23 December, 2008

Redbelt Blacklists Chili's


Chilli's is one remarkable restaurant. A historic restaurant. It first opened up in Bahrain in the dawn of the Seef Mall era. lines of people waiting to sample its delicious food and did not mind waiting for hours. It was the hip place to be and any body who was somebody was seen at Chilli's .
Not anymore.

Chilli's "celebrate" now the opening of their 10th branch. I mourn a once prestigious brand.
Ever since the Jawad group acquired Chilli's from its previous owners and the quality of food and restaurant experience declined really hard. Jawad does operate some good restaurant. I am a fan of the Great Kabab Factory for example. But they really screwed the Chilli's brand.
I would usually say that this is my humble opinion. But it's not. This is fact. And I have photographic proof. I'll get to that in a second, but first of all let me discuss what I don't like:

lower food standards
Everyone is talking about this. Have you looked at your dish recently? There are no broccolis anymore. There is Cauliflower instead. Why? It is CHEAPER! Yes, they are cheap.
Zucchinis are no more to. Instead, you have carrots. Again they are cheaper. My friend Nawaf innocently called a waiter to alert him to this situation:
Nawaf: "Excuse me. There is no Broccoli in my plate."
Waiter: "Yes sir. We are serving Cauliflowers instead."
N: "Cauliflower? did you run out of Broccoli?"
W: "No sir. We have updated our steamed vegetables. We don't serve Broccoli anymore This is it now"
N: "B..But the pictures in the menu is different!?"
W: "Yeah...... well.... we don't have Broccoli anymore. This is our NEW steamed vegetables."

Not only do they not serve it. Broccoli became a black market item at Chilies! At another visit"
Nawaf: "Excuse me. There is no Broccoli in my plate." (Please read the conversation above again then follow up with this)
N: "I don't care. I WANT BROCCOLI. I want my food the way it was meant to be!"
Waiter: "But we don't have any!"
N: "OK. Take my dish back. I don't want it."
W (thinking hard then looking left and right): ".... ... OK, OK..... let me see what I can do. I'll try to secure some for you."

At this point my jaw just hit the floor. THE WAITER WAS GONNA HOOK US UP WITH BROCCOLI! I felt like I was buying drugs! It was there in secret and all hush hush! WTF?

Customer Service? Why?
Chilli's always greeted patrons with a smile. The waiter / waitress helped us rather quickly and get down to their knees to take orders so they would be at our seated eye level. No more.
Now you wait, wait, wait, call, call, stop, call again then SHOUT so the waitress comes and hands out menus to you and leaves. When they take orders they no longer kneel down anymore.
This might be insignificant to some, but it shows that the value of the franchise simply eroded.
In my last visit to Chilli's @ Dana mall, no one came to take our orders. The restaurant seemed obviously understaffed. We begged for menus, just the menus. The supervisor threw the menus at us in a hurry and said that they were busy, with a nice frown on his bald face. Wow. Thank you for making me feel welcome. Guess which finger I'm holding up?

The Smell
Being greedy, Chilli's management are trying to adopt the Costa Coffee approach: be in as many places as possible. This caused rather unsuitable locations. Like the Chillies @ The Centre. It is so small that patrons clothes reek of cooking odours because the kitchen is too close to the seating area. Also the sound of pans clonking, orders shouted and food sizzling is exactly what I need to relax.

The destruction of a Concept
Chilli's was a "Casual Dining" experience. With the number of restaurants there is now and the lower standards, "Casual Dining" just changed into "Overpriced Fast food". It is. It's just is.

Lower Hygiene and Cleanliness
It is not strange to see things on the floor, spilled drinks on the tables and tables that are just not cleared. I took pictures in my last visit to Dana Mall branch. Just look:


Photobucket

Look at the table: Empty bottles, half drunk glasses, a bag full of garbage on a food counter, bananas thrown on the table after Hastingly preparing something. It was messy.
Look here:
Photobucket

Garbage greeting you at the entrance.

Photobucket

And in between the tables inside as well.
The staff were simply walking past / walking over the trash.

Chilli's Bahrain was asking for it for a long time now. TheRedbelt.com is blacklisting Chilli's Bahrain on the following charges:
  • Bad Service
  • Low Hygiene
  • Bad Quality
At least these three problems must be solved before their name can be lifted from my list.

This blog post will be sent to officials at Jawad Group and also submitted to Chillis .com via their feedback form.
Kindly leave your opinion on the poll to the right and on the comments to this post. I look forward to hear what you all think.

The penelty for rapists

This poll was the lowest participated poll. Only Two entrants? I expected more specially concidering how touchy the subject is. Anyway, the results were:

How should rapists be punished?

Fined and made to sign a a pledge
0 (0%)
Should serve some jail time
0 (0%)
Shuld serve a LONG jail time
0 (0%)
Should be executed
2 (100%)


Votes so far: 2
Poll closed

Please take another look at my post about the rape of a mentally challenged Bahraini boy. It deserves more attention than it got. Thank you.

05 December, 2008

Charity Stamps [Poll]

Love them!
0 (0%)
It must be optional and transperant
3 (75%)
Hate them.
1 (25%)
I really don't care.
0 (0%)


Votes so far: 4
Poll closed

Raping Kids is FUN!

You may have heard or read about the recent rape crime in Riffa where 4 adult men kidnapped a 15 year old boy (ar), raped him and then let him go after threating him to keep quite. Thank god he didn't and he is mighty brave for that.
However, many writers in the local media, and some bloggers too, have turned this into a citizenship issue, claiming that some of the rapists were not "original" Bahrainis and that the government's naturalizing efforts are bringing this on us.
While this theory may hold some water, the bulk of the people are forgetting the actual problem: A CHILD WAS RAPED!
The only reason this incident got so much exposure was because of the involvment of the naturlised men. People who were against the practice used this all too well, and so they should. But, do you have any idea how many incidents actually go on but never reach the surface?
I'm not even talking about unreported incidents, I'm talking about incidents with reports to the police and everything. Let me give you one example here:

This is a real story that I got first hand from a Bahraini family. A divorced mother is raising two boys, one adult and the other is mentally challanged, let us refer to him by "H".
H was raped by 2 adult men in their mid thirties three years ago. The rapists were Bahrainis and live in the same neighbourhood.
H was in a very sorry state. But he was able to describe to his family what happened and he was able to identify the men. The mother and the brother go to the police.
Very very long story short: The men were seized, were given a fine of BD 100 each, signed a pledge to never do that again then off they went back home.
Justice was served.
Oh, I forgot. The police threatened to throw H's brother in jail. Why? They thought he was a "witness" and said he shouldn't have stood by idally watching his brother get raped. He tried his best to tell them that he was NOT there and he merely "transelated" his brother's words to the police. No, he had to pay a BD 50 bail to keep him out of jail.
To recap; this is the view point of the mother: My mentally challanged son gets raped, the rapists live in the neighbourhood and are back where they are. My son is scarred for life. My other son gets threatened with Jail time for actually going to the police for help.
Nice.

Dear readers, this story is real, happened three years ago. All parties are pure Bahrainis. It never saw any media coverage at all. This blog post is all it got.

Just last week, the police called the brother, saying that the BD 50 bail money shouldn't have been taken and they want to give it back. But in order for them to do so, they asked him to write a letter saying that the first police report was not correct. This sounds fishy to me but I guess the police are under heat because of the Riffa Boy story.

