* Posts by Hilmi Al-kindy

45 posts • joined 26 Nov 2010

Margin mugs: A bank paid how much for a 2m Ethernet cable? WTF!

Hilmi Al-kindy

As an astronomy equipment reseller, I can understand why

I sell telescopes, when an institution comes to buy, they don't pay cash upfront like your regular client. They ask to pay on credit terms because it's easier for them than handling a bunch of small invoices. They most probably want to accumulate several orders and pay you at once. This payment could take up-to 45 days from date of submitting the invoice. Then there are the bad players who delay payments, you could be chasing your money for 9 months. So yeah, I do charge a high premium for non cash customers. It costs you as a business 12% for every one month late payment. This is in the form of lost business opportunity and bank interest. So before you go about bashing resellers for high prices, look at your payment policy

Chap 'fixes' Microsoft's Windows 7 and 8 update block on new CPUs

Hilmi Al-kindy

I don't see the point of installing linux so I can run windows in a vm when I can run windows natively. Also, lots of hardware is serial but more and more hardware is natively usb like cameras.

Same applies to othwr areas, astronomy was just an example

Hilmi Al-kindy

Many applications are only available in windows with only limited support on Linux and Mac. As long as that is the case Windows will continue to rule.

In astronomy, some key applications have no complete viable alternative on the Mac and linux. Many alternatives support limited range of hardware and are missing specialised functions. So either you get custom written software, limitwd hardware choices or limited functionality. Only remaining option is Windows. And no Indi does not have broad support like ASCOM

GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

Hilmi Al-kindy

Re: When electricity was first introduced....

We have mostly organic farming here due to having a stagnant ministry of agriculture. Our lime farming industry has been decimated by disease, our banana plantations are dieing out and our national crop of dates is being threatened by a bug that kills the palm trees. I'm all for GMO if it will keep our farming industry alive

Hilmi Al-kindy

When electricity was first introduced....

My high-school maths teach told me he came to Oman back when the electric grid was just starting to become available. He says back then there was a big discussion whether it was sinful to have electric lights in a mosque. People are always afraid of what they don't understand, people are even more afraid of change, they assume anything new is going to rock the boat and nobody likes to rock the boat.

Activists are the worst, they are mostly people who stand behind a cause as a matter of principal and many of them have no true understanding of what they are campaigning for. Be it religious activists, green peace or political activists.

I have a disclaimer to add to my opinion, that not all activists are equal, it's just the ones who are most vocal who are usually blinded by their opinions

Report: VW execs 'knew' about fuel economy issues last year

Hilmi Al-kindy

Re: This is how it works in the corporate world

Further to my previous post. I would like to add one more critical step which I forgot. Create a service quality department that is supposed to improve performance and reduce errors. Only thing is, when upper management realize that the service quality department in order to function properly would require that all departments have clear, specific, measurable and quantifiable targets they realize they have created a monster. Sow hat they do is deny the department any support and make sure to hamper the ability of the department to perform it's work. This will include things like giving the department no authority to perform it's tasks... you can't even buy a pencil without your bosses approval who happens to be one of the aforementioned senior managers. You also tell them off when they rock the boat too much. You sabotage their improvement projects by not giving support, delaying approvals and not putting pressure on departments that don't cooperate. You also make sure the quality department staff are underpaid so as to avoid hiring truly talented staff that might rock the boat.

Hilmi Al-kindy

This is how it works in the corporate world

You are a senior manager. You want to achieve your annual bonus. You don't care about the long term effects of your decisions or how they affect the company. How do you achieve your objective without getting into any ethically unwise situation? Very simple, you get others to do the unethical tasks for you.

Step 1: Give unreasonable targets that are impossible to achieve ethically

Step 2: Consistently punish those who don't achieve the targets or tell you the target can't be achieved. This is done by marking them as under performers or just finding some legally acceptable grounds to fire them or sometimes you just transfer them to a really horrible job and wait for them to quit on their own.

Step 3: Wait for somebody to finally get the message that the only way to escape the wrath of management is to find any way to achieve the objective, including unethical activity

Step 4: As a manager, never question how the targets are suddenly achieved by the new guy.. just reward them with a big bonus. Make sure you maintain plausible deniability, this includes disputing internal audit findings when the audits are generated by somebody in your control.

