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

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


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.

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.