Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm not contributing to Wikipedia any more

We all love Wikipedia, and we use it all the time. I also believe in sharing, and since I make use of the information there, why don't I share the information I know too and contribute to Wikipedia every now and then with my two cents. And since 2005, and I've done few additions here and there, but recently I found out that almost all the stuff I wrote there were wiped out.

It's hard - at least for me - to find out why a certain edit was removed. Those diff-comparison and history buttons aren't useful enough to me. May be "Reference or Citation" is needed. But this is not applicable all the time. "Most of the Egyptians eat foul (beans) in breakfast", this is a fact, but can you really find me a book that states such fact!? Arabs prefer to use Latin letters and numbers to write Arabic text on devices that doesn't support Arabic, and in Egypt they call it FrancoArab. Now give me a book that statues such fact. Arabs use the word "bedan" in the same way English people use the word "bollocks". Now, go get me books or articles - that by the way. has to be non-blogs - that states such facts!

Aren't wiki's supposed to be non-authoritative systems!? And Wikipedia is too authoritative for my taste. Call me an anarchist if you want, but I like what this guy - who is also not going to contribute to Wikipedia any more - wrote in his blog:
It's a common story in the human species. First, we want to achieve a goal. Second, we discover that we are all different[2] and that we need some rules to organize our work. Third, we make the rules really complicated to fit every corner case. Fourth, we completely forget the goal of those rules and we apply them blindly for the sake of it. Fifth, we punish or kill those who don't follow the rules as strictly as we do.

Finally, someone might argue, Wikipedia is working this way, and it's success is an enough proof that whether I like it or not this is the best way to make it work, and I have to deal with it. OK, fine, may be their current rule set are the super-perfect system out there, but I don't care, I will just stop wasting my time and do edits there while knowing that they will be removed the next day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Social Networks and Dialogue between Cultures

This week I've participated in the Young Media Summit (YMS2010) that was organized by Deutsche Welle’s DW-Akademie in cooperation with the Deutschland-Zentrum Kairo.One of the topics that have been discussed on one of the work-groups there was, "Social Networks and their effect on the Dialogue between Cultures". And the major question then was whether social networks really help in emphasising the dialogue between cultures or not.

During the discussed we agreed that there are at least three factors that we have to take into our consideration first, "Language", "Persons and Personality" and "Real life social network".

  • Language: Although applications such as Facebook and Twitter can help you be in contact with people from all over the world at any time, yet they aren't capable 0f - at least till now - overcoming the language barrier. You can befriend with people from Germany or Japan, yet you cannot understand what their write in their status updates as long as you do not know their language. Google Translate can offer some help here, since you can use it to translate your French friend's newest blog post into English, however it is still not that accurate, and the translation process is not really coupled into the social network itself, hence it is a lengthy process and not natural. Not all the communication is verbal, "Poke", "Like", and "Photographs" are non verbal ways of communications, hence they are independent on languages.
  • Persons and Personality: Social networks can help people understand their differences, yet this might be a good or a bad thing, depending on the receivers personality. The same Facebook that helps an Egyptian blogger make new friends in Algeria, is the one that increased the tension between the people in the two countries during the World Cup qualifications matches.
  • Real life social network: There is no reason for someone in Egypt to befriend with a German person unless there is a real-life motive for them to be friends. Most of the time people only connect to those they know in real-life on Facebook. Twitter might be slightly different here, as you normally follow people regardless of them being in your real-life social network or not, however there still has to be reason to follow them, such as having similar interests, hobbies, or living in the same country/city.
Also some other points were raised during the discussion:
  • Online social networks nowadays do have an effect on real-life social networks too. If you block one of your real-life friends on twitter, or forgot to send a birthday greeting to one of your friends on Facebook, your real-life relation with them might be effected
  • Since the lines between on-line and real-life social networks are getting really blurry, are online networks going to replace real-life friends any time soon? I don't agree with this myself, yet who knows.
  • The internet penetration ratio is variable from one place to the other, however we have to agree that not all the people are connected. Hence on of the factors for online social networks to tighten the distances between cultures is that those connected people should be able to digest and transfer their experience to their real-life social networks of non-connected people.
People who were involved in this dicussion: Asmaa Al-Ghoul, Yassen Al-Hussen, Teresa Bücker, Eman Hashim, Amira Taher, Hardy Prothmann, and myself