Step 5: You get promoted to a VP position because you get things done, the next guy who inherits your job inherits the mess you created.

Step 6: An external auditor identifies the problems, you have plausible deniability, the guy at the bottom takes the fall and you can always point to how you even gave them formal training on the companies Code of Business Conduct. You are shocked at how your past employees could have betrayed your trust in such a manner.

Step 7: Wash, rinse and repeat

You are not qualified in multinational corporations ethical culture at senior management level.

Dum dum dum - another cloud bites the dust (Adobe's photo cloud)

Hilmi Al-kindy

Never was fully sold on the cloud concept

Other than allowing easy synchronizing service between devices, I see no use for cloud services. Even the sync services never seem work properly. Most of the time they just fail miserably. They also expose some very personal items to what I would like to call a larger hacking foot print as your files are now constantly online, probably spread over a larger number of servers and are more likely to be targeted for hacking or just snooping by a nosy system administrator. A simple example is that Muslim women cover up in public but dress more freely in public. Having some private home photos on the internet as a serious intrusion on their privacy and is viewed akin to spying on them naked. So, here is a perfect example of doing nothing wrong but still not wanting other people to access your files. I'm sure there are other examples from other customs and religions of such annoying intrusions of privacy.

Cloud services should be optional and not something mandatory. Any company that tries to make it such that I can not use their product unless I subscribe to a cloud service gets wiped off my list of software providers. I no longer use Adobe Photoshop, I don't use Office 365 and instead use full blown office, should Microsoft stop selling the full blown option I will just move onto some other alternative. Same goes for a few other services.

I can understand going all out cloud based where the aim of the service is sharing data with others. For example, photo sharing websites. But some things are being pushed to the cloud simply to force the customers to pay for subscriptions and continually milk them instead of allowing them to pay one off and never have to pay again for the software. It is the second variety that I am particularly opposed to. It is particularly nasty in countries where there is no strong internet connection as what these companies are doing is practically cutting off a large segment of the market.

I could rant about this non-stop, but I guess you get the general idea that I am not sold on the cloud, enough said.

LASER RAZOR blunted by KickStarter ban

Hilmi Al-kindy

Will it work with blonde people?

Laser hair removal doesnt work with people who have pale body hair. I wonder if this concept would work with people who have a pale colored beard.

Pocket mobe butt dialing clogs up 911 emergency calls, says Google

Hilmi Al-kindy

What happened to good old simple, reliable less irritating keyboard lock switch?

What would it hurt phone manufacturers to put a physical lock switch that would prevent accidental dials all together while not preventing the ability to call emergency services from a password protected phone?

I love touch screen interaction, but I also miss appropriately placed physical buttons where physical buttons made sense.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Hilmi Al-kindy

Typing on a touch screen feels so wooden, miss my trusty IBM model M keyboard.

All pixels go: World's biggest sky-gazing camera gets final sign-off

Hilmi Al-kindy
Thumb Up

Technology usually trickles down to consumers in a few years.

And I thought my 38 arc-minutes at 8.3 megapixel was a nice field of view for taking pictures of the sky. Bummer, time to change telescopes and camera... I can never keep up with these guys.

On a more serious note. My setup 20 to 30 years ago would have been considered an enviable tool even for NASA. Technology does tend to trickle down. Although my adaptive optics unit is still a piece junk that fails half the time. It is still fascinating that I can have an adaptive optics unit at home.

Ransomware blueprints published on GitHub in the name of education

Hilmi Al-kindy

This is the first time I ever saw a moderated comment on here!

Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

Hilmi Al-kindy

Truespace was purchased and shut down, that never sense to me

Microsoft also went and purchased a substandard 3D modeling package with a substantial user base and then closed down the company. That never made any sense to me. Why did they buy truespace to start with? Seems to have nothing to do with their core business.

Peak Google? Chocolate Factory cuts costs amid dwindling growth

Hilmi Al-kindy

Perhaps giving things away for free isn't indefinately sustainable

I think google has hit the limit of how much revenue you can squeeze out of purely advertising supported revenue model. People have become desensitized to adverts and mostly choose to ignore them. The market is still there, but I think it's about time that google should offer premium paid for advert free services with a few killer features only available for paying customers. One of the killer features will be that the paid for customers will not be used for data mining for advertisers. There can also be some functionality related features only available to paying customers. These features should be targeting power users.

