I've seen this a while back when it was still under beta development, but it's been released officially a couple of days ago. Dubbed Blogger In Beta. More features have been introduced to Blogger users such as Video Uploading, Polls and Enclosures.
I'm yet to test any of the new features, but here is a brief description of what the how the new additions might interest you.
1) Video Uploading Similar to the current image uploading service offered by blogger, users now will be able to upload and insert their uploaded videos of multiple formats to their blogger account. The videos will be saved under MP4 format, and will contain a download link, which means that it will easily be inserted in iPod Videos, the PSP, computers and some phones.
2) Polls I don't think it needs any explaining, but the new poll offering will be easily inserted as a widget. Since it will be used as widget, this will only work with the newer blogs that have already switched to new blogger layout templates (if you haven't, do it now).
3) Enclosures Very good news to the Podcast or Video-cast people. This new feature will make you able to use your blog as a subscription-feed-based podcast. Which means any video or MP3 you post as a podcast through your blog can be subscribed with on iTunes or any other podcatcher.
I'm a hardcore anti-Apple but I actually stayed up to read around the launch day coverages from Engadget (and to supposedly study for my physics final which is in 3 hours) . It didn't seem that long back when Apple first announced their new iPhone, but what matters is that it's here.
Apple calls it the 'most anticipated consumer electronics launch day ever', and as preposterous and deceiving that is, I can't help but think this is a very very wanted item right now. Even I can't wait to set my hands on one, and smear my fingers all around the touchscreen.
The undressing pictures can be found here , enjoy that until I get a little more in-depth later today.
My views on the United States, whether politically, socially or emotionally, have been anything but tergiversational. This time, it's not out of hate or grudge that I say the following, but rather out of sheer astonishment on some of the ridiculous standards they have.
Pussies. Though humble, not the best of my vocabulary, but I think it's a perfect way to describe how scared, sensitive and emotionally fragile -oh so godly- America is. I was reading around news websites, as I usually do, when I first stumbled upon this first article. Jerry Seinfeld gets heat for edgy joke. Famous television star and comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, was frowned upon by an army of organizations that deal with rape and sex-violence, after saying this "Bees have the only perfect society on earth ... They have no crime, they have no drugs, they have no rape. A little rape, but it's not that bad."
They called it shocking and offensive ! and you just wait to hear what the bee-groups will be saying. It's beyond me how something like that could be deemed offensive. If that's the way people think nowadays, then anything anyone could say could easily offend a person or a label, and be considered slurring, racism or stereotypicallity.
I moved on to find this. Land Rover's Ad Agency Has A Sick Sense Of Marketing. The advertising agency responsible of creating the publicity for the Land Rover LR3 has caused quite a stir when a filming crew was caught filming the car, and using the aftermaths of natural disasters as backdrops. Portraying it as a 'hero' waiting for 'the one'. That flood, hurricane or earthquake the car was built to defy.
Radical and blunt ? I agree. Advertising ingeniousness ? A lot would disagree. They somehow found it disrespectful to the victims' and an exploitation of what caused their misery. I can't understand how exactly was this upsetting idea conceived. Maybe it would've made a little more sense to me of why these advertises are insensitive and an exploitation of disasters if they filmed the cars running over little children in Darfur. They however do not do that, and their shoots have not harmed anyone, directly or remotely, infact, the same cars used in the shoots were used to deliver necessities to the needy and Land Rover gave donations in the devastated areas (with no press announcements).
The responses vary in the comments. Some said it's not a big deal and others called it distasteful and unmannered. "Getting outraged over this takes a willful disregard for reality." is the way one commenter put it, and the way I'd put it.
These kind of things happen all the time. Big corporations and celebrities are very targeted, and they unnecessarily have to censor what they say or the way the say it. Is it the death of humor in America ? Has their personalities been permanently marred by dysphemism and their period-like postbirth vulnerable emotions ?
If you haven't heard about this before. Here's a very short Wikipedia entry on the issue. Basically, what that says is that if the CRB (Copyright's Royality Board)'s modifications will be gone through, a huge lot of internet radio webcasting will go bankrupt or stop broadcasting free of charge (which eventually would lead to bankruptcy because no one would buy such services).