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dale Dale, Dale Boca

In case you want to know, why visiting "La Bombonera" is one of my lifetime dreams.
GVO: Argentina: Boca Juniors, Passion for Football

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Shock Doctrine - Book Snapshots

I've been reading "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein, and I am enjoying it so far. I wasn't a big fan of "Government Controlled Economy" or "Planned Economy", not because I am an expert in Economics myself, but I just don't feel like having a government that controls anything. Call me an Anarchist or whatever you want, but I always felt that whenever the government controls anything it ruins it.
"Klein compares some psychological experiments (torture by any reasonable definition of the word) carried out in the 1950s in Canada (funded by the CIA off US soil so they could plausibly deny they were researching torture) in which patients were blasted back to virtually a blank slate by sensory depravation and electric shock treatment to US foreign policy in countries such as Chile in the 1970s and Iraq today. If you had forgotten just how evil unconstrained capitalism is – it is time to read this book. If you are concerned that the world seems to believe democracy = free markets – it is time to read this book".
A review by Trevor on GoodReads.

Anyway, I am not sure if I am gonna change this point of view after finishing Klein's book or not. But away from the book's main theme, I also love how it shed the light on historical incidents I never knew about before. In this, Klein's writing are somehow similar to Noam Chomsky, and by the way, I am considering reading the third chapter of Chomsky's "What We Say Goes", which is called "Latin America: Stirrings in the Servant's Quarters" after finishing the second part of Klein's book, than I'll get back to her book later.

So, as I wrote in the title of this post, I am not going to write a book review here, what I want to do is to take some snapshots of the book and put them here. It's like taking notes of the incidents, people, and places mentioned in the book. The notes may not make a real sense on their own, but they are a way for me to keep track of what I am currently reading. Some of the notes may also be about stuff not mentioned in the book, but I stumbled upon them while searching for more info about something here or there in the book.

Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende (June 26, 1908 – September 11, 1973), Chilean physician and is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in the Americas.
Photo taken by Sebastian Baryli under Creative Commons License.

Chile, and the earlier September 11

Salvador Allende: He was born in on June 26, 1908 in Valparaíso. In 1970, he won the presidency to become the first democratically elected Marxist president of a country in the Americas. He adopted the policy of nationalization of industries and collectivization.

The United States and Allende: The possibility of Allende winning Chile's 1970 election was deemed a disaster by a US government who wanted to protect US business interests and prevent any spread of communism during the Cold War. In September 1970, President Nixon informed the CIA that an Allende government in Chile would not be acceptable and authorized $10 million to stop Allende from coming to power or unseat him.

Covert United States involvement in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973 was extensive and continuous. The Central Intelligence Agency spent three million dollars in an effort to influence the outcome of the 1964 Chilean presidential elections. Eight million dollars was spent, covertly, in the three years between 1970 and the military coup in September 1973, with over three million dollars expended in fiscal year 1972 alone.

Following the September 14 meeting of the 40 Committee and President Nixon's September 15 instruction to the CIA, U.S. Government efforts to prevent Allende from assuming office proceeded on two tracks. Track I comprised all covert activities approved by the 40 Committee, including political, economic and propaganda activities. These activities were designed to induce Allende's opponents in Chile to prevent his assumption of power, either through political or military means. Track II activities in Chile were undertaken in response to President Nixon's September 15 order and were directed toward actively promoting and encouraging the Chilean military to move against Allende.

1973 Chilean coup d'état: I am not trying to say here that Allende was a Saint, and the United States is the Devil. From what I've read in Klein's book, I had the feeling that the Chilean economy was at it best during Allende's rule, and the post-Allende - i.e. during Augusto Pinochet's rule - was the worse they can get. But the truth is that the the coup d'état was due to economical reasons.

In 1972, the monetary policies increasing the amount of circulating currency, adopted by economics minister Pedro Vuskovic, devalued the escudo, provoking inflation to 140 percent in 1972 and engendering a black market economy. The Allende Government acted against the black market with organised distribution of basic products. In October 1972, Chile suffered the first of many socially confrontational strikes — led by the Chilean rich — openly supported by U.S. President Richard Nixon via the CIA.

Milton Friedman and The Chicago Boys

According to Wikipedia, The Chicago Boys were a group of young Chilean economists who were trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, or at its effective offshoot in the economics department at the Catholic University of Chile (Universidad Catolica de Chile). The training was the result of a "Chile Project" organised in the 1950s by the US State Department and funded by the Ford Foundation, which aimed at influencing Chilean economic thinking. The Chicago Boys are somehow the Chilean version of the Indonesian Berkeley Mafia.