I have a feeling this is what they were aiming at with Inbox. Not a single advert in site, I was honestly expecting they will start charging money for it once it was out of beta phase

Canadian dirtbag jailed for SWAT'ing, doxing women gamers

Hilmi Al-kindy

He can get his therapy in Jail

While I don't support jail time for all crimes, I feel what he did was bad enough to justify jail time. If he needs therapy, he can have it in jail.

Besides, many jails have trained criminals with useful skills that they can then use for employment when they get out.

Androids in celluloid – which machine deserves the ULTIMATE MOVIE ROBOT title?

Hilmi Al-kindy

What happened to Vicky from the TV series many of us watched as kids? Or is the Register desk staffed with kids too young to know the 80's and know the 70's era robots only because the came from such massive hit movies?

Vicky was great, a little girl who is actually a robot, every week I would wait for the scheduled broadcast of that show and it was a major high-lite of my TV time.

The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

Hilmi Al-kindy

Specialty applications

There will always be a place for a full blown laptop in specialty applications. Anything that is very processor intensive and shuffles huge amounts of data, needs detailed display on a large screen needs to be run on a device that was designed for that kind of work from the ground up.

One of the biggest reasons for this is power. Batteries just can't provide enough juice at a reasonable size to perform such tasks. As long as there are people who want to do video editing in better quality than what is intended to be consumed on a 5" screen, those who want to process astrophotos where 1 GB of data to be crunched through is normal for 1 photo or other processor intensive tasks that take a long time to achieve just can't be conveniently performed on a mobile device as small as a phone in a very practical matter.

The flaw with mobile devices is their size. Notice how they try to compensate by growing bigger. Mobile devices are very suitable for consuming media, but a totally unsuited for heavy creation of content. Ever tried writing a 20 page document on a mobile device? I find typing a one paragraph post on a discussion forum an exercise in frustration, let alone writing a 20 page incident investigation report. Once you add a blue tooth keyboard and an external display are you really much better off than having a laptop? Why is there a reasonable sized market for keyboard covers that attach to your tablet of choice?

I believe that the laptop will continue to have it's place, but most of the market will be for specialty models with higher processing power and massive storage instead of low end models not much good for creating content. There will be, in my opinion less variety of models and many of the low cost laptop makers like Acer will disappear. The prevalence mobile devices shows how little we actually create in our jobs... I guess all it shows is that the computer sales will have shifted to India and China where all the work actually gets done and all us consumer suckers will be using mobile devices because we don't actually create anything anymore.

Chinese coder's got 99 problems and getting hitched is one: Huge iPhone woo plot FAILS

Hilmi Al-kindy

What a sad case. How is 99 iPhones romantic? Or maybe the girl was hinting that she wanted an iphone and he thought that was a perfect excuse to get her to agree.

Where I leave a new iphone model is just the ticket for a guy wanting to get laid and has early access to one. It's definitely not what you would use to propose to a girl

Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to real photography?

Hilmi Al-kindy

This is why in astronomy we prefer black and white cameras as you get the true resolution of the sensor as compared to a camera with a bayer matrix. They also tend to be approximately 20% more sensitive in low light and provide better sensitivity in the infra red side of the spectrum. Another consideration that has to be taken into account is the arc-seconds per pixel image resolution. Basically, in astronomy we try and get the combination of lens/telescope and camera sensor that gives a resolution of no more than 1 arc-second per pixel. There is very little benefit going for more resolution as the atmospheric distortion alone will not let you get any sharper images . So most astronomers actually look for bigger pixels not smaller pixels.

Nothing shows off defects in your optical train like a point source of light, i.e. stars. All the chromatic aberrations, coma, astigmatism sensor tilt etc... will show immediately when taking an astro-photo. Your eyes will immediately notice when your stars are ovals instead of circles. Chromatic aberration will immediately show as a purple haze around your stars. Focus issues will show as stars will look bloated instead of nice sharp points.

