A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: October 2009 (Page 2 of 3)


The clutz curse

My left-hand index finger could not look worse.

Around a month ago, I had a freak accident involving an X-Acto. It’s weird, cause in my life-time career of using sharp objects, I have never, ever even scratched myself.

The gory details: I was lining my roll of tape into smaller parts with the X-Acto when it slipped right off the tape and into my index finger’s joint. Deep-edge into joint. The result was tons of blood, a joint that I still can’t bend properly a month on, discoloration, and worst of all, decreased typing efficiency.

I basically type using three fingers, and my left index finger is one of the most important.

I really like this video of me typing, especially as 99% of the comments it got is from people who think I’m really not typing. Or they think something’s wrong with my pinky.

I’m GOOD at typing. With my three super-typing fingers, I won the office typing competition a few months ago.

Okay. Now I’m just bragging. But at least I must be the world’s most efficient typist, when you combine both number of fingers used with time.

Back to the original point… last week, I spilled super hot boiling coffee on my already injured left-hand index finger. It’s now both scarred, unbendable, blue, AND blistered.

People are suggesting that my YouTube video has resulted in a life-time jinx. Jinxing via YouTube. Can we have a fatwa on that?

Vintage Lobby Card Photography

I have no idea what lobby cards are, but these photographs are so cool.

My grandmother’s house has a photograph of my great grandfather done is a similar way, but naturally, the colors aren’t as saturated, and it’s the saturation that makes these photos so awesome.

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand
Blood and Sand
Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand


Everyone on the TV coverage of the marathon is wearing a medal. If I knew I had such high chances of getting a medal, I would have joined. After all, I have never received any sort of awards/honors for any sports related activity in my life.

This is bad, bad, bad

I can’t get the Boyzone song “Words” out of my head. Even worse: I have no idea how it popped in.

Waving with Google

Today I feel very special. I mean, receiving an invite for wave from Google themselves along with only 100,000 users. I even have the ability to invite 8 people, which most people apparently don’t have. My office-mates think I’m crazy to feel so special.

I personally found Wave to be a fusion of retro ICQ and GMail (if you didn’t use ICQ before ’99 you probably have no idea what I mean). That is… live-time editing, conversing, planning, and collaborating.

I can see it making my life so cool in a year or so when there are more people using it, and when there are more features. At this point though, with around 8 people on my contact list (and you can’t do anything with your GMail emails or any other service, it is completely stand-alone), I’m currently just having fun playing.

So what is Google wave, and what makes it so cool?

Collaborative Working:
If you have a job similar to mine, you’ll probably understand the hassle of sending documents back and forth for editing. You end up with a million drafts, and if you’re as messy as I am, you’ll have a very hard time keeping track of what is actually the draft you want.

Google Wave solves that problem, if it ever becomes associated with corporate tasks in the way that BaseCamp is.

This is me editing the Sandmonkey:

Google wave screenshots by you.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Editing collaboratively is even more functional than simply different versions, because you have a history kind of access to every single edit you made. In the example below, you can see the time line (with play, previous, fastforward) and you can browse through the 67 different instances of me editing my map.

Google wave screenshots by you.

The Event-Planner’s Heaven:
If you, like me, seem to constantly be getting stuck with the planning part, you will appreciate what Google Wave does to the hassle of planning.

Get this: you add all the people you want to do something with to a wave, and then you give a map that you stick in live from Google Wave, complete with directions and all. Then you add this gadget that has people decide who can make it and who cannot. People can actually discuss this event live on the Wave itself, rather than suffer with a million emails, messages, and chats all over the place. Social living at it’s best.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Gadgets, Awesome Gadgets:

I find that one of the most groundbreaking ideas in the past decade is the  idea of regular people developing applications, gadgets, extensions, and widgets for services. Naturally, Google Wave makes fantastic use of that. So far, there aren’t many extensions available, but I can imagine that in a few years, the extension landscape for Wave will change the way we work and live online. 

The extensions currently available include Accuweather (to make planning even easier), conferencing, soduku, Lonely Planet, video chat, among many others.

For a list, check out this document.