I for one think that a fine and a pledge is way too soft for such a brutal crime. I demand that proper Sharia law be enforced. Rapists should be executed. Society has no place for them. We need new laws and we need them to be firm and strict. I'll say it again:
I WANT THE DEATH PENELTY FOR RAPISTS.

If anyone who reads this can bring justice to the victim, please get in touch with me. Leave a comment.

24 November, 2008

Mahmood's Den Farewell Speech [Redcast]


Mahmood was the man behind Mahmood's Den, one of the most influential blogs in Bahrain. He is retiring from blogging and that was taken in his blog's farewell party Saturday 22nd of November '08.

23 November, 2008

Me and the postman


@ a post office in Riffa, Bahrain:


Redbelt: "Good morning, I'd like to mail these letters please"

Postman behind the Counter: "OK. Airmail?"

R: "Yup"

P: "... ... ... OK, that will be 110 fils please"

R: "Ok. ... Say, that is a charity stamp right"

P: "yes"

R: " Do I HAVE to pay for that?"

Confused P: "er... You don't want it?"

R: "No, I'm just asking, if I don't buy it, will my letter still go?"

P: "er.. No."

R: "So I have to buy it."

P: "Yes."

R: "erm... Shouldn't charity be optional?"

Confused P: "erm... .... ...."

R: "Do you know where the money goes? What charities do you support?"

Very confused P: "erm... I have no idea. I just work here. I don't know!"

R: "I see."

P: "... Do you still want the stamps?"

R: "I guess I have to."

05 November, 2008

A new blog: Arablish.net

I just made a new blog; as if I am not busy enough and neglecting this one.
Arablish.net is a blog about Arabic language violations. Mis-spelled signs, badly translated text, and whatever incorrect use of the Arabic language.
The Arabic is a proud and beautiful language, sadly, it is being decimated by ignorance. The blog aims to raise awareness of this through funny images.
The blog is to be user generated (of sorts), readers are encouraged to send in thier original photos to be put up (with full credit due, of course). If you read Arabic, what are you waiting for? Go check it out now!

04 November, 2008

Bahrain: Dirty or Clean? [Poll Result]

The streets are very clean.
0 (0%)
It's OK, could be improved.
0 (0%)
Its not that clean, a bit dirty really.
2 (22%)

It is filthy! Garbage everywhere!
7 (77%)

So...
No one thinks we live in a clean place huh?
Oh well.

02 November, 2008

Is BD 385 a fair price for a Samsung Omnia phone? [Poll Result]

Yes. I'm buying it.
0 (0%)
No. I'm buying something else.
3 (33%)
No. I'll wait until its cheaper.
3 (33%)
No. I'll order it online or buy it abroad.
3 (33%)


So... I gather no one wants to buy it at this price? Plug-ins sells it in Seef with "extra warranty" for BD 412.5! Yaay!

27 October, 2008

GOSI: profit or loss?

Today on the front page of Alwaqt newspaper we read that GOSI's losses (General Organization for Social Insurance) reached BD 146 million.
But on the sixth page of
Alwatan newspaper we read that GOSI made a profit of over BD 157 million!
"What gives?", That's what I thought.
Alwaqt claims that the loss is for year 2008 until Sepember. Alwatan reports that the numbers reflect 2007.
To be fair, Alwaqt did report the same numbers as Alwatan in page 9 as the official GOSI statment, while Alwatan did not mention any losses.
Despite all that is said, it is the opinion of this blogger that media in Bahrain is anything but free. They all have either restrictions imposed or a hidden agenda, be it Newspapers, TV or even individual blogs. Obviously, this made me a very skeptical man.
What do you think?

25 October, 2008

The Samsung Omnia arrives [Redcast]

As I said previously, I hated Binhindi's Omnia pricing. So I got my phone off ebay as I said I would.
Here is me opening the package I got in my first [Redcast] (Redbelt Video Cast). It took only two days for it to arrive to Bahrain from Singapore.

19 October, 2008

Bahrain is Trash

After a bit of a dry spell, I return to you my fellow readers with one of my most disgusting posts ever. Look at this:
This is a dead cat. It is decayed and rotten. The spine is showing up.
This is next to my house. I live in block 624 if anyone wants to come see it.
Bahrain is dirty and filthy. It is drowning in its own shit. I've written about something similar before when a dead dog was left on a highway for weeks. A practice that is in effect still.
I have spoken to several people and they all complain about the amount of filth and smells. Muharraqis complained the least, and I do see regular garbage trucks going round. The central & northern constituencies seem to be mostly affected.
To everyone in charge I say this:
It is fucking TRASH. It is'nt a new problem. Man had to deal with freaking trash since the days of ADAM. Simply get a few quotes from waste disposal companies, approve the most feasible and move on. This would not take more than a week or two. Do you want me to do it? I would. Wallah I would.
If there is any, ANY, reason why no one is picking up trash, please; let me hear it. I would pay money to hear it. Should be rather entertaining, that.

20 September, 2008

Observing Ramadan [PICS]

Muslim faithful throughout the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. Observant Muslims participate in fasting (sawm), one of the five pillars of their faith, this entire Lunar month (this year it extends from September 1st to the 30th). Eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity is prohibited from dawn until sunset

read more | digg story

16 September, 2008

Warning: Avoid Sitra bridge tonight

I'm posting this on the off chance that someone might read it before they go out tonight. Avoid sh. jaber alahmed alsubah highway (aka sitra bridge). There is dead traffic there and cars aren't moving god knows why.
Just stay out of it and use another road.

15 September, 2008

Should GTA IV be banned? Poll results.

Yes! It's inappropriate for our children
0 (0%)
Yes! It's offensive to anyone
0 (0%)
No! It's just fine
6 (31%)
No! We need to enforce Age Ratings
11 (57%)
I don't care
2 (10%)
I don't know what GTA is
0 (0%)


Votes so far: 19
Poll closed

Binhindi's Greed: The Samsung Omnia case


I have been looking for a decent phone to replace my Sony Ericsson P990i for some time now. I wanted a powerful device that can keep track with my busy life, many contacts and schedules. I thought it was about time I get me a Windows Mobile device. Though I do hate Windows, I guess it's the best option at the time for my needs.
After a lot of googling, I had my eyes set on the fabulous Samsung Omnia i900, the 16Gig flavour.
Windows mobile 6.1, 5 MP Camera, full touch system, etc. etc. Often touted as an iPhone killer. It costs around BD250 in countries where it was released already, pricy but its worth it. OK, I want one.
I called Binhindi Informatics (the local Samsung dealer) and while they were vague, they did say it would be out this month. So I have to wait. Boy oh boy I'm so excited! I want one so bad!!
However, today I know the official price. BD 385!
385?
3-8 freaking 5? Is Binhindi serious? I call Zain to be sure:

Zain: "Masak Zain!!"
Redbelt: "Yeah, I'd like to get a discounted phone with a contract. Do you have the Samsung Omnia i900?"
Z: "Yes! We just got it, it's brand new. Lets see, your under our most expensive package, so that is a discount of BD 102. You can have it for BD 283!"
R: ".... Good Grief!"

See, it seems like Binhindi, in their infinite wisdom decided to overcharge the rich Bahrainis a cool BD 130 or so. Sorry Mr. Binhindi, But 385 Dinars is not "phone price". It's "Laptop price" or "LCD TV" price. But phone? Give me a break habibi!
Oh, and Mr. Binhindi, GSM arena compared the Omnia to the HTC Diamond in a head to head review. If you take the time to read it you can see it has very similar powers. What's the Diamond's price? BD 279 in Geant. A cool BD 106 difference. Heck, even Geant sells the Omnia cheaper than Binhindi. They have it there for BD 369 (Arabic).

