Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kuwait DSLR Ban is a Hoax

Kuwait Times reported the ban, and soon after it was picked up by many other sites like The Next Web & Engadget.

Kuwait Times was the only newspaper in Kuwait to mention this story without any merit or proof of the ban. The government didn't make any official statements either.

Now, Kuwait Times has edited the article retracted the shameful piece of news.

News websites that picked it up should be ashamed of themselves for not seeking the info from other news outlets, and for criticizing the whole country based on one lousy article.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Untangle To Include Web Cache

Untangle is a gateway controller built on top of Linux. It can act as a router or a transparent bridge in the network.

Untangle is open source and offers a free version. The free version provides the following:

  1. Web URL filter
  2. Virus Scanner & Blocker
  3. Spam Blocker
  4. Attack Blocker
  5. Phish Blocker
  6. Spyware Blocker
  7. Protocol Control (Layer-7 filtering)
  8. Captive Portal
  9. Firewall
  10. Intrusion Prevention
  11. OpenVPN
  12. Reports

It currently does not provide a caching proxy, but I received an email notification today that the Untangle Web Cache feature request ticket, that was opened 2 years ago, has been assigned to a developer and should be included in Untangle 8.1. The current version as of this writing is 8.0.

I don't know when it's due, but that's certainly great news! I've been told by many people that making squid work with clamav is a huge headache as it often just dies (squid). So I'm guessing the Untangle team has finally worked a way to get around these issues.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Business Practices: Dealing With Haters

If you're a business owner, how do you deal with haters? Like any problem, you have to understand why you have the problem before you grab your tools & start fixing it.

It doesn't take a genius to see why people hate Oracle, but this post is not about Oracle. I'd like to use Khalid Al-Zanki as an example here because of some of his tweets that have been surfacing ever since Bashar and I wrote about his bad business practices.

Before going through some pictures, I'd like to note that we've never mentioned his personal life. We've only highlighted his fraudulent approaches to marketing his services and himself.

As you can see, in these pictures and ones from previous posts, that his approach to all our exposures was to warn people to not listen to us, write a general post about what his method is without saying that he uses it, and rather than looking at things from a professional point of view, he quickly saw them as personal.

How did Khalid deal with haters? Not as a professional for sure:
- He didn't bother replying to us directly.
- Always deleted our questions on his posts.
- Switched his Twitter account to Private, disallowing his followers to read about what's going on.
- Rather than admitting his mistakes, he hides for a while then pushes for more.
- He scolded people publicly when he didn't like a reaction or something someone did (like tagging him in an event in Facebook)

So from the last image, in addition to his funny typo, we can guess what he's gonna be up to & count on us coming after his cunning and dirty approaches at doing business, over & over until he learns about something called ETHICS.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kuwait Law Needs Presence

How many times did a policeman stop you and tell you that something you did/have is illegal?
I remember 3 occasions, and probably forgot more. In each time, the policeman would say it's illegal without providing proof or making sense as to why it is illegal. When questioning him, seeking a logical explanation, I get the same answer: "it's illegal."

Example: Bumper Stickers on cars.
Verdict: Illegal.
Reason: Because he said so.
Actual reason: A friend had a small questionnaire for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Kuwait, and it turned out that what they meant is stickers that change the color of the car, i.e., those that cover the entire car.

As you can see, what they meant is not what was being applied because there was not enough description of the item being banned.

Ironically, if you have a sticker that covers the entire rear window but it's a picture of the Amir or it's verses from the Quran, it's not illegal!!!

My proposal to this is to force all government agencies to publish Kuwait's laws & regulations online, in both Arabic and English, so that everyone knows what are their rights, be able to easily search for them without paying a lawyer, and to be able to even question the details or application of these laws.

There's a legal software being sold in the market for many years, monopolized by one lawyer, which contains laws of Kuwait (I don't know if it includes DMV regulations) and their changes throughout the years.
This software targets lawyers, but since a digital copy is available, it's  quite easy to publish it online! Yet no one seems to care to go for the effort.

I'm tired of questioning mindless policemen over idiotic regulations that they keep coming up with. I need evidence. Or maybe they should carry booklets of regulations as proof.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zombies Attack Conan O'Brian's HQ

Today at around 14:00 UTC+3, zombies attacked Conan O'Brian's headquarters in the Team Coco building. Luckily, they had a live camera setup and I was able to watch the whole event.

The zombies are roaming about & tossing toilet paper.

A zombie with a red candle. How romantic.

Zombie eating toilet paper. Going vegan?

Zombie singer.

Zombie singer. Insisting.

Zombies attempting to clean.

Zombies cleaning in action.

Hot cleaning zombie action! Oh yeah!

Zombie singer does the braainnnss song. Needs more work.

Protester zombie demands brains.

Protester zombie emphasizes on needs.

Singer zombie jumps out of nowhere to scare us. Try harder.

Zombie coming out of the elevator.

Sudden party. No zombies. What's going on?!

Human attempts to walk through zombies. Succeeded.