The Internet Radio Equality Act, is a bill that was proposed to the US House of Representatives to reverse the CRB's adjustments on the 26th of April. If this bill is denied and not enough senators or representatives support the law before JULY 15TH, these new rates will be enforced upon all internet radio web casting companies' service's since January 1st, 2007. This in it's turn will cause a lot of internet radio services to become bankrupt, or discontinue their services.
This decision will effect people internationally, but sadly, only US citizens can do anything about it. These citizens will have to contact their representatives and senators and ask them to consider supporting the internet radio equality act. A lot of internet campaigning has been made asking people to make that effort.
The 26th of June, Day of Silence, where all webcasting stations that are part of this media event, will silence their usual broadcasts and replace them by explanations, broadcaster testimonials and calls to action to stop the upcoming danger to internet radio, for if the bill is denied, the price of that after July 15th could be silence itself.
Other services such as the Music Genome Project, a great service offered by Pandora.com, have already been affected. Pandora no longer offers it's services -free or paid- to anyone outside the United States and started using an IP filter to restrict non-US-residents to access their services.
The internet, has always been about internationality and diversity, and I think that individual countries laws should not apply on it. Instead, an internationally recognized board, preferably orchestrated by the United Nations, should take over of what rules regulate the internet globally. That would cease all country-oriented services such as Pandora, PayPal, Fox Network Internet Streams to be indulged by the international audience.
There are about 23 days left on the clock and it really is sad to see all of this happen and not be able to do anything about it. A few links if you're short on reading material.
that's Shit.blogging.err.ism and there's a lot of it here in Oman. Not too long ago, Oman had a very avidly enthusiastic blogging scene. Forward to today, and you get the opposite, a dead, slow and boring scene lost in hibernation, or possibly, a comma.
Some of the very little people reading this are already getting an itch, and a million thoughts to go with. "Who are you to say anything ?", "You're not the best around", "What are YOU doing about it ?", "Damn, I'm thirsty" (what ?). I'd like to feel that I'm more concerned than I am involved. It would appear like I'm dodging that responsibility myself, but I hope I'm covered through addressing the issue by this entry.
The number of active bloggers has been decreasing steadily and radically over the last year, and if it continues at this rate, we -Omani bloggers- should be keyboard-silent in a few months from now. I don't know what the causes are, but I think time-management could be a big role. Too busy, is and excuse but not a reason, maybe laziness and routine and those could easily be dealt with.
Another reason is that some bloggers feel that they have nothing special going on in their personal lives to blog about, maybe that's true, but blogging doesn't necessarily have to involve your personal life. Mostly, I think it doesn't, it however does involve your personal opinion and if you don't have that, then we have a serious problem.
Blogging is a part of the internet experience, which cannot live with blogging alone, so if people have less reason or interest to go on the internet, then I believe that, too, could be a factor. A lot of the previously active bloggers were active forum-goers, and since the Omani forum scene has officially thrown the towel, and got replaced by the nazi-moderation-regime, a lot of those people felt repelled and driven away.
It's worrying, this wave of new forum-goers who have no respect to boundaries (not rules), grammar and spelling whatsoever. A young nation that would rather have more friends on MySpace, FaceBook, Hi5, Piczo (long list) than an opinion of their own and a unique remarkable personality. Personally, I think that's what blogging is all about expressing and enforcing your personality. If this new wave of internet-goers don't have personalities, then it would make perfect sense why the number of bloggers are decreasing instead of increasing.
I did not write this because I was running out of things to blog about, or because of my extreme sense of floccinaucinihilipilification, but because it's truly concerning, especially when comparing our blogging scene to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Kuwait, where these countries have blogging scenes that are taking things to the next level, with Vlogging (Video Blogging), Podcasting, and even influence on the local written media and political arena.
Having a considerably extended music collection is a luxury. Being able to cater to your mood regardless of what it is is blissful. But that luxury doesn't come without let downs. Making a choice doesn't seem as easy as it was before, and even worse, a lot of music is lost within the folds of what's newer or what's hotter.