Many times when using a camera lens for Astronomy work, you have to stop down the lens to f4 because f2.8 will just not give you the image quality expected.

So basically, if you savor challenges in your photography, you would get into astro-photography. Did I mention that my tripod and mount weighs close to 40 Kg? Makes that Manfroto 405 look rather flimsy doesnt it? Well, what if I told you my mount is considered entry low end of the good type of mounts and many people would complain that it is not stable enough to do some of the more serious work.

Ever tried to perfectly track a moving target for a 20 minute exposure.. I could keep on going, the list is endless

CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Hilmi Al-kindy

You also can't subscribe to many services legally if you live in the middle east. So they stop selling us CDs and refuse to sell us their online music and movies.

I have come to one conclusion, you can take your music and shove it where the sun don't shine. I have now acquired a taste for live music at the royal opera house in Muscat. Far better than most of the junk being thrown around as music these days. Very little good music came out after giants like Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd anyway.

Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

Hilmi Al-kindy

Putting rules just means that people will take a common password and append a number and exclamation mark at the end. For example Password!123 how is that more difficult to guess than password? or Pa$$word? All you have achieved is made it more difficult for the user to remember. It is no more difficult to guess because you already know the rules and you know that users are likely to use ! or ? for special characters and replace S with $

So I once again stress my point, complicating passwords has no genuine security value.

Hilmi Al-kindy

I have maintained for years that complicating passwords beyond a certain point has no value in terms of security. Almost every instance of compromised password I have run across is a result of:

1) Social engineering

2) Key loggers

3) Compromised server

4) Use of stupidly predictable passwords like 1122334455

So if you look at the above, forcing me to use passwords with complicated rules does not address any of the above except no. 4, which can be addressed more simply by banning certain straight forward passwords.

I like the way my bank does it, I can do any transaction between my own accounts with the password only, but as soon as the transaction involves a third party such as transferring money to my wife or paying my phone bill, I am required to use a code that gets sent to me by SMS and is only valid for that session. So in order to do anything useful with my bank account, a hacker would need both my password an access to my mobile phone. Far better than forcing me to use ridiculously difficult to remember passwords.

Nintendo says sorry, but there will be NO gay marriage in Tomodachi Life ... EVER

Hilmi Al-kindy

What would computer games be like if they had to cater for every single minorities moral standards?

Computer games are formative for children. They should be representing the main stream moral standards of society and should not used to campaign for the moral standards of minorities. Where should the game stop? Today it's Gay and lesbian representation, then it is the drug users who insist on allowing "medicinal" use of drugs then it's the guy who insists to force his religious principles and then it's the fringe cults etc.... etc...

Where should a game stop in representing minorities? Everybody thinks their cause is a just one and it should be treated as an exemption, but the truth of the matter is, a game needs to be designed to cater for main stream ethical standards. The standards which every single person would agree have nothing wrong with them. All other minorities need to go to specialty entertainment providers to get entertainment geared specifically for that market. It is a free market, want a gay marriage game, start a company and make games that support gay marriage, nobody is stopping you. If I own a company and don't want to make gay marriage available in my game, that is non of your business, I have not interfered with your sexual preference nor have I stopped you from being gay in any way nor have I insulted or offended you in any way. So keep out of my hair and I will keep out of yours.

Trying to cater for every single minority in every single scenario is just not practical nor is it morally correct to force everybody to compromise on their personal ethics so they fit in with your personal ethics.


Hilmi Al-kindy

Attention seeking and desperate attempts at social acceptance

In my opinion, all this protesting is just a desperate attempt at getting social recognition for gay marriages. I am a Muslim and my religion allows polygamy, you don't find me screeming in outrage why a game doesn't represent my life style. Why? Because I don't feel desperate to prove anything to world. I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with my moral standards, therefore I don't need to shove my morals down everybody's throat and scream about inequality. I have nothing to prove, I don't care for the acceptance of others because I know I am right.

The day the G&L community stops screaming about such trivial things, is the day I know that they are truly convinced there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. The way I see it, a person who is confident that their actions are not wrong, does not need to prove anything to the world. If they feel discriminated against, let them campaign where it matters like discrimination in the work place or recognition of marriage or some such matter. They don't need project their moral values on me and enforce them on me and expose my children to their values.

