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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ayna Organizes “Ya Hala Ramadan” Competition

Ayna's Ya Hala Ramadan Competition

During the holy month of Ramadan, “Ayna” is organizing a religious and cultural competition called “Ya Hala Ramadan”, and offering valuable prizes for winners.

Participants can search Ayna to find the answer for a multiple-choice question asked daily throughout the period of Ramadan. The competition is only available in Arabic language.

Participants in the competition should meet the following conditions:
  • Have a registered user account at “Ayna” through clicking at the following link: https://www.ayna.com/new_user.ar.php
  • Be a resident of one of the Arab countries.
  • Participate in the competition once daily and choose only one answer.
The winner of the competition is the one answering correctly the highest number of answers. In a multi-winner scenario, a draw will take place to choose the winner.

Valuable prizes will be awarded to winners (special thanks to Fototec, Lebanon and Bahrain Air).
First, Second, and Third- Place winners will select from the below prizes:
  • Two round-trip tickets, courtesy of Bahrain Air.
  • F47 FD Digital Camera, offered by Fuji Film.
  • Digital Frame, courtesy of Transcend.
Fourth- Place winner gets the F400 Fuji Film Digital Camera, offered by Fuji Film, whereas the Fifth-Place winner receives one MP3 player, courtesy of Tuny, in addition to a USB offered by Transcend.

As for the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth- Place winners, each will get an MP3 player whereas Ninth and Tenth – Place winners will collect each a USB Device.

The competition shall begin at the first day of the month of Ramadan and end at its last, whereas the names of the winners will be announced on the 8th of October 2008 and notified afterwards via email.

In case winners of the competition fail to reply to the email sent by” Ayna” within one week of the notification date, another winners shall be selected by draw.

Those wishing to participate have to visit “Ayna’s” following link: http://www.ayna.com/contest.ar.php

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2: Adding New Features For Privacy, Security, & Crash Recovery

Internet Explorer 8 Beta

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 for developers, released by Microsoft on March 6th 2008, offered some fascinating new capabilities. Yesterday, IE8 Beta 2 was released improving and adding some new features, such as:

  • Search suggestions: Search smarter with detailed suggestions from your favorite search providers and browsing history. See visual previews and get suggested content topics while you type in the enhanced Instant Search Box.
  • InPrivate Browsing: Keep Internet Explorer 8 from adding any sites you visit to Browsing History with InPrivate Browsing. Now you can shop for that special gift with confidence knowing your family won't accidentally find out.
  • Compatibility View: Internet Explorer 8's built-in Compatibility View button enables you to display websites that were designed for older browsers. Simply press the Compatibility View button if you see display problems on a website like misaligned text, images, or text boxes. It's located next to the Refresh button on the Address Bar.
  • Accelerators: Accelerators let you complete your everyday browsing activities more quickly and even discover new services. Start mapping, translating, emailing, and more in just a few mouse clicks.
  • Web Slices: Keep up with changes to the sites you care about most. Add a Web Slice and you won't have to go back to the same website again and again for updates on news, stock quotes, online auctions, weather, or even sports scores.
  • SmartScreen Filter: New security features help to protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy, and identity.
  • Automatic Crash Recovery: If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to your browsing experience. Also if one or more of your tabs do crash, your tabs are automatically reloaded and you are returned to whatever page you were on before the crash.

How to uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

In case you wanted to go back to your Internet Explorer 7 in your Windows Vista, uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 by following these steps:
  1. Click Start button, type Programs and Features in the Start Search box, and then click Programs and Features in the Programs list. (If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.)
  2. In the Tasks pane, click View installed updates.
  3. Click Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, and then click Uninstall.
If Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 does not appear in the Currently Installed Updates list, run the following command at an elevated command prompt:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%\servicing\Packages/M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-8*.mum /c "cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /norestart"

Read Also:
Internet Explorer 8 (Microsoft)
Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Release Notes (Microsoft Help & Support)
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2's (Familiar) New Features (Life Hacker)
Automatic Crash Recovery in IE8 Beta (Microsoft)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interview with Mohamed AbdelRahman from CNBC Arabia

