list. It scored a ZERO.
It was also the first company EVER to score a zero on all accounts! Well, there is an achievment for ya.
Green peace demands that companies:
  • Eleminate hazerdous material from thier products
  • Take back and recycle thier products
And there you go, Nintendo is 2007's menace to "green" society. On another hand, topping the charts was Sony Ericsson. Well done SE! Nokia and Motorola dropped a few places this year. You can see why Nokia went down on this video on Green Peace's web site.
From a gamers point of view, Microsoft didn't score too well either, getting 2.7/10. Sony scored much favorably than other game related companies.

27 December, 2007

Benazir Bhutto is Killed


What a sad day for democracy. Just hours ago, Benazir Bhutto, ex Pakistani Prime Minister was assassinated in a suicide attack. She was shot in the neck, then the attacker blew himself up, killing 20. The BBC had this to say:

Ms Bhutto had just addressed a pre-election rally in the town of Rawalpindi when the bomb went off.
She was campaigning ahead of elections due in January.


And there you go. What a waste.

18 December, 2007

Americans afraid of college prayer room

So, Normandale Community College, USA, have turned its meditation room into a Muslims prayer room. It has a male and female section, prayer times, direction of the Qibla, and people can thankfully actually pray there now. Katherine Kersten writes about it, it gets posted into Digg, then Islamophobia breaks loose, just look at the comments of Digg users:

It'd be a good time to start carrying pork-rinds around campus, and offer them to anyone you meet. Since it's not politically correct to "profile", offer them to eveybody, especially those in the meditation room. It'd be rude not to offer.

It works on airlines, too........

---

Wow.

I think a group of female students needs to go in there quite often and be sure to be uncovered, speak loud enough to be heard, and not stay in the small cordoned off area for women. Show these folks what gender equality means.

---

Come on diggers, you talk of free speech and bash religion all the time. whats stopping you now??? You rip the Christians a new one everyday, let me see your best shots about this oppression against women and against other religions.

---

Is anyone beginning to understand how the excesses of the Crusades and the Reconquista happened?


All this my friends is pure Islamophobia. I can safely say so because they are contradicting their own AMERICAN LAWS which state: Every person has the right to practice his / her own religion.

Now, the segregation of sexes is done as part of the religion itself, and that is a private matter. No one is being injured by it is there? Is it increasing fatalities amongst infants perhaps? Guess not.

And the whining about a dedicated prayer room? Well, again, the AMERICAN LAWS state that they are free to practice their religion. Which incidentally means praying 5 times a day and that unfortunately needs a place to do so.

I mean seriously, people are stuck in a room praying and all this phobia surfaces? Americans are not Americans anymore. No, they do not believe in the words of their forefathers anymore. shame that.

Happy Eid, readers!



17 December, 2007

Happy National Day everyone.

This is a little late, but I want to wish everyone a Happy National Day. I'm using this holiday to catch up on gaming and being a total bum. Yup, no festivities for me, until Eid that is.

16 December, 2007

Teach yourself Videogames in 10 Days


Right, after the Wii & NDS successfully attract non-gamers and made them play casual video games, up comes Bandai-Namco and says: Here's a thought, lets teach them how to play video games!

Bandai Namco announced Videogame Training DS for NDS, a collection of 500 mini games based on 30 Namco classics such as Xevious, Mappy, Galaga, Sky Kid, Valkyrie, Shadow Land, Wagyan Land, The Tower of Druaga, Famista and Dragon Buster. The mini games will test your game skills, reflex and memory. Videogame Training DS will be released in Japan on March 30, 2008.


This is very very depressing to me. I'm sorry, it just feels sad.

11 December, 2007

Leaked: Nissan Murano '09 pic tures


Here is what the new Nissan Murano will look like in 2009. If you planned on buying one in 2008, WAIT!
Hold out for the new look or haggle for a bargain price. True Almoayyed are rather tight with discounts, but I am sure you will see some sweet deals by mid 2008.

09 December, 2007

Street Fighter IV first images

The first images of the highly anticipated Street Fighter IV game, is released. Everyone was wondering how the graphics would look like after the teasing trailer. Here is your first look.


CAPCOM (the game developer) have announced that the graphics shall be in 3D polygons, however, much to the relief of die hard fans, the actual game is strictly 2D.

As usual, new places, characters and moves will be included and the 6 Button system of old remains (3 punches: jab, mid and fierce, and 3 kicks: jab, mid, and fierce).

So far, only Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li & Dhalsim have been announced. The game is expected to hit the Arcades (if there are any left) in 2008.

06 December, 2007

Boy survives animal attack thanks to VIDEOGAMES


A Norwegian boy and his sister were attacked by a moose.

The boy taunted the moose towards him away from his sister then feigned death, making the moose lose interest. How did he know what to do? The boy said:

"Just like you learn in level 30 in World of Warcraft"


Moral of the story: Gamers have a better chance surviving moose attacks than non gamers.

Most fatal Windows Vista Error!

Abandon all hope.

