Friday, December 18, 2009

23 Books I've Read This Year

I consider myself one of those people who prefer watching novels on the silver screen than reading them as a book. But I think I've read many books this year, they may be even more than those books that I've read during my entire life. I'll try to list them in a non chronicle order, along with my comments on them.

  1. Virtigo, this one is an Egyptian novel written by Ahmed Mourad, and it has nothing to do with Hitchcock's movie that carries the same name. I consider it one of the best novels I've read this year.
  2. The Kite Runner by the Afghani writer Khaled Hosseini. This is the second best novel I've read this year. In fact, it's hard to tell which one is better. And you know what, I am afraid to see the movie as it may ruins it.
  3. Chicago and Neeran Sadeeka, i.e. Friendly Fire, by the Egyptian write Alaa El Aswany. Those two novels are good. Neeran Sadeeka is a combination of short stories while Chicago is a novel by itsown. As I said they are good, but not that much.
  4. Wahet El Ghoroub, i.e. The Sunset Oasis, by Bahaa Taher. The writer was about to convince me to add it to my top-two list, but he ended the story in a way that ruined it.
  5. Don't Make me Think, by Steve Krug. Ok this one is not a novel, but who said that I am going to list novels only here. This book is about Web Design and I read it after Ramez Mohamed of eSpace recommended it to me. It is really good and in face it made me think, a lot.
  6. Azazeel, by Youssef Zeidan. This one was so controversial and this is what made me continue reading it, otherwise I'd have got bored of it after four or five chapters.
  7. Maza Hadas Lel Masreyeen, Whatever Happened to the Egyptians by Galal Ameen. This one isn't a novel too, it's more like a sociological book that studies the changes that took place in the Egyptian community during the las few decades. It's a very nice book, and I think I may read it once more later on.
  8. Tashreeh El Shakhseyya El Masreyya, by Ahmed Okasha. This one is a piece of crap, I didn't like it at all.
  9. Turkey, the US, and Iraq, by William Hale. This is a political book about Turkey and it's relation with the United States during the last century. I really don't know why I decided to by such book, but after I started reading it, I liked it so much. It's really interesting and I learned good historical informations - yeah I know that information in uncountable, but I like to write it that way - from it.
  10. Utopia, by Ahmed Khaled Tawfik. This is one of those books that I decided to finish them because I didn't want to look like quitters. But the truth is, I do not recommend it.
  11. Who moved my Cheese. Anothe piece of crap, and a good proof that books surrounded by marketing buzz are a piece of shit.
  12. Freud: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Storr. As the title sais, it's a very short introduction but it was enough to introduce me to the Freudian influence on many aspects on our lives. It's a good read.
  13. Super Cruncers. This is one of those books where the author starts to repeat himself after few pages. I got bored of it, and wasn't able to continue reading it.
  14. Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe. Although it's somehow big compared to the knowledge in there, but it's not bad.
  15. Relevance by Tim Manners, A New Brand World by Scott Bedbury, and The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen. I really can't remember if I was able to finish any of them.
  16. Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky. I think I read this one more than a year ago, but it worth being mentioned here as it's one of the best.
  17. Blink and
    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Those two books are interesting. I think they both worth being read.
  18. The Essential Chomsky by Noam Chomsky, and Mobilities by John Urry. You may call me a dumb, but I failed to understand a single word of those two books.
  19. How to Make Big Money in Your Own Small Business by Jeffrey J. Fox. Thumbs up, read it.
  20. Human Instinct by Robert Winston. Read few chapters of it, liked what I've read but got bored of it. Seems to be good one, but it's not you, it's me.
  21. Building Facebook Applications For Dummies by Richard Wagner. It's not bad for kindergarten students, but for me it was so trivial. I finished reading it by th way.
  22. Penetration Testing and Network Defense by Andrew Whitaker. Same as the above, for me it was so trivial, but it's really good for Security gurus wannabes. I also finished reading this book.
  23. Taxi by the Egyptian writer Khaled El Khamisy. I was about to forget mentioning this one, it's a combination of many short stories, or let's say short essays. It's really nice, and I liked reading it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Two Thousand Twenty Four

Monday, February 5th 2024.

It's still raining since last night, but Winston Smith doesn't give a rat's arse about the rain. He has to hurry up as he has to be at the office before 8:00 AM. Winston saluted the doorman and climbed the stairs towards his office. There were cameras everywhere since it's Big Corporation's policy to keep an eye on each employee during his stay there. Big Corp or BC decided to replace the attendance system there with the Thought Monitoring System. It's a small gadget on each employee's desk and is connected to his brain via thin wires, it tracks what every employee is thinking of and send a daily report to the Thought Controller. Employees actual working hours are just those where their minds were engaged in business related thoughts. The mobile phone of each employee is monitored as BC's CEO believes that loose lips can sink corporations, so he has to monitor his employees conversations 24x7. He also has the ability to alter any part of those conversations, and edit it the way he wants before reaching the other party's ear. The internet is blocked in BC, and is replaced with BC's Intranet. Even Google is replaced with BC-Search where your search queries are monitored and only permitted results are displayed. Winston is a member of The BC-Search department. When an employee writes a search query in his browser, an new ticket is created on the system with the query details and is then sent to Winston's PC. Winston has to decide if the query is allowed or not, based on the employee's role in the organization, and the submitted keywords. He has a list of the allowed keywords for each employee. If the query is allowed he submits it to Google, and after receiving the results he has to inspect them one by one, and non-business results have to be removed, and business-related ones also has to be inspected in order to make sure that they do not contain any time wasting objects such as images, or multimedia files. Coffee and lunch breaks are something from the past. Employees are encouraged to take from one to two pills of DN17 everyday, which is enough to supply them with their daily nutritional requirements. Bathrooms are replaced with an advanced sanitation system connected to employees desk, so their bladders shouldn't distract them or let them waste any minute of their working hours.

O'Brien is another employee in BC, he is responsible for printing and distributing BC's Magna Carta. It's a daily document that includes BC's rules and policies, such as dress code, where to spend your weekends, and where not to spend it, who to befriend with and who to marry, etc. Winston was eager to talk with O'Brien. He wanted to know more about those daily rules, and how they are cooked and who inspired the CEO to put each specific rule. But due to the corporation's policies, employees aren't allowed to speak with each other. They are only allowed to communicated via emails and the emails has to contain business-related issues only.

P.S. This post is inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four. And I've replaced Oceania and Big Brother with Big Corp. or BC as most of the businesses are on their way to become the next totalitarian régimes, and they are haunting their employees with policies and rules and it's possible that someday life in Oceania will be like heaven compared to their employees miserable lives in the future.