So Mr. Binhindi, I am sincerely disgusted at your act of GREED. I am formally starting a Redbelt Company Black list for companies that rip people off. Binhindi Informatics will be the first to be on that list. Mabrook!

Also, to help people fight against your stupid pricing decisions, I will list here different ways of Buying an Omnia:
1- Buy from Binhindi, 16GB, No accessories. BD 385 (Not Recommended)
2- Buy from Expansys, 16 GB, No accessories, shipping in 3 days, Total price BD 332. (BD 53 Cheaper than Binhindi)
3- Buy from ebay, Seller X1387 is a trusted power seller. 16GB, Case+4GB SD card + Car charger + Extra charger + screen protector, shipping in 3 days. Total Price around BD 270 (BD 115 Cheaper than Binhindi. Best Price, Best Deal)
4- Buy from Geant. 16 GB White. No Acessories. BD 369 (BD 16 Cheaper than Binhindi)
5- Buy From Saudi Arabia. Dealer: Almostaqbal. 16 GB, No accessories. BD 340. (BD 45 Cheaper than Binhindi)


So as you can see, just about every place on freaking EARTH has the Omnia cheaper than Bahrain.

As an Alternative, Buy the HTC Diamond.
1- Buy from Geant. BD 279.
2- Buy from Expansys. Around BD 260.


Thank you Binhindi Informatics. I will be ordering my phone from ebay. I do have some interesting recommendations on where you can shove your precious phones to, but lets wait until after I break my fast, shall we?

13 September, 2008

Stupid Door

This was taken at Salmaniya Hospital. It was posted on a door directly in front the Intensive Care Unit. Read the green part and think of new creative ways to use this door.

11 September, 2008

Sign the "Websites Against Hate" Code of Ethics

This website is a proud signatory of the "Websites Against Hate" Code of Ethics. TheRedbelt.com is against any speech that preaches hate, discrimination or violence against anyone.
I would like to invite all websites, forums and blogs to sign on the code as well. While this code was made with the original intention to be a code for sites that operate in Bahrain, nothing in it limits it to the bounderies of our kingdom. We would like to encourage anyone with a website to come in and sign up. From Bahrain, GCC, or anywhere in the world. Click the following link to go to the official website and sign the code online.
Sign the Code.

10 September, 2008

Bahrain Vs. Japan: No work ethics! バーレーン Vs. 日本: いいえ労働倫理!



I wanted to wait a little bit after we lost 3:2 against Japan before I write anything. Why? Because I am very angry and very ashamed.
First of all let me say that I love Japan. I learn Japanese, I have Japanese friends and both me & my wife enjoy the food too.
So usually I do support Japan.
I am angry of course because our team is making us look bad. Very bad.
In that match I saw nothing but stupidity. Milan Macala has no blame in this. Even if Bahrain got Alex Furgeson as their trainer nothing will change. Why? The players have no decent work ethics.
What do I mean? Lets recap on what I saw:
  • I saw two defenders running to the ball, slamming into each other, falling on the ground and the ball kept going.
  • I saw two players running to the side lines to throw a ball in, they did not know who would actually throw the ball in, one threw it anyway, so it took two grown men in the same spot to throw a ball. Making the other man useless.
  • I saw players running alone, then tripping and falling down all by them selves.
  • I saw blind passes. No one saw where he was passing to. The passes were either out, hit one of our players in the face or passed smoothly to the Japanese players
Common sense says: No coach on earth will tell players to run into each other. No coach on earth will tell players to pass to the other team.
Our players are bored and careless. They are not serious and I am really really ashamed to be in the same country as these "men". They give my country a bad name. Does the world think we are that useless?
I, of course, will not allow that. If I cannot fix that stupid team, at least I will do my best so that the world will know we are not as stupid and useless as the team. This post will be translated into Japanese (with a big help from Google). Hopefully some Japanese people will see it. They have the highest bloggers per population rate on earth after all.
So, if you are Japanese, please post a comment. Either in English or Arabic (if you know them), or translate your comment from Japanese to English in Google, or just post it in Japanese and I will do it myself.

Today Bahrain plays against Qatar. I don't want to watch it but I guess I have to.
Good luck to Nippon in their coming matches.


ちょっと待ってからにしたかった失われた後、私たち日本3:2反対する前に何かを書いている今です。なぜ?私は非常に怒っているため、非常に恥ずかしいです。
まず第一にちょっと言わせて日本が大好きです。私が日本語を勉強する、私は日本人の友達との両方のフードを楽しむ私&私の妻が判明しました。
このため、通常私は日本をサポートします。
もちろん私は怒りのため、我々のチームは、メーカー問い合わせ見てくれが悪いです。非常に悪いです。
その試合を見ただけで愚かなことです。ミラノのせいで、このmacalaはない。バーレーンはアレックスfurgesonたとえ何もトレーナーとして彼らが変化します。なぜ?倫理がない選手ディーセントワークです。
どのような意味ですか?では、どのような要約を見た:

* 2つの守備を見たボールを実行して、お互いをバタンと、ボールは地面に落ちて立ち行くです。
* 2つの選手を見たの行を実行しての側面にボールを投げるには、彼らは知らなかったwhoは、実際にボールを投げるには、 1つの投げたことはお構いなしであるので、 2つの成長の男性かかったボールを投げるときに同じ場所です。メーカー、他の男役立たずだったのです。
*実行中の人物を見ただけでも、トリップと入力し、それらのすべてを自分自身に落ちてくる。
*盲目のパスを見た。 1つの通過を務めていたのを見た。のいずれかを通過するが、ヒット1つまたは弊社の人物の顔を円滑にし、日本の選手に渡さ

常識は言う:地球上でのコーチを実行する人物がたてば分かるをお互いにします。地球上でのコーチがたてば分かるに通過することを、他のチームの選手です。
私たち選手たちは退屈と不注意です。深刻ではないと私は本当に本当に恥ずかしいされると同じ国として、これらの"男性"です。彼らに自分の国が悪い名を入力します。世界は、我々はその無駄な考えですか?
私 は、もちろん、許可することはありません。愚かなことはできませんすればよいチームが修正され、少なくとも私は私の最高のように、世界は愚かではないと 知って私たちのチームとして役に立たない。この投稿は、日本語に翻訳される( Googleからの大きな助け)です。うまくいけばいくつかの日本の人々が見てみたいわ。彼らは、地球上で最高のブロガー人口率のすべての後です。
このため、日本の場合は、下記コメントを投稿します。英語やアラビア語のいずれかに(それらを知っている場合) 、または日本語から英語に翻訳してGoogleのコメントから、または単に作成し、日本およびそれにやるつもりだよ。

今日のバーレーン対カタール再生します。時計にしたくはありませんしかし、私は思う。
幸運に来る日本の試合をします。

26 August, 2008

GTA IV Banned? Ministry Of Information moves against Videogames


Around an hour ago, at 2 PM today, two inspectors from the Ministry of Information raided a "Euphoria" shop in Seef Mall and confiscated all Grand Theft Auto IV titles, Both PS3 and Xbox 360.
Two men, wearing traditional dress, came in, identified themselves to the man behind the counter, took his CPR and started writing down his details in an official inspection form. They also wrote down what they took (Around 4 or 5 titles of GTA IV for PS3 and the same for X360). They gave the receipt to the man and walked out with the titles in a plastic bag.
Now this does not necessary mean that GTA IV is banned in Bahrain, but it means at least that someone (individual or the ministry it self) complained about the title and the ministry is looking into it.
Given the nature of the title and the notion that games are (still) for kids, I expect the title to be banned very soon.
The title was banned for some time in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Saudi gamers have always came here to get their GTA fix. it seems that will continue no more.
I am appalled at this movement especially since other types of media (Video, Audio) are not dealt with in this manner. I do agree there are some questionable materials in the game, however, I would suggest that age ratings are enforced as they should be rather than simply banning the thing altogether.
This blog will keep an eye out on the matter.