Zombie got tired & is meditating on the stairs.

Romantic zombie is looking for love.

Romantic zombie is asking web cam stalkers for love, or brains. Or both.

The zombies are leaving! Toilet paper wasn't enough.

Sudden poker game. No zombies. What's going on?!

All zombies left. Flyers & toilet paper left.

Flash plugin crashed and its process became a zombie too!!! (unintentional!)

Humans rush to cleaning after verifying the end of the zombie protest/attack.

The floor is cleaned.

A staff member sleeping in a bag with laundry around her...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unscientific Browser Statistics

In my previous post, Apocalypse Survival Guide, I posted a link to the slides using Google's URL shortening service. I had a few reasons for choosing that specific service:

From the statistics link you can see some interesting things like times & dates of clicks, referrers, countries, browsers & platforms (operating systems / devices).

As of this writing, the link to the guide I posted had 62 clicks but shows an intriguing trend in browser usage:

  • Chrome: 11 users
  • Firefox: 11 users
  • Safari: 7 users
  • Mobile: 3 users
  • IE: 1 user
  • Opera: 1 user
What's even more interesting is the platform usage:
  • Windows: 16
  • Macintosh: 10
  • Other Unix (since Mac is considered Unix): 4
  • iPhone: 3
  • Linux: 1 (that's probably me!)
So people are using Chrome & Firefox more on Windows. That's heart-warming & gives me hope in humanity.

The next time you want a URL shortener, use Google's and check out the statistics by adding /info/ in the middle of the short URL (see the link above).
I used's service but didn't like its statistics page though it links to Twitter & Facebook public feeds for reference, but it doesn't always show the numbers or referrers correctly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apocalypse Survival Guide

This is a brief presentation that I prepared for the BarCamp Kuwait event held yesterday (10/10/10). I added some commentaries & extra slides which I only talked about in the event.
Also, all the pictures were found in search engines. I hold nor claim any copyright over any of them.

Enjoy the slides:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

IT Peeps in Kuwait: Gather Around!

Shaymaa (a.k.a ahamshay) has a message for you: If you are in Kuwait and in the IT business (company owner, teacher, student, freelancer, geek, nerd) send your contact info to: info [theAtSign] or send a direct message over Twitter @ahamshay .

She'll be organizing events & stuff! Tell your friends! This is for both guys & gals.

Your contact info is confidential. (The engineering meaning of confidential, not the marketing/sales meaning)

Khalid Al-Zanki: Oliver Was Surprised, Too!

A supportive member of the general public took the initiative in contacting Oliver Olsen, the author of the book that Khalid claims he wrote.

Well, Mr. Oliver replied and I was just as surprised by his reply as he was by Khalid's copying!

So as you can see, it seems to be OK between online marketers to share their content (free or for a fee) as long as the receiving end does some magical paraphrasing so as to not look like a buffoon when someone decides to paste some of the book's content in a search engine.

As usual, Khalid is yet to reply to our posts and he's probably cursing us from behind his private Twitter & Facebook accounts, calling us names like: market business morons or liars, as he also does some of his magical brain washing to his beloved followers & fans.

If you have nothing to hide then why don't you let them see the truth? Why don't you reply to our posts in public? Why post some general post about Private Label and Royalty Free definitions without stating WHY you posted it?

Follow up posts:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google: Please Stop Raping GMail

I opened my browser and logged in to my GMail account and heard this odd music playing out of no where!

It was frustrating that I did not know where it came from, I could not stop it, and the browser tab kept freezing! And there on top, I noticed a new feature by Google called "Priority Inbox" and after a few times of refreshing the page, I got to click on it and turns out it had a video!

This is the 2nd time Google does this kind of stunt! It's irritating! You could have used the HTML5 version rather than the crappy flash one!!!

And since I'm ranting, I might as well take this off my chest: YOUR NEW USER INTERFACE IS BAD! And I'm not the only one complaining! And here is a list of comments written by users on Google's topic.

List of disadvantages to the new GMail interface:

  1. I hardly ever click on Contacts. I don't need to see it in my face all the  time!
  2. I don't use tasks. Why can't I hide it like the other labels?
  3. I liked "Compose" as a link more than it is as a button now. At least it was obvious that I could hold SHIFT while clicking the link to compose in a new window.
  4. The drop list. I despise the drop list! I can't express how much I hate it! Instead of a single click, now I have to click the drop list then choose an option! Why increase the effort to 2 clicks? Is this your idea of an optimized user interface?!
If you're having problems loading your GMail account, load the HTML interface:

Google: I'm disappointed.

Word Repetition Count and Highlight

Ever wanted something to count all the repeated words and highlight each word with a different color? No? Well I did!

I looked around but didn't find what I wanted so I wrote my own. A quick & dirty PHP script. It was a good waste of those extra 3 hours I had.