05 December, 2007

Western Digital Hard Disks


I just bought me self a Western Digital Passport Portable Hard Disk. Since I left my last job, I had many files to take away with me. So I thought I'd go get me one of these sleek portable Hard Disk thingies.


So off I went to Gean't. It's where I go to first if I want anything IT, if I can't find it there then I'd bother looking about. They had several models from iomega, Toshiba & Memorex. But the Western Digital Passport was on Special offer. A 120 GB HD costs BD 31, while a 160 GB HD costs merely BD 46. That is a bargain. You'd find drives for half this capacity with the same price in other brands.


I got the 160 GB model, it comes with synchronisation software (Windows only) that syncs your "my documents" folder, outlook mail, wall paper and favorites. Any Windows PC you plug this drive into turns into your PC (well.. close enough). I found that to be liberating as I go back and forth between several PCs.


Some complained about the Passport's power consumption. This drives draws power from the USB port, but some PCs do not give enough power and thus need a special cable (a Two to One Cable) to draw power from 2 USB ports, this cable is not included.


Still, I highly recommend it. Run and get it. And in order to not promote Gean't, you'll find it for 10 fils cheaper in Lulu Hypermarket as well! Knock your selves out.

Poll Result: What would you like to read more of?

This poll closed yesterday with 19 voters. The result is so:

What would you like to read more of? (tick as many as you like)

Bahraini Events
8 (42%)

Videogame Insights
8 (42%)

Sports
8 (42%)

Politics
3 (15%)

Computers and Tech
8 (42%)

Telecom
8 (42%)

Other (please state in the comments)
1 (5%)

Votes so far: 19 Poll closed

Amazingly, you seem to like Bahraini posts, as much as Videogame, Sports, Computer or Telecom posts. I thought I'd stick to the topics you like most, but it seems some of you like me ranting about anything. At least I know you had your fill of Politics.

Thank you to all the voters. I'll keep cranking these posts!

03 December, 2007

I am ACCUSED! The Pebble of DOOM resurfaces.


I have officially been cited to appear in front of the Sixth Minor Criminal Court. What is the charge? Allegedly, a pebble flew out from my tyre and hit another car's wind shield.
This charge is so bogus and trivial, I cannot believe it is real. You can read about it in the original post here. This was last May.
No I have been cited with the following charges:
  1. Caused by mistake to cause damages in properties of others
  2. Drove the vehicle while unregistered
  3. Did not take utmost care due when driving
Are you laughing yet?
I answer as follows:
  1. PROVE IT!
  2. Well, it was my mom's car, I had no idea if it was or wasn't registered. The owner of the car should be responsible for that and it is usually a fine not a criminal offense.
  3. What on EARTH is the "due care" I should take to stop pebbles from flying off my tyers? Fix a damn Hoover on the front bumper?
I heired the services of Mr. Ziyad Kioumji to represent me in court. It is a full blown court case for a lowly pebble. In his professional opinion, they have no law to stand upon nor they can prove it. He was also alone, No witnesses.

I suspected that this might be actually be a scam. Last May, several police officers called me several times, long phone calls may I add, to try to persuade me to pay BD 10 "for this poor poor man!".
Are they scaring citizens to do so? I swear if it was my mother she'd pay on the spot. But they had to get that stubborn blogger.

My trial is on 11th Dec. @ 9 AM. I am inviting anyone who could use a laugh.

27 November, 2007

A year of TheRedbelt: The 1st Blogiversary.


Today marks the first Anniversary for TheRedbelt.com

A year of blogging. Letters in formation, forming logical (debatable) rants.
We saw flooding rain. How Qatar was prepared for the Asian Games and what was their amazing Opening Ceremony like.
We felt proud thanks to Alghasra's achievements, and on the other hand saw several examples of the mis-management of the Bahraini Football Association. How we entered in to the 18th Gulf Tournament, Lost several times and got embarrassed by questions we can't answer.
We saw the PS3 perform really badly at launch.
Enjoyed the Spring of culture 2007.
Got hit with a "MUD Storm", I Visited Allah Almighty, saw the Bahraini first Taekwondo championship here, raced with Marlboro's Red Racing Team and got accused with a very dubious traffic (AKA: MUROOR) charge.
I tried to make people question dubious news, I don't know how successful that was.
Tim Allen ripped off my nick name for a movie! Such audacity!
Things we took for granted changed too. The world wonders were "updated!", imagine that!
The US showed the world its ugly side again, the Americans themselves are disgusted, and their agricultural produce renounce its citizenship.
I saw that huge fire, and how it was poorly attended (I don't care what the newspapers say).
In the Telecoms front, MTC-Vodafone became Zain, while Batelco was given the honor of being named Best Mid-East Internet Provider. pfff..... ppffttt.... WWAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAH!
Sorry, still can't keep a straight face while saying it! :)
Microsoft's Excel proved to be completely unreliable. Which is one of the reasons behind my Shift to Ubuntu Linux.

Busy year eh? I also switched jobs, got married and moved, but this is not a diary. And my diaries are not that interesting, yet.