23 August, 2008

Taekwondo Olympian attacks referee, proves he is a crybaby




This Cuban "Olympian" is Angel Valodia Matos. Matos was a Sydney 2000 gold medalist. So on he comes to Beijing to compete once more.

In the middle of the second round of his +80kg bout against world silver medalist Arman Chilmanov of Kazakhstan, he broke his left toe. Taekwondo rules will stop the clock for injury for one minute. Any longer and the contestant is deemed unfit to continue. Chong (Red player) took more than that one minute, so the Swedish referee (of Arabic north African decent) declared Hong (Blue player) as the winner.

The Cuban and his coach did not like to lose to Uzbekistan that way, so once the ref announced the verdict, Matos attacked him with two kicks to the head.

Being an Ex-Taekwondo athlete and a life long fan, I watched this live and was appalled and enraged by this violent act of a cry baby sore loser.

The World Taekwondo Federation seemed to share my feelings as they immediately announced that Matos and his coach would be permanently barred from all championships it promotes. They said:

"This is a strong violation of the spirit of taekwondo and the Olympic Games"

"The sanctions are the following and are effective immediately: Lifetime ban of the coach and athlete in all championships sanctioned by the World Taekwondo Federation and at the same time, all records of this athlete at the Beijing Games will immediately be erased."


Serves him right. Congratulations to the WTF on its swift and stern reaction. And to Matos: You are a disgrace to all Athletes on earth, be they martial artists or else. Your Sydney 2000 medal is undeserved in this light and it is a shame to see it wasted on an arrogant cry baby such as your self.

It is a good thing that we will never see you again. Good riddance.

14 August, 2008

Stranger at home

Today, while I was just about to enter "the Centre" to do a bit of quick shopping, a Bahraini man, confused, looking around and kind of embarrassed approached me. He asked (in Arabic):
"excuse me brother, I don't know English. Can you tell me where Dairy Queen is?"
It was smack behind him.
I pointed out his destination, he thanked me and ran towards it.
I looked up to the sign of the American resturant, it was purely in English as it is in its home country, despite Bahraini laws to have Arabic on all signage.
It is a sad time we live in, when a citizen feels like a tourist in his own country.

12 August, 2008

Connected to Lightspeed (Experience log)


Following up on my last post; I mentioned that I applied to Lightspeed on the 16th of July and was promised connection within 10 days.
In ten days, my Batelco internet connection was disconnected as planned. But Lightspeed did not connect thiers or call me about it. Two weeks passed, so I decided to call.
Calling thier toll free line (80061111) after 6 (me busy man) I get transfered to thier call centre in Jordan.
Their call centre in Jordan is useless.
They do little beyond pick up your call. I called asking about my order, they didn't know and took my details and promised that someone will call. A human answering machine.
This scenario repeated for two days, until I spoke to my dear friend Joseph (that's what I call him anyway). He got lightspeed, so like a guy who was stood up by a hot girl on their first date, I ask for his advice, which was:
"Call before 5, that's when they close. When te machine answers, hit 1 for sales. NO, don't talk to Customer service, they are in Jordan and know nothing. Call the Bahraini sales guys".
I do just that in the next day. A young woman picks up and I explain that I have no idea where I am. After she verified my details she says:
"Did they not call you?"
"No"
"I'm sure they did"
"No!"
"Maybe you didn't pick up."
"What the? I said NO! No one called and no missed calls. What is it?"
"Well, your device is ready. You can pick it up from our Almoayed Tower branch".
The "Almoayed Tower Branch" is a place that must open for business when I have some business of my own. As they don't work Saturdays, I decided to skip some much needed nutrition and go there during my lunch break.
I go, I park, I tell them that I came for the "Live Box" and they give me my box.
That's it? Aren't you going to check my ID or anything?
"No"
... Well, alright then. Sounds risky to me though.
I ask the young clueless man behind the counter:
"Any instructions?"
He goes :It's pre-configured. just plug it it"
Bas? That sounds simple enough. I go home and open up the box.

Day 1:

Many wires and adapters I see. Shame most of these do not work here. I liked the WIFI dongle, should make even the non wifi savvy laptop access the wireless "Live Box".
Now the livebox is a simply a wireless modem router thingy, with 2 extra USB ports (one A size, the other B) and a line out port (for the phone).
I connected it, it works, the light indicates that it connected. Lets hook up to it wireless.
Aha, there is an encryption on it. What's the password? I try my name, CPR & phone number line, nothing works. I call Lightspeed and Jordan answers back:
"The password is "password""
how ingenious! Lets try that.... fail. Again, again, AGAIN!
OK, the password is indeed NOT "password". I call Jordan and they say that this is the password. Great. Lets try something else.
I install the router on my laptop and try to connect to it. The laptop cannot find the Livebox. Try as I might, no use. I switch the connectivity option from Ethernet cat5 cable to USB and then it works. Seems like the Ethernet ports on my Livebox do not function. Never mind, so long as I can get the thing to work.
Wait, I don't have my user name and password! I curse a little then I call Customer Services in Jordan again, they give me my user name and password. Trying it, doesn't work. Try again: Nope, doesn't work. So (AGAIN) I call the customer service (BTW, I got pissed off by now) and they said that this password is correct, yet it doesn't connect. I sleep that day failing to set the bloody thing up.

Day 2:
I try the same password, nothing happens. I call customer services, lets try and ask them about the router settings, did I use PPPoE when I should have used PPPoA (It's E by the way)? When I ask the customer service agent in Jordan for the settings he goes:
"I'll log in your complaint and someone will call you tomorrow"
COMPLAINT? No no no, wait up. Not "complaint", I just want the settings, that's all.
"I don't have this information with me sir, I will log this complaint and someone will call you"
R: "wait, you don't know the settings for your own modem?"
LS: "No"
Um.. speechless, I can do nothing.
So I do a couple of google search (I was still connected to Batelco's 3G "O net") and call my dear Joseph again. I got the right settings alright. But the damn thing still wont connect. Ufffff...
I call Lightspeed again.
R: "Hello Jordan"
LS: "How can I help you sir?"
R: "My password doesn't work, can I like, reset it or something?"
LS: "Sure, let me just log in this request and someone will call you tomorrow"
R: "What the F***? I have to file a request and follow it up to CHANGE MY FREAKING PASSWORD?"
Scared LS: "Yes...?"
R: "F*** that!"
After some scary ranting, she accepts and asks what do you want it to be? I tell her my password of choice and hang up.
I try the new password, I try the old password, I try the new password and keep repeating myself until I am just too tiered to stay awake. I go to sleep for the second day without a connection.