Just imagine the outrage in the USA if Nintendo released a game that allowed polygamy. I wonder how many of those same G&L campaigners would campaign for the rights of those of different religious beliefs.

Corny conversations prove plants 'talk'

Hilmi Al-kindy

Those who are vegetarians because they don't want to eat something sentient

What will those who are vegetarians because they are too squeamish to eat something sentient do? I can understand and respect being vegetarian or vegan for religious reasons, but for those who are just horrified by the thought of eating an animal, I guess they will be down to eating synthetically generated food. Either that or they will have a total break down and head for the outback steak house!

Top RIM jobs shake-up: Heads roll... but not very far

Hilmi Al-kindy

Mobile companies focus too much on the OS

I think mobile companies forget that most users don't give a flying fuck what OS is running on their phone. Sure, many of us technical people do care, but not the average Joe, Mohammed or Hans. Hans wants nice easy to use user interface, Mohammed wants an Arabic keyboard that actually works while Joe wanted nice games with good controls and a slick graphics. (Not stereo typing, just trying to be global in posting). Most customers want features and a good user interface. That's why Some Android phones sell well, while others don't. They are both running android, but that does not make them equals. You can have the best OS in the world (on technical specs), but all the user cares about is what they see themselves and what apps they can buy. Also, even if an OS is hard to develop software for, developers will still support it if there is a large enough user base.

So one day, all the mobile phone companies are going to wake up and realize that they are all selling uninspired products with nothing but the logo on the case to distinguish them. That's because they are too focused on the platform rather than what the customer actually receives.

Russia and NASA plan to COLONISE the Moon

Hilmi Al-kindy

Give the Russians a break

You keep on rubbing it into their noses the Phobos grunt (not sure of the spelling) failure, but the fact is that Russia has done pretty good with space craft. Soyuz is considered the most reliable means of space travel. Look it up! Give them some breathing room, everybody messes up every once in a while and in space travel, the mess ups tend to either cost a lot money or people die. That's how it was when people started to explore the earth by sea.

Redmond campaigns for gay marriage rights

Hilmi Al-kindy

Just an opinion

First of all, this is just an opinion and second of all, I might be wrong, so keeping that in mind, I hope for some civility in the responses I get.

I believe that if tax benefits for married couples were wiped out, a huge chunk of gay rights campaigners would stop campaigning! It's all about the tax benefits. Other than not being allowed to serve in the Army, I believe that most places leave you alone and don't give a fig if your gay. In fact, most work places have not got the slightest care what your sexual orientation is unless you start cross dressing to work, which is inappropriate by most peoples social standards and most work places have very conservative dress codes anyway. If it is about harassment at work, there are already laws covering that in most countries and they protect gay people just as they protect straight people. So... the way I see it, all this campaigning is about being allowed to work somewhere, or saving money on taxes or for some people, they just want to justify themselves and would like to ram their moral standards down your throat. Just as any gay person feels they have the right to be gay, I have the right to feel it is wrong to be gay. As long as I don't go around preaching at you, soliciting people to disrespect you or treat you badly or violently, does it matter that I find the idea of being gay repulsive? Why do so many gay people feel they have to justify themselves to the entire world. Have some confidence in yourself and if what you are doing is right, it should not matter that others don't agree with you.

Humans, insects set to OBLITERATE frankincense supply

Hilmi Al-kindy

Funnelling massive amounts of profits to groups engaged in terror?

Where did you get that bit of information Master Perfumer and military intelligence analyst? That's the sort of trash that keeps on spouting out of racist people who assume all us Arabs are terrorists. I am an Omani and Oman is considered one of the sources of the finest Frankincense in the world. We use it extensively, but the truth of the matter is, people don't pay enough money to justify conserving it. Most of the money from Frankincense goes to Dhofari mountain folk who are simple herdsmen or to the Badu who are dessert Nomads. And that money amounts to peanuts! To make the assumption that we use frankincense to fund terror is laughable and stupid. We make more than 80% of our money from oil and Frankincense is an immeasurably small fraction of a fraction of our income. If we were to fund terrorists, we must be disparate indeed to use that minuscule amount of income to do it. Unless we were doing it that way to insult the terrorists. Besides, look it up online. Oman is one of the safest countries in the world. Think first before talking out of your a$$

Backyard astronomer snaps Beta Pictoris dust disk

Hilmi Al-kindy

Tesco telescope?