Thank you readers. Your interaction makes the rants richer and the discussions deeper.
I would like to ask you to keep on coming and continue reading. I appreciate it.
Please take a moment to tick on the poll to the right. I'd like to know what you find interesting.

26 November, 2007

Vacancy: Manager wanted

Are you looking for a job?
I think I am moving to another company soon. But this company has been good to me and the people in it are wonderful. I do not want to just up and go, so I am looking for a successor.

A candidate should be:
  • A college graduate with at least Bachelor's level
  • Have over 6 years of experience
  • Preferably have some sales experience
  • Preferably have some HR, FIN or Management experience
  • Bilingual (English and Arabic)
  • Bahraini Citizens need only to apply
Does that sound like you? Please send your updated CV with contact information to
apply@maktoob.com

If you know someone that might be interested, please forward this to them. Press that white little envelope below the post to email this. Thank you for your help.

Bahrain's next World Cup group


Last night, in Durban, South Africa, the Asian World Cup Qualifiers groups were set as follows:

Group 1:
  • Australia
  • China
  • Iraq
  • Qatar
Group 2:
  • Japan
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • Thailand
Group 3:
  • South Korea
  • North Korea
  • Jordan
  • Turkmenistan
Group 4:
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
Group 5:
  • Iran
  • Kuwait
  • UAE
  • Syria
Very interesting huh? In my opinion, the toughest and least predictable group has to be the first. Australia is a new power house, China is a force to be reckoned with, Asia knows what Iraq can do and Qatar are pretty solid them selves.
All group 1 clashes should be very interesting and dramatic.

Our group (the 2nd one), is still rather close but with clear advantage to Japan. Oman is getting stronger and Thailand is known to pull upsets. We on the other hand are poorly managed and poorly coordinated. Our kind of football cannot be prepared for because of the fact that the players are not disciplined. And if they don't know what they're doing, how can their opponents? Thats how we win!
Group 3 will be won by South Korea.
Group 4 will see Saudi Arabia battling against the Uzbek. Lebanon and Singapore aspire to have fun while they travel, no more.
As for Group 5, Iran will surely preside. Kuwait is gone, UAE was a fluke and Syria has no hope. This is a cake walk for Iran.

Only Five Group winners and five runner ups will go through. I expect them to be:
  • Iraq & Australia
  • Japan & (one of the remaining three)
  • South Korea & Jordan
  • S. Arabia & Uzbekistan
  • Iran & .. maybe UAE.
I suggest to our Bahraini supporters to take Aspirin before the match. Both to help with the headache and to prevent blood clots and strokes from happening.

19 November, 2007

Rain in Bahrain: Today compared to 2006

Last November Bahrain became less of an island and more of a shallow place in the sea. We drowned in heavy rain, and I loved it!
I love the rain, it goes well with my dreach personality.
Anyhow, it is the 19th of November, the weather is nice, not so cold, and certainly no rain. What gives?
According to Mr. Abdulsamad Almuhandis, a senior meteorologist in the meteorology office in Bahrain (AKA: my dad), things are looking pretty calm and sweet. No rain so far.
Last year, by the 26th of November, we got 35-45 ml. of rain. Which is a lot if you compare it to the 6.2 average. But we don't have any rain yet.
In comes Arabic Astrology. On the 24th of November, the sign of Alzbana enters. It lasts 13 days, and usually comes loaded with heavy clouds ready to unload.
I believe my father's predictions completely, but being like him, I know he'd never admit to something unless he is scientifically sure by a good percentage.
In any case, buy new wipers, get a good coat, a decent umbrella, and if your roof needs fixing do it now. You have 5 days.

18 November, 2007

Tekken 6: Heading to a PS3 near you


Bandai / Namco have allowed a few images to slip showing their flagship fighter game's digital prowess. Seems like the game is ready and will be in Arcades (if there are any left that is) by the end of this month. A shout out goes to all GCC gamers, please report any sightings of a Tekken 6 machine here.
It is set to be released for the PS3 in 2008. No idea if it will be exclusive or if Xbox360 will get a taste of it. If it is exclusive, then the PS3, after the price cuts and the stellar games, is beginning to sound like a sweet deal. You get a BLURAY player, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, Winning Eleven, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy. Not bad.
The PS3 sales have been modest but picking up pace recently. I expect it to accelerate even more in 2008, should they stay their course.

17 November, 2007

TheRedbelt.com

I reserved a new domain name for my blog. www.theRedbelt.com
After some thought, I decided that getting a .com domain is significantly better than getting an unknown country extension (like .cc or .tv). Thanks to Ammar for his suggestion.
Please update your bookmarks and keep visiting. I appreciate all the readers and commenters. What would you like to see more of here? Videogame news? Bahraini opinions? Sport comments? Do tell!

