A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: November 2005 (Page 1 of 2)

My friends . . . .

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… a moment before they told me that they will literally divorce me if I say one more geeky thing.

So voice your opinion, do you think that

Is blogging geeky?
For the most part


Free polls from

And Far Away gets a facelift

I honestly have no idea how my last blog design came to be. I remember there was the blogger template, and I remember myself hating it. I also remember trying to find my way around HTML and CSS and changing the template to look like this with absolutely no prior knowledge or experience, simply trying stuff out.

Since then, the design only went through one minor re-design, but several major redesigns that never left DreamWeaver or even Illustrator:


Finally, and after a little nagging, I decided to go ahead and change the look of this blog. I daresay I like it a lot more… it’s more red for one thing ;)I also stopped Haloscan and will be trying Blogger commenting and trackbacking.

Anyhow, this new look is still in beta and no way near perfect, there are a lot of things I’m planning to fix as soon as I figure out how to do the HTMLing(or alternatively force one of the Planeteer techies to help me).

Oh, yeah it’s also best viewed with Firefox, so if you’re using IE, get a decent browser.

Get Firefox!

Blah, blah, blah.

Anyhow, this is how it’s supposed to look, if it looks like something else, please let me know!

Thoughts from the November Jordanian Blogger Meet-up

A little less than a year ago, Isam, Natasha, Nader, Ammar, and myself got together for something I have never done before- a meeting of random people off the internet. ‘Random’ I say, because for one thing, our blogs save for Natasha’s weren’t mature enough yet to give a better feel of each person and Jordan Planet was a little portal of perhaps 10 Jordanian bloggers, 6 of them being IT geeks who blogged about stuff I had never heard of, like Pear Packages and a Penguin called Tux.

I remember the first meet-up well. I went a little late(thanks to a movie that took much longer than it was supposed to), and Isam, Natasha, and Jeff were already engrossed in a conversation about blogging, and we were all joined by Nader, Ammar, and then-blogger Zaid within minutes.

Here’s an excerpt from an unfinished draft I have from the evening after the first Jordanian blogger meet-up(Did this year and a half of blogging influence my writing skills as well?):

“I was afraid I would have a hard time finding the Jordan Planet table, because save for Natasha and Ammar, I didn’t know how anyone looked and didn’t have anyones number. Luckily though, Natasha and Jeff were already there and I spotted them easily(Natasha seemed to recognize me from the jacket I was wearing).
Natasha and Jeff are both extremely nice, and basically they were the only two people I imagined correctly, thanks to the pictures on Natasha’s blog(ok, yeah, so it’s not imagining anymore). Natasha was the life of the table, always leading the conversation with her humor(batoota) and effervescence. Jeff was also very interesting to talk to, and it was nice hearing his point of view on our blogs and the Middle Eastern bloggershpere in general. On a side note, you guys are really cute together :)
Isam looks very different from how I expected him to look(Roba’s I.T. stereotype kicking in), and he has some really interesting ideas, especially when it comes to blogging.”

Amazing! A time when Natasha was “very nice”, and Isam was an “I.T. stereotype”! Now, Natasha is Natasha, and Isam is Isam, they are my friends, two people I’ve had countless communications with in the past year, whether it’s talking about colors of redesigns, debating new bloggers and issues such as anonymity, Jordan Planet features, technicalities, and an endless list of discussions that I will not mention here.

Blogging in Jordan took off a few months after that first meet-up, and it became a much more rewarding and enjoyable experience for me with the addition of bloggers who I now consider good friends, such as Iyas and Lina, and with an added richness, quality and diversity for the Jordanian blogs featured.

We also had many Jordanian bloggers meet-ups after that, some dubbed as “official Jordan Planet blogger meet-ups”, others being smaller and more personal; we’ve had many guests; we’ve had many discussions. It’s been an interesting ride, and I feel like it will become even more interesting within the coming years.

We now have the musicians, the designers, the doctors, the genetical engineers, the journalists, the directors and and the editors– our own little community of people who shared a passion for sharing.

‘Community’ is the keyword here, because after the first meet-up, it was never “random people of the internet” ever again. It became funny Laith, insightful Ahmad, drafts Nader, sensitive Mira, and sweet Eman. We became “people” to one another, not just bits and bytes off cyberspace; we became people who have been building a little community, whether each individual was aware of this fact or not.

I’m very much a community person- I believe that communities are a very essential tools that help build something that works well, especially if the communities are monitored yet free, full of quality yet diverse, and experimental yet skilled. Very utopian, and I’m not much of an idealistic person, so I will admittedly say that it would take a lot of effort to manage to get this perfect balance that will result in such a healthy community, and now Jordan Planet is at, what seems to me, a crossroad. Should it stay small, personal, and cozy, with names and faces and experiences? Or should it grow into a larger community, more like a directory, and simply turn into the “Jordanian Blogosohere”?

Personally, it would break my heart to see it lose the personal touch to it and become just an aggregator of names with no faces- but then again, I’m quite the picky person and what is good and what is not is a very relative concept (although I will always say that quality is quality, it’s a simple matter of aesthetics, even the most secluded little Bedouin who hasn’t seen much in his life can play the most beautiful melody on his flute, and no one would be able to deny its beauty).