Juan Gabriel Valdés, Chilean foreign minister in the 1990s, described the Chile Project as "a striking example of an organized transfer of ideology from the United States to a country within its direct sphere of influence... the education of these Chileans derived from a specific project designed in the 1950s to influence the development of Chilean economic thinking." He emphasised that "they introduced into Chilean society ideas that were completely new, concepts entirely absent from the 'ideas market'".

Friedman who rejected the use of fiscal policy as a tool of demand management; and he held that the government's role in the guidance of the economy should be restricted severely, was - from the American point of view - the best cure to the leftist ideologies taking place in Chile at that time.

By the way, Friedman was originally a Keynesian supporter of the New Deal and advocate of government intervention in the economy. However, his 1950s reinterpretation of the Keynesian consumption function challenged the basic Keynesian model. At the University of Chicago, Friedman became the main advocate for opposing Keynesianism.

"The theories of Milton Friedman gave him the Nobel Prize; they gave Chile General Pinochet", "Días y Noches de Amor y de Guerra", by Eduardo Galeano.

Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay
According to Klein, the Chicago School counter-revolution spread in Latin America Southern Cone, and U.S.-supported junta took control of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

An un-organized listing of some figures in those countries mentioned - or not mentioned - in the book:

Adolfo César Diz (March 12, 1931 — October 12, 2008) was an Argentine economist who served as President of the Central Bank of Argentina from 2 April 1976 until 27 March 1981. Diz earned a bachelor in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires. He was then accepted at the University of Chicago, where he earned his master in 1957 and a PhD in Economics in 1966. A pupil of Milton Friedman, Diz was the precursor of the influential "Chicago Boys" in Latin America, where he cultivated relationships with other Chicago School graduates such as Ernesto Fontaine, Roque Fernández, Carlos Rodríguez, Fernando de Santibañes, and other well known Argentine economists trained by Arnold Harberger. Diz was recommended to the post by the new Economy Minister (José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz).

Rodolfo Jorge Walsh (born on January 9, 1927 in Lamarque*) was an Argentine writer, considered the founder of investigative journalism in Argentina. He was murdered on March 25, 1977. In 1960 he went to Cuba, where, together with Jorge Masetti, he founded the Prensa Latina press agency. He was then close to the CGT de los Argentinos. While in Cuba, It's claimed that he decrypted a CIA telex referring to the upcoming Bay of Pigs invasion, helping Castro prepare for the supposedly-secret operation. Towards the middle of 1970, Walsh began to associate with the militant Montoneros, and by 1973 he was an important official in the organization. His first nom de guerre was "Esteban", and later he was known as "El Capitán", "Profesor Neurus" or just "Neurus".

José Piñera Echenique (@pinerajose and @JosePinera) is the architect of Chile's private pension system based on personal retirement accounts. Piñera has been called "the world's foremost advocate of privatizing public pension systems". He has three younger brothers: Sebastián Piñera, a businessman-politician and the current President of Chile; Pablo Piñera, a former member of the Board of the Central Bank; and Miguel Piñera, a musician. He also has two sisters, Guadalupe and Magdalena.

Ewen Cameron: Donald Ewen Cameron (24 December 1901(1901-12-24)–8 September 1967) was a twentieth-century Scottish-American psychiatrist. He was most famous for his involvement in the Project MKULTRA of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Cameron lived and worked in Albany, New York, and was involved in experiments in Canada for Project MKULTRA, a United States based CIA-directed mind control program which eventually led to the publication of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. Naomi Klein states in her book "The Shock Doctrine" that Dr Cameron's research and his contribution to the MKUltra project was actually not about mind control and brainwashing, but about "to design a scientifically based system for extracting information from 'resistant sources.' In other words, torture".

George Akerlof: Akerlof is perhaps best known for his article, "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism", published in Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1970, in which he identified certain severe problems that afflict markets characterized by asymmetrical information, the paper for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. He won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics shared with Michael Spence and Joseph E. Stiglitz.