15 November, 2007

Vista is Unproductive. In comes Ubuntu 7.10


I have been using at the office Windows Vista Basic with MS Office 07. It has been bothering me for reasons that I find absolutely unacceptable from such an experienced veteran name like Microsoft. Now my laptop, at three months old, is not that bad. It has a new Core 2 Duo processor and 1Gigs of ram. Still, I keep getting problems of slowness and of sheer stupid design, allow me to elaborate:
  • I once started my laptop, carried it with me to the car (I needed to get a phone number off an email) and drove from Riffa Hajjiyat, to Isa Town (WITH Traffic) before Vista booted up and Outlook started.
  • Excel 07 crashes always at least once in each session. For no reason, it just does.
  • Outlook 07 does not send emails out. After investigation, it seems that if I type part of the email then select the address from the drop down short list, it could freeze and stop all email after it. I need to go off line & disconnect, then get to that email and delete it. After which, if I want to send it again I have to retype it in its entirety then hit send.
  • Outlook 07 sends my emails as text. Despite me checking every possible option to confirm I want my emails as HTML, it still sometimes sends them as text. It is absolutely random.
  • If my battery is at 0%, then I insert the AC adapter; it will not charge. I swear. You have to turn the PC off, wait for it to charge at least 1% then you can use windows and charge at the same time.
Need I go on?
Needless to say I wasted hours everyday just trying to get basic functionalities like sending an email to work. It eats ram like crazy. My PC was so slow, heck my Pentium 1 I bought in 1996 was way faster.

Enough! I reached a decision: I cannot live with Vista. I must downgrade to XP or... use Ubuntu. I opted to go the Linux way.

This is my experience so far:
  • Ubuntu had a problem at install (if you can call it that); it was not able to resize a windows partition (I guess it was locked by windows). I started vista, went to my computer, right clicked on the drive and selected "Manage". From here I freed up 50 Gigs (you could work with less), and installed Ubuntu normally.
  • The install took about 15 minutes and had no problems with it.
  • OpenOffice.org took the place of MS Office immediately. It even had some better features, like the document writer had a button to export directly to PDF.
  • My wireless network was connected easily. This was a problem at previous Linux distros. I have now connected at work, home, my parents home, college and the local Gahwa (coffee shop) with no problems.
  • The visual effects of Compiz are amazing. What Vista couldn't (or wouldn't) do, compiz does and more!
  • All programmes that you wish for are easy to get. There is a programme called "Synaptic", start that up and type whatever you want. You can write a programme's name or a description. Like I typed ".rar" and a list showed up, I selected several programmes and clicked apply. The programmes were downloaded and installed without the need to restart. Currently "Synaptic" lists 23133 packages available to it!
  • There is an advanced desktop search field, that can search anything you want in no less than 8 websites and on your PC. Just click your choice.
  • My Samsung MP3 player would not work in Windows without its own programme. But here, Ubuntu knows it is an MP3 player and shows a small ipod icon for it!
  • Bluetooth off the bat. I could browse and be discovered but I didn't know how to connect. Configuration I guess.
I have some minor problems, like the Ricoh printer at work is supported, but I can't enter the usercode I have to type in order to print. And openoffice had formatting issues with presentations and documents in Arabic. Also I am yet to find a way to sync my P990.
Of course, these are gripes unique to me, the normal user wouldn't face these problems.

So, after using it for a while without the need to type a single letter in the terminal like before, I must hereby dub this version the first Ubuntu or Linux version that is totally user friendly.
This is a solid substitute to Vista, it needs no technical knowledge and is secure and fast.
I am really happy with this. I strongly suggest you download it and give it a try.

12 November, 2007

Help Redbelt get a new URL

I've been URL shopping for this blog. Of course "Redbelt.com" is out of the question. So is the .net & .org extension.
unfortunatly there is no possibility of getting a .bh extention without bending over for Batelco.That is totally unfair. I am stuck with other countries that does not represent me at all but will, unlike my home telecoms provider, welcome me. Y'know, like the island nation of Tuvalu that generously give their extensions to websites like Mahmood's den (mahmood.tv). It's thier biggest export!
Anyway, I find my self staring at these extensions:
  • .cc
  • .tv
  • .info
  • .name
I need to know which of these do you think is good. Please vote on the right. If you know how I can get a .bh domain, by all means do post a comment.
Thank you!

Poll Results: Spare part Prices

Thank you for everyone who voted this time. I was rather surprised of the results:

Spare part prices in Bahrain:
Are Cheap!
0 (0%)
Are moderate.
0 (0%)
Are Expensive, but I buy from them.
4 (40%)
I buy from Saudi (or GCC)
2 (20%)
I buy from the US
4 (40%

No one said they are cheap or moderate. But wow, 4 voters buying from the US and 2 from GCC! 60% prefer not to buy from overpriced vendors!
While this is no way a proper scientific survey, at least it shows a trend amongst net savvy Bahrainis.

06 November, 2007

Car dealers are ripping us off


A foglight on my precious Altima needs to be changed. I go to Almoayyed to ask for a spare. I told the guy, since I am changing one, let us change the other too.
He goes: 23 Dinars please.
I go: WHAT THE F***? IT'S A FREAKING LIGHTBULB.

Almoayyed rep: Well, Each bulb is BD 11.500 (US$ 30.50)


Now I think, that can't be right! I mean, do you know when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? It's not new technology man!