It's shameful and unfair. Every time I curiously look in the ruins of my music folders to find something to listen, I'm surprised with a new band that I never gave a shot before , not because they're weren't good enough, but only because at the time I acquired that music I was more excited about something else. Sometimes, something else that isn't as good.
All day yesterday, I tried to listen as much of the music I don't usually listen to, or never listened to more than once before. Some things I found I could not let go, and so I give you some.
This is very very funny stuff. I've been listening to this Flight Of The Conchords (smart, eh ?) duo for a few days. They're a New Zealand based folk parody duo and their parody stuff are really good and silly funny.
WATCH THE VIDEO. I promise you that you won't regret it. You can find a few more videos of them on YouTube.
I find it insulting, direspectful, shameful and cheap what our 'leading mobile service provider' in Oman has done. The little stunt the company pulled after the public had barely recovered from the Gonu Cyclone that hit the country.
The bastards, sent letters and refunds to people who tried contacting their loved ones during the cyclone. You'd say that's a good thing, and I'm out of my mind, but everyone knows that Oman Mobile had no coverage before, during or after the cyclone for at least a whole day in 90% of areas.
This incident is the perfect way to summarize the company's methodism with it's customers. Like that it's not enough, you'd at least expect them, being the 'leading company' they are, to launch old services to the mobile world and deliver them to us by now. Let alone being shockingly pricey and retarded in all their services.
Oman Mobile is a 'leading company'. When it comes to making the most money from people with returning the least to them, there's no question that it's a leading question. When it comes to ripping people off, they're right up there. When it comes to abusing client trust and privacy, they're the big guy selling hotdogs in an American baseball stadium.
Ohh, but they're nothing compared to their sister company OmanHell , they're the 'leading' in this stealing leading business.
Poor man's Touareg. I know it's not up to par to some of your standards but I wanted to have a look at it, and so I did.
Specifications & Trims :-
The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe originally comes in three different trim packages. The GLS, the SE, and the Limited. They all come with V6 engines, the GLS comes with a 2.7L one, and the other with 3.3L ones. We here in Oman, being a fourth-world country, only have an anorexic version of the GLS.
The car has a very raised stance. If you ask me, I'll say the figure looks exactly like a Volkswagen Touraeg which costs loads more. The headlamps give are probably the most attractive thing about this car, it's positioned in a way to make it adjacent with the front bumper, the hood and the side shoulder all at the same time. All the Santa Fes come with a cheap looking front grille with a chrome Hyundai emblem and a cheap plastic looking front slotted grille. You also get 18" alloy wheels, which we'll come to later.
Even though it looks like a normal SUV, Hyundai are promoting the Santa Fe as "the first SUV in the world to come with a 7-passenger capacity". Two in the front, three in the back and two in the row behind that, all comfortably seated. That leaves absolutely no usable trunk. However, both seats in the back row can be folder down to create larger cargo size, which doesn't exactly go with Hyundai's 7-Seater plan.
The trunk space is not the only problem in making this the "Family Trip Car" that would take you to Jabal Al-Akhdar or Musira. The DOHC 3.3L V6 engine that comes with the car cannot offer enough torque power to give it any give, and 185 ponies cantering under the hood don't suffice this way. In english, you have a big V6 engine that basically drinks up alot fuel and doesn't pee it back in power. Not only that, but the car comes with a 4-Speed Steptronic (Tiptronic) gearbox, which means the fuel consumption will increase vastly when you hit speeds of above 120, because it's on fourth gear and is revving too much, not to mention putting too much strain on both the engine and the gearbox, which sounds like it could develop into trouble in a couple of years under heavy use.
Sitting in the driver's seat. You have a beige two-toned cloth (no leather option) under you. Your average Korean dash speed and RPM dials and other gizmos in front of you. Behind you, a lot of space and breathing area. Above you, nothing (car doesn't have a sun/moon roof option). And in your hand, is a fake leather steering wheel that hosts push-button controls for the Cruise Control and the Audio. It comes with a double-DIN average joe's radio and MP3 CD player, and the AC controls (which blows quite hard) are minimalistic and manual.
My Impression :-
I know I spent the last 5 minutes of your reading tell you more and more reasons of why you should NOT buy this car. No car comes without flaws, and this one has quite a few, but when it's on the road it feels very nice to drive.