Mohamed Abdelrahman

I am a big fan of this new Arabic news channel (CNBC Arabia). I can't put my finger on it, but every time I switch my TV to (CNBC Arabia) I get hooked to it. I've never been a fan to an Arabic news channel like I've been to this one. Maybe one big reason for my "addiction" to (CNBC Arabia) is Mr. Mohamed AbdelRahman, the host of many of the channel's shows. He attracts me to his shows with the way he presents his shows and interacts with his guests. I wanted to know more about this man and about (CNBC Arabia) through him, so I started by searching in the internet. I couldn't find any except some video clips of his shows posted in YouTube. Therefore, I decided to interview him and he was so kind to accept my invitation. The following is my interview with Mohamed AbdelRahman from (CNBC Arabia) ...

أرجو أن تعطيني نبذة عن حياتك و بداياتك المهنية و خصوصاً مع (سي إن بي سي عربية)

تخرجت من أكاديمية الفنون بالقاهرة قبل عشرين عاما، بعد ان درست النقد الفني والأدبي, وأمضيت بُعيد تخرجي سنة أو أكثر قليلا من الارتباك الكامل, لم يكن فيها من إيجابيات إلا إتمامي لخدمتي العسكرية الإلزامية – ولعلك ستندهش حينما أخبرك بأنني أنا الذي يعاني من ضعف بصره منذ مولده كنت قناصا في الجيش المصري!!!

حاولت الخروج من أزمة الغموض المرير لتلك الفترة ومن أسئلتها الوجودية –من أنا؟ ولماذا أعيش؟ وماذا سأفعل بحياتي؟- بأن ألتحق بالدراسات العليا في ذات الأكاديمية ولكنني بعد شهر واحد أتيحت لي فرصة العمل بصحيفة أخبار اليوم الأسبوعية المصرية –أتاحها لي رئيس أكاديمية الفنون آنذاك الدكتور فوزي فهمي أحد أهم أساتذتي .

تعلمت الكثير في أخبار اليوم، تعلمت من فنون الحياة أكثر مما تعلمته من فنون الصحافة!

ولكنني خرجت من المؤسسة العريقة خائبا بعد ثلاث سنوات –لم أرُق للبعض هناك- وانضممت انضماما عابرا للأهرام ثم استقر بي الحال مذيعا في الشبكة الرئيسية للإذاعة المصرية، وهناك –فيما أظن- بدأت شخصيتي الإعلامية تتبلور ...

ولأن المرتبات في الإذاعة تكفي الخبز ولا تكفي الإدام كما يقولون عملت بالتوازي مع عملي الإذاعي مراسلا لتليفزيون الكويت ثم مراسلا لقناة دبي الاقتصادية –التي لم يعد لها وجود الآن – ثم عُرض علي أن أنضم لمذيعي تليفزيون دبي ففعلت بلاتردد عام 2001 وظللت أقدم نشرات هذه المحطة المهمة حتى تم تعديل هيكلها الإداري فحدث الخلاف مع أقطابها الجدد فانتقلت إلى سي إن بي سي عربية عام 2005 بمباركة من مدير برامجها آنذاك محمد مؤمنين الذي ترك لدي انطباعا عميقا بالنبل ...

وهأنذا ماأزال للعام الرابع على التوالي في سي إن بي سي مستمتعا بمساحة رحبة من الحرية لقول ما أريد ولأكون نفسي بلا تزييف ولا ضغوط ودون الحاجة لأقنعة .

ما هي طبيعة العلاقة بين (سي إن بي سي عربية) و بين قناة (سي إن بي سي) الأمريكية؟ هل هناك أي تأثيرات أو توجيهات أو انتقادات تتلقونها من قناة سي إن بي سي الأم بخصوص المواضيع التي تطرحونها؟

سي إن بي سي هي علامة تجارية إعلامية أمريكية تنضوي تحت مظلتها مظاهر إعلامية متعددة, وسي إن بي سي عربية هي مالك حق استغلال هذه العلامة عربيا, ولا توجد أي رقابة على ما نقدمه من الشركة الأم, وقد يكون هناك نوع من التعاون ...ولا أعرف ما يتجاوز ذلك .