So I go to the internet. Compare this with me please:


2 light bulbs @ Almoayyed= BD 23 (US$ 61)

2 light bulbs @ worldpartsexpress.com = BD 4.530 (US$ 11.98 - excluding shipping)


Anyone of you smart boys know how much of a profit margin Almoayyed is taking? Above RRP (which already has a profit margin in it if you don't know).


This, does not compute to me. I am sending this to Almoayyed.com, let us see what they have to say. Vote on the poll to the right about this.

Poll results: Street Fighter IV

with 8 people voting on my humble poll, it seems your opinion on Street Fighter IV is so:

Excited beyond belief!
6 (75%)
Happy, but not that excited.
0 (0%)
Don't care anymore.
1 (12%)
Always hated Street Fighter
0 (0%)
Don't play videogames.
1 (12%)


Votes so far: 8
Poll closed

Frankly I don't have time to game anymore. I lost my skills and can't remember any moves for Tekken or any other fighter.
I seriously think video games are mental excercises, and each genre exercises your brain in a different way. The fact that I am a worse video fighter now basically tells me my thinking and mental ability in a certain aspect have degraded. Maybe it is not noticeable in daily life but in a controlled environment like that it could surface.
Must game more.

05 November, 2007

It's Qashqai, baba!

Last Thursday I popped round to our local Nissan dealer to take a look at the rumored new Nissan Crossover of sorts. The Nissan Qashqai.
I said "of sorts" because the Qashqai looks like an SUV. A small one, but it does look it. Only thing is, it isn't. A 2.0 Litre 4 Cylinder Engine powers only the front wheels to turn. There IS a 4WD option in other markets, but I am not sure if it will reach here in the Middle East. Jermy Clarkson has his own points to state in his review:
Brilliant. You can’t drive it across a field or through a puddle but it looks like an SUV, which means you must bathe in a sea of hate from the world’s liberal democrats every time you go anywhere. That sounds like lose lose.

Qashqai sound like an odd name, But Nissan took a page out of VolksWagen's book and named their car after a tribe. Qashqai is the name of an Iranian tribe. That should do well in the middle east then, shouldn't it?
It comes in two trims: Boring and Less Boring.
The boring trim (or as we locally say "emgashirah") comes with tiny steel wheels, and no buttons on a boring steering wheel.
The less boring one (I will not call this full option, no way) comes with tiny alloy wheels, and some fancy buttons on the steering wheel. And from the looks of it, a Bluetooth built in function for calls.
It is however, unforgivable in my opinion that the less boring trim comes with NO FOG LIGHTS. I mean, it's 2008, you're charging more already, just put them in!
The basic trim costs BD 6995 and the not so full option costs BD 7750. I expect a 4WD option (if ever released) to be around BD 8800.
The car actually doesn't look bad, its a much better contender than the aging and notorious RAV4. It could be better but it is still a good deal I think.
Almoayyed is to have a launching ceremony for the car on the 25th. I really do not understand why do you start selling something and then, you "launch" it. Isn't a launching ceremony the start of something? pheh... businesses these days.

Saturday's Bloggers Gathering

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Last Saturday I attended my first bloggers meeting at "Dulce" cafe. Being my first I woke up early and drove whistling there to reach before 10 AM. Most of the bloggers didn't have the same idea though.
But as they came in, conversation became richer. You can feel when you're in the midst of company that have their own active interests & backgrounds.
We spoke about the weather, laughed at the stupid cheap-stereo-like coloured lights of Bahrain's Financial Harbour and of course, took the mickey out of our Nuwab.
It was a gathering, I don't know why I had an idea in my head that it was a "meeting". I would have loved it if it had an agenda of sorts. Anyway, I tried to discuss my proposed bloggers blood donation rally and it seems like this needs its own meeting.
Anyway, it was a beautiful opportunity to see some bright minds, looking forward to the next one.

29 October, 2007

After Donation


I went to the Salmaniya Hospital Blood Bank last Thursday and donated what I could. There were some people who also answered the SMS call and raced to help others. As it seems, they are now in need of all blood types. They usually write down on a white board inside what types they need, as an internal memo. But this time it actually said "All blood types needed".
I kept hearing the name of a small girl, "Reem" I reckon. I understood that she was needing a specific blood type (either an A+ or an AB+, I know, my memory is useless), and they had a hard time getting it. Only two donors matched, which means they have only 900 cc of blood. Less than a liter. Not exactly sufficient is it?
Well if you do have that blood type, or are just a nice person, do go there and help others (See the picture, I'm smiling! It doesn't hurt, really!). If you are a blogger and wish to help organize a gathering to promote blood donation, please leave a comment.

25 October, 2007

Blood Needed TODAY

This morning, The Blood Bank at Salmaniya Hospital sent me an SMS. They need more blood (sounds like a phrase from a movie, doesn't it?) Its for Anemic & Thelacemic children, and they need it by 12 PM today (Short notice, I know) so I'm going there with some colleagues, join us if you can.
The blood bank is in Salmaniya Hospital, near the parking lot for the Emergency dept. Its the building on your right, if you are facing the Emergency's entrance. Head through the door and read the signs to know where to go.
More info about donating blood and its benefits (yes, it is actually good for you) is here.
This is not the Bloggers 4 Blood rally that we (along with other bloggers) wish to run, but it just sorta happened. Come see us there!