It feels raised and it compliments your view of the road and the road's view of you. It's insanely quite inside the cabin, and so it's very calm and serene while driving. There's a lot of space under the steering wheel giving you an airy spacious feel in and between your legs. The passenger side front seat however, doesn't go back that much giving a large person little room to spare. The backseats could easily seat four people comfortably with enough leg room to salsa (not really).
The engine is crap. Crap crap crap. I have nothing else to say about it, and don't expect to stop paying big on this car when you're done with it's 8,750 OMR price tag. It will drink fuel like an Irishman in an open bar, the 4 speed changes, the V6, and the All-Whee-Drive (All time four wheel drive). Those three are not a promising sign to future comfortable-wallet.
To wrap up, I'd say this car was designed in heaven and built in hell. The exterior looks very attractive and the back row seat option gives it a huge boost up, but the people who were in charge of taking the design making and making it a car did an awful job. It really is, as I expected, a very nice car.
The Stealership :-
OTE (Oman Trading Establishment), they were very friendly and helpful. They seemed professional in all matters, but they told me the car should be ready by 10 Am which it wasn't, but I can't blame them with all the hurricane crazy going on today. I might've could've taken the car for over night but I didn't want to keep it with me in case anything was to happen.
I'm very very disappointed that they only have this single trim option of this car and couldn't get the other 3.3L engine with 5-Speed automatic gearbox which comes with 324 horsepower that give a lot more from under the hood to under tires. Maybe since it's the car's first year, they're just making this year a trial year and will start getting more options when the new one comes.
I also got to see the new Hyundai Azera. A very beautiful car with a simple exterior and a very elegant (for Hyundai standards) interior. It comes with a good engine (supposedly) and the weather used for the interior trim matches the ones used in BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. Very conservative and chique. The setback ? ... a 10,000 Rial price tag, for a Korean Hundai.
Expected tomorrow, a hurricane is to hit the eastern shores of the Sultanate. No one really knows how powerful it will be because there weren't any recorded hurricanes that hit here with the of magnitude of this one.
Don't take any chances. Stay in tomorrow, call in sick for work and look up some old DVDs to watch because I don't think watching TV will be possible due to thick clouding and winds. It would also be a good chance to see how creative with how much weird things you'd end up doing in your 24 hours of freedom.
You've read the reports, so I don't need to tell you the details, the wave heights, the wind speeds, the ETAs and the eye of the storm, but I will tell you to STAY HOME TODAY. Going out is not worth anything in the world (except for Baskin Robins ofcourse).
Update 1 5th of June, 10 Am :- I just woke up, and the weather seems quite pleasant. There are no real clouds, only a faint sheet of white over a really beautiful blue sky. A slight breeze, but it's still kind of hot.
Update 2 5th of June, 2:25 Pm :- The clouds are starting to take a little more character now. A lot more and darker than they were before. Locally, there's a huge huge traffic jam right now, and almost all of muscat are trying to get home. There are a lot of reports that the eye of the storm has shifted going upwards. Musira, which was thought to will have been exposed to the severest hit didn't even rain a bit. Instead, there has been heavy raining and wind in Sur.
It's also said that if it's going to continue move at the same direction and in the same pace it will be hitting Muscat a lot more dangerously then it was going to in the first place, which was dangerous enough.
If you need any medication, food, or other necessities, go get them now, and make sure you close all windows, doors and small gaps.
Update 3 6th of June, 2:25 Am :- The rain just started here in Al-Khuwair, and first started in Muscat in Al-Qurum area around an hour earlier. It's proper rain and not just a slight shower, but the it's now too windy or cold. I'll go sleep now.
Update 4 6th of June, 10:00 Am :- It didn't stop raining since last night, and it picked up intensity and wind speed. It's said that there will be a drastic deterioration in the conditions approximately 6 hours from now and things sound bad as it is.
Right now, the areas that are getting the most direct hits are Sur, Ras Al-Had and Al-Askhara and all communications with those areas are dead. It's steadily marching towards muscat at a speed of 18 Km/h.
