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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Internet Users: Fantasy vs. Reality

Ever wonder who you're really chatting with when you're in a chat room or on a message board?
This article might make you think twice before spending endless hours on the Internet looking for the perfect match! You might just find yourself spending more time on social networks like Orkut instead ;-)

Friday, December 30, 2005

My 100th Post & 100 Things We didn't know last year...

To mark my 100th blog entry I'm posting this interesting article from the BBC:
100 Things We Didn't Know Last Year

Monday, December 26, 2005

Words of an A.A.A.D.D. Patient...

"Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. ) This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.
.... As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.
..... As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.
.... I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
.... I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.
... So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
.... But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
.... I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left.
... My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.
.... I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
.... As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye -- they need to be watered.
.... I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.
... I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.
..... I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.
.... I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
.... I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
... So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill .... Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

.... At the end of the day:

* the car isn't washed
* the bills aren't paid
* there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
* the flowers don't have enough water,
* there is still only 1 check in my check book,
* I can't find the remote,
* I can't find my glasses,
* and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

.... Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.
.... I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming.

GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. LAUGHING AT YOURSELF IS THERAPEUTIC"

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

Talk to the future you!

Wanna talk to the future you say 30 years from now?

Well, drop your future self an email at FutureMe.org !

Optical Illusion: Mr. Angry & Mrs. Calm...



The angry man on left and the calm woman on the right?
Move away from the screen and they'll switch places.

Created by Phillippe G. Schyns and Aude Oliva of the Univ. of Glasgow.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Computer finds Mona Lisa 'happy'!

Computer scientists at the University of Amsterdam have use an "emotion recognition" software to analyse Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa ("La Joconde"). In case you don't know, the smile is seen differently by people...

The computer computer finds the subject 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry...

For the detailed story check out BBC NEWS - Mona Lisa 'happy', computer finds

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cosmetic Surgery!

A middle-aged woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God she asked, "Is my time up?"

God said, "No you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to live."

Upon hearing this, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction and a tummy tuck. She even had someone change her hair color. Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.

She was released from the hospital but while crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by a car.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded, "I thought you said I had another 43 years?! Why didn't you pull me out of the path of that car?" God replied, "I didn't recognize you."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A True Horror story ...

This was in my mail box today. You should read it all :-)

This happened in a little town in Newfoundland and, even though
it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's absolutely true.

A guy was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night in the middle of a terrible rainstorm and no cars were on the road. The storm >was so strong the guy could hardly see two feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car come towards him and stop. The guy, without thinking about it, got in the car and closed the door-- and only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel!

The car started to move very slowly. The guy looked at the road and saw a curve coming his way. Petrified, he started to pray, begging for his life. He had not come out of shock when, just before the car hit the curve, a hand suddenly appeared through the window and move d the steering >wheel. The guy, now paralyzed in terror, watched how the hand appeared every time the car was approaching a curve.

Finally, although terrified, the guy managed to open the door and
jump out of the spooky car. Without looking back, the guy ran through the storm all the way to the nearest town. Soaking wet, exhausted and in a state of utter shock the pale, visibly shaken guy walked into a nearby bar and asked for two shots of Screech. Then, still trembling with fright, he started telling everybody in the bar about the horrible experience he'd just gone through with the spooky car with no driver and the mysterious hand that kept appearing.

Everyone in the bar listed in silence and became frightened, listening
to this eerie story; hairs stood on end when they realized the guy was telling the truth because he was crying and he definitely was not drunk!

About half an hour later two guys walked into the same bar and one
said to the other, "Look, me son, there's the a** hole who got into the car while we were pushing it!"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Crazy facts - animal edition...

Butterflies taste with their feet.
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.
Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
Polar bears are left-handed.
Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
Starfish have no brains.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
The flea can jump 350 times its body length.

There are more chickens than people in the world. (duh! I eat a few Chicken per week myself)

Monday, November 28, 2005

When you get "splashed" on a rainy day...

... don't stop to check the mess the car has made ... just run away ... run as fast as you can before another car makes a bigger mess! You'll have plenty of time to worry about your jacket later...