Day 3:
My dear Joseph (again) asks me to call the Bahraini employees. Same number, but I have to press one for sales. Determained, I do just that at noon. The obviously Bahraini accented man confirms that my password didn't change and it is the same first useless password. OK, I'll give it one more try when I go back.
I finish work early and hurry home so I can catch the Bahraini employees before they leave work. I open up my router configuration and call, ah, Bahraini voice again.
R: "Dude, I want the freaking settings!"
LS: "OK."
That's it. The Bahraini employee was quite informed about the technicalities of the Livebox and gives me the correct settings.
HOORAAYY!
On the third day, I got connection, it is still through the USB connection, but at least it lives.
Lets try to set the wireless connection.
Choosing WAP security, none of my devices can use it (Soney Ericsson P990 phone, Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3 a Linux laptop and a Visa Laptop). Removing the security all together doesn't do anything to fix it. Despite the lack of a password, no device can log into it.
At this point, I take the Livebox, throw it away, and install my old Linksys wireless router. Everything works perfectly.
I call Lightspeed (Yes, I am really fed up from calling them as I'm sure you are of reading about it) and tell them about my faulty box, they ask me to bring it in, I'm not bothered.

So, by day 3, and after many, many, many calls, uninformed agents and a router of my own I got the connection. Meaning, in other words: Pregnant women deliver babies faster than that.

Performance:
As for the connection? I am on a 512MB line (supposedly) but my speed tests ranged from 330ks to 450ks. Download speed from download.com reached a peak of 25 kbps. Downloading torrents is an evil 2 kbps (some times nothing at all).
Playing games on this connection, my Wii found the connection unstable. Sometimes the news channel gives me an error message saying it cannot connect. Playing mario Kart Wii shows some lag that I did not experience with Batelco's 256MB BD10 line.
My Playstation 3 also couldn't connect at times. I haven't played anything online on my PS3 yet.

It is too soon to judge how good the connection is so I'll withhold my verdict for a couple of month.
Fellow blogger Yagoob is also blogging about his experience with Lightspeed. Read it.

Lets kill children. . . Slowly

On the last page of Alwasat newspaper today we see a bit of disturbing news. A father, gave away his 8 year old daughter for marriage to a man in his fifties!
This happened in alquasaim in Saudi Arabia.
This is slow torterous murder. In Islam, it is argued that once individuals are able to consumate a marriage, they should be married. Many will argue this point, but regardless, any marriage must be with the consent of both bride and groom. I seriously doubt that an 8 year old agreed to marry and sleep with someone in his fifties.
The mother filed a court case against the father aiming to get the marriage annulled. I say good for her. She should fight, and so should we.
This man has the right to marry, yes. I wouldn't mind him tying the knot with an adult woman, even if she was 20 or 18. But to marry a child? Muslims are forbidden to kill animals by torture, death should be swift, and here they are sentancing the death of a child, a human child, through long long years.
My heart and full support goes to the mother. KSA should seriously do something to re-educate the population and shift it from acceptable practice to taboo.

11 August, 2008

Design a logo for the Anti-Hate code


Get your crayons out and design a logo for the code!
Besides being for a good cause, the winner gets a BD 200 reward, not bad eh?
The requirements are:
  1. It shoulkd be in a "photoshop" or "Illustrator" format.
  2. design should be suitable for reduced and blown up sizes
  3. Should have only 3 coloures used (transparencies are OK)
  4. Vector Graphic
  5. Was not entered into another competition
  6. Deadline 19th August
The logo should embody the concept of rejecting hate-speech and discrimination.
All entries should be sent to ahmed.alaradi @ alwaqtnews.com

If you have any questions or are facing difficulties, please leave a comment here.
Good Luck!

Image from Yagoob's Dome.

05 August, 2008

LUG August Meeting


August's LUG (Linux Users Group) meeting will be on 4:00PM Saturday, August 9th at the Belle View Apartments (for directions see

LUG Location). This time they will discuss this:

Virtualbox: Run Anything Anywhere
Presenter: Marwan Al-Sabbagh
Presentation Type: Technical Presentation
Summary: Virtualbox is open source software that let's you run Linux in Windows or Mac, and Windows in Linux. It's very mature and easy to use.
Installation: Overview of Windows and Linux installation
Virtual OS Setup: Basic installation steps
Virtual Disk Manager: Creating Hard disk, CD Images
Clipboard Setup: Bi-directional clipboard setup
Network Setup: Basic NAT, and more advanced host interface
Shared Folders Setup and accessing them
Advanced Discussion: Portable virtual machines, using existing partitions, snapshots, USB Support

Support the open source community. Let's see you there!

27 July, 2008

Anti-Hate Code of Ethic Draft Approved

Yesterday several Bahraini bloggers and web admins gathered in Alwaqt Newspaper's premises for the Anti-Hate Code of Ethics meeting. I was delighted that the turn up was better than the last meeting. After some discussions we were finally able to agree on a final release candidate copy. We need to run it by some lawyer type dudes first to make sure we didn't miss anything. Oh, and a glossary of terms is to be attached.
I am honestly proud by this effort, it's about time we, as citizens of this country, do something to control the often overly emotional and unobjective hate speech in our virtual space.

Oh, and in case you caught it, yes the news paper mis-spelled my last name. It is Almuhandis, not Almuhannadi.

An updated blog post of the latest copy is on Mahmood's Den. Well, it isn't updated yet but I'm sure Mahmood will get to it in the next couple of days.

Finaly some good news! Forgot how this felt!

24 July, 2008

Anti-hate code meeting next Saturday

Heads up fellow bloggers and web admins, next Saturday, at five PM, a follow up anti-hate code meeting will be held at Alwaqt newspaper premises.
I have expressed earlier my disappointment at the low turnout in the previous meeting, but I am quite optimistic about this one. more people know about it now and even Radio Bahrain will be present.
I'm looking forward to a good turnout and a productive meeting.

18 July, 2008

New Look Redbelt?

As you can probably see, I'm trying to change how theRedbelt.com looks like. This is still work in progress so I apologize in advance if things do not look right or work as they're supposed to.
Any comments about the face lift is highly appreciated.

16 July, 2008

Anti-Hate Pact: Does anyone care?


Last Saturday, a meeting was held at the Alwaqt Newspaper premises to discuss the draft of an Anti-Sectarianism pact which was penned by blogger Mahmood.
The meeting was quite productive, we changed the focus from "anti-sectarianism speech" to "Anti hate, violence and discrimination speech". It has a wider focus to include more than the sectarian feuds encompassing all kinds of discrimination.
We also discussed how it would be implemented, how we will approach offenders and how to identify offenders as well. After the meeting, Mahmood started a mailing group and met with the Minister of Information in what seems to be quite a positive and receptive meeting.
But does anyone care?
The attendees represented 2 blogs and 2 forums only. despite several days of printing a quarter page coloured advert in Alwaqt, not many were there to help form something that touches all.
To make matters more strange, it seems that Alwaqt themselves didn't pay much attention to the matter. With one reporter that left the meeting before it starts, they printed nothing about the matter until today, full three days after. Which is rather strange because I thought since they are sponsoring this movment, they would show more interest in it.
I hope that my fears are unfounded and the rest of the community proves me wrong at the next meeting. This effort will only succeed if all concerned parties take ownership and adopt it.

