Ayna Launched First Online Map Service For The Middle East
On July 13, 2008 as part of its Idrissi “Rabat Release”, Ayna launched a beta version of Ayna Maps, a service that provides interactive maps of places and businesses for all major Arab capitals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Ayna is known for being the first Arabic search engine in the region. Its new street level map service will cover 26 cities in 17 countries and presented in Arabic and English.
Ayna maps provides street level detailed mapping that is not available through any other online service, including Google, Yahoo, and MapQuest. With the launch of Ayna Maps, businesses and individuals will be able to easily locate and add points of interest. As of the launch, Ayna Maps are preloaded with over fifty thousand searchable points of interest available in Arabic, English and French to meet the needs of local audiences.
Real-estate, banks, retails stores, hotels and tourism services will greatly benefit from Ayna Maps by marking their point of interest on a map to guide their customers to their physical location. Ayna makes it easy to embed the marked map in any web site along with contact details, such as name, address, phone, email, and a descriptive summary. The CEO of Ayna, Mr. Adonis El Fakih, describes the ability to view where Ayna is located in Beirut with his favorite line, “a picture is worth a 1000 words, and I will not get lost driving to work anymore.”
Ayna search engine is the only service that provides a geo-referenced (GeoRSS) news feed in the Middle East and North Africa. This allows users to view what is occurring in their part of the world by clicking on map markers. This feature enhances the offerings of online news providers in the region and provides an alternative way to access news.
Ayna Maps future releases include providing routing and directions, updating map data, and publishing submitted points of interest for businesses in the region. A mobile version of the map service will also be available soon.
I think I will add a stop to Yvonne Hair & Nails salon to my list of places to visit in Washington DC. I really need to apply a new pedicure technique to my feet. And what more original technique than fish pedicure?
Fish pedicures are creating something of a splash in the D.C. area, where a northern Virginia spa has been offering them for the past four months. John Ho, who runs the Yvonne Hair and Nails salon with his wife, Yvonne Le, said 5,000 people have taken the plunge so far.
"This is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet," Ho said. Watsh the following video ...
Ho said he wanted to come up with something unique while finding a replacement for pedicures that use razors to scrape off dead skin. The razors have fallen out of favor with state regulators because of concerns about whether they're sanitary.
Ho was skeptical at first about the fish, which are called garra rufa but typically known as doctor fish. They were first used in Turkey and have become popular in some Asian countries.
But Ho doubted they would thrive in the warm water needed for a comfortable footbath. And he didn't know if customers would like the idea.
"I know people were a little intimidated at first," Ho said. "But I just said, 'Let's give it a shot.' " Customers were quickly hooked.
State regulations make no provision for regulating fish pedicures. But the county health department — which does regulate pools — required the salon to switch from a shallow, tiled communal pool that served as many as eight people to individual tanks in which the water is changed for each customer.
Seagate Announces World's First 1.5TB Desktop PC & 500GB Notebook PC Hard Drives
Yesterday, Seagate unveiled the World's first 1.5-terabyte desktop and half-terabyte notebook hard drives.
The debut of the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB hard drive, the eleventh generation of Seagate's flagship drive for desktop PCs, marks the single largest capacity hard drive jump in the more than half-century history of hard drives -- a half-terabyte increase from the previous highest capacity of 1TB, thanks to the capacity-boosting power of perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.
The Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive combines proven PMR technology, components and expert manufacturing to provide 1.5TB of reliable storage for mainstream desktop computers, workstations, desktop RAID, gaming and high-end PCs, and USB/FireWire/eSATA external storage.
Seagate's new 2.5-inch half-terabyte 5400- and 7200-rpm drives -- Momentus 5400.6 and Momentus 7200.4 -- deliver the best combination of capacity, mobility and durability for mainstream and high-performance notebook computers, external storage solutions, PCs and industrial applications requiring small form factor.
Shipments of the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB are set to begin August 2008. Momentus 5400.6 and 7200.4 hard drives are to begin shipping in Q4 2008.
I only found out about this today. Stan Winston died 20 days ago (on June 15th). The Oscar-winning special-effects maestro responsible for bringing the dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" and other iconic movie creatures to life, has died after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma. He was 62. I admit that I am a big fan of his work and his Sci-Fi monsters (Terminator, Predator, Alien, & T-Rex). I'm sure that Hollywood will miss him alot.
"The entertainment industry has lost a genius, and I lost one of my best friends with the death Sunday night of Stan Winston," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Stan's work and four Oscars speak for themselves and will live on forever. What will live forever in my heart is the way that Stan loved everyone and treated each of his friends like they were family."
Winston won visual effects Oscars for 1986's "Aliens," 1992's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and 1993's "Jurassic Park." He also won a makeup Oscar for 1992's "Batman Returns."
Winston was nominated for his work on "Heartbeeps," "Predator," "Edward Scissorhands," "Batman Returns," "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "A.I."
He last worked with director Jon Favreau on "Iron Man."
Landmark To Launch 10 Shariah-Compliant Hotels By 2010
Landmark Hotel Management LLC has announced that it will be launching 10 world-class Shariah-compliant hotels and serviced apartments in the UAE and KSA by the end of 2010. The move is in line with the company's strategy to cater to the increasing demand for Shariah-compliant projects in the Middle East.
Six of the ten upcoming projects will be launched in Dubai, two in Abu Dhabi, a four-star hotel in Fujairah and one hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All the projects will operate on Islamic principles, which means that they are alcohol-free, serve halal food, and provide a percentage of their profit to charity.
S.M. Sadique, Managing Director of Landmark Hotel Group, highlighted that Landmark Hotel Management is keen on increasing the mass appeal of Shariah-compliant hotels. 'Presently, the general perception is that Shariah-compliant hotels are only meant for Muslims; which is certainly not the case. There are several non-Muslims, especially with families, who thoroughly enjoy the quieter and cleaner ambiance offered in Shariah-compliant hotels. Through our forthcoming projects we are determined to broaden the appeal of Shariah-compliant hotels across the Middle East.'
Utah Shifting To 4-Day Week To Save Energy & Money
In the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline in the United States, a growing number of the states are offering their employees four-day workweeks to help relieve commuting costs and save on state energy bills.
In the boldest step so far, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) announced June 26 that he is imposing a four-day workweek on about 17,000 state employees starting the first week of August and continuing for at least a year. Employees will work 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and about 1,000 of the 3,000 state buildings will be closed on Fridays. Essential services, such as highway patrols, courts, public schools and colleges, will not be affected by the changes, which are expected to save the state $3 million, said Lisa Roskelley, the governor’s spokeswoman.
While Utah is the first to make four-day workweeks mandatory, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) announced two weeks ago that her office was considering work-schedule alternatives to help commuters save fuel. And New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) has ordered each state agency to adopt a policy for telecommuting and alternate work schedules by Sept. 1.
Supporters say four-day workweeks help commuter-clogged roads, give people access to government services for longer hours, reduce emissions and conserve energy at state facilities — a residual benefit that saves taxpayers money. Keeping workers home once a week is particularly appealing in rural states where mass transit is limited or non-existent.
Critics of the compressed workweek charge it’s an inconvenience for the customers government is required to serve. Others argue the extended workdays burden those who require daycare for children or have special commuting arrangements. Even advocates say four-day work weeks aren’t for all employees.
I wonder will it be a good idea to apply a 4-day week in the UAE, specially Dubai?