Update 5 6th of June, 3:00 Pm :- Still raining with the same intensity, and early reports are saying that it's starting to swirve towards Al-Batna region, but Muscat will still be seeing very heavy rain and category one wind. A lot of people are already trapped in their homes in Al-Qurum area, especially in areas like Rabiat Al-Qurum where there's only one entryway into and out of the area and it is blocked right now.
Update 6 6th June, 7:00 Pm :- News say that Al-Qurum is slowly drowning and water levels are starting to rise up to the second floor. The situation sounds very severe there since they're are where, if it's going to happen, the Wadi and the rising sea are going to meet, creating a huge flood.
Reports from Oman TV say that 150 survivors have been pull out from the waters in Trading Area in Qurum. Update 7 6th of June, 11:00 Pm :- Al-Hamdulillah. The critical stage here is over. The rain has come down and is only lightly showering right now. The winds are still blowing, but slowing gradually. There are still no news from Al-Qurum, Al-Ghubra, Al-Authaiba, Mubaila.
The hurricane is starting to lose intensity and is heading towards Al-Batna region now. More to come on the weather when available.
It’s starting to become that time of the summer when a wave of boredom accompanies the wave of heat, and boy what a wave it is this year. Going out on weekends (or weekdays) just doesn’t sound like a good idea, heat strokes during the day from a that extremely thirsty sun, and short of breath during the night from the high humidity levels.
Unbearable, that’s what it is this year, and everyone will prefer lying down under the comfort of air conditioning. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing all summer right after I’m done with my finals (speaking of which, I shouldn’t be here), and so I’m trying to get set everything ready with the good viewing and reading material to cover me for at least one good month. Reading, is a great way to vent out in a hot summer day. Lye down somewhere and let the pages take you in, and paired with the boredom and you have a winner's recipe.
Those are some of the books that have been accumulating in my Amazon Wish List and my mini book-rack.
I had started reading Bill Clinton's autobiography book, and it was a very compelling read, but I was in the middle of reading something at the time, so I'm really looking forward to read it again. I wasn't the biggest fan of Hosseini's first book, but I know everyone's going to end up reading this one and I don't want to be left out of the party (tsk, peer pressure).
The school book syndrome has taken it's toll on me. Throughout the whole year so far I don't think I've read more than two books, paper reminded me of school work and I didn't dare touch any. Hopefully, the second half of this year will inspire a fast recover (what ?).
This has to be the worst computer bad luck streak of my life. I can't live without digital harmony, all the components of the desktops, laptops, external drives, media centers playing together flawlessly. An orgy of wires and thousands of lines and lines of code.
This week however, had ruined everything. Everything stopped working, it's like the Y2K bug of 2007. First of all, my USB PCI board stopped working, I couldn't transfer anything to and from my external hard drives which was an extremely big hassle because I wanted to format the computer because it's been having some issues lately.
I forget about that and move on, and do the format, and when I'm done formatting, reinstalling Windows XP Pro, installing all the programs I use, and bringing back all the files, the router dies on me. My 21 month year old Linksys WAG54G drops all wired connections leaving 4 confused network stations and only the wireless connection accessible.
After numerous contacting with the Linksys customer care department, and after two firmware upgrades (one of which is not final) the wired connections are brought back, they work very dodgily and drop out every other while randomly. I've read around and it seems that some capicitators die from the unit's bad heat dissipating design. Since the unit is still under warranty, I'm talking to them right now and will be asking for an RMA to return the unit for physical refurbishment or replacement.
The Speedstream 5100 modem I got when I first applied for ADSL connection is still with me and so I tried putting that in. Not so surprisingly, the stupid idiots from Omantel changed the device's IP address to something different which can't be reset since the device doesn't have a physical hard reset button. I can't even access my files from my recently purchased 1 Terabyte LaCie Ethernet drive, and when I try connecting it through USB it's slow as hell (the USB is working again, for now).
After I've finished the format and reinstall of the new Windows, I thought that it would be a good idea to try out the Linux Ubuntu operating system and so I pop the CD into the drive and boot from it. I'm (big shock) welcome with a string of errors which don't let me access the install page.
The techno gods are obviously mad at me, but what have I done .. ?