Sources and Acknowledgements:
Wikipedia: Salvador Allende
Wikipedia: Collective Farming
US Department of State: Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973
Dollars & Sense: Is Chile a Neoliberal Success?
The Shock Doctrine Resources, Part 1, Chapter 2: The Other Doctor Shock
Times Online: Brainwash victims win cash claims
Chile: The Laboratory Test
The New Your Books Review: Who Was Milton Friedman? By Paul Krugman

Monday, July 12, 2010

Will miss the World Cup, but ...

On contrary to most of the Egyptian journalists and many football fans here, I believe this World Cup was a very good one. It might not be the best, but it's still good. At least, no Brazil vs Germany in the final, no Asians what so ever. The Netherlands is one of my favourite teams along with most of the Spanish speaking teams. So, we've got a final between Spain and Holland, and two Spanish speakers in the semi-final. We've got a new name to be added to the list of World Cup winners this year, and it happens to be Spain with their attacking football and pleasant skills. We will sure miss the World Cup and hove to wait till 2014 for the next one, yet there are still some stuff that I won't miss, and I'm happy now because we are gonna get rid of them:

  • The Vuvuzela: It was fun and people kept making fun of it everywhere, but at the end of the tournament we've already had enough of it, and it started to get on our nerves.
  • The Waving Fag: Ok, I have no idea what that bastard was saying in the World Cup theme song, but it don't even care if it's a flag, fag or even vomit bag. It's just a silly song that gets on my nerves as much as the Vuvuzela.
  • The Qatari Hide and Seek: If you like me used to watch the World Cup on Al Jazeera Sports Channel, you sure have suffered of that stupid ad with a Qatari boy counting from one to infinity.

  • Twitter Fail Whale: Ok, the Fail Whale will sure keep on visiting us every now and then, even after the World Cup, but during the tournament it used to visit us even more frequently.
  • Bigger Belly: Ok, I have to admit that I am a lazy person, and the World Cup makes me even lazier. I used to stay at home, watch the matches, eat more, and work less.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CNN - Credibility No No

This is not funny, we are running serious media business here in CNN, and yes we have strict rules here to protect our credibility. And those rule are pretty simple, they are even less than 140 characters long: "Never ever say you respect a Muslim cleric".

That's it!? Is this your only rule here?

Yes, sure! This is the golden rule here in media business. Forget about freedom of speech, and all such crap! No body cares!

I see, let me tell you something, you suck, you and your channel suck a big time my friend! And you know who sucks even more than you. It's Octavia Nasr herself, because she shouldn't have defended her self in a separate blog post here, she said that she respects Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah in one of her tweets, so what!? Why regret it!? Why even delete her tweet!? Many people over the world respect him, even the British Ambassador in Lebanon almost said the same thing here! You know what, you go fuck yourself and your credibility, you and your credibility are bollocks.

Related Posts:
Jillian C. York: Shame on the American Media
Arab Crunch: When a 140 Character Tweet Cause You To Loose Your Job

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arabs are Still Thinking ...

The Europeans created the EU, and the Arabs are thinking about Economical Integrations. Now the Africans are going to begin Economic Integration next Thursday, and the Arabs are still thinking about it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup: Please Don't Take it Seriously

It's now football time, and everybody out there is watching the World Cup nowadays. And you sure have your favourite teams, and other teams that you don't like much. Me too, I have some teams that I support, and some other teams that I support anyone who plays against them.

For the sake of suspense, I will mention the names of the teams that I support later on. But for now, let me states some characteristics that define a large group of football teams all over the world.

  1. Consistent teams with no ups and downs in their levels.
  2. Players are very fit, fast, strong, and never get tired.
  3. They know when to commit many fouls in the midfield to kill the game if needed.
  4. They are serious, and just play to win, and they don't just play for fun.
  5. Most of them have more titles than most of their rivals.

So, all teams with the above characteristics are just the kind of teams I hate the most. My favourite teams are just the opposite. Come on, why should I care about the number of titles or how fit the players in a team are. I watch a football matches to enjoy them. They are like a movies. Should we really care about a movie's budget or if it's a best seller or not to enjoy it!? Nah. We just enjoy them when they are good. Teams that make fouls in the midfield to kill the game, and rely on their players' strength and fitness rather than skills are just like bad movies with huge budgets and buzz words in their names.

And that's why I support Argentina, Uruguay, Ghana, Nigeria, Netherlands sometimes, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy. And that's why I never support the likes of Germany, Brazil, Korea, Japan, etc.


P.S. Not really sure which category Italy belongs to, but I just like them, that's it.