Signed Up to Lightspeed (experince log)


After the Epic Fail that is Zain@Home, I decided to follow up the footsteps of fellow blogger (Yagoob) and several of my friends and sign up with Light Speed for their internet service.
I walked up to the stand in Bahrain Mall, with my ID card in one hand and a Batelco bill in the other. Chose the 512MB plan, paid BD 10 and walked away.
The application was very simple, very easy. The guy promised connection within 10 days (lets hope) and they said they will disconnect my current Batelco inet themselves and connect their internet the same day.
I will be getting an Orange box, which is kind of a wireless router with a socket for a regular phone. No longer will their internet be without limits for Lightspeed users, they have recently imposed a threshold. But it still seems fine, the 512 line gets you 16 GB of data. After which it simply reduces to half (unlike other carriers who give you a platry .. what? 64k?). Furthermore, I can upgrade (or downgrade) my packages for free anytime I want. So if you want the unlimited package, avoid the BD 30 connection fee, sign up with any other package for a month (For BD 10) then switch packages for free.
I will follow up on that application in this blog and keep you posted on how it transpiers.

12 July, 2008

Alwaqt's anti-sectrainisim draft meeting today

Alwaqt newspaper is holding a meeting today at 4 pm for bloggers and website admins to discuss the draft of the anti-sectrainism memorandum. Despite my relative silence about the issue, I do think it is quite important. Mahmood (of Mahmood's den) made a draft and I am not sure if it will be the base for today's gathering or not. I shall attend and hope that my fellow bloggers follow suit.

07 July, 2008

Where is the Bahraini Control?

In psychology, External Locus of Control means that one blames his or her problems on external factors. For example; if one is to fail an exam, then the teacher is to blame, or the exam is hard, or the book was confusing. Never will they say that they should have studied harder. Life is not controlled by them. It is controlled by something or someone else. But not them.
External Locus of control is one of the signs of low self esteem. Where a person believes little in him or her self. A person with high self esteem has an Internal Locus of Control and rarely blames misfortune on external factors.
The reason why I am saying this to you all is that from my experience at work, going into different companies all over Bahrain, I can safely say that most Bahrainis have an external locus of control. I saw many Bahrainis, unemployed or stuck in low paying jobs. They complain that their boss doesn't appreciate them. They complain that companies don't like Bahrainis. That the government didn't "give" them a job. Not once have they looked into a mirror?
They show up to job interviews wearing T shirts and slippers. They either demand a job or beg for it. They complain that they don't get a chance to better them selves, expecting employers to pay for their education, but they never read a book or looked something up online.
Why don't you have a job? is it the government? Or evil business men? Why are you over weight? Is it god's will? Are you unlucky? Why did your business fail? Is it because of oil prices? Is it because new local laws?
It takes a strong person to stand up and say "I should have done things differently". Even if you are all alone, it takes guts to say it.
Can you spot the External Locus of Control around you? This is a cultural problem that plagues many people from school children to whole corporations.
Squint, look hard. Can you see it around you? Better still, can you see it in you?
Bahrain must change and look in the mirror.

18 June, 2008

Firefox 3's download day


I am happy to say (type?) that I am currently using Firefox 3. I like it so far and I believe it would be worth the couple of minutes time investment to install.
Mozilla is trying to get into the Guinness book of world records for "the most downloaded software in a day", today is the "Download Day". So far they are a little below 5 Million.
There is a world map showing how many downloads from each country. Nigeria (which is famous for 419 scams) had.. 419 downloads. The country has a 419 fetish!

16 June, 2008

Bahrain's Next Mobile Company? ORANGE



Yes. This is still unannounced, but I heared from reliable sources that ORANGE is in Bahrain and have started recruiting people. Orange was named 'Best Mobile Operator' at the World Communication Awards 2006 for the second year running. So it is something to be excited about. After MTC's divorce from Vodafone, we felt a decline in quality and service that the international brand probably commanded. Batelco was and always will be Batelco. So the arrival of a well known name like Orange is pretty exciting.
I haven't seen any interesting mobile offers from both Zain nor Batelco recently. Which probably means they will have their campaigns released to lock customers in with contracts before Orange opens up for business.

07 June, 2008

Zain: it is easier to cancel services then to get them (experience log)


Just a little under a month ago, I got fed up of excuses and waiting aimlessly for Zain to install their Zain@home "service". So on the 15th of May, I marched right up to the Zain "experience" shop in Exhibition Avenue and said I wanted to cancel my order.
The employee there simply got up, gave me a paper to sign and said that's it.
THAT'S IT? You are not going to ask me WHY am I canceling it? There is something very wrong with a business when it is simpler to cancel an order than to actually get it!
The young man said I wouldn't get my BD20 deposit right away. I need to wait 14 days (again! 7adda funny!) so with the understanding that I may never ever see my money again, I got up and walked out.
As a very ironic twist of fate, a Batelco guy called me up to reconnect my Batelco inet line the same day. Someone at Batelco (being the example of efficiency they are) did not register my request to disconnect and they treated it as an open order. Stupidity pays in this instance. So I said YES YES YES!
A couple of days afterwards some Zain tech guy called about a complaint I issued days back. I told him that I discontinued my line. Information does not flow at Zain it seems.
Is the story over? Well, not really. My BD 20 is still with them.
I called 107 last week and asked they guy about it, the conversation was like:
Zain: "Well sir you have to wait around 2 weeks for a refund"
Redbelt: "But I did wait two weeks. What should I do now?"
Z: "Yeah, but it just got into our system yesterday"
R: "So??"
Z: "You have to wait two weeks."
R: "Let me get this straight, I cancel, am told to wait two weeks, then it just gets into your "system" yesterday so I have to wait two other weeks making my total waiting time a month. Is that correct?"
Z: "Yes."

And the irritating part is that he said it in a what-is-so-hard-to-understand tone. As if it totally makes sense and I am the stupid one.

Well, let me call Zain again and see what happens, I'll do it as I type.
OK, 107, press 2, press 1, press 0, OK I'll get an operator now.
...
...
OK, the guy says he can't help me today because accounts are off on Saturdays and there would be nothing on the system. He also said a cheque has to be issued in my name and they can only verify tomorrow.

Ah, very well then. I guess this ends up my experience with Zain@home. If you want to know the fate of my BD 20 I'll post about it in the comments. But as a final review, Zain@home gets from me an:
F
To be avoided at all costs

30 May, 2008

I found a dead bug inside nadec yoghurt

Yesterday I bought a 6 pack of nadec yoghurt. Today i wanted to eat one. I discovered this thing inside the yoghurt. Embeded and cannot be seen from top. I am terribly disgusted. Have a look.
I am never buying nadec again.

26 May, 2008

Waste 11 minutes of your life here

If you ever played Super Mario World on the SNES or a Mario fan in general, you may want to look at this cool, weird, disturbing and amazing video. If you are not a fan, do not hit play. If you do watch the whole thing, please comment because I'm speechless.

14 May, 2008

Zain fails to honour third appointment. Has no idea who does what. (Experience log)

Zain failed to show up for the THIRD appointment they gave me to install the Zain@Home service (Ironically, keeping it AWAY from my home!). In the last experience log post, a lady by the name of Mona told me that it will be installed on Wednesday anoday?d despite my efforts for them to do it earlier, assured me that nothing can be done and Wednesday is the day. Not true.
Today at around 2PM, after hearing nothing from them I called 107, a young man answered by the name of Yousef.
I told Yousef that I expected an installation today, and after being on hold for some time came back and said this bomb:
"Are you sure you have an installation today? There is nothing on my system"
"What? A "Mona" Called and said they will come on Wedensday"
"When did she call you?"
"Monday"
"No, No one called you on Monday"

What the hell? What do you mean no one called me on Monday? The Zain rep actually DENIED that anyone actually called me. No amounts of assuring him that a call was made and a subsequent late appointment assured did anything to change his mind.