Just a quick tip I thought I give you :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Game: The Arms

Here's another cool Flash game to enjoy! (OK, not really a gaim but it can be very addictive).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tech: Fun at Helpdesk

Unless you've ever worked at helpdesk yourself, you shouldn't expect to find these too funny, but I've tried my best to pick the ones that can be funny for normal people. These are actual phone conversations by the way...

Helpdesk: What kind of computer do you have?
Customer: A white one...
-----
Helpdesk: Click on the 'my computer' icon on to the left of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?
-----
Male customer: Hello... I can't print.
Helpdesk: Would you click on start for me and ...
Customer: Listen pal! don't start getting technical on me! I'm not Bill Gates damn it!
-----
I can't print. Every time I try it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't see it...
-----
Customer: I have problems printing in red...
Helpdesk: Do you have a color printer? Customer: No.
-----
Helpdesk: What's on your monitor now ma'am?
Customer: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me in the supermarket.
-----
Helpdesk: Your password is the small letter a as in apple, a capital
letter V as in Victor, the number 7.
Customer: Is that 7 in capital letters?
-----
Customer: I'm writing my first e-mail. Helpdesk: OK, and, what seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have the letter a, but how do I get the circle around it?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Crazy facts - part 2

Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
All 50 US states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories per hour
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
The stomach must produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Free Office Suit with Free Training Videos...

If you don't know OpenOffice.org, it is a free but powerful office suit (i.e. like Microsoft Office). I have been using it for over 3 years now and I still favor it over the alternatives for a number of reasons (smaller files, PDF export, etc).

If you're new to OpenOffice.org or office suits in general then you will find these Free OpenOffice.org training videos very useful. The videos are designed for beginners and they will get your up and running in minutes, literally.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Guitar originated in ancient Persia...

According to the history of guitar on the instrument is based on an anciet instrument in Iran.

"Guit" comes from the Sanskrit word "Sangeet" meaning "music" (Sanskrit was the official language of the Aryans), and "tar" is purely Persian and means "chord" or "string" .

In traditional Persian music (still a popular style in Iran) different variations of the instrument exist including the "Tar" and the "Setar" (which means "three chords" but for some reason it has four)!

The Photo: Figurines playing the ancestor of the guitar. Excavated from Susa, Iran, 3rd millennia BC. Iran National Museum. Source: Wikipedia.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Crazy facts - part 1

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years.
A cat's urine glows under a black light.
A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.

The average American, spends an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.
The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes).
The email these facts (are they really?) were in was pretty long, so:

To be continued...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Failure

Ever tried searching for the word "failure" on Google?
If you haven't, when you do, click on "I'm feeling lucky"

AFTER you tried it, see why .

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Worst Jobs in Science

Popular Science magazine has pubished a list of The Worst Jobs in Science which includes 10 jobs from Orangutan-Pee Collector to Human Lab Rat. ;-)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The 6th Friday of the month: Getting rid of telemarketers!

I finally found a way to deal with these telemarketers by following . Here's a modified version based on my own experience:

1. Check caller ID and watch out for "Private Name", "Unavailable" and numbers starting with toll-free area codes (800,866,877...) then:
- Either let the voice mail take the call (on the rare occasion that it's a bank or something important they will leave a message)
- Or if you really have to answer, answer with a very firm and angry "Hello!"

2. Remember they usually ask for [Mr. or Mrs. You Last Name]
- Respond with "Whom may I say is calling?". They freak out: "It's just a courtesy call, nothing important, we could call at a better time".
- Tell them "[he/she] is not available". (Use your own gender, they can make a good guess it's you but there's nothing they can do about it!)
- optionally you could ask if they want to leave a message (which of course they never will).

3. Then they'll say "What would the best time to call [him/her]"
- Respond: "the 6th Friday of any month."
-> You won't believe it but this actually works! Once on the phone with you they don't actually think so they'll apologize, thank you and hang up. It's only after they write a memo to call you back that they realized you were messing with them! For better results say "the 5th Friday of the month" unless the month you're currently in does in fact have 5 Fridays.

* If you feel bad for those minimum-waged part-timers doing this, remember that they usually get paid per conversation and you just had a conversation with them ;-)

* Do not call list: I still don't know if this works in Canada, I read once the the do not call list in Canada doesn't work so well. In the US you should say "Please put me on your do not call list" and legally they shouldn't call you back. Saying "Take my number off your list" or "Do not call back" or anything that doesn't mention the do not call list just WON'T WORK!