P.S. People may argue that the Brazilian team plays for fun too, and have skills, etc. This might have been true in the 50 or 80. But since I started to watch football - in the nineties - and they have many of the above characteristics. For sure they have skills, magnificent skills, but this isn't enough to make me support them.

P.S. If you are Egyptian, you sure have guessed by now that I am a Zamalek fan too, and support any team that plays against El Ahly.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blogroll, The Spammers

In case you've been wondering, yes, I've removed the Blogroll widget off this blog. Those nasty guys are now altering the links there to take people to pages where the actual blog you want to visit is surrounded by annoying advertisements. This is really stupid. Fuck you Blogroll, and I will now try to find a better alternative to your bollocks spammy service.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Where does the "Aawra" start, and where does it end?

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public", Paulo Coelho

We usually blog about our own selves, friends, and relatives. But some other times we blog about our own society. This can either be in our own blogs, or by volunteering in other platforms such as Global Voices Online, were authors keep an eye wide open on what's going on in their own blogosphere, and some times they may even cover the blogospheres of countries they have never been to.

So, in such case, it's not only themselves who are getting naked, but it is a society as a whole. And this makes me wonder, should there be any limits on what we write. Should a novelist watch out what he writes, censor his own idea, and act like a baby sitter for his imaginations? Should bloggers be more positive and limit themselves to covering good matters only? But what is good, and what is bad? Isn't this some kind of hypocrisy? Aren't they gonna be liars and we should then call them clowns instead of bloggers?

Only a clown can draw a big smile on his sad face. Only an actor laughs when he is sad. And only a politician says what he doesn't believe in. And bloggers aren't supposed to be clowns, actors, or politicians. Or should they!?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gr33nData! What the heck does it mean!?

Well, since ... hmmm ... I can't remember since when ... but let's say since the Internet was invented and I am calling myself gr33ndata. My original blog, my twitter, flickr, and even this blog is called not gr33ndata. So what the heck does this weird name mean!?

I came out with this name, because you know, in old movies like Hackers and The Matrix, geeks and hackers used to use PC's with black background and green text on them. Black terminals with green text were so cool then, and that's why I chose the colour "Green". And then I added the data part to refer to, you know, since we were using the Internet, then we are supposed to be geeks, and the word "Data" looks like Information Technology and stuff.

And once more, the geek factor made me replace the letter 'e' in the handle to '3'. H4x0r jargon and nerdy stuff, right!?

And here we go, Gr33nData or gr33ndata was born.

Sometimes, I try to look smart and come out with other interpretations for the name, like Green is the Colour of Egypt, and Data refers to using IT in order to improve my country. Or may be nowadays, I can say that I'm using such handle to support Green IT initiatives. But you know, all of those interpretations are nonsense. Because when I came out with this handle none of them even crossed my mind. And you know what, I am not sure I like being called a geek after all these years. Yet, I just love this nickname, and I guess I'll continue using it for a while.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Owns The Photos!?

You know you are addicting to blogging, when you prefer to discuss problems between you and your friends via blog posts, instead of discussing them face to face.

Isn't it ironic when you receive a couple of SMSs and more than one Email form one of your friends asking you in a very rude way to delete some of the photos you've uploaded to your Facebook account because he/she happens to appear in them, and he/she considers it a big violation to his/her privacy, and then you find out that there are dozens of photos out there uploaded by different people with him/her in them, and it gets really creepier when he/she starts tagging himself/herself in even more photos!? Isn't it ironic that when I were in Chile last week, many strangers in the streets there had no problem with me photographing them, and some others even urged me to shoot them, and then a friend - I still insist on calling him/her a friend anyway even thought we almost stopped talking to each other - is mad at you because he/she happens to appear in some of the photos you are publishing!? Isn't it ironic that his/her privacy becomes really important, when you are the one who uploads the photos, and he/she starts yelling at you, however his/her privacy doesn't seem to be that important when other strangers are uploading similar photos!?