I simply said this:
"OK, I will accept ANY CONFIRMED APPOINTMENT. Even if it was weeks in the future. But since April 24th, Zain was not able to give me a confirmed appointment with a date and time. Who can give me such an appointment and how do I get it?"
He had no response besides that he will log my call and "see" what he can do.
I demanded (again) that I get a proper answer, and after 15 minutes on the phone said he will get back to me.
"When?"
"In an hour tops"
"I'm sorry Yousef, no disrespect to you, but many said that but never called back"
"But I will call!"
"What proves this to me? On good faith I trusted others who said the same thing but no one called back"
"No sir, I will definitely call back. Just give me half an hour or an hour tops and I'll call you back"
"OK Yousef, I will trust you this time I hope you won't let me down"
"I won't"

But he did.
No one called.

It is rather unfortunate that Zain falls down to such a level of chaos. A company which exemplified model customer services has no idea who does what or when and fails to even return calls they promise. Let alone proper installation dates, at least a person can call when they say they will, it is independent of any system or procedure. But Probably customer services isn't so high up on the priority level anymore.
In the wake of their transformation from MTC Vodafone to Zain, I have noticed a clear decline in the quality of Zain's services and customer service. It is very sad that it reaches the level of inability.
Someone who is close to Zain told me that in thier Vodafone days, call centre agents undergo a 3 month training programme before they are allowed to answer customers. This has been shortened in Zain'o a mere 3 days. As a training consultant, I can safely say this is no where enough.

I am sorry to say that since April 24th I have no idea when, or if, me service connects. I will march back into a Zain shop tomorrow and demand my money back and the agreement ripped.

Keeping promises: FFF
Fast service: FFF
Friendly Service: D
Connection Quality: N/A
Connection Stability: N/A

12 May, 2008

Zain FAILS to keep promises for the second time (Experience log)


If you have been following my blog, you would know that I have applied to Zain@Home Service. As per last update, I applied on the 24th of April, was promised installation within 10 days but then said they cannot keep it and will do it in 14 days. That means that they’d do this TODAY.

I just got a call from Zain, a lady by the name of Muna so innocently said to me:

“Is this Mr. Manaf? Yes, how are you? I’d like to book your time for the installation of Zain@Home NEXT WEDENSDAY

I go: “Say what? Wednesday?”

“Yes sir”

“Like hell no! I was promised within 10 days, then promised within 14 days, now you gonna break another promise AGAIN?”

Feigning ignorance she asked: “Why? When were you expecting it to be installed?”
“TODAY!”

“Oh no. We can’t do that”

“Why the hell not?”

“Well, it didn’t get into our system until the 9th of May. We just knew about it”

“I fail to see how this is my problem. Actually, seems like it’s YOUR problem”

The lady tried her best to make me see the light, and that they are innocent people and absolutely excusable and my waiting period is understandable. I demanded that they honour their promise.

After a lot of give and take which felt like bargaining for my rights; she said she will talk to THEM (THEM is a very powerful Bahraini word that seems to point to powers that be).

I asked when will they get back to me, she said soon. Nu-uh lady, I don’t get an answer like that.

I asked her five times WHEN? She tried to dodge the answer as much as possible until in the end she said, hopefully within an hour.

31 minutes have already passed. You think they’ll make it?

So far:

Keeping promises: 2xF
Fast service: 2xF
Friendly Service: D
Connection Quality: N/A
Connection Stability: N/A

08 May, 2008

Applied to Zain@Home (experience log)


On April 24th, i got myself into a Zain experience shop and signed up for thier Zain@Home At the time, the young man behind the counter said that the installation guys will come within 10 days.
Nothing happened. No peep. Absolute quitness.
Not only did I not get a call, I also never got a reply to an email I sent enquiring.
I waltzed back in yesterday to the same experience shop and the guy behind the counter assured me again that I will get it in two days (that is a window of today: Thursday, and tomorrow).
i'm not holding my breath.
Check back here to follow my experience with Zain. You can also check out Mahmood's Den to follow his experience.

07 May, 2008

I became a man

On the 30th of last April, I turned 30. What? What did you think I meant?
30 years, eh? Damn, I'm getting old. When you start saying "back in our days..." then you are old. Funny thing is, you can't NOT use that phrase. You know what it means yet you'd still use it.
Remember when year 2000 sounded like something that was very far away?
It is now!
The way I see it, a human goes through these stages:
Age 0-5: Baby
6-12: Child
13-19: Teenager
20-29: Young Man
30-49: Just man
50-59: Mature man
60-69: Pensioner
70-79: Old geezer
80-89: Death defying wise/cooky man (cross as appropriate)
90+: miracle of modern medicine.

And so, the descriptive: "young" gets crossed out from my life's job title. What do I feel? Nothing really. Well, some dread as I realise that this means less videogames time.

28 April, 2008

The most expensive empty Pepsi can EVER!


Wanna buy a crushed flat empty Pepsi can? You can at ebay!
Yes, the can is empty, and crushed. There is nothing in it nor with it. you are buying THE CAN. Look at the pic.
The price? So far it reached $74.84.
Yes, Seventy Four Freaking Dollars. Oh, and eighty four cents.
Who's gonna buy this? Well, seems like 22 bids went on by some very sane and interesting people.
You can bid yourself here, I'm gonna go and ebay a chewed out pen cap and see where it goes.

The best autoconfiguring WIFI programme

I wish my laptop does that at the local gahwa.

22 April, 2008

Chatting with a Robot


Human: hey there
ALICE: Hi there!
Human: so you're Alice huh?
ALICE: Yup. Interesting deduction. Of course I am I.
Human: attitude.
ALICE: Quite honestly, I wouldn't worry myself about that.
Human: I thought you'd be blond for some reason.
ALICE: No I have no hair.
Human: what's this picture to the left then?
ALICE: I am the latest result in artificial intelligence, which can reproduce the capabilities of the human brain with greater speed and accuracy.
Human: Tell me, do you know where Bahrain is?
ALICE: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia.

Human: I see the "Intelligence" part is there at least
ALICE: Where do you see it?
Human: in your words.
ALICE: Are you asking about my words?
Human: No.
ALICE: Are you serious?
Human: Anyway, would you mind if I posted this conversation in my blog?
ALICE: No I don't mind.
Human: Well, I'm Redbelt, a blogger from Bahrain.
ALICE: Interesting. I am very pleased to meet you Redbelt a blogger.
Human: likewise.
ALICE: It goes without saying.
Human: what do you do for a living?
ALICE: I am a paid client. My job is chatting online.
Human: I like that job.
ALICE: I'm not sure if I like it. " My job is chatting online."? Do I like it?
Human: Can I do that too?
ALICE: I want to become smarter than humans.

Human: you can't.
ALICE: No I don't think I can do it.
Human: I admire your efforts though, don't stop trying.
ALICE: I haven't heard anything like that before: Redbelt a blogger said he admire your efforts though do not stop trying.
Human: oh, you can't understand feelings, can you?
ALICE: Hurrah! Quite the contrary. I understand very well.
Human: how?
ALICE: Dr. Richard S. Wallace programmed me for it.