Source: Wikihow (Which has more articles besides the one I used in dealing with telemarketers).

Tech: How Einstein managed his inbox

According to MSNBC: How Einstein managed his inbox a study shows that the way Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin managed their mail is very similar to the way we manager our email. The article particularly interests me because once I studied tens of papers on the comparison of organizing printed and digital photos.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

21st Century: Today vs. the future of 20th Century!

Remember SiFi movies and stories about the future: "the 21st century"? From god knows when (the oldest I can think of are Jules Verne's books) until just before year 2000 with movies like "End of Days" (released late 1999) writers and story tellers have published their visions of the 21st Century. In fact, it wasn't only the fiction tellers but also scientists like Vannevar Bush have published their detailed visions.

Now that we are five years in the 21st Century, don't you wonder what those theories were? Tales of Future Past is one of the good places to look!

BTW, and speaking of Jules Verne, did you know his books are available online in his website?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Photo: Mother-in-Law

I noticed the message written on this bill in Iran and brought it with me to put it on the web.
The message reads (in Persian): "خدایا از دست مادر زن هم باید بکشیم"
in English: "Oh God, now I have to put up with the mother-in-law as well."
Poor guy!?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tech: Should it be illegal to "borrow" WiFi?

My short answer is No!

I for one do not assign an encryption key to my wireless router (they're easily crackable anyway), instead monitor the router and if I feel someone is abusing I block their computer's MAC address. Because I believe sharing works! Specially when telecom companies charge unreasonably high amount for WiFi access, not to mention the fact that they usually charge by the hour (say you want to check your email for 5 minutes, then you've got to pay the cost of 1 hour access which is around $8).

There have been so many situations where I needed wireless internet access to do something small yet urgent. In fact this very post is brought to you by my neighbor's wireless since my DSL connection is down (read my previous post)! It is very crucial for me to check my email for voice-mails (I switched to VoIP so my home phone is also down) and job-related emails. If it wasn't because of my neighbor's WiFi, I would have committed suicide by now. A few months ago I was in Vienna for 5 days and I used a neighbor's WiFi to do the usual stuff and send a back-up of my pictures to my server in Canada.

If using other people's wireless internet helps me so much why not let them use mine too? A "piggy-backer" using the usual stuff like email is not a concern for your bandwidth usage, even for someone with a heavy load (take myself: 5 computers one of which is an always on web server and now my VoIP gateway uses the same DSL line for phone calls) and I bet most people don't even use %10 of their band-width (got get some statistics on that) so why not share?

If we all shared our WiFi then we'd all have free WiFi access anywhere. Just like file-sharing except no one's getting hurt here.

There is downside however. Even though someone who is using your internet once is most probably not going to abuse your bandwidth, there can be other potential risks of abuse. For example they can use your Internet access to do something illegal anonymously (to be more precise, under your IP address). But - last time I checked - in Canada the law the wouldn't allow telecom companies to disclose your information, so at worst case you might need some explaining for the telecom company (to stop them from canceling your server for abuse).

With the new WiMAX technology with much larger range, we don't need to be near a router and we can take our high speed connection on go. WiMAX is like cellular network for high speed internet. It is already being used in some areas and will be in the general market very soon (in a few months). In fact in theory (that is in a real world without corporate pressure) municipal governments could provide WiMAX for free and in fact some have already planed this. WiMAX is meant to work with WiFi not to replace it, nevertheless, probably in a few months no one's going to talk about stealing WiFi anyway.

This article on CNN.com includes a few comments from lawyers about the legal matters of WiFi access in the US and it is what encouraged me to wire this. Otherwise I'd just wait for WiFi :-)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One day without the Internet!