23 October, 2007

Street Fighter IV: Prepare yourself


It was 1992
over 15 years ago. Yes, Fifteen.
Street Fighter II was out and it took the world by storm. I spent untold amounts of cash at the Sindibad arcade at the Exhibition avenue (now le Ancien Cafe, or something).
Street Fighter II was a revolution. It made Arcades popular again, and gave rise to the fighting genre. Street Fighter II was as popular as Michael Jackson in his days, the characters more known than Micky Mouse or Mario even. Capcom was on top of the world.
As I said, that was 15 years ago.
The fighting Genre is almost dead, if not for true die hard fans. Arcades are dead. People are talking about ipods, wiimotes and 1080p now. They forgot the hadokens and shoryukens.

Now, it's coming back. Street Fighter IV is soon to be. I feel like crying at times, at times I feel giddy.
I seriously can't wait!

18 October, 2007

Can I go home now?

I've got the flu. Being sick, only 17% of my brain cells are active (y'know, for breathing and stuff).
Since I am at work, I typed what I feel into MSWord:

Can I go home now?

and "synonymized" it to become:

May I be authorized to depart in the direction of my domicile at this time?

My meds aren't working too well. Entertain a poor sick guy will ya? Synonmize some phrases for me.

09 October, 2007

07 October, 2007

Blood donation spam


I keep getting emails that say some one needs blood urgently, please donate and call him on number so&so.
While they are a beautiful gesture of kindness, they are also a sign of sheer stupidity and it makes me mad.
Why? Consider today's flavour of the blood spam:

There is a 5 year old boy admitted in salmania ward 204.room 3.

He has cancer & need blood donation B+ .

Please forward this to all you know ..

Father name &mobile 39xxxxxx

Khalid A H..


What is wrong with this? let me tell you:

O+ blood is the most common blood type in Bahrain. If someone has B+ and needs blood, they can give him O+, do not worry. If they are in shortage, they SMS their donor data base (I am one of them) so if they need blood I would know before you do.

Second of all, You do not know when this happened! It could be last year for all you know.

And as far as the phone number, it could be a prank and now this poor fellow cannot use his mobile phone because of all the "charity" phone calls he is getting.

I know Bahraini's are kind but, come on!

There is a table on the Ministry of Health's website showing blood type compatibilities. It also has a field where donors enter in their CPR number to show thier record. This of course does not work (nor is secure should it work).
I do have to commend the guys at Salmaniya hospital's Blood Bank though, they are providing an enormous benefit that no one thinks of. It is very easy to donate, nay it is beneficial too. Look here at what Wikipedia says.
So moral of post is:
1- Please give a call to Salmaniya's blood bank, it takes half an hour or so to donate. (How about organizing a bloggers donation day?? Anyone interested)
and 2- of course, stop forwarding junk without thinking. I hate it.

03 October, 2007

Human LCD Screens

So, south Koreans wanted to cheer for their soccer teams. What do they do? transform them selves into LARGE STADIUM LCDS!


Just so you know, these are live humans in an unbelievable level of synchronization. They are not using coloured cards, but their own clothes non the less. They have a jacket with one colour in the front, another in the back, and they can open it up to reveal a third colour in their t-shirts. One school even figured out how to use pants as shading.
This is a human feat. Our legendary electronic National stadium score board is no match to their 100% manual efforts.
To read more into this: this just shows the level of creativity and efficiency that a culture reached. I remember when I was young, Japanese cars were put down as being "only Japanese", hinting towards inferior quality. Who can say that anything Japanese is inferior to anything now?
Same thing happened with the Koreans, but just look how we are fighting over their latest goods. It is now being said about China, but just you wait and see.
So in my own life time, I saw culture morph into a much more developed version of the original.
I wonder, what do you think happened to Bahrain in the mean time? Did we progress? Or had we indeed, regressed?

02 October, 2007

The Japanese School of Bahrain's Festival - 07


The Japanese school of Bahrain is holding its annual festival. Mr. Baraa of the Japanese Embassy thankfully called and invited me. I've been there ages ago, you have the nice traditional food stalls, games, students dancing. It's like a trip to Japan on a diet.
I highly recommend that you go. Tickets cost BD 2 only, but I am sure that they are limited and not everyone can get them so call quickly.
Call Baraa on 17711323.

26 September, 2007

Poll results: What do you think of "Action 123" on BTV

There is a poll that wasn't popular. Only 4 voters. Here goes:

Its great!
1 (25%)
Not bad really
0 (0%)
Boring, and smells funny too
0 (0%)
They make me feel ashamed of being Bahraini
3 (75%)

I know that everyone hated BTV this year more than anything. Still, even the most optimistic will at least say that its not bad.
But saying its great? Who voted for that? Come clean!