Script limitations/bugs:
  • All punctuation is removed
  • Some long words are not counted for some reason
  • The colors are random so some may not be pleasant
  • Sometimes it matches partial words sometimes it doesn't.
It's always good practice to sacrifice a Microsoftie before running/using the script, to make sure things run smooth. Depending on the kind of text, you may want to add Lawyers, Salesmen, Marketers and Apple Fanboys into the mix.

Script Types
I wrote 2 scripts: One for use for the command line (read from a text file and outputs to shell, which you could redirect to another file) and another for the web. You can modify the web one to make it check URLs directly, but I'm warning you: It'll massacre all kinds of styling and you'll need to do some extra work to make work properly.

You can [ab]use the script here:

The scripts are available freely for download & redistribution as long as the credits are retained. If you make enhancements to the scripts, I'd appreciate it if you send them back to me to add them to the others (with your credits retained of course).

What better demo is than to test it on cats and geeks? :D

Yes, I cheated by manually placing the text in the middle for a better screenshot. Spank me for being bad.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: Out Of The Closet!

After much silence, Khalid has finally decided to ALMOST reply to our posts. Indirectly, too!

His post is cunning! He doesn't say what is covered: Is it the ebook? Is it the website? Is it the posts?
Either way, it clearly means that he's admitting using someone else's content, even if he paid for it.
(and for a change, he actually listed the sources of his quotations this time!)

I have heard of private label services where someone manufacturers a product for me to use under my own name, but what if that manufacturer made the same book/content and sold it to hundreds or thousands?
What if all what was changed is the book's cover? The content's title?

Also, as Bashar's post and mine show, he had copied and paraphrased content from various places. Did he pay to each & every website he copied from before posting? Or do all these websites copy from the same ebook?!

In my opinion, it's great that all he did was change some pictures & styling in the ebook, because it proved that he does not have the capacity to write his own content.
A copied About page, Terms of Service disclaimer, blog posts, and God knows what else! All of that to show that he has knowledge and knows what he's talking about.

Does he? Maybe.

I don't know about you, but I would not do any kind of business with a person who can't write his own content yet sells his services through it!

Khalid, you're welcome to reply back in comments or email and I promise you that I will not modify nor delete any of your comments, unlike how you deleted mine.

Update: I commented on Khalid's blog to thank him for confirming that the content wasn't his & asked him to comment back on my blog. He deleted my comments!!! AGAIN!
Notice the time: 8:07 PM. If you go to his post now you won't find the comments.

Also, it has come to my attention that he has posted his explanation post to make it clear to (and I quote): "most of Arabs in 3rd world are still confused with.."

I would like to see you keeping our comments on your blog to allow your followers, fans and visitors to see the other point of view of the story, rather than brainwashing them with your copy/paste talk.

Follow up posts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: Plagiarism, Fraud & Thievery

The scam artist Khalid Al-Zanki has been quiet on Twitter for the past 2 days since he was exposed. In fact, he switched his twitter account to private mode!

That's something odd for someone who's been boasting online for a very long time! But I'll continue with this post with more evidence of Khalid's theft and plagiarism.

In my previous post, I showed one of his posts and where he stole the content from. I had left him a comment on that same post but he deleted it and replied in a private email.

So he took the content from a book, and published it under his own name and claims that the publisher allows that. And that's funny, because if the publisher does allow that kind of thing (which I'm not sure of), it means both of them are scammers!

Now to another post of his titled: The Social Strategy.
This post wasn't completely copy/pasted but it was paraphrased from a website sponsored by the Australian Government:

To another post of your favorite scammer: Why A Business Plan Is Important
This is a nice paste by Khalid. He did a great job as usual; the material this time is from:

After all of this, I didn't really bother looking further. It's quite obvious that he's a professional paster and people, organizations and companies have paid him thousands for this great paste work, which they could have gotten for free from the web.

Follow up posts

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: The Big Successful Fraud

Khalid Al-Zanki is an entrepreneur who thrives at utilizing online and social technologies to maximize a business's profits. He also does that while writing blog posts, quotes, and a book that he had stole from other people!

My good buddy Bashar wrote a post exposing Khalid Al-Zanki and his thievery. All with screenshots. Please do check Bashar's post as it has more details than you'll find here.

I have also took the initiative and did some quick search of my own, to discover even more rip offs and plagiarism by the amazing entrepreneur!

Before posting my findings, I have to explain why I'm joining this expose: It's OK for you to become an entrepreneur and grow a business, but it's not by stealing other people's intellectual property, thoughts and efforts and then claim them to be yours.
What I sincerely hate about Khalid is that he pushed his face unto TV shows, newspapers, online ads and worse held speeches for college students and major corporations.

1) Khalid's blog post: Market Strategies:
It dates to August 20th, 2010, while the source he ripped it off from dates to July 16th, 2008!
You can check the date of HTML pages by putting this line in the address bar after the page loads:

His other blog posts are mostly plagiarized. If not whole, each chunk from a place.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't do business with a thief. And to those whom he fooled already, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you sue him, especially the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) since he was brought over for workshops to your dear students.

Follow up posts