I really doubt you will find a tesco telescope at 25 cm of aperture! That's some serious amount of resolving power!

As for the guy who commented about the font, missed technical marvel achieved by this guy and all you could notice is the font?

Hilmi Al-kindy

And to think I spent the equivalent of 6 months pay on gear and I have never taken such an impressive astrophoto! I feel like bashing my head in for spending $1500 on my SBIG CCD camera after seeing this.

Manning to get day in court

Hilmi Al-kindy

I'm all for punishing atrocities WITHOUT making a public debacle out of it!

People have enough hatred and fear and stress as it is, we do not need to create yet another bogey man for people to fear. Out of an army of 10's of thousands, or maybe 100's of thousands, a few irresponsible people commit atrocities and we demonize the entire army and the nation behind it? That's what happens when you publicize the few bad instances versus the hundreds of good things done. These bad apples can be punished severely, but it does not need to be made public to further fuel the anger and frustration some people feel.

Hilmi Al-kindy

I'm an Arab and I still think what he did was wrong

You leek information, some of it might be of really bad things your employer did, but some of it, you as an individual of relatively low rank have no full understanding of the full implications. Sometimes you dont have the full picture. Sometimes the information could be used to put together details that could endanger other projects. Also, any organisation out there does some really embarrassing things, some of them very bad. I believe these things should be addressed, they need to be taken care of internally and should there be legal implications, only the people who have to be legally involved should get involved. An issue can be addressed without making a mockery of an entire nation. Leaking confidential information is an act of treason, even if that information is of things you believe are horrible things your organisation has done.

Let's not forget that an army should act as a source of national pride and as a symbol of your countries strength as well as many other critical roles that require a strong reputation to maintain. So leaking such information does more harm than good. If the army messes up, it needs be dealt with swiftly, decisively AND DISCREETLY. No need to make the entire country look bad!

I am an Arab and the leaked information shows some very serious abuses of my fellow Arabs, yet I still found the act of leaking confidential military information a treasonous act. Many people are happy enough living in an illusion of peace and security, all you do by stirring up the put is create more tension, stress and possibly conflict. Besides, do we really need to further fuel the hatred that drives suicide bombers?

Valve says credit card data taken

Hilmi Al-kindy


You miss the point of that users comment! I have the same concern too. The reason he asks if those who have not used the forums have been compromised is obvious, he wants to know if his credit card details are at risk. Does not necessarily equate to the user having no concern that the server was hacked.

It is a natural question to want to know if you were personally affected.

My bank has a nice feature, if somebody uses your credit card, you immediately get an SMS telling you where and how much. Last year somebody used my card to buy AT&T telephone credit from Pennsylvania. Luckily it was a small amount, I immediately cancelled the card.

Airline strikes, unions outraged

Hilmi Al-kindy

Sometimes you need extreme action

The consistent strikes have been causing just as much damage but in small doses over a longer period of time, so it does not attract as much attention. Sometimes its better to take a one time big hit and solve the problem once and for all.

We had massive strikes in our company a few months back with people demanding some justifiable demands and some stupidly unrealistic demands. Just after that we lost a major contract and maybe 40% of our workforce will be out of work. The same people who were nagging and complaining and making demands have been lamenting how they are now going to loose their jobs in a company that was so good to them.

It's easy get caught up in the excitement and go on strikes thinking you can milk that little bit more from the company, but once the demands start to get unreasonable and commercially un-viable, everybody looses.

Hey, Music Industry. You're suing the wrong people

Hilmi Al-kindy

It is not just pricing, but availability

In the middle east, one of the greatest drivers for Piracy is availability.

You want to buy something but cant get it, although the middle east is a huge market.

I want to buy a kindle, Amazon wont sell me one... my cousin managed to buy one anyway, amazon wouldnt sell him books. So he goes online and downloads 5000 pirated kindle books.