كثير من الإنتقادات الموجهة إلى موقع (سي إن بي سي عربية) الأكتروني هو افتقاره لعناصر التفاعل مع المشاهدين و صفحات الحوارات التي تناقش المواضيع المطروحة على القناة. ما هو رأيك في هذه الإنتقادات؟

أنا المنتقد الأول – ومعي معظم زملائي – لتهافت الموقع الإلكتروني للقناة ...وأعرف أن الإدارة بصدد تعديله تعديلا ثوريا ...وأفلحوا إن صدقوا !!!!

Mohamed Abdelrahman

من يقوم بانتقاء ضيوف برامجك؟ و ما مدى تجاوب رجال الأعمال و الإقتصاد العرب في تلبية دعواتكم و إجراء الحوارات على الهواء؟

نتعاون جميعا لانتقاء الضيوف وأحيانا ما نضطر للقبول بالمتاح وخصوصا في موسم الصيف حيث يسافر "القادرون" إلى بلاد الشمال !!! ولاحظ أن القناة لا تدفع مقابلا ماديا لضيوفها وهذا يضيق من هوامش حرية الحركة في ظل المنافسة من القنوات الثرية التي تدفع دولارات خضراء كثيرة للضيوف ...!!! القناة كما تعرف ليست مدعومة من "حكومة" ولهذا نحن بحاجة لممارسة الاقتصاد عمليا ونظريا !!! ولكنك قد تندهش إذا ما قلت لك إن عددا وافرا من "الكبار" يفضلون سي إن بي سي عربية !!!!

ما رأيك بتفاعل المشاهدين مع البرامج التي تقدمها بوجه خاص (مثال: برنامج أنت المسؤول) و مع باقي برامج (سي إن بي سي عربية) بشكل عام؟

لا أعرف !!! لا توجد طريقة لقياس ردود أفعال الناس إلا إذا قابلك أحدهم في الطريق فابتسم أو تجهم ! وقد تعرضت للكثير من الأمرين !!!

ماذا لا يتم تحضير برامج تفاعلية مع الشباب العربي المهتم بالقضايا الإقتصادية العربية و العالمية و تبادل الآراء معهم؟

لعلك تعرف أن ستيف هول قد صار مؤخرا المسؤول الأول عن القناة، وأظن أنه بخبرته التليفزيونية الطويلة سيستمع لصوت المنطق في هذا المجال دافعا باتجاه سي إن بي سي عربية شابة وحيوية وجديرة بمضاعفة مشاهديها مرات، وقادرة على استقطاب الشباب والعجائز وما بينهما!!!

في رأيك ، ما المواصفات و المميزات الواجب توافرها في مقدم البرامج الحوارية الإقتصادية لضمان النجاح و تحقيق الإنتشار و الفائدة؟

الثقافة والصوت الحسن والثقة بالنفس، والقدرة اللامتناهية على التعلم من أخطائه وعلى الإنصات لنصائح الآخرين ...ولكن الأهم هو أن يكون منيعا في مواجهة الغرور!

كيف تقيّم أداء قناة (سي إن بي سي عربية) في خضم و جود العشرات من القنوات الفضائية العربية الإخبارية؟ و ما الذي يميّز قناة (سي إن بي سي عربية) عن باقي القنوات الإخبارية و الإقتصادية؟

أكثر ما أحبه في سي إن بي سي عربية هو استقلاليتها التي تمنحها مذاقها الموضوعي المنعش، نحن فقراء لكننا نمتلك الكثير من الصدق والكبرياء ! كما أن هناك مساحة واسعة للتعلم من الأخطاء!

ما رأيك في الواقع التي تعيشه دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة و الطفرة العمرانية و الإقتصادية التي تشهدها دبي على وجه الخصوص؟ و هل أنت من المتفائلين بهذا الواقع أم من "القلقين"؟

لعلك تنتظر مني كلاما في الاقتصاد ....لن أفعل.... فلدي ما هو أهم لأقوله ....الإماراتيون يا سيدي هم الضامنون لاستمرار ازدهارهم، فإذا ما حافظوا على قدرتهم الرفيعة على التعايش مع الآخرين ومع المتغيرات وإذا ما استمروا يبدعون الحلول للأزمات ويدهشون العالم بقدرتهم الخلاقة على التحديث ... إذا لم يتراخ الإماراتي وإذا ما بقي محافظا على قلبه الطيب المفتوح استمر ازدهاره !

