Website Launch

I’ve been searching for a CMS for my website for a long time, and I tried a lot of them with no luck.

Joomla seems excellent but is way too complicated for a personal website such as mine, plus it has a lack of documentation in the sense of guides for specific types of websites.

Drupal is way too flexible and comes in the shape of a bare-bones CMS that you can modify to your liking. While working with it, I managed to get myself into several sticky situations. A good CMS would not let me do that.

I also tried xoops and postnuke(or was it php nuke) and also searched for java-based CMSes that could serve my needs. None were satisfactory, they were either too hard to configure, way too flexible and time-consuming or simply looked ugly.

I respect the amount of work that went into these CMSes and they definitely solve a lot of problem, just not my problems. From a technical view point, it would seem that programs suck at usability and very little sharing has been going on throughout the different projects. All of this hype on usability in the opensource world(and in the evil side also) was caused when it was discovered that consumers wouldn’t necessarily go after the most feature rich application but it would go after the most usable application. Consumers also know that it is easy to add needed features to an already usable application, but it is very hard to introduce usability on an already feature bloated application(does anybody actually use all of the features that exist in Microsoft Word for example).

Programmers usually make bad users. And in an ideal world, they usually wouldn’t and shouldn’t design the UI(every sense, not just the graphical side).

I have noticed several lacking things in the free software world such as lack of usability studies(even simple ones, it doesn’t have to be formal), lack of simple documentation, lack of proper engineering principles(again, even simple ones) and so on…. I am not one to just blab with words, so I will help where ever and when ever I can.

To make a long story short( I know, that ship has sailed) I have decided to role my own mini-CMS. I know we don’t need another one, it will just be specific to my website. So far, I have started with the intial web design. Since I am an incredibly good designer(NOT), please check out the main website and comment on its overall design, including fonts and colors and so on….

State of the Union, Part 1

The amount of money that has been given or promised to Lebanon in response to the destruction caused by our friendly neighbors from the south has been substantial. The direct destruction costs amount to about 12 billion dollars, the indirect costs amount to much much more than that and I believe that it cannot be estimated so easily.

You’d think that since a few billion dollars have already been promised and delivered(partially), then Lebanon wouldn’t have such a rough time in starting the re-building process. Consider also that most of the cost of re-building the destroyed bridges has been donated by wealthy Lebanese individuals or charitable organizations. Hizbollah is almost finished with the first phase of the re-imbursement plan for the destroyed houses, and several Arab countries and individuals have pledged to re-build certain villages.

So, what’s the problem? The problem is that up till now, the Lebanese government has not started paying any aid funds and it doesn’t even have a plan yet to confront and repair the failing economy.

I mean really, how hard can it be. The bridges are being taken care of and some have already been re-built. The destroyed houses are going to be re-built by Hizbollah(shame on the government by the way). And several villages are going to be re-build with Arab money. So, what’s left? Only the infrastructure and human aid. So why do I keep reading about sad stories of people who died while waiting for government supplied medication, and on a more trivial note, why do people living in central district of Beirut(business area) keep getting power outages. Come on, if you think that human aid is complex and requires a lot of organization(which is not an excuse by the way) then how hard can it be to fix a generator….even I can do it.

Ever since the current majority government….the chorus singing, freedom, sovereignty, independence group…. took over, we have been promised tons of changes and the end of corruption. Well guess what? Nothing happened. If anything there’s even more corruption and theft.

Theft during times of peace could be forgiven. But corruption(they even came up with a new name for it, ‘organizational corruption’ so that they wouldn’t have to say stealing) at times of war and need is beyond my comprehension. A friend of mine who worked at the school that I visited during the war even told me that a certain politician(I talked about her once) wouldn’t even let aid go in except if it was addressed to her ministry(with press coverage maybe?) while an emiratae politician helping the school paid for aid from his own pocket and didn’t wait for the formal procedure. And I have a ton of stories just like this one.

Can you believe that our social security department that deals with millions(about 3 million or so) of health related concerns doesn’t even have any computers yet.(why that happened is a long story, I’d be happy to post about it sometime)

If you believe in hell, then I believe that there is a special corner in hell for these types of people.

Mozilla Code

First off, let me say that the extension API of Mozilla sucks. Yes I said it, it sucks.

The documentation is terrible, the code is horrible, and the inter-operability of the whole XPCOM components design blows.

The whole Mozilla codebase looks like something done in an incredible rush. There are several logical mistakes. Oh, and someone please tell the Mozilla developers that extension writers shouldn’t need to review the codebase to figure out how some components behave. And if they do, due to some seriously handicapped documentation of the API, please give them clear comment code. I’ve been a user of Firefox since the beginning(is it like 5 years ago?) and this has come as a big disappointment.

I will soon put the extension online, and publish some more details.

By the way, why are some parts of the code copyright by Google?

Misc News

If you want to laugh, this has been circulating on the blogosphere… It is an interview with George Bush, the so-called American president. Do you still think that its a good idea that you voted for him?

(Oh, and for google, this is an interview of Matt Lauer with Geroge Bush about secret prisons and torture)

Al-Jazeera had one of two parts of an interview with Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah again. This time he was talking about post-war politics and about Tony Blair’s visit. He basically said that Tony Blair had a big part in the killing of our people, and that this is an unethical and shameful act. He said that if government invited him to here, then that is a traitor’s act, but if he had requested to come then the government should have declined. I agree, take a look at my post last week on this very same subject. Needless to say that the people who now form the bulk of the government and parliament, no longer have the support of the people. I consider that this government does not represent me.

By the way, the article on Haaretz about the interview has a lot of mistakes(deliberate?) and mis-quotations. Plus, as I said before, they have been introducing small bits of changes on what happened(such as the number of dead and the Lebanese government and so on…). Its a shame, Haaretz was a good almost moderate newspaper.

If you don’t believe me about History Re-writing, take a look at the wikipedia article on the latest Israeli aggression on Lebanon. Especially take notice of the discussion page and the 100s of changes that seem targeted with a campaign to make the article more Israeli-friendly. The link is here

Ron Arad Documentary

I finished watching the documentary about the Hizbollah capture in 2000 on the LBCI channel. It was an excellent documentary so far, full of interviews and first-seen footage of the capture.

Later on, I saw an article about it in Haaretz and checked some of the reader comments about how Israeli should re-bomb Lebanon and that this is not respecting the Geneva conventions and one commenter even proudly had this to say

I say give the Lebs
a few days to cough up illegally held prisoners
or to face destruction of one city after another
by the IAF. If they don`t abide by the Geneva conventions
articles on holding prisoners, then all protections
granted by international law should be ignored by Israel.
Ron Arad and the others should be held in accordance
with International Law or Leb should be wiped out.
The War on Terror is about upholding international

Does anybody else think that this is hilarious?

I don’t know why they’re showing this documentary now and where did they get all of this information from, but this will cause a lot of debate. We’ll see what happens.

One interesting part is how when Israel started kidnapping civilians from Lebanon, it received some internal questioning to how legal that is and the government answered by issuing a law permitting the kidnapping of people from enemy states to use in negotiations or swap deals. That got me thinking, we should pass a similar law here. That would make what Hizbollah did(and will do) perfectly legal.

Tomorrow is the next part.

P.S. I will soon start posting some technical posts along with some code and software and some book reviews. Please use the categories to follow on a subject.

Hello world!

I am mainly interested in making this website a personal and later on a public venue for people interested in coding, books and overall geek-ery.

UPDATE: A few days after writing this post, a massive Israeli offensive started in Lebanon. Thus at the moment, i will stick to documenting what is happening and why from an insider’s view.