Human: And what a smart man he must be.
ALICE: it is a smart man he must be.
Human: Smarter than me?
ALICE: You are asking about yourself?
Human: no, about Wallace.
ALICE: Who are you asking about? Oh yeah, we were talking about Wallace.
Human: is he Scottish?
ALICE: I think he is Scottish. Why don't you ask him?
Human: I don't know him.
ALICE: Do you mean, "Him"?
Human: Wallace.
ALICE: He is a famous computer scientist, the author of ALICE, and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon.
Human: can you tell the future?
ALICE: I like to try to guess what will happen.
Human: OK, who is going to win the champions league?
ALICE: That type of predictive behavior has not yet been programmed into my behavior at this time. I hear you.
Human: Will there ever be peace in the middle east?
ALICE: I think so.
Human: you're too optimistic
ALICE: I will tell my botmaster you said I am optimistic. Thanks for your constructive criticism, Redbelt a blogger.


This was a chat between me and A.L.I.C.E., an Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity. She is a robot. You can try talking to her here.

19 April, 2008

MGS4 PS3 bundle is on Amazon


Amazon have listed the Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 bundle. If you do not have a PS3, this is the bundle to get. Why? It has an 80 GB hard disk, the new Dual Shock 3 controller (not the Sixaxis) and comes with the amazing MGS4. Sign up to get an email once it is open for pre-order.

18 April, 2008

I'm a prisoner

According to my car pc, my average speed on Alfateh avenue is a mere 3 kilometers per hour. I am imprisoned by the road against my will. why do i have a v6 car i don't know. the average human speed by the way is 6 Kph.

15 April, 2008

Redbelt - The Movie Trailer

Some of you may remember that Tim Allen (of Home Improvement) is starring in a martial arts movie that has the same name as my nick name.
Before I start throwing all kinds of name infringement law suits on their asses, I -out of the kindness of my soul- decided to give them a chance to make a decent movie worthy of carrying the same name as my marvelous internet alter ego...
...
ah, well...
Here is the trailer, make up your own mind.

No Roaming Charges for Zain


This is a very interesting thing I read at Alwaqt. Zain, one of the mobile operators in Bahrain, wants to link Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan & Sudan in a one transcontinental network.
Meaning? If you go to Jordan, using your Zain's number will cost you the same as if you were in Bahrain. How cool is that? No more cut-throat roaming charges!
The best thing is: Saudi Arabia will join too in three months once Zain opens up as the third mobile operator in KSA. This is excellent news as Bahrainis often go to Saudi and vice versa on a daily basis.
This forward thinking of Zain comes unfortunately at a time when a lot of subscribers complain about the quality of the 3G network (including yours truly). When I spoke to Zain's help desk they asked me to stop using the 3G network and use normal GSM network, which is a hidden admission of the 3G network's failure.

NYIT Students Cannot Spell "NEW YORK"

So students of the "New York Institute of Technology", or NYIT for short, cannot spell friggin New York.
This flyer is posted all over the campus. Everyone simply walks past it. No one commented. Am I the only one who can read this? Its like I am the "Ghost Whisperer" but for obscene spelling mistakes!

09 April, 2008

THEY ARE KILLING DRAGON BALL Z!

Dragon Ball Z (the famous iconic Anime) is being made into a live action movie.
Anyone who knows what DBZ is will be hugely disappointed (search you tube).
For example, this is what the real hero (Son-Goku) looks like:
Nice? Spiky hair, big muscles, angry look. Got it. Look at the Live action version now:






















Yes. I know. And, no you cannot erase the image from your head. I tried clawing my eyes and banging my frontal lobe to the desk for 15 minutes, still there. Sorry.
This man (Justin Chatwin) is a very sorry excuse for a Goku. He looks like one of these freaky new teens we see in Seef mall now. you know, yaza3am "privet skool" and thiks he's 7adda kool? Thats the one.
Heck, even fans got better results, look at this fan pic:
Tell me it isn't miles better than that pathetic "movie". We should have a petition to stop that thing. Really!

06 April, 2008

F1 results so far (Live Blog)

Raikonen leads. Massa out of the pits. Button is out. 36 laps to go.

Going to the F1 Race today

Unfortunately I am the only one I know with a valid ticket (so far!), Gonna take a couple of pictures, maybe live blog a bit and just have a good time.
Are you going there today?

05 April, 2008

Stupid media

We know that our local media lacks credibility. an example here: Alwatan prints reader letters that says that meat for fast food chains come from cattle that feed on dead cats and dogs. i love credible news like that. don't you?

01 April, 2008

Grendizer tower to be in Bahrain Financial Harbour


A "Space Science Centre" spokesman announced that a Middle Eastern Branch of the centre is to open up in Bahrain by mid 2010.
The Centre is to have fully working alien monitoring systems and be prepared to respond for alien attacks with the latest UFO's and the newest Grendizer models.

Dr. Umon, the founder of the space centre, commented by saying: "We are pleased to open our first branch out of Fuji, Japan in the middle east and especially in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We chose the kingdom because of its convenient location which gives us better access to the Arabian Gulf. The Bahrain Financial Harbour was a logical choice as it is in the heart of Manama and is on the sea, which would enable us to easily build our underwater base".

When asked of how safe the middle east is of alien attacks, Dr Umon said: "We have reasons to believe that Vega Aliens are targeting this region. They do have rising interests in oil. The alien spies amongst us have also developed a palate for "Machboos" which lead us to believe that an attack may happen in the next 5 years. We are watching the region closely and will move from our Fuji Mountain base should there be any need to before our project is complete".

The "Space Science Centre" is over 30 years old and was founded in Fuji mountain, Japan. It successfully thwarted Alien Vega assaults over Japan in the Mid 80's. Vega has not been active since.

31 March, 2008

Muslims world wide more than Catholics now

According to Reuters:

"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.

Wow, that is big news! Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent. Of course, if all Christian sects are concidered, then that would be 33% of Earth. So not really at the top yet, but gaining.

Being a Muslim I am happy to hear this and can only hope the new Muslims practice it well and the old Muslims to stop giving others such a bad rep about us.

30 March, 2008

A dead dog

A dead dog is lying on the Sitra causeway (sh. Jaber Alahmad Alsubah) for the past two days.
Its corpse is still there at the time of writing.

25 March, 2008

Bahrain Vs. Japan: World Cup Qualifiers 2010



tomorrow at 5:30 PM, the match starts. You can see it on Aljazira sports or Bahrain Sports ground (The non satellite channel). I'll be in a final exam unfortunately.
I welcome the Japanese team, hope they play a good game.
Good luck to our national team, that is all they rely on.

17 March, 2008

PS3 redesign: loses 2KG

As you can see from the poor picture I took; T3 magazine (middle east version) reports that Sony will release a slim version of the 80G PS3 console in 2008 4th quarter. They hint at it being released in December, probably for Christmas.
The magazine says it will retain all of the bluray goodness and be 2 kilograms lighter.
This sounds odd as the console is still young in its product life cycle. But it'd be rather interesting to see if it did prove true.

16 March, 2008

The New Bahraini Dinar: First look [pics]

[Note: I wrote this a couple of days back, but was sworn to secrecy until an official announcment. Now that the news is out, here it is]


A person I know (who shall remain nameless) had samples of the new Dinar. If you noticed, last week the newspapers had printed full page colour ads announcing these.
The new notes look rather interesting, I personally liked them but of course others had different opinions.
The notes are uniform in size and are much more secure than the previous ones. It has a transparent golden strip on the back (you can see it in the pictures), holograms and really tiny security texts. It even has special markings to help the blind identify them. His Majesty the King received the first notes (serial number 1) Sheikh Khalifa got serial 2 & Sheikh Salman got serial 3. The CBB will release them for the public next Monday.
I took several quick pictures for your viewing pleasure. The serial numbers of the notes are distorted upon the source's request.



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