Mohamed Abdelrahman

كيف أنت من عالم الإنترنت؟ هل أنت ممن يحب أن يتفاعل مع الناس ألكترونياً؟ و هل تتصفح أو تشارك في منتديات الحوارات الإقتصادية العربية؟

أنا أحب الإنترنت كثيرا وأمضي وقتا لا يستهان به يوميا في حالة تصفح !

هل لديك موقع خاص (أو مدونة) على شبكة الإنترنت؟ و ما هي أفضل طريقة للتواصل معك؟

لا يا عزيزي ليست لدي مواقع ولا مدونات ! وبريدي الإلكتروني هو

ماذا تحب أن تقول إلى محبي الأستاذ محمد عبدالرحمن و ما الذي تتمناه منهم؟

لو أن هناك من يمكن تسميتهم ب"محبي محمد عبد الرحمن" فسأكون سعيدا بهم للغاية، وسيكون أول ما سأطلبه منهم هو الغفران !!! فليغفروا لي أنني لست إعلاميا أفضل لأستحق حبهم !

هل تود أن تضيف أي شيء قبل أن نختم هذا اللقاء؟

أحب أن أترك لديك انطباعا أخيرا، فكرت في أن أخبرك أنني تحررت مؤخرا من الخشية العبثية من رقم 13 !!!
أو أنني أرى نفسي مشروع شاعر وقاص قبل أن أكون إعلاميا !
أو أن الأربعين التي أتممتها هذا الشهر هي سن النضج والذعر من الأفول !
ولكنني قررت أن يكون الانطباع متعلقا بإيماني العميق المترجم في سلوكي اليومي بالإنسان بكل عثراته وعبقرياته بحطته وبعظمته بوحشيته وبرقته ...الإنسان يستحق التعاطف والمحبة والغفران وأنا أفعل ذلك ما استطعت !

في الختام أشكرك شكراً جزيلاً يا سيدي على إتاحتك هذه الفرصة للتواصل مع متابعيك من خلال شبكة الإنترنت و أتمنى لك المزيد من النجاح و التوفيق

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RocketDock: Mac OS X-like Application Launcher For Windows

RocketDock Application Launcher
Click above for larger image

Have you ever glanced over the shoulder of a Mac user and seen the nifty little bar of icons at the bottom of their screen? This is known as a "dock." For those of you that haven't seen this, a dock is simply a bar that can be set to the edge of your screen with a background and a row of shortcut icons. The function of a dock is to bring quick access to these shortcuts in an organized fashion relieving your desktop of clutter. It acts much like the Quick Launch, pointing each icon to the original folder or file.

Now you can have the "dock" in your desktop by installing RocketDock for Windows XP & Vista. RocketDock lets you easily access all of your most commonly used Windows applications and minimize them in one place. All you have to do is drag and drop shortcuts to the launcher in order to access them. You can even customize RocketDock with different colors and effects.

RocketDock is a project by Punk Labs. With RocketDock, icons zoom and transition smoothly when you move your mouse over them. You can minimize windows to the dock instead of Windows task bar. RocketDock runs great on slower computers and supports many languages and can easily be translated (including Arabic). And best of all... its FREE.

Note: RocketDock does not remove, replace, store, duplicate, or backup any of the items you drag into the dock. You should never delete the original items. Dock shortcuts are not stored as files and cannot be dragged back onto the desktop or anywhere else.

Read Also:
RocketDock Brings The MacOS Dock to Windows (AppScout)
Download of the Day: RocketDock (Windows) (Life Hacker)

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Desktops 1.0: Adds Multiple Desktops To Your Windows

Desktops 1.0

Such simple applications can make life easier. This is a great example to apply on Microsoft Windows. Desktops 1.0 is a small and simple application created by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell from Windows Sysinternals. It just got published 2 days ago.

Desktops 1.0
allows you to organize your applications on up to four virtual desktops. Read email on one, browse the web on the second, and do work in your productivity software on the third, without the clutter of the windows you’re not using. After you configure hotkeys for switching desktops, you can create and switch desktops either by clicking on the tray icon to open a desktop preview and switching window, or by using the hotkeys. Desktops 1.0 is free and only (62 kb) in size.