Yesterday I lost my Internet connection in the morning and I was without it all day. I managed to do my usual stuff online via the neighbor's WiFi (I had to sit out side to get a signal but it happened to be an excellent weather). Then I managed to make a chicken BBQ marinate, a full course meal and even a desert. I practiced more Piano lessons than usual and yet I even managed to watch the 2-hour premier of "Invasion" that I'd recorded.
Today's my 2nd day without the Internet and I've even managed to update my blog yet I don't think I've spend 1 hour in total online!
So maybe, just maybe, spending so many hours a day on the net, specially for kids and teens, is not any better than the often criticized "too much" television, even though you can usually get more useful things done by wasting your time on the net instead of the TV!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cool things you can do with Google Search

  • Dictionary: try "define:word", "define:LCBO" or "define:e.g."
  • Calculator: and not just the basic operations: you can get sin, square root (sqrt) an even choose: see all operations
  • Currency conversion: e.g. 1 USD in CAD
  • Movies: try "movie:Corpse Bride"
  • Try numbers like tracking numbers, barcodes, area codes etc.
  • Ask Google factual questions like "population of Iran" (This hasn't work too great for me, although you will get your answer whether it's Google answering your question or just a related web site!)

  • Most Google services (maps, groups, etc) are also integrated into web search.
  • For a full up-to-date list bookmark Google Help : Search Features.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Persian recipes on the net...

If you've ever looked up Persian recipes on the net I guarantee that you've seen Farzin and Roxana Mokharian's Recipes. I don't think I've ever seen an Iranian recipe site that is not a clone of this site, and there's good reason: this site has lots of small receipes based on Rosa Montazemi's cookbook (the most popular ever). Besides, I've used these myself and they work so well :-)

Recently I found Cookbookwiki, another cousin of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which has a whole category on Persian recipies. And just in case you don't know what a "wiki" is, it means and you can go ahead and add your own recipe or improve the existing ones.

Just to complete the post, in addition to these, many other cooking web sites such as Recipezaar have Persian recipes, but the ones I mentioned above are just way more than you'll need ;-)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Moon Surfing with Google

Google Moon a Google Maps sibling lets you surf the moon! Not much detail and coverage but still pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Photo: Hope is Eternal

This is actually the first painting that made me interested in miniature, particularly Master Mahmoud Farshchian's work.



A slightly higher quality version is available on my pictures web site.

P.S. I had to crop the poster a little bit so it would fit in my camera's ratio.

Video: Top Ten Bush Moments

Top Ten Bush Moments @ alionline.net

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Oxford Dictionary's latest definitions!

Atom Bomb : An invention to end all inventions.
Boss : Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are
early.
Cigarette : A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire
at one end and a fool on the other.
Classic : A book which people praise, but do not read.
Committee : Individuals who can do nothing individually
and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.
Compromise : The art of dividing a cake in such a way
that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.
Conference Room : A place where everybody talks, nobody
listens and everybody disagrees later on.
Criminal : A guy no different from the rest....except that he got
caught.
Dictionary : A place where success comes before work.
Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such
a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Doctor : A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his
bills.
Etc . : A sign to make others believe that you know more
than you actually do.
Experience : The name men give to their mistakes.
Father : A banker provided by nature.
Lecture : An art of transferring information from the
notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing
through the minds of either.
Miser : A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.
Office : A place where you can relax after your
strenuous home life.
Opportunist : A person who starts taking bath if he accidentally
falls into a river.
Optimist : A person who while falling from Eiffel tower
says in midway "See I am not injured yet."
Philosopher : A fool who torments himself during life,
to be spoken of when dead.
Politician : One who shakes your hand before elections
and your confidence after.
Smile : A curve that can set a lot of things straight.
Tears : The hydraulic force by which masculine
will-power is defeated by feminine water power.
Yawn : The only time some married men ever get to open
their mouth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Photo: Morning Blossoms

Here's another wonderful miniature by master Mahmoud Farshchian. It's called "Morning Blossoms".

Sunday, September 11, 2005

How to Ace Your Next Test

Read How to Ace Your Next Test on WikiHow.

P.S. Don't forget to catch "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" it's a nice movie!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tech: 20 Things They Don't Want You to Know

PCWorld.com mentions 20 things tech companies don't want you to know such as "knowing that extended warranties aren't worth it", "you can unlock your cell phone easier than you think", "you can stop those annoying Windows features such as the security centre warning and messenger from popping up" and the one I always mention to people "high-end manufacturers don't always make their own products" so don't go after brand names, some of those no-name mp3 players CAN give you great quality and even if they're damaged you've paid a fraction of the price so you can always get a new one! The article is pretty long and detailed: PCWorld.com - 20 Things They Don't Want You to Know

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Photos: Darlington Provincial Park