I want to buy photoshop, I cant find a single shop that sells it in retail, instead you have to go through a complex search to find out how to obtain it legally. I only know one person who owns a legal copy. The official distributor is only focusing on selling to companies

I love computer games, but why should I buy a boxed game prized at more than $100 when I can buy it online at $49 or less, sometimes considerably less.... now here is what makes it worse.. how many teenagers do you know with access to credit cards? Buying online isn't exactly an option for everybody is it?

Some companies don't even bother to try to cater for the middle east and they b***h about the piracy rate of their software in the region.

I want to buy a movie, chances are the only place I will find it the middle east is a 400km drive to the Virgin megastore across the border. If you don't distribute the movie legally in the region (and I am not talking about some substandard, low quality audio and video with cheap packaging aimed at asian market where the individual's pay is normally 10% my salary), how do you expect people to obtain a copy legally? It is like they are just begging you to pirate their movie!

Microsoft made the effort, and most people I know run legit copies of windows, it is available in the market and it is priced reasonably and they actually provide tech support (even though it sucks, at least it is there).

Nokia's cheapies strategy bombs

Hilmi Al-kindy

MENA Market not tapped by Android, mostly ignored by Apple

A few years back, when GSM based mobile phones were just picking up, Nokia introduced Arabic support to the MENA market and completely dominated the market place. Now you can't buy an HTC with Arabic language support, Apple supports arabic language, but has iTune stores in a very small limited number of Arabic speaking countries, and Nokia in general is considered an outdated type of phone to get.

Samsung on the other hand is busy Arabising its phones and with Google Market place supporting almost every single Arabic country, they are slowly taking over the market place in the middle east. Already in Oman, they are selling like hot cakes, especially with the official launch of the Galaxy S2 with Arabic support. They have already taken over Sony as the premium TV brand in the country. I think that in some regions, with huge population masses and a very fashion conscious population willing to spend on a phone more than they can really afford, most mobile phone makers are loosing the opportunity and will be taken Samsung and everybody will be sitting there wondering what hit them.

Samsung Chromebook: The $499 Google thought experiment

Hilmi Al-kindy

Nope, its like the electric car!

You see, this is like the electric car, great concept, but it is only practical for a few people because it takes forever to charge up and has very limited range as well as being unable to charge it everywhere you go. Ohh yeah, did I mention that electric cars (in general) are slow (same goes for this particular chrome book)?

At least with the electric car, you are not worried that somebody will accidentally wipe out all your data or that somehow your data has been compromised! Another issue is, the speed and efficiency of your online apps depends on the reliability of your internet connection. A local app's speed depends on factors in your control like your hardware and how well you care for your machine.

Might work for some people, but I would not depend on it in my company (oops, construction company dug a hole in the wrong place and cut of the internet from an entire city, all the staff get a holiday till the cable gets repaired) and I am still getting tech support calls from my Dad, because the internet thingi is down and he cant get anything done!

Hilmi Al-kindy

There are places in the world were an online only computer is stupid

I live in a country with so many villages that still do not have DSL or 3G access. How would that work for where I live.

Also, what happened to the nice sense of ownership you get when you get your software, open up the box and read the manuals etc...?

Don't you get shivers down you spine when you think of all the ways your data can be abused when it is not stored in your computer? Pics of your wife, ohh it's OK if they were looked at for the sake of national security! After all, if you did nothing wrong you would have nothing to hide. At least locally they would have to either hack into your computer or have physical access to it to see your personal stuff. You could also always store your really sensitive private stuff completely offline if you wanted.. try doing that with an online only system except in the most basic ways.

A few years back there were many cases of government officials stealing business ideas from honest to god hard working citizens, abusing their authority to deny you permits to start your business and then start the same projects themselves, now consider how that would work if you had all your data online and somebody can request access to your files for "national security reasons" Then they would have all the documentation, studies, statistics and business plans you had! Yippy, corruption made easy! and nope a court order being required does not offer much protection if there is enough corruption out there.

Ohh yeah, have you ever consider what would happen if one day google went bankrupt and they shut down their services? What happens to your data then?

LightSquared admits it will knock out 200,000 sat-navs

Hilmi Al-kindy

GPS units used in drilling?