Desktops 1.0 Control Panel

The Sysinternals web site was created in 1996 by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell to host their advanced system utilities and technical information. Microsoft acquired Sysinternals in July, 2006. Whether you’re an IT Pro or a developer, you’ll find Sysinternals utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.

Read Also:
Desktops v1.0 (Windows Sysinternals)
Microsoft Desktops Gives Windows Super-Simple Multiple Desktops (Life Hacker)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

3-D Facial Animation So Real With Image Matrics & AlterEgo

Emily & AlterEgo Faces: 3-D Facial Animation So Real

This amazing combination of technology and graphical artistry makes for some of the most realistic and precise 3D animated facial expressions I’ve ever seen. 3-D computer animation has become so advanced that it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Just to show you what I mean, meet Emily & AlterEgo faces:

Emily From Image Matrics

Emily - the woman in the above animation - is an animation believe it or not! Emily was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as 'uncanny valley' - which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness.

Researchers at a Californian company which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a 'control system'.

The team at Image Metrics - which produced the animation for the Grand Theft Auto computer game - then recreated the gestures, movement by movement, in a model. The aim was to overcome the traditional difficulties of animating a human face, for instance that the skin looks too shiny, or that the movements are too symmetrical.

Faces From AlterEgo

Pendulum Studios’, AlterEgo division combines facial expression software, precision motion capture, and good old-fashioned artistry to reproduce the most minute facial movements you’ve ever seen on a digital actor. Every wrinkle, crinkle and twitch is reproduced with startling accuracy.

The guys over at AlterEgo have developed proprietary “facial performance software”, which combined with special mo-cap hardware, can produce unbelievably real digital faces in record time. Their work has been featured in motion pictures, commercials, animation and video games including Dark Sector and the forthcoming Silent Hill 5.

Maybe one day we will not need real actors and actresses to make movies. Exactly like the movie S1m0ne had predicted.

Read Also:
Image Matrics (Official Site)
AlterEgo (Official Site)
Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games (Times Online)
Image metrics emily cg facial animation blows my mind (Technobob)
AlterEgo 3d facial animations are really, really, real (Technobob)

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Villa Leopolda: World Most Expensive Villa Sold For €496 Million

Villa Leopolda: World Most Expensive Villa
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov with his new villa

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has bought the world's most expensive villa, a former royal palace, on the French Riviera for nearly half a billion euros. Villa Leopolda, built in 1902 for Belgian king Leopold II near Cap Ferrat, not far from Nice and Monaco, was sold to the former head of Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel for 496 million euros (730 million dollars), Nice Matin newspaper reported Saturday.

Earlier owners include the late Italian industrialist and principal shareholder of Fiat, Giovanni Agnelli, and Lebanese-born Swiss banker Edmond Safra, whose widow Lily Safra was now selling the property. Safra died at his Monaco home in 1999 in a fire that was deemed arson.

Forbes magazine has ranked Prokhorov's 19.5-billion-dollar fortunes sixth in Russia and 24th worldwide.

Read Also:
Russia billionaire buys world's most expensive villa (AFP)
Russian tycoon named as mystery buyer of the world's most expensive house - sold for £395 million (Daily Mail)
Russian tycoon buys world's most expensive villa (Telegraph)



Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flint & Silver: Treasure Island Prequal Tells The Story of The Two Most Famous Pirates

Flint & Silver

Who does not know Long John Silver? Who haven't read the book "Treasure Island", written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1883, or at least watched the movie or the animated series whether in Arabic, English, or Japanese? By the way, you can download the full book in PDF format by clicking here (8.42 MB).

When you read "Treasure Island", you feel like you are reading a sequel! The book is full of un-answered questions. How did Long John lose his leg? Where did he get the parrot? Who was the black girl he married? Who was the monster, demon, Captain Flint? And above all, why did they bury the treasure?

In my summer vacation to Gold Coast, Australia, early this month, I came across this book displayed in (New Releases) section of a bookshop. It was just published last month. The book is "Flint & Silver" by John Drake. It was like a dream came true to me! I bought the book and I'm currently half way through it.