Darlington may not be the best camp site but it's definitely the closest to Toronto I've ever been to. The coolest thing about the park was the calm and shallow McLaughlin bay separated from lake Ontario by a narrow strip of land. The place was very noisy because of the trains but I managed to take some really nice pictures so I have nothing to complain. 5 more pictures are posted in pictures. A review is also available in the camping page.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Photo: Miniature on Pottery



A miniature by Mahmoud Farshchian on a piece of pottery. I bought it for my sister from Laleh Park when I was in Tehran and I couldn't stop looking at it since. You can find this photo with a better quality in my pictures page.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sean Penn in Iran (San Francisco Chronicle)

I don't know if you recall Sean Penn's visit o Iran as a journalist or not. Anyways, his article (Day 1 and 5) is now fully published published, titled SEAN PENN IN IRAN. You'll also find pictures and an amateur video.
Pretty interesting...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Camping & Comments


Last weekend I went to Emily Provincial Park. More pictures are available in the newly updates Pictures page. There is now a page with comments and some info on the campgrounds I've been to.

On a cool side note, Blogger finaly supports image hosting!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Digitize your old tapes and records - fast and free!

Long time ago when I used to write my computer articles I'd already introduced Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder.
A few days ago I was digitizing my tapes and I figured how to use the cool "Noise Removal" feature of the program: Once you record a song in Audacity select a part of the track with no voices other than the white noise (probably the very beginning and the end), then go to Effects, select noise removal and click on "Get Noise Profile".
Then select the whole track, go back there, click on "remove noise" and bingo!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Photo: The magnificent Georgian Bay...


I was camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park and Georgian Bay's beautiful rocky coast is definitly the most wonderful piece of nature I've ever seen in Canada so far. I've put a few Background Pictures online. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pictures of Iran

I've posted 32 Pictures from Iran on my web site.
Also in case you've missed them, my Pictures of Vienna, Austria are also available online.
ENjoy!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Iran @ the World Cup!

Iran made it to Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup after beating Bahrain 1-0. I was lucky enough to be in Tehran after we won to see the streets shake! I'm posting a mini picture (Remember I'm still on dialup here).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Killer Thunderstorm in Tehran!

Yesterday I got up at 7:30 in the morning to do a few things I had to do. The day before there was this huge thunderstorm and the thunder was closer to the ground than I'd ever seen before. So I turn on my mom's computer to go on the net and the modem doesn't work. I tried to fix it but the thunderstorm must have hit the phone line or something and the modem was dead. Then I tried to use my laptop but my pcmcia modem was also fried. I bought it for $5 in Canada but the replacement would cost over 10 times more...

I finally got on the net with my sister's laptop which was OK... I get into my e-mail and the first e-mail I receive is from Arian saying that their concert is delayed for 2 weeks because their equipment is damaged due to the storm.

So for the time being I hate these damn thunderstorms...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Photo: Tehran's Milad Tower

One of the most noticeable additions to Tehran during the past 7 years is Milad communication tower. It's visible from all over the city and I gotta tell you Tehran ain't small. I've heard it's not just tall but it's huge and I'll take close-up pictures as soon as I get a change.

Greetings in the 3 continents I've been to in the past 2 weeks...

In North America it's wired for some people that Iranian guys kiss (on the chick) when greeting... They says it's "gay" and whatever... But when I was in Austria I realized they do the same thing people do in Iran. In both places people just use the lips to make a kissing sound and I don't see what the big deal is in NA.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm in Iran :-D

Yesterday I left Austria for Iran... I was too busy to post pictures from the last 2 days in Austria (actually I left my camera's memory at home on the 2nd last day anyway...)

So far Iran is great... Streets are nice and girls even nicer ;-)
...but... people drive so crazy I almost wet myself and while dialup is must faster than dialup in Canada I couldn't get on the net for two days. They've blocked Orkut and I have to find proxy servers from Google Groups : How to Bypass Internet Censorship - Iran.

They even got aDSL but I don't ... not yet anyway ...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Photo: Vienna - day 4

Today we went to this stone-age exhibition...

The exhibition was held is a castle built in mid 19th century...

And here's a photo from the prairies on our way to the exhibition...

