three books, wp 2.0, etc

peace… i installed wordpress 2.0 (actually, its been installed for a few days now, i installed svn version right before it came out because the download link was broken). as you can see, no asthetic changes here… but the control panel is much nicer… really beautiful. in addition, i installed a plugin (spam karma 2) to deal with the comment spam… so far so good, lets see how it fairs over the next while.

in any case, after watching the excellent (yet depressing) syriana movie, mansoor suggested i get the book the scorpion’s gate by richard clark - so i picked it up and also picked up dan brown’s digital fortress (at the recommendation of emad).

syriana by the way was excellent… i say it is depressing because of the fact that what it portrays feels like a very accurate picture of the state of matters as they are now. i also watched munich, but i didn’t really like it. i felt it was very one sided, and i could not enjoy a movie whose plot was to kill muslims…

also, there is a new book, “islam & terrorism… myth vs reality,” by mauri’ saalakhan… it was just published recently in answer to a particular book that was attacking islam. should also be an interesting read.

i came across a pretty neat looking arabic typing tutorial program (open source) - its called kitab ( have not downloaded it yet, but from the screenshots, it looks good.

that’s all for now…

moved to dreamhost!

greets… i’ve just moved the site to dreamhost. i have been using shieldhost for a while now because it is rather cheap. but recently, i’ve been irked with some of the things they’ve done (i had another domain hosted there too which i was pretty sure was set to auto bill my credit card every quarter, but then they stopped billing me and stopped the service, claiming that i didn’t pay… well yeah, you don’t charge me, i don’t pay…), and sometimes, i just couldn’t access it…

so i decided to jump ship to dreamhost. i’ve had dreamhost since the middle of this year actually, i just haven’t been using it. i got in on the “777” deal (one full year of service plus domain name was like under $10, and i think after that its like $8/mo) a while back for one of my domains, but even several months later when that site finally went up, i didn’t host it at dreamhost. so i figured that i might as well give dreamhost a shot since i have it.

so far, my impression is that they’re awesome… especially compared to shieldhost. the nice thing is they let you host multiple sites on the same account, so even at $8 a month, it comes out to the same that i was paying with shieldhost roughly for the several hosting accounts i had on there.

anyway… more later.

come again?

a long time ago, when i still used to use xmms, there was this nice plugin called Repeat It! that let you say, “repeat this song between this and this times forever.”

i found myself missing that feature today… unfortunately, i don’t have xmms installed and don’t want it installed because i now like the gtk2 based mp3 players, like beep for example.

but because beep is being rewritten as bmpx, i figure rather than porting the plugin, i can just write a much simpler command line version based on the existing plugin that works with beep.

note however that this is really bad… it does very little error checking, and the sleep solution isn’t really the best solution… but its a pretty good solution for my limited uses :)

and in 25 lines, here it is:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <signal.h>
#include <bmp/beepctrl.h>

void got_signal(int x){
	printf("Exiting!\n"); exit(1);

int main(int argc, char** argv){
   int startpos, endpos;
   if (!xmms_remote_is_running(0))
      return (0*printf("\033[1mbmp is not running.\033[0m\n"))-1;

   if (argc != 3)
      return (0*printf("usage: %s start end\n", argv[0]));

   startpos = atoi(argv[1]);
   endpos = atoi(argv[2]);

   signal(SIGINT, got_signal);
   if (!xmms_remote_is_playing(0)){ xmms_remote_play(0); }

   while (1){
      xmms_remote_jump_to_time(0, startpos * 1000);
      sleep(endpos - startpos);

to compile it, just do:

gcc `beep-config --cflags --libs` loopsegment.c -o loop

then just run beep, load up the file you want to play, and run the script passing in start and end seconds.

mmm, delicious! this thing is pretty cool, i wish i’d known about it before…

random stuff

my desktop is sorta dying… everytime i reboot, it kinda sits there doing nothing, and i often have to shut it off and turn it on for it to work (sometimes more than once). when it does decide to come on, i often get a message about “dram timing is loose” - not sure if this means my ram is going bad or if my board is going bad… either way, its not good news.

i can now browse the net on my palm using bluetooth… not exactly sure why this is really helpful, but its pretty neat just to be able to do it. i found a pretty nice guide on the gentoo forums.

i gave bloglines a try today… it seems pretty neat, but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to me that it truly sticks to its promise of checking the site hourly. either way its kinda neat.

php doesn't take "ﻻ" for an answer?

peace… one interesting observation i came along is the treatment of “ﻻ” (which you get by pressing b on a qwerty keyboard) in php… for whatever reason, if someone enters it into a form for example and you try to get the value of the first character of the string, you get 0. oddly enough, this works fine for any other arabic characters typed in. any ideas on why this would happen?

no one has still fixed the bugzilla bug i reported a while back about arabic shaping… looks like i might have to grit my teeth and do it if i really want it done :)


لقد عزمت النية ان اتعلم كتابه العربيه على الكمبيوتر إن شاء الله.

eid mubarak, a 'WHAT' prayer service!?, etc

eid mubarak to all… eid mubarak :) big arguments, like every year, about when eid is, when we can and when we can’t have eid, some people want others to fast 31 days because they think its impossible for the moon to be seen today… but anyhow, i looked online at a lunar calendar and it says that the new moon is tonite, which makes eid tomorrow, so whatever man… that’s what my masjid is doing, that’s what a lot of people are doing, and al7amdulillah, that’s what i am doing. its not worth such a big fight, argument, and controversy as far as i am concerned.

anyhow, so our masjid, islamic society of central jersey rented out the new jersey convention and exposition center for eid prayers. very interestingly enough, no the convention center’s site, there’s a “events calendar…” – i took a screenshot of the calendar because this will go away tomorrow… (if its showing up small, click the image for the full size picture).

imagine that… “pakistani prayer service” - mind you, this masjid is mostly arabs too… i wonder if they won’t let me in because i am egyptian… Allahu a3lam.

speaking lion

this video is totally sub7anAllah-inducing. you may have to right click and “save target as” to get it to download.

hitchhiker's guide, ruby mozembed

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

i finally got around to reading the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. really funny book. maybe i will try to read the other books at some point.

i played around some today with ruby-gnome2 bindings. all i can say is wow. the website documentation is incredible, and you can do so much in so little code. i played around some with ruby-gtkmozembed, and in a few lines of code, you basically have a fully functional web browser.

require 'gtkmozembed'

class Main
   def initialize
      window =
      window.resize(800, 600)
      window.title = "ahmed's google test"

      browser =
      browser.chrome_mask = Gtk::MozEmbed::ALLCHROME
      browser.location = ""
      browser.signal_connect("title"){ window.title = browser.title; }

      window << browser
      window.signal_connect("destroy"){ Gtk::main_quit }

that’s all for now.