John Drake, the author of "Flint & Silver", explained about the idea of pirates burying their treasure, "Think about that because buried treasure is so deeply entrenched in our culture that we never ask why pirates did it. And the truth is that they didn't. I know of no proven instance of pirates burying their treasure. This isn't surprising. Pirates lived short lives. They didn't set aside for the future. When they got money it went on girls, booze and food. You didn't stick in a hole in the ground to get 5.75% interest minus tax at standard rate. You didn't set it aside for the future because you didn't have a future. Blackbeard the most famous of all pirates lasted about fifteen months till the Navy caught him and killed him and cut his head off.".

Drake continues, "Since Robert Louis Stevenson was dead, and I was fascinated by this period of history. I decided to answer all these prequel/sequel questions, but to do it for adults. Stephenson wrote the book for his stepson Lloyd Osborne who was thirteen and wanted no women in the book. But I can't have that. I'm older than thirteen. So I brought Long John to life again, who has for years been in the shadow of Robert Newton's character: a short, dark, boozy, dirty, squinting A-harrr Jim-Lad, which is nothing like the character Stevenson created: who should be tall - that's why he's called Long John - and big and clean and blond! Flint was the other great opportunity. In Treasure Island he was long dead, but a monster who terrified everyone but Silver. So I've brought him to life, as a monster, but a beautiful one. A charismatic psychopath. Charming and clever and mad. "

Watch John Drake talking about his book ...

I can tell you from what I've read so far is that I'm hooked to this book. I totally recommend it for all "Treasure Island" fans to read. The book is full of action and will answer so many questions left unanswered from Stevenson's greatest masterpiece.

There are some rumors that "Flint & Silver" will be made a movie to hit the big screen in 2010.

"Flint and Silver is the beginning of a series. There are plenty more to come. And I'll keep writing them if you keep buying them. ", said Drake.

Read Also:
Flint & Silver (Greene and Heaton)
Flint and Silver (Amazon UK)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Keyboard Napkins: To Keep Your Laptop Clean

Keyboard Napkins

Sometimes such simple ideas amaze me. This keyboard napkin is a concept design, but I think it should be passed to napkin companies at once! This is the best idea to protect your laptop keyboard from greasy fingers , soft drink spills, and cookies leftovers making its way through your keyboard buttons.

You simply stick the napkin on the surface of your laptop keyboard by pulling off the 2 plastic strips from the sides. Then after you get done typing, you wipe your hands and mouth with it and trash it .... and get another one!

Read Also:
Single Men's Choice (Der Alleinwohner)

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Shanghai 2020: World's Largest City Scale Model

Shanghai 2020: World's Largest City Scale Model
Photo by +tajc (Flickr)

This is so amazing. I wonder how much time and effort has been put into this beautiful piece of art. The picture above is for what is considered the largest city scale model in the world (click here to see more). How come Dubai didn't think of this first?

The model is located in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, a history museum and a shrine to all things urban, located in People's Square in the heart of downtown. It is a 1:500 scale representation of the city, sprawling over 6,400 square feet -- and even then it all won't fit onto a full floor of the exhibition hall. It is surrounded by walkways, and it can be viewed from a balcony above. With the flick of a switch, artificial night falls, and its thousands of lovingly rendered buildings begin to twinkle. It is surreal, and beautiful, a bit absurd, and it seems to offer, in one comprehensive glance, a sense of the city in its massive, skyscraping, outward-spreading totality. Here, perhaps, one can absorb what it means to build some 10,000 high-rise buildings in a quarter-century. Watch the following short video to get a feel of how big the model is:

Huang Qi Min
is a modelmaker, and it is his company that makes and maintains this mini-colossus. Modelmaking is a competitive sport in China, and that's how Huang got his start. But in the early 1990s, when Shanghai was released from the economic and social strictures that kept its potential in check for more than four decades of communist rule, city leaders decided they needed some way to get a handle on it. The model was an early effort to take the measure of the city. And it just keeps growing. Every few months, Huang says, he must swap out the "white" buildings, which represent projects in the planning or drawing-board stage, for finished models, rendered in color. When necessary, he will walk on the Huangpu River to get to the center of the city.