I found the acting and ideas to be very pathetic, and seriously not funny. Rather annoying more like. And what is with these stories they come up with? What do you think and what do you watch in Ramadhan?

Excel is the most expensive useless calculator

A bug was found in Microsoft's Excel 2007.
You see, for some formulas that has an answer of 65535 (like 154.2*425, or 850*77.1), Excel will show 100000 .
Meaning, in any Casio calculator: 850*77.1=65535
In MS Excel 2007: 850*77.1=100000

This is a stupidly inexcusable bug. Speechless!

(Edited 26 Sept @ 12:27: 65535*1 does return the correct number. Thanks to Buzain for the heads-up)

25 September, 2007

Stupid Rice

That doesn't make sense does it?
I love the bottom fine print on the sticker!

18 September, 2007

A Saudi day Out in Bahrain

one day, at a Saudi home:

W "Lets have a picnic."
M "Where do you want to go?"
W "umm... Seef mall is nice!"
M "You're right! Prepare the Machboos Woman! We are leaving"
Please note the "Jiddir" (pot) that this Saudi family brought in to eat in the food court. everything was put on the table and the woman started to "Tanchib" the food for her husband.
And so they left, leaving the "jiddir" and thier mobile phone too.
Do they not know what a mall is?

15 September, 2007

Different Ramadhan timings - Poll results


Here are the results of the tiny poll that I had on the right:

Do you think different Ramadhan starting dates make sense?


Yes. Ther
e are different ways of calculation. 1 (20%)
No, we are a small country for god's sake! 4 (80%)
I don't know. Maybe. 0 (0%)


So this shows that through my modest estimate, people wish to be Muslims and have a unified calendar rather than sects. all well and good.

So how are different days are being announced? What are the rules to govern this? Is there any common ground? Should there be a unified calender worldwide, region wide, country wide or be sect specific. What about Eid? and hajj? And how come we all agree on Muharram?

I want this to be a big discussion so please invite everyone you know here, I'd like input from as many people as possible. Thanks.

11 September, 2007

If Bahrain disappears, would anyone miss us?

I came across this interesting article in the Economist, about Belgium. How it is split into two distinct people with little in common.

Is Bahrain going that way? Reading the Article, it isn't so far fetched.

10 September, 2007

Zain Vs. Batelco Poll results


There was a small poll to the right for the past week. Now with Zain in the picture, I wanted to know what you all think; I asked you if you will keep Batelco, keep Zain, or shift providers. Here are the results:

Get a new Zain line and throw away Batelco
2 (18%)

Stay with Batelco
4 (36%)

Throw away Zain and move to Batelco
0 (0%)
Stay with
Zain
5 (45%)

Wow, absolutly no one (0%) wants to leave Zain! (zain la?*) While this poll had only 11 participants, 63% are either keeping thier Zain lines or throwing away batelco for it. the remaining 36% will stay with Batelco
Thank you for everyone who took part. What do you think of this?
* Sorry, couldn't resist the pun!

False Vimto again


Ammar noticed a direct copy of the famous "Vimto". He thought it was a new copied product, but I found the picture I took of it with my old trusty Treo 650 (hence the bad resolution) on 06/06/06 in Geant.
I hate cheap knock offs! I would never be caught using something like that.

07 September, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti passed away.


The amazing Italian Tenor, Pavarotti has died last Thursday, giving in to his long struggle with Cancer.

I am not an Opera fan by any means, but I feel sad non the less. It's as if Art in the world has weakened and will never have the strength of his voice.

05 September, 2007

Studying smart: tips to make that “A” closer

I wrote this for a writing class in college, but I thought it could be useful enough for other students so here it is.



Studying smart: tips to make that “A” closer

With every new school year, students gear up and enter their schools or campuses with sheer determination. Aspiring to raise that GPA level or attain that A. Few, however, continue through out the semester with the same momentum.

Assignments, lectures, research and study, certainly takes a bite of your time. Add that to sleep, eating, personal hygiene and commuting, and we will be luck to have anything done at all.

Some students manage to do just that however, and they make it look easy to boot. Are they using alien technology or just super beings? No. Chances are they have picked up certain skills along the way. Things every student can learn from and actually do, like:

Time management
You know the saying: “failing to plan is planning to fail” and that is so true. Set aside 10 or 15 minutes a day and prepare what are you going to do that day, what will you study, and in what order. Assign what will you do throughout the day, attending classes, commuting, eating or going out. I’m not asking you to be a machine, just be aware of what you can or can’t do. You can use a normal paper diary, or even MS outlook. Most of the new mobile phones do have functions for calendar and tasks. Use them.

Do not skip classes
Skipping classes can be fun, but can also wreck havoc on your understanding. You see, on a subconscious level, the brain does not accept what it doesn’t understand and will reject attempts to cram it in.
Lets say that you have to study units 1, 2 & 3. You attended unit 1’s lecture, but skipped 2. When you attend the third lecture, chances are that some of the material in it is based on the past unit. If you do not know that by now, your subconscious brain has no point of reference, and shuts down all new material until this matter is solved. Try reading a story from halfway through. It is like that.

