welcome to the hotel california...

… such a lovely place

(so it seems after only one day of being here…)

a slice of binary cake

about a week early, i got this binary cake slice.

binary cake

courtesy of rlo ™.

windows vista

recently, microsoft had a public beta out for vista beta 2 available for download… having my linux partition as my major partition and windows xp installed for gaming purposes (cedega is great, but i find that games like WoW run much more smoothly in windows), i decided to try to replace xp with vista just to check it out.

for starters, it looks really nice… the visual effects and stuff are nice. however, its flaws quickly became apparent - first and foremost, the whole “security by prompt” concept is ridiculously annoying – essentially, even if you are an admin, you are asked before almost anything happens - if i try to do any file operation, especially under program files (i am talking about creating directories, or deleting shortcuts off the desktop for applications just installed), i get security warnings that “this could be a security hazard, would you like to continue?” not only were they simple warnings, the whole screen would fade out and just bring up the one pop up box.

another thing i discovered (while trying to download the patch for WoW, admittantly :)) was that vista cuts the network device off if you’re using too much bandwidth (its a torrent download weighing around 600 mb) - to the extent that you can’t ipconfig /renew (you can /release, but you can’t renew) – and things stop working. i am sure my network connection was working because i was using the net on my other computer just fine. until i rebooted, i couldn’t use the internet at all.

finally, my 2005fpw was detecting as a “generic pnp monitor,” and i failed to get the driver correctly installed for it, and, as a result, i couldn’t play WoW in widescreen mode. oh and microsoft sql server management studio express wouldn’t install on vista either.

anyway… although most of the issues above are fixable by some set of obscure settings in msconfig and other places, i switched back to xp for the time being for a smoother gaming experience. i also gave office 2007 beta a whirl, and although its pretty different (no menus really, just a tab structure), it seems to be pretty nice. i like its built in “export to pdf” feature, but i heard they were forced to drop it.

namazTime anonymous svn

just put up an svn repository for public access. you can access it here, or to obtain the latest code, just do:

svn co http://piousity.net/namazTime

thanks to mohammed sameer’s suggestions, i made several changes. the version in svn is different than the release mainly because now, rather than manually make calls to libglade for loading objects from the xml files, i use the default build stuff generated by glade. while this will make a few things easier (adding translations later on, for example), i am not quite sure if i did everything right, but it seems to work so its fine for now (i am mainly unsure with respect to how to get the widgets, because the lookup method requires a parent widget which sometimes i don’t have available, so i just made the main window global, and just destroyed the auxillary windows when they are closed and reopen them).

the version in subversion also links against libitl, so it is no longer bundled within the app. finally, a todo list is included for people interested in helping out.

namazTime 0.9

i’ve fixed some of the distribution issues with the last version of namazTime, and so here it is, namazTime 0.9. it’s still linux only at the moment, and it needs a notification area - most window managers either have this (gnome, kde, xfce, fluxbox), or you can get a program to handle this for those that don’t (i currently use trayer under openbox).

to bring up the prayer times, you click the icon in the notification tray. hitting x or reclicking the icon reminimizes it into the tray. to change the timings and such, right click the icon. you can find a screenshot of the program in one of the older posts about it on this weblog.

on the todo list is to fix any bugs (please comment if you find something amiss), add some sort of alarm feature (to play the athan, for example), provide translations (arabic especially), and maybe port to windows and osx.

if you try it, please leave your comments. thanks! wsalams.

goodbye, WoW

today, i closed my WoW account. for good measure, i also deleted my characters before closing the account. this way, i can be sure that i don’t go back. awesome game, but its too addicting and wastes too much time.

building scalable websites

i ordered the new o’reilly book off amazon, “Building Scalable Web Sites: Building, scaling, and optimizing the next generation of web applications.” its written by cal henderson, one of the guys behind flickr. i’ve read a little bit and so far it seems to be pretty good.



this is my favorite zabihah place to eat in nyc. fawaad introduced me to it a while back, and i think that despite the fact that its quite far from where i live, i still go there pretty often. i went there this weekend, and i also saw the new 5th avenue apple store from outside, which definitely looks really cool!

actually, there’s one really interesting thing about platters which always strikes me as interesting - its on a corner with at least 2 other street vendors nearby (that you can see while standing in line at platters) – and although the food at those tastes very similar to that of platters, platters has all the customers and people whereas the other ones generally don’t. its like a sign of how Allah gives rizq to whomsoever He wills, such that two nearly identical places selling nearly identical food are there, one getting lots of customers and the other getting almost none…

iconv, vim 7

iconv rocks. so often do i find this command really useful: _ iconv -f original_encoding -t utf8 file > utf8file

i’ve been using vim 7 beta for a while (which, by the way, was just released as vim 7 a day or so ago), but i never really realized how easy they’ve made it to look at arabic text files now (compared to what it used to be… there used to be an intricate setup process and a set of patches to run for vim 6x as documented by nadim on arabeyes. now, all you have to do is :set encoding=utf8 and :set arabic and you’re set.

you can see a screenshot here.

interview, yahoo mail beta, etc

yesterday, i got in on the yahoo mail beta by using the tricks mentioned on several web sites. i like it actually, despite the fact that some of the people commented on some of those sites saying its nothing compared to gmail… i think yahoo did a good job, and it certainly is a lot better than the hotmail beta in my humble opinion which barely works under firefox…

this morning, i read an interesting interview with marc allen. i don’t really know who he is, just that he’s a multi millionaire… he makes some interesting points throughout the interview… the three points that struck me the most were: 1. with regards to money, he says, “It is a very, very good servant but a terrible master.” 2. he says that you should save at least 10% of your salary monthly, and save more if you can. he says that once you’re able to live off 90% of your salary, save another 10% and give it in charity, saying that those two steps are “great keys to a better life and a better world.” 3. he says that all it takes to becoming a millionaire today is intention.

i also like his work schedule… 4 days a week, not going in to work before 11, taking mondays off, dedicating sundays for family, etc…

overall, i was just impressed by his way of thinking about money as a utility, as something that can improve society. i wish someone would tell this man about islam and its teachings with respect to money, people, and societies. the interview is a great read overall.