Read Also:
Gargantuan Scale Model of Shanghai in 2020 (Neatorama)
Sizing Up a Mega-City (Washington Post)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Darbb: Delivery Service From The People & By The People


Darrb is an online community where people can ship items and get better rates and faster services than conventional ways. In an auction based marketplace, members work together to offer their competitive charges for shipping items to locations they choose.

Darrb, which means "way" in Arabic, is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. it is a platform that connects people willing to send items from one location to another, with people willing to deliver these items and earn an income as a return.

The following is a brief introduction by Murshid Aljanahi, co-founder of Darrb.com:

In order to ensure quality, competitive rates and speediness, senders are able to rank the service of the deliverers (Darrbers) once the deal is done. This ranking system allows public to see how other people, that have used the service of a specific Darrber, found the quality, price and speed of the delivery.

Who might be interested?
  • Individuals that have free time can earn money by offering their delivery service within an area they desire.
  • Individuals that drive on a daily basis to another city and/or remote location and would want to earn money by picking up a delivery from his place and drop it to an agreed destination.
  • Delivery and logistics companies that want to increase their operational marketshare would find people willing to send items from any country in the world.
  • People willing to send items with a lower cost than average delivery charges.
  • People looking for instant and fast deliveries to a local destination.
Through Darrb, people can compare the delivery services of a huge number of service providers to select the suitable, cost effective, quality provider.

Give it a try!

Read Also:
Darrb Shipping 2.0 (ArabCrunch)

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Pioneer Produces 500GB Blu-ray Disc

Pioneer Blu-ray Player & Disc

A 20-layer optical disc is now viable, following research by team of engineers at Pioneer HQ, Tokyo. Each layer of the disc can store 25GB of information to provide a mammoth 500GB of storage.

The news follows the International Symposium on Optical Memory (ISOM) and Optical Data Storage, held during July in Hawaii, where Pioneer Corporation presented its research, defining draft specifications for the 500 GB disc. The ISOM had previously outlined the industry objective of creating a 20-layer disc to be available between 2010-2012.

While Blu-ray discs (BD), offering both 25GB and 50BG, are sufficient for current demands, the need for a technology that can support far greater capacities as HD streaming in particular becomes commonplace and users build larger files of digital content.

The multi-layered method is compatible with Blu-ray devices providing a long term future for the technology and is more easily produced when compared to competing technologies such as holographic storage.

One of the technical issues addressed was the problem of ‘crosstalk’ between the separate layers of optical media. Due to the close proximity of the layers, data from one layer could interfere with that from another layer. By applying proprietary technology developed for its BD products and by stacking two different thickness of layers alternatively, interlayer crosstalk was reduced, thus further confirming the feasibility of 20-layer optical discs.

Read Also:
500GB Blu-ray Disc now feasible (Pioneer Europe)
Pioneer Produces 500GB Blu-ray Disc (Trusted Reviews)

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Dark Knight: The Best Movie In History?

The Dark Knight

This is not my opinions, but the opinion of 207,426 voters in the well known website of The Internet Movie Database. According to IMDB's top 250 movies as voted by users, the latest Batman movie (The Dark Knight) has achieved a rating of 9.3 out of 10. This is truly phenomenal !

I've always known that the ranking system of IMDB is very popular and most of the time reflects my own opinion of different movies. Actually, a lot of people believe that IMDb's Top 250 is one of the most accurate lists ranking the greatest films in history. I usually visit the site before watching any movie to see the ranking and read the users' comments and votes. The current top 10 movies as I'm writing this blog are:

1.9.3The Dark Knight (2008)207,426
2.9.2The Shawshank Redemption (1994)357,104
3.9.1The Godfather (1972)306,312
4.9.0The Godfather: Part II (1974)173,872
5.9.0The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (1966)101,774
6.8.9Pulp Fiction (1994)302,561
7.8.8Schindler's List (1993)200,744
8.8.8One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)152,234
9.8.8Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)211,804
10.8.8Casablanca (1942)129,198

I haven't watched the movie yet, but I'm planning to watch it today just to see for myself ... does the movie (The Dark Knight) really deserve to be the best movie in history?

Read Also:
Top 250 movies as voted by our users (IMDB)
The Dark Knight Currently Ranked #1 on IMDb's Top 250!! (FirstShowing.net)



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