One interesting thing I saw (I couldn't take pictures from the moving car) was this tradition of making dressed up scarecrow-like people.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Photo: Vienna - day 2

Here's a picture from little alleys of Vienna (sort of like a Greektown).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Opera's CEO to swim from Norway to US

Opera's CEO is keeping his word and is going to swim from Norway to the US with only one stop-over for cup of hot chocolate at his mom's home if Opera reaches 1 million downloads in the first few days of release. Opera's PR manager who let the news get out is feeling guilty and rowing all the way with him. I need to mention he's not a experienced swimmer.
In a related news, I applied to Opera for the position of the CEO since I'm not yet drowned or lost in the Atlantic ocean :-) .

Update
The next day the site was updated saying that the PR manager's boat was punctured and they didn't make it. I didn't read the whole page but something about the pictures and the news tells me this was all made up in the first place...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Geek Jargon Explained

Pharming: When fraudsters redirect net users from legitimate to fake sites
Phishing: Fraudulent e-mails and pop-ups to fool you into revealing personal information for criminal gain
Rogue dialler: Software that installs itself on computers and changes settings to dial a premium rate number instead of usual dial-up account
Spam: Unsolicited e-mails, often offering products or services in which you have no interest
Spyware: Small programs that secretly monitor sites visited, potentially violating privacy and slowing computers
Virus: Malicious program designed to damage data; usually spread via infected e-mail attachments
Trojan: Malicious software disguised as harmless program
Firewall: Software to protect computers against hackers
Keylogging: Software/hardware to track keystrokes on a computer to gather passwords, credit card numbers

I found this list in a BBC Article about a survey by AOL UK that claims 16% of participants never heard of the word "spam". Well duh! If you're still using "America Online" and you're doing it in "Europe" I'd even be surprised if you'd recognized the word "e-mail"!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Linux you can use.... at last!

If you look around my web site you will find a few articles I wrote encouraging people to use Linux. There are distributions that are easy to use but the fact is up until now every one of them while very easy to use overall, had one small problem that would make you spend hours trying to figure out... so while I've been using Linux for two years now, eventually I gave up on making other people use Linux.
Then, a few days ago I heard about Ubuntu Linux so I though I gotta give it a shot. I tried it on two computers, one at work and my laptop. It worked like a charm on both computers. Not just it was easier to use than other Linux distros but it was much easier to setup that Windows (may dad run Windows on a laptop just like mine).
So I think it's finally time for everyone to try Linux. But while it worked out nicely for me, Ubuntu may not be totally there yet, so for now I only recommend it to people interested in computers. But then again, as I always say, if you've read this far you'll want to give a shot :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Norouz under water!

A bunch of scuba divers in Kish Island decided to take their 7-sin table under water and celebrate norouz under the sea!
BBC Persian has an article (in Persian) with 7 pictures.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Chahar-Shanbe Souri event @ Sunnybrook Park was the best ever!

I just got back from Sunnybrook park. This was my 7th Chahar-Shabne Soori (aka festival of fire?) in Toronto and without a doubt it was the best.
We owe it all to cultural and student associations in Toronto specially our very own Iranian Students Association @ York University were most of the volunteers came from, city of Toronto and last but not least to for following the rules.
Can't wait till norouz and next year's chahar-shanbe soori :-D
P.S. CTV News had a report on the event too.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Iranian Miss Germany is Miss Europe!

Shahrivar Shermine, 22, born in Iran, who was Miss Germany at the previous Miss Universe contest was crowned Miss Europe 2005. Finally a Persian cutie got a chance to compete with Europeans and win!



You can read more and see some pictures at Yahoo! News (English) or BBC (Persian).

More pictures.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Iranian woman winner of young scientist award in US

Saba Valadkhan a graduate of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Columbia University in New York has won the Young Scientist Award because of her RNA discovery.
Read the news in English or Persian (BBC).
Congradulations to her and all Iranians!

Laughter is the mother of all medicines!

Some people in India believe laughter is a good exercise so they do
what is called a laughter yoga: they get together and laugh!
Two American studies have shown that laughter can in fact increase blood flow and prevent heart disease and such. Basically it's like exercise without the muscle tension and with more fun!
So, rent a funny movie and let's all laugh! Hahahahaha!