Not-so-groundbreaking Features:
There are also several features that improve usability although they are not exactly ground-breaking. For example, adding links ANYWHERE, using Google search in its full glory from your Wave, instant messaging, ability play through attachments in a light-box sort of way.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Google wave screenshots by you.Google wave screenshots by you.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Google wave screenshots by you.

Yes, it’s buggy. Yes, it’s slow. Yes, there are so many un-implemented features. And that makes it even cooler. I love how not everything is perfect yet, I love how human it is.
Live progress makes you appreciate a service better, which is perhaps why I love my Gmail so much. I also got my Gmail account in its invite-only phase, and watching it grow and mature has made me much closer to it.
Okay,  that’s really geeky to say, but today I discovered that I am even geekier than I thought I am.
You know. It’s simply unimplemented. It’s not there yet. It’s preview. Not even alpha!

Google wave screenshots by you.
Google wave screenshots by you.

My Google Wave Wishlist:
1. GMail integration. I want my GMail inbox to be inside Wave, I want to be able to do things to my emails.
2. Ability to interact with non-Wavers, email them at least.
3. A file-sharing platform, sort of like Drop Box. I want to add my files to a vault on wave, where people can edit them when they’re in my vault, including files like .AI .PDF and .DOC.
4. Syncing it with my phone.

I don’t want to be having all the fun alone, and I have three Google Wave invites to give away. The first three commentators 
who think they would really enjoy Google Wave as much as I do (and without the Google is evil and I don’t see what’s so cool about Wave stuff) will get the invites.


“Yeah, when we were in our heyday, print was simply… print.”

I will probably be saying that in the next ten years.

And it will sound as absurd as, I don’t know, not having colored images? No, probably more absurd.

Dude, electronic ink is even better than wi-fi.

The Raw Feed

The Evolution of Apple Ads

I remember seeing some vintage Apple ads in ancient copies of Reader’s Digest, but I never really noticed the brilliant copy. It’s amazing how far you can get with the idea of an “apple”. The ads are not as pleasing visually though, but that’s perhaps the generation gap.

The visuals got better with time, the copy got worse.

And I guess they’ve been picking on Microsoft for a very long time :)

Check out the entire collection here.

Happy 100th

Just entering the seventh year from the day we moved to this city, my personal history with Amman is short. You can also count the various summer months before 2003, bringing the grand total of time I have spent in Amman to about 10 years.

Ten years. That’s nothing.

Wait. That’s a lot. I can fill websites and websites worth of memories, thoughts, occurrences, serendipities, rendezvous. And I’m one person with only 10 years.

Can you imagine the collective experience of all the millions of people who have lived in Amman for the last hundred years? The collective thoughts, the collective memories, the collective life-experiences gained? Can you imagine the collective experiences of the residents, when combined with their heritage? The memories of the Circassians, the indigenous tribes, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Armenians, the Iraqis, the Chechens, the Lebanese?

It’s mind boggling.

This year, Amman is celebrating these 100 years. There was the parade on Friday. There were the various festivities all year long.

After a 100 years, Amman is also becoming digital. Okay, that’s not fair to say, Amman has been digital for a while. But the 100 years are now digital, and you can actually see a visual history of the past 100 years as well as read the story of Amman.

The story of Amman is the best part, because you can’t really find such a comprehensive story anywhere else on the web.

Amman Centennial Website

For example, do you know who the first medical practitioners were?

Of the pioneering doctors of Amman several names come up including
Hanna Qussos, who graduated from Beirut in 1910, Abdelrahim Malhas who
opened a clinic in Rida Street, Yousef Izziddin bin Ibrahim with his
clinic in Shabsough, and Jamil Tutnji, physician of the Royal Palace,
Munif al Razzaz who is also remembered as an Arab nationalist political
figure. The first pharmacy of Amman opened in 1925, according to the
records of the Ministry of Health, followed by others soon after, like
the one founded by Amin Kawar and Najib Qubeisy.

So go on, give the story a read, and celebrate Amman’s 100th year by learning something interesting about the city :)


Your Chromosomes

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