Ah, before I end this post, I'd like to say that the main reason for me writing this post, is that I was wondering about who owns a specific photo. Is it the one who shoots it, uploads it, or the one who appears in it? People are discussing Facebook privacy issues thoroughly nowadays, and in fact I believe the whole privacy issue is out of our control now. Everyone out there happens to have a cell phone with a built in camera, and most of them happen to have accounts on Facebook, Flickr, Twitpic, you name it. So would you please tell me, what is the point of making your photos private on Facebook in order for people not to know how you look like? Yeah, sometimes you might consider some photos embarrassing and then you might not like the idea of sharing them publicly, but this is a different issue, as I am mainly talking here about those who freak out and have problems with their real identity (How they look like? Where they are/were? Who are their friends?) being disclosed. Would you please tell me how are you going complete strangers not to upload photos with you in them? And even if you can technically prevent them from tagging you in those photos, they still can just write your name underneath the photo!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

GV2010 - The People

I had loads of fun during last week in Chile, where I attended Global Voices Summit, GV2010. In fact, I might write a separate post about the trip, Santiago, and the extremely helpful and pleasant people there, but I prefer to dedicate this post to the GVers I met there during the summit.

We first met Gaurav Mishra and Aparna Ray in Sao Paulo on our way to Santiago. And that was enough to make us really enjoy our five hours stay in the airport. Then when we arrived to Santiago we met Laura Vidal who helped us a lot in translation, finding a transportation to the hotel, and tracking our bags which have been lost in Germany. Then later on, we were forced to go shopping to get new clothes till we get our lost baggages. So Renata Avila went with us, and showed us the nearby malls.

During the last week I was able to refresh my Spanish, and I had no problem dealing with people in streets and shops in Spanish all the time, especially that it's hardly to find people who speak English there. Yet, having conversations with Laura Vidal, Marianne Díaz, Issa Villarreal, Catalina Restrepo about everything from politics, to literature, to music and Spanish language made me interested in restarting to learn Spanish again in order to be able to read Spanish blog posts and literature. The Spanish and Latin American blogosphere has always been very interesting to me, and knowing the above people as well as Eduardo Avila, Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe, Yesenia Corrales, Juan Arellano, and Julián Ortega Martínez made it even more interesting.

I also was able to make real new friends during this summit. It was really happy meeting Awab Alvi, Muhammad Karim, Sana Saleem, Satee Hamza, and Sarah Standish with whom I had spent a very nice time.

Sometimes a short conversation with someone is more inspiring than a long speech or a book, and even if I have to admit that I do not have Sarita Moreira's courage, I was really inspired by how she left her job to do what she likes and help poor people in distant countries far away from her home country. Also it was ironic to know from her about an Egyptian-born novelist - Albert Cossery - whom I have never heard of before.

Before going to the summit, I wasn't very comfortable to the idea of sharing my room with someone else, but Lova Rakotomalala was just the best room mate I'd ever have. I am even sad that I didn't have chance to get to know him more. And above all, I really want to thank Lova for the amazing note he left to me in the room before leaving.

It was also nice to meet people whom I've met last summer for few minutes, or only know online like Jillian York, Eduardo Avila, Sami Ben Gharbia, Hisham Almirat, Ayesha Saldanha, David Sasaki, Deborah Dilley, Ivan Sigal, Paula Goes, Solana Larsen, Suzanne Lehn, Sylwia Presley, Tomomi Sasaki, Ethan Zuckerman, Rebecca MacKinnon, Janet Gunter, Vilhelm Konnander, Rosario Lizana, Namita Singh, Jules Rincon, Jeremy Clarke, Dan Braghis, Katerina and Diego Casaes although I wish I had more chance to get to know them even more as well as many others in the summit.

And finally, I want to thank Jillian York, Renata Avila, Pauline Ratzé, Eduardo Avila, Elia Varela, Paula Goes, Bijoy Majumdar, Awab Alvi, Muhammad Karim, Suzanne Lehn, and Lova Rakotomalala for these. And I have to admit that I used to be an active volunteer in GV, but a very lazy reader, however after this summit, I became much more interested in reading more about different regions and places other than the Middle East and North Africa which I used to only read posts about them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Arab dot Net

You sure have heard about the event taking place in Lebanon nowadays. Yes, I am speaking about ArabNet 2010, whose hashtag - #ArabNet - has made it to twitter's worldwide trending topics today. As far as I understand, Arab entrepreneurs demonstrate their startups there, and some sessions were given to them about fund raising, social marketing, etc.

I really like the idea of having such kind of events here in the region. To me it sounds more like DemoCamp, which took place earlier in UAE, Egypt, and may be other Arab countries as well. In fact, such events are as good as the quality of the startups in there, and the number of VC's and Angel Investors attending them. And I guess, given such huge buzz around ArabNet, a good number of investors should be attending it, on contrary to DemoCamp! Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing a list of the participating startups and a brief introduction on each of them.