Today at our 10th and perhaps my favorite meet-up so far(I would honestly rather have such a meaningful meet-up than a chit-chatty one), almost a year after the first Jordanian blogger meet-up, I found myself looking at the people around me sitting on the very familiar Wild Jordan tables discussing topics my offline friends have never even heard of. These topics are vital to the ever changing internet culture, such as Wikimedia and Creative Commons, and I found myself thinking about how much I have changed from the first time I sat at Blue Fig blabbering to Natasha about my frustration on how none of my friends have any idea what blogging is. Heck, I now think “/dev /null” whenever I’m stressing about something, and I actually know who Tux the Penguin is!

Most of my friends still have no idea what blogging is, but hopefully, with a strong community at the core, alternative media will become, well, less alternative.

Some pictures from today’s meet-up(all images expand, a lot of new faces!):

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Bloggers who attended: Isam, Abeer, Ahmad, Jad, Ammar, Ghalia, Ibrahim, Lina, Roba, Nader, Odai, Wael, and Laith, along with guests Shorooq and Lubna.

Plastic Bag

I’m totally supposed to be in a bad mood at the moment because although it’s Thursday(Jordan’s equivalent of Westerncentric Friday), although I haven’t slept at all this month and although this is the first weekend that provided a good dozing oppurtunity- I’m ALREADY UP.

And it’s 2:11 AM.

I mean, bleh. Bleh. Bleh!

Naturally though, as I spent my Thursday night dozing and woke up too late to do anything decent in sleepy, sleepy Amman, the Internet comes to the rescue. Ah, Internet! How can anyone not love the internet?

My serving of fresh content for this sleepless weekend is by, apparently(or not so apparently, as in, clearly, thanks to the power of self-publishing), a man dubbed as Tom Coates who does something at Yahoo!(or something) and who has a blog called Plastic Bag.

What’s making me blog about his blog is this post which totally speaks to the LOTR freak in me on a theory I’ve been classifying people with for a very long time- the Ninja/Elve/Dwarve/Pirate classification system. ARR! (And while we’re on elve rather than elf and dwarve rather than dwarf, spelling is important! MY NAME IS SPELLED WITH A FRICKING “O”! Every single post on this blog ends with a “Posted by Roba”, and it’s my name for God’s sake, so spell it like I want it to be spelled!)

Another posts that I will link to are “Discussion and Citation in the Blogosphere“, which has a pretty interesting analysis on the difference between forums and blogs and “Trackback is Dead“.

November Jordanian Bloggers Meet-up

My dearest Jordanian bloggers, Jordan Planet compatriots, and expat bloggers currently in Jordan,

While we’re discussing stuff to do in the final 10 days of November, 2005, here’s something that is absolutely and fantastically amusing to attend(especially when talking about Skype, Alexa, and dedicated servers):

The November Jordanian blogger meet-up will be held on Sunday the 27th of November, 2005 in Wild Jordan(who should be giving us free tables by now) at 6:30.

All Jordanian bloggers and expats are invited, but for reservation purposes, please do let us know that you’re coming by either adding a comment on this post, on the official Jordan Planet post, or by dropping me an email at roba(at) (multi-option ya 3ami).

As for the readers and bloggers unable to attend, please do feel free to suggest Jordan Planet related points of discussion to add to our agenda.

For Jordan Planet’s official post on the meet-up, let me redirect you to Isam’s stroke of creativity.

Artamman November

I get pretty pissed off when people complain about lack of stuff to do in Amman;
“Oh, Amman is so boring”
“There’s nothing to do in this city!”
“You can’t have fun unless you spend money or stuff your face!”

Bleh. Enough. Seriously.

Anyhow, here are two local events that I’ve been looking forward to:
(click on images to look at bigger poster so as to read, if you’re as blind as I am deaf, drop a comment)

Jordan University’s Annual Fine Arts and Design Student Exhbition, till December 8th, at the Amadeh.

Till the 30th of November at the gorgeous National Gallery.

“Don’t wait for the love of your life. Find him on …”

A great outdoor guerrilla campaign by, displayed in Barcelona.
[Via Advertising/Design Goodness]

Not that I endorse digital dating(dude, analogue is the way to go), but I’m so in love with this advertisement that I could cry.

The idea is absolutely mindblowing to the fantasy enthusiast in me- “Once upon a time, in a land beautiful and far away…”

Although they could have done a much better job with making the princess look more princessy and fairy-tale-ish, and perhaps make the bed look much better by taking an interior design course or two, it’s still a mindblowing concept.

Ahhhh! Absolutely beautiful.

No, like, seriously

[Via Malakha]

I, like, have a project due in 3 hours, and I’m, like, totally putting my MSN Messenger to good use. It’s, like, 5 AM, I still have a long way to go on the project, and I’m, like, totally high on way too much caffeine for anyone’s good.

(YEY 3a MSN and their cross-eyed smileys. I, LIKE, HATE SMILEYS.)

Why, oh, why did I have to be blessed with the most unroutinish sleeping routine anyone could possibly have? Oh, my Gawd.

Caffeine is, like, totally kewl. Dude, like, duh!

(When we were, like, kids, my mommy would make us pay a shelen every time we said duh.)

Pull the lock on that war hole

An oil painting by Jackson Pollock and a silkscreen by Andy Warhol were stolen from a museum by thieves who shattered a glass door in the back of the building, officials said. The Pollock was likely worth about $11.6 million and the Warhol had a value of about $15,000.

A Pollock and a Warhol? A POLLOCK AND A WARHOL?!

+ Yahoo! News and Iyas

Advertising for those above


A billboard painted on grass at Johannesburg International Airport.
[Via AdHunt]

Agency: The Martin Agency
[Via Advertising/Design Goodness]

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