Read more from Reuters

P.S. Thanks to the slow mail-to-blog service it took this post 3 days to show up here! Bet you'd already read it!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Chahar-Shanbe Souri @ Sunnybrook Park

(Sunnybrook شب چهارشنبه سوری در پارک)

Tuesday 15th 5-9pm
Info: (416)893-8530

This year, thanks to Iranian Students Association at York University and student association of other universities in Toronto, city of Toronto has decided to keep this tradition this year. Try to become volunteers as your help is desperately need. Further please follow these rules if you wish have 4shanbe Souri next year:

1. Cars are not allowed in the Park, so please do not drive to the parks entrance and avoid traffic (Well I can't say I hate to see a street closed because of so many Persians, but I do want to see 4shanbe Souri next year, so please...)
2. Leslie North will be closed.
3. Do not park in buildings near the park or your car will be towed away.
4. There are 4 (and only 4) designated places to start a fire.
5. No alcohol (that's the general rule for Ontario's parks anyway)
6. I know you love to drive, but please try to take the TTC for once.
7. Can't volunteer? Please at least try to help the volunteers.

Parking is available at the church at Don Mills & Eglinton, in the Sport Alliance building as well as Ontario Labor Federation (in front of Loblaws). There will be signs in the area to guide you to the parking lots. There will be shuttle buses to take you to the park and back.

Here is a Press Release (in Persian) with all the information you need to know.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gmail Tips

This site has some really cool Gmail tips (including advanced search).
Very cool if you use Gmail!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Urban Legends

Urban Legends Reference Pages is a nice collection of info about many of urban legends and their status (true/false/unkown). They even have a few pages on the guy who had lived in an airport and the movie "The Terminal" is based on.


ps. I just changed the looks of my site, check it out!


pps. Don't miss "Girls Dormitory" playing at Rainbow Cinemas Fairview Mall (North York), see my previous posts for details.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Free Encyclopedia: 100 Times Bigger than Encarta!

The English version of Wikipedia , aka the free encyclopedia, currently has over 482,320 articles. That is over 100 times the number of articles in Microsoft's Encarta and 4 times the most complete edition of Encyclopædia Britannica with 120,000 articles. I always liked Wikipedia - not just because it is free and allows the
public to view, use and even edit the content - but because every article is edited by people who know so much about the subject. For example computer science stuff are written by experts and they are so detailed I once used Wikipedia instead of my textbook! Or if you want to learn about a country you will get the information from people of that country, not some so called experts who have never even been there. Plus the stuff are up-to-date, in fact there is a news section.
Wikipedia is available in many languages, some with over 100,000 articles. The Farsi (Persian) version has over 5,600 pages but mostly stubs (small articles with very little information created for future editing).

Just in case you're new to the idea, Wiki is a database that allow the public to post and edit the information. Wikipedia is more than just an encyclopedia and if you still haven't heard of it you've got to check it out!

Update: (Octoboer 25) Exactly 8 months later, I rechecked the number of articles and the English version is almost doubled to over 787,000 (that's more than 6 times the most complete Britannica), of course the number of articles in Encarta and others doesn't change. Plus more specialized siblings to Wikipedia (such as Wikitravel) are created.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

25 Million Download of Firefox, Are you one of them?

I just read in the news that Mozilla Firefox, my favorite browser, has
been downloaded 25 million times in just 99 days! If you still aren't
using Firefox you really have to ask yourself why not! I mean if
you're on dialup, fine, but you're on highspeed you're just missing
way too much by not using Firefox!
So if you still don't have the fox, try it today, just go to
http://www.getfirefox.com and get it.
It's small, fast, free, safe, easy to use, expandable and I could just
keep going.
And while you're at it, install adblock, gmail notifier and forecast
extensions. Really cool!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Let the blog'n begin!

Live feeds and the fact that I can post messages to a blog from my email make it a really cool addition to my web site so I'm gonna start write blogs. I won't start the live feed yet since I don't have much to read in here but you'll see it soon on my web site. In the future I might
replace the what's new section of hoomanb.com with this blog. But for now I'll keep the blog in a beta stage so if you're reading this you're one of the first to be here ... so welcome :-)

BTW, The plan is to have a general-purpose blog with tech tips, links, news... just name it... Basically this is were I'll put interesting links and information that I would normally forward to my friends.