About the only use for GPS units in drilling that I am aware of is for finding where to start drilling from initially. GPS is not accurate enough for drilling, a collision with another well can kill people. The blow out that BP had was not caused by a collision, but a collision could lead to similar consequences. So if somebody is using a GPS to drill, that is something to worry about.

We drill using accurate magnetic sensors in combination with accelerometers and software models to further enhance accuracy. After that gyros are brought in to further confirm accuracy after a certain section has been drilled. Yet still, the further you drill, the more your uncertainty grows (you can't exactly look out the window to see where you are in relation to the well nearby). As you drill further and further, the error margin of error builds up. So why would anybody want to use a technology that is not accurate to start with? Second question is, GPS wont work in my house next to the window, how will it work in drilling underground?

UAE looks to block BlackBerry mail, again

Hilmi Al-kindy

Welcome to my world

Welcome to the world of control freaks, welcome to the middle east. The wester world is heading in the same direction with all their anti-terrorism laws.

The only reason you would want to be able to monitor every single thing that is being said is not national security, it is security of the person/ people ruling the country. Lawful intercept is just a polite way of saying that you want to be able to spy on every single person and you do not care about the concept of reasonable expectations of privacy.

NASA scientist spies extraterrestrial life

Hilmi Al-kindy

Why not?

Its funny how we think we are the center of everything in the univers! Statistically it would be very odd if we were the only form of life in the enitre univers. It is after all a very large place of huge number of possible environments for life to develop on.

Or maybe everybody is waitting for a meteor containing fossilised alien bones to even consider discussing the idea that there might be other places with life

Saudi cops cuff four for mad bank card scam

Hilmi Al-kindy

Still think it is to do with old hardware in combination with dodgy software

As stated in another post, magnetic bank cards are easy to copy. The game cards could be used as blanks, since they are easier and cheeper to obtain than actually purchassing blank magnetic cards (say from and RS catalog for example). You do not need to have a back door in the software do dupe old ATMs, good thing that most banks have learned and updated their software. Old ATMs assumed you had taken the money out of the machine if it detected the cash pocket was empty. If the bank was stupid enough, they would program the ATM to deposit the money back into the account if it was not collected. A smart theif would replace the money with a piece of paper to dupe the optical sensor into thinking the money was not collected. The cash pocket closes and the software deposits the money back into the account. This in combination with a copy of a stollen card along with a valid pin code and bob's your uncle. Nowadays, most banks are smart enough to retire stupidly old ATM machines and they also change the software so that the money is not rediposited in the bank account unless somebody physically checks it first. Most banks also install hidden cameras on ATM machines to photograph every person who performs a transaction (so it is best not pick your nose while using the machine) Along with the usual obvious camera's set up somewhere visible as a deterant.

If your bank is not willing to invest in new hardware, you really should not trust it. So many things can go wrong with ancient hardware. As you can see, all you need is bad security procedures, not necessarily a hidden back door.

Reacently a chinese gang was caught here in Oman with very sofisticated equipment, they had thin keypads that were overlayed ontop of the ATM keypads. These were so thin as to be hard to notice, they also installed ultra thin magnetic strip readers on the card entry slot of the machine. Every customer to come to the ATM would have his card copied and his pin code stored! The gang was caught by chance when a bank employee was out for a spin at night and saw them installing the kit. Now all ATM machines have been modified so as to make it impossible to fit a card reader on the lip of the card slot.

Offcoure, the most brilliant one of them all used a buldozer to rip the ATM from the building. They caught him the next day when he tried to hire somebody to cut the safe open (you would have throught that with access to a buldozer he whould have had some suitable heavy duty cutting equipment)!

Hilmi Al-kindy

Most ATM's in this region use magnetic cards

I used to work as an ATM repair technician, really old Diebold ATMs (as in 20 years old) are easy to dupe, besides, the ATM techs use nothing more than normal magnetic cards with bogus details. The only way this could have been pulled off is if there is a major flaw in the security settings of the software in the ATM and if they ATMs are still using the old fashioned cash pocket style dispensers that drop the money into a box and a door opens and you pick up your cash from there. All modern ATMs poke out the money on rollers or belts and you have to pull it of them.

Any bank still using an ATM machine that is using cash pockets should be abandoned by all its customers and should be penalized by the central bank.


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