Finally, as usual, some people here and there on twitter started to attack the event. And I am sure anyone of you will be able to expect what those attackers say even without listening to them. Exactly! They accuse the sessions to be boring, and criticizing the use of English language in the event while it's an *Arab* dot net. Deal with it guys, English is the de facto language for businesses nowadays, and if you really want to attract the likes of "Y Combinator", "Reid Hoffman", and "Benchmark Capital" you have to market your startup in English. And back to the coolness of the sessions thing, I haven't been there to tell, and so are most of the attackers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gimme some news to report

I've noticed lately that I almost blog once every month, while I used to blog daily or a bit less frequently years ago. And you know why is that? I then used to consider my blog as a loyal friend whom I like to talk to every now and then. Most of the time we used to chat like any pair of good friends. Later on, I started to take my blog more seriously. It's not my friend any more. Now it's my personal serious mini journal. I report some news, and comment on some other news. And guess what? I hate news, I am not interested in what happens in China, USA, or Palestine. Why should I report stuff that have already been reported in major news outlets!?

Ok, sometimes it is nice to write down my own point of view in what happens here and there, but at the end of the day, I am doing this because you are my friend, and not my serious journal or frowning magazine.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can't stop time!

  • I removed the batteries from all the clocks at home, but I forget to remove that of my mobile.
  • I went to the track and started to jog in the opposite direction, but they didn't allow me to continue.
  • .ti daer ot uoy rof drah eb lliw ti tub ,sdrowkcab enil siht gnitirw ma I
  • I asked them to throw away all the calendars on my desk at work, but my laptop and blackberry kept on tilling me the date.
  • I asked God to make my birthday wait for a while, but I was born in a leap year, and I will just be 30 years old in two days, even without having a birthday!
I hate to admit that, but I am going to be 30 in two days, and I still can't find a way to stop time :(

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How can your blog post make it to Global Voices roundups

You sure have heard about Global Voices Online before. It's a service that tries to collect and translate blogs from all over the globe.
"Global Voices is a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world who work together to bring you translations and reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media", Global Voices About Section.
And many bloggers have been wondering about the secret sauce for a blog post to be noticed and included in a Global Voices roundup. And the answer is, there isn't any secret sauce out there, but let me try to invent my own secret formula based on my experience as an GV Author.

  • Write about current events and breaking news soon: When an accident or an event takes place, we as authors find ourselves obligated to write about them as soon as possible, so most of the time the quickest bloggers to blog about an event are the most mentioned bloggers. You can take Zeinobia as an example here, I sometimes wonder if she writes about events the moment they happen, or do events just happen the moment she writes about them, and that's why it's really hard for us to ignore her blog posts, especially those posts about current events.
  • Don't copy and paste from news websites: We tend to focus there on blogs and citizen media everywhere, so if you are going to just copy news articles from the the CNN or Almasry Alyoum's website, then we too can copy and paste articles. But the point is, we are not just a news website, we tend to report people's opinion about what's going on, instead of just reporting what's going on.
  • Blog in English, in Arabic, or any other language: Sometimes I am too lazy to translate a post from Arabic to English, some other times I find that I'll not be adding any value if I am going to limit myself to only those posts written in English. So in brief we do not have any language preference there, but we, or at least me, prefer those articles written in clear and simple language that can easily be quoted or translated.

Finally, I have to say that we do not focus on breaking news only in Global Voices, but we just select whatever seems to be interesting, either they are blog posts, tweets, or whatever falls under the citizen media umbrella.

Disclaimer: What have been written here are just my own thoughts, and they do not reflect Global Voices official opinions or anything.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Old Retweets won't Die

Why do we retweet our friend's tweets? Do we really retweet them because they are valuable, and we want to share them with others? Ok, this is one possibility, but in fact, the real motive behind retweeting a post is that we find it valuable, so we attach our names to it, and wait for others to retweet our retweet with our names attached to it. It's the ego-factor that drives us her, and not just the love of sharing good stuff with others.

Such scenario worked really fine with the old manual retweeting system, but now with the new retweeting button, our names are removed from the heart of the tweets, and are replaced with a tiny picture at the bottom of the tweet, that no one cares to look at or click on it.

And that's why I believe that the old retweets will continue to be used, and the new retweets will only be used by lazy people like me, who are too lazy to press ctrl+v and ctrl+c.