Study often
It is best to cement the new knowledge in. First of all for the reason stated above (by the way, if you do skip a class, study it as soon as possible), second of all, revising what was taught to you today while the information is still “hot” helps it to sink in. If you revise it at a later date, your brain has to remember it first which slows down the process.

Sleep
College days may be about partying to some. Fine, just make sure you get enough sleep. Not getting enough shut eye means your brain is working at less than 100%. Do you want to comprehend macro economics at 40% of your brain? Didn’t think so.

Exercise
This is a cliché, I hate clichés, but you know what they say about healthy brains and bodies. Aerobic exercise is a must for your academic achievements. Why? You will need less sleep and be more alert if you do regular aerobic exercises (like running). This will enhance the performance of your lungs and heart, eventually making your blood carry more oxygen than before while your heart pumps at a better more constant rate, which means your brain is fueled better and will become as agile as you! Try running or cycling for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times a week. Body building is an-aerobic so you should couple that with an aerobic regime, also swimming may not be as beneficial as running as the water is carrying most of your weight, it will be good though to tone your body or if you have injuries.

Eating well
With less time and with approaching exams, we pile on the junk. Your body needs vitamins so give it fruit. It will also need fiber so get vegetables and bread. Try to ease on the sugar and get your energy from baked goods, complex carbs stay longer in your body, while simple sugars will make you hyper then deplete quickly, it will make you tiered and will mess up your insulin level, making some of us put on weight.

Fish
Eat fish. Fatty fish like Salmon are rich in Omega 3 oils. Our brain is mostly made up of Omega 3 oils, tests showed better memory retention, more class participation and even better handwriting. The gains are amazing. Fat in red meat is rich in saturated omega 6 fat, which isn’t what your brain needs. Eat fish and lots of it, if you hate fish, take fish oil capsules, they are odorless and you will not feel a thing. Olive oil is high in omega 3 so use it as salad dressing.

NLP
Nuro Linguistic Programming is a new science, but will work quite well. Find out if you are a visual person, an audio person or a kinetic person.
Visuals are usually loud, neat, love to be the centre of attention and look up when they are walking.
Audio persons have a moderate voice, get along well with most people, use hand gestures that look like piano playing figures when they talk and have a waddle when they walk.
Kinetic people are very quite and have a low voice volume. They have messy desks and walk while looking down.
This is a very limited description, you may want to Google that, but basically, once you know which type you are you can modify your study to your own style. Are you visual? Good, use charts and colored notes. Audio is your type? Read aloud to yourself and maybe record lectures and listen to them again on your ipod. Are you kinetic? Try to do or imagine some of the concepts you are learning.


These tips, when fused with good old fashioned determination, should get you there. Remember, if you are willing to use any or all of these tips, use them often, this will help make a habit of them and you will do them naturally later.

Don’t study hard, study smart!

Batelco is the best internet provider.... Wallah! Don't laugh!


It appears that Batelco is the BEST MID_EAST INTERNET PROVIDER. So all you moaners can just shut it.

Ammar is having a fit about it too! I mean PLEASE! I know that our Arabic PR usually leans toward the "Alsahhaf" way (the famous ex-Iraqi Info. Minister), and we are experts at turning everything bad into a good point. But this is blatantly lying in your face. It's like someone looking at you in the eye, telling you that cows DO fly, and then grin expecting you to shut up and just take it.


If Batelco's aim is to enhance it's image in Bahrain, well, that will have the negative effect. If your plan is to enhance your image abroad, that might work, but we (the bloggers) are here to try and stop the stream of Bullshit.


Of course, for good measure, visit Boycott Batelco.


Have a hilarious day.

03 September, 2007

NYIT Bahrain's First Car Show


Last Friday, NYIT had their first Car show, which is what I hope will be an annual event. I joined in with my Altima this time, didn't win of course, my car doesn't have many bolt-ons or stickers you see.
There were some decent ones, but the ones I remember are Butt Ugly! Can you spot the ugliest one?

Watch the video, it has most of the cars in it and the results. Enjoy.

02 September, 2007

MTC is officially dubbed "ZAIN"


MTC has changed its name and will soon be called "Zain". Check out this link at GSM world and you can see the new name between brackets.


Today's newspapers showed parts of the new logo (It is the black-blue-green thing) on several pages as teaser ads. you can see the first page of the Gulf daily news here.
Scouring the net, the only logo I found was a bad image by a fellow blogger: "Kuwaitism". You can see it to the right.
MTC (or I should start calling them Zain now), claim that political and economical legislations in Kuwait became unwelcoming to businesses as of late, thus the move.
I think it is also due to the fact that MTC means "Mobile Telecommunications Company", and they are expanding to more than just mere "Mobile".
Will they forgo the "Vodafone" part is still to be seen.


01 September, 2007

The Wall of Charity



The NYIT students (I am one of them) are building a wall of charity.


Basically, you buy a brick for BD1, then write whatever you want on it, they go and build a wall using these.


Proceeds go to charity, so if you are from NYIT, buy bricks. If not, lets someone else buy bricks for you! It's a good thing.